January 10. The Ultimate Blog Challenge

I drank too much coffee today. I forgot myself and didn’t specify that I wanted a decaf when I ordered my breakfast. Since they’ve already poured it, I didn’t want to make a fuss. When I went for a refill, I forgot again! I’ve been a little jittery since I got home. I’m drinking hot water like mad to flush it out of my system. I hope I can sleep tonight. There was a time when I drank coffee all day long at work, came home and had a large mug of coffee before bed and never think of it. Of course in those days of when I was a nurse, I never slept much. I took pride in how well I functioned on how little I slept. I’m sure that I was brain damaged then.

When I retired in 2013 I crashed. The sleep deprivation, stress and everything that was suppressed by fatigue all caught up with me. It took 3 years to catch up all the sleep I missed and to flush the caffeine, the stress and anxiety I had absorbed working in a hospital environment. I also took pride in how well I functioned having crashed so totally and heavily. How foolish and vain I was. Perhaps it’s that Chinese trait of saving face in me. It would have been easier and healthier if I had just stop, curled up and rested. But I guess that’s not who I was/am. Today I am still taking pride in striving, but I am more moderate and balanced.

I haven’t drank this much coffee since until today. I think I will be OK. It’s only 2 medium cups whereas in my younger golden days, it was many, many cups. It was my way of staying awake and on my feet. I still like to be alert and on my feet but I don’t need the caffeine to do it now. It’s fresh air and exercise. I had plenty this morning on the ski trail. It was early and I was all alone in a white winterland. It was beautiful. It was wonderful. It was marvelous.

Hmm. I’ve had another cup of hot water. I think I’ve tapped out much of my jitteriness. I think I will do some stretches to further relax me. I’ve been sharing thoughts and memories from 2011 this month. I will carry on the theme. Today’s share is on retirement.


Retirement has been on my mind for awhile now.  It seems like that is what we should strive for….all our lives.  There is this message to work hard so that one day in the far off distance, we can finally do what we REALLY want to do.  I don’t hear THEM, whoever they are, talk about doing the thing that we want now.  And why don’t we? 

I’m feeling that it is not yet my time to retire from my profession.  There is still things for me to do and learn within that framework.  And to tell the truth, I still love what I do.  I’m feeling power in that knowledge. I’m feeling a great sense of freedom….to do what I like and to stop when I don’t.  I’m rethinking what ‘work’, ‘retirement’ and life mean.  I don’t think one needs to stop working in order to have a life.  One needs to do what gives him a sense of worth, a sense of joy, accomplishment… have a life.  And of course, we need balance.  Too much of anything, even a good thing like work or leisure time, is not what living is all about. 

And do we ever truly retire…from life?  I hope not.  I hope that when I am ‘tired’ of, or not physically able to work my present profession, I will find another something or another that has given me so much in return.


December 27. I’m having one of those early morning awakenings when I can’t fall back to sleep. It was better for me to get up rather than lay in the dark with dark and unpleasant thought and feelings. It is 7:00 am an -12℃ outside. I’m on my second cup of tea, have scrolled through social media and played today’s Wordle. It would be better if I could skip the scrolling but it’s become part of my morning routine for waking up. 

Surprisingly, my bad thoughts and feelings dissipated with my rising, turning on the lights, brushing my teeth and having my cups of tea. I am surprised only because I have been/am paying attention to when these moods come and go. They had been more frequent in the past. I like to think that I now have a better handle on them. Even though I know better and that I am not alone, I feel alone. I know I am not a failure but feel so in these times.

So this is the nature of my beast. I have accepted and befriended it. I am becoming a scientist in its investigation. I wonder how I can use it for my betterment instead of detriment. For one thing, it has made me realize that I can control it. I am not at its mercy. It has driven me to seek not only the why of its existence but also ways to work with it so that life can be as easeful, pleasant and meaningful as possible. I’m seeking ways of being kinder to myself with less self blame.

It is not the best time to be a think tank when I am being squeezed by my beast. My brain is in a thick fog. It would’t be able to figure out how to get out of a wet paper bag. The best activities for me would be to clean anything – like wash the dishes, floors, windows. I can still draw pretty good in these moods. Tapping out the words and moods is soothing and comforting. Cross country skiing is my newest, most fun and effective tool. My mind and senses are fully occupied. There’s no room for dark and ugly thoughts.

This is it, all that I’m able to write today. I had fallen off my writing wagon for a week. A week ago, I was bright eye and bushy tailed. A week ago it was sunny and bitterly cold, in the -30s ℃. But I felt oh so well. I feel better now just remembering how good I felt. I will hang on to the memory. My spirit dipped on December 24 when it got cloudy and up to -16℃ overnight from -34℃. We’re in for a stretch of clouds and snow ahead. I’m geared to make my own sunshine.


November 26. Another good morning. Another new day and blank page. The sun is smiling on me through the windows of my sunroom. I am surrounded by my clutter. That hasn’t changed. Perhaps I should not focus my thoughts on the clutter so much. More focus seem to have resulted in more chaos. It is a perplexing paradox. I shall set it aside for consideration in my spare idle moments.

I am not as gleeful as I want or could be. Perhaps I should do something about it. The sun is out. I should go for a walk and return some books to the library. Fresh air and exercise could resuscitate my drooping spirit.  I am torn though between that and tapping out more words here. But the sun is winning. I shall walk while the sun shines. My words can wait. I might have to work to dig them out later. It is the price I can afford. 


November 27. And so it is another new day. I never came back to the page after my walk yesterday. It was a longer walk than I had anticipated or remembered. It went on and on forever before I got to the library. My books felt heavier with every step. However, it was very worth it, being such a beautiful sunny day. I was mesmerized by the loveliness of trees in winter, their arms bared of summer leaves, twisting and reaching up to the sky. 

I was so happy to discover the library was opened when I finally arrived. Other times they were not opened or did not open till noon on the weekend. They had provisions for returning books through a slot. I was not concerned about that though. I was in need of a sit down and rest before making my way back home. It was wonderful to rest in the sunny sitting room. Finding another John Grisham novel, Sooley was an added bonus.

Today I am not so fortunate. There is no sun but I am lucky that I have my own sitting room, much like the one in the library though smaller. I’m always surrounded by light. Some days are brighter than others and I am grateful for any and all the light I get. I have to count my blessings however small they are some days. Today I am:

  • grateful that my heart is open to receiving.
  • grateful for my sunroom.
  • grateful for being in the centre of 3 city libraries. 


Good morning. Happy October 1st. There is no sunshine this morning. I will make my own. Today is the official first day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve been warming up the past few days to ensure my success of showing up every day for the next 31 days. I’m no new comer. I’ve been doing the UBC for a number of years. I’ve missed only one, the last one, when I lost the joy and fun of it.

I’ve always written for the pleasure of putting words and pictures together – mostly for myself. I have no products to push. I do not promote my site but it’s such a pleasure and honour when someone finds my words worth reading. I’ve had my writing space since 2012. It’s a place I come to have conversations with myself to explore my inner landscape. It’s restful to tap out the letters, words and sentences. I love to see them marching across the screen. Thoughts without forms are elusive. They go round and round in the head, chasing each other, causing havoc. This way I am mapping out my thoughts. There’s direction. There’s order.

The Ultimate Blog Challenge is a good community to be in. It’s always better to have support and an audience. Even though we are an online community I can feel the presence and energy of the group. It’s always an adventure to meet and read someone new with different interests and slants on things. My goals for this time around is simple – write a post every day, obey the rules by reading the 2 posts before mine if I put mine in the thread, have fun and not get caught up in the itsy, bitsy hiccoughs of the challenge. Good luck to all of us. Happy writing.


Paying respects to our grandparents when all of us were in younger years.

I’m sitting amidst my paper clutter on this sunny Sunday. Not a dark cloud or a drop of rain for a change. No dark clouds from me either. For a change I am not fretting about my clutters or mutters. I am surprisedly at peace with it all. Hallelujah, eh? It would be wonderful if I could retain this chill most of the time. The thing not to do is search for the cause or sources of my bliss. I should have just sit and savour it and move on. BUT of course being me, I had to investigate and in doing so I caused myself some mild angst.

Since I did go down the trail of why, let me continue on and voice my thoughts. I had a visit from my neighbour across the back alley yesterday. We’ve been neighbours for over 40 years and had worked in the same institution but different departments for many years. We’re not close friends but neighbourly enough for her to call us on a few occasions for help. She has been a widow for about 14 years. She is quite hard of hearing even with her buds in. Long complicated conversations are rare. Sometimes she comes across as unfriendly and aloof because of it. However, yesterday, everything was in working order. She was cheerful and outgoing and hearing well. Conversation flowed. She was so content and peaceful, I think I’ve caught her mood.

Today our family did our annual visit to my grandparents’ place in the cemetery. We did not burn incense or paper money. We did not pour libation but paid our respects with our bouquets of flowers. It was my mother’s wish as she thinks it will make it easier and simpler for us when she and my father are no longer here. I think we might put it back next year. It is not hard to do and I do miss those rituals. Afterwards we had take out lunch on our enclosed deck. It was warm enough for mom and dad and cool enough for the rest of us. It was a perfect day for the cemetery and a family gathering on the deck. Covid has made me more sensitive and appreciative of such perfectness.

These 2 things, my neighbour and family, are most likely responsible for my feeling of well being. A thought did popped into my head that it might be a new supplement my doctor prescribed. I agreed to try it for 2 months and be reassessed. I’ve only started it yesterday. I was not going to look up the possible side effects. Against my better judgement I just did. My bliss kind of fizzled a little but I smartened up, realizing how strong and fast my thoughts affect how I feel. So, I’ve deleted, deleted and deleted those thoughts in my head.

It’s been a busy week. I’m fallen off my Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine of posting. But I have shown up here Monday and Sunday. It is good enough.


January 20, day 20 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Once in awhile, thoughts of yesteryear would pop up in my head. It seems that I had so much more free time then, even though I was still working. I would remember lounging mornings in the sunroom with my toast and tea, listening to CBC on the radio. They had so many interesting and informative programs. Now I hardly listen anymore. When I do on rare occasions it is all about the pandemics, vaccines and bad news or repeats. I wonder what has happened to our national radio station. I wonder if the government is trying to dumb us up.

I’m trying to smarten myself up. I’m trying not to get my panties get tied up over things that don’t matter a damn. Maybe then, I can recoup some of my lounging time. Right now I’m letting Roomba zoom around in the bedroom picking up dust and lint. Meanwhile, I run a wet mop over the hallway floor and the stairs where Roomba refuses to go. I’m learning to be more efficient, not letting thoughts get in my way, wasting my time. Oops, I just remember there’s nothing for lunch!

Once upon a time, I liked to stir fry but now it seems like so much work, so time consuming. But, alas, I have nothing to pop in the oven except pizza. I’ve done that just the other day. I racked my brains. What can I make? I dug out some frozen ground beef to defrost in the microwave. I brought up some onions and a butternut squash. I can make a beef stew in the Instant Pot. It means work but what can I do? I have to stop those It’s work thoughts. Instead I should look at it’s building more neurons in my brain. It’s good for me. My brain is racing ahead and my fingers are tapping like mad. I have to take a break to breathe slow.

My break is over. I can’t say that I’m feeling any better. I just poked myself in the eye. I did have a headache but it is replaced by my sore eye. Funny how these things happen. The other day I was showing my friend this special eye ointment for dry eye. It was still on the dining room table. Maybe that was an invitation for my accident. It is teaching me to put things away, back in their places. I hope I have learned a lesson.

At any rate, lunch is cooking away in the Instant Pot. It was a bit of a chore washing and chopping up the veggies. I threw in onions, celery, a small butternut squash and 1/2 cup dried Swedish beans. I guess you can call it a stew or chili. I don’t have a recipe for it. I use what I feel like and have. For spices, I added pepper, a couple of star anise, some cilantro seeds, cayenne and a bit of soy sauce. Ok, it is Chinese stew/chili. I am sure it will be good. I look like I paint – intuitively.

My eye is feeling better. Once upon a time, I would have freaked out with anxiety. Once upon a time I would have trashed myself. Why am I so stupid? Why did I do this or that? And why didn’t I……Now I know better. It was an accident. I was feeling tired. I had a headache. I wasn’t alert. There was no fault. I could blame the weather. It has warmed up quite a bit from yesterday. Such sudden changes affect me negatively. I can’t control the weather but I can schedule more lounging times.


What I know for sure is I live in my thoughts/head too much. It’s no wonder my world is dark and full hairy green monsters. I’ve lost my love for most things that used to give me pleasure. Coming here to my sacred place is a chore. From experience I know that the tapping on the keyboard is my pacemaker. It will help kick my heart back in rhythm. And so I make the effort. I still possess that curiosity, the need to investigate and fix things. At the moment I’m still intent on fixing me so that I could live with more ease.

I haven’t quite master the art of letting go yet. I can’t quite accept the idea that I am not God, that I am not all powerful. I can’t fix anything and everything. I exert alot of energy and waste my intent on things that I can’t change. It’s burning me out somewhat. I do see that though. Hurrah for me for the small but huge recognition. It’s started me on the road to reconciliation with myself. I am who I am but I can choose to do differently. I do not have to proceed down the same well trodden but wrong paths.

I need not be so hard on myself. I have to implement the nurture part of the R.A.I.N. meditation. I am not good at self love but I’m an expert at beating myself to death. One good thing that I possess is the desire for excellence in living. The spark is ever alive in me – to do my best, whatever is the best at the moment. Today, I’m trying to get my head out of my thoughts. I want to be awake to the light of the day even though it is cloudy. With eyes wide opened, the unamed hairy monsters/fears recede.

So I’m sipping roasted dandelion tea. I threw in some freshly chopped ginger in. It’s a good combination. I savoured the taste on my tongue. Thinking and thoughts are always with me but I need to reside in the physical world as well. I need to move my body as well as my soul. I’m leaving the monsters and fears on the page. Their power over me is diffused as I watch the letters and words march across my screen. It’s time for them to get the hell out. I have lunch to make. The brown rice is cooking in the Instant Pot. All the veggies are chopped and ready for me. I still stir fry them with some ground pork. I cannot survive on thoughts alone. I need real food. That’s what I know for sure.



I’m on a 7 hour countdown with WordPress. I’ve decided to end my personal plan and go back to the free one. Nothing much changes except I’m not paying now. My handle is still athousandandtwo with a .wordpress added after and before the .com. Of course my media storage space is cut back to 3GB from 6. I wasn’t using much of the extra space these 2 years that I’ve had the plan. So what’s the point?

I know, a picture is worth a thousand words and they do speak to me. There’s whole conversations in a photo. Not everyone can hear them though. Words can speak just as well if not louder. I’m making a choice now. I’m choosing the written word. It’s not as if I’m giving up the whole picture. I still have 3 GBs of them at my disposal. But perhaps now that I have chosen the word, I can work on getting one thousand of them. It’s a worthy goal.

I can see the benefits of reaching beyond myself. It will boost my self esteem to prove that I’m not just a one or two liner girl. I can write more than just Hallmark greeting cards. That’s nothing to sneeze at either, if I can sell them. Secondly, working on more words could help slow down and organize my attention deficit brain. Having the goal would give me purpose in coming to this space. I’ve been mostly sighing and whining about this and that. Who wants to listen to that? I tire and bore myself.

So now I’m down to 5 hours before I’m booted back to the not so professional version of WordPress. My words will stay the same. I still give them equal and careful thought before hitting the PUBLISH button. My proof reading is not superb. Having an attention deficit brain, my eyes run ahead before the words can register. My thoughts skip all over the place, too. I work on pulling eyes and attention back to this page, to this moment, to this purpose.

I’ve been sitting every morning in meditation with Mark Williams on Youtube. I’ve been doing it since July. Sometimes I hear myself thinking with his British accent ..”and if you should find yourself…” It works. When I do find myself wondering off, I bring myself back to the breath, to the moment. Deliberate practice does make for better. It’s enough to encourage me to continue my practice. My moods and thoughts are getting healthier. Whenever I find my thoughts veering off in the wrong direction, I try to picture them as clouds passing in the sky. I let go of the emotions they stir in me though I do feel the resistence. I tell myself it is the right thing to do.  I send them back into the clouds passing in the sky. I feel the turnaround, the resistence melting away, the letting go of bad thoughts and feelings.

Now, WordPress tells me I have 4 hours left. I can still renew by paying. No, I’m keeping it simple and free. Hopefully I will still be here, in this my special tapping space.








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.



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.