Well, hello there.  It is Thursday and I have a story for Friday Fictioneers. We gather each week to tell stories of 100 words or so according to a photo prompt. We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple.  Anyone can join in if so inclined.  Here’s my 100 words.

PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford

It was a long ways down.  Her hair fluttered across her face. The moving traffic below made her dizzy.  She pulled back from the edge, stumbling.  Her heart caught in her throat and she had to bend over to catch her breath.

Tears streamed down her face.  She was not good for anything.  No brains.  No looks.  No money.  No courage.  How was she going to face everyone, anyone? She was such a failure.  Now what?

She stood and wiped her eyes and blew her nose.  An anger rose in her.  She had, still has something after all.  Her stubbornness.


IMG_1686I HAD so many good intentions of doing this morning.  It’s like that every morning.  And no surprise, the day is gone and so are my intentions.  Not that I’ve been sitting on my ass all day. I always feel this sense of procrastination.  It feels as if I’m waiting for disaster to hit but I’m a deer in headlights – unable to move.  I’m at a standstill.  This is the usual place where the desire for another cup of tea is paramount.  Instead, let me rise and put my immediate space in order.


IMG_4681It is the next morning, Easter Sunday.  I am here with my tea.  I’m still that deer in headlights.  I am angry with myself.  I feel the toxic fumes of those feelings.  I don’t like it so I’m releasing my anger valve much like opening the vent on the pressure cooker. Hissss.  Take another sip of your tea.  Tap a little more on the keyboard.  Be a little more mindful. Be a spark in the dark. You are doing the best you can.

I will rise from my discomfort.  I will let go of my self judgement.  I will sip my tea and tap out the words.  I will pass STOP.



It’s Good Friday.  I’m feeling a tad sad.  Not trying to sound poetic or anything. It’s just the way the words tumble out.  I’m sitting here, sipping my infamous cup of tea.  I’m tapping on the keyboard to soothe my soul.  I know. I sound like a broken keyboard.  But this is my space so I shan’t apologize for my repetitiveness.  I’m doing what makes me feel good.

IMG_4746Ah, the sun is showing itself. Just in time, too.  The tears were almost washing down my face.  I see that some of my tomatoes and onions are poking their heads through the soil.  They’re enough to bring a smile and stem the anxiety fluttering in my heart. How can one help it?  The world has gone to hell in a handbasket – Paris, Belgium, my street.  No place is safe. Was there ever?

IMG_3895Let me move on, away from the anxieties of the world.  Let me hold on to what is near and dear. Better to count the eggs in the Easter basket than dwell on the world’s handbasket. Be here now.  Everything is as it should be.  There is nothing to fix.



IMG_4730It is snowing again, fluffy flakes coming down.  I think of  Snow Falling on Cedars.  Not so much of the movie but the image. There’s something about the phrase that grabs me every time. I try to capture it whenever it snows like this. I always fail even though the two Buddhas do make a nice picture. Maybe you can’t do everything with an iPhone.

Days like this, I just want to languish like a wet noodle on my love seat.  Would it not be lovely not to have to do anything, be anything?  It’s good in thought and theory.  From past experience I know I will become a mushy wet noodle past resuscitation. So I give a great big sigh and heave myself up.

IMG_4119The past due bed linen are now in the wash.  The thought of doing is much harder than the doing.  I’m back, now craving another cup of tea.  What is it that makes me delay and delay things?  The answer, my friend, is blown in the wind.  For now, I sit with the discomfort and my tea.  It is not so bad.  Perhaps I can get a few things done – make a list of to do’s.  I have enough of those.  It would feel good when I can cross them off.


Much later, I am not feeling better.  I have done more though list making did not happen.  Perhaps I should not fight my nature.  I am not an organizer, list maker, entrepreneur, pilot or astronaut. Better I put my effort in areas I can succeed.  Today is not a good day to brainstorm on that.  There is nothing wrong with having a wet noodle day once in awhile.  I can still do laundry – and drink tea and slurp along at a slow speed.


Here I am, a little later and slower than yesterday.  Some days are harder/easier, slower/faster than others.  It’s taken me this while to show up for myself.  Saving the best for the last as the saying goes.  But that’s just a saying, not necessarily the truth.  Every bit of life’s journey is the best.  I realize the truths when I’m here, tapping out my stories.  It’s like the times I have coffee with my mother and Tuesdays with Morrie.  Stories have the magic of revealing the things we couldn’t see before. It’s in the telling that the lightbulb gets lit.

IMG_0075.4There are so many stories.  Some are easy and some are hard to tell.  I could fill a whole book about my neighbours who have come and gone over the years.  I’m sure we all could.  The thing with neighbours is that when they come and go, it’s often with sad stories.  That is how it has been on the street where I live.  Somewhere out there, there’s a song about this, I am sure.


IMG_4707This morning I found a copy of a letter I had taken great pains with to a neighbour. I had forgotten the ugly details of our relationship.  Reading the letter reminded me it was bad enough that I thought of selling my house and moving.  It was that toxic.  Most people didn’t really believe my stories.  They thought it was me.  Some have told me that they were glad that they didn’t live next to me.  I took all those things hard and personally and felt very bad about myself.

What I am learning about myself in telling this story is that I had no confidence in my own judgements.  I believed what others tell me who/what I am.  I see now that I listened and believed too much of their stories.  I listened and took in too much of my neighbours’ woes, sadness, blame.  Our fences did not put up any boundaries.  Their troubles and sadness were not mine but they became mine.

We can gain wisdom in telling our stories.  Sometimes it is only in retrospect that we see how silly we are.  I was pretty silly, let me tell you!  I am but a small Asian woman.  I am not all that powerful.  I am not God.  Yet I have felt responsible for so many people, things, circumstances.  It is only now I recognize I must stop doing this.  It is funny how a letter can be such a lightbulb moment.

Thank you Ruth for inspiring me to write the letter.  I see by it that I was/am a thoughtful and considerate person.  I was not responsible for you.






IMG_4701I am back with my cup of tea. Showing up can be as easy as that – showing up. I am sitting in this space – with a tap, a letter, word and a thought or two.  The message for me this morning:  Is there another way?

There is always another way.  I am not happy this morning.  In fact I was angry and unhappy waking up – with MYSELF.  I probably took those thoughts and feelings with me to bed last night.  I ask the hard question.  Do I want to head in the direction of anger, resentment and self blame?  Of course not. But. There is always that big BUT in the way.

IMG_4704BUT choosing a new different way is hard.  Those well worn grooves are tricky. They don’t want to let go.  I am still in the groove now, ruminating again over life’s quirks and quarks.  Why can’t I just stop and move boldly forward?  I’m reading the message in the picture –And otherwise start over again.  That is what I need to do many times until a new groove/habit is form.

No better time to start in a different way than the present moment.  No better time to start over than on a Monday, the beginning of a new week.

Today I looked at the world with different eyes.  I questioned the validity of my thoughts.  I changed the way I behaved if only slightly.  I inhaled and exhaled before I reacted.  I tried not to live in someone else’s sadness.  I said no because that was what I wanted/needed to say.  I did not apologize for no reason.  I tried a different way of being today.  Tomorrow I will try again.


IMG_2952It’s the weekend again.  I am enjoying the slow ambience, sipping my morning tea, tapping away at the keyboard.  I am trying to get over my inertia and get that creative juice flowing again.  Once upon a time, I could sit here and write something every day.  They might not have been masterpieces but they were something.  People read them.

I have always been under the illusion that if you are talented, you would have no trouble in whipping up something with a snap of your fingers – be it a painting, book, meal or what not.  I think maybe I’m just a lazy person, making excuses.  Nothing comes easy.  Not even a simple meal – unless someone else cooks it.  It’s easy then to say, I could have done it.  But it’s (cooking, writing, painting…) is really not my thing.

IMG_4700The truth is we can do anything if only we would start.  That is the thing with procrastination.  We sit and squirm with its discomfort but it’s damn hard to make the first move.  It’s difficult to understand the mechanics of it.  Maybe it’s just a habit.  Accept that answer and let’s get a move on.  Can you hang on a minute?  I have to make another cup of tea.

I’m back.  I was procrastinating again if you haven’t noticed.  At least I’m not having coffee and a cigarette before I start/carry on with everything that I do.  I did before.  I have much healthier bad habits now.  Perhaps I should not beat myself up for the things I have or haven’t done.  Maybe it would be more productive to give credit to my accomplishments.  That’s a new thought!

YJCE0476My little seedlings are thriving under the grow lights this morning.  I started them a few weeks ago in brighter moods. Still I was able to seed all my tomatoes and onions when dark clouds crowded my mind.  Just keep moving at whatever speed you’re capable of.  You are not as slow as you think.  You are not your thoughts.  I do have some good habits.

Okay, I’m done my cup of tea.  I better rise and do something else.  I hope to be back here tomorrow for another cup or two of tea.



IMG_4638What is it about the weekend that is so restful, even for those of us who no longer ‘work’ for a living?  I am grateful for that sense of ease and peace that is here on this sunny Sunday.  I love to sit in my favourite space and watch the spruce branches sway in the wind.  The somber and laughing Buddhas sit unperturbed beneath.

I am claiming the day mine – to rest, to find my way back to musings, thoughts, words – to do as I please.  The week days have been most harried and taxing as Miss Potter might say.  Would she say that?  I have recently watched that movie.  She is a most admirable woman and creator of Peter Rabbit.  2016 is the 150th anniversary of her birth and there are many posts and celebrations afoot.

IMG_4639It is nice to sit here in the sunlight, amid my paper clutter. Some things never change. Maybe messy helps my thinking process.  It seems to be working! The letters and words are coming as I  tap, tap on the keyboard. It’s rhythmic and soothing.  It is a different aerobic exercise for my brain.  A change of pace is good for body and mind.  I do wish my flash fiction mode would come back.  I miss writing for Friday Fictioneers.  I wonder what Miss Potter or Peter Rabbit would do to get the story juice going.



IMG_1628I’ve been away too long. My excuse is I’ve been lost for words.  On closer examination, it is perhaps I’m afraid of words.  If you say them out loud, they would be there to be heard and acknowledged.  If you tap them out on the screen/page, you can’t refute for having said them.  The letters, words are marching across the screen as I sit, tap, tapping here on this Sunday morning.

I’ve been frightened for many a days, weeks, months – of many nebulous things, thoughts, past events.  They are the stuff of mist, smoke, air. Hard to grasp, so how is one suppose to rid them?  For me, the way was the end.  That is to say I was backed into the corner of no escape.  It is much like the sensation of falling in your sleep.  You can’t stop it.  There is no impact to the free fall in sleep.  But there sure is when the boogeyman caught me.

IMG_4529The thing is, I was like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall.  I could not be put together as before.  I didn’t appreciate the discomfort then, of being broken and suffering.  I see the value of such a moment now.  It was an opportunity for change, for doing different.  If I go down the same well trodden path, there was a great chance to encounter the same wall again.  Pain is a good teacher and deterrent even to a slow learner like me.  It pushed me, not so gently, to seek roads less travelled.

They are worth the effort to explore.  Don’t be afraid to do so.  When that magic moment comes, stay your stance and let it come.  Then march forth in a new direction.  You will not regret it.