THERE ARE NO WONDERS

Something wonderful happens when I eat a chocolate chip cookie. I double the pleasure when I have two. My grumpiness melts. That headache fades. Sheba crowds near, hoping for an oops and a few crumbs. I give her a few little frozen carrots. She is happy and gets to clean her teeth on them. Now she gives a grunt of satisfaction. We’re both down for the count. She’s on the floor. I’m on the chair, tap, tap, tapping some insight and wisdom – I hope.

I know that I will pay for my chocolate frenzy this week. I know/have my boundaries. I can’t keep eating them every day. Maybe we will walk a little faster and further today. It is +3C right now. There is no point in wondering what’s wrong with me and the weather. Don’t waste time asking the unanswerable questions. This is how it is. Get on with it. I am – getting on with it. There is POWER in the getting on. There is movement and results. When you just wonder and wonder, all you get is a headache.

Let me tell you the story of my wonders. I could never accept things/people/situations as they are. I wonder WHY, THEY MUST, THERE MUST BE. I always want to find explanations for everything, everybody. I am never ready to face the truth of what is before me. There MUST be another reason, another time, another chance. It WILL be different….. It’s no wonder I’m where I am, eh?

I have to give up on that wonder lust and wander as on foot. Sheba and I have wandered far on our walk. It is a balmy +6C degrees. We took our time, sniffing the dead exposed grass, rolling on the icy backalley. All the quirks worked out. Paws wiped clean, Sheba goes into the house. Meanwhile, I tend to the messy business in the backyard. You guess it, Sheba’s poop. I could very well have turned a blind eye and not see. Somehow, those things can’t be ignored. They are there in the head without eyes.

I take it as a measure of my mental health that I CAN do it. I WILL HAVE to do it at some point in time. Why not now? If the need and the idea arises, why not do it now, if possible? I bend to the task. It is not difficult. One, two, another one…into the bag. It CAN be hard. It’s not glamourous. There is no skill requirement. I will not receive any accolades from anyone but myself and maybe other depressives. We know how difficult such tasks can be in our moods. I hear their applause in the recess of my mind. I take a bow. Thank you! Thank you! Much appreciated. The yard is looking better. I didn’t get it all but it was a full Superstore bagful.

What next? A cup of tea, of course. My life is measured by cupfuls. Not a bad measurement. My cup is always full. I do count my blessings. Mostly to myself though and here. I try to keep my stuff contained. It’s good to have boundaries. No need to broadcast. Hear ye! Hear ye! That’s is not me. It’s good have a safe space. I hope you have one. It’s not that I’m secretive. I’m discreet but I do share. Do you?

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THIS TIME TOGETHER

These days are really hard to weather. Two days ago, it was minus 30 something Celsius. Sheba and I were shivering with long johns and scarves on our walk. Today it is +6C. Sun shining, snow melting, puddles of water everywhere. Why am I not dancing for joy? If it was that easy, I would dance. I would kick up my heels and do a jig. The reality is I feel like hell. My shoulders feel heavy, weighed down like a linebacker. I am not loaded down with shoulder pads, just the weight of the universe. My legs feels like cement pillars. I can’t run anywhere. Where would I go anyways? I couldn’t even muster any power to go to aerobics today. Hell with it, was my attitude. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I am sure there are others feeling the same.

I know myself fairly well. I’ve always been aware of my bodily discomforts with change of weather/temperature. I know it. I should not doubt of my own reality and poo poo it and feeling guilty. If I don’t believe myself, who will? So I shall just buckle up my own self, Buttercup and deal with it. It is why I have created this very space – to inhale, exhale, to console myelf. Who else would believe when I talk about gremlins and evils, that they exist, that I feel them?

I am heavy with fatigue. My head thick as can be. My neck sore and stiff. My eyes ache in their recesses. But I am working out my kinks and quirks. I am unravelling my knots. I am not at all happy with how receptive my wiring is. It’s not as if I can pull a plug or take out a fuse. If I could, I would. I should work for the CIA. They would pay well. But all I can do to mute their signals is tap here and paint there. Both processes soothe and smooth me. I get some satisfaction in the end. It’s not paying well, though, not monetarily. However, I’m being paid well in that some have told me they find my blog helpful. That is a very big compliment. Imagine how good it made me feel on a bad day to read this post. Thank you, Des! And I am getting recognition for my art work within my Instagram world. I am quite happy with my progress in that direction. I’m still improving, too.

I’ve tapped away that lump in my throat. My shoulders feel looser, my heart lighter. Nothing is wrong. Do not worry, dear readers. It is my way of problem solving. I sound in dire straits and all but I am not. I have had people inquiring and offering me hlep and shelter in the past. I sounded that bad. But I am not there. We writers and artists tend to be melodramatic. We feel things deeply – pain, joy and all the doldrums. That’s how I am. Tomorrow I might still be in this space. Or I might wake up and feel the tightness gone. I will know. But in the meantime, I’m still doing, tapping, painting, giving Sheba shit. We did it all today – the walk, the dishes, ate those chocolate chip blocks. I probably should not make any more. Might not make it through the door by February. I could make some pretzels instead.

January/life is f***ing hard. I didn’t say the whole word though I’ve done that often when I was still working. Nurses are bad for cussing – out of earshot, of course. Somehow it always made me feel better. It’s like a big exhale. Whoosh! There, all that bad stuff is gone. I can make a fresh start now. What I’ve learned now is not to use any other pronoun other than I, me and myself. No you did this to me or it’s their fault. There’s to be no blame. It’s a hard lesson. I take full responsibility for my life. It’s all about me. I will forget now and then, being human. Remind me if you catch me. I would thank you for it – I think.

Since I am such a weather vane, it would be helpful to learn how it can affect the body. It might prepare them and spare me some hardships.  My curiosity now led me to google what happens when the temperature goes from -30 C to +6 C. All that comes up are lots about global warming. Take a look.  It’s here.

I feel that our lives are already never the same again. I know that our existance is greatly threaten. Tomorrow might be just another 10 years and no more. I like to spend this time well. I like to do my best as best as I can. I’m tired now. I like to sign off like Miss Carol Burnett.

 

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IF I HAD A MILLION DOLLARS

I felt my cloud of moods starting to permeate through me again this morning after breakfast. I put up a stop sign, took a breath, remembering my sense of control and power from yesterday. When I am doing, moving, working on my ‘stuff ‘ I feel I have control, power and purpose. I am not living my life according to someone else’s plan. So I brushed that bed head out of my hair, put on makeup and earrings. I started doing – making the bed, getting lunch stuff ready to be made, thinking about moving back to Hong Kong. I fired off an email to my friend. Here’s his reply:

Hi Lily,

The expats living in Hong Kong are either have a quarter provided or receiving a substantial housing allowance. The apartments in Hong Kong is so expensive that no local people can afford to buy them any more.

An apartment in Hung Home where you had once lived before moving to Canada is worth two thousand Canadian dollars per square foot. 

K C 

I did the math for 500 square feet. A million dollars! I have to rethink that and make it living there for 2-3 winter months of the year. I could check out possible living spaces and costs. Maybe I could check out possible relatives. Too bad all my mother’s family is in NYC. Now I’m thinking about a couple months there! I am small requiring little space. I don’t eat that much. Anyways, it would be an engagement for my brain. I could work out my blue fog. That thought led me thinking of Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for writing.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

The advice could apply to life in general. Number 4 speaks loudly to me. Also 5. I’m working, keeping with the program. I’m cementing a little every day writing my posts, getting to know myself more. I’m exploring watercolours on little index cards, a new medium for me. I do see people and drink every evening. I have trouble with the pleasure but am trying. Here’s to sitting back with my tea and thinking about that million dollars.

 

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I AM

A very cold start to the day. The door knob to the back door was frozen. It wouldn’t turn. Lucky we had electricity for the hairdryer to thaw it out. A few weeks ago, the lock was frozen. The key wouldn’t turn. Lucky the front door wasn’t that way, too. Sheba and I would be shit out of luck and be left in the cold after our walk. Oh yes, I forget. There’s the garage. It has an electric space heater. We have options.

I should not be so hard on myself for my moodiness. Nature can be a cruel mood leveler. I found out that I wasn’t the only one that skipped out on aerobics Friday. Only 4 people showed. I did showed up today as well as our instructor. What a gal! She just had carpal tunnel surgery this morning, too. That’s way beyond the call of dedication and duty. But it was good for me. I needed someone to pump me up. And just her presence can do it.

I wasn’t really quite with the program. I certainly was not on fire. But I moved and did worked up a sweat. I felt my lethargy changed. My mood moved up a notch. Then I sensed a feeling of empowerment flowing through my being. Somewhere in my brain, a speck of cognition got lit. I felt lighter. Some of the heaviness lifted. I can really move my body. I picked up my feet and threw my arms up in the air. I recognized my depression comes from feeling helplessn, a sense of powerlessness, of no control.

But I did not feel powerless in that moment. I was in charge. I was running, pumping my arms and breathing easy. I do have control. I have choices of how to be. I do not have to be weak and maudlin. Neither do I have to be bossy, mean or unkind. I do not have to be depressed or sad. I can choose. I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.

 

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LIKE THE LIONS

“Patience” and “Fortitude”, the “Library Lion” statues, in the snowstorm of Dec. 1948 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Public_Library

January 14th, 9:30 am. The sun finally shows itself. The day is supposed to be longer. It’s only so minusculely, lengthening by mini seconds daily. Patience and fortitude are the words necessary for this month. I picture myself sitting stalwart and at attention like the lions guarding the entrance to the New York Public Library. They sit proud and strong, through thick, thin and smog. They do not waver. They endure in sun, rain, sleet and snow. That is how I want to be. That’s how I can be. I have knowledge. I have training. I have tools.

I am sitting in sunshine, in the warmth of my space, starting a new day. I’ve gotten up, dressed up with make-up and earrings even. I’ve smarten up, pulling up my pants and bootstraps. So it is January. It is cold, dark and difficult. What can I do about it? I can turn on the lights, crank up the heat and put one foot in front of the other. I don’t have far to go. I don’t have to go anywhere at all, except to the bathroom now and then. I got tired of listening to my same whiny words. Maybe they were just thoughts nobody heard except myself.

I do believe in the power of words and action. If you don’t like something, do something about it. I find it troubling yesterday posting for Gentle January 2018 for the prompt I WANT. All that I could feel was the emptiness of wants. I do not hunger or lust after any material wants beyond those of shelter, clothing and food. I wonder if a psychologist would label me depressed on an interview. I am not even othered much by Sheba’s hair and muddy paw tracks on the floor. Imagine! Muddy paws in January. It’s no wonder I am depressed if I am.

But wait! I do lust after a cup of tea/decaf, a sit in the sun with a good book. I am not totally bland. I still feel that dull gnaw of ugh in my being. I keep it on these pages only. Who could possibly understand ughs? Oh, certainly not those perpetual joyful souls. I tried to smooth out my whines with my little index card paintings. Sometimes I can eke out some slivers of comfort and joy with brushstrokes in the night. Time is not wasted in sleeplessness, tossing and turning. I have something to show in the morning. Life can be dang challenging. But I did say I like challenges, didn’t I? No worries. I’m going to bake them away making Toll House Squares. There’s nothing like the smell of chocolate baking to chase the blues away. How about you? Do you get the blues?

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CAIN’T GET NO SATISFACTION

I feel like the Rolling Stones wrote the Satisfaction song for me. It sums up my feelings perfectly today. But the beat did perk me up some. But just because it’s the way I feel, it’s not permission to behave badly. Though it was another cold and dark morning, I went for my Saturday morning swim. After giving in to my snacking and exercise avoidance yesterday, I set my intentions last night. Get up, dress up and show up. So after my morning cup of tea, I packed my gym bag, counted to 5 and went out the door.

I guess I got some satisfaction that I lived up to my intentions. Early cold Saturday mornings are almost guarantee for a lane to myself. Other people must have had the same thought. Though I did have a lane to myself, all the lanes were occupied shortly. I tried too hard to perfect my backstroke. I didn’t get the pull that propelled me forward. I splashed myself alot. Funny how I hate getting water on my face when I’m already immersed in it. I think it’s the pain of water getting into my nose. I haven’t yet learned to slow down and relax into the strokes. Instead I thrash all the more faster making things worse.

I can’t get satisfaction that way. But I did swim almost the whole hour. Should help a bit ridding the double chin I’m developing. It doesn’t worry me enough to stop snacking. I had a few more taco chips and salsa this afternoon. It was pleasurable to hear the snap and crackle and that tangy taste on my tongue as I finished reading K is for Killer.

I really shouldn’t say I got no satisfaction today. I think I am just restless. I’ve had other times like this. The best thing I’ve learned to do is stay calm, be brave and watch for the sign. Gracie Heavy Hand is a wise woman. She’s the next best thing to Caroline Myss. I’m heeding her both of their words.

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HEALTHY FATS AND POUNDS

I have to snack my way through January. It’s a tough one for me this year. I’m staying calm, being brave and watching for the sign. It’s what Gracie Heavy Hand advises. It’s good enough for me. Snacks have a way of calming my nerves. They keep my hands steady so I can tap, tap on my keyboard and hold my paint brushes without trembling. A girl has to do what a girl has to do. I’m muching on healthy snack – a few taco chips and somebody’s homemade salsa. Zero transfat. Sometimes I like to crack open a few pistaschios. They’re what you call good fats – Omega 3s. I used to be a nurse. I know all these things. If I gain a few pounds in January, they’ll be healthy pounds. No worry.

I think we are too obsessed about weight and body image. We are constantly bombarded with diets and exercise. Obviously all these are not working. Look at all the overweight people – desperate enough to seek gastric surgery at private clinics. Not only did they not lose weight, they gained financial debt and health complications. It’s really a sad story of people gaining from others’ vulnerability and misery. But what to do?

I don’t know how to answer for anybody except myself. I try not to set myself up for upstoppable eating. Most of the time we do not have any junk food around. We’ve learned from our year of having bacon almost every day for breakfast. We did gained a few pounds but nowhere’s near needing a gastric band. Our opinion, of course. Now we don’t buy bacon – except the 2 packs I got on sale in the freezer. I do fall off the wagon once in awhile. You have to allow yourself. Otherwise you could go frigging crazy.

I think that might be my best advice for anyone – allow yourself some comfort, some leeway. Do not be obsessive about being perfect at anything. I’m allowing myself to feel what comes up. Yes, I admit it. Today, I found it frigging hard. I slept in, skipped my aerobics class. It was cold and dark in the morning. It was hard to hustle so I didn’t. But I did try to keep things at a medium hum, drank more tea, read Sue Grafton’s K is for Killer. I enjoy her style of writing. It’s similiar to Janet Evanovich’s. They both have murder, humour and kickass. Just what the doctor would prescribe for the winter blues.

I’m quite okay with my blues. Sometimes they are restful. I allow myself to be slowed down and rest. The worst time of the day for me is right after lunch. I hate the cleanup. I’m just letting everything sit and soak in the sink. I make myself a cup of tea, read my book or tap a few words. Then I take the fur baby out for her poop run. Today I had another cup of tea when we came back before attending to the mess. By then, it is like a meditation, doing one thing at a time.

January 12th today. 19 more days to go. A few more snacks and I can do it.

 

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