November 29. Good morning. It’s another new day. I’m irked, dissatisfied, restless and a bit anxious. I don’t want it to spill onto my nice blank page. Instead, let me begin with my gratitudes.
I am grateful that the sun is shining over my right shoulder just now.
I am grateful that I got turkey soup cooking in the Instant Pot. I am taking in its nourishing aroma.
I am grateful for my encounter with my mother’s neighbour yesterday while I was there shovelling. We had a nice little conversation about our families. It made me feel that it is possible to have neighbours who are kind and courteous, that we can share a conversation without a shouting match.
I am grateful that I have this page to unload my emotions, good and bad upon. It loosens up all the thoughts whirling in my head. I can then empty the toxic ones so that I can move on with my day.
I am not very skill or agile with moving on. I stutter, stumble and repeat my errors like a broken record player playing the same track over and over. I am trying hard to push and hurdle over those stuck places. If I am persistent, try hard and often enough, one day I will succeed and just leap over the obstacles. I am experiencing that phenomenon with practicing scales on the piano. What was so difficult at first became a little easier each time I practice. Then all of a sudden it seems, my fingers knew instinctively where to go. Of course it was not all of a sudden. It took many hours of practice.
November 30. Good afternoon. It is another day and my page is not so blank. How quickly time and the day gets away on me when I am not centered and without a plan. I am easily distracted with stuff even though I have no need. And more time is wasted on being distressed by my weakness. I have to let it go. I cannot get the time already spent back. I am having trouble pushing through my hurdles. Do I need to lower the bar a bit or leap a little higher? Which way should I go? I’ve been in this race for a long time. I’m not getting any younger. I cannot afford baby steps. I hate that term – baby steps, don’t you? I am not a baby. I need to stop whining and treading water. If I can’t make a giant step forward, I can break it down to bold steady steps onward. Stop the crying and excuses. Let’s go!
November 26. Another good morning. Another new day and blank page. The sun is smiling on me through the windows of my sunroom. I am surrounded by my clutter. That hasn’t changed. Perhaps I should not focus my thoughts on the clutter so much. More focus seem to have resulted in more chaos. It is a perplexing paradox. I shall set it aside for consideration in my spare idle moments.
I am not as gleeful as I want or could be. Perhaps I should do something about it. The sun is out. I should go for a walk and return some books to the library. Fresh air and exercise could resuscitate my drooping spirit. I am torn though between that and tapping out more words here. But the sun is winning. I shall walk while the sun shines. My words can wait. I might have to work to dig them out later. It is the price I can afford.
November 27. And so it is another new day. I never came back to the page after my walk yesterday. It was a longer walk than I had anticipated or remembered. It went on and on forever before I got to the library. My books felt heavier with every step. However, it was very worth it, being such a beautiful sunny day. I was mesmerized by the loveliness of trees in winter, their arms bared of summer leaves, twisting and reaching up to the sky.
I was so happy to discover the library was opened when I finally arrived. Other times they were not opened or did not open till noon on the weekend. They had provisions for returning books through a slot. I was not concerned about that though. I was in need of a sit down and rest before making my way back home. It was wonderful to rest in the sunny sitting room. Finding another John Grisham novel, Sooley was an added bonus.
Today I am not so fortunate. There is no sun but I am lucky that I have my own sitting room, much like the one in the library though smaller. I’m always surrounded by light. Some days are brighter than others and I am grateful for any and all the light I get. I have to count my blessings however small they are some days. Today I am:
grateful that my heart is open to receiving.
grateful for my sunroom.
grateful for being in the centre of 3 city libraries.
November 24. Good morning/afternoon. It’s another new day, another blank page. The day is not quite so new or clean any more. It is almost noon. I’m having my second cup of tea after my morning exercise class. I’m trying to reset and clear my mind of negative thoughts and feelings that have crept in. I wonder how that happened when nothing has happened at all. I wonder if I can dust and sweep them out. They are not strangers to me. I am not so frighten of them any more. I have accepted and made peace with them. They are all parts of me – the good, bad and ugly. Rumi’s poem, The Guest House says it well.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Today I am working on Pages in my iCloud on iMac. I had lost it along with Numbers and Keynotes when I did an update of my IOS. It was very upsetting at the time but after much wasted energy and needless stress, I somehow got them on iCloud. Lesson learned – things don’t stay broken. When things break or fall apart, it forces me to change, to search for different/better ways of being/doing. I can look at it as the silver lining of a bad situation.
I’m reminded of Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. We are deep in those difficult times now. It should not be a surprise that I have some anxiety and other bad feelings. I have the book. I should read it. It does me no good sitting on the shelf. And on this note, I shall close up with my gratitude list.
I am grateful I have the love of words and books.
I am grateful I have rediscovered my love of music and spending time each day to listen to my library.
I am grateful to have found Jodie Picoult’s Sing You Home in the library. It’s about music therapy, hence leading me to my music collection.
November 24. Good morning! It’s another new day and another blank page. I thought I would talk about writing since I am reading Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. It’s a very good read. He is a very successful writer. I would heed his advice. That’s the biggest light bulb moment for me just now – to listen to those humble successful people. I’ve wasted so much energy and time on little pesky critical thinking-they-know-it-alls. Come to think of it now, I’m guilty of being a know-it-all myself. Eeek! Writing can be illuminating, spotlighting my own flaws. It’s like dust motes in sunlight. Now that I know, I will do better. No more unsolicited advice.
Stephen King’s advice to be successful at writing is that you have to read and write alot. I have been reading since I can read, first in Chinese and then in English. I have long since lost my Chinese. I had only a grade 2 when we came to Canada, but I could read my mother’s Chinese books. Being 8 or 9 years old, my mother didn’t want me to read her adult fiction books. Shed encouraged me to read newspapers and to learn English. You can imagine what happened with that advice.
I HAD to learn English. It came easily with the help of Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff and my teacher, Miss Woodall. I can’t remember the exact moment that I held up my hand to ask permission when I felt nature calling. Before that I just got up and left the classroom and went to the basement where the batheooms were. I am surprised I remember all that and their names after all these years! I’m at an age where my memory is deteriorating. Writing is good for brain health. It would be so much better if I can make it a regular daily morning habit. My mutterings could serve as my memory and mood board. It could serve as my brain health chart.
Books were and still are good friends. Libraries are happy places for me. We didn’t have a library in our little town then. A library on wheels came to town maybe once a month. I think you can get more books more often by ordering through the mail. I can’t remember how that worked but the postage was free. I read many of the Little House on the Prairies , Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys books through that system. Then there were Little Women, Little Men, the Bobbsey Twins and…
Enough now for today. Keeping it simple, let me finish with my 3 daily gratitudes.
I am grateful for this morning’s ski in the North and South Park. The track was not great today but still ski-able. I got fresh air and exercise.
I am grateful for today’s mobility class. We ran through a range of exercises for various joints. I always come out feeling better than before.
I am grateful my mood is improving. I am feelings bits of sparkling joy.
November 23. Another new day, another blank page. I’m starting today with my gratitude list.
I’m grateful I had a good night’s sleep.
I’m grateful for another day.
I’m grateful I have a plan
My plan going into 2023 is keeping things simple and practicing good housekeeping in everything. I will borrow some of Marie Kondo’s ideas. Not that I know a lot about her method, but I do love this part of her philosophy.
The KonMari Method is a simple but effective tidying method, ensuring you will never again relapse to clutter. It uses a unique selection criterion – choosing what sparks joy! You are not choosing what to discard but rather choosing to keep only the items that speak to your heart. Through tidying, you can reset your life and spend the rest of your life surrounded by the people and things that you love the most.
I love the idea of sparkling joy. Who wouldn’t? It takes work and thought. It doesn’t just happen. I had it for a long spell, then lost it. That’s how life is. Now I’m working on how to get it back. It will be better now that I am conscious of what I’ve lost. In this moment of not so many sparkles, I remember going to bed looking forward to the morning. I like working on stuff. Working on myself is loving and pampering myself.
I will be a detective, examining and assessing everything to see if they will help or deter, build or wreck. In that light, I will not update this MacBook just now. i’m keeping things simple. Everything is working good enough. Pages is working pretty slick with a word count. It is bringing me joy. Keeping it simple, this is enough for today. Onward with life.
It’s another new day, another blank page to be filled as I please. But I am hampered by emotions, memories and habits of the past. They are a burden and not easily cleared. Though I want to let go and move on, I’m a bit stuck on my old treadmill. I’m on a hunt for tools to help me.
The first one that I thought of is choosing a word for the year. It was introduced to me by Susanna Conway in her Unravel Your Year workbook. It hasn’t worked well for me in the past because I don’t do anything past choosing a word. It is a bad habit of mine. I don’t do the work after making the decision. Another bad habit is when I come to a difficult part, I am unable or not willing to push pass it and I stay stuck. Changes and learning new ways of doing and being are hard. I am now trying to rectify it. My word(s) for 2023 are simplify and good housekeeping.
Nothing stays the same, no matter how much we like them to or how hard we hang onto them. And I do the both of them, tooth and nail. What happens then is my head is overflowing with stuff as well as my desk, computers, cupboards, closets and whatever that can hold stuff. I haven’t been up to par with cleaning and maintenance. My head and computer are somewhat broken. My iMac is still updating from yesterday. I hope it works after everything is done. As for my head, I hope it clears as I clear my outer space.
I have to keep things small and simple in order to succeed. My iMac has finally finished updating. It did not correct the missing info icon on my WordPress Add New page. But it did knocked out my Pages, Numbers and Keynote. They are no longer compatible with my operating system as are their new versions on the App Store. Drat! Now I am afraid to update my MacBook in case it does the same. That’s for another day.
Meanwhile, I have done a little housekeeping. I found and deposited the 3 government cheques I have received over the last few months before they’ve expired. The fresh air and walk to the bank was good except for the time of day. It was after school and work time so there was heavy foot and car traffic. Teenagers like to walk together abreast, taking up the whole sidewalk. They do not have consideration to break apart to make room for me coming from the opposite direction. I like to give them a kick but I do not.
Enough complaining. To keep things simple, I shall end here. I’m happy to discover that my Pages, Numbers and Keynote still work in the Cloud. The miracles of technology.
November 21. Another new day and blank page. I am feeling better and not so broken. I’m heading towards copacethic. Sometimes it takes falling off the wall like Humpty Dumpty, breaking before I could see where I was going. I’m happy to say that I didn’t need all the king’s horses and men to put me back together again. I’m moving cautiously, not wanting to fall into the same hole again. I’m learning from Portia Nelson’s poem.
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am hopeless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in… it’s a habit… but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
I am not ambitious today. I skipped today’s exercise class to rest and put myself back together. We don’t have to keep busy. It’s ok to stop and just hang out. I haven’t languish for ever so long. I’ve lost my knack for it. I’ve been busy all day but it’s at a good pace, not rushing anywhere or striving to accomplish. I’m keeping things simple. I’m liking my new look on WordPress. I would like to figure out how to get the word count back. However, I am satisfied to let that rest for now.
November 18. Today I miss having Sheba underfoot. I’m pitter pattering in the kitchen, making a batch of grape jelly. The house is quiet. I am alone. The guy is at his workshop building another sailboat. I am not lonely. I’m occupied, quiet and content but I miss Sheba following me around in the kitchen. She was great company.
November 19. I am still in stuck in clutterville. It’s an inexplicable dilemma why I want to move forward and yet I can’t. Maybe it is a false perception. I am making small gains though it doesn’t feel like it. I have done a load of laundry. It is hung. I’ve sewn on a missing button on my long coat. It’s back in the closet. Now I just have to put away my sewing basket. There, it is put away! It was hard and yet not so hard to do. I think I will have to talk myself through moving and doing until I regain I can do it on my own.
I am looking through my list of 21+ tiny habits, ticking off habits done.
I have exercised upon waking, doing my daily morning routine.
I have made my bed. I have read for more than 15 minutes today.
I have thrown away some not needed things.
3 things I’m grateful for: 1) wonderful breakfast and visit with friends this morning. 2)a sunny warm day. 3) reading Stephen King’s book On Writing. It’s very entertaining and maybe helpful in unlocking my words.
November 20. A hard day altogether. I can’t clarify except that nothing is copacethic. There are hiccoughs to everything. Maybe it is because I’m not feeling well. Maybe I shouldn’t try so hard and just call it a day. WordPress sure is giving me a hard time. I’m losing more icons. How the heck do I get them back?
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 7. November is the hardest month. It seems like we had so many warm golden days in October. I had just gotten used to walking daily again and enjoying it immensely. All of a sudden we are plunged into the cold darkness of November. The snow came and is presently coming down big time. At least it lit up the darkness. I have taken up shoveling now instead of my walk. I have the work cut up for me. I am tired from the day.
Seeing the low temperatures in the forecast, I could not deny that winter is here. November is not remembered for sunny days. It was time to put the greenhouse to sleep till March. We harvested all the tomatoes and bitter melons before we went to bed the night before. We didn’t want to risk losing them. In the morning, the greenhouse temperature read at 1 point something Celsius with the little heater set to keep it about 6℃. After harvesting what was missed and rescuing the potted plants into the house, I unplugged the heater. The trays of plants remained on the basement floor till I can deal with them. I have spread out the tomatoes on trays so they can ripen. The bitter melons, cucumbers, peppers and slipper gourds are bagged and in the fridge.
My next chore was shrink wrapping the windows in the sunroom. It seemed like it was just yesterday that I added the sunroom. It’s been 30 years. The windows are still very good but not as weather proofed as they once were, especially the ones that can open. Shrink wrapping them seemed deceivingly simple to do in my head. They proofed otherwise. It took me all afternoon to do 3 windows – the 2 screened ones and another. Not perfect but good enough. It was an exhausting job. Good thing I’m still nimble enough to climb onto my desk. It was difficult to access one window. I’m thinking of doing 4 more now that I got the hang of it. It will keep the room warmer and save on the energy bill.
November 8. I’m none the worse this morning. I did take a Tylenol before I went to bed last night and had a good sleep. I took another one just now to help me with the day and more shoveling. I missed the lunar eclipse, not knowing there was going to be one. There won’t be another one for a long time. That’s ok. I can look at other people’s experiences and photos. I got boiled milk cooling to make yogurt. Then onward and outward to deal with the snow. I’m finishing my tumeric tea before my morning exercise to loosen and lubricate my joints. Have to keep moving. That’s the plan, adding it onto my already 22 tiny habits. It is the 23rd. I have curried pumpkin chickpea soup defrosting. It will be lunch along with garlic ribs and rice.