It is Monday morning, another first day of the rest of my life. It is time to fulfill one of my do-it-list of showing up here Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is not a hard thing. I can do it now that I’ve made it as an intention. My new motto is not to make intentions that I’m not going to keep. Words are important. They matter. If you don’t live up to them, no one will believe you ever after. They would guffaw and say, Oh, she’s just talking. Don’t pay any attention. She doesn’t mean it.

Another Mother’s Day is over. Have I told you that I have fallen out with all these occasions – birthdays, Christmas and Easter, too? I am exhausted by the idea that we are obligated to feel celebratory, joyful and all that jazz. I feel guilty and bad for saying all this, but not bad enough because I am saying it. Anne Lamott says it much better in a piece she wrote about Mother’s Day in 2015. Needless to say, she received not a small amount of flak. I suppose I will, too, even though and more so because my voice is small. It does not carry much weight.

It’s not that I have anything against joy and celebrations. It is not that I don’t love my mother and motherhood. I feel uncomfortable. I have adopted all these occasions and traditions because it is ‘the right thing to do.’ When in Rome do as the Romans. But when you are not Roman, you can’t quite pull it off authentically. Everything felt fake and not as good, especially when I was young. It left me feeling less of everything. Things have changed over the years and now we seem to have a monoculture. The whole wide world is celebrating Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. You would think that would make me feel better. But it has left me feeling that things are more meaningless.

So what to do? I do not like feeling like this. I don’t want to be a badass. I’m a bit of a rebel but I’m not great at it. The thing to do is to adopt those wanted warm fuzzy good feelings and fake them till they become real. Enough said but one thing more. I tried to do all that stuff regularly if not every day, in my own ways. I love and care for my mother every day and not just on the official Mother’s Day. I used to buy her presents. Now I give her my time and attention. Still, at times it is hard to quiet the voice that say’s buy her something. So I do Chinese take-out to feed us both.


For Body and Spirit

It’s almost that bewitching hour again. But it is not quite 5 pm. I’m 20 minutes earlier today. The sun is gone. It was lovely while it shone. I basked in its warmth this morning. I walked in its brightness this afternoon. I couldn’t waste all my minutes to Covid distress. The daily numbers of positives remain high. Today it is 153 in a population of a million and some. I try to do all the positives to remain healthy, vibrant and strong in body and spirit.

Sometimes it is a hard call as to what is the proper thing to do. For instance, this morning I wasn’t feeling my best. I had trouble laying down to sleep last night because of a cough. Most likely it was due to a post nasal drip as I have seasonal allergy and sinus problems. And I just had my 2nd shingles vaccine yesterday. But how do I know for sure? I had to get up and use my nasonex spray. It did helped and I was able to get back to sleep. However, I didn’t feel really super in the morning.

I attributed it to my shingles vaccine. I could have flu like symptons. My arm ached though not as bad as from my first shot in September. I still wanted to go to my gym class but should I? I don’t want put others at risk. I thought about taking a tylenol but then it would mask a fever if I had one. I decided that I have been well all along. I would go to the gym. My temperature would be taken. I could decide then. I no longer have a cough.

To make a long story short, I did go to my exercise class. My temperature was 36.5, pretty non-feverish. I will keep my swim date in the morning if I still feel ok from the vaccine. I feel better if I can keep my exercise routines. If I can’t do much, I can do less. 30 minutes will suffice. The water will be soothing. Moving my arms will help. My arm is aching now, so I will take that tylenol.


It is almost April. How and when did we get here? I have not had a moment of peace since I don’t know when. We had all that trouble with the neighbour next door in the fall. When did I not have trouble with her since she’s moved in 10 plus years ago? But this time, it was enough to call the Police Liason for help. After that I had a small corridor of peace. In December Sheba had her ear hematoma and infection. It was to doggy ER twice and a total of 5 visits in 2 weeks and a bill of $600 plus. The money was the least of it. It was watching Sheba suffering with discomfort and anxiety. It was 2 weeks of little sleep and worry. But she did come out of it with a tiny crimp at the tip of her floppy ear.

Christmas was peaceful and January uneventful. I don’t have a clear memory of it. But came February, my mother came down with shingles on her left forehead. We caught it soon enough but it has been hellish. It’s one thing to watch your dog suffer, it is another to watch your mother. Every time I think it will ease up, it’s just a tease. So I should learn not to expect it to. Maybe then things will get better if I have no expectations and keep quiet. Though I have been accompanying her to her appointments and been vigiliant about possible complications to her eye, it has happened.

I do not have self blame for not doing a good enough job. But I am feeling a lot stressed and stretched now going into the 7th week. Even with the Coronavirus pandemic going on and the state of emergency declared in this province, I’ve managed to do a phone call appointment with her doctor. Then with my mother, an in person appointment at the office because by now her vision in her left eye is very blurry. She could see a tree but not its branches. She can see my face but not my features. She could not do the eye chart at all. It was the first time I saw her face crumble.

The good news inspite of all this is we got in to see someone the next morning at the Eye Centre at City Hospital. We were reassured that this is treatable. It will be reversed. But there’s always a but. She has to be on antiviral drug 3x/daily for 2 weeks and then a smaller dose once/day for a month. Plus a steroid eye drop 4 times a day for a month. If you know my mother, pills are a big problem. She has so much sensitivity to everything, even tylenol if she takes more than 2/day. She always makes it sound the side effects are worse than death. And who am I to argue? She’s the one feeling them. Maybe it’s just the Chinese way. So what do I do when she complains she’s having side effects and should she keep taking the pills – on a Saturday evening during a pandemic?

Well, I did the *!#^fk twirl around the kitchen island a few times. Then I called the pharmacy at Safeway. The pharmacists there are my best friends now. He looked everything up and said those side effects are really not for that drug. Then he advised maybe I called 8-1-1 and report it. I phoned my mother to check her symptons again. She was adamant her symptoms were drug related and not virus related. Next move, page the doctor on call. She was prompt in answering and helpful with advice. Which was more important – my mother’s eyesight or the side effects? And with those symptoms it doesn’t sound like the coronavirus. It was not necessary to call 8-1-1.

That was the question I put to my mother. She is taking her pills. We got into a squabble. I lost my temper. She said I over reacted. I needed not have gone all to that length. She was just asking my opinion what to do. I reminded her that I am not a doctor. Any answer I give her could be the wrong one. She has to make a judgement about how bad those ‘side effect’ are and her vision. The good news is her vision is a little better and the pain is a little better with the antiviral. I reminded her that she could also call her other daughter, who is a pharmacist even though she is busy and there’s a pandemic.

So, I’ve laid out my anguish here. I was really feeling squeezed between a rock and a hard place. I probably shouldn’t have lost it with my mother. I’m stressed and stretched. She’s in pain and probably anxiety which she denies it. She said she is not worried and very calm. But she did yelled at me and I yelled back. But I’m still the one looking out and after her. This morning Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be soliloquy’ was playing in my head. My wish at the moment was to be extinquished and disappear without drama and fanfare – like a firefly. It is painful to be in this world. I feel as if I’m everyone’s keeper and have no self. I guess I am a bit of a drama queen. It is not the Chinese way but it feels good to get it off my chest. I’ve never claim to be a good Chinese. I’m just flipping sad.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die—to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause—there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovere’d country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.





Well so much for this October Ultimate Blog Challenge! I have not achieved my goals. I have not lived up to my words. My attention and energy have been drained by dealing with my neighbour. I feel totally defeated and depleted by what has transpired in the last couple of months. In the respect that I am talking about her, I am not respectful or being helpful. But I have always been truthful and hopeful. Better days will come.

There’s much about bullying on our. evening national news on CBC with with stabbing of a 14 year old. The talk will run its course and then what? There’s was the case of Rehteah Parson in 2013. Then there’s Amanda Todd in 2012. These girls committed suicide because of bullying. Now 14 year olds are stabbed to death in Winnipeg and another in Hamilton outside his school. Will this never end? I feel the planet itself is mentally ill and fatally infected. What can we do to help the young people and our planet?

That is why I have/am speaking out. Evil hides in darkness. That is why I have St. Teresa’sprayer with me/in me to safeguard and protect me. He words bring such comfort to me. Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God never changes. Patience obtains all things. She who possesses God lacks nothing. God alone suffices.

Now I have some understanding of how these young people feel when bullied. What chance do they have at their tender age? I am an advanced adult with much more experience and I am suffering from my neighbour’s bullying. That is what it is. Yesterday morning we saw that she, with help from her friend across the street, had totally pulled out our sad little fence – our inconspicious little attempt to protect the mulch around our cedar trees. I wonder why destroying someone’s property should give them such a look of pleasure – a fait accompli as they both marched across the street to the man’s house.

I’ve been experiencing these things from her the last 10 – 12 years. I’m worn out, discouraged and depressed. I’ve had to use a sleeping pill some nights to get to sleep. The ability to sleep is the most important thing for me now. I can work slowly at the other things. So not playing the victim, I’ve already asked the City Bylaws dept. for help. They did give me some advice only regarding weeds. They gave no direct answer to property rights or boundaries. Their advice was to seek lawyer help. Now that it is clearly a case of destruction of property and trespassing, I have filed with the police department. In my present mood, I am not feeling hopeful at the moment.

But I have began to talk to the other neighbours, at least one anyways. I do feel somewhat better. I am exhausted though. I cannot go into it now. My intent here is not a tell-all but maybe someone else is going through this, too. Maybe this will help someone else. Sometimes I feel petty, making too much about nothing. Even though it is not I, who is the aggressor, trespassing, vandalizing, causing mischief, I do feel the guilty one.




I’m sleepless again. After wrestling unsuccessfully with the mattress, I decided to give it up. So I’m here, sipping my Orange Pekoe tea, trying to tap myself into ease and sleepiness. It is about the enigma, the woman next door again. I tell myself that there is clearly something wrong with her. Yet she has enough wits about her to run a business out of her house and a talent to irritate the hell out of us.

The frustration comes from not finding a solution/resolution to the problem. It’s difficult to conduct a conversation, never mind to enter into a negotiation with someone who makes her own rules/laws. Who does not allow you a voice at all. Who talks/yells over what you have to say. Who lies. I guess she could be called a bully.

What has she done this time? It’s the same thing – her obsession that she has rights on our property. She doesn’t like how we do our yard.  She planted little spruce trees on our property next to the raised bed that she doesn’t like either. She ‘weeds’ and digs little trenches to ‘drain’ rain runoffs on our property.  Somethings are just too small, petty and too tiring to fight over. So I had been ignoring all this before. Then she doesn’t like that we use woodchip mulch because it is a fire hazard. We mulched  under our cedar trees adjacent to her driveway. Whatever we use, she would push, scrape back when we’re not aware. So we put up some low wire fencing along the trees to prevent her from doing that. We used black (dyed with vegetable oil) wood chip thinking that it’s the colour of dirt and she wouldn’t see. How can anyone object to that since it was on our property and with a fence to keep them from her driveway?

Of course she would see and object. Today I found the posts pulled almost out and the wire netting laying flat on the ground, the mulch pushed back. I took photos. I am not sure as what to do. I could report this to the police as this is clearly vandalism, mischief and destruction of property. But I’ve been dealing with this kind of stuff from her for years. She is ‘something else’ as one could put it. She clearly has a bead on me and knows what gets my goat. She is very clever in this way.

I’ve also been getting smarter about myself, how I let people push my buttons. I don’t like how bodily reactive I am. I don’t like how the blood and thoughts rush to my head and I can’t think anymore. I can only feel – the cortisol coursing through my system and the feeling of helplessness. I’m here taming my thoughts and adrenaline. This is not a bitch session nor a tell-all. I’m trying to find some peace. I’m trying to find some love and compassion for the woman next door. It must be terrible for her to be so obsessed about me, my yard and whatever. Don’t we all need love and compassion?

I want to end on a positive note with a video of Daniel Champagne. We saw him perform live at the Bassment the other evening. He’s travelling across Canada. If he comes to your town/city, do go and see him. His guitar picking and music are out of this world. I came away from it with total body relaxation. I suffer anxiety and high blood pressure. It’s hard to explain but I suffer a hundred deaths of fright getting my blood pressure check. It’s difficult to feel confident about how well controlled it is. I’m always high at the doctor’s (white coat syndrome). The last visit a couple of weeks ago, I registered a reading of 180/90. Eeeek! I’ve come down since then, desensitizing myself each day by taking it regularly. My reading after coming home from the concert was 108/79. Music is good therapy. I have to listen and attend live concerts more often. Forward, ho!



January 3, 2019  1:04 pm

Rats! I’m losing this beautiful warm sunny day to a sleepless night. I have a few of them a year when I cannot catch even 30 minutes of sleep. I always struggle through half the night, trekking back and forth between bed, bathroom and couch. I gave up after 2 am and stayed on the couch, put on my earbuds and listened to Marci Shimoff’s Happy For No Reason. I was able to relax anyways, drifting in and out. I should have done it sooner. It’s always the hindsight of the should have.

By 6 am, the furry alarm clock was fussing, nudging me with her cold nose. I could ignore her for only a little while. It’s up and feeding her. Then she wants out to do her business and her impatient bark to come in when she was good and ready. It is one of those sleepless days when I’m too tired to stay awake but too wired to fall asleep. Talk about wasted days and wasted nights. I know exactly what that means.

I’m a little wiser, from experience, on what to and what not to do. Though I have a difficult time say no, I turned down my mother’s invitation to dim sum with the family. I couldn’t do it right away. I had to phone back. It wouldn’t be a good idea to be driving in my condition, especially with her and dad riding with me. Could my brother pick them up? I shouldn’t be surprised that he delivered some take out for me later. My mum cannot leave anybody out. She knows I love egg tarts and chicken feet.

I do feel most wretched but not enough to sleep. I’m feeling a bit sweaty and distraught. There’s no use in crying over spilt sleep. I will just have to sit/lay it out and not do anything stupid like driving or operating my Bernina. I will only create more trouble and havoc. I will be sorry like the time I tried to interview roofers for my parents’ damaged roof. I thought it would be harmless but I didn’t count on being so vulnerable. I could not be pressured to sign on the dotted line. I was wrong. I was lucky. I got out of it that time.

When I got a call from a funeral home this morning, I said no, there’s no chance even tomorrow that we could get together to talk about wills and estate planning. It’s tacky soliciting so soon in the new year. I already know I’m a procrastinator but I do have a will. I said I will call you if the need comes up.

I am tapping and sipping away here. I hope I still have a bit of judgement left. I hope I won’t saying anything inappropriate. My problem is I hate to waste time. My clock is ticking. I think I will let it tick. This is my wake up call. I have a headache and pain behind my left eye. I received this subscribed email from Jennifer Louden in my mailbox this morning. It’s a bit eery. The woman sounds just like me. I think I will take the fur baby for a short walk and fresh air.

  • Once upon a time, there was a woman who stood on the cusp of the new year and grinned.

    She grinned at all her past selves stretching behind her. Where once she would have judged those selves for their choices, now she bowed to them. They had brought her to this moment. Who would she be without them?

    She grinned too at all the Januarys of years past when she had started a diet or a written a long list of Big Hairy Goals or felt her heart contract with a hectic fantasy of needed achievement.

    She grinned at all the years she believed she had to do something, become something, fix something or someone.

    She grinned too at the ways she had once compared herself to others, forgetting the wholeness at the root of life and instead believing it mattered who made what and who got credit.

    She makes herself a cup of tea and curls up on the couch.

    Ah, how adorable she was.

    What is different now?

    She still desires to create, to write books, to make art, to earn money, to visit far-flung places, to work for social justice, to soften the parts of herself that clench and hide. Of course, she does.

    The difference, she realizes, is now she trusts herself to relax into the ever-present flow of life.

    She trusts herself to remember, again and again and then again, to open to love, to let life live her.

    She trusts life to carry her on a river of desire to ever greater intimacy with itself.

    She giggles. It all sounds rather silly and over-blown.

    But she feels the truth in her cells, this hard to put into words truth that life is something far bigger and richer and infinite than her plans and her thoughts and her funny story she has to do anything to be worthy.

    And with another grin, she lets life carry her out for a walk.

    Here’s to letting life animate, inspire, and carry you this year and every year.


    PS. My FREE Get Back to Creating Challenge: 5 Days to Find your Confident Flow is happening later this month! Sign up here to make sure you don’t miss out!

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    PO Box 275, Niwot, CO 80504-9997



I have to snack my way through January. It’s a tough one for me this year. I’m staying calm, being brave and watching for the sign. It’s what Gracie Heavy Hand advises. It’s good enough for me. Snacks have a way of calming my nerves. They keep my hands steady so I can tap, tap on my keyboard and hold my paint brushes without trembling. A girl has to do what a girl has to do. I’m muching on healthy snack – a few taco chips and somebody’s homemade salsa. Zero transfat. Sometimes I like to crack open a few pistaschios. They’re what you call good fats – Omega 3s. I used to be a nurse. I know all these things. If I gain a few pounds in January, they’ll be healthy pounds. No worry.

I think we are too obsessed about weight and body image. We are constantly bombarded with diets and exercise. Obviously all these are not working. Look at all the overweight people – desperate enough to seek gastric surgery at private clinics. Not only did they not lose weight, they gained financial debt and health complications. It’s really a sad story of people gaining from others’ vulnerability and misery. But what to do?

I don’t know how to answer for anybody except myself. I try not to set myself up for upstoppable eating. Most of the time we do not have any junk food around. We’ve learned from our year of having bacon almost every day for breakfast. We did gained a few pounds but nowhere’s near needing a gastric band. Our opinion, of course. Now we don’t buy bacon – except the 2 packs I got on sale in the freezer. I do fall off the wagon once in awhile. You have to allow yourself. Otherwise you could go frigging crazy.

I think that might be my best advice for anyone – allow yourself some comfort, some leeway. Do not be obsessive about being perfect at anything. I’m allowing myself to feel what comes up. Yes, I admit it. Today, I found it frigging hard. I slept in, skipped my aerobics class. It was cold and dark in the morning. It was hard to hustle so I didn’t. But I did try to keep things at a medium hum, drank more tea, read Sue Grafton’s K is for Killer. I enjoy her style of writing. It’s similiar to Janet Evanovich’s. They both have murder, humour and kickass. Just what the doctor would prescribe for the winter blues.

I’m quite okay with my blues. Sometimes they are restful. I allow myself to be slowed down and rest. The worst time of the day for me is right after lunch. I hate the cleanup. I’m just letting everything sit and soak in the sink. I make myself a cup of tea, read my book or tap a few words. Then I take the fur baby out for her poop run. Today I had another cup of tea when we came back before attending to the mess. By then, it is like a meditation, doing one thing at a time.

January 12th today. 19 more days to go. A few more snacks and I can do it.