November 1, end of October and a new beginning. Though the October Ultimate Blog Challenge is over, challenges are not over for me. I’m the type of person who finds everything hard. At one point in my life I vowed not to let that word enter my vocabulary. It’s hard, too hard. I know I’m weak with vows. Now I am using the word with abandon. Life is just too flipping hard and if using the word makes me feel better, why not, eh?
I’m not like most women. I hate shopping. I have to gear up to go to Costco. Thinking about it fills me with yuck but it’s time and it’s hard. I need stuff and they have it all there and at a good price. I know having intentions doesn’t mean anything unless I follow through. So I made my list, got into the car and drove. Funny it wasn’t hard after that. I went up and down the aisles with my cart and list. An hour later I was through the checkout with $500 less in my bank account. The next challenge was to load everything in the car and get home.
I have to file the memory that it wasn’t hard after I get into the car. The trick was not to pay attention to my feelings but the need to do. That was my focus, too, on getting everything into the house. I was grateful for my workouts at the gym, that I have the strength and the know how. I thought on posture – hip hinge and squat, no bending over. I did pretty well though I worked up a sweat. Most things are put away though a few are still looking for a home. They might as well hang out until I reorganize and clean out some cupboard space. No point in stuffing them in wherever and then having to pull everything out again.
I am pretty pleased with myself for accomplishing this shopping trip today. I did not skip out on my afternoon walk even though the weather was grey and breezy. I brought out my toque and away I went. The fresh air and steps will help me get a good night’s sleep. Now it is almost 6 pm and it is quite dark already and raining a little. I have long complained about the darkness beginning at this time of the year. But I am noticing that it no longer bothers me as much or in the same way. I am learning to embrace, celebrate and use this time to rest and rejuvenate so that I am ready for the spring and the growing season.
January 27, day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I thought I would get on today’s post early rather than late. It might give my voice a different tone. I’m not always tired and bluesy. If I was a singer, it would be an asset. It would be an honour to be called the Empress of the Blues. But that title belonged to Bessie Smith. She was a renowned blues singer during the Jazz Age. She rose from poverty with a mighty and strong voice. She was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 43 in 1937. Her grave was unmarked until a tombstone was erected on August 7, 1970, paid for by the singer Janis Joplin and Juanita Green, who as a child had done housework for Smith.
Her life is such an interesting story. We each have our own story to tell. They’re equally interesting. It’s in the way of telling and how we feel about our stories. I see stories in pictures. I see pictures in stories. In the same way, I tell my stories – one evokes the other. When I see the photo of our house in China, I remember playing up on the rooftop. I saw my first ghosts there. It wasn’t that I ‘saw’ but rather felt their presence. I remember my mother telling me they’re our ancestors and not to be afraid. I also ‘saw’ someone standing by our bed one evening. It was more of a shadow than anything. At the time I was still sleeping in the same bed as my mother. It was made of boards, covered with quilts. Our pillows were wooden blocks. I don’t remember them being uncomfortable though. Aren’t childhood memories/stories wonderful?
I used to write flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Rochelle is a published author of several books and a watercolour artist. For Friday Fictioneers we write a story of 100 words to a photo prompt. It was a good fit and practice for me. I’ve learned to make every word count and to hone out needless, excessive words. We interact with each other much like on the Ultimate Blog Challenge. You read me, I read me. Then we critique each other – in a positive constructive way. The Dentist is one of my flash fictions that still has the photo prompt in the post. I’ve removed the photo prompt in most of the posts to free up room in my media library.
This is the long and short of my post. Not my best but not my worse. It has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Now I’m off to work on my watercolours. What is your story?
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.
I must sit down and put down a few words for day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. If I don’t the time will be lost. I will be struggling late into the evening for my words. They always find their way to my fingertips. But I’m often left in high alert, mentally and physically at the finish line. Not a good way to end the day and ease into sleep.
I was jesting yesterday about needing Temple Grandin’s cattle chute to calm and keep me on the beaten path. The subject is still on my mind this morning. On second thought, I should take it seriously. It might and probably will work for me. I don’t have a diagnosis of autism but aren’t we all on a continuum of symptoms? I can certainly get fixated on things and spend too much time on them. Since Temple Grandin came into mind yesterday, I’ve spent time researching her and have reserved 3 books from the library. And now I’m writing on the subject. Oh boy, I’m easily stimulated and distracted. I need those ideas on chutes and corrals of hers.
I just have to rethink what that chute/squeeze box/hug machine might be for me. It deserves some pondering and could make life more easeful. Now I have to think, plan and design a workable curved ‘chute’, a squeeze box for myself so that I’m stay on track and derailed on every turn. One ‘box’ is my 20 minute meditation session in the morning. It does hold me still and in comfort. Not doing anything. Not going anywhere.
Then there are my words. It’s the purpose of me being here in my ‘box’, tapping. The physicality of being here, in my chair, in front of the keyboard, hearing the rhythm of the keys and seeing the letters and words marching across the screen is soothing. Whew! What a long sentence but it works. Does it not? It is my tool of laying everything out, making order and sense so that my brain can see it. I am more of a feely kind of a person. I live innately. I have a difficult time explaining to another. This is the best I can do. Perhaps it is why I often feel lost in this vastness of life. There are no hooks for me to hang my hat on.
Now I see that I do have 2. Enough said for one day. My brain is tired and getting fogging. But it is valuable to have an analysis of my January word journey. The train ride is almost over. I am happy with it. I will not demand a refund when I pull into the last destination. Perhaps I will talk more on the next leg tomorrow.
I’m on a 7 hour countdown with WordPress. I’ve decided to end my personal plan and go back to the free one. Nothing much changes except I’m not paying now. My handle is still athousandandtwo with a .wordpress added after and before the .com. Of course my media storage space is cut back to 3GB from 6. I wasn’t using much of the extra space these 2 years that I’ve had the plan. So what’s the point?
I know, a picture is worth a thousand words and they do speak to me. There’s whole conversations in a photo. Not everyone can hear them though. Words can speak just as well if not louder. I’m making a choice now. I’m choosing the written word. It’s not as if I’m giving up the whole picture. I still have 3 GBs of them at my disposal. But perhaps now that I have chosen the word, I can work on getting one thousand of them. It’s a worthy goal.
I can see the benefits of reaching beyond myself. It will boost my self esteem to prove that I’m not just a one or two liner girl. I can write more than just Hallmark greeting cards. That’s nothing to sneeze at either, if I can sell them. Secondly, working on more words could help slow down and organize my attention deficit brain. Having the goal would give me purpose in coming to this space. I’ve been mostly sighing and whining about this and that. Who wants to listen to that? I tire and bore myself.
So now I’m down to 5 hours before I’m booted back to the not so professional version of WordPress. My words will stay the same. I still give them equal and careful thought before hitting the PUBLISH button. My proof reading is not superb. Having an attention deficit brain, my eyes run ahead before the words can register. My thoughts skip all over the place, too. I work on pulling eyes and attention back to this page, to this moment, to this purpose.
I’ve been sitting every morning in meditation with Mark Williams on Youtube. I’ve been doing it since July. Sometimes I hear myself thinking with his British accent ..”and if you should find yourself…” It works. When I do find myself wondering off, I bring myself back to the breath, to the moment. Deliberate practice does make for better. It’s enough to encourage me to continue my practice. My moods and thoughts are getting healthier. Whenever I find my thoughts veering off in the wrong direction, I try to picture them as clouds passing in the sky. I let go of the emotions they stir in me though I do feel the resistence. I tell myself it is the right thing to do. I send them back into the clouds passing in the sky. I feel the turnaround, the resistence melting away, the letting go of bad thoughts and feelings.
Now, WordPress tells me I have 4 hours left. I can still renew by paying. No, I’m keeping it simple and free. Hopefully I will still be here, in this my special tapping space.
It is after lunch time in Saskatoon. I want to just walk away from the dishes and sink into reading the Jonathan Kellerman mystery book, Heartbreak Hotel and sip my cuppa cardamom tea. The tea is 3-in-one (tea,sugar,cream) given to me by a friend. It’s most delicious and full of good stuff. I have a large jar of the spice to make the tea once the 3-in-one is gone. Now I have another use for it besides cooking and baking. Looking at the pile of messy dishes made me feel squirrely. They look and feel like my messy brain. So I did my 4-7-8 breathing and started scraping dirty plates and putting things back in the fridge. And voila, dishes done!
Now I’m sitting pretty in front of my keyboard. The book still beckons me but I want to start this conversation. I need a hook to get into writing this post on this 7th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s a warm day. I had such a wonderful experience writing on the deck yesterday. I wanted a repeat and rushed out with my laptop after breakfast of one fried egg with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and a cantaloupe slice. I’m still on track with my meal plans. For lunch I had small portions of brown rice with coconut oil, roast beef and stir fried zucchini, mushrooms and celery and a bit of ferments. I’m feeling some progress – slimmer and less bloating. Or is it wishful thinking?
Once outside, I did my qigong moves to loosen up. Then I got distracted by my garden. The laptop and writing were abandoned on the deck. It was a good thing because the tomatoes have sprung up and out in the last couple of days. I struggled to get them hooped. I am Pretty pleased with their growth. They seem healthier and sturdier than my other years’ tomatoes. I’m looking forward to replenish my tomato sauce supply in the fall.
Once in the garden, it is hard to do just one thing. Everything begs for attention – just like Sheba. She lays content in her hollowed out spot in the yard, watching as I prune and pinch the tomatoes, weed the rows of peas and beans and hoe around the squash and goji berries. She’s like a benevolent supervisor. No criticism! Now that we’ve had rain, our water barrels are full again. It took a few trips with the watering can before everything was watered.
Now it is time to tend to my words. I’m committed to walking them. After all, what good are they if I can’t live up to them? I’m taking care not to say any falsehoods or things that need not be said. Why waste my time and words. They are both precious. Till tomorrow.
Three more days till the end of January. Three more days till the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I do have alot to say today as in every day. The getting them out is not the easy thing. How do I start? is always the question. How to introduce and lead in, is difficult. There is the natural flow and rhythm of a conversation between people/friends. With some people, I don’t have to think about it. We get together, greet each other and talk happens. It’s effortless.
Other times, I have to give it some careful thought. How do I want the direction of our time together and conversation go? What is the nature of our relationship? How well do I know this person? Do I want to keep the relationship? In the past, I have not practiced due tact and wisdom. I have not been discerning. It is not that I am a blunt and tactless person. I know manners and proper etiquette. I have never told anyone to their face that I hate their guts, or that their outfit is really bad, never mind what their hair looks like. Maybe I would have been better off if I had been THAT honest.
AND to be honest I have to admit, I haven’t won many valentines for being the proper, polite, honest and helpful person that I am. Obviously that hasn’t been working for me. I have started to mend my ways. I try not to be so frigging uptight. I don’t have to be the proper all the time. I probably ended up doing all the wrong things by trying so hard. I have failed on a few occasions, of course but I am learning. Now, I’ve given in to just tending to myself for awhile. I’m doing little things like sleeping in a bit, taking a little sabbatical from my aerobics class, minding my own business and wearing blinders. I do not want to hear/see any SOS calls. Sometimes I think I’m more powerful than I am. I am NOT powerful at all.
You know what? I’m feeling better already in one week. I wasn’t liking myself. I wasn’t like how I was going about life. Not that I know how to go about it now. I’m taking a sabbatical from knowing, too. I’m just going to chill and observe. I do feel a softness opening up in me. I think I needed this week’s rest from going with the beat and pumping iron. I’ve gotten a few ideas from Jennifer Louden on how to get back my creative flow. I also use the tips for creative living. The tips I got today are:
Relaxing my body before I do anything so that I can be opened to receive creative energy
Taking back time from being addicted to technology for better use.
Choosing an art and doing it – a small project /day. Choose a medium and act on it.
I have chosen words for today. I’ll get into the paint and pencils another day. For the Ultimate Blog Challenge, out and over till tomorrow.
It’s very strange. I’ve accidentally stumbled onto Suddenly Mad someone’s blog/journey through early-onset alzheimer’s. Her writing and artwork is phenomenal. It’s punctuated with many photographs. You would not know she has the disease except for the fact that’s what she talks about and how it has affected her. It took a little while for me to recognize that my writing is similar. I’m documenting my days and feelings. I’m trying to find solutions through writing. I also like to use a lot of photographs. I identified with her feelings of anxiety. And I wondered if I…
Today I read another woman’s blog, Which me am I today. She also has early-onset alzheimer’s. She has a book published. She was interviewed on CBC Listen. You would not know from her writing that she has alzheimers except that’s what she writes about – coherently and intelligently. Her relationship with typing sounds very much like mine. Her fingers can talk quite well. She also finds taking photos comforting. These give me another reason for pause. Do I have the big A?
“When I type it’s a one way process; thoughts to fingers – often no noise, not having to be questioned and then type an answer…..just my fingers translating my thoughts into words.”
I could just laugh all this off BUT it sees so many people have some kind of dementia now. It’s enough incentive for me to be extra viligant and proactive about my brain health. The Cleveland Clinic Six Pillars of Brain Health looks like a good resource to check out. I’m sure there are many others. It is a start. I am ok in the physical and medical health department. Pretty good with food and nutrition. I’m doing better with sleep and relaxation. I need to work on my mental fitness and social interaction.
I have heard that I’m my own worse enemy. It could be true. I’m always wrestling with myself, getting myself all knotty over nothing alot of the time. Life shouldn’t have to be that difficult or complex. It does not need micro managing. A little chaos now and again keeps it fresh and interesting. I need to loosen up, have a little fun and just do the best I can. Nobody is judging me except myself.
How am I going about doing it? Well here is the plan. It’s not well-laid but it’s a start. Movement/action is the most important thing. Otherwise I’ll be crouched and frozen at the starting line till I fall over.
Stop judging and comparing myself. It is probably the most difficult thing.
Try not to fall off the plan. If I do, I need to get back on or adjust if it’s not a good one.
Tend to things as they arise. Do not leave them for the morrow.
Read The Four Agreements again.
These are some of the things in my plan. They are enough for now. More can be too much and overwhelming. These grey wintry days are hard for me and my moody personalities. I can’t see my evil twins. They come from the inside out, erupting from within. I am without warning. But I am a little more cognizant now but often I forget till after the damage is done.
My moody sisters can stall me, leaving me open mouthed and stammering. What the hell? It takes a little while before things click and I take back control. But sometimes they do steamroll over me. I’m flattened and down without recognizing their handiwork. It is those times I fall off the wagon and lack the will/strength to climb back on. What is the use, was my mantra.
I try not to say that or other negatives any more. Words are powerful and what I tell myself and others matter. I have to change and sing a different tune.
The road to health is a tough one. I’m into my second week of scratchy throat turning into nasty coughing up my guts. How many mornings have I started out thinking, Oh, I think I’m getting better only to find myself feeling God awful in a couple of hours. I did the same this morning. I felt a DEFINITE change. I felt very hopeful. Everything was rattling loose. I have something to blow out of my nose. I only wheeze when I lay down. But sure enough, after breakfast and after doing 2 little paintings, I succumbed to the God awful state. I got out my dynamite tea, my own dug up and dried dandelion roots from last fall. They were the last of my supply.
No need to say that I am not at all cheerful lately. Was I ever? It’s a good time/or not a good time to trash myself. Do I need to wound myself further.? Of course not! I’m giving up wounding altogether. There’s enough pain in the world already. I need not add to it. I need to purge it all from myself since I can’t do anything about anybody else. Oh excuse me, I’m having another fit of coughing. I’m on my last Fisherman’s Lozenges. I had two bags but can’t find the other. Oh, well. I have to resort to the lemon drops. The only thing is they make my teeth feel funny after sucking on them. I have LOTS of them. Funny how that’s always the case.
Back to trashing myself now that I’ve brought it up. I’m thinking my negativity and other shortcomings must be the reason I’m down and still down for the count. It’s really tough for me to let go of anything, even coughing and feeling rotten. It’s not just the clutter I hang on to. There’s comfort in what you know versus what you don’t. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick, tired and hacking. I made the decision to purge that along with other rubbish.
A couple of years ago, Grace was the word I chose for the year. It evolved from a painting exercise I did. The exercise involved painting on the same canvas for 30 days. Though I didn’t quite make it to 30 days, it was pretty close. ‘Grace’ emerged on the canvas on day 22. She looked so happy and smiling. There was a sparkle in her eyes and her face glowed. That was it. She was finished. She hangs on the wall in my recently purged downstairs.
I was looking at her as I laid on the coolness of the leather couch one very hot afternoon. I went, Oh! I think I had painted myself. I am Grace – the desired self I want to be. I thought, In what way am I not that Grace? It’s something that needs more pondering on. I shall leave it on that note for now. It I deserve time to seriously consider why I’m so hard on myself. Maybe at the end of it, I can rid the length of my suffering whenever I get sick. Nurse, heal thyself.