It’s that time again wherein I sit down, get down to business and write. What should I write about? Should I tell you about my day, my humdrum every day? I’m a morning person now. Been so for quite a few years. I look forward to getting up between 6 and 7. Seems like there’s a lot to look forward to – even in these times. Though I’m feeling a little stressed, cranky and a bit down in the dumps, I haven’t lost that looking forward feeling. Thank God. I do have a bit of attitude but I don’t want to have nothing to look forward to one. I have standards.
I am trying to break loose of ‘stuck’ with nowhere to go and no stars to reach for. It’s not a good feeling and I don’t want to stay in it. Exercise has always worked great for me. I was looking forward to heading back to the YWCA pool and swimming. The universe has other plans for me. The pool needs ‘fixing’. It’s been out of service for a couple of months already. So, it’s back to the AM ENERGIZER. It really is one. I’m feeling so much better already after one session. I’m sure I will feel it tomorrow, not having used those muscles for quite awhile.
I decided it might be a good exercise to visit the library again. It was one of my favourite places before Covid. Why can’t it be again? I am disappointed that it is not the same. It does not have the same scope of material it once did. Seems like the city politicians are slashing the wrong budgets, not seeing the importance and scope of the public service the library provides. It’s good for education, socializing and mental health just to name some. Should we just throw up our hands, accept and say. Oh well? Or are there things we can do? It is something to think about while we are stuck here in this Covid time.
Having come back to my keyboard and tapping my heart away, I am not feeling as overwhelmed. I think I have all my tax receipts gathered. This month’s bills are paid. I am doing my daily drawing and watercolour. My desk and dining room table are littered with papers, pens, paint and whatnot. They are a disaster but there is no emergency. I’ve set a goal that I would date and label my creations each day. I would find something/somewhere to hold them in one place. Baby steps as one might say. I really hate that term because I am no longer a baby.
Well, there you have it. Another day, another post. No Pulitzer Prize here. Just some words. They still count.
January 19, day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve missed day 17 and 18. That’s how the days have crumbled. Sometimes I can’t do everything. Sometimes I don’t want to do everything. A change is as good as a rest. I hope it can bring me a fresh outlook and some good ideas. I was feeling a bit staid and tired but not overwhelmed. Truth to be told, I am not enjoying writing and the Challenge as much these days. Perhaps I am challenged out.
So I cut myself some slack and gave myself some time away from the keyboard. Why not, eh? I have no business or service to promote. I write for pleasure and therapy. If it is no longer either one, a rest is needed. I am hard pressed to find time to sit and read these days. It was pure pleasure not to worry about writing a post these last couple of days. It wasn’t easy at first because there’s this voice saying I should live up to my commitment. But my fatigue and the book Beach Blonde spoke louder. Now the book is read and I am feeling so much better and rested.
We are back in the deep freeze for the next couple of days. It’s another reason for my well being. I am brighter with more pep and vinegar on cold sunny days. Strange but true. Maybe I got used to very frigid temperatures from having had a very high energy Lab Border Collie mix. We went out to the dog park in all kinds of weather. We were more regular than the mailman. I no longer have her to run with in the snow. Cross country skiing is now my substitute.
I don’t like to miss any days. Today is no exception. Even with an extreme cold weather warning, I was out in the park. I warmed up doing 2 laps in the South Park where I am more comfortable. Then I moved over to the North Park with those troublesome slopes. Today I did good. Being so cold the tracks were not fast. I had lots of control downing the slopes. No skyrocketing into space was possible. No falling and splatting. No hugging the snow. I am getting over my fear and getting my confidence back. The exercise was invigorating. It did me and my disposition a world of good.
February 26th, day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Our administrator suggests the topic of a day in the life of..YOU! He makes it sound exciting and since it is what I do anyways, I will carry on. It is my genre. My life does not seem exciting to me. I am bored though I am interested in many things. Can this be possible. This last stretch of February is for the birds. I’ve said this of other months also.
Today is March 1, 2021. As you can see I have bombed out of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I could not stretch myself to the finish line. I gave in to binging on Netflix. It was on a good series, Shetland. I fell in love with the characters, the Shetland Islands, Scotland and the stories of Ann Cleeve. I was hooked and could not help myself. Every day, after lunch and after my afternoon cross country ski, I would plop myself in front of my iMac with a cup of tea and a slice of Swedish thin bread. It was my matinee hour. It was ALL very addicting.
All that binging has made me feel very terrible because there was no possible end to it. That is until I came to the end of Season 3. That’s it. No more seasons of Shetland on Netflix Canada anyways. Now I’m in front of my keyboard with just a cup of tea, trying to tap away the angst of my withdrawal. I’ve still kept up with the100dayproject. I’m still sewing a logcabin quilt square a day. I have 30 squares now. I have also finished my cross stitch of Jesus I started many years ago. My fingers weren’t idle while watching Shetland. They were busy weaving in and out of those little squares. I can feel good about that.
I am happy, too, that I’ve kept up with the daily cross country skiing. Exercise and the great outdoors are good addictions. Otherwise, I don’t know what shape my head would be in. We went out to the Wildwood Golf Course this afternoon. I set my timer for a 20 minute ski out and then 20 minutes to get back. Having a set time gave me a sense of security that I can make it back to the parking lot.
I’m glad that I can wrap up the end of February and the Ultimate Blog Challenge with a final post, even if I’m a day late. I hate leaving things unfinished. It’s as if I don’t care and have given up. It is always good to care and give a damn. Things can get better. They can’t if we don’t care.
It’s almost that bewitching hour again. But it is not quite 5 pm. I’m 20 minutes earlier today. The sun is gone. It was lovely while it shone. I basked in its warmth this morning. I walked in its brightness this afternoon. I couldn’t waste all my minutes to Covid distress. The daily numbers of positives remain high. Today it is 153 in a population of a million and some. I try to do all the positives to remain healthy, vibrant and strong in body and spirit.
Sometimes it is a hard call as to what is the proper thing to do. For instance, this morning I wasn’t feeling my best. I had trouble laying down to sleep last night because of a cough. Most likely it was due to a post nasal drip as I have seasonal allergy and sinus problems. And I just had my 2nd shingles vaccine yesterday. But how do I know for sure? I had to get up and use my nasonex spray. It did helped and I was able to get back to sleep. However, I didn’t feel really super in the morning.
I attributed it to my shingles vaccine. I could have flu like symptons. My arm ached though not as bad as from my first shot in September. I still wanted to go to my gym class but should I? I don’t want put others at risk. I thought about taking a tylenol but then it would mask a fever if I had one. I decided that I have been well all along. I would go to the gym. My temperature would be taken. I could decide then. I no longer have a cough.
To make a long story short, I did go to my exercise class. My temperature was 36.5, pretty non-feverish. I will keep my swim date in the morning if I still feel ok from the vaccine. I feel better if I can keep my exercise routines. If I can’t do much, I can do less. 30 minutes will suffice. The water will be soothing. Moving my arms will help. My arm is aching now, so I will take that tylenol.
This morning I was folding laundry and noticed the Calvin Klein label on the guy’s undershirt. It reminds me of Christmas shopping my sister and I did with my mother years ago. How sweet the memory of when things were more carefree and my mother was younger and stronger. In those days, I still believe in some of the Christmas story. I believed in the warmth, kindness, giving and generosity of the season, if not the birth in the manger. I still believe in those sentiments but I’ve lost the warmth that came with it all. Humbug! is what I feel.
I am not really happy with the way I am. I feel hard and brittle like peanut brittle instead of marshmallows. Illusions once lost are gone forever. They are not what I really want. The God up in the sky no longer works. So why should Christmas still be the same. I didn’t start out in life with the Christ story. It was adopted when we immigrated to Canada. I have never been quite comfortable with it. Now is a logical time to give up all my pretense and come out of the closet. There, I’ve done it! I’ve said it. And what I really want for Christmas is good physical and mental health. They can come as they are. No need for a ribbon or bow.
Gifts don’t come free. I’ve been working on both. I’m still frequenting the gym using good hygience and social distancing practices. Our classes are small. I trust the staff and other members. I figure the exercise and socializing in small groups beneficial to my mental health. It feels exhilarating to work up a sweat. It carries me through part of the day. I hope the Covid numbers will come down. Otherwise, the gyms might get closed down. In that event, I still have my daily walks. Having walked daily, rain, snow or shine for 14 years with Sheba, it stays with me. Sheba would be proud of me. She’s probably walking with me in spirit.
It is almost the end of another day. I’ve kept up with doing at least one difficult thing a day. It helps lift my mood and gives me more energy. It’s cloudy all day today. No sun at all. The highest temperature in the greenhouse was 0 Celsius. While I’m waiting for the sun and spring, I’ve been researching on how to grow ginger and tumeric. It’s pretty interesting and exciting. There’s numerous videos on YouTube on how to grow both using roots from grocery stores. I might pot some up as soon as I get some ginger and tumeric. Why wait for spring? I can do it now.
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.
I’m consoling myself this morning with a cup of rooibos tea. I’m staring at another blank morning, another blank page. I despise this feeling of blandness and emptiness. But how to make a mark, to scratch the surface? Will it bleed? I resort to mopping up Sheba’s hair to get a start. She has never failed to give me a supply. At least the ice is broken now. We have a start of a conversation.
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have interstial cystitis. It’s not deadly but at the same time, there’s no cure. Oh joy! However, let me look at the bright side. It can be treated by dietary changes. I’ve decided to take up the challenge. I’m tired of continuous treks to the bathroom, not to mention getting up 3 times during the night and the water bill. At the same time giving up my favourite drinks and food is enough to spiral my mood downward. I feel a huge depression coming on.
On the list of foods to avoid are: tea and coffee, regular or decaf, carbonated drinks, chocolates, spicy and acidic food, wine….Just when I’ve discovered the wonders of ferments, kimchi and kombucha might be on the no list. Booo! Surprisingly, sourdough bread is ok. I will just have to experiment. I know for so wine is a trigger. It is not a hardship to give it up. On the other hand my Orange Pekoe is. I’ve already caved in and had a diluted cuppa after my walk with Sheba. I am so weak but I haven’t thrown in the towel yet.
I’m still showing up, tapping out each letter, word, sentence, urging myself onward. I felt so low after lunch, it was hard to keep my eyes open, to clean up and get the dishes done. It was one dish, one utensil at a time. Then there was the frying pan. Man, that was tough to get that beast washed. But I did it. I took Sheba for a long walk after. I felt the sun and exercise would be good for stimulating the production of serotonin.
My self talk/tap, urging myself onward worked. I mobilized myself enough to get six tomatoes planted in the raised bed. after our walk. They’re caged and under cover. Let the cold nights come. As for my bladder, I think I’m on the right track. I’m able to increase my holding time to 2 hours and sometimes 3 hours. It is on my mind alot. You know what happens with that! I feel the urge almost instantly the moment it pops into mind. I can talk myself out of it by relaxing a little. I put it off for 10 minutes at a time. Then another. And so on. I’m having some success. I got up only twice for the last couple of nights. Small victories.
Good morning! January 7th and day 7 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The dog and I had a good night of sleep. I’m still feeling the yuckiness of all my recent lack of though. The effects of sleep deprivation has long and lasting footprints on our physical body and mind. I should know having done shift work for over 30 years. I existed on a daily average of 5 hours of sleep. I prided myself on how well I functioned on so little.
I was stupid for wearing that badge of honour. I wonder how much of sleep deprivation played into my ‘blues’/SAD. I blamed many of my failings on the weather, others and other stuff. Even though I knew better, I rarely thought it was the sleep thing though sleep was our/a nurse’s main vocabulary. Did you sleep? and Are you on days off? My sleep deprived brain was not firing on all cylinders. It’s been limping along as best as it could.
I’ve read somewhere that it takes about 6- 7 years to recovered from long-termed (20 years) shift work. I’ve worked over 30 years doing 12 hour days and nights. I’m in mine 7th year of retirement. I’m a recovering, almost recovered sleep deprivedaholic. I still have little bouts of sleeplessness. I still blame the weather, the woman next door and other excuses. I have to have a place to lay some of the blame. It’s too much and heavy on just myself. Even so, I try to take responsibility by taking action and moving towards living a meaningful and productive life. Some days are better than others. Some things are easier to do than others. I try taking one step at a time to be stronger and more resilient.
The biggest shift I’ve experienced was 3 or 4 years ago when I joined an aerobics class at the YWCA. After a month of an hourly class 3 times a week, I felt euphoric. My senses became alive. My head felt so clear and I could see so well. I remembered going wow! driving on the freeway. The view in front of me was panoramic and sharp. Everyone thought I looked so good. Those effects have diminshed as I got used to my new state of well being. The memory of it have kept me on track and to get back on when I have derailed.
Travelling through the last month or so of 2019 has brought another shift. This time in my thought processes and emotions. I’m sifting through the debris to find the nuggets of learning and wisdom. It takes patience, hard work and time. It works best when I put the words, thoughts, events, feelings and what have you onto the page. Those are my trusted tools. On that note I’m ending this post. Another day and a few mumblings. Sheba and I have travelled to the park and back. We made our 2 rounds, romped and talked with our fellow walkers. We hope for another peaceful evening and a night of sweet dreams.
Gosh, I should not have talked about my sleepless nights with Sheba. It brought bad luck. Here we are again on the Midnight Express. There was something bad in the air this evening. It gave me the shivers listening to Donald Trump. Then there was the image of Harvey Winestein pushing his walker and the fires in Australia. Half a billion wild life lost! The world feels foul. No wonder Sheba and I are disturbed. We can feel it all.
We have both taken our melatonins. I hope that will rock us to sleep soon. No use in fretting. I can do something useful in the meantime. Might as well tap a few words for day 6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Sheba has settled on her pillow. My eyelids are getting heavy. I wonder if she will let me go to bed. Oops! She’s up again. Maybe I will just pull out the comforter and bunk down here. I’ll be optimistic and say, be back in the morning.
It is Monday afternoon. My optimism last night was lost but not completely. The dog was not cooperative in allowing me to sleep. After farting around trying to be productive and not making too much noise, I got fed up with Sheba. I was tired and getting a headache. It was 2 am. I read her the riot act, turned out the light and went to bed. Much to my surprise, it worked. She hung back, then tiptoed into the bedroom and plunk herself on her bed. She was quiet the rest of the night.
I did get some shut eye, maybe 4 hours. It was not a restful sleep. It’s better than none. Nothing is perfect. True life never runs smooth. We’re still on track, clickety clack. Around and around we went. Though it is a bit blustery we made 2 rounds at the park. We’re both full of vim and vinegar. Surprising isn’t it, considering our lack of sleep and our advanced ages. Must be something in the air. I hope the fresh air and exercise will zonk us out tonight.
We I must bolster ourselves myself. I must build up my reserve so that I’m not so easily influenced by the news or whatever in in the air. It makes life ever so much harder feeling and succumbing to every little thing. Time to grow up. I think I have – a little. I’m carrying on as usual. I’m bitching a little. I’m feeling a little crabby. But I’m not crying ‘poor me’.
It’s late in the day. Another different beginning to this 10th post of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s still the beginning of the month. It feels like it should be the end. That’s what a busy full day does to my mind. My head feels like a ball of barbed wire. Try watching that thought like a cloud floating in the sky! But I shall take a deep breath and let it out in a slow exhale. That’s better. I can loosen that ball of wire a bit.
I find most of life a bit of sweat. This morning it was but it was a good one, stepping high on the bench. It got my heart pumping and the endorphins circulating. Life feels good. It was followed by 20 minutes of strength training. Who could ask for anything more?
Now it is evening. I am tired from the day, the afternoon at the vet with Sheba and our usual walk when we got home. She likes her walk and I cannot deny her. It is good for both of us.
I’m still on track with 20 minutes of meditation in the morning. I had a few minutes to spare after to transplant the leggy broccoli seedlings into new pots. I’m dealing with each day’s mail as they come. I’m filing my little bits of paper, not letting them pile up like a pyramid. I am slowly making progress and changing my ways. Now it’s time to call it a day.