Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spring Has FINALLY Sprung!

This past Winnipeg winter was the coldest in over 100 years. It also felt like the longest!

If you believe the calendar, it has been spring for the past two months. Yeah, right!
Spring has been trying to come for weeks but winter has tried to thwart it's every attempt to proceed.

Oh, the snow was ever so slowly melting and the temps seemed even slower getting warmer. Even April was several degrees cooler than normal. More than a few of us were starting to wonder if our beloved prairie landscape had somehow been transported to the land of Narnia! Every time we'd start to see bare ground, the Wintery White Witch would send more of the white stuff to cover it - if only temporarily!

By early May the tides seemed to finally be turning towards spring. It was cooler than normal, but a glimmer of hope was on the horizon as the daylight hours grew longer. Even city street cleaning crews began the annual spring cleanup!

Sadly, we were not yet fully there, For the most part, temps remained a bit below normal. Then, just over a week ago (Wednesday May 14) we were disheartened to wake to wet flurries and a dusting of the white stuff!

Thankfully that was mostly gone within a few hours! We've since been inching closer to more seasonal temps.

It now seems that it may truly be safe to finally put the winter things away!

 Actually, I put the heaviest outerwear and boots away May 1. I never do it before then - regardless of the weather as that just feels like daring Mother Nature to throw more winter at us! That being said, I have always kept out a heavy spring jacket that can be layered with a heavy fleece for the really nippy days.

Alas, I was still wearing that heavy spring jacket till about a week ago. This past week, I finally decided it was time to move the summer clothes to the front of the closet and the winter clothing to the back! Fingers crossed I won't regret that decision!

Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend - or as we here in Manitoba call it "May Long"! That is traditionally the weekend when people open up the cottages for the summer season and/or start planting the gardens. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't still be getting some frost. That can still happen - it's just a calculated risk as to when and what you plant. It also means that you may be covering baby plants at night in the coming days/weeks to prevent them being killed/damaged by frost.

I've never been a gardener. I can't keep plants alive no matter how simple the care is. Despite coming from generations of a farm family and talented gardeners on both sides of the family - I have always had a brown thumb. I can't even tell the difference between the weeds and most things that were intentionally planted. Oh wait, odds are the weeds would be the ones that would thrive if I had a garden!

So, I wisely leave the gardening to those with the patience and the green thumbs to nurture.

Truth be told, I don't tend to notice much of the spring growth. Well, at least not until it truly gets green. My low vision doesn't allow me to really see those baby buds on trees or the tiny sprouts shooting out of the ground. I've seen pics from friends showing the tiny bursts of green and heard tales of their beloved gardening this season but hadn't really noticed the true greening until this past week.

We got a good dousing of rain on this past Monday of the long weekend (rain almost always happens on a long weekend in these parts!) and the rain continued well into Tuesday.

That rain has truly set the spring growth into full swing! The leaves on the tress of my street are starting to open. Lawns are greening up and I expect to hear lawn mowers and smell the fresh cut grass almost any time now. Even the temperature has been above normal the last few days!

On Thursday morning, I took my camera with me when I went for a walk.

The wind was light. The sun was shining warm and bright with not a cloud in the beautiful deep blue sky! The signs of spring were everywhere! Lots of people out walking, cleaning yards and working in their gardens! The baby leaves on the trees, bushes and hedges were opening and reaching for the sky - preparing to give us a canopy of shade through the coming heat of summer. The plants - both perennials and the newly bedded were lush and green in the freshly worked soil. I didn't take a lot of photos but I thought I would share just a few:
 Happy Spring! And as this lovely little message says: 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Am A Work In Progress

A few weeks ago, a long time friend made a comment along the lines that they were impressed that I was always reinventing myself.

Really? Hmm.... I'd never thought of my life in that way.

When I think of reinventing - I tend to think of a physical product being reformulated, repackaged or renamed. Something being marketed in a new way.

In human terms, I think of a complete makeover in appearance to better reflect the person inside. Or perhaps to reflect ones personality or maybe a career change. Such as someone taking on a new persona to achieve success in another genre or walk of life. And sadly. in some cases, to avoid or escape from their own reality.

Personally, I think of myself as a continuous work in progress.

I don't like being pushed or forced into change. Whenever possible, I prefer to make a gradual adjustment. Somehow it feels more natural and not nearly as stressful or disruptive that way.

Unfortunately, we don't always get a say in when or how the changes in our lives happen. Circumstances can force us into change in a heartbeat. Those tend to be the hardest and most challenging changes we make.

Looking back, I think the hardest thing I ever had to adjust to, was losing so much of my eyesight in 1990. It forced me to relearn many skills using more of my other senses to get me through daily life situations safely.

Learning to use a computer was a challenge that I delayed for many years. I knew it could potentially improve parts of my life, but I just wasn't ready to commit the time to learn about it or the money to buy one. When a friend of a friend offered me a free used computer, I realized it was an opportunity to expand my horizon and embrace the ever growing world of technology. There are days, I barely touch the computer (or the tablet) but learning to use this particular new fangled technology is one I will never regret! It has opened new worlds and possibilities to me that I had never dared to dream!

Truth be told, I tend to overanalyze or research the heck out of something before I even go near something new! Not just the big purchases or changes! I even research and compare small items and products before I try them! I'm not cheap, but my income is limited so I want the best value for the money I do spend.

It's not that I am set in my ways. Well, not completely anyways. I adapt as needed. Sometimes it is a bit more grudgingly as some things are harder to change than others.

I am not one to jump on bandwagons or fads without considering the pros and cons. I tend to wait a bit and see the reaction of the masses before I take a dip into the latest in trends. I like to learn about the newer options and make a careful decision as to whether whatever this new thing is would be a good fit for me or if I want to adapt to it.

Under certain circumstances, I will try new things. However, I have to ask questions first. Such as: Does the product contain anything I may be allergic to? Will this improve the quality of my life? Can I afford this change - and the upkeep that may go with it?

I moved numerous times in my young adult years - some were financially motivated and some were pure circumstance. I always researched the area before I chose a new place. Some moves worked out better than others but each offered new experiences and the chance to meet new people.

There are also parts of my life that I am quite comfortable with and have seen no real need to make major changes.

For instance, I've never walked into a salon and given carte blanche to the first stylist I see. My hair styles changed a few times in my younger years, but I now love having a short "wash it, comb it and ignore it" style!

I've never done a total 180 on fashion. My fashion sense has changed little. I still prefer comfortable classic pieces that don't really go out of style. The basic designs and solid colours that can be mixed and matched as needed - then dressed up or down with jewellery or other accessories.

For the most part, the changes I've made are more in lifestyle and on the inside.

Changes in eating habits (healthier), daily stretches and workouts were key to getting in better shape, My physical health is still not great but it is far better than it was 15 years ago! My mind and heart have been opened to new ideas, opinions and beliefs. The friends and relationships that are part of my life now are stronger and more mutually supportive than those from my younger years.

There are more areas of my life that will inevitably evolve. Some areas, I know could use an overhaul of sorts - and I'm working up to making those adjustments. I'm just not ready to act on them yet!

As we grow from childhood to youth then adulthood and into our later years, it is inevitable that our lives evolve. We learn to adapt to new circumstances, surroundings, technologies and people. If we don't, then our lives become stagnant and one dimensional.

Failing to adapt and evolve, also means missing out on new experiences and so much of what life has to offer. We don't necessarily have to "like" or "love" all the new things but we have to at least acknowledge that there is more to life than our own little world.

The strength and resilience of the human spirit that allows us to evolve and adapt never ceases to amaze me.

Life is full of opportunities as we adapt and evolve!

To survive and thrive in this world, we must each continue to be a work in progress!