November 24. Good morning! It’s another new day and another blank page. I thought I would talk about writing since I am reading Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. It’s a very good read. He is a very successful writer. I would heed his advice. That’s the biggest light bulb moment for me just now – to listen to those humble successful people. I’ve wasted so much energy and time on little pesky critical thinking-they-know-it-alls. Come to think of it now, I’m guilty of being a know-it-all myself. Eeek! Writing can be illuminating, spotlighting my own flaws. It’s like dust motes in sunlight. Now that I know, I will do better. No more unsolicited advice.

Stephen King’s advice to be successful at writing is that you have to read and write alot. I have been reading since I can read, first in Chinese and then in English. I have long since lost my Chinese. I had only a grade 2 when we came to Canada, but I could read my mother’s Chinese books. Being 8 or 9 years old, my mother didn’t want me to read her adult fiction books. Shed encouraged me to read newspapers and to learn English. You can imagine what happened with that advice. 

I HAD to learn English. It came easily with the help of Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff and my teacher, Miss Woodall. I can’t remember the exact moment that I held up my hand to ask permission when I felt nature calling. Before that I just got up and left the classroom and went to the basement where the batheooms were. I am surprised I remember all that and their names after all these years! I’m at an age where my memory is deteriorating. Writing is good for brain health. It would be so much better if I can make it a regular daily morning habit. My mutterings could serve as my memory and mood board. It could serve as my brain health chart.

Books were and still are good friends. Libraries are happy places for me. We didn’t have a library in our little town then. A library on wheels came to town maybe once a month. I think you can get more books more often by ordering through the mail. I can’t remember how that worked but the postage was free. I read many of the Little House on the Prairies , Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys books through that system. Then there were Little Women, Little Men, the Bobbsey Twins and…

Enough now for today. Keeping it simple, let me finish with my 3 daily gratitudes.

  • I am grateful for this morning’s ski in the North and South Park. The track was not great today but still ski-able. I got fresh air and exercise.
  • I am grateful for today’s mobility class. We ran through a range of exercises for various joints. I always come out feeling better than before.
  • I am grateful my mood is improving. I am feelings bits of sparkling joy.


It’s a friggin’ mystery to me why I waste so much time scrolling when I have so much I want to do. In no time at all, an hour goes by. I could have, would have if only…blah, blah, blah. I feel like I have no mind of my own. It’s been taken over by aliens. Another name for it would be ADDICTION. There’s no point in ruminating about the whys and wherefores. But I’ve finally got my ass in front of the keyboard to peck out a paragraph.

I’ve managed to get the dried washed woolies off the rack in the laundry room. Changing posture, being in a different room changes my perspectives, my energy. I feel a ‘desire’ to do, even if it’s fleeting. I take my clothes upstairs to the bedroom, folded the sweaters and put them in their drawer. The scarfs I hung on their hooks on the back of the door. There! Some stuff back in their own place.

Not everything is that easy. But I am trying to make everything easier. There is no point in making them harder, is there? I am learning to be more – of everything. I can be more receptive by being more quiet. That way I can hear when my angels are talking to me, telling me their wisdom. I can be more observant instead of more showy so that I can see the problems in front of me. I can be more attentive of Sheba. I knew right from the start, she is a gift from God. She shows me how to be. She comforts me and fills the empty spaces. She has schedules that needs to be met. In meeting hers, mine are too.

I am learning to be more out of myself so I can see others in their suffering. I saw this on an article on Oprah this morning: When someone asks for help, always give her something. You don’t have to give her what she asks for, but you can give her a word of encouragement, a helpful idea or a caring glance.  It’s very good advice. You never know how much kind words or a gesture can mean to a person. An acquaintance told me that after I dropped in to see her husband on my way to work.

He was a patient on the onocology ward at the hospital. I worked on the ward next to it. So it really wasn’t out of my way. The article reminded me of her words. “It might not be of anything to you but it meant alot to John,” she said. I have to confess. I’m not a mean person but I don’t always remember to be kind.

I have to remember to be more grateful, too. God has given me some powerful gifts. He has given me tools of expression. I would not be sitting here now tap, tapping out my innards if not for this gift of words. Do you know how powerful words are? I do. I use them to ease my dis-ease, to give me wings to fly, to create stories to encourage and heal what is hurting. I have great respect for them. I use them to speak only for and of myself here.

Then he gave me the pencil and brush to paint my blues away. I believe the blues is his gift, too. How else could the other two show up. One could not do without the other. It’s a tangle dance they do together. I am not sorry for having them. I would be lonely without them after all these years together. Are the blues an addiction? Should I try to rid them. For now, I’ll just try for finding easier ways to live with them. What do you think?


Yesterday, I joked about writing a blog on how to do anything better. On second thought, I’ve decided that it’s not such a bad idea after all. How else can I improve anything if I don’t even try? Just because I have an unfocused mind doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Already I’m working on my addiction to tea – Orange Pekoe, to be exact. There must be some secret ingredient that makes me crave it. Could it be just caffeine?

I’m sipping chamomile as I am tapping. I hope I can stay awake. Sheba is keeping me company. She is usually very rowdy and restless in the afternoons. It is that time between her supper and her walk. I’ve been working patiently with her for the last few weeks. When she barks up, I coax her in laying down, staying and then giving her lots of verbal praise. It took awhile but she’s finally getting it. Quiet = food and a walk. I could see the comprehension in her eyes and behavior. Really, a couple of weeks is not a long time. It is so pleasurable to see her ‘getting’ it.

The truth is I am the one finally ‘getting’ it. Raising Sheba has been strenuous, frustrating, fun, and satisfying all at the same time. It was very tumultous in the beginning. I was more a cat person, having had 3 cats previously. A dog was a new thing. What I knew about dogs was in movies and on television. It was myths and fairy tales, no true hard facts about raising a dog. The only preparation I made was to buy a very big crate and a book from the library.

The book was a very good resource at toilet training my new puppy. I followed the suggested schedule to a t. I can’t remember the number of times I took Sheba out to ‘potty’. It was enough times to wear me out but Sheba is perfectly toilet trained. One time she got into some ripe prunes and she had to go. She was in her crate in the garage when I was at work. She tried to poop out the crate door. She had some messy back end. When I let her out, she got away from me. Out the yard she ran. I had to chase her through the neighbourhood. Oh, what a time that was! Lucky for us, nobody saw us and the messy back end. A big sigh of relief when I finally caught her.

I listened and read too many accounts of how to raise a dog. I was terrified of doing the wrong things. Everyone and every source stated how difficult it is to correct a dog once it learned the wrong thing. I was a nervous wreck, feeling like a failed dog owner. Puppy classes were of no help. We weren’t keen on the trainer. She made both Sheba and I feel bad about ourselves. One time Sheba charged full throttle into Pet Smart (where we took the class), choked on her collar and pooped on the floor. On the way home after, she threw up in the car. What a mess! Ugh! We decided we did not need any more puppy classes. We’ve been limping along on our own ever since.

My advice on how to if you are a very first time dog owner, is to relax. Enjoy your dog. Get to know each other first. Go from there. The best thing is about consistency. But when you are a novice, you don’t even know what that means. The next best advice is don’t worry too much about making mistakes. Even old dogs can be corrected. They are just like us. They can change given the right motivations. It’s practice, practice and more practice – the same way each time – over and over = success. It only took us 11 years. But better late than never.