It’s hard to pull up my socks once they’ve fallen down. The struggle is real. Things are piling up on my desk, the dining room table and in my head again. I hope I have caught myself in time before I fall completely down the rabbit hole. I’ve stopped the conversation on the keyboard for just a week. It is hard starting again. I’ll just sit awhile and drink my tea and try to feel out where the difficulty lies. There’s no rush. It’s not going away. It’s waiting for me.
What I’ve learned from this is not to let things come to a grinding halt. It felt good the first day so I did it again the next and the next and so on. And here I am, trying to work myself back into a schedule, a routine of some sort wherein I can feel good and alive – that I am interacting with and a part of the world. I am not happy with persistent languor, hanging out amidst and buried under my unfiled, undelt with and unfinished piles.
When I think of clearing and dealing with it all, I feel overwhelmed and hopeless. I move a few things around and about. I have not made space or homes for anything and everything. It’s not a surprise that I got nowhere and gave up, moving on to familiar, more comfortable activities like watching Inspector Wexford on YouTube. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a British crime series, a Ruth Rendall mystery. The episodes have a story and plot. They are quite unlike a lot of modern American crime shows where the catch is violence, sex and fast car chases. Still, it is a crutch I fall on when it is hard for me to do what I need to be doing.
Talking about movies and distractions, I’ve come to realize that I am addicted to crime genres in movies, TV shows and books as well. I haven’t been always so. I used to like a good story and romance. Now I find them a bit tedious and slow going. My attention span have been shortened by action dramas and crime fiction. I’m trying to work my way back to being not so lazy. I used to read books like Marjorie Morningstar and East of Eden. Now I read Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series and such. But I am working on J.R. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. It’s slow going but she is a very good writer with lots of detailed descriptions. It’s a good exercise for slowing my brain and hopefully help increase my attention span.
I am having a wee bit of success. I’m concentrating on finishing this post. I am taking more time in proof reading and editing. Hopefully I am making more sense. I’ve identified a few of my clutter problems. I need to find homes for my things so that they are not strewn here and there. I need to deal with my mail (electronic and snail) daily. They build up quicker than I can think. Yesterday I deleted hundreds of emails, some from July. I’ve been in this spot more than a few times. I’m still the gerbil on the wheel. The best solution for me is to think things through slowly, identify, have an action plan and follow through.
I wish that I could come to my keyboard at an earlier time in the day. But then I haven’t lived my day yet, so how can I write about it? So I continue to struggle on. It will make a better woman out of me. I get thrown off by the least little thing. I was going to do dim sim takeout and have it with my parents for lunch today. I even had phoned them last night about it. This morning I remembered that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. It was such a good plan. The guy was out of town. It was a good reason to have lunch with my parents. My mother does not give me many opportunities to do something for them. I will try again on Thursday when I will be out and about. I have their grocery list. She will let me do that.
I’m a little miffed to be thrown off by such a little thing. But it does throw a monkey wrench in my brain chemistry. Obviously I am not handling change in plans well. I dither here and there through the morning, not getting much done. I wonder if I’ve been like this all my life or has my brain been changed by technology. I decided not to fight against my nature too much and to proceed as best as I can. I drank more tea and watched a bunch of videos on gardening. They were quite useful. I am learning more about extending the growing season, succession planting, crops to sow in August, etc. Do you know that you can make tea from the avocado pit? The pit is supposed to be full of goodness.
It’s after 6 pm, waiting for supper. The day is gone – just like that! But I did get out and did a 4 block walk. The day has been cloudy and fogging, not adding to my serotonin uptake. It’s been a very slow uphill climb. But I still did all those difficult hard jobs – taking out the garbage, sorted out my box of seeds, matched my receipts to my latest credit card bill. The dishes were very hard today. I closed my eyes but they didn’t go away. I do wonder why things are hard to do. I haven’t discovered the reasons yet. Some days I just have to grin and do them because it’s hard to bear them, too.
I try to be satisfied with being in the moment. I try not to think about accomplishing things. I do try to follow through once I start something. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end to everything. I’m good at beginning but not so at finishing. I’m working at it though. I’m one row of stitches closer to finishing my cross stitch of Jesus. I started it over 10 years ago. It has no expiratory date on it. One row a day will get me there soon, I hope.
A hundred tulip bulbs later, I’m feeling a little bushed. I still have 10 lily bulbs to contend with. They will wait till tomorrow. I will have to remember all this next fall so I won’t have a repeat. In all likelihood I will have forgotten it all by spring. When I see the parade of beautiful tulips in bloom, I will say: I want to get more. And I will gladly do it all over again. As encouragement, a young lady with flaming red hair and wide smile, cycling past on the sidewalk called out. “I love your yard!”
She has ridden by before in the spring when the tulips were in bloom. And she called out just as enthusiastically. It was music to my ears. It brought so much pleasure to my whole being. It reminds me to do the same for others. If I/you see something you appreciate, we should let the person know. It doesn’t cost anything and it could do so much for the other person. Be generous. Be kind. Otherwise be silent. There, that’s another motto.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Mother Theresa. I’m struggling with it all. I complain and bitch about people. I find faults. I’m judgemental, too. I am ashame. I know better. Yet I still stumble and falter. Alas, I’m too human. Sometimes I cannot overcome. I cannot bite my tongue. After, I try not to beat up on myself too much. I already feel the shame and regret. And so I take a moment to let that feeling sink in, to remember it for the future reference. And maybe then I will have fewer and fewer stumbles.
I’ve never given much thought to the meaning of the dog days of summer. Given to the context of how I hear it used and how it sounded, they meant summer time when you can see the heat sizzling from the pavement. The phrase always summon up images and memories of that summer in New York City. I can still see the steaming sidewalks, hear the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers, sirens, the crowded streets of Canal and Mott Streets. I can still feel the loneliness of summer in the city.
I still struggle with the dog days of summer. I still struggle with life. There’s no easy way about it. Everything takes effort. I like to think that effort makes it worthwhile. But I’m simply justifying, explaining and maybe apologizing for my lack of skills and successess. I do feel like such a failure sometimes. What do I really have to show for these years of hard effort? Ok, I have:
A nursing career. Nothing spectular but 30 years of rotating shift work. No nurse of the year award but have caused no harm.
No husband. No children. A companion of 10 years.
No wealth. A good pension. Nice house with garage and yard. No debts.
Not the most popular gal in town. Have a few good friends. I can count them all on one hand. One bad neighbour.
Experienced unconditional love for almost 14 years. I’m talking about my fur baby, Sheba. She’s in heaven now.
Ignited a couple of old passions – my paints and sewing machine.
Perhaps I am not doing as bad as I thought. I have a few good things. When those dog days come, all I can see and feel are my dark side and failures. It helps to make a list of : successes and failures, pros and cons, places I’ve been, things done, etc. Then tally up the score to see the results. I had meant to show up every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge but the dog days got the better of me. Total counting today, I’ve shown up for 17 days. It’s a little more than 50%. But I did complete the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. I painted 62 index cards for June and July – one extra.
Did I reach the goal I set for this challenge? I think I have. Right in the moment I’m not exactly jumping up and down with glee and excitement. I feel somewhat sedate and at ease. I’m satisfied in the now. I have no wants. I am at peace – even with my badassed neighbour. Perhaps she is getting help with her mental health. Perhaps there is hope. I’m not all about struggles. I’m not all about depression. I have those treasured moments of seeing dust motes in sunbeams. I have the ability to see beauty and feel joy.
So ends another Ultimate Blog Challenge. Hope to show up more next time around.
July 6th, the 6th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m a day behind. I should stop talking about catching up. I’ll just keep going from where I am. I don’t know why I am so busy. I live such a boring mundane life. I hardly go anywhere. I go shopping only when I have to. It’s an ordeal when I do. I’m exhausted when I get home, more so in these Covid-19 times.
I’m feeling that way now, exhausted. I’m sweating and sipping dandelion tea. Beer would be more cooling. I’m pecking away at my keyboard, hoping for a steady flow of words and thoughts. So far, so good. Some days I struggle and stutter. I really do not want to struggle so much. I do not want to allow the woman next door make me feel as if I’ve just come through a great illness. That’s how her energy affects me. I’ve found Dr. Les Carter’s little short videos helpful in steering me in the right direction.
I’m working on disengaging from her energy. She loves to tantalize and get me worked up. She is quite clever at this. I have to give her that. She must spend time studying my habits and routines and my responses. Of course she’s had 12 years to do it. I, on the other hand haven’t been smart or observant. I fall into her traps frequently. The only thing I know for sure is she won’t/can’t change. But I can.
I know I am not a mean person. I don’t go out of my away to cause a neighbour harm or annoyance. But after years of harassment sometimes I do feel maybe it is my fault. But when I come down to it, I wonder what and why is it my fault. I don’t do anything to her. I don’t trespass on her property. I don’t engage with her except when provoked. She, on the other hand, has trespassed on my property many times, sprayed pesticide in my garden, had her friend cart off stuff she thinks is junk on our property, pushed and scraped away all the mulch around our cedar trees, pulled out our fencing to hold the mulch around our cedars, throw my landscape rocks at me. I could write a book about her.
Maybe I will one day when I’m feeling better. Now, I am working on not letting just the sight of her get me riled up. This morning I watched in silence as she skipped across the street and back with coffee from her man buddy, Al’s. I’m working on less conversation about her. More will be poison. Obviously I have to talk about her here. I know I cannot eliminate it altogether. I am, alas, too human. I am like Sheba with a bone. I will do the best I can. I know I am a good person. I do not work at causing somebody misery for no reason. I know my true self.
Monday morning coming down. May 11th, the calendar pages are advancing. The sun is out shining bright. My day has started. Breakfast over and done with. I’ve shaped my sourdough loaves. They are chilling in the fridge. They can chill up to 24 hours. The longer they stay, the tastier and more stable they get. That is what they say. Maybe I will wait to bake them tomorrow morning and test out the theory.
My Sheba and I are growing old together. She has a little more white than I do. Her hips are worse off, too, giving her trouble these last couple of weeks. I try not to feel too bad or sad when I see her stumble. She still loves her walks and able to go up and down the deck stairs. There’s a few more things I can do to help her like doing range of motion on her hips. She’s content to let me massage and brush her, even on her backend. She is already on fish oils and glucosamine. I will try to wean a little weight off her. It will be a task as she loves food. I’m adding a little ground flax to her food and see if that will help. I hear that cumin is a good anti inflammatory. We will check with the vet.
Mornings are my best time. It is late afternoon. My mood and energy are sagging and dragging the floor. It is impossible to work on the hard stuff when I’m feeling thus. Bad habits are hard to break but I did get the kohlrabi and broccoli seedlings transplanted. They were beyond leggy and flopping over. Gardening has not been easy this year. I keep plodding along. I will be glad for my persistence and efforts come harvest time. I think of the reward to keep myself moving along.
Excuse my monotone. I’m struggling to finish this post. I find myself struggling with everything. I just have to take life in smaller bites and swallows these days. You wonder why I bother with my mutterings. Sometimes I wonder, too. But I’m the better for showing up here. It gives me order to my day. The rhythm of the keys tapping calms and soothes me. It gives me purpose. It records my moods, problems and helps me find workable solutions. It keeps me sane.
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 .
Sitting still with myself is a tough task. I am not comfortable with myself. Are you, with yourself? It’s like facing a panel of judges, answering questions, facing up to truths. Yes, let me out of here! I squirm and wiggle. Finally I sit. Okay, I’m ready. I can be still. I can face reality. Let me have the cold facts.
How silly I am. I know the truths already. They’re unspoken, unacknowledged, just beneath the skin. Not saying them outloud does not diminished their roar, their need to be heard and tended to. Why are we am I so afraid of truths? Now my mask is off. I am not so afraid anymore. Just a bit. Being afraid brought more suffering along that of fear. I don’t want that. Get out. Stop it.
A moment of victory, conquering fear and anxiety. I just have to string the moments together to have an hour, a day, a week to a life of living bravely in the moment.
Sitting with myself is harder than I thought. I had to leave for a few days in the heat. The seat was hotter than I can tolerant. It’s cooler today and so am I. I am exhausted by it all. I am fresher in the morning. There’s things to do. No time for sitting or contemplation. By late afternoon I am on the downward spiral. I struggle to feel bubbly. I struggle for energy to do my art challenges. I know from experience that if I start, the struggle is resolved. That’s what I do. I stand up. I move. I do.
It is after 9 pm. I’ve made and ate supper. The dishes are done. The garbage out. I’ve thinned the carrots and filled one raised bed with water on the way back from taking the garbage out. That’s how I get things done when doing is difficult. It is one little thing followed by one little thing. It’s moving one foot in front of the other.
If I sound a little melancholy, it is because I am. It is the evening of the day. I sit and tap out my words and feelings. I am not sure if they are true. What I know for sure is life is miraclous and unpredictable. It always has been but I’m truly recognizing it now. I’m learning not to question the whys and wherefores, the ones without answers. I am a little more comfortable with myself now. I am appreciating the peace and the silence my tapping has bought me. It is time to say goodnight.
This time in the afternoon is definitely not my best in terms of energy and mood. I am sapped and droopy. I am not sounding my most up nor energetic. I probably whine alot. I should try changing my schedule. But you know how difficult that can be. I am sort like Sheba now with habits. Once I’m in a rut, I need a crowbar to get me out of there. Mind you, some ruts are healthy – like my Saturday morning swim. My thinking brain didn’t like the idea. It started telling me how dark it is that time of the morning. But my body was craving it. It tells me it’s Saturday morning. It’s time for my swim. My body won that one.
My brain is now struggling to find the words, my body trying to find the energy. They both are searching and scanning for some purpose and meaning to what is this all about.
My search was not at all fruitful. I had to abandon and let it rest. It is now bedtime. Sometimes it is wise not to dig so hard for purpose and meaning. I have to give up on some struggles. Live and let live. Do not ask questions that have no answers. Do not expect others to agree with me. Do not expect others to change. Be the change I want to see. I am finally learning to speak for myself and of myself. Peace. Sleep well. I hope to do better tomorrow.
The world did stop and I stepped off the grid for a few days. Life was spinning too fast for me. I pressed the pause button for a breather. We can do that, you know. I am not/don’t want to be an EverReady battery, going on and on. I get a headache when I see and hear the drummer boy toy soldier beating his drum. Rat-a-ta-ta! I am happy to be a human being, flawed and stalled – for a little while.
Getting a recharge is wonderful – like a coffee/tea break. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been struggling through this last week of cloudy October days. I’ve kept a stiff upper lip and my chin up. But enough is enough already! God heard and gave us a sun shiny afternoon yesterday – a respite.
A little respite, a cup of tea is enough to put that tiger/growl back in my tank. It can bring me back to my keyboard. It is soothing to feel and hear the rhythm of the tap, tap beneath my fingertips. It feels good to sit in the weak October sunlight. A little dab will do me. I will put on my makeup, put on some earrings and smile.