I’m here again, in these shadowy, in-between moments, when I’m feeling my smallness, when things don’t feel great, when things don’t feel wrong either.  You must know what I mean….these blah moments.  These are the moments when our rituals and routines come to our aid.  We know what we have to do.

So, I didn’t get my book written, not even started.  But I AM writing.  I haven’t ever even  come close to a thousand words, but I do have some words.  That is better than just wishing and hoping and never writing at all.  I try to reorganize my closet, but did not succeed totally.  But I did recognize that I have way too many t-shirts and that most of them are over sized.  Am I trying to be bigger than I am?  Or am I trying to hide my size?

I feel like I am plodding through this post when other times the words just slip from my finger tips.  No matter.  My fingers are still moving.  I am still expending energy, burning calories.  I can still zoom through the rooms with my Swifter, picking up dirt and Sheba’s hair.  The way to clean, fast and non-obsessive, has become a habit.  It is not hard.  It is good to know that I can break some bad habits.

After procrastinating for a few days, I went to the lab and had my blood work done.  It was difficult to wake up in the morning and not eat or have my tea.  It felt impossible but on this morning I finally succeeded.  I rewarded myself by having breakfast out.  Then went and got the groceries.  Well, I did get some help.

Help is needed sometimes and it is good to be vulnerable and let someone help.  Life is not a journey to be traveled alone.  You can live alone but that is not the same as being alone.  I know that to be a fact because I have lived alone most of my life, but I have never been ALONE.  There have always been people in my life whenever I need them.  They seem to know when I’m calling.


So the bread is in the oven.  I have these thirty minutes to reflect on my progress in changing habits.  How am I going?

I would say I am doing fabulously!  Having been in denial for years, buried under useless thoughts and musings, I have come up for air and light.  After reciting Dr. Phil’s phrase that the greatest insanity of all is to expect a different outcome from doing the same thing, I am changing.

I have had a few almost perfect days.  You might say that I have all my ducks in a row, even if it is only two of them.  I’ve been moving and grooving, cleaning and tidying at high speed, not obsessing, not thinking, just doing.  I’m not even stopping to smell the coffee!

I pick up.  I put away.  I wash.  I fold.  I iron.  I do…at a steady clip.  I save my dawdling for later.  I listen.  I look.  I try not to talk so much.  I breathe.  When things don’t work out, I let it go.  And when that fails, I let it be.  I do the best I can.


So here I am, before my keyboard on this fine autumn day.  The leaves are turning yellow, some drifting down in front of my window.  Sheba is barking excitedly at some boys skateboarding by.  She has not grown tired nor used to all is before her in her six years of life.  That is her gift to me.  She keeps me going when I’m in neutral, when I got the blahs and think:  What is the point?  On those days, we head off for the park.  We run by the river.

The point is dogs don’t think and dwell on all the metaphysical wherefores and why-fores of life.  They are just happy if you’re happy, if they’re fed, watered, have a soft bed to lay on and a few birds to chase.  Sometimes it would be good if we could look at our landscape through different frames and lenses.  We might get a different view.  The simple may be profound.

And if we look beyond ourselves, we might see the divine.

And if we look at ourselves, we might find the child in ourselves and that pure joy that we’ve lost somewhere along the way.  We might find our way home to our hearts.


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Sometimes I have to step of my skin.  Sometimes I have to step outside of my life and see my reflection in the mirror.  What do I see?  Who is that person looking back at me?  Will I like her?  Would I be proud to be her?  Would I want her for a friend, daughter, sister, employee, nurse, my life partner…….?

I’ve been caught in a swirl of rote, unable or unwilling to step off the treadmill.  I’ve been trapped in this cul-de-sac of life, doing by memory, living by habit, afraid to do different. Now that I have seen myself and my life reflected back at me, it is time to act.  It is time to do different.  It is time to do better.


Would you believe me if I told you that I came out of the womb, ranting and raving? Well, that’s how it’s felt, how I have been.

I am always making scenes, speeches, on the soapbox about the injustices of the world, about the faults of individuals, organizations, and so on.   I’m always wondering what the hell is wrong with people.  What makes them tick?  I obsess about figuring it all out,  to get to the bottom of things to the point where I’m doing myself harm.  I’m sure a lot of the people around me would also like to do me harm, to give me a punch or two, to put me in my place! 🙂

Well, no more!  I’ve heard that bell go off in my head.  I’ve seen Oprah’s light bulb moment.  Who the hell do I think I am…full of ego and righteousness.  If I do any ranting and raving again, it better be about myself and my passions.  Ranting about what is wrong has never worked for me.  It only made me an angry Chinese woman.  Being right doesn’t necessary make it right and it may not always be the best way to live life.

So, in the words of my forefathers, live softly, bend like the willow, but breathe like a dragon!  I lied.  These are my own words.  Chinese women can lie.  I am not so virtuous.


What is success?  What is failure?  I tend to think in black and white.  Sometimes I see in black and white in times of stress – life in Kodak moments.  But that is not how life is.  There are many shades of grey in between.  There are other spaces between success and failure.

You would think, looking at the picture above, that I’m a successful gardener.  And you would be right.  I am successful for that much, but as for the rest of the garden….We hope to do better next year.  It is in the other spaces in between success and failure that give rise to our better selves, where we are motivated to do not perfect, but BETTER.  There are no spaces in perfect, no room to grow.

My teachers in high school had such high hopes for me.  They pushed me to go to university, when all I want at the time was to be a secretary.  So I went to university.  I succeeded in finishing two years, but not in getting a degree.  I dreamed of being an artist and a writer.  I did not become such, though I dappled in both.  But I did end up being a secretary for awhile, until my heart became discontented.

I became a nurse then, not because I want to serve mankind or such noble causes.  I was bored and felt unfulfilled.  I wanted to be an executive secretary, but I did not have that kind of persona.  I could not move up.  I was a failure!  And so I moved on.  I became a nurse….now for more than 30 years.

I’m still trying to write.  Now it is purely for my own pleasure, for my own growth.  I started this blog with an intention of a thousand words every day.  But I am falling quite short of a thousand words!  But I am writing.  I am still working towards my goals.  Maybe I will have to change my goal to a thousand posts a year.


Breakfast is done, the dishes are in the dishwasher, the floor is swept and I am before my keyboard.  My heart is pounding a little.  I am taking some deep breaths to slow down.  But it is all good.  This works for me.

I am, by nature, a dawdler, very slow coming out of the gates.  I could dawdle, drink tea and coffee, daydream and not get a single thing done all day.  It is not a bad thing.  But daydreams are not the stuff of real satisfaction.  They do not fill your pocketbook, put dinner on the table or rid the cobwebs in the corners of your house.  They do add cobwebs to my mind, slowing it down even more.

I have to do different.  I don’t want to be stuck in ways that don’t work.   I do not want to be a prisoner of bad habits.   I am a slow learner.  But now, I GIVE HER.  Right after breakfast, I move fast and steady.  I do not obsess. My mop goes over a spot once.  Done!  My dust rag over an area once.  Another done.  I am cleaning like a MOTHER FUCKER.  Swish, swish, swish!  Please excuse the language.

I adopted the term from Cheryl Strayed.  She wrote a book called WILD.  She used the term with reference to her writing….from the heart.  I would like to write like that, but we all have our own styles.  I write like Tinkerbell.  I hope that I have a bit of fairy dust with my words.  It works for me.  I see myself in my words.  I see my actions.  I see my mistakes.  I learn from my words.  I tap away the shadows and cobwebs in my mind.

Now I need to MOVE on with the day!


Tuesday started out bright and sunny, though a little cool.  I woke up feeling wonderful, grateful for a perfect day at work yesterday.  When was the last time I felt so great about work?

I have to savor and remember what it was that made me appreciate the day.  It helps to work with someone in your own generation, who has lived as long as you have.  Life experiences matter.  There is music and rhythm to the day when you can rel.ate and compliment each other.  But that is not saying that I don’t appreciate the younger generation.  I do, but it is different.  That is all, just as every individual and relationship is different.

And then there’s our patient, a young woman 0f 23, who has Down’s Syndrome.  She is her own person and has her own schedule.  The challenge is how to work with her so that we both have a win, win situation.  I learn that somethings are not as important as I once thought.  Just do your best.  Do things in a different way.  I learn from this young lady that it is very easy to be happy.  It is not a complicated process.  Just smile and be happy!   The things that made her smile and laugh are:

  1. Visiting with her family – playing cards with her dad
  2.  Justin Bieber.  She had a large poster of him on the wall beside her bed.
  3.  Her Justin Bieber pillow
  4.  Her Glee pillow
  5.  Music
  6. People

The day is getting grey and windy.  I fell my good feelings slipping, a familiar sense of someone walking across my grave.  I know that it is just a feeling so I hang on to the memory of good things.  Today is 911, but it is also my very good friend’s birthday.  So happy birthday, dear friend!  It is eleven years since 911.  It is also eleven years since my mother was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm.  I remember that I was watching on TV the news  of the Twin Towers in a waiting room at St. Paul’s Hospital.  My mother is healthy, vibrant and still going to the Casino today.

The wind is still howling.  The evening is here.  I am sitting here, tap, tapping on the keyboard.  I am adding my blessings.  I am grateful for my life.  I am happy.  I am sipping wine.


So it’s Sunday, the day of worship.  It has been awhile since I’ve gone to Mass, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t entered those hallowed spaces in my mind.  All that I have to do is close my eyes, breathe, and open my heart….to receive all the love that is out there for all of us.

It is after 4 in the afternoon.  My bread is cooling on the rack.  The laundry is doing in washer and the dryer.  The dusting is somewhat done.  Some spaces are more clean and sacred than others.  I’m finally sitting down with my tea and fresh baked bread.  This is my sacred free day, a day alone.  I have to remind myself constantly to slow down and not to move too fast.  The day is for enjoying.

I close my eyes, breathe slowly and just be.  It is not so easy, with Sheba barking at me.  So she is going outside with a bone to add to her little graveyard.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, even if it’s bribery.