What Keeps Me Up and Going

What do you do to keep your spirits up, to keep the ball rolling? I have today and tomorrow to finish the month of daily posting. I am pretty sure I can finish by gosh and darn. I hope to keep going beyond into December. It helps to have a place to come to at the end of the day to unload, de-stress, to pass on a bit of news, wisdom or joy. Writing and chronicling my day gives me a sense of purpose. It is hard to have a conversation without Covid-19 butting in. Such are our times. In Saskatchewan we have 351 new cases, 94 in Saskatoon. It’s hard not to feel the heaviness of these times.

I plod along, trying to do my daily best. It’s best to have a list of things I want to do each day. I make it before bedtime. I still keep it in my head. That’s on top of my list, to make a list each day. Today I got the laundry and some dusting done. Oh, my pork belly is cooking in the Instant Pot. We’ve had these packs of pork belly in our freezer from last year. And what does one do with it? It’s bacon except it’s not cured. It’s mostly fat. I seasoned it with garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Now it’s cooking on high for an hour. That should take care of the fat. They will make filling for Chinese steamed buns. It’s an experiment for tomorrow – maybe. Oh, my pork belly is done. Looking and tasting good. I hope I won’t nibble them all away before the buns get made.

I didn’t have a long list of to do’s. It’s good to start small. Less chance of failure. Wait! I got the bathroom floor cleaned, too. That’s my hardest to do. Strange why that is since there’s not much floor. Sometimes I have to question myself, to get to the root of why I hate doing something. I still don’t understand why but I got the job done. What’s on the list for tomorrow? I will do my seed order to beat the rush. That’s THE one thing I want to do. There are many things that NEED looking after. I will think of them later.

I like to have a project/skill to work on. That always keeps me going when the going gets tough. So far, I’ve mastered bread making, regular and sourdough from scratch, kimchi and kombucha. Making food from scratch is so satisfying. It just fills me up.

The latest thing that’s keeping me afloat is learning cross country skiing. I’m not gliding yet but I’m still keen. There’s alot more involved than meets the eye. Bending over to tie my boots is quite challenging in itself. I get out of huff just doing that! I’m learning to do put the boots on and tying them before putting my coat on. Less bulk to bend over with. Then there’s carrying the skis and poles while walking to the park. It’s only 2 long blocks away but it’s surprising how heavy things get when you’ve not used to carrying them. I’ve mastered that now, too. I even managed to fasten my boots to the bindings by myself today. I failed the getting up after I fall test. Still, I felt so much more relaxed after my fall. I think I should just fall down right off and get it out of the way so I can ski better. What do you think?


Is it only January 11th? It feels forever already! I am doing well – chug, chug, chug down the tracks keeping time with my tap, tap, tap. I might as well continue on down the line. I have developed a good rhythm. I’m not going too fast or too slow, not making long rest stops like I usually do. Then I whine about not enough time. Now, I am not doing that. At least not for the time being.

So heaving a very big sigh, I’m flexing my fingers over the keyboard. I do best when I have a schedule, challenge, a prompt, a deadline – something to rise to. Saturday is my favourite day. It’s my swim morning. I look forward to it during the week. It’s the week end, a day of rest from high stepping aerobics and pumping iron. I don’t always relish heading out in the dark of a winter morning to the pool. But I am always glad after. My body is warmed and relaxed from my hour of swimming up and down the lane. It is as if being lulled again in the womb.

I am not complaining but I am tired by my week. I’m not used to doing a steady flow of activities the week long. I have to build up my staying-with-it muscles. Still I’m proud of my effort and results. I’m not sweating or trying to push too hard. I still need my ‘ease time’ between things. I cannot rush from one thing to another. I have to be serenaded with silence, a cup of tea and sometimes a nap. I had all that this afternoon. Now I’m warmed and stretch. My brain and mind are working in coordination with my fingers. The words come and fall off their tips. I don’t have to struggle so much.

I really like this idea of no struggle. I know that it is not always possible but less would be nice. It’s wonderful that Julia Barnickle started a project called What If Life Were Meant To Be Easy? I invite you to check it out for yourself. I’m clumsy at explaining. I think any project on how to live better and with more ease is worth an investigation. I’m a curious George and a self-help addict.

This is it, the end of the conversation. Day 11 of nothing and everything.


So here I am, in the late of the evening. I’ve wined and dined. I haven’t come up with the secret to eternal wisdom nor happiness. Needless to say, it has been a tough day, a day of clouds and cool temperatures for July. But I did the best I could. Despite the clouds, my yard and garden glowed in the early morning light. It cheered me, standing on the top step. The path led straight to the garage door. Lao Tzu and the Chinese maiden are standing on duty on each side. I’m waiting for Sheba to finish her morning business. My passion for a well lived life remains unabated.

Nothing was really wrong except for my chemistry. My mood is like the weather. The good, bad and ugly played hide and seek with each other. I let them be, but stepped in as a referee when needed. It was tough and painful at times, almost bringing tears to my eyes. But I got through the tough stretch. The bills were paid and recorded. I thought I would leave sorting and filing for another day. I rewarded my efforts with a hot chocolate and a few pages of my crime novel, Moon Music. Faye Kellerman is my new favourite mystery writer. I find mystery/crime novels soothing and calming because they engage me.

Engagement is the key for me on difficult days. I tell myself, I can, I can. I can change my thoughts and how I speak to myself. I can make lunch. I can make a rhubarb crisp. I can do my art projects. And so I did. The rhubarb crisp wasn’t quite up to par. That was because I decided to make it in a smaller pan with same amount of rhubarb. But after I popped it back into the oven for another 20 minutes, it was okay. My indexcard collage and watercolour turned out superb – in my opinion. I experimented with pureeing steamed lettuce for freezing. I put the puree into an ice cube tray. After they are frozen, I will pop them out and store in a freezer bag. I might be going overboard in preserving veggies, but I hate waste. And we have lots of lettuce. I will see how they will work out in soups and chili.

After that being done, there’s the dog to walk. It’s a pleasure after we get going. A sniff here, a sniff there. I like admiring other people’s yards, their efforts. I am sure they struggle, too. We are all trying. We all have our passions. We are all the same. We are connected by our humanity. Thus I feel comforted in my own struggles along with them .


Beginnings of anythings are hard. Mornings are the best for me. It’s that time before trivia creeps in and fills all the recesses of my mind. They block the flow of oxygen and ideas to my being. But it is so tempting to linger over that cup of tea/coffee and scroll one more page and read another article, then another post. Before I know it, an hour or two have passed. The good/bright ideas/intentions have disappeared. All I’m left is lethargy and annoyance with myself.

I have to be stern with my lagging, sagging self. Nip it in the bud or it could run rampant, like an infection. So here I am, showing up before I get feverish and succumb to another lazy day. Movement begats more movement and energy. I go back to things that work for me, working in small blocks. If I get stuck, I stop and do something else. I’m learning not to sabotage myself. It’s been a long journey of many slow steps. But I am seeing more clearly as I am walking this, my very own Camino Road of enlightenment. No need to go to Spain. I have Sheba to keep me company here on the road.

Now it is 3:30 in the afternoon. I’m pecking/tapping away at my day. An index card painted for 365 Somethings 2018, a photo for April Love , Sheba’s afternoon walk done – these are the sign posts that guide me. They add order and rhythm to my day. In between these projects, the bedding plants are placed onto the deck, getting some natural light, readying for permanent residence out of doors. The deck chairs are rid of their dust and grime. Corners of the deck cleared of last year’s dirt. Screens wiped. Not all finished but a good start. That’s all that is needed. A start and the rest will follow. Repeat this every day.




The snow storm came this morning. I was happy it came later rather than sooner. I made it to the embroidery seminar before the blowing snow gave me thought for pause. Being that there was 3 of us made it easier to get chummy and chatty. One of us was already very skilled. I had no experience. She was very generous in offering her help. It’s handy she lives in my area. I will probably call her up sometimes.


It was a brief conversation yesterday. I was short on time and energy. But I am back. I’m working on the discipline thing. It would be easy to while the morning away reading  Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday. I should not have read the reviews before I read the book. It colours how I am finding it.  I am agreeing that it is long and a bit tedious, confusing, and repetitous. Would I feel the same if I had not read the reviews? I will never find out now. Still, it is worth the read because it is Sue Grafton. She must have written it while battling cancer. I have a lot of respect for her.

Yes, these mornings I am digging deep to find my discipline bone, to lay aside the book after awhile. I need to get on with other things. It’s a difficult task even if I like doing the other stuff. My body’s natural inclination is to stay in the same old, same old. My brain’s had enough practice now to step in. Put the book down! Paint your 365 Somethings 2018 index card. I heard its voice in my head. I sigh and put the book down. The index card is painted. Projects keep me moving somehow or another. At the end of the year I will have 365 little postcard watercolour paintings. I hope my paintings will be better and better.

The bedding is in the wash AGAIN. For some reason they still smelled of Sheba. We love her but not her stink. She is also laundered two days ago. Now her fluff is floating around. The work never ends. It’s a good thing because if it does, what would it mean? I’m pepping myself up with a cup of decaf. It still has the caffeine taste. That’s good enough for me. I best go and check on the laundrey. They’re probably ready for the dryer now. Then it will be time for lunch. Best not to be late. We have tickets to see Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show at 2 pm.



The day/life is much easier with purpose. It gives you structure and a starting point. It’s the catalyst that pushes me through the starting gate and onward to the finish line. I’m in a better frame of mind. It’s reassuring that I am not always pooling in my puddles. It only seems so. Once more the sun is shining on me, literally. I have to take off my sweater. It’s that warm.

The words feel more fluid in the warmth. They are flowing with ease from my fingertips. I am at ease in this moment with Sheba sleeping beside me. The sun feels so warm, the tea so good. I close my eyes, inhaling, exhaling..living. I give thanks of gratitude to the wisdom of people like Viktor Frankl, Caroline Myss and Professor Guy McPherson. McPherson, a biology professor believes that climate change from our heavy footprint is destroying our planet beyond repair. Even so, we should not despair. He advises:

 “I encourage people to pursue excellence, to pursue love, to pursue what they love to do. I don’t think these are crazy ideas, actually – and I also encourage people to remain calm because nothing is under control, certainly not under our control anyway.”

Those words resonate with me. I am in pursuit of those goals the best I can. They are my torch on gloomy days, beckoning onward or to sit and rest awhile. I need heroes and cheerleaders to coach me along the way. It’s one thing to get started and another to follow through to the end. I’ve had a bit of practice. It’s easier every day. I get up, dress up and show up the best I can. Some best are better than others. That’s how it is.

What are my pursuits in concrete language? The biggy right now is mastering my new Bernina computerized sewing machine. It would have been wise to do some checking. Too bad I didn’t read this blog before. No matter. I have no buyer’s regret. I have a vision of using it as another medium for my artwork. I was inspired by images of free motion embroidery. They popped into my head one day. I can do that, I said to myself. I trust my instincts and ‘feelings’. So off to the Sewing Machine Store I went.

I’m not off and running yet but it is out of the box. After hours of watching tutorils on YouTube, I’ve bobbined and manually threaded the needle. Haven’t mastered the automatic threader yet. I can turn it on, off, navigate some of computer screen and use the straight and zigzag stitches. Not exactly flying or embroidering but still pretty awesome. I think I’ll go and hem my pants now. Be back tomorrow with more progress – I hope.


ASSESSMENT – Day 27 in a year of …

Day 27, August 18, 2016 @2:21

If I was left to my inclinations, I could sleep my days away. Me, the nurse who prided herself on how little sleep she could function on. That was eons, another life time ago. Now, I know better.

In these days of August I find rhythm and purpose to the days despite my sleepiness. The quality of sunlight is changing and the day is shorter. I’m more conscious of my increasing appetite and drowsiness. I fight to keep my eyes open.

It’s good to have projects and challenges. It’s good to share and have support from social media friends from around the globe. There’s camaraderie in Susanna’s Conway’s August Break as we share what the daily prompt means to us in photo’s and words. Where would I be in my 100 Day Project and My year of change without my friends on IG, FB and WordPress? Social media in itself is not bad. It is how WE, human beings use it. In itself, it is inert.

imageA pause is good to stop our frantic doings and to assess the situation – how we are doing, do we need to change directions, do we need to make any changes,are we making progress, etc. Sometimes a pause is forced upon us as in an illness. Sometimes it’s a deliberate act. I’ve had both and prefer the latter.

My pause led me to My Year of doing different Project. It is really a way of life. My different is being awake at the wheel. A stitch in time does save nine. It is better to be late than never. Do you agree?

Till tomorrow then.

MAINTENANCE – Day 23 in a year of….

Day 23, August 14, 2016 @4:25

I do wonder each day if I could make it back to this place.  If I do, would I have anything to say?  I’m here.

IMG_7217It’s easy to get excited about projects and resolutions.  The trick is maintaining the enthusiasm and momentum.  Without them, you could come to a full stop like the billiard ball just before the drop into the pocket.  What is desirable is the domino effect – showing up day after day, no matter what. Some days are better than others.

I try to maintain if unable to advance for the day.  I try not slide off the mountain.  It’s a long ways down and longer to climb back.  I try not to analyze too much.  I do wonder sometimes why it’s such an effort to pick up something dropped.  Why is it easier to walk around it?  Now I stand and agonize for minutes and pick it up.  I do it for other hard-to-do things.  It’s a lazy brain thing.  I am sure I will have many minutes of agony before my brain can see it’s not hard.  No pain, no gain.  Is that true?

IMG_7225Showing up is agony sometimes. But I want to change the agony to ecstasy. I’m not a sucker for pain.  Onward we go! My half sweater parts are unravelled. I have found a pattern book.  I’m ready to knit my life back up again.  Are you ready?

Till tomorrow.




Today is probably one of those windy days that W.O Mitchell talks about in Who Has Seen the Wind.  It has been constant since early this morning.  The wind blows and blows, whooshing through the branches of the trees.  It wears insistently on your nerves, unsettling and disrupting your ease and thoughts.  But we do live on the prairies and the wind blows.

It is tough to stick to your guns sometimes.  It would be easy to go with the flow, to give in to your natural inclinations.  When I feel like this, I like to stick my head under the covers and hide.  But I have done a lot of that already.  It doesn’t help.  You just get more piles added to your life.  So now it is time to do something different.

I have found the little book, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals really helpful.  The author, Joan Vernikos, states that our life style of sitting is killing us.  We don’t move anymore.  Technology has enabled us to be inert.  My short time of heeding her advice have proven very beneficial.  I am energized.  I MOVE.  I do the dishes, sweep the floor, take Sheba out, weeded a small patch in the yard.  Better small patch than nothing.  Little patches add up a yard!

The wind is giving me a headache.  I get up and make a cup of green tea in my zen tea cup with a lid.  I take the kitchen waste to the composter.  I warm a cinnamon bun.  The words were hard in coming, but here they are, marching across the page.  It is like in Field of Dreams – build it and they (the players) will come.

Dreams remain dreams.  They need passion to be realized.  And passion needs commitment for direction.  Nothing is or comes easily.  Start small, start often, rest in between and start again and again.  Before you know it, those little projects will lead to a life.  And then you will know what passion is.