It is Monday morning, another first day of the rest of my life. It is time to fulfill one of my do-it-list of showing up here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is not a hard thing. I can do it now that I’ve made it as an intention. My new motto is not to make intentions that I’m not going to keep. Words are important. They matter. If you don’t live up to them, no one will believe you ever after. They would guffaw and say, Oh, she’s just talking. Don’t pay any attention. She doesn’t mean it.

Another Mother’s Day is over. Have I told you that I have fallen out with all these occasions – birthdays, Christmas and Easter, too? I am exhausted by the idea that we are obligated to feel celebratory, joyful and all that jazz. I feel guilty and bad for saying all this, but not bad enough because I am saying it. Anne Lamott says it much better in a piece she wrote about Mother’s Day in 2015. Needless to say, she received not a small amount of flak. I suppose I will, too, even though and more so because my voice is small. It does not carry much weight.

It’s not that I have anything against joy and celebrations. It is not that I don’t love my mother and motherhood. I feel uncomfortable. I have adopted all these occasions and traditions because it is ‘the right thing to do.’ When in Rome do as the Romans. But when you are not Roman, you can’t quite pull it off authentically. Everything felt fake and not as good, especially when I was young. It left me feeling less of everything. Things have changed over the years and now we seem to have a monoculture. The whole wide world is celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. You would think that would make me feel better. But it has left me feeling that things are more meaningless.

So what to do? I do not like feeling like this. I don’t want to be a badass. I’m a bit of a rebel but I’m not great at it. The thing to do is to adopt those wanted warm fuzzy good feelings and fake them till they become real. Enough said but one thing more. I tried to do all that stuff regularly if not every day, in my own ways. I love and care for my mother every day and not just on the official Mother’s Day. I used to buy her presents. Now I give her my time and attention. Still, at times it is hard to quiet the voice that say’s buy her something. So I do Chinese take-out to feed us both.


It’s day 3 of the new year and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m feeling tired and not the least bit eager, wanting to show up here. I’m doing it anyways. In the same manner, I did #2 assignment for the 30-Day Positivity Challenge. It helps to have a plan and goals for the day/month. It’s my to-do list for difficult to navigate times. I’m up and down with the fluctuating temperatures. I’m temperamental and over sensitive to noise and clutter. Everything sounds loud and like fingernails on chalk board. Everything looks messy.

Perhaps it is a good day to do some clearing – of things and thoughts. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. I do not have to do super feats. I can do/write in what Anne Lamott calls ‘bird by bird‘ or in one minute picture frames. I like to use the log cabin quilt square as a reference. I built it log by log. It’s not intimidating at all when you look at it that way. Now I just have to put the 100 squares I built together, block by block to make a quilt. I am a person who cannot see/do the whole picture at once. If I try, I get overwhelmed and discouraged to make even a start.

I now have picked up and rid a few things off the dining room table. I have found homes for them. Next – to work on a question or two in Unravel My Year workbook. They are not easy. The answers don’t jump out of me. What surprised me in 2021? Hmmm, let me see. Nothing obvious at first, but I suppose the fact that I could plant tomatoes, scarlet runner beans and cucumbers in the greenhouse in early March was a feat. Some died but most lived to give us an abundance of food. I had a large harvest of pumpkins in the fall. I was surprised that I love them as a vegetable to stir fry, stew, curry and soup with, besides making them in pies, muffins and cookies. Trying new things bring the best surprises. I am surprised, too, that I am enjoying these cold months relaxing, not thinking of gardening at all.

Some surprises are subtle and startling at the same time. They are like blows because they come out of nowhere and yet they’ve been there all the time. It’s just me, not seeing how I don’t value myself in so many small and big ways. That is till one day I woke up and saw how I was abusing myself and therefore, allowing others to do the same. I never set any boundaries or made any demands of others how I want to be treated. I forfeited myself to please others. My waking up was the biggest surprise of 2021. I’m still reeling and sitting with it, digesting and feeling into how I will change with the knowledge.

It has started to blow and snow outside – a bit of winter wonderland when you’re not out in it. I am glad we had our ski this morning. That is another surprise. I am not at all athletic but I love the activity so much. Who would have thought? So even if you don’t think you like something and don’t feel like trying it out, do it anyways. You might get a very nice surprise.


Here I am on Day 3 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am struggling already. I have to wisen up and listen to my body. I’ve been working it too hard lately with my daily ski and altering and sewing projects. My right hand is sore, numb and tingling at times. It’s probably from gripping the seam ripper too much. No more ripping and sewing heavy material for awhile. I can use one or two rest days a week from skiing. I will not rust from lack of activity.

I will keep going with the Ultimate Blog Challenge and the100dayproject. I really like Anne Lamott’s advice in her book Bird by Bird. It really is a manual for writing and life. When I get overwhelmed by any thing/project I think about her One-Inch Frame. I write/work within that frame until it is done, then I move to the next inch. I tap out a word/idea, sentence, paragraph. I’m building an idea/sentence/paragrah at a time. At the end I will have a blog post. If I write a few more posts, it could lead to a chapter. Chapters can add up to a book. I don’t have that aspiration. But who knows?

I work at my Log Cabin quilt squares the same way. Each square has 17 components. The project was actually started a few years ago. I had some 1 1/2 strips cut up but that was as far as I got. They’ve been patiently waiting for me all this time. I am not an experienced quilter but I have taken a beginner’s class a long time ago. I have lots of material and all the tools. The Log Cabin square begins by sewing two 1-inch squares together. They are 1 and 2 in the photo. Then I sew on 3. The strips are not cut to size except the first 2. I cut up two 1 1/2 inch lengths, allowing for 1/4inch hem allowances. Then I sew on 3 and cut off the excess length. Each seam is pressed before going on the next. There’s no rushing. Patience, Precision and Care. It settles my brain. It’s good for me.


I think it is better for me to use my time to inspire or to be inspired. These last while I have lost my mind and energy in stress over the pettiness of nothingness of someone else – not a friend or a relation. So in effect it was a nobody. How foolish is that? It is the foolishness of being a human, susceptible to trickery and evil. I’m over that, at least for the time being.

Who inspires me?

  • Anne Lamott and her Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I admire her honesty and frankness. I am inspired by her advice on witing in a one-inch picture frame and as far as you can see in the length of a headlight’s beam. When you get there, you start again. That is how you can travel the distance, inch by inch, beam by beam.
  • Laurie Wagner of 27 Wild Days. Her 27 video poetry prompts, one each day inspired me to write from my heart. She reads a poem twice. Then it was up to me to write without censorship for how many minutes – 15-30? It doesn’t matter.
  • It works much like Julie Cameron’s Morning Pages.
  • Then there are all those creative souls in my Instagram Community. There’s too many to name. I’ve learned and been inspired so much by them – the textile and other medium artists. They share their ideas and methods   freely. They are generous in their praises and encouragement.
  • My mother is most inspiring of all. I don’t even know how to begin. Perhaps that could another post.

This is enough for today. I’m learning to write in a one-inch picture frame. Tomorrow is another day and another inch. I’m learning to let go of what does not serve me. I’m going towards people who inspire instead of destroy.



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.”


I’ve recently recognized myself as having ADHD when I was listening to The Current on CBC Radio. Since then I’ve been listening to many lectures by Dr. Russell Barkley,  an internationally recognized authority on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) in children and adults. You can find them on his website or on YouTube. Rick Green is a Canadian comedian, satirist, actor, writer, and advocate for awareness of adult ADD. He is most well-known as co-creator of The Red Green Show. His website contains a wealth of information.

So what have I done since I became aware of it in myself besides gathering all this information? I’ve been proactive in putting them into use since executing is my huge problem. Starting and stopping is also difficult for me. To stop overwhelm, I break things into small parts. To make a start in this space, I tap out a word, then a sentence. Sometimes it works. When it doesn’t, I get up and make myself a cuppa to settle the aggitation in my head.

I’m especially having trouble today. Not feeling super. I have so many f***king disorders. I’m not liking this sudden change to warmer temperatures. What a thing to complain about, eh?  It’s a reality with me so I am learning to somehow thrive despite everything. I’m writing in that one inch picture frame  that Anne Lamott talks about in Bird by Bird. It’s a very good book on writing and living. She writes:

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you. This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”

I agree! It is the best dang advice for me, too. On many days I can’t see the whole picture, not the whole enchilada. I have to take a small bite at a time or else I could end up in a screaming malfunction. It’s not a pretty picture. I’m getting close to that point now. But before I stop, let me tell you that I’ve taken apart my Dyson Stick vacuum and cleaned all the parts and put them back together. A few days ago I phoned the company for a replacement part that was not working. I was delighted to find that I still have 7 months left on my warranty. The call took only minutes. In the past, I would not or could not have gotten there. Progress! But I have to keep at it.


I was clearly ranting yesterday. I was not raining on anyone’s parade except my own. I like to say I’m uncranked but not yet. It lingers yet. I could be coming or is down with something. Maybe it IS who I am. I don’t have to act it out. I can just grumble (quietly and politely) here. It’s a nice sunny day and it is Thanksgiving Sunday. I am full of gratitude for my life and what I have – a roof over my head and food on the table. I am also thankful that someone else is cooking the turkey. I am providing the salad. It is a contribution albeit a small one.

Although I am grateful, I am not a fan of gratitude or bucket lists. I hope no one feels offended and throws rotten tomatoes at me. It is just my own feelings. I am sure not many approve of my daily rantings and mumblings of thoughts publicly here either. But it is my space and it works for me. It’s a stress relieving, problem solving platform for me. Being not private, it helps to keep me more thoughtful and objective. I’m apt to be more mannerly and kind. It helps me see from the other side. It keeps me from laying blame.

My crank is a little more relaxed with the tapping of the keyboard. The rhythm eases the tension in my head. Today I’m remembering to use Anne Lamott’s one inch picture frame advice for writing. It’s very good and works for everything. I work in that one inch frame at a time. That way there’s less frustration and crankiness. Can you imagine how frustrating it is when you keep making the same mistakes more than once? I redid the gent’s hair but got carried away. Too many lines again! His head got puckered. I took some out. Then I had to leave it for now. Grrr!

Working in one inch squares saves me from those grr! moments. I can get quite a bit done in those short little spurts. They add up like drops in a bucket. Gee whiz! I am a bucket person after all. I also write in one inch squares. There’s no point in being stuck in no thoughts or angry, frustrated ones. Changing venues and scenery diverts sticky thoughts and feelings.


This morning I sat with Melli O’Brien and Jack Kornfield for the Mindfulness Summit’s session on how to integrate spiritual life with everyday life. It’s good to review and revisit the sessions from October 2015. When things are going well, I tend to forget and drop my practice of being in the moment along with my qigong routine. It’s when I’m in distress, I grope my way back. I have done this time and time again. I am sure I am not alone.

It took some effort to quiet my mind to sit, watch and listen. Like Anne Lamott says: My mind is like a bad neighbourhood. I try not to go there alone. Oh, I wish I had written that! She talks like I feel. It’s great that someone else has the same feelings. I don’t feel so alone in my ‘badness’. It’s a conundrum why I feel this way. The only explanation is I am vocal about my feelings and opinions. It’s what is advocated – be open, be honest. Yet when you are I am, I get feelings of disapproval. Maybe I’m just thin skinned. I cannot help being who I am – open and honest. I do know the word tact. I was well brought up.

It is ridiculous that I feel this insecurity in this stage of my life. Why am I still seeking approval from anyone? Am I not grown? Am I not responsible? Am I not independent? Of course, I am to all of the above. What I am seeking now is freedom from this feeling of ‘badness’, of not being enough of this and that, of being at fault for everything. I am seeking peace of mind and NOT  approval.

I am sitting in mindfulness. I close my eyes and try to picture the girl I want to be. Peace and contentment came over me. I do not really see a girl. I felt her. I felt her goodness, kindness and generosity. I am not a bad girl at all. Please do not transfer your feelings onto me. Give me a break.


A hot 26 degrees Celsius on a Mother’s Day. I agree with Anne Lamott’s article on Why I Hate Mother’s Day.  The article didn’t make Anne popular. She received a lot of hate mail for it. Agreeing with her probabley won’t make me loved either. Though I haven’t receive any hate mail, I can feel the disapproval. I’m not unfamiliar with those feelings. While Miss Lamott is considered a trail blazer for her frankness, I am not bestowed with such.

Shucks! I will have to bear the brunt of my words. Words do have alot of power as Caroline Myss proclaims. She has lectured about it many times. I shall have to give words more respect and use them with care. There is a possibility that I do voiced what others would only think. It would be wise of me not to give my opinions and feelings so freely. I do not have to be an open book. At the same time I need not be a clam with lips sealed tight. I could learn from these wise and wonderful words.

Talking is fantastically overrated. Too many people do too much of it. It stuns the hell out of me how so many people like to talk. Sharkey, for example. If talking is so good for you, what the hell is Sharkey doing here? The guy tears me up. Talking does not heal you. Talking just adds to the noise pollution in the world. If we were really serious about going green, then maybe we’d all just be quiet.” 
― Benjamin Alire SáenzLast Night I Sang to the Monster

“I choose to choose few words each day. Yes! few words that count. Few words that can make impact. Few words that talk much. Few words that can make people ponder to wonder. Few words that are indelible. Few words that can leave distinctive footprints on minds. Though we may fail to mind our words, we shall never fail to mind the works of our words.” 
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Ah, I wish that I had written those words! I may be able to come up with some of equal power if I talk and share less. Wise is a woman who keeps her counsel. I’ve never betrayed another secret nor spread malicious lies. I have been a victim though. Who hasn’t? People who tell their secrets should never ask another not to repeat it. It’s asking for too much. IF you don’t want people to tell, you should not tell yourself. The power lies in the choices we make.

What I know for sure is I try to speak always in the first person singular – I.  I get tripped up frequently.  I’m reminded with the question: Who’s THEY? What I know for sure are the things that pertain to myself only. Everything else is guess work. What I know for sure today is, I do love my mother and we celebrated the occasion with a meal. I have not been buying her gifts she seldom wear/use for a few years now. Like Anne Lamott I do not care for these ‘special days’ when you are expected to celebrate in certain ways. These ‘special days’ include Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day, Christmas, Easter and birthdays. I know it is not a popular sentiment.

Growing up, my siblings and I did not have birthday parties or presents. My mother always made something special to eat like a chicken drumstick and a hard boiled egg. I’m sure there is a significance to them but I am not sure what. I am not a very good Chinese. I am somewhat ashamed to say that we have not done anything for my parents’ birthdays. They have never voiced any disappointment nor displeasure. My mother is quite proud of us. She should be. She has raised us well. As for my father, I am not sure. He is not a demonstrative man. He did not participate in our upbringing. He was the breadwinner.

So I did not grow up in the normal Western traditional family. I am a child of immigrant parents. We adlibbed, adopting some Western traditions while tweaking the traditional Chinese ones as necessary in our circumstances. We had Charlie Brown Christmas trees and celebrations. I am tired of it all, fitting in, trying to be ‘normal’. Now I want to cast off what is not true for me. I want to get up every morning feeling that EVERY day is special. I like to celebrate by being a kind considerate person who will greet each day and each person with kindness and cheer. I struggle with it every day. Gee Wheez, I am talking too much again.





It’s raining – the first of the year.  I’m grateful.  My garden is grateful – for this drink of life. It is cool – 4 degrees Celsius after last week’s blistering 32.  Tomorrow and the next night, the forecast for -1 and -2 respectively.  Nothing is predictable anymore.  Was anything ever? Have a look at what is happening in Fort McMurray, Alberta.  It is like a dream.  I am sure it is a nightmare for the residents fleeing their city as the fires rages.

I am philosophical, uncertain but happy and grateful this rainy, cool 10th of May.  I took a tour of my garden, securing the covers over the tender young tomatoes I planted 2 days ago.  I might have been too optimistic and foolish thinking that the temperature could not possibly dip below 0 anymore.  But what the hey?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained/learned.  I have a good feeling about my green thumb.  I feel like a winner at the moment.  I’m going with it.

IMG_5382I’ve doubted my feelings and myself for too long.  I’m making up by taking taking a giant big step forward. I’m being confident.  I’m being happy with myself as I am, no apologies.  It feels good.  There’s no time for putting myself on the back burner for others.  I’m moving closer and closer towards my own mortality every day.  If I don’t live for me now, when then?

Life is messy and wonderful.  That is what I take away from Anne Lamott.  In Bird by Bird she wrote,

Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived …Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”

IMG_5373I am now wondering why I have been so taken with Marie Kondo and her The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  I have been a clutter bug all my life.  I could learn to be a little neater but more would be trying to get a leopard to rid its spots or a zebra its stripes. What was I thinking?  There’s beauty and artistry in our clutter and messes.  After all, it is what our lives are made of.


I am tired of holding my breath, suspending my animation.  I am letting me out of the bag. So happy to have this rainy interlude to muse much about it all and savour life.