I’ve never given much thought to the meaning of the dog days of summer. Given to the context of how I hear it used and how it sounded, they meant summer time when you can see the heat sizzling from the pavement. The phrase always summon up images and memories of that summer in New York City. I can still see the steaming sidewalks, hear the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers, sirens, the crowded streets of  Canal and Mott Streets. I can still feel the loneliness of summer in the city.

I still struggle with the dog days of summer. I still struggle with life. There’s no easy way about it. Everything takes effort. I like to think that effort makes it worthwhile. But I’m simply justifying, explaining and maybe apologizing for my lack of skills and successess. I do feel like such a failure sometimes. What do I really have to show for these years of hard effort? Ok, I have:

  • A nursing career. Nothing spectular but 30 years of rotating shift work. No nurse of the year award but have caused no harm.
  • No husband. No children. A companion of 10 years.
  • No wealth. A good pension. Nice house with garage and yard. No debts.
  • Not the most popular gal in town. Have a few good friends. I can count them all on one hand. One bad neighbour.
  • Experienced unconditional love for almost 14 years. I’m talking about my fur baby, Sheba. She’s in heaven now.
  • Ignited a couple of old passions – my paints and sewing machine.

Perhaps I am not doing as bad as I thought. I have a few good things. When those dog days come, all I can see and feel are my dark side and failures. It helps to make a list of : successes and failures, pros and cons, places I’ve been, things done, etc. Then tally up the score to see the results. I had meant to show up every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge but the dog days got the better of me. Total counting today, I’ve shown up for 17 days. It’s a little more than 50%. But I did complete the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. I painted 62 index cards for June and July – one extra.

Did I reach the goal I set for this challenge? I think I have. Right in the moment I’m not exactly jumping up and down with glee and excitement. I feel somewhat sedate and at ease. I’m satisfied in the now. I have no wants. I am at peace – even with my badassed neighbour. Perhaps she is getting help with her mental health. Perhaps there is hope. I’m not all about struggles. I’m not all about depression. I have those treasured moments of seeing dust motes in sunbeams. I have the ability to see beauty and feel joy.

So ends another Ultimate Blog Challenge. Hope to show up more next time around.


  1. I think 17 days is a great challenge accomplishment! And I love your “what do I have to show for it?” list. Not too shabby, right? I love doing those kinds of things because it always points out that things have been better than I might be thinking they were. Hope to see you in October!

  2. Wow, it’s great to have a gratitude list amidst all this chaos. Love your entries. I too have had one too many experiences with bad neighbours, but yours seem quite extreme. Wishing you all the best!

  3. Hi,

    I would like to thank you so much for posting a gem of an article!

    I love this post very much! This may be the first time I’m commenting on your blog, but I’ve been following your blog for some time. And I have to tell you that you are doing a fantastic job!

    I want to remain updated with your work, so I have decided to follow you! 🙂

    May I ask you for a small favor? As we write on similar topics, could you spare a minute of your time to look at my blog on my new site and provide some feedback, it would be invaluable to me. Thank you very much.

    Kiran Kandel

    1. Thank you for your comment and follow. I did have a look at your blog. You are very focused. I have 2 of Dale Carnegie’s books – How to Win Friends & Influence People. I can’t remember the other one. I have also taken the course. The TV series listed, I’ve watched maybe one season of Sherlock. Will visit you again.


      1. It’s my pleasure, Lily!
        Keep your articles coming!
        Thank you so much for your time and effort to go through my blog posts. I hope that you had enjoyed the concept of Sherlock.

  4. It has been a long 31 days but we did meet some new people, I hope we will see you again in October at the next challenge and things will have worked out a little better for you. Take care, I will watch for your next blog post.

  5. Lily, your posts always are so lyrical… I want to keep reading them.. and your paintings each day have been so beautiful.. look forward to continue reading posts and seeing more paintings

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