I go through periods of mad as hell, bad mood and attitude. I’m trying to release this anger and badness to cause as little harm to myself and others as possible. I’m not a perfect human being. I’m terribly flawed with a bad temper and disposition. The good news is my blood pressure is still under control. Once upon a time, if you look at me wrong or I sneeze, it could high rocket to the moon but not back. I admit it, I have anxiety. I had PTSD for 3 years after retirement. I diagnosed myself. It was a good ER doctor who got through to me how strong our thoughts are. That set me on the road to recovery. It wasn’t easy but I got over it. Well, not totally. It resurfaces now and again.

I’m working it out here. This space was created as an archeology of the self, my search for meaning. What is it all about, Lily? What matters to you? My purpose was not that clear to me in the beginning. It is now – Lily’s search for the meaning of her life. What matters to me? Up to this point, I had no recognition of it. I lived mostly for others, not that they asked it of me. It was freely given. I felt it was my duty. I saw it as a one way street. I saw no reflection in the mirror. For me, it is always just that sound of one hand clapping.

It’s no wonder that now I’m mad as hell, like the character in the movie, Network. I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore. I’m the more mad because I did it to myself. I put up no boundaries. I’ve allowed everyone to heap their garbage on me. I felt it was my duty to listen and understand all their problems and offer help and be selfless about it. My world taught me that. Now I’m mad as hell. It is a bad time to feel this way in a pandemic when so much help is needed everywhere.

These days I seem unable to find solace anywhere. Maybe if I stop trying and just live, put one foot in front of the other. I do still get up and show up. It is really not necessary to dress up when we are in lockdown with nowhere to go. I’m lucky that way. I’ve never been a gadabout. I could be a happy hermit. I’m a homebody by nature. I’ve felt deficient being that way. But now I see it’s an asset. I need little material stuff and socializing to be content. I’m happy with a book, cup of tea, baking bread, fermenting. I don’t know if I’m cheap but I like the challenge of living a life with less stuff. I like making do and being mediocre. Being good enough is good enough for me.

I feel my anger and frustration ebbing as I tap. I am not as distraught and heartbroken over the ignorance and cruelty of people. I do remember the kindness of other people, how easy I have been able to navigate the health system through this difficult time for my mother. The doors seems to open to each set of problems right from the start. Even on the weekends and during and maybe because of the Covid-19 thing, the wheels seem smoother. I should not speak too early or loud. I might invite more trouble. We Chinese are very superstitious.

I guess I am still in the desert. Lent is not over till April 9th. That’s my mother’s next appointment at the Eye Centre at City Hospital. She is doing better, taking all her antivirals. She complains about them alot though and is cranky. Three more days, then she has to take one of them daily for a month. She’s got it marked on the calendar. I have to see her physically to tell that she’s ok. On the phones she sounds like she’s going to code any minute. She tells me I over-react and get too excited. How else am I suppose to be when she tells me how bad the side effects are? I still don’t want to be a daughter to any mother. I hope I don’t sound too bad. If I do, it’s just too bad. I will have to live with it.


I was never one of the nurses who counted down the years, months, weeks, days, hours, the minutes till retirement. I think I must have loved my job. If it was so intolerable that I have to do the counting, I am sure I would have quit and found another job. I hit such a critical point early in my career. After suffering enough doctor and head nurse abuse, I quit right then without another backup job. I was never afraid of not finding work.

Nursing must be was what I was supposed to do for I found myself back in it not long after. I was aghast. I thought it was not where I want to be again. I never thought of myself being the ministering angel. I was definitely not the lady with the lamp type. I entered the profession solely to help me develop confidence with people. I was a shy timid wallflower. What better job than being a nurse in a hospital?

I think I fulfilled my goal of gaining confidence. My second job in nursing was in a large university teaching hospital with many departments and people. I got some backbone and learned to deepen my voice. I tried to cut out my squeaky ‘excuse me(s) after being told by a kindly resident. “For heaven’s sake, Lily, speak up and don’t say excuse me,” he chided. “Be more assertive!” With time I became that. I was not quite as tough as nails but neither was I soft as marshmallows.

Over the years, I must have turned Florence like. Once upon a time, I had hoped to regale stories from my years upon retirement. But to my dismay when the time came, I held no memories nor the desire to recall them. They were all bad.I was in full anxiety. Now some time has passed and so too, my PTSD. Yup, it’s my own diagnosis of my post retirement predicament. Well, I am/was a nurse. I know or should know the symptons.

A few pleasant memories are seeping back. I don’t need to feel tough as nails anymore. I’m hoping to feel soft as a marshmallow. I remember some of the reasons why I stayed in the profession. It is the soft whispers of the patients in the night. “Thank you.” ” You have such a gentle touch.” I go from bed to bed and room to room with my torch. I bend over a bed. I straighten a blanket. I fluff a pillow. In the dark, a voice asked me, “Did your mother ever tell you how pretty you are?”

How could I not love that? I melt like a marshmallow.





IMG_1628I’ve been away too long. My excuse is I’ve been lost for words.  On closer examination, it is perhaps I’m afraid of words.  If you say them out loud, they would be there to be heard and acknowledged.  If you tap them out on the screen/page, you can’t refute for having said them.  The letters, words are marching across the screen as I sit, tap, tapping here on this Sunday morning.

I’ve been frightened for many a days, weeks, months – of many nebulous things, thoughts, past events.  They are the stuff of mist, smoke, air. Hard to grasp, so how is one suppose to rid them?  For me, the way was the end.  That is to say I was backed into the corner of no escape.  It is much like the sensation of falling in your sleep.  You can’t stop it.  There is no impact to the free fall in sleep.  But there sure is when the boogeyman caught me.

IMG_4529The thing is, I was like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall.  I could not be put together as before.  I didn’t appreciate the discomfort then, of being broken and suffering.  I see the value of such a moment now.  It was an opportunity for change, for doing different.  If I go down the same well trodden path, there was a great chance to encounter the same wall again.  Pain is a good teacher and deterrent even to a slow learner like me.  It pushed me, not so gently, to seek roads less travelled.

They are worth the effort to explore.  Don’t be afraid to do so.  When that magic moment comes, stay your stance and let it come.  Then march forth in a new direction.  You will not regret it.


IMG_1462I am a little slow with my morning words.  But I am sitting here, finishing my Chai.  I’m still in my pyjamas but I have combed out my bed head.  I am surrounded by sunlight.

Sheba comes running into the room.  She has sensed our furry neighbour out on the deck. She rears up on her hind legs, barking out her greeting.  Mr. Fur Ball yips back in return. He enjoys this!  Sheba is reprimanded and runs away, crying to her favourite man.

I am still mourning  Dr. Sophia Yin’s death.  Can one mourn someone they have never met? Then I learn of another tragedy, the death of Ron Francis, an RCMP officer.  Such serendipitous moments for me.  Clearly there is a message for me.  I hear Gracie Heavy Hand‘s voice saying:  Stay calm.  Be brave. Watch for the sign.

I hear the message.  I am brave.  I see the sign.  I have moved on – away from the scene of the traumas and stress.  I am not wallowing and glorifying how well I am doing despite all that – any more.  I am not living as if everything is an emergency and there is no time.  I am out of the fire.  My body forgets at times.  It comes on alert with a trigger, the adrenalin pumping, heart pounding, getting ready for the fight or flight.  It’s okay.

It has had to operate on alert mode for so many years.  It will take time to unlearn the response.  I have time.  I don’t have to pull up my socks and get on with it.  I can weep, I can get mad.  I can take a nap.  I can fall apart, knowing I can put myself together again.  I can just be. There no longer is a raging fire, just the dying embers.  They will go out.

In the meantime…

IMG_4923I can listen to the silence of this morning.  The dogs are no longer barking.  The sun is warm on my back and Sheba as she lays next to me.  I can honour and appreciate Dr. Sophia Yin’s work that she’s left behind.

I can continue to work on my goal and tap, tap out my words in 15 minute segments, in a one-inch picture frame.  I can write that book – a line, a page, a story at a time.  I can do different.  I can learn new tricks.  There’s plenty of time.

How are you doing?  Do you have any beef, passion or insight you want to share?  Writing it out is a great way to dissipate angst and open your chakras.  And you just never know what can follow.

I’ve done my rant.  Time for my 15 minute slow jog with Sheba.  The sun beckons.