January 8. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

I am having a slothful Sunday. We attended a bookclub meeting last evening. I was late in getting to bed. I was a little over stimulated with socializing and intellectualizing, a rarity in these times. I had to wind down with a little reading. It didn’t help as it was a crime novel. I had a little trouble getting to and staying asleep. I was still revved up in the morning. I gave in to my obsession of binge reading. I had to find out what happened. Now that I have finished reading The Firm, I have to tend to a bit of housekeeping and writing. Needless to say, my mind and brain are shot with no exciting or poetic thoughts to share. I’m a bit ‘wrecked’ I’m again relying on my memories from Ghana.

HalfwayMarch 19, 2011

I’m halfway through my holidays here in Africa.  And it is a real holiday.  I cannot remember the cold or the snow of Saskatchewan, the dark mornings or evenings of our winters, nor the trials and tribulations of work.  I am surprise to realize this morning that I feel no aches or pains at all.  From time to time I feel some minor irritations to my sinuses but that was mainly when we were in town when someone was burning garbage.  I am relieved to find that I can wear my contact lenses here.  It was a bit of a challenge at first.  But I learned to clean them with bottled water and to take them out in flash light without losing them, though I did drop one once.  And now, we have solar electricity.  I am enjoying the cheer of sunshine and learning to see by moonlight.  The ocean has its pluses and minuses.  Sometimes the surf is music to the ears, lulling one to sleep.  On hard to sleep nights, it sometimes a storm raging endlessly.  The humidity is wonderful for the skin and I don’t have to wonder about my hair having no body.  But…when you lick your lips, you taste the salt of the ocean.  Your mirrors and glasses are always fogging, needing wiping constantly.   The salt gets onto everything.

And as for food, it all depends….on what is available.  Living by the ocean, you would think that there would be an abundance of fish and other seafood.  But not so, because of overfishing from foreign sources.  When I first arrived and driving to Cape3Points, we bought some fresh coconuts from people on the roadside.  They do not look like the ones that I know in their brown husks.  These were green.  The boys selling them chopped the top off and we drank the milk.  Then we handed them back to them and they cut them open for us to scoop and eat the meat with the spoon made from the top of the coconut.  It was rather disconcerting for me to drink with faces hanging about me all the while.  I felt like I was taking too long and making them wait.  I am used to waiting on people and not the other way around!  I have not yet tried any of the local dishes.  Since my stomach is not great when I’m travelling, I am not very adventuresome.  For breakfast, it’ s usually eggs and toast.  We do quite a bit of pasta here at the lodge.  The beef is quite tough here but in kabobs, it’s good and a bit easier to chew.  I told Rod the next time we go to Takoradi, I will chop fufu with him.  It is a soup dish made of kasava and some other stuff…and goat meat.  They eat it with their fingers.  But I will ask for a spoon!:-)

Yesterday, we went to Takoradi to pick up Rod’s glasses.  I sort of had doubts about how well they would work.  The technician’s behavior and body language did not instil too much confidence in me.  And as I had advised about the frame…And to everyone’s relief, including the people at the optical shop, they worked wonderful.  They tested the glasses by whipping out a newspaper for him to read.  They included a nice case and 2 cloths and a bottle of cleaning solution.  So it teaches me not to judge a book by its country.


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.


Day’s end. I am again struggling to write today’s post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Funny how some days the words just flow. Then I have these days. I am stuck at START with no forward movement. I guess I will have to work for each word and sentence until I have a paragraph, then another and another. So rather than being stuck, bored and restless I scroll through social media. I have just scrolled through Esme Weijun Wang’s Intagram. I’ve been following her for a few years. I find Esme very interesting and inspiring as she is Asian, a writer, has a schizoaffective disorder and suffers from chronic lyme disease. She has so many physical and mental challenges and yet she is very successful. It makes me try a little harder to push through my own little trials.

I have recently said that it’s not good for me to look at the big picture when I’m tackling a big job. It overwhelms me before I can get started. There are always exceptions to the rule. If I want to have a successful day/life, I have to look at the whole picture. What is it that I want for the day/life? After I have identified my goal, I then break down the steps to get there. I guess it’s called planning. It’s something I haven’t consciously done or thought to do – until now. So what was my whole picture for the day?

  • Writing this post.
  • Juicing one ice cream pail of grapes.
  • Finish reading Explain Pain.

How did I do? I’ve juiced two ice cream pails of grapes for 3 bottles of juice. I’ve cleaned up after myself, too. I have 20 pages in Explain Pain to read. I still have time tonight. I want to return it to our exercise guru at our gym tomorrow. And my post is finished. How about that, eh?


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard

I wish I could write such insights as Annie Dillard. But then I’m not a Pulitizer winning authour. She has written many books. I wonder why I haven’t read any of them, especially since so many of them are in the library. I’ve just fixed that, reserving The Writing Life. I thought I should start with just one book. I’m still working on James Mitchener’s The Source. It’s an ambitious read of 1000 pages. I’m only on  page 207. I have a ways to go.

How do you spend your days? I’ve wondered what other people do with their time. I’m always busy it seems. I’m a doddler, poking away at life. Maybe if I speed up a little, I wouldn’t feel so busy. But it’s who and how I am. I need that slow pace to digest and process. So I can’t get up in the morning and hop to it. I have to ease my way with a cuppa tea and a few pages of fiction. Then it’s breakfast. If it is Monday, Wednesday,or Friday I’ll be heading out the door to aerobics. Saturday mornings I used to swim. Then somehow I got tired of always heading out of the door and I stopped. But I kept it up most of the winter.

I’m a homebody so I was glad to read that Annie Dillard is a recluse, albeit a gregarious one. I wish I’m like that but alas, I have no gregariousness in me. It should be no surprise that I don’t do a lot of frollicking with my days. I’m a rather quiet, somber person. I live within rather than without. That is, I contemplate alot. I like to read and muse. I wonder about the universe, why people do what they do. I wonder about the speed of the changes we are experiencing. How long life as we know will last? I wonder what gives meaning to the things we do. What does it matter anyways? I could have more time if I could just cut down all this musing.

You see, I am no fun. I do have fun though. I have numerous, maybe too many hobbies. I like to read and write. That gobbles up tons of minutes and hours in a day if I let it. Even painting my little index cards takes up at least half an hour. More if I’m ambitious. I’ve picked up sewing again. I went out and bought a fancy dancy new machine. It’s no small endeavour. It took time to learn all the ins and outs. Then there’s the organizing – fabric, patterns, projects. I’ve taken a fancy to free motion sewing, creating a picture with stitching. I haven’t thought about quilting yet. I have all the notions – collected through the years. At least I don’t have to go out and shop for material. I have a fabric shop right in my own basement.

I’m tapping here in my space. I’ve just turned the oven on for the roast. There’s a lot to do every day. Roasts to put in the oven, bread to make, lunches and dishes to do. The guy does supper and getting groceries. I start my own bedding plants for the garden. Been doing that for years now. Sometimes I enjoy. Sometimes it’s work. Well, isn’t everything? It’s worth it. It’s nourishing my body and soul. Even the cleaning and washing. It’s taking care of this business of living. What meaning or satisfaction would I get not doing any of this? Sure, I complain sometimes and wish that everything was taken care of for me. That sounds like being in a nursing home, doesn’t it?

It’s time to shut up and do something else now. There’s the dog to walk yet.




STUCK AND UNSTUCK – Day 22 in a year of…

Day 22,August 13, 2016 @2:00 pm

Life is frigging hard.  I blame my brain.  It likes to be stuck in old habits.  It likes easy. Then I blame the weather.  I feel every storm brewing, every drop and rise of pressure.  The clouds are building again.  I am stuck so now I’m having a cup of tea.  That’s my remedy for everything.

IMG_7151Life was clear this morning.  The day was fresh.  I was on a new page – reading Ruth Rendall’s The Crocodile Bird.  I had already read it once but I have forgotten everything.  It read like the first time.  I was hooked on the first page!  I felt my eyes racing forward, skimming over the words, missing the descriptives for the action.  I stopped and read the second paragraph again – how the tail lights went over the bridge and the headlights came around the bend.  I found that scene so descriptive.  I see it in my head.

My intention for today is to enjoy the whole read.  It’s good to be hooked, but I should be able read all the words, see the setting and characters and let the story unfold chronologically.  Quite often I read the beginning and the ending.  I might go back to the middle.  Then sometimes I don’t.  So far so good.  I’ve read two chapters.  Can’t remember the ending from the first read and I haven’t gone to the end.

Patience, forbearance and happiness are what I am trying to develop in this project of choosing different ways/things.  I’m tired of bogged in insufficiency, ruts and having hard times.  Even little things/ways are hard to change.  They’re probably all biggies.  According to Pema Chodron the 3 big difficult practices are:

  1. Acknowledging what is happening
  2. Choosing a different alternative
  3. Making it a way of life.

It makes a lot of sense to me.  What do you think?  I’m a little unstuck.  Back to what I was working on.  Till tomorrow.