The Single Step

I’m having a second cup of tea on this grey misty morning. Trying to get my creative juices and blood flowing. I’m not a very exciting person, not the kind of woman who dances on table tops or jumps out of cakes. Are you? I’m having one of those mornings. My batteries are down to their last dregs. I feel like I’m grinding to a halt. BUT, I’ll just poke along, one step at a time. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the single step. That’s what my ancestors, Confucius and Lao Tzu taught among many other things. This is not a bad time to study their lives. Having lived in times before Christ, their teachings still stand the test of time today.

I made some progress during the morning. I did not just sit and stare. I dared to open up some kitchen drawers. What chaos! I almost closed them up again. It wouldn’t have helped because I knew what a mess they were. I can see them in my mind’s eye. I dug in and pulled everything out. Got out the hand vacuum and sucked up all those the loose tea leaves, sugar and what have yous. Then I sorted as best as I could, putting into appropriate baskets/containers, etc. And voilà! The drawers after the cleanup.

Now I’m waiting for supper. We’re late as usual. We’re busy retired people but I got my walk in. Late afternoon, early evening makes for a nice stroll around the neighbourhood. It is quiet, the world slowing down and the sky closing up for the day. It is a beautiful time of day.

I am not a fan of Halloween and trick and treatings but I do enjoy the effort people put into decorating their yards. We don’t have to do Halloween or any other occasion the same all the time when it’s not appropriate. Change is good. It exercises our brain and soul. Experiment and see what happens. Take the step.




The end of October at last! And it’s Hallowe’en. I have to admit that I don’t like Hallowe’en at all. Sheba doesn’t either. She is scared of the yards decorated with ghosts and goblins, witches, coffins, pumpkins et al. She growls as she looks over her shoulder at them trotting by sideways. There’s no comforting and reassuring her until they are out of site. Come time for those trick and treaters ringing the doorway, it’s ear deafening barking till they leave and another bunch comes. So what’s fun about that? Bah humbug! I don’t have a fun bone in my body.

Should I apologize for that? I am having a bit of a bad attitude at the moment. My sleep has been disturbed by malicious neighbour committing acts of vandalism. I know, I sound like a broken record. I know it all sounds petty. I’m sure that’s how bullied children feel. That it’s petty. That they will not be believed. It seeps into your pysche and fester like a sliver under your fingernails. I don’t feel any better for having reported to the police. I know that they are trained to be neutral but are they?  The occasions that I have spoken with them lately, l felt I was the criminal. I felt I was going through customs.

I will get through this soon and my chatter will stop. In the meantime, I will educate myself how to deal with this shit better. I’ve listened to an Oprah podcast with Malcolm Gladwell on his book, Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know. Then there’s his David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. I think I sort of fit into the midget underdog category. I do feel intimidated by police and neighbour. I hope to glean some insight and tools from Malcolm. In the meantime I shall :

  1. Do the best as I can.
  2. Try to get more sleep.
  3. Keep to my exercise regime.
  4. Keep to my meditation regime.
  5. Stop thinking of neighbour problem. I have set things in motion. Let the process take care of it.
  6. Keep my regular writing practice.
  7. Try to develop a fun bone.
  8. Do the lunch dishes.
  9. Take Sheba out for her walk

The end. Amen.



Sheba and I have just got back from our walk. It is the night before Halloween. I can tell you that we are not in love with the occasion. We are not fond of coffin lids opening and closing, bloody severed limbs hanging from trees and yards full of gravestones and skeletons. We find it all gruesome, especially late in the afternoon on a cloudy day. Sheba was vocal in her opinions, bringing the homeowners to their windows. I pretended to admonish her. I can do without trick or treaters ringing the doorbells, upsetting Sheba.

I’m sounding like an old sour bag. I admit it. I am old and humourless. Generally our types are quite responsible – to a fault. I tried very hard to do right by Sheba by taking her to puppy classes. We took one at PetSmart in the beginning. I was clueless about what to look for in a class or trainer. But we were in the right age group class. Most of the puppies were lap dogs except for the Bernese Mountain dog and Sheba. The Bernese was so big and calm that once it sat, it sat. Sheba was the only shit disturber. She was a barker and a squirmer. I had my hands and arms full of her.

We attracted alot of attention from the trainer, of course. She took Sheba from me and said, “It pains me to watch you”. I thought it wasn’t very nice at all. Most of the time, she uses the calm obedient ones to demonstrate. She said she could get any puppy to walk without pulling. But she wouldn’t take Sheba. That is until my classmates started chanting: Take Sheba! Take Sheba! They could see that I was really struggling with her. She had to take Sheba then. By the time she was done, her face was all red and sweaty. It made me smile a very big smile.

We did finished all the classes but both of us were traumatized by the experience. Sheba threw up in the car home one evening. Another evening she bolted into the store for our class. She pulled so hard, she choked on the collar and pooped right in the middle of the store. I was almost in tears. It was another classmate that came to my aid. She was a dog breeder. She was in the class so her puppy could get so socialization. I found her more helpful than the trainer. Clearly she was not the right one for us. I could not subject myself to take another class ever after.

We’ve been muddling along on our own for all these years. She is not perfectly trained or obedient. But she does not go on furniture at home or at the sitter’s. Except when she was puppy, she does not chew or destroy anything. She’ll go after any food left on the floor but she does not surf tables. She is perfectly house trained. She can sit, shake a paw and crawl. That’s pretty good, don’t you think? It’s good enough for me.



Can one possibly get real on Halloween night with little ghosts, goblins and little princesses knocking on your door and yelling, Trick or treat! ?

It is October 31, the eve of NaNoWriMo.  My pencil is honed.  I am ready to write.  In fact, I do have a title for my novel, a somewhat plot and an introduction.  I wonder if I have done too much and have already disqualified myself from the contest.  No matter.  I am serious and I am going to write my novel, one page at a time.

To be real and serious, can one write a book in a month?  I am already losing sleep and energy with the pressure of writing 50,000 words in a month.  My brain is blank, my creative juices frozen and my words are nowhere in sight.  How can I write a book under these conditions?  I feel like I am lined up with my laptop along with a kazillion other writers at the starting line.  We are all waiting for someone to fire the gun.  GET READY, SET, BAM!

This part is no longer fun for me, I’m sorry to say, NaNoWriMo.  But I am grateful to you for perking my interest and getting me started.  Now, I need to get real and serious and write.  I will write every day in November – and beyond as much as I can.  But I cannot go at it at a gallop.  Sometimes I have to let things simmer and percolate.  I have to let the child in me dream up dragons and such.  I have to let the stories in me come out a page at a time.


It might as well be a fantastic book that someone will want to read, even if it’s a friend or relative.