FIRE AND RAIN

February 10. 9:19 am. It’s 5℃ outside and 1.2℃ in the greenhouse. It is grey, wet and slippery as hell on the sidewalks. We watch people walking cautiously, some on the street and some in the snow of lawns. Then there are the brave teenagers marching and sliding along. I have decided that I will not be stepping outside today. I am going to hunker down and mind my own business. I have many things to do – at my speed which is not fast.

It’s ill winds that are blowing. We’ve had rain, we’ve had snow….I feel like breaking into James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. When I listen to the lyrics, it’s exactly how I feel. We have rain and snow. I could use a little fire in me.

February 11. 9:47 am. It is -19℃ outside, -6℃ in the greenhouse. Tepid sunshine. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday afternoon it was 5℃ outside and 15.9℃ in the greenhouse. You think that was something to cheer about. It was not. Yesterday was very hard, hard for me. I felt like soggy spaghetti noodles with brain fog. Moving and getting things done were very difficult. I started out making curried beef in the Instant Pot about 11 am. It was soon clear I couldn’t quite get it together. Good thing for frozen pizzas on hand. I did get everything into the Instant Pot for the curry beef by 3 pm. It felt like a huge accomplishment by the time I got the cleaning done.

I’m feeling a little more together today. Lunch is ready. I just have to take the pot of beef and stick it into the Instant part and plug it in. My plans for the day? None except to mope along as best I can. No skiing in the park today either. It’s probably icy and treacherous as hell. Navigating the streets and sidewalks are hard enough. We might go out to the nearby golf course tomorrow afternoon. They, hopefully, will have groomed trails.

Beef and butternut curry

The curry was quite delicious. I followed this recipe for the spices and used what ingredients I had on hand – ground beef, onions, garlic, butternut squash, Swedish brown beans, frozen tomatoes and frozen greens. I browned the hamburger, then threw in the rest with a jar of pork broth into the Instant Pot. Used stew and meat button for one hour.

February 12. 9:32 am. -14℃ outside. -5.5℃ in the greenhouse. Sunny. I have to say that I’ve been more affected by the freedom convoy affair than the pandemic. I’m wondering what ‘freedom’ they’re fighting for. I’m a Chinese immigrant whose grandfather escaped death by a hair and whose grandmother was jailed in his place in the Mao regime. I remember hearing gunfire of firing squads killing dissidents who dared saying anything remotely against the government. So I am wondering what is the freedom that these freedom fighters are fighting for? Freedom here is just another word for chaos – to do as we please, irregardless of others. We might as well do away with need for driver’s license, a business license, a professional (doctor, engineer, pilot, nurse, teacher…..) license, visas, passports of any kind, rules of the road, airway….Let’s get foolish. Let’s go backwards….

Ok, I’ve had my rant to clear all my chakras for the day. Meanwhile…my seeds of early Red Alert tomatoes, eggplants and peppers have germinated. I haven’t done by daily draw yet but I am quite pleased with the ones I have done. Yesterday I started to add watercolour to my duck drawing. Though not perfect, I am quite happy with it. Colours clear, no mud created. No mud, no lotus. In this case, it is what I want.

CHALLENGES and the PANDEMIC

November 21, day 21 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m writing for day 20 as well. I’ve missed a day. Instead of struggling to make up, I am doing two in one. It is good enough. It’s my version of the Persian flaw. A Persian flaw is an expression to mean ‘a deliberate mistake’. Apparently originating from this ancient tale that Persian rug makers used to intentionally weave a flaw into each of their carpets because only a god’s creation is supposed to be perfect. I do struggle with a bit of perfectionism. Don’t we all?

There are no greater challenges facing us today than the pandemic and climate change. Yes, we’ve heard all this kind of stuff before. We seem to be slow learners. We can’t seem to take it in or seriously until we are hit over the head with it. Do we take it seriously now? Apparently not for some. There’s still the pandemic deniers and conspiracy theorists. For some, our ‘freedom’ is much more important than our lives. I live close to that someone. He has been hospitalized with Covid and is one of those transported to a hospital down east. There is no news of his outcome. We walk by his house regularly enroute to the park. The blinds are always drawn. The house looks lifeless and forlorn.

Still, his followers and supporters are not voicing any change of hearts or minds. It is very puzzling for me to understand. Why would governments, scientists and the medical community world wide make up all this. What would they gain? Why do people believe Facebook posts, etc. more than legitimate sources? And are there any real information or is everything fake news? It is too much for me to grapple with so I try not to spend too much energy trying to understand or sway anyone. It is not that I am indifferent. It is that I know I am helpless and ineffectual in this arena.

My experience has taught me that I am not good at looking at things from all sides. I see mostly from my own eyes and my own thinking. That has been my big challenge. But I am slowly beginning to change, how to see and think outside my head – to be that fly on the wall. It is difficult to be objective and not take things personally. There’s too much of everything – social media, misinformation, choices and STUFF. My challenge is to quiet down, do less and accomplish more, less criticism and judgement, etc. etc. etc.

My most immediate challenges are getting my plants in from the greenhouse. And then there’s finding places for them all. Much as I like gardening and playing with dirt, I can’t say it was fun. BUT the 3 bougainvilleas are pruned and squished into 1 pot. ‘Cause honestly, where would I find room for 3 big pots? They don’t have to thrive, just stay alive till spring. They and the pots of rosemary, lavender and geraniums are huddled besides me along with my other junk. The ‘junk’ is another challenge for me. Life is just full of them.

DAY 21 UBC – THE EVOLUTION OF THINGS

The Evolution of Things

Here I am again, at the end of the day, trying to find a few words, thoughts worthy of a post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. There’s a few things I could talk about that could raise some controversy. They could generate interest, heat and possibly more traffic to this site. But that has never been my goal for writing. I don’t have a business, product or service to sell. I write for the beauty of the word. I write as a form of therapy. I write in the hope I can help another having similar experiences, interests and problems. So I won’t talk about the elections, Canadian or American. And I won’t talk about whether we should or shouldn’t celebrate Halloween.

I had a good start to the day, sleeping in to almost 8:45 am. My first reaction was, Oh God! I have to cancel my exercise class. Then I thought, How stupid. I don’t have to be there till 9:30. I even have time for breakfast. I was really glad that I showed up because exercise is the best medicine. It cleared my brain fog after retirement. A couple of weeks after I started the AM Energizer class at the YWCA, I felt so much better. I was so excited, I talked about it alot. I talked about it so much, the guy decided he wanted to go, too. I am sure it’s the reason why we are as healthy and active as we are.

It certainly helped resetting my mood and circadian rhythm. I am sure they are interrelated. I know I have my days, but overall I have a pretty grip on life. I am optimissic and happy even in this Covid time. That is not saying I haven’t had my difficult days – seeing my mother through her shingles and losing Sheba. They occurred during the pandemic but not because of it. I cannot really say I suffered. I was still able to move about freely. I was still able to take my mother to her medical appointments. I was still taking Sheba to the dog park and let her run. The pandemic made it a little harder going to the medical appointments. It made it not possible to be with her at the moment of Sheba’s passing. But the vetinary people were kind. They brought her out so that we could say goodbye.

Those two experiences were life changing and helpful for me. I would say that this pandemic is life changing and could be helpful for all of us. We have to be open to change. And when it is forced upon us, we should be grateful that there is in time for us to make the changes. We don’t have to cry and lament about what we have lost. We could look at what we could gain. I’m speaking from a very safe space. I am retired. I haven’t lost employment or income. I don’t have children or other dependents. I do feel very grateful and privileged. I am in this very moment very happy. It’s a light bulb moment for me.

THE GRACE OF ENDURANCE

Difficult times can bring out the best in people but in cases like myself, it brings out the worse. I’m full of anger and resentment. I would like to be in a demolition derby. I would like to crash and destroy anything and everything that comes into my path. I thought it would be best it I release that energy here. My vehicle is the keyboard, my weapons only words.

According to my muse, Caroline Myss, words are powerful. I shall pay heed and not search and destroy. I shall try not to burn all the bridges behind me. This is my crossing the Rubicon moment. I breathe, raise my sword and tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. “Alea iacta est”! The die is cast. What is said cannot be unsaid. What is done cannot be undone. What has lived cannot be unlived. But regrets and disappointments I have many. My soul cries in agony over them.

But what is suffering without a voice? Whoever made that rule that we must do it in silence? And how do we know we will be rewarded in heaven for doing so? Who will know and give us comfort if we don’t show and tell? The world is amuck, wouldn’t you agree. We are all in lockdown. We did it to ourselves. We are behaving like the animals that we are – panicing and hoarding toilet paper over the coronavirus pandemic. Then we need politicians to warn us not to take advantage of vulnerable and senior citizens in these times. Then there’s the opposite side where people are not taking the coronavirus thing seriously. They are still gathering in large groups. I guess they haven’t heard of what happened in Wuhan, Italy or Spain. How do we really know it’s for real? Maybe it’s just a movie on TV. Maybe we’re all on Netflix in the movie Contagion.

I think I’m suffering what is called depression. I’m sounding like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy.  No,I’m not depressed. I’m really just stressed and mad as hell. I’m venting my anger in a place where it will cause the least damage. And I’m as sad as can be. The tears are dammed behind my throat. I’m letting things hang out now. I’m not trying to be positive. I’m not sugar coating myself. I am not myself. I cannot pretend to be Wonder Woman anymore with her golden lasso. I cannot fix anything.

Do not worry over the state of my mental health. I am venting, releasing steam. I do not want to blow a gasket. This is my safety valve. I know we are now all in this space together. This is just the beginning and not the end. I am not in fear or distress over the COVID -19 pandemic at this moment. Rather I am in my own private fear and anxiety over my mother’s ordeal with shingles – her pain, vision and enduring the side effects of her medications. It is as if we are still connected by the umbilical cord. I feel all her sufferings.

Things started innocent enough on Feb. 8th. You get the diagnosis. You get the treatment. But it is not that simple. One thing leads to another. Pain persists through out relieved somewhat by meds. Now it is March 26th and eye complication.  Another week of her antivirals 3times/day to endure before she can cut down to smaller dose once/day for another month. The good news is she has recovered most of her vision in her eye.

I’m calling out for prayers to help her endure and tolerate another week of her medications. I’m asking for prayers for myself to be strong and endure to help her through this. Maybe after this, I can afford to panic over the pandemic. Praying for all of us. May we be safe. May we be strong. May we have compassion and love for each other.