Saturday afternoon. It’s a little bit warm here on the deck. I’m sweating a bit but I like the out-of-door light. I’m tapping on the keyboard and sipping on the last of my strawberry kombucha. I have fallen a little out of love with my ferments. You know how it goes with loves. Maybe it goes with my August struggles. I’m struggling with most things this month. But I have to put one foot in front of the other. That’s the only way to get somewhere, anywhere.

I find that words begat words.  It’s how a conversation is started. First a word or two. Then a sentence. Then an idea. Soon there’s a flow, an exchange back and forth. Sometimes you can’t wait for the other person. Some people are not starters. They can’t or simply won’t. I don’t want to turn into a silent stone waiting. I talk to myself often in my head or on the page.  And myself talks back to me. It is often quite rewarding.

Funny that it is so toasty warm now. It was quite cool in the morning. And being Saturday morning, I was a little sad that there’s no more Saturday morning swims because of Covid-19. And a bit melancholy because it is the day of Sheba’s leaving. It is not a bad feeling. It is because I love her. I’m remembering and feeling her presence. It is a warm feeling. AND I have made Tuesday morning my new swim day. I’ve booked my time at the pool for the coming week.

I’m moving steadily if not speedily forward, taking things in stride. My people are well and healthy. My world is peaceful at the moment. The neighbourhood is quiet for the most part though Dxxxy behind and one over behind us was revving and roaring his motorcycle this morning. It was thunderous and heart pounding. It was something quite annoying when I wasn’t feeling on top of the world. But I am happy he is not next door to me. I’m not the one he called a bitch. I’m not the one he threatened to burn the house down with me in it. This on account of his neighbour’s tree doing damage to his shingles.

Well, it’s not all about trees and shingles. Dxxxy has/had a brain tumour. But he is still driving his truck and motorcycle. He is still at large in the world as is my neighbour. No, it would not be fair to lock them in jail because they have an illness. But then neither is it fair to us, their neighbours, to suffer their behaviour. Life is not fair. We all know that. I guess it is up to the strong to look out and give a helping hand to our weaker neighbours. We are each other’s keepers. We can’t just let them run amok, can we?

It’s good to remember the words of Desiderata.

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

By Max Ehrmann © 1927
Original text


So here is the thing. Life is full of distractions. My attention span is getting shorter and shorter. I often don’t follow up on my plans and practices. It’s part of my humanness. But here I am, showing up again. This must be part of the practice. I’ve given up on perfection. It’s hard to maintain. It is not possible. There is a flaw in me, everybody and everything else. It is part of the universal struggle. Life and nature happens. That is the law. There is no blame.

I am struggling these August days. Mornings are darker and cooler. I miss the light and warmth of those summer days when the sun rises by 5:00 am. Then, my sunroom was bathed in bright light and warmth. I was infused with its warmth and brightness. My unease is a response, a signal that autumn is on the heels of summer. No need to worry or panic. It is my nature’s response to the shortening of the days and lengthening of the nights. I’ve been this way forever and a day.

It is time for me to accept and come to terms with this part of me. I have. I’m doing so much better after having Sheba in my life. Her physical leaving was difficult but it is nature’s cycle of life and death. Nothing can change that. And so I grieve and miss her. Some days more than others. Then the grief changes. It grows softer and I’m left with those tender precious memory of her spirit and our time together. I sift through the lessons learned and strength gained.

I raised her from scratch at 2 months old – with just one book from the library and a largest dog crate from PetSmart. Boy, it was a tough go for quite awhile. I expected a puppy to have breakfast and walk together with. I did have that but it took years instead of days. There were so many days that I would moan and groan. There were many days that I almost gave up. Her beauty and brain were her saving grace.

She was so pretty. She would shake a paw and then the other paw. She could crawl and roll over in no time. But she did jumped alot and was scared of everything. I knew nothing of dogs. I knew nothing of  a Border Collie Lab mix. Sheba was that EverReady Bunny. We did alot of walking. We went to off leash parks. We got into trouble here and there. I lost 20 pounds with all that exercise.  In the end, she and I were a perfect pair, soul mates. She taught me the rewards of patience and stick-with-it-ness.

I’ve come full circle. I am dogless, Sheba-less. I’m not quite the same though. I am stronger and more accepting of how things are. I am more accepting of how I am. I cannot force myself or others to be other than what we are. But I can change the way I think and see. I can choose to see my glass half full instead of half empty. I can accept my vulnerabilities and work with them instead of fighting against my natural tendencies. It’s sticking with me now. I now longer run away from my shadow self.




It’s another first day of the rest of my life. I’m as grumpy as all get up. Summer heat makes my whole body ache on rising. But I shall grin and bear it. I’m going to tackle my most dreaded chore of tackling the paper pile today. I’m not exactly fresh nor energized but mornings are still my best time. We’ll see how I will progress. Nothing happens if I don’t begin. Beginning is hard. Beginning is the magic word.

Purging is the first step. Boy, what a chore! I’m very bad at not opening my mail. That was my first pile. They’re mostly opened now and put in their appropriate piles. I’ve had this problem for a long time. It’s something that I do know. There’s only one way to correct it. That is to open my mail and deal with it ASAP. Let me put it on the list of bad habits to correct. I’ll start off August with opening each piece of mail. Let me to see if I can do that for the whole month.

It is now middle of the afternoon. My box of paper is not overflowing anymore. My bills are paid. I will not try to do any more hard sorting today. I do feel less overwhelmed. Why do I keep doing that to myself, eh? Over and over. I will not try to deal with the psychology of all that. No need to be that gerbil on the wheel. I can just fall off and do the work.

It’s another first day of the rest of my life. There has been a couple of such days since the last. I don’t profess this great or inspired writing. I just want to chart my progress of this journey call life. Once you hit a certain age and certainly after retirement, there are less significant markers. But I can’t say that for this year. Covid-19 is a huge marker of 2020. Myy mother’s shingles experience is memorable but with a good outcome. Sheba’s leaving us for doggy heaven was heart wrenching but natural in the order of life and death.

It’s good for me to do my tapping/talking here. I know I’m not being correct when the words hit the page. I can do an edit. But if I keep it all inside, the words and worries will turn over and over, fester and grows infectious. They can poison my body and soul. This is a good practice for me. Now that I’ve tapped out a few words and thoughts, I will head over to sort some paper clutter. Another day in the life of….


August 1, another Saturday. 10 weeks since Sheba’s left this world. Time and life seem strange in this Covid-19 times. Perhaps we are more alert, paying more attention to what is here now. No more Saturday morning swims for this year. I can go swimming on weekdays. I have to book a week ahead. Only 8 people allow in the pool at a time for lane swimming. I will wait for now. There’s my morning bike rides and work in the gardens. Today I am working on decluttering my head and my desks.

I’m learning that everything takes time. What a surprise, eh? It’s already after 11 am. I’ve cleared off and dusted desktops and watered the plants. What a mess! I have to stop painting here or clean up right after. Ridding dried acrylic paint splashes on the iMac, glass surfaces and everything else is a chore. And why can’t I clean my brushes right after instead of leaving them in the dirty water? So many bad habits. No wonder my brain is like scrambled eggs. All the paper stuff are in a big box – to be sorted later.

It is a new day and a new month. I get a new chance to do better. I’m making time to gather my thoughts and energy to take another step forward. Surprising how those aha moments come to light the way when I stop, breathe and have a look. All I get when I rush around is confusion and reaction. What I want is calmness and thoughtfulness. It will give me time to be aware of what is going on. Time well spent leads to life well lived.

As you can see, I haven’t been rushing around. It is Monday night and I’m still working on this post. I wonder what happened to the rest of Saturday and Sunday. Well, at least my desk is still clean and somewhat orderly. I haven’t been here to mess it up. The truth is I’ve been caught up in Netflix’s TV series, Bloodline. I’ve been binge watching weekend nights. I’m up till 1 am. It’s no wonder I’m not too spry or impassioned to write.

It’s not a bad thing. It’s a break from my routine. A change is as good as a rest which is what I did this afternoon. I rested. I had a nap. I’ve been like an energized bunny all these years. I’m not fast but I’m doing something all the time. I seldom nap. I seldom do nothing. I’m always reading something. Mostly it is on my devices. My attention span will not allow me to hold a book for long. The things that happen when we scroll and scroll.

I’m adapting to life without the physical Sheba, without our walks and romps in the park. It’s ok. There are bike rides to the community garden. There’s the work in the yard and garden. I’m as busy as ever and she is always with me somehow. The house is easier to maintain. I don’t have to sweep and vacuum the floor every day. No more endless dog hair.

It’s getting late. I heard the pitter patter of a few raindrops. Then it stopped. I should stop, too. I’m calling an end to my useless mutterings.