Life is hard

Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am suffering a little winter and what-have-you fatigue. The only music in my head today is “the day the music died“. It’s a line from Don McLean’s song Miss American Pie. The song is about the day Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and J. P. Richardson died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959. It’s an interesting story and a fascinating song. I still have the LP American Pie. On this November day, it reminded me of the day JFK was assassinated. We will never know the truths of the assassination or the song.

I’m not exactly a cheerful bunny today, am I? It’s probably a hangover from yesterdays’s grumpiness not helped with the bad world news creeping in. Today I recognized it as a seasonal-affective-disorder sign and that I should take it easy. Every little thing could be that straw that broke the camel’s back and blast me into outer space. It’s taken me this long to wisen up. When the guy said he was going skiing this morning, I said I’m not. Even though I got all new ski equipment and snow pants, my mind and body wasn’t all that excited. It’s good to have some slow and alone time.

Days like this are so taxing. I’m very very slow today. I must need it and so I listened to my body and mind. I read a romance novel this morning and heated a frozen pizza for lunch. Makes doing dishes easy – 2 plates, 2 forks and knives into the dishwasher. Just a pizza pan to wash by hand. Easy is good once in awhile. I don’t have to be Wonder Woman every day. Not to lose the whole day to idleness, I coaxed myself downstairs to finish shortening my snow pants. It was agonizing at first but once started, I had to finish, right? It is finished and now I can say, it wasn’t so hard after all. And my butt will be warm once I do get out skiing.


September 12/20

It’s another Saturday morning. My Sheba is on my mind, good memories of our time together. My arm is still aching down to my hand from my shingles vaccine earlier in the week. This reminds me of my mother’s experience with shingles. It also started on a Saturday. It was a very, very bad time. Hence, my vaccine. She was very vocal in urging all of us to get it. Thankfully she’s recovered with minimal damage.

Not all Saturdays are equal. I still love Saturdays. It used to be my weekly swim morning before Covid. I’ve adjusted to Tuesdays and Thursdays now. Double the pleasure. I did cancel out twice this week. Apps are so wonderful in many ways. I just push the CANCEL button to unbook my time. No questions asked. It would have been wonderful if there was such an app for work. You wouldn’t have to worry about not sounding sick enough phoning in sick.

Saturday mornings used to be cleaning chore time when I was a kid. We used to live in this small rented house behind our cafe in Maidstone. It belonged to the town doctor. The kitchen floor was worn through in spots. I can still see it in my mind’s eye after all these years. It made for difficult washing.

Sept. 13/20

It’s Sunday and I’m stuck. I have lots to do but can’t seem to find a way to start. Have you ever been here? I was like that yesterday, too. I couldn’t even finish yesterday’s entry. I’ve left it hanging and dangling. Will have to backtrack. What I did do was tackle things that I could start on -like cleaning behind the fridge and stove and cleaning the toilet. I did a load of laudry and picked a pail of tomatoes. So it was not a lost day.

I will have to do the same today. Start where I can. I will sort the tomatoes.

September 17/20

My energy is one with autumn. It is the season for slowing down. I certainly have! I’m resigned to it. I go to bed each evening with new resolves of doing better, doing more. I wake up each morning not wanting to and not knowing how to. There’s nothing to do but do the best I am able to. I will move if there is something urgent. That is how we are built. If there is an emergency, we will bust ass.

In the meantime, I’m putting one foot in front of the other. It’s not as if I am just parked on my butt all day. It just feels so. Feelings can be false. I’ve stuck to my exercise regime – swim Tuesday and Thursday. I did not push the CANCEL button. AND I went to the AM Energizer aerobics class on Wednesday. Hurray for me! My lunch dishes are done. I’ve rinsed off my swim suit and gear from this morning. I’m showing up here, tapping as best as I can. What I really want to do is to fall asleep and wake up energized. I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.

But onward ho!



Sheba is doing her job. She gets me out whether I want to or not. She’s not affected by seasonal changes at all. When I ask her if she wants to go for her walk, she pops up off her haunches every time. She didn’t fail to do so today. I only had to ask once. I said a silent darn. didn’t want to but I can’t fail her. She loves her walks. No matter the weather or conditions I may have, she gets me out the door.

Today was one of those comfy misty gray and cool days. I didn’t do the hot chocolate marshallow thing but I cozied up to the fireplace downstair. Mind you I was not idle. I worked on my Bernina sewing machine and my paints. I made up for the days when I couldn’t do either. I might as well go with the roll when the rolling is good. That’s what I’ve learned to do. Make good of the good times. When the SAD hits, I can afford to shut down and not feel guilty. I can put my feet up and rest on my laurels.

I’m not speaking for everyone but I am not unhappy that I am affected by SAD. It is part of me. Who would I be without it? Would I be as interesting without my idiosyncrasies, my grumpiness and what have yous? Maybe you might find me easier to be with minus all that, but don’t I challenge you to be more this way? I am more having to search for the whys and hows to be living with who I am. Life is not stagnant when there’s so many ups, downs, sideways and bumps to deal with.


Here it is, after six, and I have no words or thoughts on the page. They’re all in my head. I have conversations and tell stories there all day long. They keep me company. I’m never lonely. It is a good thing. It is tough enough to have SAD but at least I can entertain myself and not to fight loneliness as well.

I don’t want to leave you with an impression that I am having a bad time all the time. I am not. There’s some positive things about having seasonal affective disorder. Honest, there is. For sure I struggle with sleepiness, sluggishness, moodiness, forgetfulness, anxiety and depression. But what and who would I be without those struggles? I am one who does not/cannot stay in the undesirable and unsustainable. My instinct for survival always makes me reach up and out for the light.

I can say that this life of mine is exciting and full. My life is my canvass and palette. I am the artist. I can choose what I want to create. I can choose the colours. Is it gold or blue? Does it have to be black and white? Can I make a rainbow? Would I be able to paint those colours if I have not experienced them all?  So I do not mind being in the blues or the darkest of the blacks. I have also felt the goldens and tangerines. I’m always learning. I am always open to the way. I try not to question too much. I don’t have to understand how things work. I can just do it.


I’m finally here to see if I can impart some thought, some wee bit of wisdom. Mostly I’m here to tap myself well. It’s not that I am ill or anything.  I am languishing too much. I’ve let go of the glue that binds me. I want to stem the flow before all my goodness is gone. Lately, all that I can feel is the acridness of life. Can it seep into me from the forest fire smokes? It’s not a nice feeling. I want to curl my lips at everything. Sarcasm and cynicism course through me. Where happened to my annoying Pollyanna attitude? I want it back. I miss it.

Life is strange. I feel strange. It’s difficult to find kindred souls to hash it out. It’s not that I am afraid to talk. On the contrary. I tend to talk too much – but not to the right people. It’s gets me into trouble sometimes. The right ones are seldom visible. Not many are brave or generous enough to share face to face. I am happy to find a group of young and not so young women on social media who can and does talk about their experiences and feelings. They tag their posts with #encouragersociety. Bravo to them.

I don’t think it’s all about bravery or generosity that prevents people from talking and sharing. It also takes an enormous amount of energy. It does for me – to be present here and tapping out my words. I have this huge feeling of sleepiness. I would much rather lay on the couch with my tea and read my book. I would really like to just sit and close my eyes, not thinking or doing. It’s taking me two days to write this post. Finish today, I must.

I am sure that the approaching autumn and the shortening of days are affecting me. I am not usually bubbling over with energy or glee. That is not my natural self but I’m usually more alive than this. While I don’t think I am totally glum, I really have to work at feeling joy. I have to dig into self-help books. It makes me feel not so alone or weird to hear another express it on Instagram. On top of that she encourage others to keep on, that they’re doing great. Yes, encouraging each other helps alot. It helps to be reminded that we have a tricky brain. Everything passes. So carry on and pass it on. Light each other’s torch.

Mission accomplished. I can go back to my book. An easy read by Joy Fielding – The Bad Daughter. Ironically the main character is a therapist who gets bad anxiety attacks. Not very good reviews but it is easy reading. Works for my malfunctioning brain.





When the spirit doesn’t move me, I have to work hard at everything. I worked hard to get here, in the chair, in front of the keyboard and onto the page. I feel ravaged by inertia and sleeping sickness. I have often wondered at this condition. Why is it so difficult? Through this fog, I do have awareness of wants and ambitions. But why is it so hard to even bend down and pick up a piece of paper off the floor? There are no logical answers to this malady. I’m trying to suck it up and tell myself JUST DO IT. Sometimes it works.

Ah, the sun has decided to come out. Can you believe it is cold today? I turned on the furnace this morning even if it is still August. No point in shivering and suffering. I know, it was only a couple of weeks ago, it was 38 degrees Celsius. I didn’t turn on the AC. Sheba and I kept cool in the basement. I saved then so I can splurge today. I set the thermostat at 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Hardly overheating. Just enough to keep my teeth from chattering.

I’m probably being hard on myself again. After all, didn’t I go to my morning exercise class yesterday? Only 3 of us showed up. I really didn’t feel like going. I put on my gear right after breakfast to make it more likely. Then there’s my motto, I don’t have to like it. It’s the time I most need exercise. I was happy that I showed up. I put in a concerted effort to make up for my absent classmates. I worked up a good sweat and hopefully burnt off lots of calories.

I’ve been experiencing a few heebie jeebies lately. Do you get them? It feels as if someone is walking over my grave. I haven’t had them for quite awhile. I’ve forgotten about them. They’re a reminder that it is late August. They days are getting shorter. The light is changing. I’m a very weather sensitive person. Even if it is a cloudy day, I do feel better outside. It is as if something is lifted off me when I step out the door. Even though it wasn’t an inviting thought, I took Sheba to the off-leash dog park yesterday. I knew exercise and outdoor light would sooth away the heebie jeebies.

Now I must go and attend to my bills. I have been negligent this month. The result was $40 interest on my charge card. It’s enough incentive for me to buckle up and pull up my socks and do what I have to do. HBS – Heavy big sigh.


REST – Day 16 in a year of….

Day 16, August 7, 2016@6:19

I am running a little later today.  My doing different today is listening to the whispers of my body.  I am feeling the fatigue of the fast approaching autumn and shorter days.  So used to doing, doing, doing it is hard to stop.  But then it is equally difficult to keep going. So I stopped and napped, letting go of everything for that time.

IMG_7001Now, I’m here in this space, tap, tapping out my words for the day.  The rice is cooked.  I’m waiting for the beans to casserole.  Everything always takes longer than they say.  Ah, it’s okay.  I got the wine, the keyboard and pesky Sheba to keep me company.  I wish dogs could bark in English.  It’s hard to decipher one bark from another.  I suppose she wants her afternoon walk.  Maybe a few ear rubs will suffice. Change is good for dogs, too.

It was serendipitous that this morning I sat on the mindfulness for depression episode of the Mindfulness Summit 2015.  I paid heed as I am prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I have been lucky these last few years that I have not felt the severe symptoms of the past.  I thank Melli O’Brien and Ruby Wax for their contribution to the mindfulness movement.

My beans are calling me.  I must do the easy and simple and go.  Till tomorrow.



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?





IMG_0866The clouds can get to me.  Their shifting shadows feel ominous, giving me a sense of impending doom.  It feels as if someone is walking on my grave. I’m waiting for the shoe to drop.  It never has.

I’ve learned to live with this holding my breath, waiting for the shoe to drop – waiting to wake up from my free fall through space and hitting the ground.  I never have.  And so, I’m braver now.  I have wings and I can almost fly.  No heavy landing for me, thank you very much.

IMG_0876Still, the clouds can make my heart skip a beat at times.  But that is okay.  I flutter my wings a bit to calm it and carry on.  There’s early bike rides with Sheba trotting by my side.  She needs someone ahead to chase after or else she digs her heels in and say, No!  We ride when the sun shines or not.  I feel like a postman.

The sun is shining now.  It has been playing hide and seek with the clouds all day.  I am playing along with both of them.  Whatever works! The rain has made the ground nice and soft to dig.  It is a good opportunity to clean up my much neglected and overgrown perennial beds.

I’m hoping they will look better in a month or two.  Digging and clearing is good therapy.  I’m cleaning my inner space along with my outer space.


The nights are so long now, the sun setting early and rising late.

I was having a dream when I was waken with a very wet nose and tongue in my face.  SHEBA!  It was still pitch black.  I rolled away from her and covered my face, not getting up since I have to work tonight.  I thought about my dream.  It was about mending a coat.

Funny how things get on your mind and come in your dreams, as reminders to take care of your life.  Sure, the winter can be difficult….dark and heavy sometimes.  You feel this inertia, the slowness of limbs and mind.  It is tough sometimes even to break out of a wet paper bag.  So you need these dreams of mending coats and Sheba’s wet nose and tongue to wake you from the dark, even if it is only 5:40 am.   Apparently the dark is messing up her internal clock, too.  Maybe she needs a bedtime snack to tide her over.

I do have two coats in need of mending.  So they are on my mental list of things to do.  It is good to make lists, to have plans, to move, to do…instead of dwelling on my mind.  It  is cold and grey, that I cannot feel joy.  The only feeling I have is like cold, grey dishwater.  Ugh!

So this morning I have had my hearty breakfast of eggs and toast and pedaled for 25 minutes on my exercise bike.  I read for pleasure those 25 minutes while pedaling in the glow of my SAD lamp.  I haven’t mended my coats yet, but I did change my furnace filter and it needed changing!  I vacuumed and tidied a little.   When I was done, the sun was out!

And here I am again bathed in sunlight and happiness.  Another victory!