It is the evening of the day. I sit and watch the last of the sun play on the wall. I’m tapping again on the keyboard. I thought I would get a head start on the last post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It will be the caboose on my train. Perhaps I can reach my 1,002 word count as was my initial intention for this blog.

So where have I been and how far have I come on this journey? Reading back to my first post in January, I was in a bit of a dark place. I had lost the meaning and sentiments for Christmas and most ‘special occasions’. I’m not sure if I have regained them. I might have developed new meanings and sentiments. Time will tell when they next roll around. At any rate, I’m not feeling empty and lost in space any more. What I feel is grounded.

It’s a good sign, right? It’s the reason why I took up writing daily again. It’s more binding and easier doing it in a group challenge. It’s a chance to enlarge my write tribe. It’s always better with company. It’s like walking the Camino Road, the spiritual path trading secrets on cooking, baking, creating, health, running a business –  to that destination of enlightenment. Maybe one day soon I will walk it in Spain. Until then, I will walk the path of my words here. I will try to get up, dress up and show up as best I can. That’s all I can ask of myself – my best.

Now it is really the evening of the day. It’s that time if you’re not feeling well, you”ll feel worse. I’m feeling worse. Chest is heavy, sinuses dripping and finding it’s an effort to take a deep breath. I’ve taken an extra strength tylenol and sipping hot water. I do periodic percussions on my chest. My nurse’s experience is coming to help myself. I hope today is the day when the tide will turn and I will start to feel better tomorrow. I will use accupressure to see if it will help. I’m glad I’m Chinese and know of those ancient Chinese secrets. Heh, heh, heh! I will this a rest and do some qigong and come back tomorrow.

It’s true that things always look better in the morning. My cold is turning. Believing in myself and my health practices have turned the tide. It’s not any big thing that I do, but all the little ones that I do each day. And if I fall off the track, as I’m apt to, coming back again and again. Being sick made me realize how good healthy felt and demonstrated to me the power of qigong. I felt the effectiveness of the gentle exercises I performed last night. I’m a fan of Daisy Lee and Radiant Lotus Medical Qigong.

My world here in Canada is bright and sunny today. I felt well enough to take the fur baby out for a stroll. It was +3 Celsius. I’m hoping the sun will melt the snow off our solar panels. It was a pleasant surprise to receive our electric bill this morning. It had a credit of $56.25! We had hopes of zeroing out our electric bill with our 40 panels. But our climate interferes. Still, we are happy we are doing something to offset climate change. In 2019 we paid electric bills in January, March, April, and a small one in December. It looks like we could have a better coming year. But that also mean we having worse climate change.

So there you have it. I’ve come to the end. I will not make it to a 1000 words. I’m a Hallmark girl after all. No use repeating myself for word count. It’s been a pleasure showing up and doing my little tap and dance. Thank you all for your company. Thank you Paul Taubman for running the show. Thank you Doug Jarvie for advising me to take a photo of my old photo. It works really well – and fast. Thanks for your stories and recipes from Mexico, William Chaney. I wish I could raise chickens here, too. Maureen D., I love how kind and generous you are to me. Then there’s Karen Sammer, Martha and all the rest of you! I could hit a 1000 words if I keep on. But I’m going to take us out with Mick and the Boys. I love this video. It is almost the evening of the day again.





Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m heavy with my cold now but at least my cough turns over – eventually. I’m hacking my way through the day. It’s sunny and unually warm out,  -1 degrees Celsius. Crazy, eh. And of course, no climate change. Tomorrow it’s going to be +2C, Saturday +3. How can I legitimately complain? It’s perfect weather to foster colds and such ailments.

Of course, the Coronavirus is ever on my mind. I worry about my friends and my people in China and Hong Kong. One does not truly know the scope of things. But I heard from my friend in Hong Kong. Here’s his letter to me:

Hi Lily,

You are lucky to live in a country in which the citizens are generally
well protected from all sorts of calamities.

To begin with wearing a mask cannot protect us from catching this deadly
virus. It just shows one is responsible and will not spread the virus,
fever or otherwise, to other people when he is sneezing or coughing. The
droplets blowing out from his body, if they are big or heavy enough,
should fall onto the ground within a metre. However, it appears that our
surgical mask though with a three layer structure cannot effectively
filter this new coronavirus which is like smoke particles are airborne
and can travel very far away.

We have learned many things from SARS on how to protect ourselves from
contagious diseases. Nobody is spiting. We use two pairs of chopsticks
when eating with friends and relative: one for picking the food from a
dish and the other one for putting the food into our mouth. The bread
and cakes on display are individually packed. Shop assistants are
wearing gloves to handle the food and the handling of the money is
always done by another person. We sanitize anything people have touched:
hand rails, lift buttons, table tops . . . and cleaning the floors at
regular intervals. It is now a habit as well as politeness for doing
these things.

We wash our hands with soap immediately on returning home. There are
hand sanitizers everywhere at malls, railway stations . . . where it is
not possible to wash our hands with soap and water. This coronavirus can
stay alive for up to 24 hours on the surface anything touched by people.
Therefore don’t rub your eyes or nose or tying to adjust your spectacles
which is more vulnerable than inhaling the airborne virus.

This is the reason why Hong Kongers are not happy with mainlanders and
immigrants who have not yet adopted our practice of public hygiene. We
cannot stop people, especially immigrants, from visiting China during
the Spring Festival. There are 300,000 people coming back from mainland
China after the public holiday. We believe many of them may have
contracted the disease without knowing it. I know my friends who had
visited China will stay at home to “quarantine” for two weeks.

British Airway and United Airlines have suspended all their flights to
China. We have stopped the inter-city high speed train and Chinese
travellers are not allowed to visit Hong Kong. We hope our government
will do as much as possible to limit the movement of people to avoid
spreading of the disease. Our hospitals are already over-crowded and
cannot handle more patients if we miss the “golden time” to contain the
outbreak of the disease. All our sports centres are now closed and no
more public events. People can work at their home, if possible.

It is not surreal or like a futuristic movie!

He sent this video from YouTube about one family’s life in Shanghai. He adds that it doesn’t reflect the life of ordinary people living in that city earning less than $2,000/month.

Yes, I am fortunate to live in Canada. We gripe about the weather, the cold and the heat, no rain, too much rain, etc. But we are really living in paradise right now. I shall suffer my cold in good spirit. The sun is coming through the windows. I see the spruce branches swaying in the wind. I’m in my pajamas all day. Don’t have to get out of them at all. The guy is doing Sheba’s afternoon walk. Who could ask for anything more?




Day 29 of January and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. My cold is not better but it is not worse. I am a bit pissed that I’ve come down with it. I was pleased with myself that I’ve come through a year and a half without one. I was hoping for a 2 year run. I am ever a challenger.

I am staying put again.I’m dropping everything today – the exercise class, my class on Buddhism. No need for me to catch every train pulling out of the station. A part of me is protesting that I shouldn’t be so lazy but it’s only a wee part. The rebel in me says heck with it all. So I’m sitting here, still in my pajamas, tapping out my coughs and sniffles. Oh yes, I stuck my toque on, too. It calms my hair down. I’m looking very much like the tulips, disheveled and falling apart.

I’ve been knocking back my tea. A hot drink is good for soothing the throat and loosening congestion. I’m onto a decaf now. I used to drink coffee all day and night, too when I was working. Having given that up, my body does not like it now, even early in the day. I’m happy with its wisdom. I don’t need to feel the jolt any more. I am jittery enough already and want more mellow. I know the Buddha advocates living in present time. Don’t hang on to the past. There is no past, but I’ve been sifting through memories in old photographs.

Cruising memory lane is not living in the past. I’m doing my archeological dig, the history of me. We study history, don’t we? They still make movies about WWII and the haulocaust. We have museums of art and antifacts. We are the sum total of where and what we have been and through. I used to feel I have no present, therefore, no future. Looking back, I see that I am a person. I had a past and a life. I had people. I did things. My pictures stare back at me. I look like a person of interest. And I am.

Not that I relish having this cold, but I appreciate this interruption. I can sit back/out of my daily routine. It gives me pause to look back down the track of where I have driven my train this month. What have I learned from my tapping on the keyboard? Was I woodpecker in my previous life? What I know for sure is, it is my spiritual practice, my daily prayer. I feel better for being here.


I’m on the last 4 days of this writing journey/challenge. I must forge ahead. I’m almost there. But where is there? I’m remembering a quote that Meister Eckhart had supposedly said. When you get there, you find that there is no there. What and where to then?

Today is a good day to ponder on such things. I’m home alone with Sheba. I have succumbed to the cold bug after putting up much resistence. I don’t feel terribly sick but my chest is sore from coughing. I hesitate to put myself out there, not wanting to infect others. I worry about getting some flack from people about not getting the flu shot. I worry about being Chinese and the coronavirus connection. Perhaps I’m being a little over dramatic but it’s a good day to stay put and drink tea.

The cloudy day is not helpful in dispelling my paranoia. Yesterday I found a dead frozen mouse in the yard. At first I thought it was Sheba’s poop. It was an odd shape and not in her usual spot. On close examination, I saw a long tail and little pink feet all curled up. It gave me the shudders doing a bag pickup. It occurred to me that the troublesome woman next door could have put it there. It was where I couldn’t miss it. She blames her mice problems in her garage on our compost bins. Her garage happens to be full of food products.

I’m trying to let these and other liked thoughts go. I’m listening to Caroline Myss again. Some things are not easy to grasp but some are. Even so, understanding and incorporating them into practice can be difficult. It’s a given that Jesus, the Buddha and other higher beings are about love and forgiveness. But to turn my other cheek can be tough for me to do. That’s what my mother teaches, too. I haven’t succeeded yet, though I am getting a deeper understanding of what forgiveness is.

As Caroline Myss puts it, sometimes there is no reason or explanation to things. Why they happen to us. Why people do what they do AND to us. We are all capable of feeling the same hurt, anger, rage, betrayal, humiliation, etc. We all have the desire for revenge, getting even, getting the other person to say sorry, they were wrong. Jesus experienced all that and died on the cross, a lesson in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not saying that whatever done is ok. But it is the destroying your appetite for destroying someone else. Even though the other person has the same appetite, you’ve turned your cheek and the spell is broken. I am finally turning my other cheek. I am no longer demanding a debt to be paid.

Wow, I’m super serious today! I am a very serious woman. However, I do have a streak for fun somewhere in me. Let me see if I can find it to take us out of day 28. Oops, I seemed to have wandered off my intended words. Well, tomorrow then.




I must sit down and put down a few words for day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. If I don’t the time will be lost. I will be struggling late into the evening for my words. They always find their way to my fingertips. But I’m often left in high alert, mentally and physically at the finish line. Not a good way to end the day and ease into sleep.

I was jesting yesterday about needing Temple Grandin’s cattle chute to calm and keep me on the beaten path. The subject is still on my mind this morning. On second thought, I should take it seriously. It might and probably will work for me. I don’t have a diagnosis of autism but aren’t we all on a continuum of symptoms? I can certainly get fixated on things and spend too much time on them. Since Temple Grandin came into mind yesterday, I’ve spent time researching her and have reserved 3 books from the library. And now I’m writing on the subject. Oh boy, I’m easily stimulated and distracted. I need those ideas on chutes and corrals of hers.

I just have to rethink what that chute/squeeze box/hug machine might be for me. It deserves some pondering and could make life more easeful. Now I have to think, plan and design a workable curved ‘chute’, a squeeze box for myself so that I’m stay on track and derailed on every turn. One ‘box’ is my 20 minute meditation session in the morning. It does hold me still and in comfort. Not doing anything. Not going anywhere.

Then there are my words. It’s the purpose of me being here in my ‘box’, tapping. The physicality of being here, in my chair, in front of the keyboard, hearing the rhythm of the keys and seeing the letters and words marching across the screen is soothing. Whew! What a long sentence but it works. Does it not? It is my tool of laying everything out, making order and sense so that my brain can see it. I am more of a feely kind of a person. I live innately. I have a difficult time explaining to another. This is the best I can do. Perhaps it is why I often feel lost in this vastness of life. There are no hooks for me to hang my hat on.

Now I see that I do have 2. Enough said for one day. My brain is tired and getting fogging. But it is valuable to have an analysis of my January word journey. The train ride is almost over. I am happy with it. I will not demand a refund when I pull into the last destination. Perhaps I will talk more on the next leg tomorrow.


Sunday, a day of rest – supposedly. Since I’m retired every day could be a day of rest. I haven’t found it so. I’ve lost my knack for idleness. I hope to tap my way back to my chaise lounge. I used to be so good at languishing and contemplating my navel. Oh dear! What has happened to me? Can I get myself back?

No use in crying over lost skills and spilt time. I should focus my attention here and write  this post for day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I get myself all a-jittery shifting my attention to one thing, then another. What I need is something like a cattle chute or Temple Grandin’s hug machine. Oh, great! Now I’ve diagnosed myself with autism as well as ADHD. I guess if the symptoms fit, I might as well learn and work with them. It might be of benefit in the grand scheme of life. I wonder if Sheba’s thunder shirt would work for me.

In the meantime, on with the post. It must get written. Sunday is our morning of sourdough pancakes. I feed Oscar (my sourdough starter) daily for that purpose besides making bread. I like mine with just one fried egg and smeared with just a tad of maple syrup. I look forward to them as much as my occasional whole enchilada breakfast at A&W (2 fried eggs, 3 breakfast sausages, brown toast and hash brown) after my Saturday morning swim. It’s like a winter getaway for me. AND it’s much cheaper than going to Mexico or Cuba, even if it’s an all inclusive.

I’m cheap to keep if I need to be kept. Lunch is on in the Instant Pot. I’m making chop suey soup. Chop suey means a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I opened the freezer and found a bone and 2 slices of ham. In the fridge was some leftover roast beef, wilted celery, 3 still plump mushrooms and a couple of carrots. They all ended in the pot with a few other items and some water. The lid is closed. I pressed the soup button and and 75 minutes. Now we are minutes away from eating.

Did you know that Canada is a chop suey nation? There’s a Chinese cafe in almost every small town in Saskatchewan/Canada. I had a mission of visiting them this summer but only managed one. Someone else already had that idea and written a book about it. It’s called Chop Suey Nation if you are curious. It’s my story and every Chinese immigrant’s who or whose parents had a cafe. So much for writing today. Onto some other chop suey. Here’s a fun video to take us out.



Saturday, January 25th, Chinese New Year. Not much for those in China to celebrate. The Coronavirus having claimed 41 lives. The skies are grey here. I am doing as best as I can. It’s not life as usual. We cannot really use that phrase anymore. There’s no more as usual. It has to be better. I’m trying to do better but when I try too hard, I get stuck and spin my wheels. I’m spinning and kicking up a bunch of dust and debris. I’m trying to find my words to get me out of here. What I need is a bus, train or a plane.

I have very faint memories of leaving our village in Taishan, China with my mother many years ago.  There was my mother, me, No. 2 Pau(my grandfather’s sister-in-law) and her 2 grandchildren travelling with us to Hong Kong. To help, my grandfather’s youngest brother travelled with us by bus as far as the big city of Guangzhou. He had made the trip before. But my mother said he was not much help at all. She had to steer us – 3 kids and an elder woman.

What is vivid in my memory all these years later was seeing my first electric bulb in the hotel room. It dangled from the ceiling so bright when my mother finally woke me the next morning. I can remember sitting on our duffle bags at the station. I had strict instructions to stay put and take care of Ah Pau while the rest of them went in line to buy tickets. It was for the train that took us to Hong Kong. I had no memory of it at all. I thought we had caught a boat. My mother corrected my memory years later. I was only 6. How much could I remember?

But I do remember there was no one at the other end to meet us. There was a mixed up. We were all afluttered. What to do? My mother had an address. We got a taxi. As we were getting into it, Ah Pau said to the driver not to take us astray. She had heard all the horror stories of what could happen in cities. My mother tried to shush her. It was fine. He took us to the right address. Of course he tried to rip my mother off with the fare. But our friend’s wife flew out of her house and gave him whatever.

Not long after, my father and his cousin showed up. They had gone to the wrong station. It was the first time that I knew my father. I was 2 years old when he left our village for Canada. So we lived happily ever after in Hong Kong. My sister was conceived and born. My father and his cousin flew back to Canada. My sister was almost 2 when we flew to Canada to join our father.

Oh, what a mash of words! But they’ve told a story. Buses, trains and planes have been in my life. They’ve taken me to a few places in life. So much for this day – number 25 for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. To be continued tomorrow. Hoping for smoother words.


Dang, it is that time in the evening again. Time flies. I guess I shouldn’t complain. It seems I’m busy with things to do and places to go to. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year. I wouldn’t have known that if an email friend haven’t sent a greeting. I thought it would be in February. It’s good to have friends who keep you in the know.

I don’t really have a lot of friends. I can count them on one hand. What a thing to admit to, eh? It’s not a bad thing though I DO feel deficient at different times. I can’t handle too many people in my life. I  I’m an introvert, and highly sensitive. I have all the signs. So it is a good thing that I don’t have a whole bunch of people in my life. I would be so stressed and I would piss off many of them. There’s a silver lining under every cloud.

Don’t get me wrong. I am social. I love and need my friends. I just don’t need as/so many as other people. I could have more than I realize. I was surprised hearing that loneliness is such a problem in the UK that they have a minister of loneliness. This man in the UK had spent the last 20 years alone. After the story broke, people responded with a tree, gifts, visits and calls. Christmas is just one day. What about the rest of the year? How do we fix that?

I shouldn’t really be surprised about the loneliness problem. We live such insular lives. Most of us here drive everywhere in our private vehicles. Often we are the only one in the car. I didn’t realize how cut off that made me feel from other people until I had to take the bus because of parking problems. Now I take it once a week to my class on campus. I feel richer for the people contact. I’m in the midst of the young and not so young.

Add to that, I’ve restarted taking Sheba to the off-leash dog parks. We frequented them during our younger years. We’ve been doing mostly just the neighbourhood beat the last 6 or 7 years. We had a group of ‘friends’ at the parks. It was nice to walk and talk together. Some we know, some we knew just first names and some we just knew by faces. Still we felt sort of like family – at the dog park. That group have disappeared but we are now getting to know a different group by going at the same time each day.

Though I have only a very few close friends, all the people that touch my day and life enrich me and help give me a sense of meaning and purpose. I have little groups of ‘family’ and ‘friends’ in different corners – the YWCA, ex-workplace colleagues, Facebook, Instagram, blogoshpere, my email group….It’s good to have friends.

It’s late. I have to say good night. I have to swim in the morning. Here’s a video about an afternoon with my friends to take us out of this 24 day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.



Thursday, January 23, 2020. It’s a sourdough bread making day 1 of 2 or 3. It’s a slow methodical process. So why am I doing it? Why don’t I bake the normal loaves? I do. It was during the July Ultimate Blog Challenge that I got on the ferment bug and gut health. First it was the kimchi. You can Google it and find tons of recipes. My favourite is this kale kimchi. Then I started making my own yogurt. After a couple of months of eating kimchi, I noticed that I was digesting the yogurt better. Somewhere in there I was introduced to sourdough by the Zero Waste Chef. This is the recipe I use from her site. The recipe is based on Michael Pollen’s recipe from his book Cooked.

Back to the why. It would be so much easier and less work to just buy it. But the thing is, I like learning and doing difficult things. It is good for my brain as long as I have the instructions in print. I learn everything best that way. I’m a dyslexic listener. Don’t bother giving me verbal directions or instructions on anything. I will stop listening after the first right turn. I will be lost from the get on. And I won’t be able to find my way home.

Almost the end of another day – day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m still here, coming to my keyboard a little earlier. My sourdough loaves are formed and chilling overnight in the fridge. They are my 6th batch. My best ones so far. Morning will tell if I’m right. I’ve been investigating different recipes and websites and fiddling and changing the procedures a little. Bread making is flexible and forgiving. So far, no matter the outcome, the bread is always delicious. Life can be that way, too, if I let it.





Wednesday and I am wandering the hallowed halls of learning. I feel more at ease amid the crowd of young people now than when I was young. I feel oddly out of place among my peers. Am I denying that I’m of age? Am I a wanna be? Seems like I’m always out of step with the world. I’m the sore thumb that sticks out.

Yes, I guess I do want to be a wanna be. That’s the reason for taking this class on Buddhism. I want to know how to be happy and content. I want to know how to go about the world, to feel peaceful with myself, to have a purpose, to be kind, generous, to have all those positive attributes and none of the flaws. I know that’s asking too much so I try to quell these desires and quiet my mind.

I wish that I could come to my keyboard a little earlier in the day. My mind would have been sharper. But it seems that I have to live my day before I could find the words. So now I try to do the best I can, to focus and impart the lesson I’ve learned, the jewel of my day.

I’ve noticed lately that I have terrible trouble with focusing. It’s been getting worse and worse. Sometimes I don’t hear or is it that I can’t listen? My mind is always somewhere else out there – even when I’m ‘meditating’. I realized today that I could use this class to bring my mind back – to this moment, to the classroom, to all what the professor is saying. It won’t be easy. I have to make it a practice.

It is late. Time to say good night to day 22 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.