At the doorstep of 2021

The year is white from ends

with flourishing green in the middle

The year

The year is what we have chosen to be our reference point. The year starts and ends in winter in places where I have lived and still live. The end and the start of the year happen to be white very often or about 85% of the time, sometimes with snowdrifts and shiny snow blanket over grasses and frost on trees, sometimes – with only ice patches and mud, sometimes bitterly cold, but always in winter. I am aware it’s not everywhere like that.

The green part of year

I am a fan of the middle: from early spring till the last green grass stem is still growing. I stop painting winter right before Christmas, and in the recent years, I am trying to stick with my decision not to paint any snow. It is easily explained: I cannot wait for the first flowers and plants to come up. I will be digging soil in the backyard when it hasn’t even completely thawed yet. That is my gym and my exercise and always has been.

Sinful idleness versus meaningful doing

The age impacts the flow of time and our perception of time settings to a great extent. The older one gets, the more serious they are about using time wisely, at least I am. I do measure my days by accomplishments, not by hours. If I haven’t managed to get anything meaningful done during the day, I’ll be upset. Therefore, spending time just exercising or walking aimlessly while I can also get done something useful in the garden, is a sin for me. Just like idle sitting around or having small talk.

No small talk for me

I avoid small talk, I certainly do as much as possible. Walking is fantastic, and I add usually a target to it: one store or another, appointment or visit. If I’m in the middle of painting, I simply cannot answer the phone. That frequently involves making small talk. Paint dries quickly, ideas vanish and mood changes. We never paint with the brush and paints only, there are a lot of other factors which go into my art.

Nobody has all answers

It’s good to believe that we know all the answers as our age grows and gets past 60, but it’s not true. The more we know, the more questions arise. I am very thankful for my medical knowledge, pharmaceutical and diagnostic skills and clinical experience. That has really helped and not only me. It keeps making life easier. I’ve also discovered how Canadian doctors are not always up to standards and protocols, and how much their diagnosis can be affected by rush, generalized assumptions and plain misunderstanding or inattention.


Superficiality is very widespread. The justification is that nobody has time. That is the biggest paradox of nowadays: everybody has plenty of time for fruitless scrolling through the internet on any screen that happens to be around, but no time for the good and meaningful things which make life worthwhile. Most people don’t ever read anything that’s under the picture or within the actual text, or the first 3 words at the best. Superficiality leads to sloppiness, disorganized and careless attitude in other areas of life.

Lack of quality

Quality is very quickly disappearing as the result, and lack of quality actually applies to absolutely all areas of our life. For instance, while I know that restaurants are having tough times, the restaurant and takeout food is just not for me and my family. We have gotten takeout meals a few times, and most of this food went to the garbage bin. It had no taste, no flavor, and there was certainly no love applied when cooking. High class workmanship and good skills in whatever walk of life we are looking for, are just not there. It makes no sense trying to get somebody’s help when it’s pretty clear you will have to do it over.

The year 2020

Everybody of us applies our own ratings and our own measuring tape based on experience, age, knowledge and so forth to whatever we are evaluating. Comparatively, I cannot complain about this year. The previous one, the 2019 was much worse since I lost my mom that year. Garden was doing extremely well this year. I put in many jars of preserves for winter. I had no live art classes from March to December, therefore, I was able to paint many more of my own paintings. Some of them are really excellent. Washing hands, disinfecting all items and areas, wearing a mask and staying at home was not a problem for us because we are a tiny 2-person family. Financials could be way better, but, unless one is a billionaire, that’s always an area which could be better.

December: snow and more snow
December: white and pure snow all around
Early spring magnolias, they blossom in my backyard
Spring lettuce
Lettuce comes up and produces early
Summer cucumbers
We were enjoying our own cucumbers in the summer and later pickles in the fall and winter
I had tomatoes from June to November, some got used in preserves
Summer flowers
Flowers in full bloom, this is already October
Bell peppers
Bell peppers or paprika were doing fine also, late October here
Last nasturtium
The last nasturtium blossoms, direct before the strong November frost
January sometimes comes with sunny days

Be patient

The COVID-19 pandemic probably will take quite a while to resolve. As we have seen, this virus mutated very quickly, thus, causing to establish whether the available vaccines still work for the new variants of this virus. It’s uncertain that more new variants won’t appear before everybody has received their immunization dose of vaccine. Only time will show how long we are staying safe and how long the vaccine actually helps keeping one safe: a year, 3 years, more years? Time is what we didn’t have so far. Being patient is very important, hence, everybody contributes to putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

Wishing safe, healthy and good New Year!

Thanks for reading if you did!

40 thoughts on “At the doorstep of 2021

  1. I enjoyed seeing the flowers and vegetables, and the snow and icicles. There is an old saying in this hemisphere that without December one cannot fully appreciate May. Grass turns green in winter here, not what one would expect normally, but winter rains refresh the green, which grows much more slowly than when spring is in her prime.

    There are still so many unanswered questions about covid-19. I think it will be at least 2022 before we see where things are going. For now it is making sure we eat well, get plenty of sleep, take the recommended precautions and try not to worry too much about what we cannot change. Anxiety fixes nothing and only lowers immunity. We are going through the seed catalogs and preparing for the coming year, and trying to stay positive as much as possible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Lavinia!
      Yes, it might be good to have all seasons, however, I know how tired of snow one becomes when it’s already March. I have once experienced plus 20 degrees Celsius in March, that was when I was about 10 years, I lived in Latvia back then. I wouldn’t be sure which year that exactly was, but I was running around in a dress, blue and red, and got pneumonia afterwards. We used to have harsh winters, and obviously this short break of sun was not suitable to stay outdoors for many hours.
      We are very cautious, too. Since it’s just us 2 older people here, we do not have to be too much afraid. We rarely go to the grocery store and then do some other shopping. Right now, it’s all locked down in Ontario, so no places to go even if one wanted. That’s fine with me: I always have something to do. In fact, days are way too short or that’s how it feels.
      I would like to wish you all the best, Lavinia! We’ve been in touch for quite a while. It’s always good to read your newsletter, always great to find out how the farm and everybody is doing.
      Stay healthy, enjoy your music, stay very safe and have a good and happy New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. These are really good resolutions for the coming year, Inese, even if you did not call them that way.

    It is easy to say that quality of attention, quality of work and quality of life have suffered; but it is more empowering to understand how we ourselves allow that, and then work on restoring and on improving the quality of our own attention, of our own work and of our own life.

    I had to process a lot this year – tragedy, heart aches and some challenges after that.. In comparison, sheltering-in-place was manageable. It acted like a cocoon to my new situation. It gave me more time at home, time that I would have commuted and maybe wasted, and I was grateful for it. (I know that it is not the common situation.. But anyone who got very bad news before can sympathize that sheltering-in-place can be perceived as a time of restoration, reorientation and healing too, instead of another unreasonable restriction.)

    Despite all the outer drama, I am concluding that 2020 was one of my best years, because I let go of toxic people for whom I tended to make excuses, though I was not fully conscious of it, I let go of beliefs that do not bring results, and I changed my spending habits and time management for the better. The awareness that kicked in after seeing the situation for what it was spread to other areas: once nothing and no one distracted me, I could solve issues that were very meaningful to me, though never urgent enough.

    I have faith that 2021 will be a good year – especially for those who introspected and deciphered for themselves what a very unusual situation could mean to them personally.

    Your photos are radiant and lovely!

    A friendly New 2021 to your garden, household and you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks!
      I never make any resolutions because my point is: why to bother with listing things which one isn’t going to do anyway? What’s important and what we prioritize, we will do regardless. I have another background, and nobody was ever bothering with any resolutions say 60 years ago and back there in Europe. I do not intend to start that now when I am way past half a century.
      Why I’m saying that quality is disappearing? Because when you are older, you’ve already seen many other times – poor, abundant, great and not that good. I’ve also lived in Europe up to 46 years and now I’ve been in Canada for almost 20. There are lots of things that I can compare. The comparison isn’t in favor of North America.
      I worked teaching at high schools and colleges back then, but for a few recent decades, I’m just freelancing and teaching art. Art, in particular, as I create it and as you can see on my other website, requires high level of attention. After teaching thousands of students from between 12 and 80 years of age, I can definitely make some conclusions what the attention level at class was, for instance,10 years ago and what it is now.
      I have had a chance to explore, observe and research the abilities of human brain. I’ve been in medical research for more than 35 years. Therefore, I share my observations. The lack of attention is absolutely terrifying. I do associate that with delegating too many tasks to devices.
      Other than that, I’ve always had and followed, as well as complied with highest standards of work ethics. Therefore, I know that sloppy is sloppy when I see it. The same way I can judge quality or rather lack of it. You can read in other posts my other opinions about this matter.
      Also, your comment doesn’t really relate that much to what I was saying. You should have rather written a post on your own blog about how you believe your year was. I simply have no idea who you are, therefore, I can just approximately outline what I was talking about in my post. I definitely do not want this to be described as some resolution because it absolutely isn’t.
      I have blog friends who’ve been with me since 2011, I mean I have another website, too. So, yes, I know what to say to each one of them since I know their situation, but with new people, I’m sorry, I have no idea. It would be advisable to read in previous posts what is that I do and write about in order to understand what I meant with this article.
      I wish you safe, healthy and happy New Year!

      Liked by 2 people


    Hello Inese, I don’t usually comment on your blog, but I feel like leaving a note in relation the topic at hand.

    As a person with clinical experience of many years, are you of the view that it will be safe to take the V.A.C? Surely it would be risky, considering the short time of development – and considering the usual time-span it takes on average (5yrs+). Also, does this particular situation pose so much of a thr eat that an exception should be made, considering that statistcally mort ality is actually very low? I am not convinced we need it at all. There are organic solutions that are completely ignored or avoided. To me that seems to be bordering on negligence. Never in history did we care so much about a seasonal variant that affects only a fraction of the population/s. It is axactly this prioritisation over all other issues (medical conditions) that would make me avoid this solution that is put forward (with its new formulation different from any before and never properly tested). I think we should all pause and contemplate carefully the direction all of this is going and our postion/s in relation to it. If ever ethics were important that would be now.

    With my best wishes,


    1. Thanks!
      While I didn’t really devote my post to vaccines and vaccination since it’s too broad of a topic, and I was kind of reviewing how my year went and what overall issues have affected it, my art, paintings and similarly, I can say only that every single case which involves anything medical needs to be treated as a unique case.
      In time of globalization, it’s most peoples’ belief that everything applies to everybody, and that’s not true, nothing applies to one personally if they don’t want it to.
      I have received all recommended vaccines and I recently had one more which I assumed was very necessary for me personally and taking into account age, medical condition, etc.
      When it comes to a vaccine, one must understand that not vaccine on its own (just because it’s a vaccine) causes side effects. To deliver the vaccine, there are always integrated some suitable substances, and some of these substances can cause allergy or side effect. Side effects are caused by administration of any drug, any chemical substance and can arise with numerous nutrients, as well, natural or not, just think of allergy to nuts in their natural form.
      The COVID-19 isn’t any seasonal variant, it’s a specific virus with it’s specific properties and mode of action.
      Since it wasn’t my intention to deal with vaccine issues in my article, I am going to keep it brief. Whether one needs vaccine or not, depends on their condition, medical history including food allergies, the level of exposure and the risk of becoming very sick or potentially having a fatal outcome. COVID-19 affects very many systems of our body, and effects can last for a very long time, including mental effects, and we just do not know yet which of these are or are not reversible. We’ve had too less time.
      I also do not intend to give any global response. Every person makes this decision on their own consulting with any medical expert they have access to.
      I’m sorry, but my article was mostly about things which matter to me at this time, and not that much about any COVID issues. I love gardening, I am an artist, who paints every single day, and some global issues annoy me, like superficiality and lack of quality.
      I would appreciate at least name or link or whatever. I’m talking to nobody at this point.
      Have a safe, healthy and good New Year, then happiness will follow!

      Liked by 1 person


        Thank you very much for your reply. I read your blog on occasion and also see your comments on Brigado Anay’s blog someyimes (The Burning Heart). My other blogging name is Jean-Jacques @ Gypsycafe. The reason why I was compelled to say something is because I have noticed that almost everybody takes a global approach to this subject almost as if they are compelled to promote this solution because it’s the right thing to say. It is the lack of critical thinking that concerns me, because it can not be certain to be safe. But, for me, since my main interest is in psychology, I’m very easy with all the group-think surrounding this subject, with potential very dire outcomes, and so now I;m reaching out to a few people here are there to question their deeper thoughts on this subject. It is as you say that there’s a lot of superficiality, online especially, to the extent that Wordpre ss is also not really enjoyable for me. But a lot of the superfiviality is arround how people either fail to question what’s going on, or they simply ‘promote’ something which could potentially be harmful – specifically in this case because it’s a new type a complete different formulation of previous ones, so it’s not really a V.A.C in the traditional sense (but most people don’t even know that, that’s the problem, nobody could be bothered to even look at the components …). No need to reply further I guess I just need to share my thoughts with someone and since you said you have clinical experience it seemed right in the moment. I really like your artworks which is the reason why I followed your blog in the first place. All the very best for 2021!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry, I somehow had missed the comment.
        Compering to social media sites, blogs are still much more meaningful. Most people simply do not read anything, that’s just the feature of these times.
        Well, this vaccine is as safe as the other vaccines which we have been using for very many decades, that’s why clinical trials establish a safety profile. It’s not completely new either because as far as I know (materials which I have reviewed), it’s developed on the basis of previous SARS vaccines. However, technology has had huge steps ahead, so we can apply things which we couldn’t before. Any artificial substance can cause side effects for sensitive people, just as any food. There are so many people with pseudo-allergies and allergies now because we consume unnatural stuff all the time.
        I didn’t want to devote my post to vaccines or medical discussion, however. Like I’m saying, I was just reflecting on the main aspects of 2020 as it happened in my personal life.
        Thanks for comment!


  4. theburningheart

    You have summarize your year well, to the point, practical, and a little bit poetically, describing the seasons, and specially the end of the year, I guess snow for people who live in North, or South close to the Artic, or Antarctic becomes part of your character, I had being a few times around snow, and ice, but I am was born on the tropics, however do not enjoy extreme heat , or extreme cold, now the Latitude where I live its very dear to me, neither cold, neither really hot, except for brief periods, and more like a Spring time, or a mild Fall.
    Right now it’s a little chilly, yesterday was the coldest day so far, it rained a little bit, but today there’s no clouds on the sky, and the Sun, if not very warm, its King.
    Busy with all sort of activities, desired and, those of need, with various tasks to perform, never thought retirement will be so busy, but life doesn’t stop, and the need to take care of things, and move on, unto the next problem, or task, will be always there, until we die.

    Wishing you a great New Year, ahead to you, and your dear ones Inese. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, snow looks nice on postcards and up to Christmas, I can paint some. I don’t like snow or winter for that matter, but what can I do? I’d rather live in place where there’s no snow or winter.
      Before I relocated to Canada, which is now almost 20 years ago, I published quite a lot of my poetry and other writing. I was presumably a good writer. As you know, I’m not a native English speaker, just as many of us are not.
      I always had a thing for languages and by age 12, I already spoke 3 of them at a native level. Having very good memory is a plus, one doesn’t need to study very hard or put big pressure on oneself. I attribute this feature to drawing which I have done every single day for all 60+ years.
      That and reading a book a day for very years. I cannot even fall asleep when I don’t read something. It’s a ritual, ha, ha!
      Having a busy retirement is fantastic. I don’t think anybody is suited well for extreme temperatures, however, some take that easier than other ones.
      I’d love to have a mild summer all year round. I think green is my favorite color outdoors. I don’t wear green, etc., but I adore the green of nature, the millions of different green shades there are.
      Having lots of tasks can be disturbing, but it’s way better to be busy than not.
      I’m wondering how I missed these comments. I didn’t receive any notifications.
      Have a good weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. theburningheart

        I guess there is Winter people, and every other season, my favorite it’s early fall, once that stop being hot, and start to cool, like over here October, right now, not so shabby so far we had three day of great sunshine, and mellow temperatures, but it may get cold again, but Spring is near, fortunately hot, and long Summers here are rare, we get about 40 or 50 days of really hot weather, then its mild again.
        Sometimes we are looking for things to do, at another time we wish we could have a break!
        And so it goes.
        Thank you and enjoy your weekend too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Certainly. Lots of poets and philosophers love fall and everything which comes with it.
        I’ve always had seasons affective disorder which makes me perform just at a minimum capacity during winter and other cold, dark periods. I could say living in an area which has cold weather (and that has been all my life), I’ve lost plenty of time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an option of moving to some other parts of the planet. Still don’t have, it’s not always what we prefer, it’s often the best we can do in particular circumstances.
        The extent to what seasons affect somebody, also depends big time on their background. 4th or 3rd generation large city people will hardly react and the ones, who still carry the gene of being tightly involved with natural cycles, will have a different outcome.
        Our past either blocks some pathways or facilitates our relationship with them. Nobody of us has started out or developed itself on an empty spot. Let’s just say the newborn already has lots laid out for him/her.
        There is always so much more than we notice, know and perceive.
        Have a good Sunday!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. theburningheart

        We all have free will, but at the same time we are limited by the circumstances of our given life, where you were born, who your parents are, and how they did fare, and educated you, in a way our life its framed by circumstances, we had no choice, or control, but to grow there, like a seed blown by chance, into fertile, or unfertile environment, the rest is made by our character, inclinations, and education, and what we can do with it.
        I grew in a tropical paradise, until left at seventeen, never to return, but just for visiting occasionally, by chance I saw a vlog this morning, with this guy, visiting, my town, he is sort of a dimwit, and he seems not to care on anything, but taking views along the coastline, although he takes beautiful shots from the ocean scenery, he has no context, or care to know anything about the place, to tell you, he is just shallow, but the views are beautiful, here:

        Have a great day as well Inese. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Certainly, visiting such a place is wonderful. When you live there, you might have other opinion.
        It is very difficult to change things, especially after 60. I feel that I’d prefer certainty and being sure about the future, yet, all my life shows, I should better stay away from planning as it never happened that way, not one small bit. However, there was the aspect of control and choice. it’s that we are sometimes acting very blindly.
        Nobody can answer what would be “if”. That’s what we will never know since we chose “this”.
        The sequence of events and their cause and effect are very visible after some 30-40 years, but at that moment it’s a fog.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. theburningheart

        You are absolutely right, life it’s what it is, and we are where fate took us, and we like to believe we have a choice, sure, you can decide what you gone do in the next moment, but planning beyond that, I believe it’s out of our hands, I may wish to do something on the evening today, and a phone call may change all that, now imagine on our whole life context?
        As a teacher of mine used to say: “If you are an avocado seed, what chances are you will become an orange tree?”
        We can only change our inner subjective side, not much at our objective one, although some go to great lengths to try to.
        Planning for the future its fine, as long as you do not take it too seriously, there is some things through my life I would wish to have handle different, but there’s no point to dwell on it, we should worry only about accomplish our day task, tomorrow will be another day, and only God knows what may happen then.
        Just try every day to live in peace.
        Best wishes Inese. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Exactly, 100% so.
        I got to experience that in action. The accident lasted probably one small moment, and then my life was turned upside down and any plans went down the pipe, and that was forever. It’s hard to imagine, but after 30 years, the side-effects are still present and require cure.
        How I got to Canada, was actually because of this accident. I cannot help but recognize some hand that moved me around, possibly saved from worse, etc. Like I said, after 30-40 years it becomes visible.
        That’s a very good saying about avocado seeds and oranges. I was just thinking the other night how some people get into money and they kind of get all the attributes for that splendid life. But you look at the guy and listen to a few words, and you can see very poor taste, lack of any knowledge and intelligence.
        We are destined probably for something which we cannot always understand and cannot even accept at times. I must admit I have felt a protection all my life long. Dad used to say that an angel covers the ground with a pillow to soften the fall. That way.
        Take care and thanks!


      7. Yes, that would do it.
        realistically, nothing changes just because we experience it one or another way.
        As for me, I’m always on the way to something better, I kind of cannot stick with what I have. I mean, that mostly involves widening skills and knowledge and that should take me somewhere else. I refuse feeling older, well, it’s not a bad idea.
        We definitely have created the place where we are at the moment.
        All the best!


    1. We have snow sometimes until the end of March and there’s a lot of shoveling, it’s very often when icy cold winds storm over. I cannot do lots of things any longer and skiing is one of them, so I don’t want more snow. When I lived in Latvia, we had lots of snow, too much of it, and now in Ontario, there’s sometimes also way too much of it. I never liked snow even in early childhood, that hasn’t changed.
      That’s why I love spring, even when it’s not that pleasant in April. Last year, I could start planting only in June, it wasn’t a good spring.
      Every gardener looks forward to digging soil and putting seeds into it. It will come, but after these nasty and cold snowstorms.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If we could do that, we’d certainly send all March snowstorms and blizzards to Europe, that’s where you are right? The worst are late March snow events which can get into April. This year, hasn’t been that bad yet.
      Days are getting longer and that’s good. More bright and sunny days wouldn’t disturb also. The daylight or lack of it really impacts my painting. I can only paint with good daylight since artificial light changes color, causes reflection of wet surface and balance is off, and it’s very difficult to take true pictures of paintings. I’m joggling between all natural and unnatural things.

      Liked by 1 person

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