Anticipation

Our reality today remains to be one of ice and snow and freezing temperatures.  We are supposed to reach a mighty minus 18 Celcius today – an improvement, but still frigid for sure!

Fortunately, I am retired!  I can stay indoors, work out with my husband, and anticipate the coming of spring.  I even started seeding bedding plants this week. 💐🍅🥗

I started tomatoes, peppers and flowers!
Dan helped me 🤔

It is a waste of life to spend time worrying about the future and what it may bring, but in the frozen north  anticipating spring and preparing for its arrival is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Keep safe & stay warm 🌤️

Rumi

When I sat down to meditate this morning, I ran across a meditation by Brian Scott ‘The Divine Wisdom of Rumi’.

I have always been fascinated by those unique individuals who prove their brilliance by simply stating the obvious truths of life. Rumi, a Persian poet who lived in the thirteenth century, was one such individual. His wisdom is so timeless and genuine that it is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

The following Rumi quotes particularly spoke to me this morning:

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

“It’s your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”

“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

“If you are looking for a friend who is faultless, you will be friendless.”

“One of the marvels of the world: The sight of a soul sitting in prison with the key in its hand.”

“A candle never loses any of its light while lighting up another candle.”

Take care & stay safe. 💞

Surviving the Hard Times

These are hard times, dark days for many. There is our ongoing pandemic, political problems, economic and environmental issues, countless global issues – all above and beyond the inevitable struggles of our own personal, individual lives.

I am fortunate and grateful that I am in a good place right now – better than most and better than many places I have been. I may not share the pain of those who are struggling right now but I can and do empathize.

When one is going through a really difficult time one can easily feel abandoned, attacked, hopeless and helpless. Life can be draining and devastating – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is easy to feel like giving up.

Many years ago I experienced a life altering moment. My life in general was bad – really bad. I left the hospital where my father lay dying, to drive home to take care of my family. It was typically a two hour drive on a good day. This day was not a good day. My father was dying, my marriage was in shreds, my husband had become a raging miserable bastard, my kids needed me, my parents needed me, I needed to be at work – and I was driving home in a blizzard. I could barely see beyond the front of my car (which was a worn out little sedan with no heater). I was terrified, I was heartbroken, I was sobbing and my tears made it even more difficult to see the road ahead. The stretch of road I was on is a series of hills and valleys. This day, as the snow fell and the wind blew , the valleys filled with snow drifts which I had to step on the gas to power through. Every drift that I pushed through brought me to a stretch of sheer ice at the top of a hill. My hands were frozen and my arms were limp. When I reached the point of believing this trip was going to end very badly, I noticed a sign a few car lengths away from me. I thought, okay. I may not make it home but I can get that far. I did. Then I saw a utility post – and I made it that far. This went on and on and on, until I made it home. I was frozen, I was exhausted, I was stronger, and I had learned an important lesson on how to navigate through life’s hard times. (Which I, unfortunately, had to use a few times since!)

For anyone struggling right now, take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, and do whatever you can to to help yourself feel empowered – even it just for a day, an hour or a moment. Know that you can, and that you will, make it through this – as long as you keep moving forward.

Also, If you must walk through hell, walk through like you own place!

I hope you enjoy my own unofficial theme song from Rodney Atkins.

Gratitude and Compassion

Saskatchewan has officially frozen over. It has been this way for a few days and there is no end in sight for these frigid temperatures.

In years gone by, I would be miserable and exhausted by now.  This year I am happy, rested and GRATEFUL that I am retired.   Every time I glance outside or see a weather report, I am reminded how fortunate I am to be at this place in my life.  I have nowhere I have to go, nothing I have to do. We have everything we need to keep us safe and warm.

My life these days revolves around eating heathy, working out with Dan, sitting by the fireplace crocheting a cozy blanket, and meditating.  My favourite meditations involve going within and sending love and peace to our world – the plants, the animals, and especially the people that inhabit it. 

These days when I meditate, I have been focussing on the people who are most affected by our brutal weather. I think of the children who are trudging back and forth to school on our icy streets. I feel for those who are dealing with the miserable drive to work and back – more so for those brave souls who are working outside in this frigid cold. My heart goes out to those desperate souls who have no home to provide shelter from our Saskatchewan winter. There are shelters where those on the street can find a warm bed or a hot meal – if they are lucky. Facilities are overwhelmed at times like this and sadly some must be turned away.

It is hard to look out at our frozen neighbourhood or watch our weather forecast and find anything good in it – but there is. There is the opportunity for gratitude. There is a reminder that there are those who need and deserve our compassion, kindness, and generosity. And there is hope that things can and will inevitably get better for all.

Strawberry bedding plants. When spring arrives, we will be ready for it!

Taking Care of Kat

Like most people, we are responsible pet owners, so today we made that painful trip to our veterinarian.

To be clear, Kat is fine – for the most part.  She had her annual check-up, received her rabies shot, got a deworming pill, renewed her city dog license and got a bottle of Aventi Omega  3 oil (which is amazing stuff for keeping her nose and paws soft and healthy).   

Then the painful part of the visit kicked in with a $220.00 bill. 

I do not really believe the bill was unreasonable, all things considered.  Most everything Kat received is good for at least a year – the Aventi only five months – but well worth the price. And of course, as clients, we have to pay our share of office and administration costs.

The painful part kicked in with an estimate we received for getting Kat’s teeth cleaned (under anesthesia) – which was recommended. All the bells and whistles included, we are looking at twelve to fourteen hundred dollars.

Yikes! Sadly this is far from the first surgery we have sprung for over the years and chances are it will not be the last. But YIKES!

Pets are such an important part of life (at least in North America). They bring love, companionship, security and joy to our lives. It is unconscionable that anyone would have a pet and not provide proper healthcare but how do most people afford it?

Kat & Friends Bacardi and Cornelius
Kat and our very special Casey (who was the most caring and empathetic dog 💗).

Eight Days In!

Dan and I have been working out together every day – for eight days straight now!  It is still a lot of fun and somehow we are managing to get in a pretty good workout despite our limited space. My sister (Lorraine) thinks I should do a blog on how to workout in a small house without destroying the wall mount television and/or the kitchen sink. It is in the works! 😉

We are also starting to put more health conciousness into our meals.  It’s not that hard when Dan is here to peel and chop.  Our snacks still need work. 🙄

Dinner salad – Lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, radishes, green onions, broccoli, spicy air frier pork, homemade croutons and sesame seeds.. mmmm!)
Bran, molasses, coconut & walnut muffins.  The molasses, coconut, and walnuts almost mask the taste of the bran. 👍
Chilli with plenty of fresh vegetables – peppers, celery, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and canned tomatoes and kidney beans!

Between the workouts, the improved diet, the meditating, and the new mattress that we bought lately (to ensure a better night’s sleep),   it is looking like a healthier, happier life for both of us.  💪

Keep well and stay safe💞

It’s Go Time

The snow and ice has kept me housebound for a few months now and Dan has been laid off for a month. It is time for us to get active before we turn into Mr. & Mrs. Doughboy.

We have decided to start working out together. Having a workout partner will help to make it fun and hopefully keep us motivated. The plan is for us to take turns leading off on a few exercises for each session. This should afford us plenty of variety and split the struggle of coming up with workout routines.

The challenging part is that we are coming from two totally different places and working out for two totally different reasons. Dan has a long history of playing intense sports (hockey, baseball, racquetball) and working an extremely physical job in the steel industry. I on the other hand, have never even watched sports, much less participated! I have worked in administration and sales, most of the time being desk bound. While we both want to lose some weight, my health issues are respiratory, while Dan’s are circulatory. It is going to be fun, coming up with workout plans that work for both of us!

Day two, down and done!

Falling over tree pose – that’s a thing right?

Stay safe, keep active 🏋️

Living at the Speed of Life

There have been a lot of changes in my life since I retired a few months ago.  The majority of those changes have been within me – changes in attitude, changes in personality, changes in relationships.

One of the relationships that has changed most drastically is my relationship with time.   Time is still a significant, relevant part of my life.  I still have clocks in my house and, as much as my daily regular schedule has changed, it has changed to a new regular schedule.  

The thing is, before retirement time was one of my main sources of stress and frustration.   Hours in a classroom lasted longer than days during summer break.   Nine months of pregnancy lasted forever!  Years of infants, toddlers, tots,  and teens were  over way too soon.  A week at the office was interminable.  A weekend home was never long enough. The terrible years were endless and the good ones flew by.  There was no consistently to time – ever – and I never had time when I needed it most!

In retirement, time flows easily and smoothly.   I never feel suspended in time, nor do I feel pressured to do more than time allows.  Time passes –  the hours, the days, the weeks, the months – regularly and consistently and reassuringly.   Regardless of all that is or is not happening, time passes.   No longer a sources of stress or frustration, time is now a comforting measure of life.

First Days of Beauty

Every year, I choose one main positive value in life to focus on. This year my focus is on beauty. So far, I have not really been struggling with this effort, so much as building a base to grow it on.

I have started a major home beautifying project – cleaning our basement. I haven’t reached any Kodak moments yet, but every time I go downstairs I am excited by how much better things are looking than when I first began. 😊

My husband has been home on a work layoff – the first in many years! It is nice having him home. It is very nice having him available to do the shopping and run errands. It is especially nice when he run out to do errands and comes home with a special little gift for me. 😊

Dan came home with this beautiful glass baby elephant. He seems happy sitting beside the adorable stuffed elephant that granddaughter Genie gave me for Christmas.

I have not been spending much time outside this month. Occasionally, I do catch a beautiful moment in nature when I glance out a window.

Our backyard is a haven for squirrels and birds this winter.

I continue to spend time searching out and experiencing the meditations I find on You Tube – especially those related to sending healing, loving energy to others. They seem to be such a beautiful way to connect with family and loved ones – so much better than worrying and fretting about the people I care for!

Lately, I have finally realized, the rationale of sending healing, loving energy to those who would not have typically made my prayer list in the past. I am talking about people who have caused major grief to myself and my family, any people who I see as being arrogant or hateful or cruel. I know one is supposed to extend love and caring to those people – but that is seriously difficult to do – no matter how many times I read that they are the ones who need it the most.

Through meditation, I have found a way to send loving, healing energy to anyone, everyone, and especially to those who are the most difficult to. In my mind, projecting hate and anger to these people does not help them or me. However, sending them love and healing energy does make me feel much better. I can only hope that these people are touched by the love I send them. 💗

This is one of the healing meditations that I have found to be particularly moving. I hope that if you are inclined to try it, you will enjoy the experience.

Stay safe and have a beautiful day🥀

Keeping Busy

January has been a bit busy so far.   Dan has been home so we spend quite some time being together. 😊

I have started cleaning our basement.  Basement is probably an overstatement at this point, but it is coming together.  I have replaced a dozen cardboard boxes with a few Rubbermaid totes, sorted through Christmas decorations and downsized considerably, vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of dust and spider webs and found a few winter sweaters I forgot that I owned.    A few good day’s work for sure.

While going through the basement, I found boxes of old family favourite recipes – and a few that could become so,  now that I have time to cook.   I have tried a few already – peppersteak, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, and lemon butter tarts.

We had a brutal storm this week.  Sustained winds of 126mph 😳 and snow.  We were extremely fortunate that we had no damage to our place and that all of our family stayed safe.  Our power was off for a couple of hours and Dan had some shoveling to do the next day.   

There was a lot of property damage across the province and many travellers were stranded away from home.  Dan and Amanda spent an extra night in Edmonton after taking Cason in for a bit of day surgery.

Recovering and milking the family for a little extra TLC. 💗

I have spent time morning and evening practicing my meditation.   I have been enjoying Buddhist chants lately and continue to spend time sending healing energy to friends and family near and far.     I cannot imagine why it took me so long to appreciate meditating, but everything in its own time and this is my time to meditate. 🧘

Saskatchewan has the dubious honor of highest per capita Covid numbers since Christmas.    Dan has been doing our shopping and running our errands while I hunker down and await my turn to receive the vaccine.   In the meantime, I am happy to see those on the frontlines and our most vulnerable seniors getting the first doses that are available here.  🎉🎉🎉

Keep safe, keep busy! Only 4 more months or so until spring 🌻