End of July. End of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is my last post for it. It is after 4:30 in the afternoon. I’m sitting in the kitchen. There’s a nice cool draft from the two opened windows. I was relaxed but not anymore. Intrusive thoughts, phone calls, Sheba panting at my feet and the sound of traffic through the window. I’m feeling annoyed. I do my 4-7-8 breathing exercise.

Not much better. I lose count of my counting. Sheba is whining at me. The traffic is still so loud and distracting. We head outside. I kick Sheba off the deck with a rawhide chew. It is warm but not too bad. I can hear Sheba chewing her rawhide. At least one of us is settled. I do another round of 4-7-8 breathing. I listen to the traffic. I listen to the kids play at the daycare one house over. I don’t wish or fight for quiet. I accept what is.

I’m a slow learner in life but I can still learn. This month has been all about  learning the things that will make life easier for myself. I’ve been doing the same things over and over, expecting different results. I hadn’t known before that was what I was doing. I really worked on being mindful and seeing things objectively. It has changed how I see and think. It has removed the personal and emotional from many situations. For the first time, I see many things as they really are.

I was very proud of myself earlier in the day. I felt intrusive thoughts working their way into my mind. I saw what they were. I willingly and easily changed my thoughts. I felt smug about it, thinking I’m some kind of saint. But then, later, they came again. I took them personally and emotionally. I became irritated and annoyed with myself. So here I sit now, telling you about it. I think I must accept all my feelings, the good and bad. Otherwise, the bad will cause self-hatred. And no one is a saint.

Now it is almost 8 in the evening. I’m trying to finish my thoughts. July has been a good month. The weather has been volatile, changing day to day and within the day. Maybe we need that to remind us how precious our earth is. It reminds me how precious life is. It is not to be taken for granted. I have to take care and tend to it like my garden. The month and the challenge is over, but I will still come to this space to sort out the weeds in my thoughts. I will continue to learn and discern what is nurturing from what is noxious.



It’s another perfect summer day. It was a bit cool and cloudy in the morning. I could feel August in the air. Then September will be following after PDQ. My lettuce and other greens bed is looking splendid. I hate to pull them out but some of it has to go. They are getting old and there’s so much for the two of us. There’s time yet to seed a new crop.

So much for my words. The flow stopped. I’m like the weather, unpredictable. It’s rain or drought. Now it is after 8 in the evening. The sun has set. No golden rays reflecting on the garage wall. It is still light and the sky is blue. I think I’m over challenged. Spent. Tired. The end is in sight. Only one day left in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Only one day left in the Daisy Yellow ICAD 2019 Challenge. I’ve been at that one for two months. I will have painted 61 index cards by tomorrow. It was a tough go today but I painted two to catch up. These days, success is measured in 4″x6″ index cards. I take what I can get.

It seems like I just got here – in two different paragraphs. Wish I had more time and energy to linger a bit longer. I am what I am, though I do try to stretch myself and time. I wonder how others do it – do so much I mean. This is all I got today.


A lovely summer evening. It was a perfect afternoon, too. I’ve been able to sit in this space in perfect comfort. Perfect weather is rare this summer. It alternates between stifling heat, rain, wind, thunder and lightning. I’m enjoying this peaceful lull, watching the sunlight fade on the garage wall. I am sipping my decaf and tapping on the keyboard.

I’m late again with my words. Life happens as they say. Things come knocking on my day. Before I know it, a bunch of time is gone. So here I sit, making excuses again. What I didn’t do was to seize the day, the opportunities, the time. It is not a bad thing. Sometimes I just have to let things come and go. I am not what they call a go-getter. I am not lazy but I do like to daydream, heave my sighs and think about moving. I like to say it’s my natural state but that’s making excuses again. What it is, is that I have some bad habits.

This month of July, the month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’m paying more attention. I’m being more mindful. I’m learning more about myself – the good, the bad and the ugly. I think I’m correcting some of my bad habits and behaviour. I’m working through my avoidance, getting over those ugly feelings of “I don’t want to…..and life is hard.” I’ve worked through those overwhelmed feelings by tackling one thing at a time. Multi-tasking is not good for my brain. I’m feeling less of my uglies – anxiety and depression. Life is easier. I’m sweating the small stuff less.

It is almost 9 pm. The sun is gone but it is still light. I can still see the blue of the sky. How wonderful the day. How wonderful my life.



I have all my loaves in rows, ready to pop into the oven once it reaches temperature. A cool windy day is opportunity to bake bread. I haven’t baked for awhile since I’ve given up bread for July, the month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s part of my commitments this month. I want to lose a few pounds to feel better and be healthier. Have I succeeded? I think so. I feel lighter bodily and mentally. I’ve gotta love that!

So will I go back to bread? I haven’t decided what I will  do yet. I do not eat alot of bread anyways. Ordinarily I would have one slice of toast with one fried egg at breakfast or 2 slices with no egg. To be without bread is not a big sacrifice but I did have a craving once or twice this month. It passed easily. I might not be able to resist today, though. Who can blame me with the aroma of fresh baked?

It’s not that I’ve given it up completely. On Saturdays, after my morning swim I have a full breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast or an omelette with toast and hash browns. That would be my breakfast and lunch. So I will skip the toast Saturday. I will have my bread and eat it, too, today. Then Sheba and I will go for our walk.

It’s after 2 slices of bread, a walk with Sheba and supper. It’s almost bedtime. I’ve been nodding off during the news on television. I’m sluggish and struggling towards the end of the month, towards the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m tired. I don’t think I can rub two sticks together. So don’t expect a fire or excitement from me. I’m just my usual old self, droning on and on about the same stuff. Maybe I should close up shop and come back tomorrow.



I’m experiencing restless brain syndrome today. My monkey mind is taking me here and there, nowhere that is restful. That, too, is best to accept and not try frantically to rid of. Trying to escape would only creates more frantic. I have a headache and a pain in my left jaw from clenching and crunching. I’ve taken a Tylenol. I’m trying to relax everything. My rhythmic tapping on the keyboard is soothing me. I do my 4-7-8 breathing exercise.

“Patience” and “Fortitude”, the “Library Lion” statues, in the snowstorm of Dec. 1948 from

It’s a beautiful day with a nice cooling breeze. I’m trying to enjoy the good and bad of our weather. They are both beautiful, each in their own ways. They keep me on my toes, awake to my senses and my surroundings. They remind me not to fret about things I have no control of. Be like the willow. Bend with the wind so I will not snap. I’m also reminded to be strong like a mountain, sitting firmly through all the seasons. I think of Patience and Fortitude, the two marble lions at the entrance of the New York Public Library. They’re qualities I would like to have.


My mind is still not at rest, not allowing me to settle in a calm state. Sheba is of the same ilk. She is staring and whining/panting at me. We are each influenced by each other’s energy. I have to ignore her. She has been fed, watered and personal needs taken care of. There’s nothing to be done. There always have been days like these, to tolerate and weather as best as I can.

Saturdays are my favourite days and it was a beautiful sunny summer morning with a cool breeze. It was easy getting out the door to do my Saturday morning swim. I swam 26 lengths last week. It felt easy and effortless but no two Saturdays and two swims are the same. I was tired and I didn’t get my lane next to the edge of the pool. Someone beat me to it. Funny how that one little thing can throw me off. But it did, having to deal with a rope on each side. I worry about crashing into them. Then I obsess about my technique doing the backstroke. It made for not an optimum relaxing swim. Still it was my best. I didn’t best the week’s before 26 lengths. But I got in 24.

We are now in the heat of the afternoon – 31 degrees Celsius. Sheba has settled on the cool of the hardwood floor. I was a no show Thursday for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I struggle Friday and today here. I am trying to put my best foot forward though my fingers are somewhat stiff and achy. I wonder why the heat affects the joints that way.

I am still keen in completing the month even though I feel tired and sluggish. These periods where I stutter and stumble are not bad. I think they are necessary rest periods. I need to slow down so I can see and evaluate the distance I’ve come. What have I accomplished? What have I learned? I’ll see if I can answer those questions tomorrow.




Just like that, yesterday’s sun left us. I woke to grey misty skies. The air is heavy and humid, smelling much like a wet Sheba. I had decided last night I would give up my exercise class for this week. I was feeling the fatigue of the heat. I am getting enough exercise running after Sheba and tending the garden. There’s no point in over stressing myself. Our aging bodies are not as efficient at regulating body temperature as when we were younger.

The thunder and lightning storm was no surprise. It was a lot of noise and show but it was short lived. Sheba and I still did a short walk with our umbrella. The rain cooled the streets and sidewalks. The smell of wet cement and asphalt was not pleasant. It made me wonder when did we get to be a concrete jungle. Oh, life in the city. I hear Joni Mitchell singing, Big Yellow Taxi. She wrote that in 1970 when she was 27. She certainly saw things clearly. Wish I was that observant.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

That was this morning. Now it is after 4 pm. Just as quickly the sun, heat and humidity is back. I was enjoying my lunch in the cool of the deck at noon. I was even thinking of a sweater or blanket then. Now I’m driven indoors by the heat. I’m feeling a tad blue despite the brilliant sunshine. That, of course, makes it worse. I know that it’s due to the fluctuating weather and temperature. Still it leaves me with a feeling of failure, inadequacy and whatnot. The air is heavy, still with a faint wet dog odour.

It is not Sheba, either, though it would be easy to blame her. She’s freshly laundered 2 days ago. She’s still sweet smelling and shedding her now fluffy fur. We’ve had 2 days of brushing now. First one side one day, then the other the next. She’s looking almost sleek now. I am glad that I’ve done that before my mood dip and my energy with it. I’ll see if I can talk myself out of it.

Talking to myself is not always effective or good when I’m feeling low. I end up ruminating on the wrong things, things that probably have no validity. I opted to get up and do something, like making supper. I wandered out to harvest some veggies from the raised beds. The raspberries needed picking, too. Then why don’t I trim the grass. It’s getting long. It didn’t take long. I thought maybe I should fill the beds with water. It’s been awhile since the last time and the top soil felt dry. I amazed myself at how much I got done once started.

No sooner had I got inside, the sun disappeared and thunder started rumbling in the air. The house was encased in gloom. Ah! I am really sensitive to the weather. I’m not using it as an excuse for my moods at all. The wind blew and the rain came pouring down. No climate change, eh? My supper was later than I planned. Then I discovered my fridge didn’t feel cool at all. Investigation, tossing, cleaning and defrosting the little freezer on top all ensued. I hope it solved the problem till a new one could be bought.

No surprise that it is late again. The dishes and stuff in the sink can wait. Sheba never got her afternoon walk. She’s ok. I’m ok. We’re getting wiser and more flexible as we age. Both of us.




July 23, 9 more days to the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Am I counting? Not really. I do enjoy coming to this space but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s easier if I don’t dawdle. I have this illusion that I have great things to say. They are all in my head, ready to come out. It wouldn’t take much time. Just minutes to write if I get to them right away.  I don’t, of course. I thought they were at my bidding. All those great ideas and conversations in the head are as nebulous and vaporous as mist. They are gone by the time I sit down at the keyboard. I struggle to get each word and idea back.

Today I’m trying to do better, showing up sooner rather than later.My head is clearer and I have more energy earlier in the day. I want this challenge to work for me. What are my goals to start with? What are they now? I think I have a bit of ADHD. If I don’t lay it out to see/read, I’m apt to go around and around in circles. I have been doing that. I’m a stuck record. I play the same song and dance over and over. I have to stop stuttering. I want to go past GO. But to repeat, my goals to start with are having the discipline of committing to:

  • getting up, dressing up and showing up here every day
  • to be truthful, respectful and hopeful in this space
  • following through goals/projects from beginning to end
  • being more mindful and in the present moment
once a week breakfast and lunch

As the month evolved, a few more goals developed. I wanted to lose some weight to feel and look better. I despise double chins and overhanging bellies. I made some small changes in my meals and the way I ate. I cut out the toast in my breakfast. I added a bit of kimchi as a condiment to my meals. I chew and taste my food. As a result, I discovered that I’m really not as hungry as I thought. My portions got smaller, my snacks fewer. I still have them. Giving up and depriving myself have never worked for me. Now that raspberries are in season I have them with ice cream in the evening. They are our very own raspberries and they’re very prolific. What can I do?

To sum up, I am fulfilling most of my goals. I have been here every day, being truthful, respectful and ever hopeful. Am I finishing my projects? Yes, mostly. I’m also doing another challenge of creating an index card art daily from June1 – July 31. I’m a couple of days behind but I will finish. I’m being mindful to help me through these and other life challenges. I spend 20-30 minutes each morning in silence to prepare for the day.

I am feeling the effects of my efforts this month. I feel better mentally and physically. I feel stronger, with more stamina. The last two days seem seamless, one thing flowing into another. I did not have to struggle with anything. It’s a good note to end on. It is late. I need some time to chill before bed.



Monday evening. It is 9 pm. I can still see blue in the sky. The garden looks so green beneath. The flower boxes on the deck took a beating from the hard driving rains from a few days ago, especially the nasturtiums. I did some rescue work. Hope they will revive.

I’ve had a most exquisite day. I decided to get off my usual treadmill just for today. A rest is as good as a change. I am tired from the last few days. My mind was going like a ticker tape parade, random thoughts spewing in the air. Do this. Do that. Then do this and that some more. My mind was in a frenzy. I recognized that I had to stop thinking and not do any of that. I’ve learned this much in being mindful this month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Nine days left in July. I will be glad to be finished with the challenge. I value the discipline it has given me. Each day I try to focus and refocus on what my goals are. I try to stay on track and on the subject. It’s so easy to get distracted, stray and given up. Stepping off my usual Monday routine and not going to my exercise class is a good and right thing for me today. I spent quality time with Sheba today. The guy is away this week. Sheba and I are on our own. She is missing him. I loathe to leave her alone. Yes, I think I am the one with separation anxiety.

We got our exercise, fresh air and vitamin D on our morning walk. The sun was bright and warm by 9 am. The park was busy with other dogs, people and kids on swings and bikes. We tried to smell the roses as best we can. Sheba got excited a few times. I had to discipline her a few times. She is more receptive now that she is older. She will be 13 in a few weeks.


Now it is past my bedtime. It is time to end this conversation. I should have started earlier but you know how it is. I’ll try for earlier tomorrow.


Sheba owns me instead of the other way around. I thought we could hang out on the deck after supper for some rest and relaxation. She had other thoughts. She whimpered and whimpered till I gave in. We went inside to watch TV but that wasn’t it either. I hope there’s not another thunderstorm coming. I don’t want to pull another all nighter staying up with her. I’m already tired.

It took awhile to settle her. I tried brushing her teeth. She likes her peanut butter flavoured tooth paste. She even allowed me to lift up her lip so I can really get the finger brush in there to do a good job. Next, I brushed her coat, getting the knots out of her tail. She’s shedding like crazy. Her hair coming out in clumps. The TLC didn’t quite do it. She continued to whine and whimper, following me around and getting underfoot.

I’ve had it by then. I’m tired. I had a busy day laundering, cutting grass, weeding and walking her twice. Time to get serious. I had to show her I was the boss. She’s been pouting in the kitchen but has joined me to watch the news now. Not much good news but not knowing does not make it go away. It’s good to know what is going on in the world.

My thoughts are scattered and unfocused tonight. Sheba is a shit disturber sometimes. I love her lots anyways. And she loves me in return. What a team, eh? Well, it’s getting late. I’ve had a good day. It’s been a dim sum weekend, 3 days in a row. Who can complain about that? I could dim sum every day. And we’ve had 2 days of sunshine and no rain. Who could ask for anything more?

Just to let everyone know, I’m still on track with my goals, despite my dim sum binge. My breakfast was one fried egg, avocado, kimchi and no toast. I did not count my dim sum calories but my supper was a very small steak with small brown rice, steamed beet greens and kimchi. I do small of everything now. That’s how I count my calories. I feel sated, satisfied and not deprived. I’m doing pretty good, don’t you think?

I’ve rattled on long enough. Time to say good night on this 21st day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.



My most difficult journey is the present one. The how of starting is always the first stumbling block. It is the cue to think back to my ancestor, Lao Tzu. He said that a journey of a thousand miles start with a single step. I step forward tentatively – one word, then two…I’m on my way. My most difficult journey is also my inner one. The one with lofty goals, the one which I hold myself to impossibly high principles, the one which I do not allow for mistakes, the one with no detours. It is the one that I, inevitably, have come to a dead end.

I’ve been at the crossroad for some time now. I’m sitting here contemplating my options. Which way are you going to go, Lily? is singing in my head. I know that I can only go forward. There’s no backtracking in life. I’m taking my time, dwelling in the quiet, listening to the beat of my heart. What is it telling me? I no longer trust other voices telling me this and that. They do not have my best interests at heart even though they sincerely believe so. I cannot hold them at fault. I am probably guilty of the same.

I’m watching the shadows on the wall, sipping my peppermint tea.  It is peaceful here. I have time. It is a good place to linger and rest awhile. I’ve had a full and wonderful day. I swam 13 laps or 26 lengths this morning. Somehow 26 lengths sound more impressive. I’m pleased and proud of myself. I’m still holding myself accountable of doing my best of the day, living up to my commitments of showing up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and staying the course of a healthy physical and mental diet.