ALL ABOUT ME

Here we are on day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m set to write the ultimate post on all about me. It’s a few years since I wrote the ABOUT and ABOUT ME pages for this blog in 2012. It’s time for an update.

I like to think I haven’t changed much but time has a way of showing up. I have a few more bags under my eyes and chin. My hair is still pretty dark. There’s but a few strands of white. It’s finer and much softer, the things I wished for in younger years. Now I wish I had the then coarseness and thickness. There’s no pleasing me. Then suddenly this year the crepey skin appeared. No amount of moisturizing could fix it. I guess I can join the club of women echoing that I’ve earned every line and wrinkle. I accept it but I can’t realy feel proud. I rather be wrinkle-free. Perhaps I am vain.

My goals/purpose for this space are still the same. I am still excavating, peeling back the layers, discovering and getting to know myself. I have had long periods when I am stuck, my archeology pickaxe dull and ineffectual. The layers refused to budge. I was stagnant, unable to go forth and grow. Looking back now I have a clearer vistage of my life journey and how I came to be. I can almost say, Ah, I see how it is! It is rather an exciting moment.

This November Ultimate Blog Challenge feels akin to a beginning of a school year. I have always loved school. I was never one wishing for summer holidays. I was that way about working also. There were some very hard stressful days, months and years. But I always found something exciting, meaningful and fulfilling in my work. I never counted down the days and hours to retirement. And here I am, retired for 8 years. I had a little difficulty deciding on the date and suffered PTSD (self-diagnosed) for 3 years in retirement. I suppose this blog gave me space to ventilate. It’s my Sit Spot. I come here to observe and tap. Tapping on the keyboards and seeing the letters march across the screen was comforting and gave me solace somehow.

I have lost some of that magic over the last year or so. You would think that the pandemic would be a catalyst for more writing. But not. It was the same with retirement. I had so many stories from work. I had time to write about them. When retirement came, all the stories, memories and desire to tell went. Maybe, no, definitely the stress of things wore and eroded my zest for learning and life. I had been feeling no pleasure and meaning in the things that used to please me. But I am feeling a spark again. I will be working this month to fan the spark. I want to bring more joy and meaning back to my days. I hope I can share them with you.

HOW WOULD IT/I BE without..

I am feeling somewhat despondent off and on these days. I am not fighting it but I am not letting it overtake me either. I am still able to not rain on another’s parade. I am not at all full of vim and vigor. I am full of languor. I would like to just sink into a puddle. I don’t. I plod along as best as I can. It takes me longer to do anything. I am not saying, this, too, shall pass or this is normal. Nothing feels normal any more. It is not a bad thing. It makes me look at life with new eyes. I still have the passion for a well-lived life.

My mood have led me to think of the Work of Byron Katie and the 4 questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

They are very good questions to ask. I should ask them more often. They made think about how I would be without my thoughts and feelings of despondency. They stirred me enough to show up here to engage in some words. I had fallen somewhat out of love with them lately. I had lost a sense of purpose for them. I started to question, what does it matter anyways? Who reads them anyways? Then I remember that I write mostly for myself, to help and guide me out of these moods. So I ask myself: How would I be without these thoughts and feelings?

I would be more cheerful and positive. I would have a sense of purpose and direction. I would have more energy. I could move and not be stuck and mired in thoughts and feelings. I could get things done. I experimented and tested letting go. Did I tell you I finally called the plumber and got the kitchen drain unplugged? Well, I did. And everything went whoosh down the drain. More than a few dollars went that way, too. I thought: Do I want to hang onto those dollars and sewage or can I let them go. I have to admit fixing the plumbing is one of the most satisfying feelings in life.

I am feeling a bit better, more lively, but not ready to do a jig yet. I got a few ugly jobs done, like chucking out some Jerusalem artichokes fermenting in brine from last year. The thing with storing things out of sight is they become out of mind. They did pop up in my head once in a while but I quickly banished them. Today I brought them out into the light. They weren’t terrible looking but they weren’t pretty either. They were soggy with a layer of white stuff on top. They say that it’s normal when fermenting vegetables. They are now in the compost.

The kombacha was next on my list. I can’t remember when I had stop drinking and making it. I had a few jars sitting under my kitchen buffet. In one jar, the kombacha became a scoby. It was still viable. The next jar had completely dried up, including the scoby. I had to soak and scrape it out. My biggest jar still had some very strong kombacha with bunch of scobies. My first impulse was to rid it all but then I thought I shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bath water. So I saved one scoby and 1/3 cup of kombacha, brewed some fresh tea to make a new batch. I will see how it turns out. Maybe it will be delicious. Life is hard.

ONE SQUARE A DAY

It’s so difficult to come to the keyboard these days. It’s difficult to start a conversation. It’s equally hard to start the day. I’m trying hard not to let time slip away. The time on this earth is valuable. It is limited and it will never come again. I’m resolving not to let my thoughts and emotions get the best of me and render me useless. The show must go on. I start my day with those daily routines. Breakfast, taking my vitamins, getting out of my pjs, straightening a thing or two and feeding Oscar, my sourdough starter.

I wandered downstairs to look at my fabric stash. I’m thinking of joining the100dayproject. It starts on January 31st. I thought I would sew a square a day for a 100 days. I have already sewn a few squares together a couple of years ago, thinking I would make a colourful summery quilt. Here’s my chance to finish another abandoned project. It would give me a purpose, add to my daily routine. A square a day could keep the pyschiatrist away. It would also help to clear out my fabric stash.

It’s not that I lack things to do. I have a million and one interests/things to do. I lack emotional stamina to keep going. I fall into ruts and off the wagon often. I do need motivations, many cups of tea and those strong rah! rah! rah! from the sidelines to cheer me on to the finish line. My first 100dayproject in July/2016 helped me to realize doing art instead of just talking about it. Here’s the first and the 100th of that project.

I’m feeling super pumped now. It helps that I’ve just been out on the ski trails and breathing all that fresh air. I tried the ski trail at the Wildwood Golf Course the first time today. I did the 2.5 km perimeter loop. It’s just what I need to develop technique and confidence. It took some time to get back to the parking lot. I had no concept of how much being out there under grey skies. I quite enjoy the spaces when I was alone. I could practice without worrying about how ridiculous and clumsy I look or if I fall. I would have to had an audience when I couldn’t make it up a hill and slid backwards, eventually falling. But no despair but laughter on my part for now I am able glide downhill comfortably without much fear. I’ve left those weak knees and jelly legs behind.

I am so glad to have had this time together. It’s good to have this conversation. It makes me feel not so blue, that life has meaning and purpose. So I will let Carol Burnett take me out with her sign off song. And I will tug my earlobe for luck.

LIFE IS FOR PASSIONS

 

Here it is, the 8th day of July and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am finding life a bit of a challenge. I am sure we all are with the Covid-19. I’ve lost my fur baby of 14 years in May. I’m still grieving for Sheba. There’s not a day that I don’t think of her. On top of that, the neighbour is still on her harassment path. Summer is here. There’s the garden and yard to tend to. I cannot do anything near our cedars beside her driveway without drawing her attention, followed by her drama. The purpose of this month and challenge is to help me disengaged from her negative energy. I want to live in peace alongside her property.

Most days I feel I’m going nowhere. It has been 12 years now, off and on that she has been harassing me. I am tired and fed up with her in my thoughts constantly. I am sick of working on the problem. I took some time this morning just standing and watching the plants sway in the wind. I felt as if I was swaying with them, letting their rhythm soothe, empty and calm my mind. I’ve given away too much of my time and energy to the woman next door. It’s doing me in. Time to stop.

It’s not as if I’m lacking for things to do. There never seem enough time to do all the things I want to. I could lose myself for hours puttering in the yard and garden. There’s harvesting each day – lettuce, spinach, Chinese mustard greens, strawberries. Today I got a handful of blueberries and haskaps. Then you have to do something with the harvest. Otherwise they would spoil and go to waste. At each day’s end I am tired and wishing for more time.

I really must get myself back from overthinking and stressing about the neighbour next door. I have much better things to think about. I’m over a week behind in the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. I made time today to catch up a little today. It was a much better time spent, making art on a 4 x 6 index card. Sheba came alive again – on paper. Life is too short for someone to rob me of my passions.

 

 

 

NOT SO BAD AT ALL!

At long last, a warm Saturday morning! I am basking in the sunshine, sipping my tea and tapping on my laptop. Sheba is laying at my feet. I feel like tap dancing and breaking out in song. If only I can dance and sing! Never mind, music is playing in my head again. I have to sit and listen to Roger Miller sing before I can go on tapping.

I’m obviously feeling better, eh? It’s good to know that I’m not always down in the dumps, no fun to be around. It’s also important for me to document it as proof. Sometimes I don’t remember or believe myself. It feels absolutely wonderful that I am doing this Ultimate Blog Challenge. This time around, I have a clearer vision of what I want to accomplish using the challenge as a tool. Let me put it down here again.

  1. Be mindful and in the present moment.
  2. Getting up, dressing up and showing up here every day.
  3. Work on content, construction, proof reading of posts.
  4. Striving for improving mental and physical health – eg. losing a few pounds.

What works for me is to do the small of everything. A few words to get an idea  to form. I do not have or work in concrete ideas/forms. I’m one whose head is in the clouds and whose thoughts are as nebulous as the mist. It’s only when I tap on the keyboard, when I see the words march across the screen that I can see my way out of the woods. It’s a big ahah moment. Until I can see and understand my handicap, I can’t make a correction or make an improvement.

Ad libbing, off the cuff will not work for me. I need to put my thoughts into words on a page. I need to brainstorm onto the page. I need to break things into small steps. My brain goes into a soupy fog even thinking of doing the lunch dishes. I want to dump everything and run away. It’s only after I slowly and mindfully start scraping off the plates, loading them into the sink/dishwasher, putting in soap, turning on the water…that my brain starts to relax. My hands and mind connect, gets into a rhythm and somehow the dishes are done. I go, “Well, that wasn’t bad!” I go through this every day.

I can also say that this wasn’t at all bad  for the 6th day of this challenge. I get to do this all over again tomorrow.

 

MY WHY OF BLOGGING AND CHALLENGES

Good morning and Happy Canada Day! It’s July 1, the first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am going to show up here daily for the next 31 days with my chatterings. I enjoy challenges. They offer me an opportunity to be disciplined and accountable. It’s also a chance to meet and interact with other bloggers. I have a few rules for this space of mine. These are that I be:

  1. Truthful
  2. Respectful
  3. Hopeful
  4. Helpful

What I hope for this month is to get up, dress up and show up each morning. It will be my mindfulness practice of being present and alert before my keyboard, breathing in and out with each tap of on the keyboard. It does take away my thoughts of my morning physical discomforts. I am in the moment of forming thoughts and ideas. I am stretching and reaching with each finger. I am a proper typist. No pecking away with two fingers. I had graduated from Saskatoon Business College way back in the ’70s. I’ve had a class in typing using an IBM Selectric Typewriter. It does not have a moving carriage. The little ball travels back and forth.


It is late in the afternoon. I’ve had a good start in the morning. Making a commitment to write every day gives me structure. Having structure helps my disorganized brain focus and get with the program.  Thoughts just get lost, rattling around in my brain. But if I tap them out here, I can see them in physical form. Then I can act upon them. And act I did. I put some sweat in the garden this morning before it got too hot. Now without the weeds I can clearly see the 2 rows of peas. Much more pleasing to the eye than before. I timed it right as the rains came in the afternoon. This is how I can get things done.

I’ve mentioned more than once or twice about my disorderly moods. This space and challenge has provided me with a purpose to show up and do. I don’t have a business to build or promote. I am not interesting in making money but I am in having a purpose. I can get engaged in constructing hopefully an interesting and informative post. I can converse about what is important and helpful to me. I like to think that I can motivate a reader or two. I will strive for better construction and proof reading. I will work for it. Happy blogging to my fellow bloggers.

SLIP SLIDING AWAY

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.

I GOTTA HAVE HEART

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!

PURPOSE, PROJECTS AND FOLLOW THROUGH

The day/life is much easier with purpose. It gives you structure and a starting point. It’s the catalyst that pushes me through the starting gate and onward to the finish line. I’m in a better frame of mind. It’s reassuring that I am not always pooling in my puddles. It only seems so. Once more the sun is shining on me, literally. I have to take off my sweater. It’s that warm.

The words feel more fluid in the warmth. They are flowing with ease from my fingertips. I am at ease in this moment with Sheba sleeping beside me. The sun feels so warm, the tea so good. I close my eyes, inhaling, exhaling..living. I give thanks of gratitude to the wisdom of people like Viktor Frankl, Caroline Myss and Professor Guy McPherson. McPherson, a biology professor believes that climate change from our heavy footprint is destroying our planet beyond repair. Even so, we should not despair. He advises:

 “I encourage people to pursue excellence, to pursue love, to pursue what they love to do. I don’t think these are crazy ideas, actually – and I also encourage people to remain calm because nothing is under control, certainly not under our control anyway.”

Those words resonate with me. I am in pursuit of those goals the best I can. They are my torch on gloomy days, beckoning onward or to sit and rest awhile. I need heroes and cheerleaders to coach me along the way. It’s one thing to get started and another to follow through to the end. I’ve had a bit of practice. It’s easier every day. I get up, dress up and show up the best I can. Some best are better than others. That’s how it is.

What are my pursuits in concrete language? The biggy right now is mastering my new Bernina computerized sewing machine. It would have been wise to do some checking. Too bad I didn’t read this blog before. No matter. I have no buyer’s regret. I have a vision of using it as another medium for my artwork. I was inspired by images of free motion embroidery. They popped into my head one day. I can do that, I said to myself. I trust my instincts and ‘feelings’. So off to the Sewing Machine Store I went.

I’m not off and running yet but it is out of the box. After hours of watching tutorils on YouTube, I’ve bobbined and manually threaded the needle. Haven’t mastered the automatic threader yet. I can turn it on, off, navigate some of computer screen and use the straight and zigzag stitches. Not exactly flying or embroidering but still pretty awesome. I think I’ll go and hem my pants now. Be back tomorrow with more progress – I hope.

 

IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE

The thing is beginnings are always hard. You know that. You circle and circle, filling in, wasting and passing time. Then you get sick of the nagging, weighty thing dragging your butt down and down. So you sit down and begin. So here I go with my tap, tapping for the day.

 

 

 

Arriving at acceptance of things as they are – that the earth has 10 years less 2 days to survive, have set me free – maybe not completely but a bit more. Why? There’s no time to lose/waste/mope. I saw my purpose which is to enjoy the time left. Thanks to Professor Guy McPherson’s advice, I’ve decided that excellence, love and what I love to do are worthy goals to pursue. I was already on that pursuit with my year of doing different, but now I have a clearer vision of it.

In the presence of our recent dramatic climate change, it is difficult to ignore impermanence, that our earth will not be here in another 10 years – less 2 days now. Given that premise, nothing matters anymore and everything matters still. A contradiction I know, but for me it holds much truth, wisdom and comfort.

The nothings that don’t matter are the things outside of me, the things that I have no control of – what others think and do, keeping up with the Jones and Smiths, etc. etc. etc. The things that matter are the things within me, the things that I CAN control – how I speak, how I behave, how I choose. I choose to make my life matter, to take an interest, to find what makes me smile. I choose to live in a way I give back to the earth as well as harvest from it. I choose to pursue excellence in body, mind and spirit. 10 years less 2 days is still worth pursuing.