February 3. It is another cold day but quite sunny. It’s been around -25℃ most of the day. The greenhouse got up to 4.7℃ today. It is -3.3℃ now at 5:37. I should start thinking about preparing the beds for seeding some spinach soon. Last spring it was almost too warm for them by late March. I’ve started some pepper and eggplant seeds in wet paper towel. They’re starting to germinate. I can’t remember if it’s a week or more ago that I started them. I have to remember to write these things down.
I was feeling tired and listless but after tapping a paragraph, I’m feeling better. I think I am working too hard on my watercolour class this week. I’m a bit sick of working on the little monk. It’s mostly finished and overworked. I’ve packed it away. I hope I can leave it packed. Sometimes I get obsessed and can’t leave things alone. I shall see what Alison have to say about it on Saturday. I tried to relax by watching Inspector Wexford. I couldn’t find a new episode so it’s not a rest for me. It’s better if I just mutter here. The tapping is unwinding me and helps me problem solve.
The two cucumber plants I’ve started in the fall are still alive. They are not exactly thriving. I should trot my butt downstairs and transplant them and give them a bit of fertilizer. Who knows. They might thrive and I can plant them in the greenhouse in March. Last year I had cucumbers and tomatoes planted March 9th. Most of them survived without supplement heat but with lots of covers. Last fall we’ve added a little electric heater for those frosty nights. Things should work out much better with less manual labour. The Black Krim tomato I started from a cutting last fall is doing well. It could use a transplant and a feed, too.
February 4. Another cold day at 31℃ this morning. It is almost 9. The greenhouse is sitting at -18.3℃. I don’t expect it to get above 0 as no sun in the forecast. I am feeling fine. My bum ankle and leg are better after I started taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. It could be coincidental or a placebo effect. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for it. Everything does look better in the morning. Sleeping through most of the night also helps . I’ve curbed my fluid intake after supper. Getting up every couple of hours was disturbing my sleep. Last night I only got up once at 5 am. Six hours of uninterrupted zzz is wonderful, even though I couldn’t get more. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.
I did get my cucumbers and tomato repotted yesterday. Now I wait for them to thrive. I will have to start some early tomatoes for the greenhouse. We finished all our longkeeper tomatoes in mid January. It was pretty fantastic to have fresh fried tomatoes with our eggs every morning till then. The goal now is to get some early spring tomatoes. Is May/June too ambitious? We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile I have to dig out my saved Red Alert tomato seeds and get them going. They’re supposed to take 50-55 days to mature from transplanting.
January 4th, Day 4 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, Day 3 of the Positivity Challenge. It has been a challenging day. My positivity assignment was a date watching the sunrise or sunset. No phones. No devices. Just me and mother nature. The sunrise was rather bland as no sun came up. All I saw was the grey of the sky lightened by the white of snow everywhere. I thought I could kill 2 birds with one stone shovelling snow while watching. I was out in nature. Would you call a shovel a device?
The questions from the Unravelling My Year are:
What was the best day in 2021? What happened?
What was the most difficult day in 2021? What happened?
The questions are hard to answer. My 2021 was peaceful and tranquil. That is my thought at this moment. Of course I’m sitting here with a glass of red wine. What I know for sure is there were difficult moments but after they have passed, the difficult part is forgotten. What else I know for sure is I have grown stronger and more resilient with the years. I am a fighter. I do not dwell in darkness. I always fight my way into the light. I have always love winter, the cold and the snow. I love the darkness, too. It is a part of me. Sometimes the worse of times is my best of times. It drives me to create.
The Worse of Times
Doubt often creeps in On fatigue’s uncertain feet, Filling me with fear. And I would have to reach Deep into Faith’s pocket for trust, And remember that often, My worst of times are The best of times.
Unbound joy, a girl and her dog, Walking and running on the river, Each lost in thought and dream, Content, just being with the Universe.
Frozen expanse under blue skies, My footprints in the snow. Overhead a plane soars On its way to Elsewhere. I hear God’s voice calming me, Shhhhhhhh! All is bright, all will be right, In God’s land we abide.
Jumping for joy on the river of life, Naked in our happiness, baring our souls. Leaping and laughing, free spirits in the wind.
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.
My brain seemed to have fallen into a lazy rut lately. I’ve been staring at my blank screen for awhile. It feels a bit strange but I kind of like not talking. It is peaceful, restful and rather sublime. But it’s not optimal during a writing challenge. I shall have to give myself a hard nudge and a kick in the arse.
I tell myself every day that it would be better if I’m at my keyboard earlier than than later. That doesn’t seem to help. After I do my sewing in the morning for my 100dayproject, the sun is out. The sunroom is awash with glorious sunshine. I tell myself that I would have my cup of tea and then start. But then I feel a little blocked. I started searching Netflix for a little thing to watch. Anne with an E was a delightful series. I loved the dialogue, the way Anne talked. And it is Canadian, based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I went through 3 seasons in no time.
Someone on Instagram mentioned The Queen’s Gambit a little while ago. It is very good. I highly recommend it. I shall not give any of it away except that it is about a girl and her love of chess. It is so easy to while away the afternoon with a good series. One episode turned into another. I haven’t been able to stop after just one. I tell myself that these are really good happy and motivating stories. I am usually doing my cross stitch of Jesus while watching. I wasn’t idling my time away. Perhaps the third season of The Sinner was not such a good idea. It was a detective story and hooked me. It was very dark and probably not good for one’e mental health. I decided not to watch season 2.
I caved in again today and watched a movie this afternoon – Penquin Bloom. It was a very good choice. It is based on a true story about Sam Bloom and a magpie. And that is all I’m going to say. That’s been my days lately. I can’t really feel bad about it and I can’t blame myself either. We’re having a bit of frosty weather and it is nice just to relax and not try so hard so much.
I am so porous to the prevailing moods around me. It is not an advantage. I am one of those people who can feel your pain. It is not a good thing. I’m feeling a little under the weather, mood wise. It is, of course, a very cloudy day. If not for the snow, my world would be very dark. Therefore, I do love the white stuff. It lights up my life.
The Covid-19 numbers in Saskatchewan today are 4 deaths and 235 new cases. I am still tracking the numbers. I should stop but it is better to be informed. It is depressing and difficult to understand why we aren’t all compliant with what we need to do. Why are some so defiant about wearing masks and having large gatherings? Why do some still believe it’s not real? I guess the answers are blown in the wind. I best get on with what I can do and not sink deeper into the rabbit hole.
Talking about rabbits, I met up with one on my walk. It was all white except for the tips of his ears. I’m sure if Sheba was still here, she’ll be lunging and straining on her leash. I have her to thank for my daily walks. It’s hard to give them up after 14 years. My body knows when it is time to get up and get walking. Sheba is with me in spirit. We go down the streets and alleys as before. And it is all good – for my body and spirit. Being out in nature, even if it’s in the city, is something good I can do for myself.
Gardening is another good thing I can do. I know it is almost December but spring in the greenhouse won’t be that far away. I’m excited to get seeds ordered,organized and started. We had the greenhouse built in record time. It’s hard waiting. Here’s the guy’s video of its construction to take me out of here. The greenhouse is a very good thing.
I have to admit that I’m still struggling to rise above – to write, to appease myself of so many things. I have to be satisfied with just getting an earlier start. I’ve been negligent of late. It’s making me angry with myself. I feel the ferocity of its bite. I know it is not healthy for me. I’m feeling and acknowledging it and letting it go its angry way. Its energy is at least useful in giving me a start. I should read Pema Chodron’sDon’t Bite the Hook.
I know I am obsessive sometimes. It is good and bad. The bad part is when it makes you think about something or someone, or doing something, too much or all the time. I have gotten fixated about a few things/people in my life time. It’s such a time waster. I need to work on this. There’s lots of suggestions online to get started. Did I tell you I’m obsessed with self improvement? Well, there’s the good and bad in it, too. Balance is the key.
A little fury helped get the dishes done and the bathroom floor washed. Golly, why is it so hard sometimes? It is a puzzle I don’t try to solve anymore. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on barometer pressures changes. It works for me. It was cold this morning, -26 degrees Celsius at 0600 according to Environment Canada. No wonder everything was stiff and frigid in the greenhouse – the geranium, kalanchoe, aloe vera and onions. It was -12 degrees C at 8:49 am. By 10:30 it had risen to 0 degrees C. At 2:30 pm, with the sun on the roof, the temperature rose to 20 degrees. At 5 pm the sun has set. The temperature had already dropped to 2 degrees C.
It seems impossible now to have fresh home grown lettuce in December. If I had the greens well established in the greenhouse, I am sure they would have survived into December. I guess I have to be satisfied that the greenhouse is all closed in before the snow. So much for this obsession. I haven’t given up though. I was looking at the sun shining on the bougainvillea and the herbs in the sunroom. There’s no reason why I couldn’t add a few pots of greens in the mix. I might have to move things around. It’s good incentive to clean and clear. Some obsessions are wonderful. They give you reasons to bounce out of bed, get dressed and go out in the cold to check the temperature.
Nowadays I find myself asking the question of for what purpose to many things. The biggest being: For what purpose was I born? Then there are those endless smaller ones. Why am I doing anything? I feel as if I’ve lost purpose and heart. I am Alice falling down the rabbit hole. And so now I am tapping out my anguish bland state of mind. If I don’t, would my mind have the energy to work up a frenzy?
There’s seems to be a purpose for words though, for the tapping of the keyboard. It feels much like a resuscitation of my will, my heart and mind. It is a mystery how it works. Perhaps there’s acupressure points on my fingertips. Whatever and however, I am grateful for a little revival of my spirit. I don’t quite have enough passion to work up a sweat yet. Who knows where the next tap will lead. The point is, I’m moving some body parts. Fingers count. Talking about fingers, I do have some good news. The pain is gone from my left hand. Hallelujah! I’ve had it since May – 10 months ago. It’s almost enough reason to feel joy.
Dang! February is hard. There’s more warnings for extreme cold temperatures for the next while. We did not really feel it today. It being so calm and sunny. Sheba and I went for our twice daily walks. She even hollowed out a nest in the snow and laid in it in the afternoon. Perhaps she thought she was an Eskimo.
It is another day, another cold one. It was -31 Celsius this morning. Driving across the bridge, I could not see far ahead, not beyond to the other side. The mist from the river and the exhaust from the cars occluded everything. I was thinking of the cold but not about minding it. Instead, I felt grateful that I’m not in other parts of the world that have floods, mud slides, volcanoes, earthquakes and the likes. What’s a little cold? I was sitting snug and warm in my car. I have warm clothes. I was not suffering at all.
The moment of gratitude changed my flat mood and attitude. My thoughts affect how I feel but I do have command of what I think. I can see the glass half full or I can see the glass half empty. I don’t have to think of or see the glass at all. I can just watch my thoughts in my mind like a ticker tape parade. I can watch and let them go, forming no opinions and attaching no emotions. It’s a breakthrough moment.
Breakthrough moments are catalysts for change. I shall not waste it. There are already many moments today when I feel myself slipping, sliding back into old habitual thoughts and feelings. I feel the familiar tugs but I am showing a backbone and resisting. I will not be slip sliding away. I will not be disappearing.
February – you are the heart month but you are also the coldest month so far. How am I suppose to keep heart? My fingertips are cracked and bleeding from the chill. That will teach me to take my gloves off to capture your icy beauty with my camera. I wince with each tap on the keyboard. It is worth it though. It all helps to give me heart, to keep it beating, to perfuse me with a creative force. It helps to have added purpose for Sheba’s and mine daily walks.
Keeping heart is sometimes hard for me. I feel things deeply – the highs and the lows. I bounce around like a rubber ball. I can run hot and cold at the same time. You might call me a HSP, a highly sensitive person. I fit the descriptions very well. I have all the 21 signs, most notably the need for alone time and absorbing other people’s feelings. Hell, all 21 points are strong in me.
I’ve never really checked into it before now. Maybe understanding myself better will help me to navigate life better. I hope it will lead to having an easier time relating to others and managing my emotions. Dang, life is frigging hard! There’s still things to learn no matter how old I am. I’m all for it. Bring it on.
I wonder why I have such a hard time. I guess it’s that HSP part in me. I feel too much. Why must I? I don’t like it one bit. Too bad, says the big guy in the sky. That’s who you are. Live with it. And so I must. Everything, no matter how small, that I can do for myself will help. At the end of it, they will be monumental, the very things that can tip an iceberg. So I gotta have heart, keep plugging away and put one foot in front of the other. I’m on the Yellow Brick Road. I want to find the Land of Oz and the Emerald City. I will follow Dorothy and her motley crew- the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Onward ho!
Eleven more days till the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I haven’t fallen off the wagon though there are days. It would not be such a terrible thing if I do if there is a good reason. It would be if it’s due to lack of motivation and conviction. I have adopted this mantra from Regina Brett’s 50 life lessions in God Never Blinks. Lesson 46 –No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. This is one of my ways of showing up.
I was wrong in my self assessment. I am not a hoarder. I do use what I’ve gathered over time. Life is a long journey. Learning never ends. My ears are always open for tidbits of wisdom, however they come. This morning I caught a bit of Shauna Niequest’s interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. It was on her new book, Present Over Perfect. I have not read it so I can’t give an opinion. One thing she said caught my ear though. “Listen to your own life.” I took her advice because the more she talked, the more she lost me. She rambled on and on about how much she had and how busy she was. She smacked of privilege. I agreed with many of the readers on Goodsreads who gave her a one star.
The one thing she said was worth the listen. Do listen to your own life. I’ve already heard the message when I looking at my spruce trees in the winter light of the morning. I saw how magestic they were, the top reaching higher than the windows, the snow resting on top of the branches. The Buddhas sitting peacefully at their base out of the wind. How beautiful it all is, the winter, the cold and the snow. I can see the slowness and restfulness of it all. It’s the season of rest, recovery and restoration for the body and spirit. There is no need to hustle and bustle. There is no need to escape, to haul ass and snowbird to the south – for me.
Moments by their definition are fleeting. So I am not disappointed, disillusioned or any other dis words at all that my moments of perfect alignment are over. Most happy of all that I am not diseased as being downed by the flu bug. I hear it’s a bad strain this year. It lingers and lingers. I’m feeling slow but not ‘bad’ that I am a wet noodle again. I can still noodle on. I’m more of a tortoise than the hare by nature anyways. I will get there, wherever there is, eventually.
As it is, the day turned out well. It was cold as hell to start with. Such days are good for simmering soup on the stove. It humifies the air and soothes my irritated sinuses. The soup is nourishing and healing. The bones are treats for Sheba. She is kept busy gnawing and cleaning her teeth at the same time. It’s a good time to bake bread, too, especially since we’re down to the last loaf. Fresh bread with butter and jam is delicious. You guess it. I am still snacking. It boosts my serotonin level. I’m not feeling as much of a wet noodle after. The house is warmer from the baking. Now the pork roast in the oven is adding aroma and more heat to the air. This is how to raise the temperature and feel good stuff in cold February.
I think winter is meant for slowing down, nesting and mending ‘stuff’ and ourselves. It’s a good idea to heed Nature. When spring comes, we will be well prepared. I really like that idea. It will stop my incessant need for doing and feeling guilty for not accomplishing. It will be a challenge for me. I’ve already signed up for the online Peak Work Performance Summit. I am not working any more but it is free. What does it hurt to sign up, I ask myself. I’m not committed to watch. But just in case. The title words by themselves – peak performance -are enticing to me. I’m easily hooked. They can perk the wet noodle in me. That’s not bad, is it?
I’m aware now. I will intend more mending on wet noodle days. I have another jacket that needs a new zipper. The old one is removed. Now I can baste the new one on first before sewing it on. The coat is purple so I need to change the black thread that’s on the Bernina now. My eyes glaze over at the thought because the machine is very new and unfamiliar to me. I will have to change the bobbin thread, too. Now my eyes are crossing over. I will have to review the whole procedure again. Very heavy sigh. It has to/will be done. It doesn’t have to be today. I’m thinking of ‘slowing down, nesting and mending.