January 26. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

It’s a bit disconcerting to wake up to above 0 temperature in January.

January 27. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

As you can see, I was too challenged to write much of anything yesterday. It is a different day altogether today. For one thing the weather has turned colder. The highs will be in the minus double digits for the next week. That is if things go along as predicted. I am focused on the weather for a good reason. I am sensitive to its changes. I find it helpful to write about it. I, then, will have a written record of how and when it casts its spell over me. It will aid me in adjusting and making changes to live a more easeful life.

I had difficulty sleeping the night before probably due to the change of above warm temperature turning cold overnight. I probably had about 4-5 hours of sleep. I was tired, feeling unwell and unfocused all day. I could do most activities of daily living but thinking and writing – forget that. It was impossible. I felt other worldly, detached and not myself. It could be that I am making excuses for my shortcomings. But it is illuminating how much lack of sleep can affect me. And to think that I was sleep deprived during most of my working life as a nurse. Scary thought, though. I hope I was a good nurse making sharp correct observations and decisions.

January 28. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.

It’s a Saturday morning coming down, waking up to -25℃. Holy cow! Two mornings ago, it was above 0. It’s no wonder I had a troubled sleep. Here I go again with the weather, eh. I went to bed sleepy but as soon as I hit the mattress, sleep escaped me. I became restless and tense. My throat dried up, my sinus dripped and I started coughing. It was no way to be. I got up, used my Nasonex, took a tylenol and willed myself to relax and hopeful to sleep. Eventually I did – for a short period until nature called. It took another long period before I got back to sleep.

I do not feel too bad this morning for lack of sleep. Instead of tired, I’m a bit wired. It’s not good energy to write anything profound but it’s good just to record things as they are. I’m annoyed that I have to go through these phases. So much time is wasted. Maybe it is what I need – this time to process, recalculate and reset. Sometimes I have to come to a standstill and look at things from a different perspective. It is only in the quiet and stillness that my body and soul can find their way back to ease. It is just there near that dip in the road and over the horizon. I am so close.


This Daily Thing

Sometimes I wonder why I dabble in so many things. It keeps me going and going. Not too many idle moments do I have. But I did take 30 minutes this afternoon for a good soak in the tub. It took the chill out of my bones. The snow caught me by surprise. It was in the forecast but who pays attention, eh? Not me evidently. But I must have felt it because I worked like the dickens to get the garlic in yesterday. I felt like the Energy Bunny. Then I raked the leaves out front to mulch them and my perennial beds.

I was surprised to wake at 4:30am and unable to get back to sleep. I had lots of exercise and fresh air. I should have slept around the clock . Oh well, it was dark so it was nice to snuggle in. What a surprise to get up at 6 and find the snow. I was and wasn’t surprised really. I’ve always been a weather vane, feeling every little and big change. I’ve been trying not to use/blame the weather for all my missteps and moods. But it does make affect me. I think it’s better for me not to discount it.

I’m feeling a little chaotic. My dining table and my desk are getting cluttered again. Is that really a problem? My day has been busy. I worked on my black out curtains this morning. The half is half done. 60 inch panels requires a bit of sewing. It is also tiring. I’ve harvested my 2 beds of greens in the afternoon. They’ve been brave and weathered the cold for awhile. I can’t ask them to hang on further. So they are taken off. They’re be good in soups. I can’t waste. You can call me the No Waste Queen. Good fresh veggies will be hard to come by in a few months. I hope our Long Keep Tomatoes will last us till Christmas at least.

I feel like I’m nattering on and on about nothing. Only 11 more days to the Challenge left. Surely I can hang on till the end now. I am so close.


Days Off and Grey’s Anatomy

This morning I was happy to languish a little and sip on my second cup of tea. It felt like a day off. There’s no swimming or aerobics class to dash off to. Of course every day is a day off now that I am retired from the rat race. Back in the days when I was still slinging bedpans, wiping butts and saving lives, our opening line to each other was: Are you on days off? Did you sleep? Our lives were as insular within hospital walls as those portrayed on Grey’s Anatomy.

When you are right in the middle of it, you don’t see what’s coming. You just live it. You think you will sort it all out – later. I knew enough though not to live it via the small screen, too, while I was still working. Once was enough. So now it is later. It’s a real pleasure to live it again through Netflix. I had forgotten the reason why I had only watched a few beginning episodes. I already had too much real life drama. No need for more. Time/days off was to get away from it all.

Now I see it. Now I see and understand how work had impacted on me. It’s taken 9 seasons of Greys Anatomy for me to see it. I am a slow learner. Hindsight is better than no clue. I can still learn from it. It’s still useful in my present time off. I can see how much alike and different Cristina Yang and I are. We are the yin and the yang. Maybe it’s because we are Asian sisters. We don’t like hugs and being mushy, I can identify with Meredith Grey, too, in that I’m a running commentary. Like Cristina and Meredith, I have my person. And that’s the best thing.

It’s nice to have days off even though I don’t punch a clock any more. It’s when I give myself permission to slack off a bit, sip my cuppa a little slower and just enjoy and not take myself so seriously.

P.s. We watch Grey’s most evenings with ice cream.


The world has stopped. I have, too. My priorities these days are rest and sleep. I do the must do(s). Then I add on a thing or two if I comfortably can. I haven’t been a very restful person, always striving for improvement. I’ve never strived for more stuff, money, status but I work hard at being a better person, being more productive, etc. I haven’t been a very quiet person either. It’s a funny thing to say, when as a child my adults complain that I don’t talk enough. But being a nurse and working with the public, I picked up the gift of gab. Retirement hasn’t changed that. Talking is exhausting sometimes.

It’s good to stop, dropping all that stuff on my shoulders. Good enough is good enough. Rest and sleep are musts for my immune system. I can’t afford to fall into anxiety and/or depression. I’ve given up my  one Wonder Woman act and golden lasso. I get help wherever and whenever offered.

It’s Good Friday. I wish I could say I feel the holiness of it, but I can only sense the eeriness. God feels absent. We have to work through this ourselves, together. I see Jesus on the cross. I see him hanging on the wall. Did God sent his only begotten son down on earth to guide us? Does He love us that much? Can we be saved? Do I have enough faith?

I have learned not to ask the why of things. I try not to take anything personally. It is hard though. The whys of what is happening to me and to the world. They play their tunes in my head. It is exhausting, adding to the stress and anxiety of the everyday life. Locked down, in quarantine, social distancing, whatever mode we are in – life still has to be lived. Yesterday was hard. Another checkup for my mother at the Eye Center in the hospital. 3 months of shingles and its complications.

I am more stressed and anxious over my mother’s illness than the Coronavirus. I’ve lived and worked through the HIV and SARS crises. Though stressful and scary, I did have some control by wearing protective equipment and being cautious. With my mother’s illness, I have no control. I take her for medical attention and being with her. I wonder often if I’ve done a good job though I did the best I could. The rest was all on her. I cannot take over any of her pain and suffering. I cannot take over anyone else’s pain and suffering. We must each carry our own.

If there are any answeres to the many whys floating in my head, it is to teach me resilence and boundaries. It is to teach me I am not all powerful. I cannot fix everything. In these days, I am learning to survive. I am my own life raft. I need to throw off everything except what I need to stay afloat. Faith is my oar. I will light my candles again tonight.



One of my problems is that I have to get to the root of everything. I’m obsessive about it. I dig and dig, trying to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes it does me in. I’m worse off. There’s such a thing as knowing too much. I go into overwhelm. Another problem is it takes a long time for me to overcome an every day illness like a cold. These two are not a good combination. It comes as a no surprise now that it’s a huge battle for me. They take away much of my time and energy. Quite often I feel I’m robbed of huge chunks of life.

I see some of the error of my ways. I don’t have to get to the root of everything. They will be revealed to me in time. AND I do have a lot of knowledge already. I have to accept how my body heals. I cannot hurry it along. It goes into more stress and I into more distress. Everything gets worse and I go beserk. Not a good scenerio. Now I have learned to chill, just be in my usual mode of moping along, laying in the sun, sipping my tea, watching my navel, do a little of this, a little of that, and not trying to get anywhere. In essence, be the tortoise.

On the other hand, it is always good to rise to the challenge. I should not so readily accept my bodily’s inability or my mind’s disability without question. I should at least give it a good go without pushing too hard. There’s the rub, to have good judgement and to have balance. Upon rising in the morning, I drink my little cup of hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. I meditate to the voice of Mark Williams on Youtube. Then I listen/watch something educational and uplifting. This morning it was a lecture on Immunology 101 from the University of California. I have a passion for learning. I just need to keep in mind not to pursue it to the nth degree AND to put the knowledge into practice.

I’m coming out of my body and mind funk. The other night I gave up fretting, took a pain killer, laid on the couch and watched two episodes of Grace and Frankie. Comedy can be healing. Then I popped a sleeping pill and went to bed. Uninterrupted sleep is very healing. I’m not advocating medication but sometimes it is what I need to get over the hurdles. When all else fails, it is how I get over my over obsessive mind so that I can heal. Now that I’m unchained, I’m in a better place. I’m soaking up the sun in my space, tapping out my melody. Meanwhile it is cold out, baby. I don’t feel it, only the warm healing sun though the windows.


Good morning! January 7th and day 7 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. The dog and I had a good night of sleep. I’m still feeling the yuckiness of all my recent lack of though. The effects of sleep deprivation has long and lasting footprints on our physical body and mind. I should know having done shift work for over 30 years. I existed on a daily average of 5 hours of sleep. I prided myself on how well I functioned on so little.

I was stupid for wearing that badge of honour. I wonder how much of sleep deprivation played into my ‘blues’/SAD. I blamed many of my failings on the weather, others and other stuff. Even though I knew better, I rarely thought it was the sleep thing though sleep was our/a nurse’s main vocabulary. Did you sleep? and Are you on days off?  My sleep deprived brain was not firing on all cylinders. It’s been limping along as best as it could.

I’ve read somewhere that it takes about 6- 7 years to recovered from long-termed (20 years) shift work. I’ve worked over 30 years doing 12 hour days and nights.  I’m in mine 7th year of retirement. I’m a recovering, almost recovered sleep deprivedaholic. I still have little bouts of sleeplessness. I still blame the weather, the woman next door and other excuses. I have to have a place to lay some of the blame. It’s too much and heavy on just myself. Even so, I try to take responsibility by taking action and moving towards living a meaningful and productive life. Some days are better than others. Some things are easier to do than others. I try taking one step at a time to be stronger and more resilient.

The biggest shift I’ve experienced  was 3 or 4 years ago when I joined an aerobics class at the YWCA. After a month of an hourly class 3 times a week, I felt euphoric. My senses became alive. My head felt so clear and I could see so well. I remembered going wow! driving on the freeway. The view in front of me was panoramic and sharp. Everyone thought I looked so good. Those effects have diminshed as I got used to my new state of well being. The memory of it have kept me on track and to get back on when I have derailed.

Travelling through the last month or so of 2019 has brought another shift. This time in my thought processes and emotions. I’m sifting through the debris to find the nuggets of learning and wisdom. It takes patience, hard work and time. It works best when I put the words, thoughts, events, feelings and what have you onto the page. Those are my trusted tools. On that note I’m ending this post. Another day and a few mumblings. Sheba and I have travelled to the park and back. We made our 2 rounds, romped and talked with our fellow walkers. We hope for another peaceful evening and a night of sweet dreams.



We had another thunderstorm last evening. The rain hammered fiercely on the roof. It was noisy. Sheba was either too tired from the night before or else she was not bothered by the energy of this storm. She did perked up from her pillow, wandered about warily, going to the door, listening to the rain and thunder. But she did settled back on her pillow after some reassurance and petting.

The rain stopped before bedtime. We went to bed and all had a good night’s sleep. Not a peep from Sheba. How wonderful sleep felt after a night without. It is the best medicine. I felt strung out all day yesterday with the kind of tired that doesn’t let you sleep. I was a walking zombie for lack of a better description. It felt like somebody had died. It felt like a depression. I felt like behaving badly. I didn’t because I knew better.

I’m not one who rises singing. I felt like it this morning. But my lack of sleep the other night still affected my mood through the day. It went in and out. I felt pesky and irritated at times, wanting to act out. I didn’t but accepted my moodiness. I let myself feel whatever came up. I didn’t squish or squash them. They were left to do a slow simmer inside while I behaved my best on the outside. I am becoming a good Buddhist. Thank you, Pema Chodron for your wisdom.

It’s a beautiful day after the 2 rains. The temperature is perfect, with a light breeze. I could sit on the deck in the middle of afternoon. It was wonderful in my outdoor studio, painting my little index cards. Sheba is always nearby, the birds chirping in the cedars and I have my cuppa. I take care not to dip my brushes in it instead of the water. I sometimes struggle with the prompts for Daisy Yellow ICAD Challenge. But today they just came. It was so much fun, so satisfying.

Now it is getting to be almost 9 in the evening. It is still light, a splash of pale sun against the garage wall. It is so calm, a mellow yellow and tender evening. I can sit here and gaze at it forever if it lasts. But soon the light will disappear. Dusk will come, followed by the dark of the night. It is time for me to finish though it feels like I have a ton of conversation left in me. Nothing exciting or profound. They’re just the little stuff of this ordinary life. They’re as elusive as the butterfly and they fly away as quickly. I will have to wait for another day to catch them again.


Funny how much more time I have when I’m up before 6 in the morning. I’m still on that stretch of disturbed sleeping. The good thing is I was able to drop right off. There’s no point wrestling in the dark when I wake and can’t get back to sleep. So what even if it is just barely 5? Out of bed I tumbled after a bit of tossing and turning. By the time I got all the business of going to potty, washing my face, brushing my teeth and hair, it was almost 5:30. I listened for the clicking of Sheba’s nails as she follows me. Surprisingly, none was heard.

Ah, well! The fur baby was still sleeping, having been up at 3 am to do her business. Apparently I was still dead to the world at the time.  I was a little miffed at her not getting up with me as usual. I set about to make my morning cuppa. It was nice to have to have some quiet and peace. No dog under foot whining for her breakfast. I was moved and soothed by the soft almost morning light. I did my qi gong movements waiting for the kettle to boil. After, I sat with cuppa in meditation, guided by my breath, watching my thoughts like clouds floating across my universe. It was so refreshing. My mind became a clean slate.

Then it was almost 7. I was happy that I had this time to myself before dawn. The noise and busyness of the past few days dissipated. I feel rested, relaxed and almost normal again. I shall hold the feelings of the moment in my mind to come back to again and again in times of stress. Beautiful Sunday.


January 6, 2019  6:44 pm

I’m late to the keyboard and hardpressed for words. I’m too full of the day’s activities. My head is full of ‘stuff’. I’m trying not to multi task, doing too much in one day. But when the going is good, when there is flow, I hate to stop. So here I am, a bit stuck and tongue tied. I just need a few minutes and a couple of taps and I’ll be ready to go.

Shortly before Christmas, I accidentally stumbled onto Suddenly Mad, Minna Packer’s blog about her early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a fascinating and educational read for me. I somehow could relate to some of what she has gone/is going through. I don’t have the disease but her anxiety was familiar to me. I have a great admiration for her effort to put it out there for us. It not only helps me understand the disease more but it’s teaching me to live a better life. Have a read to see if it does the same for you.

I have always have a curiosity and passion for the mind, body and spirit. Minna has given me an even stronger desire to understand our brain and how to keep it healthy and strong. I suppose I had this sense of invincibility in my youth. I stayed up late, drank tons of coffee and smoked. This was even before I was a nurse. When I became a nurse, I was even worse, though I did stop smoking. It is surprising how much abuse our body can take.

Things caught up to me in retirement. I had time to fall apart then. It was a very difficult couple of years. I’m on the other side now. It does feel like I’ve stepped out of the cloud into the light. Now I can feel ease and pleasures whereas before I only felt anxiety and fear. I have a greater appreciation of my time here on earth.

I take care that I get enough sleep. I do get an occasional sleepless night. I’m learning not to stress too much about it when it happens. Aerobic exercise has been my best friend. It cleared my brain fog after a couple of weeks. Helps me sleep better, too. I’m still working on my emotional health. I’m such a reactonary. I need to be a responder instead. Life is not static. No matter where on the road we are, there’s learning always.

It is getting late. I have to close for this 6th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ll be back tomorrow. Good night.


My cold and cough are still with me. They do not make for good company in summer – or any other time of year. Like all bad company, they’re hanging on. My coughing fits woke me a few times in the night. In the end I had to get up and sleep on the couch as before. But at least I did sleep.

Life is very difficult with a nasty summer cold and no sleep. But it still has to go on somehow. I still have to get up, dress up and show up. It’s not an easy task even on an ‘ordinary’ day. Being susceptible to the ‘blues’, I’m being watchful, taking care not to let this take me down the path of depression. I’m alerted to the dangers of the brain not working properly. Anybody can be victims as we’ve seen in recent days with the suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. Being a celebrity chef and a fashion designer are not free tickets to life happily ever after.

There’s no shame in depression. There’s no shame in failing to thrive at all times. I just feel bad and annoyed at myself sometimes for the depression. Because really, it is very inconvenient. There’s things I have/want to do. It gets in the way. I’m learning to accept my ‘down’ times. I think my body and brain are telling me they need a rest. I think I better listen. They know me best. If I, me and myself don’t take care of each other, no one will. We are our best friends.