Here we are on day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m set to write the ultimate post on all about me. It’s a few years since I wrote the ABOUT and ABOUT ME pages for this blog in 2012. It’s time for an update.

I like to think I haven’t changed much but time has a way of showing up. I have a few more bags under my eyes and chin. My hair is still pretty dark. There’s but a few strands of white. It’s finer and much softer, the things I wished for in younger years. Now I wish I had the then coarseness and thickness. There’s no pleasing me. Then suddenly this year the crepey skin appeared. No amount of moisturizing could fix it. I guess I can join the club of women echoing that I’ve earned every line and wrinkle. I accept it but I can’t realy feel proud. I rather be wrinkle-free. Perhaps I am vain.

My goals/purpose for this space are still the same. I am still excavating, peeling back the layers, discovering and getting to know myself. I have had long periods when I am stuck, my archeology pickaxe dull and ineffectual. The layers refused to budge. I was stagnant, unable to go forth and grow. Looking back now I have a clearer vistage of my life journey and how I came to be. I can almost say, Ah, I see how it is! It is rather an exciting moment.

This November Ultimate Blog Challenge feels akin to a beginning of a school year. I have always loved school. I was never one wishing for summer holidays. I was that way about working also. There were some very hard stressful days, months and years. But I always found something exciting, meaningful and fulfilling in my work. I never counted down the days and hours to retirement. And here I am, retired for 8 years. I had a little difficulty deciding on the date and suffered PTSD (self-diagnosed) for 3 years in retirement. I suppose this blog gave me space to ventilate. It’s my Sit Spot. I come here to observe and tap. Tapping on the keyboards and seeing the letters march across the screen was comforting and gave me solace somehow.

I have lost some of that magic over the last year or so. You would think that the pandemic would be a catalyst for more writing. But not. It was the same with retirement. I had so many stories from work. I had time to write about them. When retirement came, all the stories, memories and desire to tell went. Maybe, no, definitely the stress of things wore and eroded my zest for learning and life. I had been feeling no pleasure and meaning in the things that used to please me. But I am feeling a spark again. I will be working this month to fan the spark. I want to bring more joy and meaning back to my days. I hope I can share them with you.


Over Reaching

It’s a cold October Saturday. I think I’m over -reaching my goal of fresh lettuce from my garden till end of October. I’m so close. Just two weeks left but it’s a long two weeks. The forecast is not good. Minus temperatures as far as I can see. But one might as well aim high rather than low. Missing the mark is disappointing but it is a great incentive to investigate and learn how to achieve it next year. It would be easy if our greenhouse is finished. is not. So far the greens are a little chilled but still viable under 2 crop covers. I am still hopeful.

I was listening to the Current podcast this afternoon. I heard the interesting story of Christopher Havens. He’s a convicted killer with a life sentence. He spent his first year in solitary confinement. He was a high school dropout but got interested in math in prison. He started to teach himself as much as he could. Somehow he reached outside the prison system to get further help. Since then he’s got an article published in a math journal. It’s an awesome must read story if you’re looking for inspiration. He finds math and fractions beautiful. And he is setting up a Prison Mathematics Project to help other inmates.

I guess I will keep reaching high. I don’t have time for those baby steps. I have to take giant leaps forward. I am pretty proud that I got out to the fabric store yesterday. I got my drapery material and the hardware to hang it on. The rod is installed. The material cut. I miscalculated or didn’t calculate the correct amount of material. But no worries. I came up with a solution. I think problems are good for us. They keep our brains active and working. They need problems to solve. Otherwise they become porridge.

I hope I will have curtains to hang by this time tomorrow. It’s an encentive having made the annoucement. So ends this 17th post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


E is for Effort

The ham is in the oven. It is Thanksgiving Monday. I am a little tired. I had trouble laying down to sleep last night. It’s that time of year of allergies and dry air. Time to get the humidifier out soon. But I’m none the worse for wear. I’m keeping on top of my goal for October. I’m still looking for the gold in everything. It’s day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m almost halfway through.

Some days it is more of a struggle with everything. That’s just life. That’s how it is. So you just have to give it a little more effort. I miss my daily walks with Sheba. They have been part of my every day for almost 14 years. The guy misses them, too. So this morning we walked each other to the park, along Sheba’s route. We passed her sitter, Carol’s house. Carol doesn’t live their anymore. But we still think of it as hers.

It’s a bit of sad affair. The yard is full of weeds and overgrown shrubs. We saw a chair lift, something recently added, by the front door. We knew that the man’s wife has MS. We’ve never seen her in the 2-3 years they’ve lived there. We’ve only seen the dogs in the backyard that was full of their poop. The man was seldom seen. The lift is a reminder to us that we know nothing of their circumstances or challenges. Keeping up the yard is probably very low on their priority list. Let us not be their judges.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I’m reminded how much I have to be grateful for. Being healthy and physically independent is huge. So I am tired. I can rest. I didn’t sleep well last night. I will sleep better tonight having had a morning walk and raking the front yard. So ends another day and effort. It’s not fancy. And it is not great or profound. I showed up. Mary Oliver sums it up nicely in her poem, Praying.

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.”


Let me not waste time

My goal today is not to waste so much time pondering on things that I do not understand. There are some/many things that my understanding or not adds zilch to my quality of life. It is an addiction and a flaw of mine. I know I cannot possibly put myself into someone else’s head and figure out their mechanics. It is perhaps that impossibility that hooks me. It is a job. It’s that shepna Pema Choedron talks about. It is why weI suffer. I have work ahead of me to do. Today is another first day of the rest of my life.

I have already squandered away part of an hour investigating someone else’s behaviour. It is mine that is in question. I’m the only one that I can control and change. How could I possibly get into another’s head. How can I understand how their mechanics work? How stupid is that when it matters not? The mystery is the hook. The solution is not to bite. So I take a deep breath and let go of the hook. It is not that interesting. It is just a habit of mine, wanting to understand everything, thinking everything has to do with me. It does not. I am not all that powerful.

Onward and forward I march towards my goal. How do I overcome my lassitude? Is it physical or psychological? Does it matter which? I don’t need to figure it out. In the end, it is physical action/movement that will get me there. I’m sticking to what works for me. Regina Brett’s advice, no matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up, works for me. It’s what keeps me coming back to the page. Now I have to apply that principle to the rest of the day.

It helps that I can understand my physical and emotional self. I know I have this lassitude. I can while the day away on the couch doing nothing. I wouldn’t feel the better for it. Or I can bite the bullet and bear the discomfort, put in a little effort and rise to the moment. I have done that. So the sheets are changed. The bed is made with fresh linen. The old ones are being laundered and dried. The 2nd pail of concord grapes are washed and draining, to be process later. I have tulip and lily bulbs to be planted. I better do that today while the sun is shining.

It is and it isn’t really hard to unhook myself from unanswerable questions. I just have to ask myself what does it matter knowing or not knowing. How would that change or add anything to my life? That would stop my ponderings, chewings and regurgitating endlessly. There’s a beautiful world out there to enjoy.


Morning has broken. Another beautiful Saturday morning. No, I cannot go for my regular Saturday swim at the YWCA yet. Convid-19 still dictates on what we can and cannot do. But in a few minutes, I can do a yoga session on Zoom. I will let you know how it goes. And I do not have my Sheba at my feet any more. She is all around me. I am more at ease with her physical bodily absence. I still tear up at the thought. She is still my baby. It’s 7 weeks since she’s left. Yes, I’m still counting.

I am enjoying my sip of tea between key taps. I still show up because it is what I do. It is my mental health practice. Sometimes I am too tired, like yesterday. It has been exhausting experiencing the narcissistic, psychopathic woman next door. And it is very next. My kitchen window looks right onto backdoor and her driveway. I am often triggered just seeing her, especially when she is tripping back and forth across the street to the man who helps her interfering in our yard. I am dedicating this month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to work my way out of losing my energy and power to her. I do not expect her to change, but I can. I found one helpful source this morning.

The power lies in me. I already know that. I want to stop explaining, explaining and trying to proof the truth of my words. In the end I can do more damage to myself. There’s much truth in the phrase, “The lady doth protes too much, methinks.”

The Zoom yoga class was a bust. It was my first one. I’m not familiar with the instructor and I’m as stiff as can be! I’m not in love with it. I’m better off with my qigong or Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. Nothing ventured nothing gain. Now I better move my butt and go for my bike ride. Get some sun and serotonin. Change my brain, change my life. Maybe I can come back later and catch up. I’m a day behind this Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m a over a week behind Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day. I have no time to be maudlin.



April 30th, last day of the month and last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have mostly shown up. I missed a couple of days. I believe in commitment but I’m not as rigid as I was. All or nothing is not good. Prioritizing and showing up when I can is good enough. That is my favourite phrase, good enough. I’m not sloughing off. Really, I’m not. I like being flexible and secure enough not to feel I’ve failed if I miss a day or two. Boundaries and moderation are good practices.

Keeping track of goals is as tough as my mail and finances. I must have a built-in radar system. I do most things by hook and crook. Often I can’t find anything but I haven’t encountered any disasters and my finances are in pretty good shape. That’s probably due to my Chinese-ness. We’re good with money. We know how to spot a bargain. And I am cheap. I don’t really want to classify all my fellow Chinese as cheap. I might end up standing by myself in a corner.

After a month of mutterings I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a square peg. I’m trying too hard to fit into a round hole. I could give up the effort and look for a square one. It would make more sense. I cannot make myself into what I am not. I’m going to give it all up and relax into the nothing, the not doing. I’m tired of  being a gerbil on the wheel to nowhere. Instead, I could focus on the awe of the sunrise, sunset, the moment, the breath.  You know the drill. I can mutter a new song. I can look at the hole rather than the dough in the doughnut.



Day 18 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am empty of ideas and words for the page. To tell the truth, I am weary of challenges and trying and plodding forth. In this space and time, I would like to give everything a rest, not to give any thought or effort. In other words, I want to vegetate. But I know it’s not something to strive for. I’ve been spending some time there already. It hasn’t good for my mind. It leads to laziness and not living my best life. I’ve been sleep walking through my days.

I feel sleepiness tugging at me as I sit here tapping away. I sit up taller in the chair, realigning my head and shoulders. It’s as if I’m preparing for meditation. I hear the children’s voices from the daycare two houses away. I can see them playing through the fence slats. The sun is out. It is a beautiful day. I am now awake and in the moment. I’ve been missing too many of such moments, immersed too much in my own thoughts. I have to let in more of the world around me.

I’m struggling to tap out words and thoughts, the things I said I don’t want to do. But the effort is worth the struggle because the goal of this month of April is to see clarity and make progress. Neither is possible languishing and not being home in myself. I see now that I have been absent, not taking responsibility, making excuses, trashing myself, blaming circumstances. I could go on forever. I can see and understand a little now what is meant by fear of success. The fear is also about living up to that if, indeed, I do succeed. It feels safer to be in failure. But I no longer want to dwell in that valley. I can survive a little fear.


It’s after 5 in the afternoon. I am sitting and tapping amid all the clutter on my desk. Feeling the fullness of the day. I am tired. I did say after seeding my mother’s and mine petunias and some chili peppers that I would be okay if I don’t get anything else done. And so I am. I’ve done a few more things so I am in double and triple happiness. I’m sucking on some Smarties also, pushing my happiness through the roof.

I’m exploring The Tree of Life –Kabbalah– with Caroline Myss. I’m taking the cosmic online journey into the ten powers of my soul. It’s an ambitious undertaking but I got the rest of my life to do it. It goes hand in hand with my exploration of my Bernina 790. Let me make a goal of creating the tree of life on it in 6 months. I have to set the goal and the time frame. It’s that basket to shoot for. Lent is coming up. It’s time for me to go into the desert to study and create.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in the desert. I miss it -the quiet and stillness. I close my eyes and I can feel its loving arms around me. I can hear the whisper of his voice in the air. His presence surrounds me. I am comforted. I am on the right path. I will be happy to spend time there. What will you be doing during Lent?


ROMANCING MYSELF – Day 73 in the year of…

Day 73, October 3, 2016 @7:53 am

img_1592Here I am, showing up for another day.  It’s almost two and a half months into my yearly challenge of doing different.  But who’s counting, eh?  The good thing about me is that I am easily motivated.  Give me a suggestion and I’m off.  You don’t have to fire that gun at the starting line.  The trouble with me is – I’m easily bored.  I don’t have staying power.  I fall off that proverbial wagon constantly. Hence, I have many unfinished projects – sweaters, cross-stitches, petite points, want-to-be books, wanna ambitions….

So how do I stay motivated and get to the Promised Land?  The destination is still far off beyond the horizon.  How not to live half-assed?  How do I romance myself?  It’s  the core of this yearly challenge. I have to leave it here and finish my tea.  How are you romancing yourself?

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD – Day 33 in a year of…

Day 33, August 24, 2016 @5:56

I’m really struggling at the moment to keep my eyes open and my fingers moving on the keyboard.  All day I’ve had to work at it to keep going – even in our morning step aerobics class! I feel myself lagging in so many moments.  I would then step it up, pump my arms more getting my oxygen to my brain.  I picture my goal – slim and trim, no double chin, no bulging tummy.  I huff and puff and  the childhood story of the little engine that could came to mind.


IMG_7379Oh, I do love a challenge.  The little engine that could, that’s me!  It keeps me going, moving.  It gives me purpose.  I stand up, walk around.  I’m a little more alert.  I tap, tap, a word comes, an idea comes.  Finally a sentence.  I get up, put the kettle on for a cup of tea.  A picture and another idea and sentence comes.  I build little by little. Knit, purl, kit, purl – row upon a row.  Almost half a back.  You can see the lacy panel now. By Christmas a sweater I will have.

I can see that having a goal, a plan, a challenge can move me to do great things.  What is great is personal, of course.  What I know for sure is I’m doing great.  What are you doing?

Till tomorrow.