First things first. Good morning and Happy New Year everyone. May our creativity and words flourish and flow for this first month and the rest of the year. I am embarking on the Ultimate Blog Challenge for January 2020. I’m showing up each day of the month with all my sighs and mumblings. I have been away from here, my sit and think place for too long. I have been lost in a dark and joyless place for a little while. My keyboard and words are tools of recovery and navigating the stairway to the light.

The Chinese have a custom of not talking about bad things on New Year Day and other special occasions. It might bring bad luck. We are a superstitious culture. The world can be such a dark place and I have chosen ACCEPT for my word for the year. It is time to push superstition aside and speak of the truth as it is. That is what acceptance is – to embrace what is here and true now. The truth is my heart has been in a hard and barren place. The holiday season had no meaning for me.

That truth is difficult to declare. It’s like blasphemy. In my mind, I’m putting my arms up in defence of being stoned by the masses. But when the meanings are gone, how can I pretend otherwise? Losing meaning wasn’t my choice. It’s what came with the changing tides. There was no pushing them back. The darkness seemed to have exploded into the light of world. They can no longer be hidden, contained and ignored.

Having lost those old sentiments and beliefs that used to sustained me, I must let go and not cling to things that no longer work. I must go forth into this brave new world and find the truths that will work. The happiest moments I have are the ones from my childhood on New Year’s Eve. I’m warm and snug in my bed made of wood planks softened by a quilt. I’m safe and secure while my mother, grandmother and ‘aunties’ are tending the fire with wood and straw in the night. They are making Chinese desserts for the next day. That warmth and sense of security and belonging I felt back then are what I want back.

This month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge is my journey to recover my heart and soul. I’m going to tap my way up the Stairway to Heaven.


January 1, 2019  10:02 am

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 – Year of the Dog

I am struggling for energy in the late afternoon, for most of the day actually. I envy those ever cheery, Eveready bunnies. Their spirits and energy never seem to diminish. I like to slap them sometimes. I’m joking, of course. Sometimes I wonder if I have chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. I’ve been like this for most of my life. My mother says as a child I complain of being tired and my head heavy. I’m still here so I guess I’ll just carry on. It’s the first day of a new year. I will jolly well march forward ho.

First, wishing everyone Gong Hee Fat Choy! happy new year in Chinese. Literally it means “greetings of riches”. Chinese New Year is not till February 16th. Lucky me, I get to celebrate New Year twice. It is the year of the Dog. Don’t ask me what it means. All I know is that the year of the Dog is most unlucky for people born in previous years of the Dog. Good thing I was born in the year of the Tiger.

I am not an expert on Chinese culture but I am Chinese. That makes me qualified enough to speak on some subjects. We are very superstitous. We clean house for the new year so we have space to receive. But we clean before and not on New Year’s Day. No sweeping because you might sweep out good fortune. No washing hair either for the same reason. You might wash fortunes away. I did vacuum today. Too much dog hair. But I will mark February 16th as a no clean day. Red symbolizes good fortune and joy. Money gifts are given in red packets. I like this idea of gifting. It does away with the shopping frenzy and the wrapping. Energy and joy are retained.

Like all cultures, we celebrate the new year with food. We wear new clothes, something red for females. I remembered that and wore my almost good as new red sweater today. We took my parents for dim sim at a new Chinese restaurant, the Asian Garden. My mother is always keen on trying new places and menus. It was perfect.  Only a stone’s throw away and the dining room surrounded by windows on the second floor. There was only one problem.  The dim sim menu was on an iPad in Chinese and English. It was new to us. We didn’t know to use it to order. They usually bring carts loaded with dim sims around to the tables. We could see what we get. The waiter helped us with the iPad but he spoke very fast. We let my mother order since she knows best. She is hard of hearing so there was a little mix up. But it was all good.

My blood sugar is running low. I am really struggling now. It feels like torture. I best go put some fuel in my tank. I think supper is going to be late.


John Lennon’s song Happy Xmas (War is Over) plays constantly in my head. It’s probably because they play it during every break on TV over the holidays. It’s for a good cause, I suppose, appealing for help for the Christian Children’s Fund. How much does it help? It’s hard to know. You give with trust that they do the right thing. That’s how I gave to World Vision for many years. It was easy. Write a cheque. Put it in the mail. I would get periodic updates on the child I was sponsoring. Then I stopped giving, not believing in what I was doing.

It’s not a good feeling – losing belief that there is a quick fix. The war is not over and the children still go hungry. The homeless sleep in shelters or on the street. Such is our world. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. I do not mean to be melancholy. I am not. Just tired, feeling hung over by our frigid temperatures of the past week. I am feeling more peaceful and content than I’ve ever been for a long while. Maybe it’s because I’m not fighting the world. I am not fighting myself. Acceptance of things as they are crept in.

I hope you’ve had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Let me put my rose tinted glasses back on just for a day or two. It doesn’t hurt to be rosy and be of good cheer. So put on your party hats and get the blowers ready. Don’t have any blowers? Do you know you can  make your own?


unravelling_300pxIt’s December 31, the last day of the year.  I am still working on Suzannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead.  I’m doing it in fits and starts.  I’m unsettled and restless. It’s difficult to unravel the past year, to take inventory, to face the numbers.

  • Was it a good year?  Did the good outweight the bad?
  • Was I happy?
  • Did I make any progress?


The hardest question to answer was this one:

Describe your favourite day, moment or occasion of 2014 in words and pictures. What did it taste like? Smell like? Sound like? Who was (or wasn’t) there? Where were you? What were you doing? What was awesome about it? And most importantly, how did you FEEL?

It’s not easy to answer when you don’t know yourself at all. I’ve spent most of my life being for other people. It’s not anyone else’s fault except for my own unconsciousness. Do you know that it is much easier to be there for others than for yourself? I had not known this till this very minute as the words fall from my fingertips.  It’s a funny thing, right?  Why? Who knows.  Maybe it is that vulnerability thing that Brene Brown talks about.

IMG_6003I never saw myself.  It’s no wonder that it’s difficult to know my favourite moment or occasion of 2014.  I had to put aside my lazy bone and dig deep and do the work. Nothing came for a day or two.  But today, I’m remembering and feeling.  Lake Havasu in February was pretty damn nice.  The arid landscape and desert air proved to be wonderful for body and spirit.


It’s January 1, 2015.  Looking within myself is hard work as you can tell.  I had abandoned my post yesterday, interrupted by New Year’s Eve.  It was hard to dig underneath the surface to unearth the layers beneath.  What was it that I loved about Arizona? Perhaps I should leave it for another day.

IMG_1628_4In the meantime, I realize last night is another favourite and last moment of 2014. I am so happy that I made the effort to make it happen.  What better way to bring in the new year than with champaign from France and with people you love?  The pop of the cork. the lovely bubbles tumbling from bottle into glasses, filled me with memories of love and families.





Farewell to 2012!  You have been generous and kind to me.  It has been a year of adventures and rewards.  Thank you.  I am grateful for all that have come my way.

Hello 2013.  I am ready for you.  Today is a new day, a new year.  Each moment is a gift and each day is to be blessed with my intentions and attention.  Waste not in the dramas though all the world is a stage.  Let me write a script worthy of me and let me not dwell in the past nor daydream about the future.  Let me live in this moment of my life.