Featured

Our new place – charming house with private park

It’s been 2 weeks since most of our belongings were moved over to the current location in Pickering Village. It is an interesting area which definitely stands out with old, attractive buildings. It has the flair of an historic village and there are numerous centuries-old trees. While the house we moved to features lovely living room which I am using for art purposes since it’s big, much bigger than my previous studio, it is a compact place. The woodwork has been preserved, and that gives extra character to staircase, doors and tiny-pane windows. What the place lacks in comfort, it has in abundance when it comes to uniqueness and character.

We have moved numerous times, too many to count actually. This by far was the absolutely worst and most difficult move. It stretched over 2 weeks or 6 days when the actual truck loading and unloading took place. Moving my belongings is a very complex matter. Hundreds of paintings need to be packed very safely and separately and so they must travel also. Paintings accounted for a full truckload. Moving to a smaller or noticeably smaller place is also an issue. All of a sudden, there is no place for anything. Add to that hired help who pack up all garbage and puts in one box socks and computer parts.

All room plants were responsible for one more truckload. There is absolutely no comfortable place for them at the moment, but I did my best. My hope is that over the spring and summer I can come up with solution. I just might. As it appears, thanks to my sewing skills, I have plenty of clothes – countless coats, sweaters, jackets, dresses and everything else. My husband also loves good quality outfits, so moving that all is always problematic. I have abnormally many books. While packing, I got so tired that I simply gave away about 120 of them, the ones which I don’t intend to read again. I have 3 monitors with 2 computers, husband has 3 monitors with his desktop. Imagine the piles of cords, connectors and wires? Although I had labeled everything so that I recognize it right away, no helpers did that. Somebody labeled frozen food box: pasta. It went bad.

It was about 16 truckloads of which almost one full load went back into garbage. That’s how great our help was.

But it’s over! The absolutely worst part when one has no clue where what is (thanks to guys throwing everything in a pile with no regard to where these things go) is a history. Kitchen is set up, our bedrooms are almost set up, music room needs organizing and art studio requires more work, too. However, I got my art supplies and I can start painting soon.

There is no garden to speak of, except it looks like a few flowers at the back door. The rest is like forest. I call it my private park because it’s huge. If I want to take a stroll outdoors, I just walk in my own park. I can see there a few huge, ancient oaks, a few tall maples, couple of firs, not sure what other trees are.

I was very sick during the moving adventures. I got sick 2 times actually, not with COVID, but I am sensitive to lots of things. I’m not sure yet if I can make here any garden, like I said, it’s mostly a forest-type of outdoors. There must be roots all over. The front part looks more promising, but it will require lots of extra soil. We moved out when there was snow on the ground and even snowstorm one day. I might get my rare plants from the previous place, and I might not. That I don’t know yet, even though the agreement says I can when the soil thaws. We will see when it is warmer. I have wildflowers here, and right now snowdrops have come up. White tiny snowdrops currently make up all my outdoor garden. It will take some time to get used living here. I cannot wait when the weather becomes warm. Until then, still lots to do. I have chronic exhaustion at the moment. Slowly, my energy will come back. The sunnier days, the better I will be.

I wasn’t having internet for about 2 weeks, no computer. TI never use phone for blogging, so that explains why I disappeared for a while. But you knew that, I’m sure you did that I won’t be blogging because of this move-of-the-century.

Have a great spring and thanks for reading!

Featured Small garden, big harvest

Trying garden this year? Try these simple steps to harvest more

Gardening can be so many things: source of never-ending pleasure, good daily exercise, great hobby and so many delicious vegetables to add on your plate. Especially this year, it was hard to get even seeds. It looks like many people decided to start a garden this year when COVID-19 has made our life complicated. Why not? The vegetables we buy at store have been already sitting in a warehouse or shelf for a while. What we pick in the garden, is as fresh as it gets. You also know what is in your vegetables, herbs, berries and plants. Content of nutritious vitamins and minerals is definitely higher in fresh vegetables and herbs. You cannot lose with a garden! You can only gain.

Better harvest from small garden

The weather can be anything: very rainy, extremely dry, cool or very hot, windy and humid, as well. Our garden has to survive all weather conditions. Watering can be an issue. Watering too much and too frequently will harm plants and cause rotting of leaves and roots which later results in plant diseases. The best watering times are early morning and night when the sun is almost down or down. Observe plant reaction and check soil on touch, better not the surface only, but a few inches down. If it feels moist, leave those plants alone and water them next time.

After heavy rains or prolonged periods of dry and hot weather, some plants will die off regardless of what you do. I have observed that plants which I start from seeds will tolerate harsh weather much better and they will stay healthier much longer. If some plants have fallen out, start from new seeds again. Ready plants which we buy from nurseries, are generally weaker because most likely they had controlled conditions before. It might be too late restarting Bell pepper or tomatoes, but beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, not to mention green onions, lettuce, dill, parsley and basil will have enough time to mature.

We can give plants some extra nutrients, too, but the best is to keep it as natural as possible and you have to pay attention to type of soil and plant condition. It will be visible what it needs. If you have given some fertilizer your plant, but leaves are still light green, yellow with brown rims and similar, then these are insects or too wet/too dry or too heavy soil. Sometimes plants literally burn in too hot weather, then consider shading if possible.

How to make gardening fun

Some plants, especially herbs with strong smell, such as basil and parsley will keep insects away. They are not all pest resistant, but in my experience, they work well together with tomatoes and lettuce. Green onions work well in my garden to prevent bugs from my peas. I usually mix up plants because I have comparatively small space, so, I cannot use separate bed for only one type of plants.

Better harvest from small garden

Pot marigolds (calendula) and nasturtium grow very well between my other plants. They look great and, due to their pest attracting or insect deterring properties, they help to keep my vegetables healthy. Nasturtium flowers are edible and calendula flowers cure us from many health issues. For herbal treatment purposes, we collect new and fresh blooms and dry them.

Small garden, big harvest

I like dill all around cucumbers. Traditionally, Latvian food uses a lot of dill, parsley and green onion. Dill regulates and normalizes blood pressure. It is believed that eating decent amount of dill will lower high blood pressure. Not like a pill, but with regular use, it becomes more normal. Parsley, dill and green onion are extra health boosters. Use parsley/dill tea compress on face and it will regain useful look. You can drink it as morning drink for general tone. Dill seeds need to be planted every 2-3 weeks (the same about lettuce and arugula) if you want to have it fresh all summer and until the first frost. We collect dill seeds to use as herb and also to have it for new plants next year. Use dill seeds when pickling cucumbers, as well.

Efficient gardening

If you see that some plant is taking over and the other one is suffering, it’s time to transplant one of them. If some plant has damaged leaves, remove them right away. Observe what’s causing it: how moist or dry the soil is, are there any bugs or insects visible and so on. Pests often love the underside of leaves.

Better harvest from small garden

When tomato plant becomes too bushy, we cut out the suckers (the new branches which develop in the crook between main stem and large branch). That is very necessary in the greenhouse. My tomato plants grow outdoors. I would say do not prune them too much, especially if it is a single, separately growing tomato plant. Detach suckers if you have many tomato plants growing together and they fight for space and it’s visible that plant does not produce any fruit because of too many leaves. We can always use common sense: if you leave only bare main stem, the plant will burn out in hot sun.

Better harvest from small garden

Garden requires daily care. Many garden works are physical work. No need for any other exercise if you work out there watering, weeding, refreshing, planting daily.

Featured Love, grow and eat red radish

Backyard grocery store: love, grow and eat red radish

Cold climate is perfect for radish

Maybe you love gardening just as much as I do. Maybe you love fresh vegetables and sprouts?

Maybe you just want to save money while eating top-quality food. Whatever the reason, radishes are great starting plant in the backyard. It grows in quite cold soil and it will grow even when it is almost minus degrees. In fact, radish likes cold climate. Once radish comes up, you can consume also the young leaves since they have the same nutritional value that the vegetable has.You can start radish as soon as the soil is ready to use. It only takes a few weeks and you can already consume it.

Greens and red radish: picturesque and delicious combination

Radish goes well with other early spring greens, for instance green onions or chives. Chives are up as soon as snow melts and the soil has just somewhat warmed up. Chives are also perennial, and you will enjoy them every spring once they are planted. Chives and green onions grow like weeds, no special conditions are required. The only requirement all these plants have is generous watering unless you have many rainy days. Radish will never be at its best quality if it has suffered from dry conditions.

Grow red radish

Great nutrients without much effort

What is the value of radish and greens? Huge. It not only tastes fresh and great, but it is also very low in calories, but very high in minerals and vitamins. Red radish contains vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K, and it is high on antioxidants. Radish has also fiber, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, copper. Young radish has milder taste, overgrown radish turns into fibrous indigestible matter. Therefore, we consume the red radish while bright red and juicy with bright white flesh.

Grow, love and eat red radish

Undeniable health benefits at no cost

Any fresh spring greens, especially absolutely organic greens as from your own garden, will contribute big time to immune system and provide with necessary vitamins and minerals. As I wrote before, each vegetable, each herb comes with its own unique, digestion-friendly complex of beneficial nutrients. Therefore, greens and early vegetables 100% beat the benefits one gets from synthetic and artificial supplements. Plus, they are clean of harmful chemicals and pesticides.

If you live in a large city

I feel sorry for everybody, who cannot keep distance from others during this pandemic. Especially, if your place is in a high rise, there is much less opportunity to have fresh and clean air, fresh (as from garden) vegetables, fruits and herbs. People with balconies can still devote some large pots, plastic bags (large size with holes for air) or boxes for planting herbs, greens and easy to grow vegetables. It depends on many things whether it will turn out as a great undertaking. Container gardens do not take much time. It’s spent mostly on planting and later regular watering.

Use time wisely and go for vegetable gardening

Most people have plenty of time this spring. Why not to go outside, dig up some area, add fresh top soil and seed something good for you? It is a nice exercise, fresh air and good food. Perfect combination!

Radish seeds can be also colored or attached to a tape, but they are not that tiny and quite easy to put in soil. Radish seeds should be spaced right away because it will not like being taken out and replanted.

Extra simple and extra healthy recipes

I like extra simple recipes which save me time and efforts.

Thinly sliced radish is great as topping on bread which you cover with some butter, cottage cheese plus cream and pinch of salt and pepper.

It goes well in any salad which contains lettuce and cucumber, dill and green onion.

You can always add hard boiled and sliced egg.

Love, grow and eat red radish

Extra simple salad of radish with leaves:

10 radishes with leaves, we use just the freshest and smallest; sliced, but radish leaves, dill and green onion are finely chopped, pour over kefir dressing, add 3 quartered hard-boiled eggs on top of mixed salad

All greens and radish salad

Bunch of carefully rinsed and washed chickweed, young dandelion leaves, soaked in strong salt water for 0.5 hours, washed; arugula or lettuce, 6-8 radishes with small, young leaves, dill, green onion, 1 clove garlic, salt, pepper to your liking. We thinly slice radish and finely chop any greens and garlic. Very small leaves do not need any chopping. Stir, pour over kefir, mix of kefir and sour cream or mustard dressing.

I never measure anything and use any variations of ingredients depending on what I have. Basically, one needs to feel what goes with what and use common sense. These recipes are what I would make for us. I haven’t included extra detailed handling instructions because I believe that everybody knows how to make some salad.

Mustard dressing

5 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp mustard, I use Keen’s hot mustard because I like it, but you can replace it with any other you prefer

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp liquid honey

Salt and small bit of paprika powder

Feel free to improvise with radish and any early greens, including weeds.

I do add radish to quickly broiled smoked salmon salad along with cucumber, greens, arugula, dandelion leaves or baby lettuce. Extremely delicious! Use balsamic vinegar dressing.

Broiled smoked salmon salad

Only benefits

That is such a vitamin boost. It will contribute to your immune system which we need right now and leave feeling more energized every time you have eaten it. Early spring greens with radishes will also cost you nothing if you put seeds in soil right now.

Never eat lots of radish since eating huge amounts might irritate stomach. Realistically, never eat anything in large amounts.

Stay safe and healthy!

Featured Find remedies in the backyard

Backyard pharmacy and grocery store: spring

Stay safe during virus outbreak and take good care about your health!

To boost our immune system and overall health, weeds and plants from our backyard and nearby forest or park come at no cost and with extreme benefits.

I hope you are self-isolating and you can do so without worries, since due to nature of their work, many people still need to be out and working.

You have time now, so, use it in a meaningful way!

The COVID-19 outbreak reached Canada in late winter and early spring. It is quite sensitive time for many Canadians because our internal resources get somewhat depleted during the long winter months when there is lack of sunshine and we stay indoors a lot. Now with the outbreak, we must stay away from other people in order to be safe and to prevent virus from spreading. Since we stay home, we can do many things which improve our immune system and provide ourselves with healthy extras.

Nature has taken good care that we always have a wide range of vitamins and minerals available to us. The best part is: everything that we require to sustain good health can be often found in our backyard, nearby forest or park. All we have to do is use our imagination, experience and knowledge and utilize the natural resources to our benefit.

Early spring is the best time for taking advantage of natural resources and also seeding and planting. Nature has everything, and that includes all health boosting substances, all minerals and vitamins in the most suitable and most balanced form with high bioavailability.

This year, I’m suggesting you keep nettles and dandelions in some garden corner. Especially, while their leaves are young and soft, they are a fantastic addition to either meals or preventive measures and therapy.

To survive without watering, many weeds have developed extremely widespread and long roots. Thanks to such roots, weeds can absorb a lot more nutrients than our cultivated plants. Weeds are also stronger and more resistant to plant diseases. They grow without fertilizers and greenhouse conditions. Biologically active substances which we can obtain from wild plants and weeds are also in greater concentration, in a ready-to-use form. Weeds are survivors among plants and they can withstand any harsh conditions. This is a very good reason to use wild plants and weeds for our benefit and for our nutrition.

Strong immune system means a lot for our health at any time, but especially during virus outbreaks. Weeds boost our immune system like nothing else. Weeds are also the first ones which come up as soon as the soil thaws. We collect different parts of wild plants and weeds: leaves, roots, flowers or the entire plant. The best time for collection is early morning or late afternoon before dusk. That is the time period when plants have absorbed nutrients and their content is high.

My family was living in the countryside, not far from a small Latvian town during 60-s of the last century. We didn’t have any pharmacies or drug stores in the area, and, therefore, we didn’t use any synthetic medicines. How did we manage any health issues? There were not many, and we used lots and lots of herbal remedies which were available in extremely wide variety and in abundance. At a very young age, I learned how to recognize each grass, plant, flower and herb and memorized what it does, how much and what way to apply it. Therefore, I am not sharing that much clinical trial findings, but my personal findings and Latvian traditional herbal recipes.

We collect wild plants and weeds only in safe, clean places, definitely not along roads or highways with lots of traffic. Parks, where people walk pets, are also not a good idea. For immediate use, we collect healthy looking, undamaged parts of plants and we definitely blanch most of them. Blanching will also prevent from consuming any undesirable insects or germs.

Each plant comes with its own complex or set of useful biologically active substances. These substances are available in a well-balanced way. You can use wild plants and weeds in salads, soups, green smoothies, stews, pesto, on bread together with other vegetables or specifically for health purposes as herbal tea, extract, tincture, infusion or mixture.

Nettles are definitely a champion among natural treatments and health boosters: stinging nettle Urtica dioica, small nettle Urtica urens L., white nettle or white dead-nettle Lamium album. They grow in almost every backyard. The same goes about dandelions. Quite soon in our area, it will be time to start collecting birch buds and pine-tree buds. I planted specifically a few healthy nettles in a small area where they will be controlled from taking over other plants, hence my backyard does not have rich soil and nettles do not grow there naturally.

Nettle has everything for health

Some properties of nettle

Dried and fresh common nettle and small nettle leaves and roots, as well as white nettle flowers and leaves (they are not as rich as common nettle) can be used for numerous conditions and overall improvement of health. Common nettle is high in iron, contains vitamin C, vitamin K, group B vitamins and practically any vitamin which is useful for humans. Nettle contains numerous minerals, carotenoids and fatty acids, as well as various essential amino acids, chlorophyll, tannins, carbohydrates, sterols, polysaccharides, isolectins. Nettle roots contain oleanolic acid, sterols and steryl glycosides. Nettle seeds have also high content of these nutrients. The amount of useful compounds in plant depends on location, season, daytime of collection and how young and healthy the plant is.

Using nettle benefits any body system, but especially the immune system, nervous, respiratory system, hematopoiesis (blood formation at cellular level), cardiovascular system, muscles and bones, improves also gastrointestinal health, treats kidney, liver and gallbladder problems. We traditionally used them for joint pains, as well.

Nettle can help with blood sugar stabilization in diabetics. It has been observed that nettle tea lowers blood sugar. Using nettle makes person stronger after exhaustion or treatment of disease. Nettle is an important herb for treatment of anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Nettle juice and tea has been used orally as an additive for treatment of tuberculosis, bronchitis, cough, whooping cough and other respiratory symptoms. Latvian traditional herbal treatments use nettle to stop bleeding in lungs, abdomen and uterus, to treat upper respiratory problems, and especially for cleaning blood and for removal of toxic substances from the body. Nettle stops also wound bleeding, and not only that: nettle also possesses highly efficient antibacterial properties.

Nettle boosts metabolism within the body, increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, constricts blood vessels (thus, you cannot use nettle in hypertension), facilitates blood clotting, development of epithelial cells and tissue granulation (wound treatment, bleeding), normalizes menstrual cycle. Nettle has antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, calming, anti-allergic and diuretic properties. Nettle can be used with many chronic conditions when immune system cannot fight and protect us from harmful impacts.

Who cannot use nettle products and supplements or must be otherwise cautious?

People, who have hypercoagulation, e. g., excessive blood clotting disorder, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, bleeding caused by uterine tumors, cysts and polyps, people with kidney failure and those, who suffer from blood clot formation in veins (thrombophlebitis), as well as during last months of pregnancy.

Some medical literature suggests that nettle hardly affects blood coagulation (content and form of vitamin K), and other literature warns to observe caution. I would always go with moderate use which applies to absolutely everything we introduce into our diet or health routine. Always proceed with caution when it comes to health.

In April, and if it is warm, also at the end of March, we can usually collect new and bright green nettle leaves. We pick common or stinging nettle and small nettle leaves with gloves, and they also require blanching before we use them in salad, soup, omelet, stew or simply as tea or compress. Some sources advice to keep nettle leaves in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. We watch that leaves do not lose their bright green color. Then, we use a strainer and quickly submerge the strained leaves into ice-cold water. We dry them in paper towel and use as we please. Stinging or common nettle goes well with anything that uses spinach as an ingredient. Therefore, similar recipes can be used. We prefer them with green onions or chives and yoghurt, kefir or citrus dressing, plus our favorite herbs.

Find remedies in the backyard

There have been clinical trials about herbal treatments. Review of some clinical trials about properties of nettle Exploration of nettle properties

Recipes and more suggestions will follow if there is any interest. Please, comment if you think you could make use of such addition. Since most people do not read anything, I’d just like to see whether it makes sense to post an article about nettle juice, nettle tea or some simple salad recipes and also dose suggestions.

Any herbal supplement can cause sensitivity or other reactions. I’d advice always try tiny amount (as with food) first or discuss it with your doctor in case of a chronic condition. Using herbal tea or tincture, as well as infusion requires to follow instruction about daily dose.

Featured

Think pink: how to return to life after a long treatment

A few suggestions which work for me

If you just took the last pill, are still struggling with the treatment medications, are just getting in or out of a long treatment, I know where you are coming from.

The treatment of my current health issues lasted for 1349 days so far. It hasn’t ended yet, but I am getting back to life and back to normal everything. 1349 is just a number. It is just a number that has resulted from many months, weeks, days, hours and minutes spent trying to feel better. Did you know that every minute in pain lasts longer than an hour doing pleasant things?

I have tried everything. I am not saying that my personal experience is going to work for everybody, but some parts might.

The inevitable side effects

Many people go through very long treatments and use medications that also destroy them along with a cure. Side effects manifest on our body and on our mind in many very different ways. The cure of bad issues and severe conditions always comes with undesirable effects. Always, that is the nature of chemicals which can be extremely harsh at times.

I just downloaded some beautiful pictures of flowers and could not resist sharing them. I attached them below text.

Looking at, thinking of and seeing beauty in nature helps me relax and makes me forget pain and bad feelings. Does the beauty have the same effect on you?

If it does, you should put yourself together as much as you can and get out there and look at flowers, trees, listen to bird songs and watch wild animals like squirrels or rabbits, chipmunks or similar creatures. Watching undisturbed flow of a very simple life supports the weak, recovering body and certainly gives more strength.

The first suggestion is: do not put pressure on yourself. Just don’t do that. Treatments are always accompanied by strict schedules, doctor’s appointments, nurse visits, meal times and sleep hours. Everything is scheduled. When we start feeling better and when it seems we are strong enough to do absolutely anything and embrace the globe, we should take things easy. Especially at this moment. We should move step by step, not rushing, not exhausting ourselves even more.

With recovery and as the undesirable effects wear off, we are experiencing unusual additional energy. Small bit of willingness to open our eyes. A desire to breathe very deeply. An intention to walk without concerns about getting dizzy and shaky. Wow! That is success!

That is the hugest success we can only imagine. We never think it is such a pleasure to simply walk without pain. Well, it is. I know how it feels to suddenly wake up after long months of being in a subdued mood, blundering around half-asleep, having no willpower to even want something. Recovery after a long treatment is similar to being reborn.

Colors regain brightness. Sounds become clear. Light is blinding. Sun is so intense. Yes, we probably have to wear sunglasses.

The other suggestion is as follows. Many medications require specific approach: staying out of sunlight, not consuming some particular foods or drinks and so on. We cannot forget about these warnings after the last dose of medication because its activity may continue way beyond this point. Being cautious is a good habit when starting or discontinuing medications. Alcohol does not work with any medication: it either inhibits the positive side or enhances it. I believe staying away from alcoholic drinks is a basic when recovering or while using meds.

The most often observed side effect must be nausea and feeling sick. It is unfortunately that our body wants to alert us, and we know we are wrong and the body is right, but we have to continue with meds. I had extreme episodes of nausea. To the point when I could not even think clearly. Nausea did not allow sleeping or resting either. I somehow found aloe vera juice. The stuff that worked for me was with pomegranate flavour. I am extremely sensitive to any substance, and regular anti-nausea pills never did what they were expected to, but with aloe vera juice I achieved a state when I was feeling practically normal. I took it after quite a lot of water on empty stomach and then as prescribed: 4 full large spoons.

The third suggestion is moderation. Moderation in everything. No extreme foods or entertainments, no extreme physical loads or exercises. Living around the neutral zero isn’t that bad at all. Overdoing with physical exercises can through you back, so can eating out too much or having too many drinks.

It’s a heavy work for the body to return to normal daily routine without strong pills, injections, i/v pumps or i/v lines. While it is such a relief to get off meds, there is an in-between period. It is better to get back to life slowly than destroy everything that was achieved through so much suffering.

Meanwhile, the last suggestion is think pink! Soft and dreamy colors in the environment work their magic. Pictures drawings and paintings of beautiful things in calm colors do the same: relax the tension, make our mind happy and that’s when we are really back on track.

Think pink: create happiness

Think pink: troubles go away

Think pink: send and receive love

Think pink: beauty has so many faces

Think pink: no other color speaks so loudly about feeling good 

Think pink: it is a good color to make face and soul look fresh

Featured

My Angel’s Day

May 18, usually a fantastic and very pleasant day of spring is my Angel’s Day or my name’s day. This day for many Latvians is almost more important than their birthday. It also is one more day to celebrate something beautiful, and we are honoring the person and their name on this day. Russians refer to this day as Angel’s Day, and I have to admit it sounds so poetic, therefore, I love using this description a lot.

Latvians got their name attach to particular dates since late 18th century. The church calendar probably gave the idea, and it became an extremely popular way to congratulate people who we love.

Statistics tell us that there are currently 12,713 Ineses residing in Latvia. Many Latvians have relocated to other countries, so there are definitely more ladies and girls whose name is Inese out there if we take into account the entire world’s population. It has been one of the most popular names for at least 5 decades in Latvia. I am proud I have this beautiful name and I am happy my parents chose this name for me since it suits me so well.

Angel's Day Angel

The small angel was given to me by my mom. She always gives me very thoughtful greeting cards and very interesting gifts. This small angel sits on the shelf very close to my desk to watch over me, to protect me and to always remind me about my mom.

Angel's Day Love

I don’t know how lilac does this, but lilac is always blooming on my Angel’s Day wherever I am. My angel sits on my right shoulder and we are both extremely happy because it is spring, because there are flowers and because all summer is still ahead. That means, gorgeous time to look forward to.

Inese’s song

We have a song which was composed by a very famous Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls. It was written for a musical play, but it became so popular that it is always played on the radio and on the TV on May 18 when numerous Ineses will welcome their guests with rich dinner and wonderful party. The most usual gift for name’ s day is flowers. One doesn’t need anything special, not even invitation. So everybody can make happy everybody else. Happy Angel’s Day dear Ineses all around the world!

Holding my breath and looking forward to better times

In the small while between my previous post and now, the whole world has changed. Just a month ago, nobody would believe the abnormal tragedies which are happening right now. Such disrespect for human life, such absolute disregard for the rest of the world! CNN news told: nobody expected this Russian invasion to happen. Wrong: people, who have experienced Russian invasion before, were certainly convinced that it doesn’t stop with demonstration of power and capabilities of armed forces. Who were they kidding with announcements of military exercises while drawing immense numbers of troops around Ukraine? Not me, I can say that much.

The warfare also takes place close to Latvia, Latvia has a 214 km long border with Russia and approximately 173 km long border with Belarus. It runs partly along the Daugava river. It was announced that Belarus has “de facto” given up its border with Russia, meaning, willingly and “de facto” joined Russia which was to expect. The current situation isn’t about Ukraine alone. Playing with the fire is probably a good description of this moment. When you are dealing with a power-driven aggressor, who seems to pretty much lost his mind and is ready to sacrifice not only lives of other nations, but also Russians, many of whom are against the war, against totalitarianism and unfair invasions, the threat becomes global. At this point, it feels like the world has to be on one side or the other: if you are not with, you are against.

I keep exchanging information with my family in Latvia daily. They see sooner what’s happening in Ukraine and they know people who are involved directly in fighting the Russian army over there. Can one be cautiously and moderately opposing an insane powerful aggressor like Putin? Absolutely not. The input should have been faster, more urgent and more decisive. It’s too late to discuss the delays now. It is remarkable, though, how much financial restrictions can do. Cutting off the finances will have an impact, also inside Russia.

Prayers are great, but you beat power with more power since they don’t understand other language. Let’s see how the talks between Russia and Ukraine end and what happens in the next days. I’ve been thinking how 10 bucks helps a lot more than simply wishing somebody well.

We all deserve blue sky and peace

My blog is not about politics. It has never been. I became abhorred to politics during more than half of century while Latvia was occupied by Russia and within the Soviet Union. We hoped the freedom will be never again threatened by superpowers.

Back to Ontario, Canada. If you read my art blog, you know that I am packing and preparing to move my art studio and house again. That’s what happens in a greed-driven economy. Huge number of houses will be for sale this spring. Statistics show that housing prices have gone up 10 times between 1996 and now. The houses themselves are not any better, at least in this particular, previously very industrial area: bad drywall design with small windows, low ceiling and tiny rooms which honestly should be just one decent size room. We are moving to an older building which lacks some conveniences, but has character and huge backyard. It is also a commercially zoned property.

The most recent painting, and most supplies are in boxes now

It will be very problematic to find a place for everything. The biggest room goes to the art studio, and there’s hardly anything left for all other necessities. We might be suffering during the hot and humid summer days and we might feel restricted because of extremely tight space, but for now, this is the best solution in a bad situation. It takes me about 1 month to sort through and pack everything and about as long to re-arrange and unpack everything. We intend to be in the new place by mid-March, and I should be ready to start art classes in the first weeks of April.

I don’t have much time for social media or advertising, straight the opposite, in fact, but it would have been great to sell a few paintings. As you know, any moving comes with big expenses. It’s been 3 years without much interaction in the art studio. Who can see my art online? Very limited number of people. Among them, almost everybody paints and sells art. Do the math.

I live for the spring, for the moment when nature wakes up

The globe is divided. Stay on the right side! I wish for a clear spring sky over any place, any country. Will that come true? Time will show. For now, we are all in this: supporting the honest fight, supporting the freedom and future from bad intentions and actions. History has shown that the good guys frequently win at the end. The price they have to pay for that is another matter. It’s not enough to hope and pray now. This situation requires active involvement. Far as you may be, nowadays weapons and cyberattacks have immense reach. Most of us, will get through this unscathed. Ukraine is a different story, and we will stay on their side as much as possible. Great to see the support, donations, all kinds of aid.

Meanwhile, I’m going through my personal issues. Winter always makes me sick, quite literally. Therefore, I’m trying to make use of any day which allows staying pain-free or almost pain-free. It would be strange to hope that pain goes away completely after breaking and crashing practically all major bones which are in the body. I do celebrate my second birth around this time because it was quite a miracle to survive the injuries, although it’s already 30 years since that happened. I do remember mom as it’s been 3 years since her passing. Last day of February: I’m happy it’s over. I never liked winter and always lived for the wakeup in March and April.

Never without flowers, they inspire the best in us

Be well wherever you are! Thanks for reading if you did!

Emotions and feelings in winter colors

We’ve been frequently mentioning how important it is to stay calm, relaxed and keep our mind clear. When things go our way and nothing bad shatters our daily routine, everybody is fine. Yet, life is always a mix of all kinds of events. That means, time to time, crisis is inevitable. Usually, the scale of crisis differs: it can range from personal and individual to global, as it has been for the last 2 years.

One good indicator of mental health is staying well and managing your life properly in good times and in bad times. All generations get to experience a crisis, whether personal, local, country-wide or global. There are no exceptions, however, severity of crisis might be at distinct levels. Severity of crisis is a mental assessment we create for ourselves. Therefore, our reaction could range from panic and feeling of being destructed to quiet planning of preventive measures and execution of them.

Older people generally would take on events in a calmer manner because of their previous experiences. When we are past 60, we’ve seen, heard and experienced a lot. We know that the world owes us nothing, this is us, who act, react and decide. Statistically, we could have an average person in every group of temperament and personal features, but in reality – reactions are as many as there are people on Earth.

Our thoughts are slower than our emotions hence emotions take their roots in subconscious experience and depth of brain and body system interactions. It’s quite impossible to calculate the exact chemical brain processes and the precise amounts of all countless neurotransmitters which accompany one or another emotion and do that for an exact level. As humans, we are either upset, depressed, exhausted or happy, satisfied and altogether fine.

Passion and engagement play a big role when it comes to turning our desires into reality. We use to say: to the bottom of my heart. That’s exactly what matters. If you wish for something just because you were told that repeating some affirmations is what takes you closer to achieving whatever you want, it’s unlikely to happen. This depends on the degree of your passion and whether you feel it, whether your emotional state is an exact match in intensity.

Curses and wishes come true not because of the words, they come true because the involved emotions hit sky-high intensity. Bad emotions, like rage, envy, anger, hate or good emotions like admiration, excitement, joy and elation, they all matter more than words. The deeper and stronger the emotion, the more impact on our life. The more we reside in one emotional state, the more it is going to affect us. Change is good, even when it doesn’t feel right and being the best one.

So, who is feeling better about the pandemic and who manages its impact better: a person who is in a total rage and hates masks and lockdowns to the bottom of their heart, or a person who believes it’s way easier for everybody to just increase their immune reaction via vaccines and stay out of social gatherings for the common good? Some people find it nothing extremely unpleasant or difficult, some – as the highest sacrifice. Sure, the frontline workers face the worst, but there are millions of personal situations, and everybody of us individually always has a choice. We make it for better, or for worse, but, indeed, there’s is a choice. If you say, you don’t have any, I don’t believe you. Depending on situation, we have less or more choices, but in the worst case – at least one.

My personal world has shrunk a lot during these more than two years. I haven’t been too active, and usually during the winter, I am not. It’s not even pandemic, it’s just me. It is my choice because I could have been doing a lot more, yet, my energetic storage feels empty and my motivation is at a low point at the moment. This all changes over the year and reaches the top during warm and sunny months. It’s a good time to contemplate, plan ahead, and here and there, take a few steps towards executing my plans.

To raise the energy levels, we really need to be outdoors more – get some clean and healing air, watch birds in sunny days, enjoy squirrels working and playing unstoppably. We had a bad storm last weekend, and the weather is very chilly, it reaches minus 20 Celsius. I hear kids screaming and playing outdoors, and this sounds very pleasant to me. As soon as the air temperature raises a bit, I will resume the outdoor walks.

The room plants are doing great this winter. Well, they have my full attention. It’s a pleasure too look at them, and I never stop admiring the winter blooms, the bright green of leaves and their wonderful, gracious shapes. Room plants feel like a great green oasis in almost every room. They certainly help with air and mood, as well.

Altogether, I think emotions affect life more than our thoughts and words. For observant people, that shouldn’t be any news. We do mask emotions often because nobody wants to appear harmful and destructive to others. However, in everybody’s life, we can see also moments when their emotions come through and they reveal their true nature. I hope you know people who simply make you feel good without saying a word. I hope you have met somebody whose closeness doesn’t require you to speak to feel comfortable and safe.

Whether we know it or not, the emotional aura walks ahead of us and signals to others who we are. It’s good if you are a magnet to good people and push away the dishonest and evil ones. On subconscious level, we do not make choices with our mind, but with who we are. The true selves. Thankfully, being honest and genuine is always rewarded. One can pretend behind a screen, hide under their online image, create absolutely stunning internet personality, but time comes and the true colors become visible. That’s the power of emotions. They break through the protective layers and reveal the truth.

Last night I got news, that we have to move again. So, it’s been moving and moving, and now – once more. I hope for April, but that remains to be seen.

All the best until I decide to write more!

Late November

The rusty gold of leaves and rushing winds

Majestic clouds race in the brilliant blue.

Late November. Still sparkling, but

The winter will erase the colors.

The human nature –

It wants to hold, to keep, stick tight,

To grab, to hug and have it safe

And never say good-bye or part.

Yet, by design it all is

Loosing, letting go, releasing,

Forgetting, giving up and separating,

And making space.

Late November. I’m picking up one leaf.

All glory of the fading colors in just one maple leaf.

I place it in a book. I am so human.

I know I can’t, but I am trying to preserve the beauty.

Maple leaves

My Life School blog was never only about gardening, green living and growing our own food. I actually started it to publish my writing, life philosophy and stories about surviving aging in a great way, for instance, never gaining extra weight, maintaining bright and good memory and doing things in spite of some health conditions which crawl upon us after 60.

I paint beautiful and light-filled art because my life has been very difficult and painful at some stages back in Europe. That’s to keep everything in balance.

I write thought-provoking and visually-perceivable poems and reminiscent stories since I’ve spent almost 50 years in Europe and the recent 17 years in Canada. Life was very different back in Europe from what it is here in Canada. My articles frequently compare many sensitive areas of both lifestyles.

Red leaves

I dealt with medical research for 4 decades, and these discoveries, too, find their way into this blog. Finally, my strength is visual art and I’m trying to always publish great photos. You can find all of these specific areas if you look at the menu and choose one particular item.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a good transition into late fall and winter.

Life in grey scale with fall colors on mind

Most days of our lives do not have the lovely sparkle of happiness, and, luckily, they are not spent in the dark gloom of troubles and desperation either. Most of us go on, catching up with the ever-changing world and local developments. Neutral is good because it spares you stresses and saves from extremes. However, we sort of do not want to admit it and do not want to be there, yet, we are. It says, no news is fine, as long as there is no bad news.

The daily duties, the daily chores: it would be so much easier not to do the same over and over again. Last year around this time, it felt even more upsetting because we have some resolution of the pandemic coming our way now. Hopefully.

Red maple leaves

My motivation is low these days when it comes to blogging. I noticed how my old blogger friends post also not that frequently. The article we post gets some attention one or two days, and then nobody cares any longer. It feels like if it isn’t posted straight this moment, it’s not interesting, it’s lost importance or any actuality. That’s not true at all since good articles are meaningful and worth re-reading any time.

I have run in big website issues with people trying to harm it. Therefore, after getting in huge trouble two times when I thought I’d just follow back somebody who followed my sites, I don’t do that now. Especially, that refers to sites which want to post links and as if invite you to check out their site. The addresses looked ok, and, yes, they were on WordPress platform. For how long? Who knows, maybe just long enough to catch more trusting people.

So, I’m sticking with these bloggers who I have known for more than a decade since I started blogging. I’ve never had any great success with this or the other blog because I could never push publishing to the point of posting every second day. As you know, I have two blogs to attend, and the art blog definitely takes priority. It’s not that I have made much money off it, but it still gives me visibility in the broad and extensive art scene, especially the local one. To create new content for art blog takes me about two weeks, sometimes longer since I’m trying to always post new images and updated content.

Last fall blooms

Life is very fast moving ahead. We have fewer and fewer moments to just sit back and enjoy the day’s accomplishments. I still get done a lot because I’m not hooked on scrolling through the internet for hours or checking the very boring social media sites. Ever since they started adjusted the content to what one liked before and what gets most attention, it became almost intolerably one-sided story. There are by any means better ways to stay in touch with people who are physically far away.

This brings me to masses and public engagement. I’ve never been the one to like what some million of others have already liked. I will rather leave my comment under something good which hasn’t got any attention. I do that because good content slips through cracks thanks to engagement-based display of everything on any site. It makes me upset to no end sometimes.

The only print-on-demand site where I have my art is Fine Art America. I joined about a decade or so ago. The first art I posted certainly has gotten more views, but the sad part is that because of engagement rating, no new paintings and art get seen, only the old ones.

Autumn trees

I also do not know why there are viral posts or images, I’ve never seen one. It’s probably because I intentionally skip whatever is thrown at me and definitely don’t join the massive numbers of followers.

I’d love everything to be unique. Unique as our finger prints, DNA and iris of the eye. Unique as pattern of veins on a leaf or every single bloom. I’d love that individual and one-of-a-kind remain the most important. I’d love that we can stay who we are without being flown down the pipe with numerous others who is called “everybody”. It’s never true that everybody does this or that, watches the same, consumes and wears the same and enjoys it, too. But it is the main approach.

Late autumn leaves

Well, we have a choice. Always.

Good weather, bad weather, great outcome or none at all, it really matters very little if we have our own life assessment system and our self-worth doesn’t depend on the opinion of others. In case of things we cannot change, – we are able to change the way we view them. We are in the driver’s seat when deciding what’s of great importance to us.

The images show late fall colors in Ontario. Bright beauty before it all becomes the past. Enjoy while you can! Thanks for reading.

Under the blue September sky

What does your world look like today?

Is it bright and sunny, real nice end of September day or nothing good to talk about?

We cannot choose the weather, unfortunately, if we must stay where we are, live in a place which we might not even prefer, but that’s the reality: all doors are open, but not everyone of them takes us to a place we want to be.

Did you wake up in a hopeful mood and the day kept its promises?

Good things sometimes happen when we don’t expect them, too, as if out of nowhere. However, it’s the combination of all elements which has worked out in our favor whether we knew about that or not. The bigger success we expect, the more upsetting might be the disappointment.

Does that mean we don’t strive for more, don’t try achieving more and reaching for higher goals? We always do attempt to succeed in something currently out of reach, we should at least. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Until we experience tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, volcano eruptions and other nature disasters, we might say that every weather nature throws at us is a blessing. That’s changing now, and we might wonder how bad it is going to get? Thankfully, the area I live has been spared from nature’ s anger.

September was a very beautiful month in Ontario where I live. The simple pleasures are readily available for everybody, we just need to set aside a moment for these experiences. The sky is so transparent today, no wind, bees still work in blooms, and there’s almost overwhelming beauty of the late fall flowers. It’s a good moment to be in.

When you have gone through millions of small disappointments, tiny and big accidents, betrayal, losses and some calmer periods of life, it feels there’s nothing that can surprise one any longer. I’ve been sticking to my principles of honesty, truth and generosity for many decades. They get tested, too, these old-fashioned principles and morals. Competition is a normal way of existence now with any means being justified. It’s not enough to know, be able and have experience, you have to prove your self-worth and value of your skills every day from new. Every single day it’s some kind of competition, feeling of being pushed and rushed. If you do not post anything on social media or website, people forget you, forget who you are, what you do and so forth.

For how long am I supposed to be competing for the social media attention?

There is nothing stable in the universe of public opinion. I noticed that blog reading is down, too. The number of views goes up, but the actual interaction is down. Shorter attention span? Sure. The amount of information avalanching over the viewers head is also remarkably larger. While I love creating art, sewing, designing new outfits and other items, gardening, nature and its mystic ways, I’m not huge about throwing this into everybody’s face: look what I have! Nevertheless, I must do just that if I ever want to have more students in my art classes or sell my art.

Early fall for dreamers? Definitely.

September calm might be ending soon, in a few weeks or so. It’s a good time to regroup, recharge, put in vegetable preserves, take a short walk, collect new colorful leaves for the next nature-painted projects. The calm before the storm or maybe just time to think about what’s ahead, to dream a bit about things unfolding my way and according to my plans. The path, however, was created a long time ago. The ripples in the universal interaction ocean cause situations which we are living in now, at this moment. We have created our today as it is together with other people, nature, universe and our actions or inactivity, with our features and our thoughts.

I hope your day is as good as you expected it to be!

Stay in touch and thanks for reading!

It’s a brilliant day

Today, it is. The heat has decreased and the humidity torture is less depressing, as well. My blog posting gaps have increased, though, thanks to all kinds of unexpected issues. It is a time when I am aware of all things I still have to tackle and bring to some conclusion, yet, I don’t do anything here and there. The privilege of older age is that you can mentally sort through the urgent things and make a reasonable decision: there’s hardly anything that cannot wait for a bit longer. For instance, posting a new article which won’t be seen by that many anyway.

It’s a wrong decision from the point of being present on the internet, but a very beneficial from the view of general feeling-and being-well-aspect. Ever since we became billions on every social media site and every blogging platform, the importance of one single post lost its meaning. Life is not long enough whatever way you look at it. I’d prefer much longer stretch of feeling like in 35-50 period. I find that around 50 it was when I had still huge energy and motivation to fight every internet battle and to squeeze myself out like a lemon to grab attention. Over time, the need to be present everywhere has really lost its attraction.

Being present in moments which matter for me personally has become more important. Sooner or later, we all realize that there will be things which we aren’t destined to do, learn or pursue. Time limits our ability to perform everything at the same level of devotion and achieve the same level of success in all areas which appeal to us. It takes huge time to achieve adequate skills in any area nowadays. However, the abundant numbers of experts and people who do counselling means there’s too much advise about everything. 

Let’s talk about how-to posts. Mainly, there are 2 groups. The first group, usually, in technical aspects of using software, app, social media or blogging platforms, writing or drawing and painting tools are helpful. The second group is where the heading says “how-to”, but the article lists reasons why and immediately takes you to the button to purchase something. We already know why, if we are looking for the practical application of this new whatever it is. I’m really interested in finding examples of using a tool, a strategy, I want to see how it looks in reality, but that’s not possible. There are immediately ads and all kinds of offers to buy. Food takes very much space on the internet, as well, too much for me personally. I stick to the old and extra simple recipes, better yet, the ones which consist of a few ingredients. That’s also very beneficial for our digestive system.

Then there are the numbers articles: 10 things what to eat and 10 what not to, 7 ways to wear an outfit, 6 ways to relax, 5 ways to prepare a particular food and to exercise. Very often it is “how to be happy” in numerous ways. It’s usually a list of things which we all know, have or do not intend to have, do or do mind doing. It’s something which we are aware about, but we have a reason not to engage in it, or we are already mastering that aspect. This type of list provides with no discoveries. One advice can never suit all. The most interesting articles for me are about personal experiences, the diverse ways we live.

Today, it is a really brilliant day. Just with the right amount of heat and sunshine. With well-formed attractive clouds sailing the bright blue sky. With bees still working blooms and butterflies hurrying from one flower to another. With tomato branches almost touching the ground because of the heavy fruit. With fantastically orange and perfectly round pumpkins. I also saw hummingbird 2 times this year. That’s so cute for my location!

The summer has been too short as always. It was too hot, we had too much rain, it was too dry sometimes, too stormy here and there. And it will be definitely too cold in the winter. No perfect weather for us, and here I laugh a little. Our feeling of entitlement has spoiled us. I personally do not complain, I take summer over winter any time. The virus has had big impact on our life here in Ontario, as I suppose, in the place where you are at. We thought it will be a fairly swift battle and we would be done with it. Maybe you have lived as you wanted, but I here couldn’t. Restrictions are still all in place, except, there is no lockdown.

I have such insanely huge amounts of produce, I’m not sure what to do with it. We are giving away part of it to husband’s colleagues, sometimes to anybody who will take it. I am seeing all benefits of growing vegetables and flowers from my own seeds. These plants are very strong, they practically do not suffer from the regular plant diseases. It makes a lot of sense to take care of your own seeding material. Since I haven’t been anywhere, only at home (almost 2 years already!!!), I am attaching a few pictures of my garden. It can be enough, but dreams and memories take me to other places; where I have been, which I will visit and what I’m not going to see. Well, the Earth is small and big at the same time, just like this life: so uncomplicated and manageable one day, but absolutely stunning or overwhelming the next.

Have a good September which is just around the corner! Thanks for reading!

The rainy July, uncertainty and assumptions

Summer never disappoints, even when there’s more rain than in the fall or more heat than in Mexico. Just knowing, that the days are long, and light stays on longer is so satisfying. Recurring certainty gives a feeling of stability, but we are not yet 100% there in Ontario. We are fairly uncertain also about the length of vaccine efficiency and what happens next and so forth. Questions which will clarify themselves as time passes by.

The last 2 years have been a huge test: they have tested our patience, endurance, tolerance and self-efficiency. I am usually aiming for predictability and certain order of upcoming events, just like in nature: summer comes after spring, and then there’s fall, and winter. Clarity, simple sequence of events. During this period, it’s been knowing nothing about what to expect, misinformation, lies, doubts and promises which often didn’t turn into actions.

Time doesn’t take into account whether we like being in this mess created by virus or not: it just runs away and, in some cases, – out. This time period will stay in our memory for quite a while. Is the pandemic over yet? In some places and countries, it seems we are winning, and then, a new variant occurs, and we start losing. It looks like this is not the end of pandemic yet. I wish it were, though.

Are you also so much used to wearing a mask that it will seem strange leaving house without it? Or disinfecting surfaces and washing hands for hundred times? I’ve heard that people are having more anxiety attacks, more upsetting days, spending more time doubting themselves and the future. I’d say that is normal taking into account the circumstances. We feel very much entitled to many things and we often take them for granted.

Maybe this is a time when we simply allow the flow to take us? I’ve been always against the flow, against the rules, against demands, commands and external control. However, I find that most current requirements make sense and I comply with them. There is a lot of scientific evidence on how we survive. I’m happy that after spending more than a full month on a computer and on the phone, we finally got both vaccine doses. It’s three weeks now. It is a relief. Some feeling of order? I’m not saying that I feel very safe now, but it’s somewhat reassuring that, most likely, nothing bad is going to happen.

We are not back to any normal yet, although, we’re trying to pretend everything is ok. It will never be the same as it was pre-pandemic. Globalization has its plusses and minuses. One of the biggest troubles: any disaster affecting health becomes global in no time. Unfortunately, global trade is fine, global pandemic – not at all because it is handled inefficiently and as bad as only possible. Do two doses of vaccine ensure you’re done with the virus? Probably not. We’ve already heard Pfizer saying they detected the immunity was weaker after 6 months.

Depending on where you are, you might be fine or not at all. We in Ontario are trying to return to life without virus. I hoped people would love to attend the outdoor art classes now, after almost two years of everything online. It doesn’t seem so. Not much response because there’s also no place where to get attention, not even one specific place. Facebook just wants me to spend more money so that they would show to somebody what I publish. Well, Facebook, it’s been two very tough years, so nothing goes to you. I won’t even mention other media sites. If you’re not an influencer, post whatever you want, hardly anybody will see it. The problem is also that everybody is selling something, and buying happens mostly from the huge global outlets, go outcompete those.

I was reading how a marketing expert said she just made a million giving advice. Have you also noticed that teaching somebody to make money always results in high profits? Everybody is attracted to read about “make-money-quick”, or watch it, or listen to it. Unfortunately, it will always depend on your location, digitalization level, type of thing you do, demand for what you do and the basic mindset of your potential customers. However, it will mostly depend on how much you can invest in what you do, how much you can spend on advertising, help and specialists and creation of your product. Do you think I’d had any problem if I could run my ads every hour on numerous TV channels or have them everywhere sneak up on you on the internet?

The presence and visibility are the biggest problem.

When I started writing this blog and created the other blog and art website, I thought it would result in some extra attention. I’ve got blog friends, nice people to talk to online, that’s true. I spend a lot of time posting, returning likes and answering to comments. For art blog, a post usually takes about 2 weeks in making because I usually have to paint what I’d like to show, then take photos (what a hassle!) and then, putting it up is easy, but, altogether – very, very time-consuming. Basically, I’ve spent abnormal hours dealing with both blogs, and return is great when it comes to online following and friendships, but financially, it’s practically nothing to show for. It still makes sense compared to spending many hours on social media and not getting any traction. Well, it is like this: whatever you do, be influencer and famous, and then even dumb things you say or publish will get lots of publicity.

Global pandemic, global competition, global trade, global profits or losses, – but the effects of all that are very personal, very individual, very painful frequently. I do sometimes long for the time when somebody just drops in, they are happy with what I have to offer, they do not run around to 100 other places before making decision, and life is so simple because everything is in balance, everything happens. I am just wondering how could life become so complex? Getting a simple “yes” or “no” is practically impossible. It takes numerous emails, text messages, back and forth, numerous explanations and waste of time, and then you still don’t know whether you achieved what you wanted.

As always, I will post this very delayed article with a few pictures from my garden. Just like summer, garden never disappoints. Even when I don’t have time, plants just do their thing: they bloom, grow and bring fruit. Compared to everything else, it’s such a winning and rewarding effort. I do take great care of my pictures, but I suppose since I’m not emphasizing the photography aspect, they go unnoticed. As you know, I used to post more frequently, but cannot right now: life is too complex. I am re-opening the studio, moving art classes outdoors, preparing materials, and that takes about 10 hours a day or more.

Wishing you to recharge and rest during the summer! Thanks for reading if you did!

June, the Midsummer thoughts

Nothing can stop flowers from blooming! Not pandemic, not wars, fights, struggles and bad economic times; not even people who are not fine with where they are and what they are. The symphony of colors flows over the backyard making the adorable petal shapes the best artful creation there ever was. To hold one’s breath and to simply adore something which is way better, more complete than humans. The nature.

Midsummer and June: the fantastic time of the year. Although, flowers were rushing, the rich and lush green is embroidered with bright colors of scattered blooms under the pure and clean sky where white and happy clouds sail towards the sun. Standing in the middle of it, my heart says to just stop doing whatever I am busy with, and look around.

So many summers have blossomed away! Latvia is always in my memories when June comes around. It would be great to spend this time over there, more than 8 thousand miles away, across the ocean.

We went a few times to the Canadian Latvian community place called Sidrabene which translated would be like “silver lined spot” on this earth. We wanted to see what Midsummer celebration looked like there, and it was interesting, but not the same what people can experience in Latvia. Singing, dancing, beer and the special caraway seed cheese were included. Singing in the second part was mostly in English, and the Latvian accents of those who at least tried to say something in Latvian had a strong English note, too. Well, obviously, many of these Latvians have lived in Canada since early childhood or are even born here.

Latvians have numerous folksongs which have travelled to nowadays mostly verbally without writing them down. In the 18th century, enthusiasts started to categorize and collect them and eventually compile in enormous volumes. It is said that every Latvian has his or her own folksong. As I have explained in previous years, Midsummer celebration in Latvia is probably the most fantastic event with traditions going back for many thousands of years, so are the folksongs. We can sometimes wonder what does one or another thing actually mean, so unusual it sounds.

Wherever I would live, whatever I would do, I remain in my heart a Latvian. Part of this tiny (all Latvians, scattered around on the globe, would not fill even a third of city of Toronto), tough, hard-working, wise nation which stays very close to nature, opening its ancient soul to song, dance, arts and everything that is beautiful.

Our roots go deep, and in this technologically advanced century we still are admirers of ancient traditions, handmade outfits, jewelry, herbal medicine and help of the Universe as we walk through the life. The knowledge which comes to us from people who lived many thousands of years ago and whose names remain unknown, makes Latvians very specific, very charismatic and talented people. If one comes from a tiny nation, they simply have to master many languages, many skills, and to stay determined, or otherwise the big global forces will smash us.

I will attach a few links from the most unique event which will celebrate 150 years in 2023: the Latvian Song and Dance Festival where tens of thousands of people from kids to very old ladies and senior citizens join in songs and dance. Every region has its own colors, costumes and they all shine during this festival.

The famous Latvian song and dance festival, a few glimpses
To my native land, watch at piano, the best Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls, lyrics by Janis Peters, a very much loved Latvian poet

Enjoy the midsummer and stay close to nature!

The waiting game

Expectations

Real life, unlike virtual displays of it, frequently requires waiting. Waiting for something or looking forward to it, takes time which can be considerable. If you have been around for many decades, you already know that the period of expectations can turn out to be more pleasurable and more amazing than the event or occasion itself. The wonderful thrills of expectations and the anticipation of whatever you desire can be illusive and lead one to disappointment. That is when we overvalue the potential result or our role in it. We frequently do just that.

Patience

I believe patience is a virtue, and in times like right now when waiting is inevitable and it lasts for extremely long period, patience and understanding that some things cannot be rushed, makes life easier if you are used to wait for something and if you have acquired, learned along the way or simply got naturally the ability to be patient. You won’t go mad, get frustrated, angry, upset and depressed because you have to wait. Wait in line for vaccine, wait to book a vaccination appointment, wait to meet your relatives and friends, wait for normalcy to return.

Protesting

Nobody gives us back the time we have wasted. Protesting lockdowns, closures, vaccines, masks and stay-at-home orders is pretty much wasted efforts and time. The reality has shown that the best way to avoid any troubles is not being around anybody else. That’s the worst part of airborne respiratory viruses: they are everywhere where there is air, and as humans we cannot stop inhaling air or exist without it. We’ve been in lockdown in Ontario for a very long time, we still are. I read somewhere, it’s the longest lockdown among the developed countries. I noticed, however, that people are taking this fairly lightly. It is spring finally here, as well, the second warm week is happening, it’s 18-23 Celsius, and this warmth feels excellent compared to what it was just a while ago. So, people have visitors, no masks obviously, there’s partying, too.

The blooming

Once the gates are open, we are flooded with waves of blooming. Almost all trees and spring flowers are in bloom. They, too, have waited impatiently when the weather will turn mild and allow them to come up with their beauty. I don’t think there can be anything more relaxing and enjoyable than quietly watching a garden or trees. For my Angel’s day, lilac is always in bloom. I’m not sure how that can happen, but it does, year after year. Birds are busy, their shadows shoot across the lawn and their voices make one listen in awe how the nature beats it all. If you ask me, that’s the best party ever. Everybody is invited, no preparations required. This time I’m sharing pictures of my giant tulips.

Lesson

We sleep away and spend in waiting big part of our life. Unfortunately, there isn’t a chance avoiding that. Waiting might drive somebody crazy and angry, but the truth is we have probably learned something during the last one and a half years. If we haven’t, then we are failing to manage the biggest challenge the globe is currently facing. The other interesting aspect of the global pandemic is that every single person is involved. The outcome is the sum of collective human actions, inactivity and reactions. It makes one also wonder how greed and wars never stop.

Whatever your personal situation, I hope you are in the driver’s seat. More than ever, one needs to be in charge of their own life and their own decisions. Enjoy the blooming and thanks for reading!