Day 6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is too early to take a break and skip a post. I will plod on. Over the winter I had taken a beginner’s watercolour course. I learned that the foundation to a good painting is a good drawing. Therefore, my choice for #the100dayproject is to do a daily drawing. According to Malcolm Glaldwell, if you practice one skill for 10,000 hours, you’ll have a good chance at becoming an expert at it. I’ve done day 53 now. I haven’t counted how many hours I’ve put in. Somewhere in the last while I felt I made a somewhat breakthrough.

Practice does make for better. I started out doing everything so carefully, measuring and making a grid. I used a pencil and eraser. I wanted perfect. My drawings turned out well but I felt a bit stifled. I couldn’t start without my grid and measurements. This was the opposite of what I used to do. Before taking any classes, regardless of whether I was using watercolours or acrylics, I drew with my paint brush. No pencil and eraser. That made me scratched my head. I wondered how I did that. They weren’t great paintings but they weren’t terrible either. Some of them were actually pretty good for index card paintings.

I decided to give up the pencil and eraser. I did pen drawings. No eraser needed or of any use. No rulers, no measurements and no grid. I just put down a mark with my pen and away I go. I scratch here and there, adding lines. Somehow it all comes out ok. I astound myself sometimes. I guess I must have more confidence when I know I can’t erase. I better make good or know how to fix it so that it comes out ok. And adding some watercolour sure makes the drawing come alive. Besides putting in the hours of practice, it helps if you have good paint and good paper. And you have to love the object of your creation. When a photo grabs me, I know that I can draw it. Those photos usually hold a story or an emotion. They speak to me and spill onto the page in ink and colour.




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.



January 12, 2019  6:27 pm

These evening hours is really not a great time for me to come to the keyboard. My hands and fingers are tired and sore from the day’s work. My brain is grumpy and foggy. Have you ever tried to find your words  through a dense cloud of nothing? But I haven’t learned to do better yet. So here’s to another struggle on this January night.

I could give up. Who says I need to struggle – Malcolm Gladwell? Yup. He says that successful people spend thousands and thousands of hours honing their skill. Do I have that much time left in my life? I better not waste what I have left by complaining. I better keep tapping.

But really, I’m so frigging tired. I just want to do nothing. I could practice that for hours and hours!


I’ve been here on earth for decades now. Why is it that I am so slow and dense? I’ve just realized that life has many options. I have many choices in this store. Why do I get stuck being confused, angry and unhappy? This reminds me of a TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell on choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce. I have to watch it again to refresh my memory.

He’s right that most people don’t know what they want. Given the question of coffee, I would say I like a rich dark roast. Who wants to say they like milky weak coffee? NOW I would if that’s what I like. I have a better sense of self, more confidence. I’m not worried about sounding stupid or milky weak like my coffee.

Have you ever counted the different kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste… in the store aisles? I haven’t literally counted but remember standing in the tootthpaste aisle trying to decide which toothpaste is the best. How can you tell even reading the labels? Can you trust the labels? It seems I have more trouble choosing as I get older, comparing brands, comparing prices. I remember once upon a long time ago, if I like something and it’s something I need, I would buy it. In more recent times, the more I investigate, the more confused and uncertain I am. Sometimes I go home empty handed, making the trip again on another day.

Today, I’m wiser. I value my time and well being more. I am using the I DON’T HAVE TO option more. I don’t have to toss, turn and fret about a decision. I listen to my gut instinct. This morning my body said NO to exercise class. I said OK. I need the time and the rest. There’s a stack of fabric for me to sort. I checked my emails to see if I got a confirmation for my Bernina sewing machine registration. None. I phoned The Sewing Machine Store to let them know as instructed.

Yes, I had bought my machine just like that for Christmas. A gift to myself. I looked at all the options. There were many. It didn’t take long. The Bernina was the more complex and expensive. But it spoke to me. My gut responded. No buyer’s regret. It took me 2 days to learn how to use the self threader. That was the hardest part but I can straight sew on it. I’m ready to get serious and explore some of its more complicated options. I don’t have to worry that I can’t learn. I know I can.

But first a walk with Sheba. That will be my exercise for the day. It’s a truly amazing crazy +3C degrees for January. The kids are sliding down the hill at the park. Sheba barks at them in excitement. All is joyous. I will store this moment in my brain. It will be my Jack in the box for those blue funky days. What goes up must come down. Where there’s clouds, there’s rain. The sun will shine again. All these are true.

The weather is something we cannot control. How we respond is something we can. There are so many options, the same number as kinds of spaghetti sauce, ketchup, toothpaste. If one doesn’t work, choose another, and another. Sometimes no one solution works. Then it’s time to try a combo. Have a smorgasbord. I tried 2 more chocolate chip cookies, remembering I DON’T HAVE TO fix anything – not even me.

10,000 HOURS

Another most beautiful Autumn morning. Yet, I feel the discomfiture of the season, or is it just me? I am a bit obsessed with sleep or rather the inability to sleep. It’s a bit of a vicious circle of chasing one’s tail. I’m trying to ‘chill’. That in itself is a bit of a tail chaser, if you know what I mean. I’ve decided my best course of action is to do what I do on a normal day – before all this tail chasing.

I’m not completely sleepless. I have been falling asleep. The trouble now lies in when nature calls. I wake up and tend to business. Coming back to bed I start to worry about getting back to sleep again. Sometimes I can still my thoughts of worrying and fall back to sleep. Last night I couldn’t. But I still got 5 hours. Good enough.  That’s what I lived on mostly through 30 plus years of shift work. Tonight I will have my hot chocolate with nutmeg.

It was breakfast at 5 am with a bit of reading. Sheba came and nudged me for hers at 6. Soon enough it was time to head to the pool for my Saturday morning swim. In the pool, I’m reminded of how much progress I’ve made. I’m slicing through the water with my back crawl. So what it’s taken this many years? Malcolm Gladwell said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at a skill. I’ve spent only a fraction of that. I have time and room to improve.

Practice does make for better. I’ve spent the past year striving consciously to do something different every day to change – to see and feel differently, in a better way. It seems such a struggle and it never ceases. I guess it will one day but until then I drawn to struggle for the excellence of living. I wonder how many hours there are in a lifetime. How many areas of expertise can I achieve?