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.


I’m happy for no reason on this 3rd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. A good night’s sleep and a walk in the park always help. It is a warm sunny day – +10℃ outside and 27.9℃ in the greenhouse with 3 vents opened. The greens are doing very well. So are the 3 Red Alert Tomatoes and the 2 cucumbers. I’m looking forward to happy gardening and fresh salad greens. Maybe there will be a tomato or two at the end of May. Cross my fingers and toes.

Talking about feet, my left heel pain is gone. It’s a good reason to be happy. I’ve had that pain for months, if not for a year. It doesn’t hurt all the time but I sure feel it when I get up from sitting or laying. I would hobble around for it a bit before it would ease. I’ve been doing heel stretches for weeks at a stretch with no result. I’ve lived with this pain for so long that it’s part of me. I hadn’t noticed the exact moment it left. I am sure it was the functional exercise class Friday that did it. It’s such a good class, seemingly easy and simple with no heavy breathing or sweating. This is the set of exercises. We did it for 8 minutes or so.

  • leaning hands on wall for support at an angle, lift heels up 20 times
  • then leaning with back on wall at an angle, lift toes up 20 times
  • walk a straight line on toes x 10 steps then walk backwards on toes
  • walk a straight line on heels x 10 steps then walk backwards on heels

I hope my happiness lasts or is a frequent visitor. My get-with-the-program is going well. I am on my 50th day of #the100dayproject. I’m drawing/painting my memories and history. I am learning and understanding more of myself and life. How’s that for killing a few birds with a pen/pencil and a paint brush?

I think this is enough for today. I have to admit that I am a little distracted and frazzled with my projects. I have to save some time and quiet for myself. I lost on Wordle today. It’s a good thing we can play only once a day. Otherwise, I might not get here having this conversation.


Sometimes my emotions can turn on a dime. I’m paying attention to identify the triggers. Maybe it is just a matter of my chemistry being altered and any one thing can upset my apple cart. By now I have had enough experience with my history, I don’t need to run off to the psychiatrist’s couch to lament or to ask for a prescription. I’ve also stopped reading those self-help books and taking online courses on how to fix myself. I have graduated from life’s school of hard knocks with a prestigious PhD. I am my own Personal Health Doctor.

No one knows me better than myself. It is about time that I listen and trust in me. It is only natural that we have good and bad days. What goes up, must come down. I should listen to the Blood, Sweat and Tears and “ride a painted pony, let the spinning wheel spin”. In other words, get on the damn merry-go-round and ride it out. It will eventually stop. So that’s what I’m doing – riding it out.

In the meantime I’m still living and feeling whatever it is that is here in me. I’m not trying to fight it off like I used to. That would be a form of self abuse, wouldn’t it, to deny part of yourself? Is self love not encompassing all parts of the self, the good, bad and ugly? Though it is hard, I do try to sit with all my physical and psychological discomforts. My natural inclination has always been to run away. It never works. It comes back again and again. And now, after I have stopped running, it comes back less and less. My bad feels better and better.

What is it that I do besides not running away? Well, nothing special. I just carry on with daily life as best as I can. I still have to get out of bed, dress up and show up. It’s doing all those boring things like brushing my teeth and other personal hygiene routines. It’s having nutrituous meals and getting fresh air and exercise. It’s keeping house and having hobbies. It’s showing an interest in life and others. Even when I don’t feel like it, I act like I am. There’s wisdom in faking it till you make it. One thing for sure is I never feel like just curling up and sleeping it off.

No matter how I feel, I can still bake – bread, cookies, muffins. It’s comforting to measure, mix and kneed. The aroma of bread and chocolate chip cookies baking is very healing. No matter how slow and sluggish I am, I still took apart a long winter coat, lining and all. Somehow, some way I will find the energy to revamp it into a different coat. Recently I sew up 2 pairs of panties from an old t-shirt. It’s good to have something to take apart when you’re feeling out of sorts. Then there’s painting. It’s also a good thing when you’re feeling blue and that your life is nothing. In those moments, I feel it’s ok to just splash paint and make a mess on the canvas. I am so delighted when something nice comes out of it. Then there’s writing. The tap, tap, tap on the keyboard is very relaxing and therapeutic. And I get to let out my angst. There’s pleasure in putting in and arranging my photos, too. I love reading other people’s words. Today I’m rereading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. The last time was when I was in high school.



We had another thunderstorm last evening. The rain hammered fiercely on the roof. It was noisy. Sheba was either too tired from the night before or else she was not bothered by the energy of this storm. She did perked up from her pillow, wandered about warily, going to the door, listening to the rain and thunder. But she did settled back on her pillow after some reassurance and petting.

The rain stopped before bedtime. We went to bed and all had a good night’s sleep. Not a peep from Sheba. How wonderful sleep felt after a night without. It is the best medicine. I felt strung out all day yesterday with the kind of tired that doesn’t let you sleep. I was a walking zombie for lack of a better description. It felt like somebody had died. It felt like a depression. I felt like behaving badly. I didn’t because I knew better.

I’m not one who rises singing. I felt like it this morning. But my lack of sleep the other night still affected my mood through the day. It went in and out. I felt pesky and irritated at times, wanting to act out. I didn’t but accepted my moodiness. I let myself feel whatever came up. I didn’t squish or squash them. They were left to do a slow simmer inside while I behaved my best on the outside. I am becoming a good Buddhist. Thank you, Pema Chodron for your wisdom.

It’s a beautiful day after the 2 rains. The temperature is perfect, with a light breeze. I could sit on the deck in the middle of afternoon. It was wonderful in my outdoor studio, painting my little index cards. Sheba is always nearby, the birds chirping in the cedars and I have my cuppa. I take care not to dip my brushes in it instead of the water. I sometimes struggle with the prompts for Daisy Yellow ICAD Challenge. But today they just came. It was so much fun, so satisfying.

Now it is getting to be almost 9 in the evening. It is still light, a splash of pale sun against the garage wall. It is so calm, a mellow yellow and tender evening. I can sit here and gaze at it forever if it lasts. But soon the light will disappear. Dusk will come, followed by the dark of the night. It is time for me to finish though it feels like I have a ton of conversation left in me. Nothing exciting or profound. They’re just the little stuff of this ordinary life. They’re as elusive as the butterfly and they fly away as quickly. I will have to wait for another day to catch them again.


Today the sun plays hide and seek behind the clouds. The wind is sighing heavily through the spruce trees. I am spooked by the shadowing and heavy sighs. My skin crawls. I have to do. I can’t just sit and think. Questions, all kinds of whys and how comes would creep in and invade my head and infest my mind. Yesterday, I thought about makingupdating my will and last testament. I thought about who/what causes to leave all my stuff to, whether they are worthy or not. Then I started thinking about relationships. What is and what is not. I make myself stop.

It’s better to do than to think. I took my tea out to my workstation on the deck. It was still coolish but the sun was out. The wind can’t find its way through the screen. I was warm and snug in my sanctuary. The index cards, brushes and paint were waiting for me to make a start. After the first stroke, I was away, absorbed in the process. Gone were the questions, the uncertainties and anxiety attached to them.

So what do you think of my little pouty Geisha? She kind of reminds me of my groupy self when I was little. I had those puffed out cheeks and down turned lips. Funny how I always paint myself. Perhaps it’s my alter ego wanting to come through. She’s trapped all these years and screaming to come out. Now she has an avenue through my art.

This is much better than letting the anxiety getting the better of me. Yes, I feel its creepy, crawling fingers on my skin, its stirring in my heart. I know its ways. I’m soothing and smoothing it down with my brushes and paint. I’m turning its energy in the creative rather than the destructive direction. True, Miss Pouty is not perfect. She is rather sweet though, slanted eyes and all.

I never like doing anything. If I didn’t know any better, I would rather curl up like a cat in the sun. I could easily not do anything but purr and sleep. I know that’s is not a good thing to do all the time. So I packed up my gym bag and headed out for the pool. It was wonderful. I had it all to myself. I can splash to my heart’s content. I can make a fool of myself. No one to witness except the lifeguard. What a good opportunity to practice my backstroke. I can relax with no one breathing down my back. Up the lane I front crawled. Down the lane I backstroked. I did well. I talked myself into 15 minutes, then 30 and at 45 minutes, it was good enough. It was excellent. It was better to do than to sit and brood.

A Cowardly but Respectful Lion

Yesterday I talked about being brave. But I am still like Dorothy’s cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. I’m not quite up to snuff, not up to confrontations. Never have and maybe never will. There’s something not quite kosher with the word, ‘confront’. It does not sit well with me. It implies hostility. It’s not the way I want to interact or behave. The word itself already brings with it anger and other mean spirited feelings. It is the word I am eliminating from my vocabulary right now.

Call me cowardly if you will but I cannot behave contrary to the way I was raised. That is my rock and a hard place. I do not want to absorb all the negativity it generates into my being. It is really not good for my well being. With a little creativity, luck and serendipity, I’ve turned into an alchemist. All my angst, from whichever source and direction they came from are very good fodder. They’ve fuel my painting, sewing, crocheting, knitting and my tap, tap, tapping here. All the frustrations, disappointments, saddness and anger are good compost. They give rise to ideas and visions and hope for a better (my)self. Being a queen of self-help, I always aim for a better version of me. Sometimes I succeed. Lately I’ve been failing. I’m picking myself up, brushing off self pity and getting ready to rise above the dust.

Having tapped out these words, my heart feels lighter if not braver. I will not tiptoe around my own sacred garden/yard/the world. But neither will I stomp around in anger and malice. I will treat my boundary and hers as well with due respect as always. If my beans or other climbing vines climb over the fence, well they are trespressing in the technical term. It matters not that they are not invasive or harming nothing. She has a right to nip the trespasser in the bud. I’ve already informed the weed company she uses that we do not want any spray on our property. That is fair, respecting my property.

The day is almost gone. I’ve spent the afternoon and my excess angst cleaning out my car. All the rubber mats and carpets are taken out, washed and dusted. The insides are vacuumed and wiped down. What took me so long? Why have I been so neglectful? It’s the first time I’ve cleaned the inside since I bought the car in 2009. Sometimes you start one thing, it can lead to another. Life can be wonderful this way. I’m stuck between that rock and a hard place. I’m chipping my way out, throwing out the dirt and pebbles. Now there’s room for Sheba.

What better way to rid the dust after a hard day’s work than a swim. None that I could think of. Though I had only a short time, I made my way to the pool. Twenty minutes was exactly what the doctor had ordered. It was cheered considerably by a thoughtful young man who was the life guard. He still looked wet behind the ears but was wise as Solomon in human relationships. I left with a softer heart than when I came. Thank you ___ . He told me his name but of course, I’ve forgotten already.




How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard

I wish I could write such insights as Annie Dillard. But then I’m not a Pulitizer winning authour. She has written many books. I wonder why I haven’t read any of them, especially since so many of them are in the library. I’ve just fixed that, reserving The Writing Life. I thought I should start with just one book. I’m still working on James Mitchener’s The Source. It’s an ambitious read of 1000 pages. I’m only on  page 207. I have a ways to go.

How do you spend your days? I’ve wondered what other people do with their time. I’m always busy it seems. I’m a doddler, poking away at life. Maybe if I speed up a little, I wouldn’t feel so busy. But it’s who and how I am. I need that slow pace to digest and process. So I can’t get up in the morning and hop to it. I have to ease my way with a cuppa tea and a few pages of fiction. Then it’s breakfast. If it is Monday, Wednesday,or Friday I’ll be heading out the door to aerobics. Saturday mornings I used to swim. Then somehow I got tired of always heading out of the door and I stopped. But I kept it up most of the winter.

I’m a homebody so I was glad to read that Annie Dillard is a recluse, albeit a gregarious one. I wish I’m like that but alas, I have no gregariousness in me. It should be no surprise that I don’t do a lot of frollicking with my days. I’m a rather quiet, somber person. I live within rather than without. That is, I contemplate alot. I like to read and muse. I wonder about the universe, why people do what they do. I wonder about the speed of the changes we are experiencing. How long life as we know will last? I wonder what gives meaning to the things we do. What does it matter anyways? I could have more time if I could just cut down all this musing.

You see, I am no fun. I do have fun though. I have numerous, maybe too many hobbies. I like to read and write. That gobbles up tons of minutes and hours in a day if I let it. Even painting my little index cards takes up at least half an hour. More if I’m ambitious. I’ve picked up sewing again. I went out and bought a fancy dancy new machine. It’s no small endeavour. It took time to learn all the ins and outs. Then there’s the organizing – fabric, patterns, projects. I’ve taken a fancy to free motion sewing, creating a picture with stitching. I haven’t thought about quilting yet. I have all the notions – collected through the years. At least I don’t have to go out and shop for material. I have a fabric shop right in my own basement.

I’m tapping here in my space. I’ve just turned the oven on for the roast. There’s a lot to do every day. Roasts to put in the oven, bread to make, lunches and dishes to do. The guy does supper and getting groceries. I start my own bedding plants for the garden. Been doing that for years now. Sometimes I enjoy. Sometimes it’s work. Well, isn’t everything? It’s worth it. It’s nourishing my body and soul. Even the cleaning and washing. It’s taking care of this business of living. What meaning or satisfaction would I get not doing any of this? Sure, I complain sometimes and wish that everything was taken care of for me. That sounds like being in a nursing home, doesn’t it?

It’s time to shut up and do something else now. There’s the dog to walk yet.






The snow storm came this morning. I was happy it came later rather than sooner. I made it to the embroidery seminar before the blowing snow gave me thought for pause. Being that there was 3 of us made it easier to get chummy and chatty. One of us was already very skilled. I had no experience. She was very generous in offering her help. It’s handy she lives in my area. I will probably call her up sometimes.


It was a brief conversation yesterday. I was short on time and energy. But I am back. I’m working on the discipline thing. It would be easy to while the morning away reading  Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday. I should not have read the reviews before I read the book. It colours how I am finding it.  I am agreeing that it is long and a bit tedious, confusing, and repetitous. Would I feel the same if I had not read the reviews? I will never find out now. Still, it is worth the read because it is Sue Grafton. She must have written it while battling cancer. I have a lot of respect for her.

Yes, these mornings I am digging deep to find my discipline bone, to lay aside the book after awhile. I need to get on with other things. It’s a difficult task even if I like doing the other stuff. My body’s natural inclination is to stay in the same old, same old. My brain’s had enough practice now to step in. Put the book down! Paint your 365 Somethings 2018 index card. I heard its voice in my head. I sigh and put the book down. The index card is painted. Projects keep me moving somehow or another. At the end of the year I will have 365 little postcard watercolour paintings. I hope my paintings will be better and better.

The bedding is in the wash AGAIN. For some reason they still smelled of Sheba. We love her but not her stink. She is also laundered two days ago. Now her fluff is floating around. The work never ends. It’s a good thing because if it does, what would it mean? I’m pepping myself up with a cup of decaf. It still has the caffeine taste. That’s good enough for me. I best go and check on the laundrey. They’re probably ready for the dryer now. Then it will be time for lunch. Best not to be late. We have tickets to see Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show at 2 pm.



Egads! Having a fur baby is like having a real baby. When there is something wrong, they can’t articulate so that you can understand. They cry/bark and cry/bark. Nothing seems to help. Their distress is distressing. There’s no reasoning with a dog or a baby. This is my situation with Sheba at the moment. We came home after spending a couple of hours at the guy’s boat workshop. It was her mealtime and she was restless.

Saturday –

That was as far as I got yesterday. Things went from bad to worse. She ate her supper with relish as always. Instead of settling down after as usual, she was restless and pesky. She barked to be out. Then she barked to be in.  She sat on the deck and stared at me. I’m not coming in! Was her demeanor. I coaxed her in with a treat. We went through a few episodes of this. Finally I took her for another walk. Maybe she felt shortchanged on her last one. We went at a fast clip. She was happy to trot. But it did not solve the problem at all.

She remained restless and pesky all evening, barking to go out, to come in. It reminded me of another episode a couple of years ago when she was anxious. Then, it was quite clear that she had anxiety, crying, not sleeping and not eating unless we stood guard while she ate. It was quite an ordeal, lasting weeks. She was checked and no physical causes. I was thinking of medicating her when she ‘snapped’ out of it. I wasn’t sure if it was the Omega 3s that I started feeding her. She was having quite a bit of dandruff at the time, too. Omega 3s were supposed to be good for healthy coat and brain. It worked in both cases. The dandruff improved and so did the hair shedding. PLUS she started sleeping and her anxiety subsided.

Remembering all that, I was determined that this was not going to go on for weeks. I willed myself to feel confident and secured, hoping she will read that and feel safe. I was sure by evening that the anxiety was from being in the workshop. She did not like being in there. The first day she was fine and would lay on her blanket. But the second day she paced the two hours we were there. She had trouble laying down at home. She would bop right up again. She would sit with me massaging her back and ears. She could sit focused and engaged through popcorn feeding, one kernel at a time. She is a true Lab. But we could not do that forever.

When we went to bed, she still would not settle. She paced, whimpered and panted around the bed. It was worse when I kicked her out and shut the door. She started barking. Eventually I got out of bed and made myself a cup of tea. I sat at the diningroom table and painted my little index cards. In time, Sheba came and laid down near my feet and licked hers. She really went to town, panting and licking her paws. She was comforting herself. The floor was quite wet. But she did calm down. She allowed me to stay in bed and sleep. She laid in hers, at the foot of ours and slept also. By then it was after 3 am and I had painted 3 little index cards.

Today she is her normal sweet though sometimes barky self. I have a headache, my eyes are gritty. I guess that’s normal for 3 hours of sleep. But I am still standing though not tall.



I’ve felt the heavens shift today. I think I’m going to be ok. I’ve painted my blues away. When the going gets tough, I fake it and keep going. What else can I do? Pout, stay in bed, cry, give up? I did none of those. I kept my daily schedule. I ate lots of chocolate chip cookies and some ice cream. I said no to exercise classes and swimming. I didn’t shower yesterday. I haven’t yet today. I don’t smell, not sweating much. It’s winter. I read. I painted and painted on my little index cards with watercolours. I’m working ahead on my 365 Somethings 2018 project. That’s what I do with my excessive energy. Now I’m feeling almost like an artist. I am an artist!

Suprisingly, I don’t feel any fatter. Not any slimmer either. I guess I have Sheba to thank. She still dragged me out for walks, like it or not. When I look around the house, it is not any messier than its usual state. Astounding! I must be doing something right, sticking to my good habits. They have stuck with me through thick and thin. I’m ecstatic. I’m in heaven. I could dance without music.