A sleepy February afternoon. I shall try not to let it slip mindlessly away. Though I don’t have anything particular on my agenda, I can always put in some efforts on tidying, sowing some pepper, eggplant and tomato seeds. February being a short month March can be here in a whisper. I don’t want to be caught saying, Oh, why didn’t I do this or that? I’ve been watching Serina and Ian of You Can’t Eat the Grass on Youtube again. They are a young couple trying to make a go of farming. They share everything – their dreams, hard work, how much money they are making or not making. They’re very inspiring. So when I feel discouraged about anything in life, I think of them. So I will get some seeds potted up today.


I had a dream last night. It was about work. I’ve been retired 9 years now. The dreams that I remember on waking up are work related. Like most dreams, they don’t make sense. Why would there be a rack of bras on a hospital ward? But there was one and I took a pair of scissors and tampered with one. It was a no-no so I was trying to hide and get rid of the scissors. I hid it under my clothes and was trying to get out of the hospital to dump it. And here’s a funny recurring thing in all my hospital dreams. The staircase and the way out are all the same in all my dreams. They are long and confusing and I can never get back  to the ward by the same route. 

I’m looking towards making changes for success so I’ve trotted downstairs and prepped some soil for potting up some seeds. I’ve found the pepper, eggplant and tomato seeds. It took some digging around to find them. That’s what happens when you are a clutterbug and let things fall where you drop. I am changing my ways. I am taking time to find homes for everything. To keep on track and on top of things for my drawing class, I’ve gathered my reference photos for my homework. This hoody selfie will be used in the gridwork exercise. First I will have to make a grid on tracing paper and put it over the photograph. Next, I will have to make a distortion grid to make my drawing. Sounds hard and complicated, doesn’t it?

Our drawing instructor is away for 2 weeks. We do have enough homework to keep us busy. Since I have been talking about my time in Ghana, I thought I would do a series of drawings/paintings from photographs of that time. Here are some of my reference photos.

I think this is enough for today. I’ve already written a post today but when words and thoughts flow, they are a gift not to be wasted.


Do you get fed up sometimes? Today I feel at the maximum fed up level. February is l-o-n-g. I had set out at the start with such heart felt hope. This was suppose to be my feel good month. Not that anything is wrong or that I’ve been plagued with a truckload of disasters. None of that. I just feel such malaise even though the sky is blue and the sun is shining. I need another cup of decaf.

Perhaps it is because of my recent sinusitis of the past week and a half. Not that it was such a struggle. It was a tad tougher than my usual state for I am forever complaining a lack of energy, of joie de vivre. I’m fed up with being a wet blanket, a party pooper and being my worse enemy. It’s good to let it all out. This is my space, my confessional. It is where I come to cleanse my mind and soul.

It doesn’t help that my sleep is disturbed lately. I had nightmares a couple of nights back. I screamed and screamed in my sleep. I thought it was only in my dreams. I was stuck in an elevator with unsavory man. I was scared to death. In my dream, I had trouble getting my screams out. It wasn’t so in real life. I woke the guy and Sheba as well. Then last night, I had trouble getting to sleep. I got up and read awhile. Luckily that helped. I slept and dreamt as well. Lucky it was not a nightmare. I dreamt about little cupcakes. The cost was $15 for 15. I guess the cost is nightmarish. I wonder if it was those little unsavory Italian meatballs that triggered the dream.

It really helps to tap out my feelings, whatever they are. I was seeing the world through bleak eyes. I couldn’t see the point of anything. The world is gone to hell in a hand basket:

  • The war in Syria. Seeing the dead babies on the evening news.
  • The school shooting in Florida. Hearing a politician saying the teachers need to have guns when the students were crying for gun control

These are the two weighing heavily on top of all the others right now. What can be done to make the world and humans better? Being fed up is not the answer I know. Now the question is how do I get out of it? I bet Oprah would say, Live your best life. A good answer, I’m sure but it won’t do for me. It’s too generalized, too neat. I have to chip, tap and hack my way out bit by bit.

I’m a fan of Sue Grafton. You’ve probably deduced it by the title of this blog. Her detective series is just what I need on my not so buoyant days. Janet  Evanovich is in the same genre. I’m glad it’s women that help me get through the tough days. Their energy, humour and narrative story telling take me away from the moody blues into adventure and laughs. I have to love that.

So another day comes to an end. I’ve limped through it but I’m still standing. I’ve gotten up, dressed up and shown up. I had to work a little harder at it. It was my Olympic effort, not a Gold Medal but nothing wrong with a Bronze. My mantra was I can do this. I can do this. So it went. Now I have a few more trays seeded – 3 kinds of tomatoes and geraniums. The petunias and chili peppers have germinated. Things do look hopeful. The effort is worth it.

When I have a Sheba, I have to make an effort. She wears my moods so I had to show her that I was okay. Nothing to worry about. She is safe and cared for. She is her confident and happy self again.




Sundays can be good for relaxing and letting go.  Today is one of those days.  Life and the snow are melting around me – in January.  I’m still unravelling.  Soon I will come to the end of the spool.  I wonder if I will bounce back and up like a yoyo.

I’m at this part of Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead:

Fast-forward to December 2015. You are sitting in a café, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be…

IMG_0067… in your head? (work, dreams, goals)

… in your heart? (relationships, family, friends)

… in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies)

… in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love)

These are hard questions. I love the thought of sitting in a cafe with a hot cup of Chai – in silence and solitude.  Do I know myself to answer these questions?  It’s worth the time.  I owe it to myself to take time getting to know me.

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me

Getting to know you
Putting it my way
But nicely
You are precisely
My cup of tea

The King And I – Getting To Know You Lyrics | MetroLyrics

So I’m off to get acquainted.  Till next time, ta ta for now.



It is almost Friday and time for Friday Fictioneers and their stories of 100 words.  We are hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields of Addicted to Purple.  And here is my story of 100 words.  Here is a little explanation for my story.  If you don’t know already, I am Chinese. My ancestors dream of a better life in America.  They refer to Canada as Gold Mountain and United States as Beautiful Country.

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright Janet Webb


Sally pressed her nose against the window.  She breathed onto the glass, then wiped it clear with her sleeve.

She looked out into her garden. The branches bared their arms to the sky.  A fine layer of snow covered the creeping juniper.  The little blue pergoda stood cold and lonely underneath a cluster of frozen golden petals.

She rested her cheek on the cool pane, sighing softly.  She was remembering her dream of coming to Gold Mountain.  Her dream had come true.  She has been here in Gold Mountain for 30 some years.  She didn’t find any gold, only the cold.


It’s a Friday in France. My apple cart is still upset, sleeping only every other night. What can you do when you fly over an ocean and cross time zones? Unfortunately my body is not a machine. It does not go on and on like an EverReady battery.

I am missing the smallness of my life back home – my morning rituals, writing in my sun room with my fur baby at my feet. She knows my moods. She licks my wounds and picks me up. I miss my flow of words.

It is not a bad thing missing the familiarity and comfort of home. It makes me appreciate what I have. I work a little harder and pay a little more attention to the here of France. I am not skilled at details nor at gathering information. I absorb things but can’t spit anything back.

Maybe it seems foolish of me to keep up my writing but it helps my focus. It trains and disciplines mind. It’s not that I want to develop multi-tasking. But if I want to be serious about my writing, I want to learn to be more flexible and be consistent at it.

My routine is disrupted but I can still put my mind in that 15 minute space and in that one-inch picture frame. My concentration and train of thought are scattered to the wind. Can I put my mind to what is right before me, in this place now?

I put aside my small discomforts of travelling as much as I am able. I appreciate the special place I am presently in. Now is the time for expirencing and learning. I look around and take in as much as I am able. It is mentally challenging and tiring at the same time, not knowing the language, not familiar with the culture.

I am a strange woman in a strange place. I am in the desert of my dreams. The shadows of the old have followed me across the ocean. They are nipping closely at my heels. I feel their hot breath against my skin. I hear the snap of their teeth close by. But I elude them.

At times I feel as if I had wandered into another’s life. I am THE Alice who fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Can I write her story? More importantly, can I write my way out?

That is the key, of course. We have the key to unlock the doors to Wonderland. We can write a different story if we don’t like the one we’re in. We are not trapped. There are ways out of rabbit holes.


It’s one step forward and three steps back.  That is the way it is, life in all its glory.  I have never known a time without struggles.

image from
image from

I know that this is the voice of my seasonal affective disorder talking.  Funny I recognize it and yet I cannot rid the spell cast upon me.  I feel it in my very marrow.  I want to cast it out.  Out, damn spot out!  I’m sounding like Lady McBeth.  I hope I’m not going mad.

Perhaps I’m being melodramatic, the hidden actress in me coming out.  I should not be so weak and selfish, feeling only my own small discomforts.  But I canot deal with all that is out THERE – the Ebola in Africa, the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, the violence of Isis…

The world is too much with us.  I feel small and helpless in its wake.  It does me no good to be crushed under its weight.  I turn off the television set.  It’s not healthy to go to bed with the images of health workers in white protective clothing, carrying away stretchers of bodies wrapped in white.  Let that not be the last image before I close my eyes for the night.

IMG_1501I sit for moments, drinking my hot water, watching Sheba sleep.  The remains of a stuffed toy by her face, front paws curled and tucked in – a sweeter image to take to sleep with me.  I get up, straightening up and folding the Hudson’s Bay blanket, picking up strayed napkins off the couch. I take my mug to the kitchen.

If I want to feel better, I have to do better.  If I want different, I have to do different.  I put away the few pots and pans left drying on the dish rack.  It would be nice to be greeted by order on the counter in the morning.  I move on to my office, clearing off my desk.  There is no reason why I am not able to do that.


It is morning.  After a little struggle getting to sleep, I have had a good sleep.  Good things come to those who try.  I wake up from a dream, remembering it vividly.

My hairdresser, Audrey comes home with me after work.  It is strange how I still remember her name.  I haven’t gone to her for over 20 years.  She gives me a perm at the kitchen table.  It takes 3 hours. I have no sense of her putting in the rollers but I remember the shampooing and rinsing.  She was using this small teacup to pour the warm water over my hair.

The teacup is my mother’s.  She had found it discarded somewhere and she wants it back. She’s always rescuing cups and napkins from eating out and reusing them again to pour cooking fat in and the napkins to wipe up messes.  She hates how wasteful and careless we are in regards to the environment.  So she does what she can.

My perm is done and Audrey calculates her time and worth.  I can’t see the number on the bill.  Dreams are like that – not clear nor complete.  It is a mish mash of this and that, much like Alice in Wonderland.  Somehow, my father is at my place and he is dusting my bookshelves.  That is most unlikely in real life.  His mother, my grandmother (now deceased) is the dream, too.  She is doing the dishes – another most unlikely.

The dream continues.  I see my gold shag carpet in the living room with the floral orange and brown sofa set.  Remember those?  Our family is suppose to go out for supper but some of the kids are sick.  It is called off.  A coworker pops into the dream.  I’m coughing up a storm in front of her, working up an excuse to phone in sick for the next day.  I’ve been retired for a year! And yet it follows me in sleep.  Not often, I’m happy to say.

image from
image from

What stuff  dreams are made up of!  I wonder what it means.  Perhaps there are no meaning, hidden or unhidden.  Maybe it is just irritated dendrites firing and misfiring.  I shall just enjoy the mysteries of the dream and move on with the day.  The sun has just come out.  My Chai is strong and sweet.  Savouring life, valuing dreams.


I’m scribbling on the deck again.  That’s what you do if you don’t have a laptop.  It’s a perfect afternoon to sit out here and enjoy a beer.  But I better do my writing first, if I want to make sense with my tenses.  I wonder if it’s a Chinese thing – not being correct with my tenses.

The melody of the theme song from the Titanic ‘My Heart Will Go On’ had inspired me to write my post In My Dreams for Friday Fictioneers.  Yes, I heard Celine Dione’s voice in my head, too. The music lifted me high above the clouds and I touched Mr. Moon’s face.  It felt so real.  It was magical.

You know what they say about dreams.  If you can dream/imagine it, it can come true. Those are one kind of dreams.  Then there are the kind that are harbingers of the future.  I believe in dreams.  I am very superstitious, like all Chinese.  I cross my slippers to ward off ghosts.

My uncle and me on each side of the grandmother. My mother and elder uncle behind us.
My uncle and me on each side of the grandmother. My mother and elder uncle behind us.

My mother had such a dream the night before my accident.  She dreamt of a one-armed girl. The next day I had my accident. I did not lose an arm, but it got badly burned.  I had been playing in the courtyard with my uncle.  He was only a year older than me.  We were chasing and harassing the chickens when we were called in to have some sweet taro root soup.

We fought over the biggest bowl.  I grabbed at it, knocking it over and spilling the hot, sticky soup over my left arm.  It was winter and I had on a sweater with long sleeves. My mother had trouble getting me out of it.

I have memories of chasing chickens, being at the table and grabbing at the bowl, but none of the impact.  Nature has a way of protecting us from unbearable pain.  Now, even the memories are just a memory and not the real thing.

My arm would not heal no matter how many remedies my mother and the aunties tried. My mother said I was very well behaved.  I did not fussed nor cried.  I only said it hurt. Finally someone told my mother to take me to the city and see a doctor. In the early 50’s and in rural China, medical attention was not common.

My mother hired a bicycle taxi and took me to the hospital in Taisan, Guangdong. I remembered going through arches to the hospital and that our taxi driver was not very skilled.  It took a few visits before my arm finally healed. It scarred half my forearm, from elbow down.  Still, I was lucky I had full mobility of the arm.

In a sense, my mother’s dream came true or you can say that she was warned of impending danger.  But what good did it do?  It still happened. It was fate.



It’s Friday and time for fiction of 100 words, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I’m a dream girl but not much into fantasy, but I thought it’s time I spread my wings and fly a little.  Everything is possible.


PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

In my dreams, I soared high above the clouds.  I touched the wings of the silver bird.  I saw the ocean below me.  I felt the air and magic around me.  Higher and higher I flew.

I heard God whispered in my ears.  “You are the child of my universe.  Take care of it for me”

Darkness came.  The stars twinkled merrily.  I reached out and caressed Mr. Moon’s face. He smiled back at me.  Tired, I climbed into his welcoming arms, laid my head against his shoulder and slept.

I woke and the sun shone in my eyes.



Last night I dreamed that I cut my hair during my coffee break.  It took me almost two hours and I hadn’t done my back yet.  By that time my shift was over.  I had wondered, in my dream, who was covering for me.  Then I woke up.

I remembered it because I wrote it up in my dream journal right away.  Otherwise it would have disappeared like the morning dew on a sunny summer morning.  I wanted to remember my dreams, every single one of them.

Perhaps it is a foolish thing, grasping onto will ‘o wisps.  It’s like holding onto smoke.  It reminds me of the time when I was a young woman and still living at home.  When my mother walked into my bedroom as I was having a cigarette, I instinctively put my hand over the ashtray.   The smoke curls out and up between my fingers.

We watched the smoke curling through my fingers in silence, my mother and I.  We did not speak.  I realized how foolish I was in that moment – as if I can hide something from my mother.  It would have been better if we could have talked.  Living up to what I thought was her ‘standards’ was very hard.  Life could have been easier if we knew what the other was thinking.  I would not have to always fight life so hard.

Here I go again with the ‘ifs’, ‘ would haves’, etc.  One thing I know for sure is that we can’t go backwards.  No time traveling to the past nor the future is possible.  Can I say YET?  Well, whatever!  Life itself is but a dream.  You can grab it, hold onto it with all your might, and squeeze the hell out it all you want, but it will go on.  It is an inane phrase but life goes on.

I guess I should not waste any more valuable time.  The thing to do is to honour and respect this life of mine.  I know I have a purpose.  I want to fulfill those ‘dreams’ of mine, however elusive they are.  To steal the words of my hero, Martin Luther King, I have a dream…

  • to write my novel
  • to lose 10 pounds
  • to live in the present moment
  • to learn compassion
  • to learn forgiveness

These are five big dreams.  They will keep me pretty busy.  Any help will be accepted.



What if I told you that I see/feel ghosts?  What would you say?  What would you think…that I am crazy, or would you keep an open mind?

I would be happy if I didn’t have this ability.  I am contradicting myself in wishing that I’m not weird but there you have it.  I am also a contradiction!  Would I have been ‘normal’, I would feel no need to sit here, tap, tapping away my discomfort, my ghosts.

I do not really see my ghosts.  I cannot describe them.  Rather I sense them.  My first experience was when I was a child, many years ago in China.  I ‘saw’ them when I was playing on our rooftop.  My mother told me that they were our ancestors and not to be afraid of them.  The second time came shortly after that.  I ‘saw’ someone standing in front of my bed.  I felt, ‘saw’ the shadow.  I cannot remember other incidences from my childhood.

I became afraid of my ghosts when I was a young adult.  I would cross my slippers by my bed to ward off their visits.  I came to no harm, but it was frightening for me to wake up with something sitting on me, holding me inert and helpless.  I could not move.  I could not scream until ‘it’ left.

To reassure myself of my sanity, I decided that the next time the ghost visits, I would test myself.  How did I do this?  I opened my eyes, blinked and say to myself:  I’m awake.  I’m awake.  The pressure was great.  I could not move but I reached and reached to turn the lamp on.  I knew the light would dispel it.  I stretched and stretched.  The lamp toppled, the shade falling off.  My cat jumped off the bed.  The pressure lifted.  But when I ‘came to’, all was calm.  The lamp was still upright, where it had been but the cat was gone.

I kept my slippers crossed by my bed for quite a few years.  Those incidents have stopped but I have had encounters of a different kind.  Am I crazy?  Do you believe me?  What do you think?