November 10. It’s strange how easily I’m sidetracked into scrolling and reading trash about aging movie stars. Who are these people writing these stories and what is their agenda in hijacking my and others’ attention? It’s difficult enough dealing my own aging journey – fading memory, hair loss, wrinkles, crickety joints.
November 16. Absent almost a week. I’m still not immuned to scrolling, having just read about the life of Brooke Astor. It is rather fascinating though of what use to me, I have no idea. I seem to have these stuck inescapeable moments of uselessness. Rather than trying to fight them, I might as well ride them out as best as I can. They must serve some purpose somehow. Drat, now I’m caught up in a post about Lisa Marie Preseley.
November 17. Still in Stuckville and Clutterville. My inner world is reflected in my outer world. I shall not fret so much upon everything. It’s a difficult thing to do. The news is full of how much our world is over run by the flu, our healthcare system overwhelmed and lack of medicine on the shelves. This morning I got one of those bothersome phone calls. The voice was ominous, full of dire and threatening if I didn’t know any better. I didn’t press #1 to find a solution. Who are these people preying on the fears of people? How can we discern real information from fake ones?
I shall not try to do any deep thinking or problem solving. My brain is unreliable presently. It is best that I just deal with the bare necessary items essential to having an ok day. Having a set routine is good. I like to play Wordle in the morning with my tea. The exercise is good for warming up my brain. I’m still doing my c.a.r.s. exercises waiting for the kettle to boil to make tea. The reason the habit sticks is because it works and I feel the benefits every day. I can get out of bed every morning without collapsing, feeling fairly limber. I can go for daily walks without pain in my left ankle. So not all is lost. I can still do some good stuff.
I made yogurt this morning and cleaned up right after. I’m finally making some progress with this post. It’s a far cry from showing up every day like I wanted to. But I am showing up when I can. I made an order to Lee Valley. I was late in getting the pie plates on sale. That will teach me to dally instead of acting on it when the sale was announced. I felt the pain at first but it disappeared after I finalized the order. It is just a number. The pie plates will last my life time.
November 5. It’s almost my bedtime but I am not sleepy yet. I shall tap out a few words. They will be my hot chocolate to soothe me this windy snowy night. It has not been as bad as I had expect it to be though I’m hearing the wind howling something terrible right this minute. The sun did not make any kind of showing all day. The day was drab and grey, casting an uneasy spell over me. There was no use complaining about it. It was what it was. I made the best of it despite my unease.
I couldn’t seem to move very fast during times and moods like these. And I could’t quite pull myself together, to be alert, exuberant and full of cheer. It’s not that I am sad, unhappy, feeling bad or anything out of the ordinary. It’s like I’m stuck, lacking the easy flow of a good day. Intellectually, I know the best therapy is to be busy. I stuck to my routine starting with my morning exercises. I made some choke cherry jelly yesterday which I thought didn’t set. I thought I would fix them right away so they wouldn’t weigh heavily on me. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I was wrong. They had jelled. What a good start to help me with the day. It led to one thing after another. I had occupation. I was soothed.
The house is quite. I can really hear the wind now. It’s wearing on me. I can see the lights of city trucks going by. I am glad that I was able to get out in the early afternoon to do some shoveling at my parents and at home. The snow was wet and heavy. It was and still is snowing but at least I’ve cleared some. It’ll be less for tomorrow. Besides it was good exercise and I got some fresh air and light even though it was cloudy. Doing something physical and that was needed lifts my spirit. I knew when I’m finished I will treat myself with a hot drink and something delicious.
November 6. Morning has broken but still no sun and not much more snow. The wind has blown the sidewalks clear. Not much shoveling needed today. I am somewhat at a loss as what to do in the early mornings. I hate wasting time but that’s what I do, scrolling through Facebook. It is too early and too jarring to start banging on the piano. Maybe I need to rethink that. In the meantime I found my keyboard theory book. I’ve had enough time on the keyboard with scales and such. I know enough now to question what is this and that and everything. I’m not too old to learn. I still have the curiosity and the desire.
I have taken out some frozen pumpkin puree from last year to defrost. The plan for today is to bake a sourdough pumpkin quick loaf and some muffins. I have to work on making plans more often. I will add it to my list of 21 Tiny Habits, making it 22. I need plans and routes to reach my goals and destinations. I have a good feel to the day. I feel the flow of a good day.
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?
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?
It’s harder to stare at a blank screen than a blank canvas. With a painting, one can always throw some paint onto the paper or canvas. If it does not look at anything, you can call it abstract. But how do you do an abstract post? Maybe I can just mumble away and hope for the best. I’ve been absent from the keyboard too long. Words and thoughts are hard to come by. I can blame it on Convid and the restrictions restricting me from having experiences. Therefore I have nothing to write about. While I’m at it I like to blame Justin Trudeau, the CBC and the Star Phoenix, too. I hate to take responsibility for my own actions of doing or non-doing.
The Ultimate Blog Challenge is coming up in a week. I have to write a post a day for the month. I better smarten up and get with the program. Tax Return is also due in a month. I haven’t opened all my mail for my T4s or 5s or what-have-you. I keep saying I will do it tomorrow. Of course tomorrow never comes. I don’t know why it feels so hard to get going. I wonder if that’s what spring fever is. Sometimes I do feel all afrenzied but I can’t do anything. Why does it always happen to me. Poor me!
The only thing I can do is have another cuppa and snack. You know what will happen eventually. I will get big as a house. I will throw up my hands and say, How the hell did this happen? I better snap out of this PDQ. I better get a program. I better get a routine. I better make a list every day. All I have to do is show up here every day and write something. It doesn’t have to be cerebral. It doesn’t have to be long. It does have to be engaging though because otherwise what is the point. As for my Tax Return, I can find and open a few pieces of mail a day. There’s still 7 days left in March. It is possible to gather them all together by April. That will leave me 30 days to work on it.
There, I have a plan/program! I will start or I should say I have started. This post is almost written. It is not abstract. I have defined 2 concrete actions. I remember reading something about how to get things done. You have to figure out what you want done. Then you have to outline how you are going to get it done. This post won’t win any awards but I think it’s dang good. It got me unstuck and going.
I have not done well at all. I am sorely disappointed in myself. I am still stuck in all my bad habits, all my clutter and procrastination. I am reluctant to move, change and get rid of anything, even worries. There’s a certain security that I feel in being stagnant even though it causes a gnawing discomfort. Being disgusted with oneself is not such a bad thing. It moved me to pick up my phone and make the needed appointment to get my car serviced. It was as hard as the medical and dental checkups and the call to the plumber. And it is hard to come to this space, too. I’ve fallen out of the habit.
The above words were written more than a few days ago. Bad habits like procrastination are hard to overcome. Wishing does not do the trick. I have to physically do the work. I had fallen back in love with words reading Geneen Roth’s cancer chronicles. I thought it would do the trick in bringing me back here. I thought I could write my own chronicles. I was fired up for a few short moments. I didn’t act on it and the momentum died. That is the thing – I have to take advantage of those falling in love and fired up moments. I needed to put my ass in the chair in front of the keyboard. I’m here finally, not exactly fired up, but my fingers are tapping away.
That dreaded car service appointment turned out quite beneign. There was no Oh, my God! at the end. I took advantage of being out to be out and about while waiting. The guy and I took a trip out to Chief Whitecap Park (Furdale Dog Park) for a walk in nature. It was Sheba’s old haunt in her younger years. I took her there every day I was off from work to run off some of her energy. It is full of beauty and memories. Sheba is gone now but she is with me always, trotting at my side. I feel her presence vividly along the trails, on the beach and the hill sides. On the way back, we stopped at Hue’s Art Supplies to view Degen Linder’s works in the gallery. It was a day well spent. I have fallen back in love with the doing and seeing in the physical world. It’s good to get out of my head.
No two days and mornings are the same. I’m not the same any two days. I want to be full of vim and vinegar every day. I want to bounce out of bed every morning with joie de vivre. It’s not that I got out on the wrong side this morning. Not at all. I felt quite alright but then felt stuck after breakfast. I was very annoyed but somehow there was no flow. I felt the stagnancy and meaningless of things. Is it a by product of Covid-19? I’m tired of all the related news of numbers, cases, deaths, vaccines, anti-maskers, conspiracy theories. Round and round in endless circles.
Forgive me. I am just ranting, letting off steam. My brain got into a glitch. It got a little derailed. I was thinking too much. Nothing and everything changes at the same time. I wonder why that is. Enough thinking already. When there is no flow, I have to work to create it. Instead of sinking into despondency, I can make a gratitude list. Instead of thinking of what I don’t have, I can think of what I have. I can make a list of what I have done instead of feeling lazy and useless. I can fill my bucket with happy thoughts and moments. I can change my thoughts, therefore my feelings.
I can make it simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a practice of pushing forward and onward for this 4th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
It’s February 22 and the 22nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m getting close to the finish line. 6 more days after today. I woke to +4℃ this morning. You wouldn’t think it would be a cause for cursing but it was for me. To me it’s a sign of climate change, unstability and uncertainty. Weve been experiencing both ends of weather extremes within a couple of weeks. I’ve been mostly singing positive tunes no matter what. Perhaps I should continue but wouldn’t it be just like copy and paste? What good would putting on a brave face do, except that?
Maybe it is time for me to change my ways along with the weather. I can’t just keep going on with the same old, same old. Look at what happened in Texas. I have reason to feel despondent in this time but not reason to act so. Now is the time for me to find ways to conserve my energy for things that do serve me rather than take away from me. Perhaps that is what Joanna Macy’s Active Hope is. “Hope is not something to have. Hope is something to do.” I don’t want to mire myself in my muck. I don’t want to stay stuck in my rut. I want to get out of it.
I long have discovered that movement was my getting-out-of-stuck tool, even before Kelly McGonigal wrote The Joy of Movement. Sitting with all my stuck thoughts and feelings was not a solution. They were like the gerbil on its wheel, going round and round. Whereas if I just stood up, I’ve changed my posture. I’ve disturbed something. And if I step outside, I find my spirit lifting even on a cloudy day. I found the joy of a blue sky on my walks with Sheba. Before, I seldom look up to see the sky. I discovered the sensation of flow through swimming. I have lost Sheba but I’m still moving in the great outdoor on cross country skis. I will swim again once the Covid virus has eased. There is always hope to be done.
My Long Keep Tomato seedlings are growing. They have a few new leaves. And the Black Krims are poking their heads above the soil but not so the Jade Dragon Bitter Melon seeds. Perhaps soon. I will seed some cucumbers today for the greenhouse. The climbing vines willl help to shade and keep it cooler on hot summer days. We’ve already had some high temperatures of above 30℃ on sunny afternoons. Last night was the first that it did not go below freezing. Hope in action.
I think I have fallen off the Ultimate Blog Challenge wagon for a few days. I’ve lost sight of or have abandoned and failed my goals. And what were those goals again? I feel like I’m still on the gerbil wheel, going round and round with my badassed neighbour. And are you thinking, Oh no, she’s still on the same rant! Well, my goal for this challenge and month is to get her out of my head. It seems like we are both fixated on each other and my yard.
How the hell can I disengage when she notices the littliest thing I do? The other day, while she was away, I measured out her claimed 6 inches from her driveway and made a little mark with a twig. I cannot visualize the distance in my head. I have to see it physically. The next day, I found my tumbled over pot. It cannot be easily knocked over. It’s filled with rocks. My little mark was rubbed out. This already a few days after the police liason officer had talked to her. It clearly shows she’s more disturbed than I realized.
So I’m back to researching how to deal with narcissists. I found Dr. Les Carter’s YouTube videos most helpful, especially the one on trained incompetence. He talks about it being the #1 reason why a narcissist has power over me. He’s right. I don’t know how to deal with her. I guess I’m always trying to get her to change. I should know by now, after 12 years, she is not. And sometimes she has me believing that I’m at fault, the one causing all the problems. From her friend, Al’s attitude, he thinks so, saying: “You’re still at it.”
I can’t believe that I’ve been stuck in this pattern with her for so many years. I certainly didn’t know the extent of her narcissism/disorder at first. It’s my lack of understanding, my incompetence that has resulted in where I am today. I do now and am ready to stop her control of me. I do not care to be so manipulated by a sick person. Sometimes I do feel very sorry for her. I do not understand why she is so fixated on my yard and me. It must be very painful for her to act out so when I do not do anything to her or her property. I do not set one foot on her driveway or yard.
My anger and irritations are gone at this moment. I feel grateful for my life, who I am. I have free will. I can choose to be a good person, be kind, empathic. I am not controlled by a disorder or by her. I have competence. I have inherent worth. I have to keep my goal in sight. I have to have a plan and make lists. It’s 2 months since my Sheba’s left. We’ve had this Covid-19 since March. It’s 12 years since she’s moved next door. It’s time I get myself back.
Saturday, my favourite day. It’s the 5th day of the month and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m back in the groove of my weekly swim and daily mutterings. Sometimes it’s better not to overthink things – the whys, wherefores and hows. I just have to show up and start. It’s better if I’m on time or a little early. That way I have a little breathing space to prepare before hitting the water or the keyboard.
The morning was sunny. My swim went well. The water was warm. I had the pool all to myself. I got my 20 lengths in with time to spare. Unfortunately, my mutterings are not going well. I’m stuck. Can you imagine? The evening is getting on. I want the flow to start. I want to pour out my heart but it is like wringing a dry towel. Nothing comes out. Darn!
I’ve worked too hard today multi-tasking, multi-thinking. All my words and ideas are smashed up against each other like a logjam. I need something to pry everything loose. Some days are like that. Maybe sleep is the tool I need. The day was not a loss. No Eureka! but I got my swim in, drew a hammer and a nail for Inktober 2019 and baked 6 loaves of bread. I’m calling it a day.
What can I do? What have I done? I use these 2 questions when I am stuck and I’m stuck often. So I’ve just finished the dishes from lunch. I’m sitting here with my cuppa green tea. Thought I would try something new besides my usual Orange Pekoe, especially when I have a cupboard full of all sorts. Some of them are from Sri Lanka. I see that Orange Pekoe is not a bad choice. It has many health benefits. But I am going to shake up my taste buds and experiment with different teas as well as food. Green tea is even better than black tea because it is not as processed.
I’ve been reading the ebook, Ketotarian by Will Cole from the library. I found it very informative and useful so I ordered my own copy from Amazon. It has many recipes that I want to try out. I was going through my closet the other day and was dismayed to find that my waist line has increased many inches this past year. My belly fat is out of control and is hanging over the waist band. It is not helping my blue mood. It is another thing I can do to help myself. I do not need to let everything hang out. I hope the book will help me to keep some things in.
Life continues to be hard. It is the next morning. I have problems finishing things as well. I am trying my best. What I can do is make a list of what I have done.
I’ve gotten up, dressed up and shown up here today.
I do my qigong routine most mornings. I have done it today.
I’ve folded and put away yesterday’s laundry.
Sorted out my pants in the closet. Experienced items that did not give me joy. Those have been taken to Value Village.
Struggled with sorting, cleaning and putting away seeds,pots and trays for starting the bedding plants.
Struggled to be in the present moment every day.
Taken Sheba to the dog park more often. It’s good for her and myself as well to mingle with other dogs and people.
Do blocks of art. Mostly it’s been embroidery on the machine lately.
Questions and lists can prod me from being stuck. I have to make physical evidence of them. Having them in my head does no good. They would be fuel for rumination. I do that too much already. I have to get off my fat ass and work it! But what would be good to chew on is the 4 mantras that I’ve learned from Thick Nhat Hanh this morning.