February 1. Chinese New Year and it’s day one post the Ultimate Blog Challenge. What have I learn? I am an old retired nurse. It goes to reason that old medical terminology would pop up in my mind. I’ve never worked in ICU, so never been on the Code team. I do know that they do a post mortem after each Code Blue whether it was successful or not. They analyze the chain of events, what happened, what went right, what went wrong, what they could have tried but didn’t, etc. It all adds to their experience and knowledge and hopeful better outcomes in future Codes.
I thought that it would be a good idea to do that periodically in our lives. It would be most helpful in or after a project, a class, a challenge. What a better time than today, a new year opening in front of me. My observation that I couldn’t write a post every day for the UBC was I didn’t have a plan for those hard days when I didn’t have time or energy. I will work out a plan for the next time. My plan today was to pay bills on the first of each month. That way I will not be late for any of them and be penalized. It’s a good plan. It’s do-able and I’ve done it.
Now on to the post mortem for last Saturday’s watercolour art class. I was totally bummed out, discouraged and fed up with myself. Yes, I am rather harsh with myself. I am impatient as well. I want to be a master painter in one class. And I am not after 3 classes. Damn! I’ve had 3 days to think and analyze things and I am pretty ok with making a mess of things. I wouldn’t have learned a bunch of important things if I hadn’t. What did I learn?
how to get a grid on my reference photos
edit the photo for composition and optimum light and shadow before printing
draw my composition completely before painting
brush boldly, not afraid of making mistakes. It’s how I can earn.
February 2. It seems forever since yesterday. Chinese New Year has come and gone. Someone asked me how I was going to celebrate. To tell the truth, I am not a fan of celebrating any occasion. I guess it comes with getting on in years and cynicism. It’s what is called a bad attitude. In my mind with what is going on in our country with the freedom fighter convoy and our premier stating that Covid-19 vaccines are not reducing the risk or the spread of Omicron, it is difficult to be in a celebratory mood. Perhaps it is just an excuse for me. I do have a bad attitude. I am too tired now to do a post mortem on that. I am going to fake it (good attitude) till I make it. I will order some Chinese take-out tomorrow to celebrate.
Happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese family and friends wherever you are. The morning is awashed with bright sunshine. It is only -24 degrees Celsius, quite a bit warmer than yesterday’s -40 C. My world looks so white, clean and peaceful. And yet it is not. The Coronavirus is still a threat amongst us. life and death goes on.
I hope I am not sounding morbid and pessimistic. I am not. I am feeling a bit strange and in limbo. It is not something new. I do go through such now and again. It’s a discomfort, like something is hanging over me that I’m avoiding. It’s because I’m such a procrastinator, always putting off little things until they get big. It’s true that you can put things under the carpet, but not out of your mind. They will nag and nibble at you. That’s what I’m feeling. Every time I resolve things, I vow not to let it happen again. I might as well save my breath. It does happen again because I am only too human.
It doesn’t mean that I should give up altogether. I am here at the keyboard earlier in the day. I am trying to have a conversation again. It’s good for our mental health to talk, to voice and share our ideas. But I’m not really in love with the way we communicate nowadays. For some people keeping in touch means ‘copy and paste’, sending stickers/videos/clips/attachments on Messenger, Instagram, text messages. Most of the time, there are no explanation or personal message. It doesn’t tell me anything about the sender or why I’m getting it.
We should not assume what we find interesting and useful would be the same for another. Think again before you hit that SEND button. Am I doing a service or disservice? Am I really being thoughtful or am I really thinking of myself? Different strokes for different folks. I think it would be good to remember etiquette is the same on all communication tools. I hope that I am also respectful in what and how I am communicating, but maybe I’m not. Perhaps those ‘unfriending’ on FB was a message. We all live with the consequences of our actions.
I have done well today. I hope I can keep it up and build on it. It is after lunch. I have done Chinese takeout for my parents and ourselves. It’s a chance for me to check on them without appearing so when I drop off the food. It was my mother who used to drop off stuff for me New Year and other occasions. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Children become the parents and vice versa. My brother will be dropping supper for them tonight. We celebrate together somehow.
I have skied 3 laps around the park this afternoon. An extra lap for prosperity. I’m trying to build stamina and speed. I did not gain any speed but am keeping my time under 11 minutes/lap. You would think I was training for the Olympics. LQOL (laughing quite out loud). It was quite lovely today being at least 10 degrees warmer and less wind. It was easier breathing and I didn’t get quite as frosty as yesterday. Scroll on the arrow to see.
It’s February 8, 2021. Almost 5:30. Yet the sun is still present in the livingroom. It will vanish in a minute or two but I love this almost perfect beautiful golden moment. Everything, including myself, is in alignment from head to toe. I am so happy we went out for our ski, despite the frigid temperature. The sun was brilliant. It is the kind of weather that agrees with me the most. I feel energized, without my aches and pains. The snow was the best, too. It didn’t stick to the bottom of my skis and I felt the glide. The mask was perfect keeping my lungs from the cold air. I didn’t have to taste the wool of a scarf.
Chinese New Year will arrive on February 12. It is the year of the ox. I don’t know what it means. I take it that we all must be strong, like the ox, and do our best to keep safe and do the utmost not to spread the Coronavirus. We must, like good citizens of the earth, do our part to help regreen the planet. This is my hope for this year of the ox. February is also heart month. The heart needs exercise as much as the rest of our body.
I like to stretch my heart muscles by being kinder, more loving and understanding of others. I know that sometimes I think I am all of those things. I know I over estimate and give myself too much credit. It is hard to take myself out of me and look at things and others dispassionately, without prejudice and preconceived ideas. It is a good thing to remember. I would like to spend time to observe and explore how I can change and be more heartful through this Ultimate Blog Challenge.
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.
Happy New Year! It’s a new day, a new year and a new challenge. I’m committing to the Ultimate Blog Challenge of writing a post every day for the month of January. I’m not one for making New Year Resolutions but it’s not such a bad idea. Even if you fall off the Resolution wagon every year, you’ve made the effort to come back again and again. You have hope for a longer ride each year before falling off. It’s better than having no hope and no resolutions. What then?
My resolutions are the challenges of creating through words, art and photography that I find online. I’ve completed most of them except the 365somethings2018. I fell off its wagon maybe halfway. 2018 was a hard year, a long year. It felt good to surrender and say ‘uncle’. It was bigger than me. I had to ‘give up’, rest and gather up my strength again before climbing back on the wagon. My wheels were mired in immovable muck.
But here I am, sitting here, tapping, sipping my tea. I’m dressed in my ‘good clothes’, red sweater for prosperity. It’s not Chinese New Year, but it is a new year. I hope to tap up an abundance of Gong Hee Fat Choys (wishes for prosperity). Maybe they will come to be on February 5th, Chinese New Year. Wouldn’t that be cool?
It is cool on this western New Year’s morning. I’m warm and content, happy for no reason and for many reasons. When all my basic needs, food, shelter and clothing are met, the rest is like they say, is gravy. I have lots of gravy. I am retired with a good pension. No more early morning risings. No more night shifts. I have my health, family and a few good friends. I can count them on one hand. The Universe gives me enough. I am not able to handle much more than that. Sheba is the gift from my angels above. I get to celebrate the new year two times every year. I get second chances to get it right. I shall not make too many demands. I have enough.
Gong Hee Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year. I am bushed! I don’t know how I managed a job before retirement. I’m not wearing red. I didn’t clean house in preparation for the new year. I vacuumed today. Oops! Well, it’s not sweeping. I’m not sweeping out my good fortune. It’s hard to observe my cultural traditions living so apart from my people. Aside from family, I don’t know that many Chinese people. I have no Chinese friends. I’m lacking in so many ways, negating much of what I set out to do. We will have our family New Year supper on Sunday – a day of rest for those who work.
That’s how life is going for me – negotiating and changing. I’m not sure it it’s for the better or it is just different. That’s how the world is. It’s changing so fast I’m often left breathless. I’m trying to keep up. I’m here, aren’t I, tapping as fast as I can. I am often confused and puzzled. Most of the time I’m cranky, in a mood. I wonder how I can get out of myself. I think of things I can do. What do I have to change? The rule I have when I come to this space is to leave on a higher note. I might tell you how I am feeling, what space I am in. But it is always about me and not anybody else. I try to be objective and not to crank out my personal biases. Hit me on the head if I do.
That is one thing I’m proud of – my words here. It leads me to think on what Caroline Myss says about the power of words. “A mystical perspective: Your words are your power tools. Each word you use initiates an act of creation and is a thread holding together a part of the fabric of your life. Take one word out of your vocabulary and all the creative power that that word contains evaporates from your life. Take the word “love” out, for example, and everything you understand, know, feel, and experience about “love” would no longer exist.”
I’ve been thinking about a word that I would like to eliminate from my speech. It’s difficult to think of one. I don’t like ‘hate’ but it’s not one I use often. What I say alot is I don’t care. I use it often in self defence/protection. I’m not sure if I mean it. I am giving it meaning by saying it. By eliminating it, it means I do care. Everything matters. I will see how that difference will play in my attitude and well-being.
Today is the first day of the lunar year, the Year of the Dog. Sheba, the dog and I went to the park to celebrate. The sky and clouds were awesome. I saw the sun drift in and out of the clouds. It was travelling so fast it was hard to capture on the camera. Another reminder how fast life and time moves. Don’t think too much and hesitate too long. Put one foot in front of the other and do another lap around the park or wherever you want to go.
Chinese New Year is coming on February 19th. It’s the year of the goat. I’m thinking of my roots, where I come from. I have travelled away far and a long time from my homeland. It resides still in my heart.
I’m remembering our house in the village. It was built with money my grandfather sent from Gold Mountain. It was two storied with a cupula on top. I loved climbing up the stairs and emerging from it to play on the roof. It was where I saw my ghosts. My mother told me they were our ancestors and no need to be afraid.
I have memories of chasing chickens around the courtyard. Our house was big, being a Gold Mountain house. We lived in one half and my grandfather’s brother’s family lived in the other half. We were a household of women and children. The men were over- seas working and sending money home. The only adult man is the household was my grandfather’s brother. That’s how it was. We sustained and supported each other.
Down the lane was another Gold Mountain house. My grandfather’s other two brothers’ families lived there. Just like us, they were a household of women and children. We were all overseered by my grandfather’s one brother. But in reality, it was the women who took care of him.
Close to Chinese New Year, memories of New Year’s Eve come to me. I am snug in my bed of wooden planks and a wooden block for a pillow. I don’t recall the hardness or the discomfort of such a bed. But being in winter, it was probably lined with a quilt. In my mind’s eye, I see the flames as the women tended the fire through the night to cook the pastries for the celebration. I feel such contentment and security. That memory is such a blessing to have. It nourishes me through all of life.
So here’s an early toast to the year of the goat. Gong Hee Fat Choy!