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Time is a river

Time is a river, but once one is over 60, it feels like a waterfall. At least I experience time like that. Maybe it’s because everything takes longer to get done, maybe it’s because the flow of time has accelerated over the last years, but I’m very sure it feels as if the week consists of just a few hours. It was Monday, and all of a sudden – it’s already weekend. I was absent from this blog for quite a while.

Love the leaves and blooms!

I’m simply too busy catching up. The world has also changed with all major events rushing over us. The seasons have changed. We have fall season here in Ontario already, and I jumped over the summer completely. Half of the summer I was suffering from bad pain due to an accident and so I couldn’t do anything else, but read. As you know, I read only real books since I would love to spend no time online and no time staring at screens. I’m not addicted to devices and I use them only if absolutely necessary.

Cucumber blooms, delicate shape, beautiful color!

Nothing much has happened also during the last 3 months. I’m still just at home here, haven’t seen anybody, haven’t been anywhere. The garden I started in spring was doing ok, but we basically had no rain, none whatsoever all summer. Well, there were too many cucumbers and I have too many tomatoes at the moment. I don’t feel like making preserves this year and I also don’t have jars.

Summer colors

The internet and everything being online has made life extremely complicated. Dealing with paperwork isn’t easy and I plain and simple hate paperwork, just like many other people. However, I don’t think there are many people who didn’t get married because of paperwork. I managed that, back in Europe, and I was actually very happy later that I didn’t get married. It’s because the distance of time revealed the true face of that person.

Black-eyed beauties

The other thing I absolutely cannot take is meetings. It’s supposed to be great attending meetings, but I just dislike them so much that if you want to never see me again, just invite me to some meeting. This is because during the soviet times, up to 1991 while Latvia was in the USSR, we were always in meetings, preparing pointless and useless reports, plans and schedules. The paperwork was overwhelming and, I have to admit I have missed probably a lot of good opportunities since they required plenty of paperwork. I simply do not apply to shows, art associations, exhibitions and so on.

Middle of summer

Living is tight for most people nowadays. My ability to do numerous things on my own helps. Being a good cook helps, too. However, it’s been so much cooking while staying only at home that I’ve lost the spark for doing that. Thankfully, I’ve never changed my size or weight after 21, therefore, I have a wide choice of outfits. I am wearing pants I had sewn in 2004 when I just arrived in Canada, jackets and skirts from 90-s. I have sewn them myself, therefore, the fabric is excellent and doesn’t wear out or lose color like the readymade clothes.

More of flowers, more color

While I am on some social media sites, I really cannot stand them. Facebook is a necessity for art classes and other art events, but the most I can spend there is about 5 minutes a week. I just look at Facebook, and it takes no time at all to become nauseated. I think I was already too old when social media became a must for whatever we want to promote and put out there, so I never felt social media as an organic part of me. I lack that chatty style and I’m way too realistic and honest to spread lies shamelessly. I never engage in small talk either, also in real life. Or give out fake compliments. Or watch weird videos.

Hibiscus bloom

Nothing of that makes my life better, therefore, as I mentioned before, I rather read real books. Or some blogs, or my own blogs. The problem is that most people don’t have time to even look at the actual post. They click on “like” from Reader and then leave a comment – please, visit my site. While I have quite many followers, I know well those few who read my posts. I hope I will stay in touch and be more present during the upcoming months, but my art site and art blog definitely take priority since art is what I do, and I want it to stay that way. Making income with art is very tricky. It’s also time- and resource-consuming business. Well, time will show how I survive doing what most people would say is a futile effort.

Start and finish in bright yellow, it sure is going to brighten somebody’s day!

Meanwhile, I’d like to remind that time is a river, and it never gives us back anything. Float, swim or fight the flow – that’s up to each one of us. As long as we are above the water, we can do lots. Have a decent fall season!

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Blooms of life

The early spring, blooming spring, rainy days and sunny days: they all have passed by so swiftly that it’s almost the first day of June. I stretched the non-publishing time for so long, I’m practically annoyed how I couldn’t find any free hour to quickly post something. Well, I’m somebody who needs to think everything over, and then I just type.

Wildflower fields in my park
And garden flowers

Every season carries something admirable and worth experiencing, but the blooms of spring, they are like a fresh breath from another world: quiet and peaceful world where nothing makes us think of wars and storms, approaching troubles and old age. Blooms of spring and blooms of life, they are the mysterious messengers of the view behind the bend and life beyond the visible and perceptible world. Colors? Absolutely breathtaking, pure, clean, bright.

A bit earlier in May
This view was from just a few days ago

When we moved over to this old house, we didn’t even suspect how big is the parkland which surrounds it and how many old trees are growing here. I have wildflower fields on my own for the time I will spend at this place, and even quite a few wild strawberry patches. Moving isn’t the best part of life, but then again –  every single day I’m discovering here something.

I also violets, all over the place

While park, plants, blooms and trees belong rather to a fairyland, life hasn’t been that easy. One task rushes the other, and the evening comes up with a total exhaustion. Getting fresh air isn’t bad and working in the garden or rather, digging soil daily to create a garden, assures I have lots of physical exercise. Too much at times. However, the seeds I not that long ago have put in the soil have started result in neat tiny seedlings and some have become almost teen plants.

Wild strawberries in front yard and deeper in the park

I couldn’t help myself again, it’s that Latvian urge to always have a garden, always plant and harvest something. I was well aware how tough it will be to dig a forest practically. Yet, the visible results are very promising and encouraging. I have also many private classes this season, therefore it happens so that I’m too tired to write down a line. I am adding a few pictures, but most are left out because the post would become too huge. These are the blooms of my current life. Nothing extreme, but certainly endlessly beautiful.

Pansies in fantastic blue
Pansies in fantastic blue color
And purple irises which I found under leaves when raking

I hope you are looking forward to a good summer. I know I am.

It’s not my regular posting time, but I know that I won’t have time during the day.

All the best and thanks for reading if you did!

Featured

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.

Featured Lovely veggie basket

Endless supply of seeds and how to have your own

If you wanted to plant variety of vegetables this year, you probably noticed there was shortage of seeds, at least in Ontario it was. I didn’t find any arugula, Bell pepper seeds and early pickling sort of cucumber seeds also. Green onions were not that good, they really took abnormal time to come up and, generally, they were not doing that great. It was the seed tape. What do you do if you really want some particular vegetable and there is no way to get seeds on time in the middle of pandemic? Online ordering was out of question for me because shipping would have taken way too much time.

You have probably seen and watched time-lapse videos about how beautifully seeds start to sprout if you use the real vegetable. For me, it happened accidentally with tomatoes on the vine this spring. I was digging up soil. It was also time to prepare garbage for the next morning and I had really soft and not appealing tomatoes on the vine in my fridge. They were ready to be thrown out. I simply buried these tomatoes at one end of the future vegetable bed and forgot about them. After a while, I’d say, quite a while, I noticed new tomato plants had appeared in that spot.

Tomatoes on the vine

I had read before that if you use seeds from a real vegetable, there won’t be much harvest or possibly such plants won’t produce at all. That is not true at all. It certainly took some time (May-July) to see they will produce, but these plants are actually stronger than plants which I started from seeds which I had bought. Tomatoes on the vine are doing great, they will be red soon.

The same goes for paprika or Bell pepper. I just used seeds from a real Bell pepper which we had bought at the grocery store. These plants are doing really well, they were just blooming last week, and I cannot see why these blooms wouldn’t turn into vegetables. I have used my own seeds which we normally harvest for the next year: calendula, nasturtium, dill, cucumber, tomato, paprika, pumpkin and so on, basically, anything which has collectible and visible seeds.

Basket of veggies from my backyard

I also buried pumpkin seeds from a previous year’s pumpkin in the soil. It had survived all winter, and I just never got to pickling or using it. My pumpkin plants are doing really well. The problem with pumpkin or sunflower seeds is that backyard squirrels and chipmunks will go for big length to get to them. I had to build a firm fence around, so that the roots of tiny startup plants would not be disturbed. Other than that, just place these seeds in rich soil on a small hill, and pumpkins will do fantastic.

Beautiful dill

For green onions, I cut off the part which has root, allow it to become stronger in water and plant it outside. Such green onions grow much better than the ones from seeds. I’ve been using these green onions all summer and will plant a few more as soon as it’s not abnormally hot.

Backyard gardening

Here is my rating of plant health depending on type of seeds or plant seedlings from worst to the best.

Seedlings and young plants from a nursery or garden center are usually doing the worst. Such plants are much more susceptible to changes in weather, as well as to plant diseases. I’m not buying any ready plants for about 5 years already. It might seem it is going to be much slower process when starting, for instance, tomatoes, Bell peppers and cucumbers from seeds, but that’s not true. They catch up pretty quickly providing the weather cooperates. Day and night temperatures need to be reasonably high for faster sprouting.

Second place take plants which I started from seeds, and seeds were bought at a store. Depending on what type of seeds are available: organic, not organic, colored or on tape, results will vary. I find that some seeds on tape are fine, for instance, lettuce and cucumber, and some are not, I can mention green onion. The best for me have been organic seeds with no color applied to them and not on tape. Certainly, that depends.

The absolute winner among plant seedlings are the ones for which I used either the real vegetable or gathered and prepared seeds on my own. As always, do it yourself from start to finish appears to be the best way to do anything. That includes collecting and preparing seeds or just using suitable vegetable which otherwise would go into food garbage.

Lovely veggie basket

August is time when we can still plant some seeds. In fact, we have to wait until it gets cooler and then we can plant radish, spinach and lettuce again. Depending on variety, kale will do fine also because it requires cool weather. Parsley and basil will have enough time to come up and then, you just take them indoors in October. Plant arugula since it takes no time at all. In fact, depending on your region, there are many more plant varieties, but I’m just mentioning the ones that fit the growing season for me in Ontario.

When it comes to gardening, experimenting is the best way to find out what your plants want and like and what results in rich harvest.  I’m seeing companion gardening is mentioned frequently. I must say that I have used it for as long as I can recall. That was inevitable because my gardens have been rather small and I had container gardening here and there, therefore, I could never plant some group of vegetables or one type of plants in a separate bed. Everything was always mixed up. Like I said before, some flowers literally protect vegetables, and, thus, we have much better harvest.

Companion gardening

Good luck with your garden whether it is big, small or tiny! The most important factor with gardening is the willingness of gardener to take some risks and experiment, as well as observe results. Just like in art which I’m writing about in my art blog.

Featured We are all interconnected in the universe.

Universe wishes us well, how we go with or against this plan

We, universe, nature and other people

We all create our own reality, and while doing so, we are interconnected with all other parts of the universe: the other people, nature, God and the highest power whichever one believes in. When you look at the brain activity chart, you can see numerous flashes which occur practically simultaneously. That is also how we as a tiny molecule of the universe are creating such flashes. People have tried everything: living mindfully, positively and using the law of attraction, as well as all kinds of significant rules we have invented so far. What works and what is just our illusion about living a full, balanced and abundant, life?

Our personal world we recreate every day

It is our world which we enter as soon as we wake up every morning. We do that as long as we live. We start out anew, fresh and on clean slate if we allow for that. When life is good, everything falls in place easily. We feel grateful, we feel that we are on the right path and we are sure the future is bright. The real problems start when life gives us tests and we have to overcome all kinds of obstacles.

The plan is always good

The purpose of a universal plan for us is always good and probably the best for the current situation. Can we see and understand it? Moreover, are willing to go along with it? Sometimes, one will understand the purpose of a situation only after many years and even decades. Sometimes, we will see what and why needed to happen sooner. This pandemic shows how vulnerable we are, and it really doesn’t matter what social class, financial wealth level, nationality, race or country one belongs to. This pandemic is to prove that as a human one is equal in the eye of the universe. One means no less and no more, but just the same.

Warning signs

We could argue that the current situation has nothing to do with a lesson from the universe, but it is simply the result of human negligence, error and mishandling of facts. As always, we get warnings and signs at first. Everything in the nature has been warning us for many decades. Deterioration of human health which is the result of attempts to achieve higher profits has been really alarming. Pollution and overcrowded cities, famine in some areas and wasting insane amounts of money for useless luxury items in some social groups, wrong values and mass production of cheap entertainment to keep humans in tight control, and so on and so forth. There have been many signs that the human race is on the wrong path.

Harsh lesson, but the choice is ours

Universe usually teaches us just like students at a regular school: at first, it is a general warning not to engage in some activity or process, then it is more targeted requirement to change the behavior, after that, we will receive strong corrective event which people, who feel like victims of situation, others or destiny, will call a punishment. In fact, the universe will try to stop you from destroying yourself while it is still possible with all kinds of means from mild warning to strong event that will change the route. Meaning, if you do not get the lesson with kind and mild suggestion, there is a need for strong means of correction.

Victim versus creator

If you see and perceive your personal world as a place where outside impacts every thought and step of yours and you have no say in the chain of events unfolding before your eyes, you are most likely feeling and acting as a victim: I cannot do anything about this. They have decided everything for me and I just have to comply and go with the stream. Now, if you are somebody who does not assume yourself as a victim, but rather somebody, who is in control of your own life and its events and who takes on the responsibility for results of your own actions, spoken words and thoughts, you will see that you can change and influence the chain of events. You can do that since you are the one, who understands that any current situation is created by you with your activity or inactivity, with steps you take or skip, with thoughts you pronounce or discard.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is something we seem not to have any more. When I hear people saying what a sacrifice that is to wear a mask, I’d like to ask them to think again. It is a preventive measure which helps us control the spread of virus and disease. From the first days we were advised no to travel, not to go anywhere, especially, not to fly and go abroad. Including March break, everybody was behaving as if nothing has happened. We heard that it’s not that scary as it sounds and there is no point in cancelling trip if one had paid for it in advance.

We are all connected

Now in the summer, people feel they cannot put off or cancel their parties and vacation travel. It’s vacation time and nothing will stop them from enjoying it. Well, we normally get what we ask for. It’s just so that this time adventure easily turns into trouble. This situation more than ever shows how connected the entire humanity is and how swiftly one person’s neglect and lack of judgement can affect other person’s life and health. You do not even know these people, but they will either work towards a better outcome or make bad outcome hit one harder.

Universe and we: the plan is always the best in current situation

True values

I’m not surprised big luxury brands are going out of business because this global situation reveals how unimportant it actually is for the global health to wear, drive or use a specific luxury item which is meant for show-off. Under mask, make-up becomes pointless. In the situation of social distancing, nobody really cares about one’s shoes, pants or dress. Hence, there are so many things which are of real value.

Blaming as lack of responsible approach

We might see this situation as a punishment for humanity if we feel like a victim. We might start blaming everybody and everything from government to food manufacturers, from lawmakers to neighbours and friends. That’s what a victim does: they blame something because they do not take responsibility for what they do and have done. In fact, your own health is in your own hands. That is very literary because you have to keep them in gloves and disinfect and sanitize frequently which I assume some people will also call a sacrifice. In fact, there is no punishment in the mind of the universe. There is no guilt or fault. That is an invention of the human mind to control victims and their behaviour. It’s easy to keep in control people, who fault themselves or feel guilty.

Universe wishes us well

The universe wishes us well. It will always try to work out the best scenario which meets your personal wishes and desires. I think you know that we have to be cautious about what we wish for. There is also a thing about negative sentences and the universal mind. It cannot hear what we say as a negative sentence. The same goes for small children. If you say: do not, they will only hear “do”. Therefore, sentences such as “I will not get sick” send out only one word “sick”, ‘I do not feel tired” means “feel tired” and so on. We have to use the affirmative form.

We have created every situation in our life

We have arrived at this day because of everything we have done, thought or said. That includes things we didn’t want to do or things we didn’t say out loud, or things we believed were unimportant. That includes signs and warnings we ignored. Blame is big nowadays. That means most people feel like victims, and social media and also TV strongly support that: blaming something or somebody and not being responsible for what we personally do. It is obviously a wrong way to approach any situation. It’s finally only us personally, who choose the fate of the globe. Every single person participates, and we either facilitate good outcome or cause harm for people we love most and eventually for everybody else. It’s in our hands to make things right.

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Seasons of life and the forgotten knowledge we all have

If we want to feel like a magician and creator of our life we have to understand how everything is connected in the Universe. Time has a very relative meaning in different space locations or in different situations of life.

Age and aging is a relative thing, too: it literally depends on our attitude towards ourselves, the amount of love we give ourselves, the degree of devotion to life and living because not everybody is even interested in living or being alive: why would they do numerous destructive things to themselves if that is not the case?

Aging is a natural thing, and we can witness the seasonal cycle of life in nature every year. Aging scares many people, but we cannot escape it, therefore, we must find things that keep us young longer: physically, mentally and emotionally.

Just like anything in our life, our aging process reflects our values, personal attitude, fear towards aging or lack of it, or excessive obsession with measures that make one look younger. Outside does not always reflect inside. We can look splendid on the outside, be well dressed, well-behaved, but the inside tells a different story.

Fear, insecurity, feeling sorry or regretful, as well as having feelings, such as envy, grudge, inability to forgive, inability to let things go, inability to adapt to the current situation and habit of residing in the past when one was young, good-looking and full of energy, eats up some people from the inside.

Every person experiences seasons in their life, however, every person in particular can experience mostly spring, summer, fall and winter or have them in a mixed order: some children are very mature, and some adults never grow up.

My life has had a long spring, stormy fall and extra early winter which turns into summer when I am past 50, and this summer never ends. Amazing, right? To have my knowledge, insight and skills I have spent big part of my life studying, learning, researching and exploring, I do it every single day.

Childhood is innocence and curiosity. Youth has spark and flame that needs to be turned into useful energy. As much as I love spring, I also love the mature beauty of summer and the wisdom of women who have seen it all: the calm wisdom of an orchard which gives us fruits; the deep calm under the transparent September sky.

I can survive winter; I just do not want to stay in it for too long. We are all equipped with abilities which allow adjusting to many conditions, whether internal, or external.

Therefore, we not only create our destiny and life, but we should be actively managing it. Playing with it? Maybe even playing with it.

The less obsessed we are with not getting old and older, the better we’ll be aging. Fear alone is such a strong destructive force. We attract things that take over our mind and subconsciousness.

Whatever we worry about and do not want to happen, definitely will in case we cannot stop thinking about that. It is very difficult to abstract our controllable mind from worries and fears, but we can let the subconsciousness help. Will it? Yes, it will as soon as we will start thinking about things that we enjoy and which bring us closer to a good outcome and away from troubles.

Do you have any idea how many people convince themselves that they are sick? The illnesses can range from mental to physical and also include physical conditions when no doctor finds anything, but the person just isn’t well. If it did not depend of our deeply hidden mind to a great extent, there weren’t any placebo effect. However, there is a very well observed placebo effect frequently and in many situations, and it can be so powerful that people sometimes speak about miracles.

Theoretically, we know everything. We have the understanding of many things even if we never knew they existed. It is because this knowledge is hidden so deep that our normal state of mind always dominates, and we are trying to trust only decisions we have made consciously, not the ones which we see in a dream or perceive as vague notions.

I believe that having no doubts in ourselves and courageously doing our best is already an achievement. If you had to define yourself only by the amount of self-care and self-love, where would you stand?

I have discovered summer inside my deep hidden mind. It is there, and it takes nothing much to be in it.

It is new path I am taking, and it is quite controversial to everything I have been taught before, but, nevertheless, it feels promising and it already has results.

Featured golden fall photos

All the gold of the fall

The only fair, honest and true thing that we have left at our disposal is the nature. That is why I am turning to it.

The only place where the true and real justice manifests is also the nature. I highly respect the nature for that. For being natural.

The only true value can be still found in the nature: natural food, natural remedies, natural breathing space … Well, they are taking it away step by step, but it is still available so far.

Everything else is valued nowadays by what it seems and looks or by what it sells for.

It will vanish with natural disasters which we are causing by creating the sale value.

I cannot travel a lot, therefore, I have become more attentive and observant and I notice wonderful and incredible things happening or surprising me straight at my doorstep.

That is not that little.

All the gold of the fall. Almost like all the gold of the world. Right here.

I am sharing it with you since I am a generous person.

The best of the golden fall.

Maple at my entrance

photos of golden fall trees

More gold in my yard

Photos of fall trees
Red gold of maple leaves

and

So much of it

golden trees at fall
Lots and lots of fall gold

Enjoy!

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!

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!

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!