I go through periods of mad as hell, bad mood and attitude. I’m trying to release this anger and badness to cause as little harm to myself and others as possible. I’m not a perfect human being. I’m terribly flawed with a bad temper and disposition. The good news is my blood pressure is still under control. Once upon a time, if you look at me wrong or I sneeze, it could high rocket to the moon but not back. I admit it, I have anxiety. I had PTSD for 3 years after retirement. I diagnosed myself. It was a good ER doctor who got through to me how strong our thoughts are. That set me on the road to recovery. It wasn’t easy but I got over it. Well, not totally. It resurfaces now and again.

I’m working it out here. This space was created as an archeology of the self, my search for meaning. What is it all about, Lily? What matters to you? My purpose was not that clear to me in the beginning. It is now – Lily’s search for the meaning of her life. What matters to me? Up to this point, I had no recognition of it. I lived mostly for others, not that they asked it of me. It was freely given. I felt it was my duty. I saw it as a one way street. I saw no reflection in the mirror. For me, it is always just that sound of one hand clapping.

It’s no wonder that now I’m mad as hell, like the character in the movie, Network. I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore. I’m the more mad because I did it to myself. I put up no boundaries. I’ve allowed everyone to heap their garbage on me. I felt it was my duty to listen and understand all their problems and offer help and be selfless about it. My world taught me that. Now I’m mad as hell. It is a bad time to feel this way in a pandemic when so much help is needed everywhere.

These days I seem unable to find solace anywhere. Maybe if I stop trying and just live, put one foot in front of the other. I do still get up and show up. It is really not necessary to dress up when we are in lockdown with nowhere to go. I’m lucky that way. I’ve never been a gadabout. I could be a happy hermit. I’m a homebody by nature. I’ve felt deficient being that way. But now I see it’s an asset. I need little material stuff and socializing to be content. I’m happy with a book, cup of tea, baking bread, fermenting. I don’t know if I’m cheap but I like the challenge of living a life with less stuff. I like making do and being mediocre. Being good enough is good enough for me.

I feel my anger and frustration ebbing as I tap. I am not as distraught and heartbroken over the ignorance and cruelty of people. I do remember the kindness of other people, how easy I have been able to navigate the health system through this difficult time for my mother. The doors seems to open to each set of problems right from the start. Even on the weekends and during and maybe because of the Covid-19 thing, the wheels seem smoother. I should not speak too early or loud. I might invite more trouble. We Chinese are very superstitious.

I guess I am still in the desert. Lent is not over till April 9th. That’s my mother’s next appointment at the Eye Centre at City Hospital. She is doing better, taking all her antivirals. She complains about them alot though and is cranky. Three more days, then she has to take one of them daily for a month. She’s got it marked on the calendar. I have to see her physically to tell that she’s ok. On the phones she sounds like she’s going to code any minute. She tells me I over-react and get too excited. How else am I suppose to be when she tells me how bad the side effects are? I still don’t want to be a daughter to any mother. I hope I don’t sound too bad. If I do, it’s just too bad. I will have to live with it.


Difficult times can bring out the best in people but in cases like myself, it brings out the worse. I’m full of anger and resentment. I would like to be in a demolition derby. I would like to crash and destroy anything and everything that comes into my path. I thought it would be best it I release that energy here. My vehicle is the keyboard, my weapons only words.

According to my muse, Caroline Myss, words are powerful. I shall pay heed and not search and destroy. I shall try not to burn all the bridges behind me. This is my crossing the Rubicon moment. I breathe, raise my sword and tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. “Alea iacta est”! The die is cast. What is said cannot be unsaid. What is done cannot be undone. What has lived cannot be unlived. But regrets and disappointments I have many. My soul cries in agony over them.

But what is suffering without a voice? Whoever made that rule that we must do it in silence? And how do we know we will be rewarded in heaven for doing so? Who will know and give us comfort if we don’t show and tell? The world is amuck, wouldn’t you agree. We are all in lockdown. We did it to ourselves. We are behaving like the animals that we are – panicing and hoarding toilet paper over the coronavirus pandemic. Then we need politicians to warn us not to take advantage of vulnerable and senior citizens in these times. Then there’s the opposite side where people are not taking the coronavirus thing seriously. They are still gathering in large groups. I guess they haven’t heard of what happened in Wuhan, Italy or Spain. How do we really know it’s for real? Maybe it’s just a movie on TV. Maybe we’re all on Netflix in the movie Contagion.

I think I’m suffering what is called depression. I’m sounding like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy.  No,I’m not depressed. I’m really just stressed and mad as hell. I’m venting my anger in a place where it will cause the least damage. And I’m as sad as can be. The tears are dammed behind my throat. I’m letting things hang out now. I’m not trying to be positive. I’m not sugar coating myself. I am not myself. I cannot pretend to be Wonder Woman anymore with her golden lasso. I cannot fix anything.

Do not worry over the state of my mental health. I am venting, releasing steam. I do not want to blow a gasket. This is my safety valve. I know we are now all in this space together. This is just the beginning and not the end. I am not in fear or distress over the COVID -19 pandemic at this moment. Rather I am in my own private fear and anxiety over my mother’s ordeal with shingles – her pain, vision and enduring the side effects of her medications. It is as if we are still connected by the umbilical cord. I feel all her sufferings.

Things started innocent enough on Feb. 8th. You get the diagnosis. You get the treatment. But it is not that simple. One thing leads to another. Pain persists through out relieved somewhat by meds. Now it is March 26th and eye complication.  Another week of her antivirals 3times/day to endure before she can cut down to smaller dose once/day for another month. The good news is she has recovered most of her vision in her eye.

I’m calling out for prayers to help her endure and tolerate another week of her medications. I’m asking for prayers for myself to be strong and endure to help her through this. Maybe after this, I can afford to panic over the pandemic. Praying for all of us. May we be safe. May we be strong. May we have compassion and love for each other.


It is almost April. How and when did we get here? I have not had a moment of peace since I don’t know when. We had all that trouble with the neighbour next door in the fall. When did I not have trouble with her since she’s moved in 10 plus years ago? But this time, it was enough to call the Police Liason for help. After that I had a small corridor of peace. In December Sheba had her ear hematoma and infection. It was to doggy ER twice and a total of 5 visits in 2 weeks and a bill of $600 plus. The money was the least of it. It was watching Sheba suffering with discomfort and anxiety. It was 2 weeks of little sleep and worry. But she did come out of it with a tiny crimp at the tip of her floppy ear.

Christmas was peaceful and January uneventful. I don’t have a clear memory of it. But came February, my mother came down with shingles on her left forehead. We caught it soon enough but it has been hellish. It’s one thing to watch your dog suffer, it is another to watch your mother. Every time I think it will ease up, it’s just a tease. So I should learn not to expect it to. Maybe then things will get better if I have no expectations and keep quiet. Though I have been accompanying her to her appointments and been vigiliant about possible complications to her eye, it has happened.

I do not have self blame for not doing a good enough job. But I am feeling a lot stressed and stretched now going into the 7th week. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic going on and the state of emergency declared in this province, I’ve managed to do a phone call appointment with her doctor. Then with my mother, an in person appointment at the office because by now her vision in her left eye is very blurry. She could see a tree but not its branches. She can see my face but not my features. She could not do the eye chart at all. It was the first time I saw her face crumble.

The good news inspite of all this is we got in to see someone the next morning at the Eye Centre at City Hospital. We were reassured that this is treatable. It will be reversed. But there’s always a but. She has to be on antiviral drug 3x/daily for 2 weeks and then a smaller dose once/day for a month. Plus a steroid eye drop 4 times a day for a month. If you know my mother, pills are a big problem. She has so much sensitivity to everything, even tylenol if she takes more than 2/day. She always makes it sound the side effects are worse than death. And who am I to argue? She’s the one feeling them. Maybe it’s just the Chinese way. So what do I do when she complains she’s having side effects and should she keep taking the pills – on a Saturday evening during a pandemic?

Well, I did the *!#^fk twirl around the kitchen island a few times. Then I called the pharmacy at Safeway. The pharmacists there are my best friends now. He looked everything up and said those side effects are really not for that drug. Then he advised maybe I called 8-1-1 and report it. I phoned my mother to check her symptons again. She was adamant her symptoms were drug related and not virus related. Next move, page the doctor on call. She was prompt in answering and helpful with advice. Which was more important – my mother’s eyesight or the side effects? And with those symptoms it doesn’t sound like the coronavirus. It was not necessary to call 8-1-1.

That was the question I put to my mother. She is taking her pills. We got into a squabble. I lost my temper. She said I over reacted. I needed not have gone all to that length. She was just asking my opinion what to do. I reminded her that I am not a doctor. Any answer I give her could be the wrong one. She has to make a judgement about how bad those ‘side effect’ are and her vision. The good news is her vision is a little better and the pain is a little better with the antiviral. I reminded her that she could also call her other daughter, who is a pharmacist even though she is busy and there’s a pandemic.

So, I’ve laid out my anguish here. I was really feeling squeezed between a rock and a hard place. I probably shouldn’t have lost it with my mother. I’m stressed and stretched. She’s in pain and probably anxiety which she denies it. She said she is not worried and very calm. But she did yelled at me and I yelled back. But I’m still the one looking out and after her. This morning Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be soliloquy’ was playing in my head. My wish at the moment was to be extinquished and disappear without drama and fanfare – like a firefly. It is painful to be in this world. I feel as if I’m everyone’s keeper and have no self. I guess I am a bit of a drama queen. It is not the Chinese way but it feels good to get it off my chest. I’ve never claim to be a good Chinese. I’m just flipping sad.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.





The difficult things are so hard to do. I hem and haw, twiddle and twaddle, scroll here and there. I do everything except the things that I need to do. I scratch my head and wonder why that is. I think it is the way with most people – that is most people like myself whose first instinct is avoidance. I try hard not to get to the root of the problem. That would be another delaying tactic. Instead, I sit myself before my keyboard to start a conversation.

I have got a few difficult things out of the way. I am not a complete failure. I tolerated the discomfort of not wanting to do and did some paperwork, put it in an addressed and stamped envelope. It is now in a Canada Post box. My prescription medications are picked up but not put away. Sheba is fed. She is waiting for her walk. Other than that, there is nothing urgent. I can put away that uncomfortable ‘I should do’ feeling. I should hitch Sheba up and go for that walk. Fresh air would do us good though I’m not looking forward to walking in wet slushing snow.

It is evening now. The walk over and done with. Somehow things do get done. My tomato seedlings are all transplanted. A few chili peppers got seeded as well as a new variety of tomato called Sunshine Sauce. I had time for a 20 minute Epsom salt soak in the tub before supper. I’m pecking away on the keyboard, trying for a few precious thoughts. A few thoughts/things are better than none. My eyelids are heavy, my mood sober. Better close up shop till the morrow.

It is now a few morrows later. I am not really in the mood to finish this post but I will. I do not want to waste my already spent efforts. What I have learned is that spot between a hard place and a rock has some give. I just have to give up the thought and not be stuck in it. I’ve been repeating the phrase, If I don’t have that thought, how would I feel? over and over these last while. It’s something I’ve learned from Byron Katie. I ask myself that question when I’m distraught and in distress. Somehow it works. It disrupts my stuck despairing, distressing thoughts. A little calm seeps in and I’m okay again.

It is another morning. The sun is shining. I’m here tapping out a few more words. Sometimes the world Facebook gives me what is needed. This morning it is words from Anne Lamott on How We Endure and Find Meaning in a Crazy World.

“No matter what happens to us — to our children, to our town, to our world — we feel it is still a gift to be human and to have a human life, as long as we ignore the commercials how and advertisements and the static that the world beams at us, and understand that we and our children are going to get knocked around, sometimes so cruelly that it will take our breath away. Life can be wild, hard and sweet, but it can also be wild, hard and cruel.

The bad news is that after the suffering, we wait at the empty tomb for a while, the body of our beloved gone, grieving an unsurvivable loss.

It’s a terrible system. But the good news is that then there is new life. Wildflowers bloom again… They’re both such surprises. Wildflowers stop you in your hiking tracks. You want to savor the colors and scents, let them breathe you in, let yourself be amazed. And bulbs that grow in the cold rocky dirt remind us that no one is lost.”


What I know for sure is I live in my thoughts/head too much. It’s no wonder my world is dark and full hairy green monsters. I’ve lost my love for most things that used to give me pleasure. Coming here to my sacred place is a chore. From experience I know that the tapping on the keyboard is my pacemaker. It will help kick my heart back in rhythm. And so I make the effort. I still possess that curiosity, the need to investigate and fix things. At the moment I’m still intent on fixing me so that I could live with more ease.

I haven’t quite master the art of letting go yet. I can’t quite accept the idea that I am not God, that I am not all powerful. I can’t fix anything and everything. I exert alot of energy and waste my intent on things that I can’t change. It’s burning me out somewhat. I do see that though. Hurrah for me for the small but huge recognition. It’s started me on the road to reconciliation with myself. I am who I am but I can choose to do differently. I do not have to proceed down the same well trodden but wrong paths.

I need not be so hard on myself. I have to implement the nurture part of the R.A.I.N. meditation. I am not good at self love but I’m an expert at beating myself to death. One good thing that I possess is the desire for excellence in living. The spark is ever alive in me – to do my best, whatever is the best at the moment. Today, I’m trying to get my head out of my thoughts. I want to be awake to the light of the day even though it is cloudy. With eyes wide opened, the unamed hairy monsters/fears recede.

So I’m sipping roasted dandelion tea. I threw in some freshly chopped ginger in. It’s a good combination. I savoured the taste on my tongue. Thinking and thoughts are always with me but I need to reside in the physical world as well. I need to move my body as well as my soul. I’m leaving the monsters and fears on the page. Their power over me is diffused as I watch the letters and words march across my screen. It’s time for them to get the hell out. I have lunch to make. The brown rice is cooking in the Instant Pot. All the veggies are chopped and ready for me. I still stir fry them with some ground pork. I cannot survive on thoughts alone. I need real food. That’s what I know for sure.