December 20. We’re a day away from the shortest day and longest night of the year. There’s light in the tunnel now. I can start emerging from the cocoon of my mind and claw my way out into the sunshine. I have to admit that I’ve spent more time in the valley of the shadow this December. It wasn’t that bad since I did not put up a fierce fight. I greeted it with gentle acceptance. That made the difference.
I’m working at this conversation. It would be easier if I came at an earlier hour when I’m more up. But I needed that energy to do the ADL (the activities of daily living). Being so cold and dark this morning, I did not go out with my skis. I was content to stay put, read and make soup. I was not content long, disturbed by the noisy snow blowing from next door. I was irritated and unsettled. John Grisham’s The Rooster Bar was not engaging me either. It got rather monotonous and boring. Looks like it’s just not mine opinion only according to ratings on Goodreads. I might just dump it. Why waste my time, eh?
Irritated, I pounded on the piano for awhile, getting out my frustrations. By then the sun had come out, shining full and bright. The sky was so blue and the snow so white. It was a totally inviting picture. I made up my mind that I was going skiing after lunch no matter the cold temperature. Besides there was no wind. It was my kind of day.
I was not disappointed. I had the guy drop me off at the park on his way to his boat building workshop. The park was a picture of perfect white beauty. School must be out for Christmas. No children around. Not a soul was seen. Just me, bundled up like an eskimo, walking on sticks. After making once around the park, I was limbered and faster, almost gliding along the track. You might think I knew how to ski. I was pumped coming off my skis at the end. Ok, I was panting a little, too. It was a little harder breathing through a mask, but it kept out the cold air.
Now, it is day’s end. I am content with no angst or anxiety. The dining room table is still clear. I’m looking forward to the morning and another day.
December 2. Good evening. It is another day. I am happy again. How it came about, I don’t know. I feel as if my heart got a gentle shower of energy and converted back into happiness rhythm. I am grateful. It pays not to give up and give in to my moods. I did not fight them but accepted them for whatever they are. I gave them their space for they are a part of me. Perhaps I need them to do better and be better than what I presently am. I can become static and dull with contentment.
My moods are my friends. Without them, I might not push myself outside for my daily ski. Movement and exercise calms my restlessness and irritability. They help me to sleep at night. No matter how cloudy or grey the day is, it is always brighter outside. Cross country skiing is just the ticket for me. It gets me out. Sheba used to do that before she went to dog heaven. I have many happy memories of us running and jumping for joy on the frozen river.
Now I have my ski in the park instead. I seem to thrive in the cold. l’m out most days. I was out today in – 25℃. It did not feel cold. Instead I felt pumped, breaking trail again through fresh fallen snow. I am challenged and excited learning a new physical skill. I’m getting better and stronger, making a straighter track. I went once around the park, twice around, then three. It was just me, the trees and the snow. It was quiet and serene. It was heaven.
January 25, day 25 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I got my wish for a replay of yesterday’s beautiful morning. It played beautifully, though in a different way. For one thing, I slept in, more than an hour later than usual. It made up for the other morning when I got up before the chickens. Instead of heading out to the park after breakfast, I got out the mixing bowl. We were down to the last loaf of bread. When the temperature dips down to -29℃, it’s a better idea to bake bread first, then ski in the afternoon. There is a time for everything.
The memory of yesterday’s pleasure was still fresh in my mind and body. I decided that it’s a good way to approach bread making and everything else – as a process to enjoy in a relaxed manner. It worked well for me. The morning was sunny and beautiful. In between risings and proofing, I stretched and sipped tea in the sunroom. Somehow everything got done according to plan – 6 loaves of bread, a pumpkin pie, 3 tarts, cleanup and even lunch. Who could ask for anything more?
I have to say that at the end of the day, I was done in. To be continue…..
January 26, day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m back to continue, to finish, to wrap up. I’m back to say that there’s only so much time in a day and so much a person can do, no matter how efficient or how vital you are. I thought I would have lots of free time today but it had a way of running away. I couldn’t stop it. But I had a short visit with my mother after delivering her groceries. I gave her 2 loaves of my bread and ½ the pumpkin pie. I worry about staying too long since she has only one vaccine. I worry every time I cough. It is my usual sinus problems and dry throat. Still one worries.
I think about not skiing every day to have some time but skiing stops my worrying. It makes me feel better when I’m feeling bad. It keeps me fit and strong, so it is not a good idea. There is time for everything. I just have to redefine what everything is.
January 16, day 16 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. A lovely sunny Sunday smiled upon us today. We had our usual Sunday morning sourdough pancakes with bacon for breakfast. I thought about taking today for a day of rest. Yesterday was quite taxing. But the morning beckoned and we headed out early to the park for a ski. I graduated over to the north park this morning. It’s more interesting with hills and valleys. I’ve worked up the courage to step on its tracks again. Like the experts say. the best thing to do after a fall is to get right back on the horse again. It’s been a year since I’ve fallen on these trails. It was time.
I am much better and faster now that I got my new skis and boots. I can boogie along pretty good, that is until I met an uphill bump. I ended up on my butt on top of my skis. Getting untangled and up took some doing but I did it. Then it was going down some slopes. They’re probably not a big deal at all, but still scary for me. I managed the first one and second one. But at the end of the second one it had an incline. I should have pushed with my poles then for some speed to get over. I didn’t. I was like deer in headlights wondering what’ll I do. The next thing I knew I was down. This time getting up was much, much harder to do. The snow was very deep. I ended up taking my skis off.
I did not give up though. I went down successfully on another slope and made another loop around the park. I fell once more at the tricky upward slope. But I got up without taking my skis off. I’m still keen though. It is another challenge for me – to get over that tricky spot without falling. It is only January. I have till March to get over it.
Day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and day 3 of my daily ski and day 2 of my daily cleaning and decluttering. Am I having fun yet? Yes and no. When words come easily off the tips of my fingers, it is fun. Not so much when I have to struggle for every thought and sentence. I don’t care much for proofreading and editing. I force myself because sometimes I can think faster than I can tap. Yesterday I caught a few omissions and errors. Good thing my patience and discipline are improving. Sometimes good enough is not good enough.
Am I having fun yet? I had a wee rest after lunch. I worked steady and early this morning, wasting no time. I stirred my scrap apple vinegar fermenting on the dining room table. It’s my second batch. I quite like it as a substitute for regular vinegar. Mostly I use it for cleaning. I put a bit in a spray bottle with water. I spritz it on my mop to damp mop my hardwood floors. I also use it on my dust cloth for dusting furniture, etc. It leaves everything shiny and with a pleasant scent. Then I fed Oscar, my sourdough starter. I like to get the daily things done and out of the way. When I procrastinate, sometimes they don’t get done at all. It’s no fun falling behind and having catching up.
After breakfast I did a quick dusting in our bedroom followed by damp mopping of the floors. Then we hit the ski trail at the park. I did 3 laps around the park, working up a sweat. Was I having fun yet? Not quite but almost. Not sure if I got my ski legs back yet. I am slow as a tortoise. No kick and glide yet. Have to review techniques on YouTube again. At least I haven’t regressed. I could do double poling. No falling down today. My boots got on and off the skis like a damn. No struggle like last year. I won’t win any races soon but I’m burning calories.
The sun has disappeared. I will have to set out to put the greenhouse to bed soon. Without the heater, the low in there today was -1.8℃ this morning at 8:30. The high 8.6℃ at 3pm. All the greens are doing well. I cover them with row covers for the night and uncover in the morning when sun comes up and temp. above freezing. We’ll see what happens when the temps dip toward 20 and below at night. This is our first winter. I don’t think it will be fun covering and uncovering in the depth of December and January. I might take a break from it till February or March.
I am not organized today. That’s the way it goes – up and down or just treading water. Life is a process, each day unique unto itself. I guess that is why THEY say treasure it – for it will never come again. Sometimes I beg to differ though, like now. We seem to be reliving the same day of the Covid and of the cold. I am not complaining. I am healthy. I am safe. I am at ease. I wear my mask. I social distance. I check the numbers each day – number of deaths, number of new cases.
Each afternoon, we bundle up in our warm clothes and head out to the ski trails in our neighbourhood park. We warm up/cool down walking there. We sweat and get our heart rates up doing our laps around the park. I set my timer on my iPhone so I can monitor my progress. I like to know if I am on the right track and improving. I like to make corrections before I am too far set into bad forms. I am very happy today with my best time of 10:02.42 minutes on my 2nd lap around the park. I could feel that I was improving on my glide. I did not have to work as hard -pushing, huffing and puffing. Skiing is a process. I have to do the time and the distance.
Most of the day is gone. I’m looking at 5:30 in the afternoon. The sun is still out. It is -26℃ outside. It was -37℃ this morning. In the greenhouse, it is still 16.5℃. I can’t believe its high was 26.7 ℃ at 1:49 pm. But then the low was also -26.9℃ at 8:24 am. And just like that the sun has set while I’m tapping and the temperature in the greenhouse has dropped to 4.6℃. Not time to do spring planting yet. Patience, my dear.
So ends another Groundhog day. I’m getting a taste of what Bill Murray in that movie. I’m using too many excuses for the same old, same old. No excuses now. It is that I am just lazy and stuck in my daily routine. I am not lazy generally, just in changing habits. I pat myself on the back after I get back from skiing. I think I’m heroic and have done alot. Therefore I need to treat myself to a cuppa, a snack and Netflix. Before I know it, a couple of hours are gone. And I go: Oh, my God! I’ll do better tomorrow.
It’s Day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. There certainly is an increased traffic on the site. It leaves me a bit breathless, feeling unsure if I can keep up. It doesn’t help that I’ve just come back from our daily cross country ski. We decided to change the scenery and went to a different park with a ski trail. It was alot longer than I had bargained for. I had trouble getting up a little hill and ended up on my backside. I’ve enough experience now that I know how to get up. I just need some time just to lay there and gather my thoughts, look up at the sky and rest.
Some kind hearted man and woman happened to witness my downfall. The man gave me verbal instructions. The woman, I’m not sure she was his wife, kept coming at me to give me a hand even though I was adamant I didn’t need help. I wasn’t even thinking of Covid. I could get up by myself. He finally had to hold her back. It made me wonder if she has some sort of dementia. She never spoke. I’m not sure if I felt more assured by his telling me that they were vaccinated. Why did he tell me that? I think it made me feel more anxious. I try to reassure myself that though neither of us were masked, we were outside. I was breathing a bit heavy but they weren’t. I know I am ok.
That reminds me that I probably should have a mask for these unexpected events. If I had one on my pocket, I could have put it on. I need to keep one in the car, too. I righted myself, took off one ski and climbed up that damned slippery slope and back on the trail. I could see the guy’s yellow jacket way over yonder where our car was parked. I wondered how long to get over there. Soon I could see that I was getting further and further away, in the opposite direction of where our car was. I cursed under my breath and turned my skis around. It was a good thing he came for me in the car. He found me as I was crossing the road. Otherwise, I probably would still be out on the trail – in the dark.
I am tired and a bit disgruntled. But I’m still in this challenge and the100dayproject. My third log cabin square look pretty good. My squares look like stained glass windows. 100 log cabin squares will make a beautiful queen sized quilt. My order of supplies came from Amazon came this afternoon. I must admit that I was a little disappointed. I was expecting 30 quilting fabric clips along with seam rippers and whatnot. I only got 9. That kind of put a knot in my panities. I sent off a note to Amazon in the hopes of getting the other 21 clips.
I’ve had a full day. Time to pack it in. I need a little rest. My hands are sore from all the ripping apart of old clothes to make into new and from gripping my ski poles. Sometimes when I get going, I don’t know when to stop. I have to do it now.
It is New Year’s Eve. It’s the first Christmas and New Year without Sheba. My eyes mist and my throat tightens. It is the way of nature. There’s birth, life and then death. A cycle complete but not an ending. I like to think that Sheba came to me in the guise of a fox the other evening while skiing in the park. I went or fell down two little hills. A little fox came and stayed with me till I was on my feet again. I thought it was a cat at first. I called ‘here kitty’. It came within a certain distance, crouched down and watched me all the while. I felt we were part of each other, breathing in and out. A miracle of connecting. Perhaps it was Sheba coming to check on me. I remember her favourite cuddly was her little fox with a squeaker in the head and tail.
Happy New Year has come and gone. Not as much fuss as other years but it was still marked with an explosion of fireworks at midnight. I did not feel I missed much. Most of my new year’s eves have been pretty quiet affairs. Sometimes it can be the loneliest night of the year for many people. I know that I’ve often felt a misfit and a failure on many of these evenings. One year my then husband and I attended a New Year’s Eve party at his boss’s house. There was a pot of chili on the stove, people here and there. We all wore party hats and had whistles streamers. At midnight we dutifully blew our whistles but none of us seemed at all pumped. It was the saddest party of all times. It still left an impression on me after all these years.
I’m well past my prime and finally I’m okay being left out of the hoopla. What I mean is I’ve never been a party girl but never been brave enough to admit it. It’s a natural thing to want to fit in, be part of the crowd. I wonder if we are all like that – putting up a front. So for the first time, I don’t have to make up a cover story for New Year’s Eve. I did nothing. So there is a silver lining to every cloud, even Covid-19. I probably wouldn’t have taken up skiing either if it didn’t happened. I would have missed out on our moonlight skis. I would have missed the fox/Sheba encounter. I wouldn’t have had this pause to think, to question the many aspects of life, of relationships, of my past thinking /behaviour, of where to next and how to get there.
It is the day before Christmas and not a preparation have I made. Perhaps this year I have stripped off all vistage of the holy season. I am bare naked, without pretense. Aren’t we all this year? Is it such a terrible state to be in? I feel that now that I am bare bone, I can start to cloth/build myself in truths instead of lies and hoaxes. I hope you don’t think I’m being blasphemous. I am not anti God. I am not anti anything. I am back in the desert searching for myself. I have left it for too long.
So now it is Christmas Day and it is almost over. How can you tell I have short attention span? It’s been really short these days. My mind is going every which way. I feel this inner restlessness and agitation. It is not the best time for deep philosophical diggings like what is the meaning of Christmas or do I believe in God. Maybe those answers will reveal themselves in quieter times. For now let’s just chill, which is just what we did last night. We went for a moonlight ski after supper and a glass of chokecherry wine. It was a beautiful night. The streets were quiet and lit up. Everyone was home. We could see them through the windows. I heard It Came Upon a Midnight Clear playing in my head.
It was the best thing that we did. We had the park almost to ourselves except for a father and his kids tobogganing on the hill. It was beautiful and serene in the dark of the evening. We had enough lighting from the street lights, the houses around and the headlights on our toques. It was good to rest those serious troublesome thoughts of mine. I was busy concentrating on the physical act of staying upright on two sticks. I am getting better and more confident. I will never become a fast or an olympic skier. But I am learning to have fun. I will leave my deep thoughts and writing for another day.
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?