About Perpetua

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” – Jodi Picoult, American author. This is my playground.

Bike Tags and Murals

It’s so pleasant to walk around how the city is transformed into an outdoor gallery of painted walls in epic proportions in public spaces. It turned out to be a yearly mural festival since 2016.

Another event took place last year to encourage others to have fun in taking a shot of the street art and posting it in their Instagram hashtags #biketags.

“Why am I so damn cheerful? Because ain’t nobody got time to be moping about. The present is only a gift if you’re actually PRESENT for it. Open your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Absorb all the goodness around you until it overflows into the world around you.”

When you enter Mt. Pleasant, the larger than life murals of Past, Present and Future, welcome you. I see these in my daily commute to work.

Notice the bike? This is Tyrone Siglos’ bike. He started biking all over town maybe 10 years ago. At the start of Pandemic, he was layed-off. He made use of his bike to earn a living during this hard times by delivering food with Uber Eats.

While biking around, he found more things in life and still keep finding something new everyday.

I’ve always wanted to go to Hogan’s Alley where Jimi Hendrix stayed when he came to Vancouver. This is one area of the Black community in Vancouver. Most of the murals tell a story.

Nora Hendrix, the grandmother of Jim Hendrix, established a low income housing for black and indigenous community. Nora Hendrix Way is a new street named after her.

The big tag went into full swing.

“It’s an awesome way to bike around during the pandemic,” Siglos says in Vancouver is Awesome

Some Bike Tag locations are cool street murals or creative public art, others are beautiful spots for a ride — like this trail on Burnaby Mountain in Vancouver’s Bike Tag wrote West Coast Travellers.

The whole Vancouver is exploding with murals and there are gems off the beaten path.

This is my favourite. It symbolizes how an Angel has guided Tyrone, my nephew, to rise above it. He branched out to promoting local eats, raised fund and performed the challenge of Everesting.

The concept of Everesting is simple: Pick any hill, anywhere in the world and complete repeats of it in a single activity until you climb 8,848m – the equivalent height of Mt Everest.

Tyrone biked the mountains of Grouse, Seymour and Cypress. His name is now recorded in the Hall of Fame in Everesting.

What I am so proud of him is how he managed his mental wealth through these activities.

Siglos struggled with depression, but noticed when he started riding his bicycle to work, he felt better. After being laid off from a job in the warehouse sector last spring, he decided to take a job delivering food on his bike with Uber Eats.

“I haven’t felt this good ever, just mentally, so that’s a big part of it,” he said. “I love … exploring the city, the freedom that it allows me.” – CBC

When I see a murals in town, I sometimes wonder if I beat Tyrone in finding this one first. Definitely, he hasn’t seen the FNATIC since this one was taken in London.

Too Hot To Handle

Across from the building, a cat is on the balcony with no place to hide from the scorching sun.

The cat is has been outside for a couple of days. The balcony door is close, owner is missing in action.  We called SPCA (Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) asking for advice.  SPCA needs pictures of the status of the cat and a report from them before they can act on rescue mission. 

For the past nights, the cat has been meowing in distress. 

Forget that, time to rescue the cat without SPCA.

Here enter the Cat ~ Woman, yours truly:  Picture this: Second floor balcony, a long ladder, and three adults (Mr. and Mrs. Room 307 and Mr. Frenchie) holding the ladder, watching Cat ~ Woman climb up to second floor, assess the situation and to take pictures as evidence for SPCA.

A box with pillow and poo poo, a litter box filled with more poo poo, a bowl of dry food, no water.  

Tell Me A Story

How do you respond to this question or statement when I ask you “tell me a story” instead of “how are you?”

Is it an art to be able to respond to a simple question? Or you’d rather not talk about it? As I get older, I noticed even in my family, I could sense their discomfort in sharing even the best of life’s situation. Thank goodness, I am learning to be still.

There is a site that offers vestige stories of women that are open to storytelling.

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Let’s share meaningful narratives.

Vestige is the poetic synthesis between the essence of minimalistic beauty and the gravity of storytelling. Stories collected from women of different paths form the basis of our designs, which are then woven, sewn or embroidered into each garment. Storytelling has long established its place as the most essential tradition of all human culture. We hope this precious custom can extend beyond the literature and media we consume, and permeate the very products we use in our daily lives.

Photo credit: Vestige Story

Talk of the town

Now all the babies are born, all three of them, one boy and two girls, the centre of our conversations is about the babies. You can just imagine the chin wagging on how to raise a child from the elders.

I for one hardly say on how to raise a child. I just want the child to see the ordinary and make it extraordinary.

This is Lucy. She’s now a grown up studying at UBC to become a lawyer. I don’t know if she remembers the simplicity in life. But I think she does. The other day, she sent us how fall is blooming in the grounds of the university reminding us that it’s time to visit and see the ordinary beauty of nature turning into extraordinary.

Can’t wait. This time bringing my other sister who wants to escape from intellectual conversation.

How do you express relief

We have in a state of being anxious, happy and excited about something upcoming anticipating when someone is coming. We are thrilled and looking forward for the first time. … My nephew waited with great anticipation for Thanksgiving to arrive. Thanksgiving came 2 days ahead.

Her name is London. I will nickname her England.

World Mental Health Day

Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hope.

I’ve used this statement before as a lamentation but it no longer applies to me because there is always hope. There is always help.

We are more fortunate during this era that there is so much resources available when it comes to mental health. Now, we are open about it due to media-hype-awareness and medical professions are better trained.

Below is a two-page document that I can refer to when something troubles me. I am sharing this information hoping that it might benefit others taken from Feeling Good.

Steven Taylor of UBC Department of Psychiatry said “Psychology plays a central role in pandemics, influencing the spreading and containment of diseases, and shaping pandemic-related distress and socially disruptive, divisive and potentially harmful phenomena such as panic buying, racism and protests against pandemic mitigation restrictions.”

He wrote the Psychology of Pandemic in 2018 Lessons Learned For The Future.

Be well and remain well.

Photographs and memories

For the past 800 years, if the tree could talk, it would be able to tell us what it has witnessed on better days. For the tree to still stand and withstood the foibles of humanity, nothing is better than getting a good hug from it.

Dante Alighieri is another example who has seen better days. When he was exiled from his hometown, Florence, he was heartbroken. His heartache drove him to write the famous Divine Comedy.

In Canto 5, Dante met Francesca de Polenta. She said to Dante:

There is no greater pain
than to remember happy days
in days of misery.

Francesca committed adultery and was put in the circle of lust. She discovered that her happiness having a forbidden love is now her misery.

This year, we are celebrating the 700th year of Dante. What a better year to delve in his work as a poet and a pilgrim while we ride the wave of pandemic. So I joined reading 100 Days of Dante. It would go on until Easter 2022, by then we are hoping the malaise of the society has very little negative effective in our mental health.

When I think of better days, I think of a plum and prune.

What did the prune say to a plum?

I’ve seen better days.

White Space

I spend many times staring into space as much as I can whenever I can. It’s an important activity that disconnects me from the busyness of work during coffee and lunch breaks. It is a luxury to be able to do this when I have long list that requires attention.

As I was waiting for the bus sheltered by plexiglass during my early commute to work, I noticed the fog forming. I wrote: White Space.

White space.
It is a space in between prayers and thoughts creeping in. Hail Mary full of grace … prepare meeting agenda … the Lord is with you … must return phone call … Blessed are you amongst women … gosh I forgot to return the books … and blessed is the fruit of your womb …. buy kitty litters …. Jesus, help me focus praying.

White space.
It can be annoying that I cannot even complete a single prayer. Forcing myself to complete the Hail Mary is work so I stop praying and stared into space. I find that staring into space provides the stillness of thoughts and I become involved in a thoughtless prayer.

White space.
The pause between breaths: breath in, Hail Mary, pause, breath out, full of grace, pause … puts me in a meditative stance as if breathing is a prayer. This is nothing new, an old technique I learn to calm my thoughts and body. It is a necessary pauses that connects me to God.

W  h  i  t  e      S  p  a  c  e

Mrs. Chuchi Siglos Seal No. 0340

I still have my mother’s certificate dated 29th day of February 1972 presented to her by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish.

My siblings gave this to me when mother died mainly because my mom has a devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and named me after Our Lady.

I really wouldn’t know what to do with this. I like the golden old fashion seal with a green ribbon.

Indian Summer

Blue sky, not a cloud in the horizon and the air crisp. The leaves of the Cherry Tree is blossoming with fiery orange. In spring time, it flowers first before the leaves come out.

At Forest Lawn, this place is so beautiful. No matter what time of the year, it’s stunning all around. I often wonder how the residents feel in close proximity at the cemetery.

A bursting crimson colour shrub in my garden is what we have been waiting for. The name of this plant is Euonymus but I cannot remember it, so I called it burning bush.

My sister came to visit bringing a small pumpkin wishing me happy fall. Already? I can’t believe it’s here and have forgotten the season of the year. It still feels summery. I suppose I have to start putting the rest of the plants to bed and winterized them. In the meantime, we are off for a walk to check out autumn colours and fall plants at UBC. This purple berries are so beautiful that I am planning to grow it in my garden. Sister looked great posing with Callicarpa.

“When the leaves fall,
the whole earth is a cemetery
pleasant to walk in.
I love to wander and muse over
them in their graves. Here
are no lying nor vain epitaphs.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Truth. Reconciled.

The sign states: “No Trespassing, Private Property”. What a strange sign when there is a church in this land? How can I attend the church as a stranger in this property when it is situated in the middle of an Indian Reserve?

Took all my courage to trespass in a deserted street and I was cautious of my surrounding. I felt that there were eyes looking at me as I walked along the street and to my relief I saw a gray nun heading toward the church.

I felt much better when I was inside the church. The congregation was mostly Native Indians and elders. Much to my surprise, they were very hospitable to me. I felt at home. Soon, I became a regular every Sunday Mass at St Paul’s Church of North Vancouver for a short period.

Here I met Starr. She is kind to me and a little bit on a serious side. I told her that I was just passing through on my way to Thailand to do volunteer work. Starr confided that one day she would like to do an altruistic work. I said by the grace of God, it will happen, just keep praying about it. That was year 1998.

Before I left the church, there was an activity of hanging a star on a Charlie Brown Tree. Anyone can take part to hang a star and share what it means to her or him. Then Starr came to me and lead me to where the tree was. She pick up a star and hanged it.

She introduced me to the congregation that the star represents me as her “hero” because of what I embarked to do in Thailand. I was a surprised by her kindness.

When I came back home to Canada, Starr has obtained a home. Her plan is to help out destitute troubled women. The house will be a recovery home for addicted women. I helped her a bit on some legal papers. I provided her with boxes of books from my own collections of religious books for her house. As a present, I gave her a meditation book “God in All Things by Anthony de Mello”.

Then life got in a way.

I’ve lost in touched with Starr until one night in 2010,I was watching the evening news. The news was the Courage to Come Back Award presented by Coast Mental Health. They called a name that is so familiar to me, Starr Peardon, a recipient of the award.

Oh my goodness, I have to watch this, dropped everything and glued watching the television.
There is so little I know of Starr. As far as I’m concerned she’s a beautiful person and I never once asked her what her background is. Then I learnt her story from the news.

Starr was a drug addict, drug dealer and a criminal. She was in and out of jail and gave up her children to foster care. However, it was in the correctional facility where she had her conversion.

In an article written in The Province Newspaper, I quote:

It was while doing time at the old Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women that the jail’s chaplain, Hank Smidstra, prayed over her while she detox.

“This strange thing happened. It was like a warmth. Like God put his arms around me. I didn’t believe in God,” said Peardon. She woke up the next day and knelt on the concrete floor

“I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in. I swore and I cried and that same peace descended on me. That was my conversion experience,”

With her conversion experience, Starr was able to fulfill her dream. “Talitha Koum”, meaning “little girl, rise” is the house for “broken women”, a place of healing. Countless women have turned around their life with her help. It is going strong until now.

On March 31, 2012, we celebrated Starr’s retirement party. And she has all the reason to smile for being an instrument of God. And I have all the reason to smile outward and inward when I think of her.

God bless you, Starr Pedron. She found her truth. She reconciled.

Today, we are celebrating the vast Truth and Reconciliation with the Indian Affairs that happened in Canada.

Light Up

Each evening from dawn till dusk, Science World lights up using 198 LED lights. This became an iconic Vancouver Lights.

When Vancouver was lightless, In 1942 Earle Birney wrote Vancouver Lights.

Through the feckless years we have come to the time
when to look on this quilt of lamps is a troubling delight

In daytime, Science World still is a delight to see.

of nothing pulsing down from beyond and between
the fragile planets We are a spark beleaguered
by darkness this twinkle we make in a corner of emptiness

The stage red lighting in this production has the intensity of passion and love. If I remember this Filipino folk dance correctly, it’s called Maria Clara. The dress is an elegant formal outfit for women with clean lines that symbolize the virtues and nobility of a Filipino woman while the men wear Barong Tagalog, a traditional Filipino embroidered long-sleeve shirt made of pineapple fibre. He’s holding a castanets known as clackers.

Don’t they look fabulous with the lights on?

On a personal level, I use up a lot of artificial lights. This is my Day Light lamp 10,000 Lux therapy lamp for the living room. The lights mimic natural light to help me get through my seasonal affective disorder. The only months that they are unused are the months of August and September. I have another lamp in the bedroom.

These lamps are used first thing in the morning to wake up my brain. They are my lifeline.

How do you plea?

Plea the Fifth Amendment. I refuse to answer for this might incriminate me.  In Canada, we call it Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Self-Incrimination. 

“Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.”  And then I swore on the Bible.  This was my experience as part of a Jury for 10 days.  A priest once told me when he is called on to swear on the Bible he refuses because he has already taken the Oath when he decided to serve God and mankind.  Of course, I forgot about this when I was asked.  I placed my hand on the Bible, and I said:“I swear.” 

It was quite an experience and an honour to serve Canada being selected as a Jury.  It made me think that the future of this man lies on my hand should I decided against the other jurors.  I was Number 8.  Mind you, we were given a manual on pointers on how to become a jury and how to make a decision based on just law.  No bias, no discrimination.  The jurors came from all walks of life.  One juror, in my opinion, was very fashionable.  She made sure that she is well dressed for the public and for the Judge.  This is not a criticism.  It’s important that we are dressed properly.  But once we deliberate behind closed doors, we have to divest ourselves.  Not our clothing, but our just minds.  We have to have an open mind without the probability of a doubt. 

We did reach a verdict.  NOT GUILTY.  Whew.  I was glad we came to a conclusion.  What was the case, you asked?  Joe vs. the People.  Joe was accused of killing his brother.  Just like in the Bible, Cane killed Abel.  But Cane was guilty; Joe was not. 

Back to swearing on the Bible to tell the whole truth; when I was a child, my Mother always reminded me to tell the truth.  That is so plain and simple.  Should you ask me WHY, the answer my friend is blowing in the wind.  (click to play the song) 

Tell the truth, try, you might like it. Nothing adversarial.

One Minute Meditation:

“Why is everyone here so happy except me?” “Because they have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere,” said the Master. “Why don’t I see goodness and beauty everywhere?” “Because you cannot see outside of you what you fail to see inside.” || Anthony de Mello, SJ

Cast in Stone

 A photo taken 33 years ago in Manila reminds me how sad and brave my grandmothers were as they bid us farewell for our journey to Vancouver.  After final blessings, embraces, and tears, we boarded the plane with suitcases crammed full of everything we could bring from our old life.  Everything except my cherished umbrella which we had somehow neglected to pack.  I loved that umbrella the way other four-year-olds treasure dolls or teddy bears.  My new friends were mystified by my broken spirit and broken English.  I did not know the word for umbrella.  “My payong, my payong.”  I repeated woefully.  I wanted the umbrella that had sheltered me from the hot sun. 

I wanted to escape this strange place where umbrellas held the wind and rain at bay.  As I got older the memory of my umbrella drizzled away.  I planned my getaway: Paris, Tel Aviv, New Delhi … even Toronto.  Anywhere but rainy, boring Vancouver.  Like my parents, I sought a better life elsewhere.  Unlike them, elsewhere left me disappointed.  I yearned for the seawall and for Granville Island and salad rolls.  In my homesick mind, I heard the seagulls at Kits Beach, and breathed in the deep green peace of a day spent at UBC.  I longed to smell the cedar tree in the backyard of my childhood in Marpole, and to taste the vegetables my parents tend there.  I ached for Vancouver. 

Today, I show the photo, taken all those years and countless lost umbrellas ago, to my husband and children.  I will leave umbrellas behind, but I don’t forget where I have been or how far I traveled to get here.  Once it was a distant destination promised in a photograph.  Now it is the place I love and call home.  ~ Bernadette Gonzales McGrath 

The story of Bernadette is in two places.  One in Marpole, close to where she used to live, attached to a lamp-post.  The second is a monumental rock where each word is cast in stone, at Queen Elizabeth Park, a forever chiseled story cast in stone. A masterpiece. 

Bernadette and I are cousins.

 

Expression

At the school setting, ask the students to express their nightmares. The EYE seems to be common in their artwork.


night·mare
the difference between you and i is when you have a nightmare you wake up and it ends
i wake up to get to school to relive my nightmare
the nightmare of seeing him
of feeling his presence
the honest to God fear he has me under is driving into insanity
i could use millions of words and not one could describe my hatred and fear


who i am?
where did this feeling come from
did it arrive after i understood the effect this will have
not understand leaves me wondering
clueless to the way this will follow me to my death bed
as i lay my head down to die
the flashes of images and emotions will fill my soul once more
nightmare


nightmares are real
just different from what i thought about as a kid
i used to think monsters lived under my bed
now i know they live within people
they bring you into washes
they rob you
they lie
they ****
they hurt
i am done letting him control me
i say that often
i say those words every time i see him
or when i need strength


i just need to repeat it enough times so i will start believing it
lord help me
live a life full of dreams not nightmares
i want more
i desire
desire is a fire that depends on power
power at which i don’t contain
powerthirst on control from others because of a lack oneself
the emotional security one can not give feeds into anger
mistakes are failed risks that seem to have this hold on our souls as if that has the power we have been searching for
so mistakes are our minds negative power
then successes are our positive power
nothing makes sense


we are flawed humans stitched up with cravings
these cravings can be used for glory or for the evil that we conform to
we should use the craving to move us out of the darkness instead of pain
we should push to the happiness that is reachable
we refuse to do what we were called to do
nightmare
the nightmare i can not wake up from
a life i did not choose but can not awake from

Poem by VOID

Sunday Snippet

This is supposed to be a reblog but I am having difficulty doing it in my second generation iPad.

The source is from friarmusing, I call him FrG as a term of endearment, short for Fr. George.

His writings are enjoyable to read and exceptionally good reads. This post is about a list of reading materials.

This post is by no means complete, thorough, or makes any claim to being the last word. It is just a slice of what is out there on September 4th that caught my eye, looked interesting, and so I gave it a read. Maybe you will too.

▪Worried About Breakthrough Infections? Here’s How to Navigate This Phase of the Pandemic – New York Times.

▪Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future – The Atlantic

▪Six Important Questions About Booster Shots Answered – Smithsonian

▪The Coronavirus Could Get Worse – The Atlantic

▪Pandemic Psychology – The Guardian

The Pandemic Psychology from The Guardian surprised me. As I dig deeper, a Canadian Psychiatrist from UBC Department of Psychiatry published an article that I never encountered in our news media written by Steven Taylor in 2018 pre-covid era. I have so much respect for this department because they helped me reshape my faulty thinking due to brain disorder.

He interpreted that pandemics “are essentially a psychological phenomenon and about the behaviors, attitudes and emotions of people” and that “the psychological footprint is bigger than the medical footprint”.

That, Taylor says, is not to downplay the significance of the disease to those that have become sick or died, but that many more people have been psychologically affected. The analysis was fleshed out in another academic paper, published in Canadian Psychology, in which he wrote that “pandemics are not simply events in which some harmful microbe ‘goes viral’”.

He wrote: “Psychology plays a central role in pandemics, influencing the spreading and containment of diseases, and shaping pandemic-related distress and socially disruptive, divisive and potentially harmful phenomena such as panic buying, racism and protests against pandemic mitigation restrictions.”

Lesson learned: Sunday sermon is not all about the Gospel.

Photographs and Memories

My feet carry me in different parts of the world to understand the divinity of Mother Earth.  I am grateful what Mother Earth provides beneath our feet.

Along the way, we encounter a bridge and calm water that create a perfect reflection of what is above the still water, ‘as above, so below.’

Passing a bridge walking along Santiago de Compostela

Passing a bridge walking along Santiago de Compostela

Pilgrimage takes me to sacred sites where I deepen my faith and understand other’s devotion. The road beneath our feet can be a rocky terrain. There are others that will go up hiking barefooted to feel more connected with the Earth.

Stony path hiking to the top of Medjugorje

A flat paved surface is a pleasure to walk along the groves of olive trees as we pray the rosary and meditate on the passion of Jesus Christ.

Flat surface at Fatima

For more adventure, climbing Mt. Sinai requires the help of a guide or a camel ride in the dark. At Mt. Sinai, we meditated about Moses’ encounter with the burning bush and talking to his God. At the top of the mountain, we welcome the rising of the sun. With the sun’s glorious light, a new day dawning and darkness dispelled, the walk down is more treacherous. A rock beneath your feet, one could take a tumble on a slippery slope.

Rugged terrain at Mt. Sinai

Walking a Sacred Labyrinth in tuned with every step and every breath we take quietens the mind. There is no right or wrong way to walk. There is no time limit. Meditating or staying prayerful as we step one foot forward, stop and pause as long as we want, then take the next step. One could never get lost going in the center with an open mind and heart . We walk out of the circle feeling rejuvenated and centered.

Labyrinth at Naramata

According Hermes Emerald Tablet ‘as above, so below’, I can only translate this according to my Catholic faith.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ~ Jesus Prayer

Church Cemetery at Oberammergau

As a pilgrim, I keep walking, passing through these places. In the end of it all, I will be the one lying beneath His feet.

Change dot Org

One of the common tools in reaching out to instigate a change in the society is a petition. It’s a movement to voice out growing concerns, challenge the law and hope for the best.

This is A Public Service Announcement

Bonnie J. Fraser Henry OBC FRCPC is a Canadian physician who is the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, the first woman in this position. Henry is also a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia. She was a family doctor and is a specialist in public health and preventive medicine.

Bonnie is loved by many ever since Covid came to play. She mentioned that “this virus has shown us that there are inequities in our society that has been exacerbated by this pandemic. And is there no way that we will recommended inequities be increased by use of vaccine passport … ” excerpt from this news three months ago,

Bonnie announced recently that covid passport will roll out effective September 13, 2021. John Horgan and Adrian Dix, premier and health minister of BC respectively, support this mandate.

Bonnie Henry and the Government of BC lied.

Canadian Law 101: Immunization is NOT mandatory in Canada.

Larry Hansen started a petition to “Abolish British Columbia Vaccine Passport Program and Mandates

Whether vaccinated or not, medical segregation should cause concern for every individual in British Columbia. It’s a clear violation of human rights and once we lose these rights it will be very difficult to get them back.

I am for Immunization but not the vaccine passport.

Should you wish to support abolishing the vaccine passport, please visit change.org or click on this link.

Thank you.

Attention Seeking

Come on let’s get happy or angry, we may be able get what we want.

Since the word scot free is of Scandinavia origin, SKOT, meaning tax or payment, it reminded me of an angry child statue in Norway. Of all the statues in the park, created by Gustav Vigeland made Oslo famous in Norway. The artist agreed to donate all originals of previous and future artistic work to the city, as long as it would provide him with a place to live and work.

Quid pro quo.

Negative Space

The City of Vancouver provides this plaque with blue triangle as a decor of heritage places especially old house that are preserved by new tenants. It’s fascinating to see old homestead and bricks surrounded by modern homes.

Community gardens are also provided by the city for green space. You can plant what ever you want. When it comes to my humble abode, I like negative space. Hardly any decor at all.

Remember IKEA? (I Know Everything Already.) It’s the number one home decor store that is within your budget. The only thing is you have to assemble your furniture. I have no patience for reading adding instructions and deep six that idea. Needless to say, i have no IKEA stuff.

Remembering Heart Surgery Blues

G.A. Miller sketched his self-portrait when he had a heart surgery, titled My Golden Colorado Days. Not only can he draw, he’s a singer as well. A good one I must. say.

GAM thank you for putting this all together for me. Much appreciated. Seeker.

To listen to the heart surgery blues song, please visit my post here.

Talking to myself.

Layla, my three year old grand niece, talks to herself all the time. Her imaginary friend, Snowflake, is there for her. She gathers her little dolls, steals her brother’s red convertible car, and she makes sure Mother Mary and Infant Jesus are included to go for a wild ride. For the grownups, we encourage her in this chimerical stage.

Today, I decided to get up when the alarm went off set for 8:30 am. Normally, I snoozed the alarm and return to sleep. That’s a good thing because my sister emailed me that she’s coming over after nine. The door is always open in my sanctuary.

There’s so much ideas to exchange with my brainiac sister to save the world. We ended discussing about her 71 year old friend who started talking to herself. It’s a bit worrisome when adults behave this way.

However, I want to stay with the first thought when I read the word fanciful:

If you’re feeling fancy free
Come wander through the world with me
And any place we chance to be
Will be a rendezvous

Koda-Kan

Koda-kan is a Filipino terminology we gave to Japanese tourist taking tons of pictures. It’s such a cliche in a fun way because when we Filipinos get together and wants our group photo, we say “Let’s go Koda-kan.”

Shūkabutsu is Japanese translation of bromide, an anime. I could never get tired watching Japanese anime. They are soothing more than boring.

Toph Beifon is my favourite blind bromide. She hates it when others think of her useless without sight. To use her line “Let’s see who is the blind one!” She’s a hero in the movie Avatar, the last air bender.

Sayonara.

Light Made it Visible.

To reach the peak of Mt. Sinai to witness the first light of the day, one has to start trekking at zero dark thirty.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways
to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~ Rumi

Dawn of a new day
On top of Mt. Sinai.
Half light, half dark
The light made it visible.

It is a place for everyone.
Muslims, Christians, Buddhist, Atheist.
All is welcome.

Zero dark thirty is a phrased I picked up from Tina.

Meanwhile in Canada

Reading memes, one-liner jokes and satire are tricky. There are a few abrasive ones that made me squirm. But satire won’t always make us comfortable, or even always make us laugh.

These two made me laugh and smile.

“Watching fully vaccinated people scared of unvaccinated people is today’s comedy show”
“Why call it a vaccine passport when you can just call it a covID”

Meanwhile is Canada was once to be a funny site filled with memes and jokes. It can be political and shares its meme with the news. But it went overboard and some readers where aghast.

“this page used to have funny memes. Now it’s just pushing vaccine propaganda and shaming the anti vaccers. It’s terrible. I can follow local news to hear this.”

“This page is quickly becoming political and basically Covid Only content.. we hear and see enough of this on the news, social media, etc. If you aren’t a professional, don’t speak on it like you are.”



“A lot of interesting comments indeed but I do miss the lighthearted/comedic commentary that this group generated. Shout out from Sweden 🇸🇪 ”

“Imagine using your very well known page to spout off on your personal agenda because you know better, even though it should be a personal choice.”

“Meanwhile in Canada again keep your own opinion out of this… ”

It used to bring a smile on my face unfortunately it became a site of hubris.

I made a comment on this post “Meanwhile in Canada About page is “Looking at the lighter side of life in Canada and Canadian politics. Hope you “like”. It! Satire (including comments). Nothing to like here.”

Thank you Meanwhile of Canada for deleting my comment and blocking me. Now I can only share a comment elsewhere. So, I’m sharing.

Feet, wheels, shoes, tires, fetis

Our body is the best vehicle that will transport us to many places. Our feet is the wheel, while shoes are the tires. We need good tires to protect the wheels as much as good shoes to protect our feet.

For people who only see feet and shoes and not the sky, understand this:

“The whole universe is completely insane!”

I enjoy looking at shoes more than shoes. This converse high top shoe caught my eyes and would have been perfect as to what’s happening for the past two years. I did not buy the shoes because I was into high heels then.

Speaking of high heels, Stella knows what she wants if the shoe fits.

She feels sexy at her tender age what more when you are a woman. But, the red shoes created a stir when a movement of men wearing red shoes to walk a mile raising awareness in violence against women.

As for feeling sexy wearing stiletto, I resigned when i grew up at age 40.

Fun fact: Men were the first one who wore high heels as a symbol of supremacy and aristocratic status. Another reason is to protect their feet from the puddles and dirt.

Should you ever come to visit my place, be ready to be showered with affection by Lucy, my cat who has a fetish for feet and socks. By the time she’s finished with you, your feet is covered with slimy saliva, fur and dander. She is so sweet.

One foot missing? No problem. There’s always a solution. This cyclist did not deter him from doing what he loves. There is another person that has only one leg. He became a worldwide hero in raising awareness and funds to find a cure for cancer. He ran a marathon across Canada with just one leg and a prosthetic. He must have used thousands of running shoes in order to complete his goal. Recently, the foundation launched a video titled The Power of One. His name is Terry Fox.


Hot off the press, breaking news on August 15, 2021 at 11:57 am. Allow me to introduce a new born male feet, an addition to our growing family. His name is Bennett Logan Greirson.

I love feet. Why? Because …

Whenever there is a new born, we’ve been told not to kiss the baby. Not to touch the baby. What is allowed to touch is the feet. Face is still sensitive. Hands must be kept clean because babies tend to put them in their mouth. It would be awhile for the baby to discover his feet, therefore, it’s safe to worship his feet.

Fun fact: Do you know that solestry is known as foot reading most commonly practiced in India? Foot readers claim that they’re able to get a glimpse of a person’s character simply by taking a look at their foot.

Well, that is far fetched since our feet changes as we grow older, molded by our footwear, body weight and activities we do in life.

Just remember to thank your feet. Take good care of them for it will take you beyond. Relax, take off your shoes and socks, let your feet breath. Massage them while you are watching Netflix or just plain doing nothing as a couch potato.

You light up my life. Not the sun, but the moon.

By the light, not the dark but the light
Of the silvery moon, not the sun but the moon
I wanna spoon, not croon, but spoon
To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune

Honeymoon, honeymoon, honeymoon
Keep a-shinin’ in June
Your silvery beams will bring love’s dreams
We’ll be cuddlin’ soon
By the silvery moon

Wales or Whales

Hiraeth is often likened to nostalgia in English or saudade in Portuguese, and it shares qualities with the German concept of sehnsucht, but none quite match exactly. It combines elements of homesickness, nostalgia and longing. Interlaced, however, is the subtle acknowledgment of an irretrievable loss – a unique blend of place, time and people that can never be recreated. This unreachable nature adds an element of grief, but somehow it is not entirely unwelcome. – BBC Travel

On the far side, a true story of my travel in Ireland.

“I can see whales” says my traveling buddy.

” Yes, i can see Wales from here. Can we make a trip while it’s just accross the sea?

I’ll always cherish and get a good laugh that day we spent together, walking along Aran Island, looking at tide pools, rocks, whales and Wales.

The Grace of finding Veronica Shoffstall

Having different names can be inspirational. I, for example, have used many names from Seeker to Pilgrim to Perpetua. Then there is Grace.

I have posted “Plant your own garden, decorate your own soul” twice. The poem has been an inspiration to so many. However, it has been attributed to so many names such as Jorge Luis Borges, Shakespeare and Veronica Shoffstall.

Jimmy and GG

After a while, you learn the subtle difference Between holding a hand and chaining a soul And you learn that love doesn’t mean security, And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts And presents aren’t promises.

Grace found the poem posted in three different occasions at Ravenous Butterflies in Facebook attributed to Veronica Shoffstall. In the first post, Grace being ungraceful commented insisting that it was written by Borges. A Ronnie Shoffstall was inspired to reply that she and Veronica are the same. Still Grace is skeptic

On the second post, a quote showed up in Ravenous Butterflies:

So plant your own gardens and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for some to bring you flowers.” ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Grace commented: Kindly give us the full quote of Jose Luis Borge. And Butterflies obliged attributing it to Borges.

Pandemonium ensued that Veronica Shoffstall is the author commented by many.

Therefore, Butterflies changed the author to Shoffstall. Fair enough since it was originally posted as Shoffstall.

Enter Grace commenting again since she is so inspired by this poetry attaching it to her photos as an avid gardener.

“Ravenous Butterflies, what made you change the name of the writer from Borges to Shoffstall.”

Grace is the ability to redefine the boundaries of possibility. ~ MANNING MARABLE

garden

And you begin to accept your defeats With your head up and your eyes open, With the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today, Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain. And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

The following is the conversation in Ravenous Butterflies third post between Grace Siglos and Ronnie Shoffstall (in italic).

RS: because Veronica A. Shoffstall is the author of this poem. Sr. Borges wrote a different poem, and someone (who would get pimples and hemorrhoids) taked my poem onto it.

GS: word for word added a few lines, wart and all, I suppose anyone can call it theirs. Just like I said, I wish the dead could speak. ( GS and RS had a previous conversation before in the first post).

RS: So do I, my fried. So Do I.

GS: unfortunately Jorge Lois Borges died when the poetry showed up written in English.

RS: Like I said, if you really want to know, do some honest research with the facts I’ve provided. Otherwise, please don’t spread misinformation. It’s hurting me.

GS: I am not spreading misinformation and I am not the only one that is questioning the validity of the poetry. I am hurting as well.

RS: So check it out. Satisfy yourself.

GS: hahaha … not buying your response. YOU have to provide th facts since it’s in your name.

Maple Tree

After a while, you learn that even sunshine Burns if you get too much. So you plant your own garden and decorate Your own soul, instead of waiting For someone to bring you flowers

RS: I have done. I will do again and again. *First published in The Ivy, yearbook of SUNY Mohawk Valley. 1972 Yearbook was late, so it was delivered in a boxed edition, with my poem beautifully printed on a piece of parchment.

This must have made this easy to copy, distribute, or hang on refrigerator doors. It made its way around the SUNY system and eventually showed up without my name.

By December 1982, it had found its way to the syndicated Ann Landers Advice Column. My mother was a dedicated Ann Fan and called me, all excited, when my poem appeared in the column, someone asking who wrote it. I was in contact with Ann Landers office at the Chicago Tribune, and Ms. Landers posted my poem many times afterward, correctly and properly attributed, calling it, in her book WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE, one of her most requested items.

Since then it has been published in more than 40 books, ranging from a Jewish book of advice, a quilters manual, a lesbian live novel, and a Christian marriage manual, and in several novels. It was even recited in its entirety in a played called, NANTUCKET SLEIGH RIDE, by John Guarre. Each of those authors found me, researched me, and requested my consent. An excellent calligrapher. Sherry Locker, markets my poem and gives me a percentage of the profits to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation, a disease my brother, sister, dad, aunt and uncles, as well as myself, all experience(d).

People started showing up claiming this poem, changing this poem, or asking my permission to corroborate on a better version of my poem. Several have been given permission to set it to music. I haven’t made as much money from this poem (maybe $500 since 1982?) as I’ve spent to defend it, with a lawyer who told me it would be like “gathering feathers in the wind”. So now I depend on angels who know the truth about this poem’s creator and defend the truth.

You asked for this, Grace Siglos. I hope I don’t have to say all this again. I don’t know who makes up a story like this, but if it sounds MORE LIKELY TO YOU that I would put my name in the work of a FAMOUS poet, then you are certainly have freedom of belief. You are one of those blasted feathers in the wind.

GS: thank you. You should do more that this and write to the copyright powers to clear your name. Plus post it on your FB and your blog site. If I am the real writer, I wouldn’t be mad and start name calling but be thankful that this piece of poetry is associated with famous writer. It’s all a blessing similar to Madame Currie’s invention and became a Nobel Prize Winner.

RS: Grace, I think the only thing I called you was a feather in the wind. I apologize if my tone was filled with frustration and indignance but I’ve been dealing with this a very long time. I don’t have children so this poem is my only thing that will outlive me. I rarely ask for money, usually a signed copy of the book (I have KISS ME LIKE A STRANGER, by Gene Wilder!) or tickets to the play by Mr. Guarre (it sucked btw). Anyway I appreciate that you a seeker of truth — I belong to the Baha’i Faith and we’re big on that. And I’m an American, which at least proclaims itself to be. So I did not mean to offend you and I’m sorry if I did. I was just frustrated . And since you forced me to write all this out, I’ll save it so I don’t have to keep doing it. So thank you, Grace.

Bouquet of flowers

And you learn that you really can endure… That you really are strong, And you really do have worth And you learn and learn and learn. With every goodbye, you learn.

GS: I can understand your frustration. My background is mostly validation on facts, figures, science, legal and strength of materials. I have strong faith as well. You still have time to send notification without costing you to clear confusion as I mentioned above. BTW, thanks for visiting my site.

If any consolation to you, the Spanish community vehemently saying this is not the work of Borges or Shakespeare but yours. I doubt Shakespeare wrote this. Gosh, you’re famous amongst these literary writers. I suppose people are looking for Veronica and not Ronnie where the confusion lies.

RS: It’s crazy. Jorge Luis Borges has books of poetry, he’s got biographers! He’s an esteemed, productive poet! It boggles my mind that there is any confusion at all. I guess I should be honored, but it really makes a problem for me, particularly because it is already in so many books and publications. I hate that anyone thinks I’M the plagiarist.

GS: Just like I said the confusion lies on the name between Ronnie and Veronica. Hope you pinned a note on your FB and blog sites that Ronnie/Veronica is the same person.

In the meantime, Grace found the yearbook with the poetry, provided it to Butterflies that is was written by Ronnie Shoffstall and change the name to clear the confusion.

RS: Thank you, but my name is Veronica. Ronnie is a pretty standard abbreviation. Please don’t change my name. Ronnie is what my friends call me. It’s my “home name”. As far as the bank, the government, my insurance companies, and other matters of importance, I’m Veronica. If you are my friend you can call me Ronnie, but Veronica wrote the poem, copyrighted the poem, and attributed to the poem. None of my important papers say Ronnie. I doubt that my nickname was the problem. But thank you for your concern.

GS: To end this on a good note. Here’s the message I received from Centro Jorge Luis Borges Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno Republica Argentina:

I am writing to you in order to answer mail that I send you above the message.

By this means, I have to say that the text that you have sent us does not belong to Jorge Luis Borges and of course is not part of his Complete Works.

I think, is just a fake text that apparently appears in a page of googlereads (goodreads) as many others.

Best regards,
German Alvarez

Plant your own garden

My gardening days are winding down Inspiration to garden lives on passing it down

Bonded

When people asked me if I’m busy at work, I proudly say, of course, I have so many paper clips to rearrange by size to colour.

Ever heard the old adage “if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough?” Paperclip Law

The many uses of paper clips.

Oh!.? I’m not hanging in there.

Cats, Diapers, Sperm, Infertile, etc. etc. etc.

Moot points. Let the debate begin. I have all day.

RESPONSES TO THE QUESTION, “WHY DIDN’T YOU EVER HAVE KIDS?”

“Diapers are an environmental disaster (and also, yuck).”

“I enjoy my carefree lifestyle of two jobs, an elderly mother whose crises necessitate expensive bi-weekly trips out of state and a diabetic cat that needs insulin shots twice a day.”

“It was so great to catch up with you after all these years, really, but would you look at the time?”

“According to their profiles, all the sperm donors available were Rhodes Scholar finalists for both the Fields Medal and the Man Booker Prize who’d at least bronzed in the Olympics, and I really just wanted a regular kid.”

“That’s kind of a personal question, isn’t it?”

“I hate getting up before 9 am (mainly because I am sometimes up until then finishing freelance work).”

“I considered it, but I couldn’t afford a nanny, a dangerously ill-trained au pair or even a teenager who might work for $5 an hour and access to my unlocked liquor cabinet.” (That mid-shelf bourbon is fucking expensive.)

“My mother had it rough with my grandmother. I had it rough with my mother. My cat seems to think I’m pretty fucking awesome.”

“Do you ask childless middle-aged men this question?”

“As a matter of principle, I’m opposed to minivans.”

“Yes, I realize I’ve missed out on an integral part of the female experience. But the one week a month I spend writhing on the bathroom floor and bleeding through every goddamn overpriced tampon in the box helps remind me that I am, and always shall be, one with the sisterhood.”

“Why didn’t you ever have a cat?”

“Watch an episode of Better Things and then let me know if you still have any questions.”

“That’s really none of your business, is it?”

“Maybe I’m infertile! Maybe I had a miscarriage! Maybe I never met the right partner! Maybe I thought the prospect of having a child alone only made sense for women with a trust fund and the patience of Gandhi!”

“Maybe I wanted to break a dysfunctional family pattern and the only way I could figure out how to do it was to not have kids.”

“Maybe it’s none of your fucking business.”

“You’re right, I will have regrets when I’m in menopause! I regret staying in my dorm to study that night in 1984 when R.E.M. played The Rat. Beyond that, I’m good.”

“Yes, I realize there will be no one to take care of me in my old age. No one I can demand to hop on a plane to change my burned out lightbulbs and clip my toenails, no one who will spend hours scrubbing my kitchen — cleaning out the moldy cheeses and rancid mystery meats from the fridge, handwashing all the dishes because the dishwasher is broken and I’m too cheap to get it fixed — and who I will then berate because I would have preferred said adult child (almost certainly a daughter) use a different kind of cleaning solution, one that I refuse to believe has not been on the market since 1992. I’m good with paying strangers to put up with this kind of shit, thanks.”

“MAYBE IT’S NONE OF YOUR MOTHERFUCKING BUSINESS.”

“Yeah, probably I’m just selfish.”

Source: McSweeney written by Lisa Borders

Post Card to myself

Although i may have travelled all the roads,
crossed mountains and valleys from East to West,
if i haved not discovered the freedom to be my self,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have shared all of my possessions
with people of other languages and cultures;
made friends with pilgrims of thousand paths,
or shared alberque with saints and princes,
if i am not capable of forgiving my neighbor tomorrow,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have carried my pack from beginning to end
and waited for every pilgrim in need of encouragement,
or given my bed to one who arrived later than i,
given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing;
if upon returning to my home and work,
i am not able to create brotherhood
or to make happiness, peace and unity,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have had food and water each day,
and enjoyed a roof and shower every night;
or may have had my injuries well attented,
if i have not discovered all that the love of God,
i have arrived nowhere.

Although i may have seen all the monuments
and contemplated the best sunsets;
although i may have learned a greeting in every lanaguage
or tasted the clean water from every fountain;
if i have discovered who is the author
of so much free beauty and so much peace,
i have arrived nowhere.

If from today i do not continue walking on your path,
searching and living according to what i have learned;
in from today i do not see in every person, friend or foe
a companion on the Camino;
if from today i cannot recognize God,
the God of Jesus of Nazareth
as one God of my life,
i have arrived at nowhere.

This is a postcard titled “Pilgrim’s Prayer” written by Fraydino I bought not as a souvenir but a reminder that I am only a pilgrim on earth.

50 Things To Do Before You Die

in year 2009, I bought a BC Magazine to celebrate its 50 years featuring a list of what to do in the province I live for the past 45 years.  Here I will remain for the rest of my life.

We call this province beautiful British Columbia!

The list could go on. These are just a teaser.

Forest Bathing

A bird on guard for thee.

  1. HIKE the West Coast Trail
  2. DIVE the Emerald Sea
  3. HUNT for mythical monsters
  4. CYCLE the Trans Canada Trail
  5. BE ALONE with nature
  6. MOTORCYCLE through the Kootenays
  7. HURL YOURSELF from a great height
  8. SURF a West Coast wave
  9. BACKPACK the Chilkoot Trail
  10. SET FOOT on every Gulf Island

On top - Copy

Balu Pass

  1. SAUNTER along the Seawall
  2. GLIMPSE BC’s wild horses
  3. DANCE at a powwow
  4. GO TUBING in the Okanagan
  5. GAWK at Squamish eagles
  6. PADDLE the Bowron Lakes
  7. PHOTOGRAPH a wild bear
  8. BARE IT ALL on Wreck Beach
  9. MOSEY through hoodoo country
  10. SUMMIT a mountain

Atlin BC walking the highway

Walking towards the lake to check it out.

  1. TOUR the Duffrey Lake loop
  2. DRIVE BC”s Alaska Highway
  3. WHALE WATCH at Telegraph Cove
  4. RIDE the Seven Summits Trail
  5. WITNESS the northern lights
  6. SOAK in a natural hot spring
  7. DISCOVER ancient petroglyphs
  8. BOAT up Bute Inlet
  9. GET GOBSMACKED by mountain light
  10. BOARD a BC ferry

Atlin BC look out

View from higher grounds. Beyond is the frozen lake

  1. SKI into O’Hara Lodge
  2. RUN a wild river
  3. VISIT a volcano
  4. DEVOUR BC at Feast of Fields
  5. FOLLOW dinosaur footprints
  6. FLY A KITE on Wickaninnish Beach
  7. WALK BAREFOOT in the forest
  8. BOUNCE through Barkerville
  9. BITE into a BC apple
  10. TAKE the road less travelled

Jimmy and Green Apples
41. REVEL in a wildflower meadow
42. SCALE THE Stawamus Chief
43. MAKE A 50-YEAR PLAN to visit every BC Park
44. SAIL through Haida Gwaii
45. WAKE UP some place wonderful
46. PLAY HOMAGE to the Cheewhat Giant
47. ZIP across the sky
48. HEAR THE ROAR of a mighty waterfall
49. DO some good
50. RAISE A GLASS of BC wine

Sunflowers and Nicole

Well, I’ve only done half of this. If I was born here, probably, I would have done most on this list tripping along the back country roads with a bumper sticker “Get those rocks off my road!”

Let Us Ask Ourselves

Let us not lose the memory preserved by the elderly, for we are children of that history, and without roots, we will wither. They protected us as we grew, and now it is up to us to protect their lives, to alleviate their difficulties, to attend to their needs and to ensure that they are helped in daily life and not feel alone. Let us ask ourselves: “Have I visited my grandparents, my elderly relatives, the older people in my neighbourhood? Have I listened to them? Have I spent time with them?” Let us protect them, so that nothing of their lives and dreams may be lost. May we never regret that we were insufficiently attentive to those who loved us and gave us life.

Source: World Day for Grandparents and Elderlies

Photo: Dear My Friends Korean Show

What’s it like to be a Canadian

~ Ninety percent of population is massed within 100 miles of northern American border.

~ Seems not to mind that one of its provinces has turned almost entirely French.

~ Excessive politeness only makes sense as cover for something truly sinister. But what?

~ Citizens seem strangely impervious to cold.

~ Decriminalization of marijuana and acceptance of gay marriage without corresponding collapse of social institutions indicate Canada may, in fact, be indestructible.

~ Has infiltrated entertainment industry with singers, actors, and comedians practically indistinguishable from their American counterparts.

~ Consistently stays just below cultural radar yet never quite disappears.

~ Parliamentary government and common-law judiciary appear to function acceptably yet remain completely inscrutable.

~ Never had a “disco phase.”

~ Seemingly endless supply of timber, donuts, and Scotch-plaid hats with earflaps.

~ Keeps insisting it “has no designs on America” and “only wants peace.”

~ Plays a mean game of pond hockey.

According to McSweeney: REASONS TO FEAR CANADA

by SEAN CARMAN

The rest is details

I want to know God,
The rest is details.

We chose to stay at home to be surrounded by love ones.

Photographers and people who have let themselves be photographed assume that someday people will see their images and do something in response to what they see, she argues. They imagined you, their future viewer, hovering above them at the moment the picture was taken, and you must live up to their expectations.

 Azoulay  asks her readers to project themselves into the scenes of photographs, to notice the power dynamics at play, to identify the participants, and to view the outcomes not as inevitable but as one possibility among many. Looking at photographs this way, Azoulay thinks, can loosen events from their seeming inevitability and reveal that history didn’t have to proceed the way it did. Things could have been different. Viewing a photograph becomes a kind of reanimation: the still photograph begins to move, and though this motion cannot erase inequality, it can trouble oppression that might otherwise seem intractable. Azoulay understands that actions in the past are irreversible, yet she insists that photography introduces a kind of malleability, the potential for change. “The photograph is out there, an object in the world,” she writes, “and anyone, always (at least in principle), can pull at one of its threads and trace it in such a way as to reopen the image and renegotiate what it shows, possibly even completely overturning what was seen in it before.

Quotes source: How We Should Respond to Photographs of Suffering

Beauty under my naked eyes

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket save it for a rainy day ~ Perry Como

Snowflake

It’s snowing. Finally, I’ve been waiting for it. The last time it snowed was on Christmas. As it falls, I tried catching a flake. As soon as it touches my skin, it melts into water. I figured that my body temperature is not cold enough to keep it for a second or two. Trying to take a photo using an iPhone 6 seemed to be a futile activity, but I persevered. This flake stayed long enough, and I have used a burst of shots.

Since it rains so much here in Vancouver, it’s so easy to forget the snow.

Snowflakes

Today is a good day to inspect the snow.  The air is so dry and the flakes are hardly sticking.  I tried looking at the snow on various surfaces and colours. Red, blue, green, yellow, orang, umbrella, nettings, plants and even on my jacket.  It’s was fascinating to seem them glitter like diamonds.  

The snowflake makes its first appearance in recorded history when people identified individual snow crystals—with their distinctive six-fold symmetry—as the constituent elements of falling snow. The earliest known account was in 135 B.C., when Chinese scholar Han Yin wrote “Flowers of plants and trees are generally five-pointed, but those of snow, which are called ying, are always six-pointed.”

Subsequent Chinese writers mentioned snowflake symmetry as well, an example being the 6th-century poet Hsiao Tung, who penned: “The ruddy clouds float in the four quarters of the cerulean sky. And the white snowflakes show forth their six-petaled flowers.”

“The snow crystals . . . come to us not only to reveal the wondrous beauty of the minute in Nature, but to teach us that all earthly beauty is transient and must soon fade way. But though the beauty of the snow is evanescent, like the beauties of the autumn, as of the evening sky, it fades but to come again.” ~ Wilson A. Bentley

Photographs and Memories

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust

IMG_1179

Youngest cousin surrounded by older (Instamatic Camera)

Memories:  This is one of the very few prints I kept using simple instamatic disposable cameras. I can’t even remember who the baby was, for we had so many of them — looking at this photo brought back memories of me when I was maybe four or five. My brother was just born, the youngest in our family. My siblings and I were at the foot of the bed, watching the baby in awe. A fluid was dripping from my nose, stuck out my tongue to like it. 

It’s strange how my brain conjured this memory. Maybe my brain is telling me that what I see in my mind is essential versus what I see.

A lady bird landed on my arm. (Canon camera)

Symbolism and Meaning:  A ladybug landed on my arm when I was on one of my pilgrim walks. The other pilgrim said it’s a sign of luck that Mother Mary came to visit This belief is based on Christianity. One thing I know for sure, when I see a ladybug, it brings out the happiness in me.

The other day, I was watching “The Dig” on Netflix. It’s a true story that happened in 1939 that changed England’s history where they dug up a burial site of an elaborate ship filled with treasures. One of the items they found is a well preserved yellow ladybird. What’s fascinating is the treasures were carbon-dated during the early Anglo-Saxon period around 410 to 1055. 

I wonder what made them carry this object. Is it for divine protection for the afterlife?

Medjugorje Christ Statue (instamatic camera)

Pilgrimage:   Returning from spiritual travel, folks always ask for a photo to support stories I tell them. They want to see pictures of churches, masses, the incorruptible, and miracles such as a dancing sun or an apparition. Really!?! Maybe, I can photoshop some of my pictures. But I don’t. What you see is what you get.  

When I was at Medjugorje, an imposing larger than life, Christ Risen bronze statue stood at the square. I noticed a man wiping the knee of the sculpture. When he was gone, I went to inspect what he did. The statue is solid to the touch but hollow inside. Touching the knee, I cannot determine what the man saw. I just stood there baffled, and then I saw a trickle of water dripping down. Interesting. Where is this condensation coming from, I thought. I even checked if there’s a water valve attached to the statue to fill the hollow part. Nothing. So I wiped the water off with my hand. It has no smell. I looked at the knee with great intent and saw water forming like a tear. I wiped it again, checked if there is a hole on the knee. Nothing. The tear-life liquid leaks again. I was mystified. 

Did I take a photo of the liquid? Unfortunately not. I’m not a photographer equipped with all the proper camera. All I have is a story.

For those who believe no miracle is enough, for those who believe no miracle is necessary.”

Apparently, a liter of liquid comes out of the statue daily.  There are oral testimonies that it is can cure illness.  On the scientific level performed, it’s 99% water with traces of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur and zinc.  The Church does not comment on the phenomenon.

Stripes over Checks

“London Bridge is falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.”  I was humming this in my head on my way to see the bridge before it gets darker.  I don’t know how far it was.  In my furious bambling to reach the destination, this wall stopped me on my track. 

The optical illusion was so mesmerizing that I need to get a shot of it.  Suddenly, I heard a commotion behind me.

Stop! Wait!

Turning around, three young men running towards me, giggling.

“Hey, mate, you just can’t take a picture of a blank wall,” said one lad with a twinkling in his eyes.

“Oh yeah? Why don’t you boys go ahead and pose for me to make the wall look pretty?”  I said.

You just got to love the Brits.

It’s OK to not be OK

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur!
Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr!

My idea of having a good time lately is having healthy cats, bird watching, and walking around checking the surrounding gardens.  Living alone, I can withstand quiet moments. Don’t get me wrong; I am not a hermit.  I see people daily and have incidental warm conversations with strangers to add a pep to our life.

Self-isolation and social distancing is not a big deal since I am an introvert living with mental health issues.  When Covid started, I am well into my second year of self-isolation to stabilize my health.  When the government imposed health rules to manage the transmission, I am more equipped to handle the situation.  I am OK with this.

Lately, more people are having mental health issues due to lockdown, isolation, or keep a small bubble.  My heart goes out to those who are now showing clinical symptoms of mental illness.  I am not OK with this.

Please seek help.

January 28 is the annual Let’s Talk day sponsored by Bell kicks off.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian mental health programs for every applicable text, local or long-distance call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, every Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. All at no cost to participants beyond what they would normally pay their service provider for online or phone access.

Join us!

Six Women at the VAG

As the old saying goes, a good teacher shows you where to look but doesn’t tell you what to see.

Six women by Bharti Kher at VAG

An artist paints. The viewer looks and searches to find meaning in what they see. Texture. Color. Emotion. Intellect. Don’t let the artist’s thoughts change your views.

In black and white, seeing the world without colors helps me see the raw emotion in front of me. Colors emit mixed emotions. Red for anger. Blue for serenity. Yellow for mellow.

Having six women looking at a panel of painting will result to different emotions.

Six women by Bharti Kher at VAG

Obscuring their faces to concentrate on their body postures and contours will also ignite our feelings. Neck. Shoulders. Breast. Abdomen. Hands. Legs. Feet. Nakedness. Age.

And I thought they must have been very good looking when they were younger and elegant with clothes on — my, my, how our body changed. Many women are so proud of their bodies. Taking the utmost care to appear sexy. I was once like them. Full of vanity. In my aging body, mine is no different than theirs.

Six women by Bharti Kher at VAG

These are life-size plasters of women that appear to be meditating. This is my interpretation. No meaning. Sometimes, I prefer it that way. I don’t want to know. I am afraid to know. Fear seems to be the strongest emotion.

It’s better to play a game in my head.

Who are these six women. What if I call them female. Is being a female the same thing as a woman. What if one is not really female. Is the man trapped in a female body? Did the man have a sex change?

How about six generations. Which one is the great grandmother, grandmother, mother, daughter, granddaughter, niece? Do they all live together? What kind of relationship do they have? Healthy? Loving? Caring? Obedient?

Ah, that sounds much better. My emotion is starting to feel positive.

Six women by Bharti Kher at VAG

I am so glad that these figures are colorless.  Devoid of race.  

How close was my imagination, I wonder. 

In every artwork, there is a brief description that I read last so that it will not influence my thoughts.  And it reads:

Six Women, 2013-15
plaster, wood, resin
Courtesy of the Artist and Hauser & Wirth

In her most recent work, Six Women, Bharti Kher cast the bodies of female sex workers living in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), the capital of India’s West Bengal state and home to one of the country’s largest brothel-based sex industries.  The women were paid by the artist to sit and be cast in plaster by her.  These six individuals provide not only an arresting and unapologetic representation of the aging female body as a counterpoint to social pressures to stay forever young, but they also serve as witnesses to the disregard for women who have obliged the patriarchy.

A Year of Finding Things Out

Miracle.  All of it!  That’s the sum total of my year.

Pineapple Sage

There are miracles and miracles.  It is regarded as a miracle if God does someone’s will.  The best miracle is if someone does the will of God.

For two years, I nurtured the pineapple sage from sampling to maturity.  It grew into a huge bush, mostly leaves.  Pleading to the plant to please, please, please, flower for me; even just one flower.  It did not.  Maybe I placed it on the wrong side of the garden where it only receives 6 hours of full sun.  I thought, next year, I have to give this plant a rest.  On the first day of winter,  I saw the most beautiful shade of red. It’s flowering despite low temperature and snow.

I knitted you in your mother’s womb.

Oh, baby, baby.  Our newest addition to our family, Sawyer, finally moved closer to home, from the east coast to the west coast at the beginning of this year.  Needless to say, we are all ecstatic.  I am proud to say I knitted this blanket that he is finally growing into.  The pattern is called minted square.  One square is completely different from the rest — an error – I found out when it’s all finished.  That’s okay.  Sawyer wouldn’t notice the difference.

All good things are wild, and free.

The annual camping tradition was not canceled.  Thank goodness our provincial park did not close our playground due to the virus.  We were good abiding citizens and practiced social distancing during camping.  The kids booked their own campsite side by side and we have one big site for communal all day cooking and eating.  The pleasure of being simple in the woods, keeping voices low, not breaking the sound of silence, and kumbaya is the balm to these city slickers’ souls.

You Rock Garden Helpers

Just go with the flow, said the stone to the river and I’ll wait right here.

Apart from growing plants, painted rocks are additional ornaments to brighten the garden.  Inspirational and spreading kind words written on the rocks such as joy, love, peace, live life pass it on, you rock, gratitude, etc. is becoming the norm.  I must say I enjoy reading them.

Humans, eat your heart out, says a senior cat.

During the pandemic, people are keener on having pets to keep them company.  This senior cat got it made having a human servant to push her carriage around.  I am happy for the cat yet feeling a tinge of jealousy at the same time.  Jealous because I was thinking of those seniors in retirement, care, or nursing houses where their children cannot even visit them due to the restrictions.

The Peace of Wild Things

Pay attention to what gives you joy. These gifts of joy are meant to help us during times of desolation.

On my birthday, as the celebrant, I pick where I want to go with my golden ladies.  We are golden in terms of age.  There are three of us.  Trust me, I always take them where the wild things are.  This time destination Garry Point.  It’s a 75-acre waterfront part with an open and rolling landscape that provides spectacular vistas across the Salish Sea and beyond Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.  Snow geese are ubiquitous in this area.  Needless to say, it was another day to remember with the golden girls as we make memories and not count years.

Blowing kisses to Uncle Josh

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.

Two days after my birthday is another day to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos,  The Day of the Dead.  No better way to spend it in the boneyard on a beautiful autumn day to rattle and wake the skeletons, bring food on the sacred ground to feed the hungry ghost, and blow kisses to the faithfully departed.

It’s all about Grace.

If you think long enough about what you see in a cat, you begin to suppose you will understand everything, but its eyes tell you there is nothing to understand; there is only life.

Back at the beginning of the year, I adopted a cat named Grace.  I remember when she was a kitten.  When I used to stay overnight at her home, I wake up with Grace beside me.  She is so adorable, charming, and loving.  Lucy loves her.  How did she come into my life?  Well, because my younger cousin died.  She left behind three cats.  I don’t know who took the others.  With my cousin’s demise, Grace will always remind me of her.

What did I truly find out this year?  I found out that 2020 made me live with little of what I have.  I laugh at myself a lot.  There’s not a hell lot I can do.

Ending 2020 with a high note, I watched the Death of 2020.  This is the best monologue that I replayed over and over again.

With no cure for Covid in sight, life for millions has been reduced to a creepy and a seemingly an endless lockdowns.

I live on my own and after a while got so lonely.  I developed multiple personalities on purpose, so I can keep myself company.   But, then, of course, I had to try and keep two meters away from myself at all times.  Don’t know if you’ve ever tried doing that, but it’s a bloody nightmare.  So I started doing video calls to keep sociable.  I did so many, I sometimes glitch in real life now. Like, I just freeze now and then.

Wicked as what the brits would say.  I went to bed in stitches with a smile on my face.

Unshakable Hope

For years, I followed Bill Sweeney’s journey of Unshakable Hope living with ALS. There are many of us he provided guidance never to lose hope. We all wanted him to keep going. Forever.

Unshakable Hope Photo taken in 1996 pre ALS

This Christmas, he wrote:

This will be the shortest post I’ve written. It’s a post I never expected to write because I didn’t expect to be alive this Christmas.

Of my more than twenty-four years with ALS, the last month has been the toughest. Beginning around Thanksgiving, my breathing went from bad to worse. I fought so hard to write my previous post about the victory over death through Christ, thinking it would be my final post.

Bill and his family celebrated their last Christmas. On December 30, his wife Mary notified us that Bill has finished the race that was set before him. He has fought the good fight of faith, and is now receiving his reward. 

Thank you Mary and children for being there with Bill.

May perpetual light shine upon on Bill. 

 

What We Became

You should be writing!

This is the constant nagging I say to my sister, Susan. No need to write a book. Blog it! As it turns out, I became the secretary taking notes of bits and pieces of her stories. What’s helpful to draw the words from her mouth is to provide her questions.

  1. How did your devotion to Sto. Nino start?
  2. What about the Infant Jesus made your faith deeper or changed for the better?
  3. Can you share 1-2 he has done in your life?
  4. How do you share your devotion to Sto. Nino to Others?

In a way, these questions helped and I have to put the story around according to her words. I’m just the record keeper.

How did your devotion to Sto. Nino Start?
I was born and lived in Davao. My devotion started when I was younger, visiting the Shrine of Infant Jesus of Prague in Davao City. I also carry a mini statue of Infant with me to keep Him close to my heart.

What about the Infant Jesus made your faith deeper or changed for the better?
My mother moved us to Manila to further our higher education. As for me, I followed the footsteps of my mother as a professional dressmaker. Even though my hands are busy sewing, my thoughts are with Infant, having a constant conversation with him.

One of my dreams was to go abroad to Canada. I prayed to the Infant to make it possible. And He did. This is how I came to Canada in 1970. In 1972, two years later, I married Larry, a Canadian. On our wedding day, instead of carrying a bouquet, I held the mini Infant in my hand and a bible in my other hand. Soon I became a citizen of Canada.

Second was to bring my mother and my six siblings to Canada. But I can’t without owning a house. My husband and I purchased a house in Burnaby to accommodate them. With a constant prayer to the Infant, it happened. They arrived in Canada in 1976.

Third was to have children, even just one. No matter how much my husband and I tried, it was hard for me to conceive. With the intercession of Infant, my lovely daughter was born after nine years. My only child. My faith in the Infant is so deep and couldn’t be any better. I carry Him in my soul.

Can you share 1-2 he has done in your life?
The events above are already a miracle for me. To come to Canada, married a faithful husband, bring my family, and have a child. Personally, my devotion to Infant made me calm, cool and collected. Joy replaced fear. When one is joyful, no matter how challenging the situation is, it becomes manageable.

For example, I failed my driving test four times. I needed to pass it because I have to help my husband to drive. On the fifth time, I prayed to the Infant to help me pass the driving exam so I can visit Him in Prague. I did! Subsequently, I applied for an international license because we would travel to Europe for the first time. Imagine me driving at the autobahn all over Europe at a lightning speed of 160 km/hour! This is the start of my beautiful journey with Infant Jesus of Prague in 1998.

In Prague, I met Fr. Jerome, assistant of Fr. Anastasio. The nuns are the guardians of the Infant. They are the only ones who can touch and change the garments of the Holy Infant. However, the Holy Spirit touched their hearts and allowed me to touch Infant. The first time I held the Infant, he felt very much alive as a real child. He was glowing. On other occasions, I was allowed to change his clothing.

Holy Infant Jesus of Prague, Susan Papas Hauck and The Guardian

How do you share your devotion to Sto. Nino to Others?
When I returned to Canada, I started a group devotion to Infant Jesus of Prague at Guardian Angels Parish in Vancouver, where we instilled the first Holy Infant Jesus of Prague statue. I travel to Prague two or three times a year to obtain a replica of the Infant for other countries such as the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, USA, Tobago, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Malta, Trinidad, Tanzania. Due to Covid restrictions, traveling is on hold. Uganda has to wait. I also bring the statue of Holy Infant to sick people at the hospital and their homes

As a note taker, this helps my sister write personal information for other ministries in promotion faith sharing on Infant Jesus of Prague.

You may also want to visit these posts:

  1. I Have A Dream
  2. The Power of Tiny
  3. Let The Children Play
  4. Interview Dec 12/13 2020 Virtual Conference In UK

Blessed Days To All.

Christmas Time

Stonehenge, UK.

Today is Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter. It is the shortest day that celebrates light triumphing over darkness, and as the day ends, we prepare for a new year.

In 2018, we welcomed the winter solstice at Stonehenge, UK. We said goodbye to long days of darkness and rejoice in the coming of Christmas.

Lights of Hope

Let there be Light of Hope is the message of St. Paul’s Hospital Church. It’s the time of year that we remind the Star of Bethlehem shone brightly to light up the path for the three wise men. This year, the Star of Bethlehem will be visible on the horizon. Jupiter and Saturn will align in the night sky on Dec. 21, also referred to as the “Christmas Star” — marking the planets’ closest encounter in nearly 400 years. The two planets may appear as a bright light point that will be easily visible in the night sky.

Christmas Decorations

Every year, my sister sets up Christmas decorations for the children equipped with Santa’s workshop, electric train, angels, snow, christmas carols. Here’s little Jimmie is so proud to show off his twinkle toes.

Little born Henrik

To see a baby snuggly ensconced with a knitted baby blanket smiling in his sleep is the centerpiece that makes the Christmas atmosphere peaceful. But in reality, we were all gogo-gaga around Henrik, making noises to wake him so that we can all take turns to carry and play with him.

We are a family

Family: A crazy bunch of people who deeply care for each other, who live, laugh, forgive, dance and love together.

Mother

I think this is the last Christmas photo of my mother. Christmas for us is all about celebrating the birth of Infant Jesus.

Susan Hauck at the Church of Nativity, Holy Land

My sister is a Jesus freak in a good way. Here she is at the Church of Nativity carrying Infant Jesus. She managed to have her photo taken before the guardian of the church said to the crowd that the statue is off-limits to visitors. Too funny, that she was the only one who got away with holding the infant. When it comes to telling me the story, it’s really difficult for her to share stories of miracles about her experiences as a servant of Infant Jesus.

The center of the holiday season in my family is Christ-mas. It’s all about the birth of Jesus whether we lose faith, we always return to Him.

On Christmas, we gather around telling tales, jokes, memories, eating, drinking, singing. There is one great story of my sister Susan on lost and found.

One thing that I find miraculous is when I lost my mini statue in Mexico in 1997. While in Mexico, I went to church daily and prayed to Our Lady of Guadalupe that I want my Baby Jesus back. I was so heartbroken leaving Mexico without him. Many years passed, in 1999, my friend contacted me if I am interested in receiving bales of clothing coming from Montreal for free. My first thought was it would be great to sell them for fundraising to pay for Novena booklets’ production. So I accepted 19 bales of clothing. I discovered when I opened the bales, they were second-hand clothing and not brand new. I was disappointed, left the clothes for three months, and did not do anything about them. My daughter and her friends opened two bales just for fun to check them out. My daughter found some clothing for her and left it on the kitchen table. I moved the clothes to another area of the house, and something fell off. It was a mini statue of the Infant, and I just put it with the rest of my alter. This happened on Holy Thursday. On Easter Sunday morning, I was praying the rosary. When I reached the 4th mystery, The Presentation of Child Jesus at the Temple, I heard a voice: “I came back to you.” I ignored it and returned to my prayers. As I recited the 5th Joyful Mystery, “Finding Jesus in the Temple,” I heard the voice again: “I came back to you. Remember, you’ve lost me?” When I listened to this, I remembered the statue that fell off from the clothing, and I quickly went down to look at it. When I honestly look at the figure, my Baby Jesus I lost in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, three years ago. I checked all the clothing tags to appease me, and it said: “Made in Mexico.” With the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Baby Jesus came back to me.

Christmas 2019

From my family to yours, we wish everyone a Blessed Christmas. We made it this far!

.

Write. Read. Wrong?

Write. That is a complete sentence — a full statement.

Having learned how to write, it becomes an obsession. I still prefer longhand writing using the old cursive loops. Sometimes, I can’t write fast enough as fast as I think. I can’t write them all. Just as well, maybe it’s not that important. Yet, writing to me is a compulsion. I am a compulsive obsessive writer. Sometimes, I write on white space using my breath and a window. It leaves no trail. Poof.

white space

There is a box full of spiral notebooks accumulation of my writings. I don’t read them. I write my thoughts to make room for more thoughts. I am not a writer. Nor do I want anyone to read my innermost thoughts. Hence, I started purging. Again.

Lucy obsess with my torn up writings.

If I had written negative about somebody else, and then they surprised me by behaving completely differently to how I had characterized them, I might say, “Well, they made me eat my words” (in hindsight, this may embarrass or even pleasantly surprise me. Should it’s embarrassing, I have to take back whatever negative remarks I made about them). Is it better to put my foot in my mouth or to eat my own words? Idiomatic.

Nowadays, most of my writings consist of groceries or a things-to-do list.

End result of purging my writings served on a plate.

Nothing has been written that hasn’t been said before. So I use some writings as a quote and unquote. Quotes are better.

I recently used a quote and posted it as a comment on Donald J. Trump’s Facebook page.

"The SCOTUS isn't insane enough to be on Trump's side. 
He will lose again. This makes me happy. 
Trump is a horrible human being."

Note that this was posted previous to the SCOTUS decision. I truly have no idea how the Rule of Law will swing nor how SCOTUS will respond.

Much to my surprise and amazement, this comment received more than 1.5K replies, all inflammatory directed at me. Aside from that, I received messages via Messenger. Some visited my personal public FB page, left a trail of laughing and angry emoji. Some were bold enough to write comments. The good thing is that FB is smart enough to filter their comments. All I have to do is delete them. Easy peasy.

Read! Doesn’t anyone know how to read at all? It’s a quote. Geez.

One exception. One person read. One person really knows how to read. And I quote:

*Daamnn its sad over 1000 people never heard of quotation marks…youre almost famous now lol”

Wow! Wow…wow…wow…you actually caught the quote. You are the only person that paid attention to what I posted. If this is a lottery, you won the jackpot. I responded.

“Ya…it looks like [they] were screwed tho.” He responded.

Write. Read. Wrong?

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Resident Ladybug in Basil

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures, great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Resident Hummingbird in my backyard

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

Bumper crop

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The world is our playground

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Alexander, Cecil Frances (1828 – 1895) wrote this poem to help explain to children the Apostles’ Creed’s opening words, a Christian statement of belief. She was known to be a generous woman who cared for the poor and opened a school for the deaf with her sister.

Portraits of Society

January

It was a busy night of shopping. January sales all over the city. Even though it was cold, shoppers are taking advantage of the event. I notice a group of men warming up to a good conversation field with laughter drinking Starbucks coffee. One man has a sign hanging from his neck, scrawled “Free Hugs.” People passed him by, not even glancing at him. Nobody wants a hug from him. But I did. It was that hug from a stranger that warmed me on a cold night in January, and I can still feel the memory lingering in my mind.

February

The day starts early for us to prepare healthy home cooked meals at the soup kitchen. Hundreds of people come here not just for food but also to warm up and meet common folks like me. We are the hoi polloi talking the talk and walking the walk. The hoity-toity will not survive here.

March

Oppenheimer Park across the soup kitchen was a tent city inhabited by the homeless. Some are addicted to drugs and alcohol. The combination of these could is deadly. The homeless take care of one another. They erected a first aid tent. Do not go to the park on your own was the first advice from the soup kitchen. But I did. One thing I noticed, they love their pets.

April

I love purchasing calendars for fundraising purposes. Megaphone features winning photos taken with disposable devices distributed in the Downtown Eastside. One of my favorite vendors has the most beautiful smile even though she is physically challenged, using an electric wheelchair to get around the city. This is her livelihood.

May

his vehicle has so many stories to tell, from reality to religious decals, such as: “You mean shopping for more useless crap isn’t the meaning of life?”; “Cheer for Canda!”; “Jesus is coming. look busy.” What a fascinating vehicle. The owner of the car has so many stories, too. One thing that stayed in my mind how it all started was due to a mid-life crisis. Yes, he is still married. Yes, he has a good job. Yes, he has children. They all are still together — what a fascinating man.

‘Everything’s a story. You are a story. I am a story.’ ~Frances Hodgson Burnett

You Should Be Writing

Recently, WordPress sent me a happy anniversary notification. Wow. At least someone remembers me. After that, I was notified that my Personal account is set to expire on January 15, 2021. Thank you again, WordPress, for the friendly reminder.

You Should Be Writing! I see this all the time from another site that I subscribe to, Writing about writing. This is another fun place that I spend time reading, not writing. 

Yep! Been busy writing. Writing comments (my opinion) on FaceBook. I know I can be opinionated objectively. I am not a hater. I do not attack. I do not post emojis or GiFs (god, I hate those!) because I should be writing.

BAMM! Haters and spammers, beware. Haters receive vitriol awards while spammers are reported to FB admin with a reply “spammer reported.” Oh, they easily remove their content. I go further and check out the rest that they replied to all commenters. I received applause, thank you, like, and love from commenters. This is just something to do while I entertain myself during Covid times. Desperate measures in desperate times bored to kingdom come.

Since FB has difficulty banning hate speech on posts and commenters, I am taking this matter and using Thor’s hammer. I wonder how many users I can block? I’ve lost count.

Goodness. I do receive some good responses and people with a sense of humor. Those are the best. For example, I respond to this comment when our good doctor decided to prohibit all religious sites from having services for the next two weeks. (This news did not go well) Anyway, the conversation goes … thread.

SN: It baffles me too. Restaurants, bars, and even schools remain open, but you can’t attend church! This is starting to look like the government take over!

Me: SN, I posted the same thing on different media. Churches have been good in the prior mandate of 50 max attendees; they use masks, and only two people in a pew every other row. Transits, trains, restaurants, bars, cinemas, malls are high traffic. If the government has to mandate, it has to be objective and universal. The media’s first focus was the temples, now the Catholics. What’s next?

Someone chimed in:

PM: The government will place an agent in your house, and you’ll be prevented from any form of worship. This happens on Monday. Afternoon.

Me: That would be really nice. I hope the agent is not allergic to cats.

PM: hahaha. I hope he loves cats.

Me: I sure hope so; cats are gods. I worship them. Tee hee.

PM: I like them, but my dogs take exception to cohabit with a cat(s). My dogs discovered eBay and sold the cats.

Me: Laughing hard. This is way too funny. Dogs are just way too smart than the masters, I want to have a dog, too, but my cats insist on total loyalty.

PM: my dog is smarter and better looking than I ever was. (Sent me a picture of his dog.)

Me: Well, but wisdom comes with age and good humor. This is one handsome canine. This dog reminded me of my Doberman many years ago.

We both had a good conversation outside a sensitive topic.

Back to writing about writing. I did make one contribution to the community, and it went very well amongst the writers.

WordPress: Please do not feel neglected. I am still you’re number one fan. I love it here; feeling secured from spammers and the community of bloggers is tremendously wonderful.

FaceBook: You could do better.

A life for life. A wonderful ending.

Gallery

Listening to my elders, sharing their war stories fascinates me. I enjoy knowing the gory details and understanding how they came to live a full life after the war. My Uncle “Tito Jess” is the best story-teller ever. In my … Continue reading

Goodreads

As much as I enjoy writing, I prefer to read the fine prints.

A good chair, books and beverage are ways of promoting literacy in this area of Gastown. These are permanent fixtures for art lovers. Most folks bring their own reading materials and use the char.

This one is my favourite step in Lonsdale Quay. It reminds me of the book I give to my nephews or nieces once they graduated from high school. I bought one for myself.

Sidewalks are perfect for finding Goodreads. I am not sure if this is my photo I found on my iPhone.

Cultivating Creativity

Most of my topic is about gardening. Gardening involves a lot of cultivation that includes my whole being. It’s my way of being creative. Planting a seed and let it bloom is the best part.

Manobo boy and his Kudyapi

Don’t even think that this is Picasso. No siree. My brother painted this originally on a canvass. I challenged him to paint it on my leather jacket. And he did and not doing it again for anybody. I proudly wear this jacket and advertise his work.

Hills Where the Lord Hides

My brother and I seems to get along well when it comes to being creative in our own ways. He paints and sends me photos of his work-in-progress. I take a good look at his work, critique and provide my observation. I enjoyed writing about this piece “Hills Where the Lord Hides.”

Me: Beautiful landscape with blended colours that makes us follow the solid ground towards the Hill. Magnifique.

Him: Thanks for noticing, good eye!

Me: One has to really think and feel what the painting is for me, not just the eye. I could easily say something simple which is boring … tee hee

Him: It’s the eye that senses the painting. Then you feel and think.

Me: Not to mention the horizon is stunning that complements the rest of the painting. A cloudless sky and the sun has just set.

Him: Now you have pointed it, yes, a cloudless sky and the sun setting. Thanks.

I wrote a Haiku on this:

My reason for going
Chuck Mangione played to death
Hill Where the Lord Hides

The following day, he told me this piece is SOLD to the highest bidder in Thailand!

Dan S. Siglos, Painter

Currently, my brother is creating a comic style painting of our family. We are enjoying this activity as he paints from the oldest to the youngest in a huge canvass and I create a blurb. The blurb stays between me and him. Or maybe I will share it later.

This is Dan S. Siglos self-portrait (not Picasso), stepping on a snake. The snake is the symbol of evil. My brother is fearless. The meaning behind this is “Fear No Evil.” I understand what he means knowing what he has gone through.

I shall update and post more of the comic painting next time.

With my cats, I am contented in my sanctuary.

Lesson No. 1: A cat is quite content to be a cat.

Maurice

“If you think long enough about what you see in a cat, you begin to suppose you will understand everything, but its eyes tell you there is nothing to understand, there is only life.” Leonard Michaels

My cats helped me define myself, just to be, to have inner peace. Every since I started living on my own, without companionship, I will be suffering on my own. Being with the cats, they are very sensitive to my needs in such a way they will just sit beside me saying “Here I Am.”

Looking back in my old post, I want to include this to remind myself that the Earth is a sanctuary.

IMG_7816

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with a new light.
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer from memory.
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.

An Ute Prayer via Education for Justice

The Philosophy Of Mental Illness

I haven’t written about mental health for a long time not because I am healed. Far from it. It’s because there are so many people feeling some grade of mental illness due to the COVID pandemic. The opening sentence “We’re all mostly insane” made me laugh. In retrospect, I really could use a dose of insanity to put some humor in my life.

Banter Republic

We’re all mostly insane. I visited a family once and I must say that even though insanity didn’t run in that family, I’m convinced it strolled through, taking time to get to know each of them personally. I should have known. The first warning sign was that they all talked at the top of their voice. This one time the dad was speaking to me, and I had to remind him, in the most respectful manner, that I was only just five feet away, and that I could hear him clearly. He paused for a bit and increased the volume. Crase

What is Mental illness? Mental illness in it’s purest form is shaving off your entire eyebrows, only to draw them back on with a pencil. It doesn’t get more accurate than that. A close second will be shaving your entire hair and then proceeding to prance around in…

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Thinking of Winter in the Middle of Summer

I could really use an ice-cold drink as cold as winter.

Ice Cold Drink

Yesterday, I was speaking to a man who moved to BC from Ontario because his family cannot stand another winter or summer further up north.

nightime

In Vancouver, our winter is becoming milder and milder. We used to have plenty of snow and frozen city lakes. The temperature only goes down to -10 celsius. I miss those days when we can actually go cross country skiing in our city parks.

Vancouver Snowman

No more snow days.

 

 

Falling for Autumn

Autumn is my second best season next to spring. These are some of my favourite shots from the archive.

Dance

First, we celebrate labour day. Still warm enough to go dancing in the park for young at hearts. It’s one of the biggest gathering knowing that it’s the last party season as we end summer.

Autumn of our life

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.” ― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Garden or Cemetery

Combining festival of the dead and preparing a plot for fall garden is a sure way of having fun. Kales are the best to grow during cold season. As for the skeleton, we have to wait how it will mature or whether it will grow some bone spurs.

 

The Great Pumpkin

I want this one!

HA! Must have the biggest pumpkin to harvest from the patch. It would take a long time to carve this one.

Forget Me Not

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom at Metrotown

My reason for going
Err in the side of caution
Sakura spring blooms

It’s so beautiful to see the Cherry trees in full bloom in spring. Japan Sakura Festival is one of the significant events in welcoming the arrival of a new season, a new beginning, a new life. Here I stand, in an empty parking lot at Metrotown, celebrating spring. The fragrance of the flowers permeates the entire lot—no exhaust fumes to contend with.

Bonsor Pipeline

Bonsor Pipeline skate rink.

You are limitless
Grown-up man springing along
Lone never lonely

It was exciting to watch him rolling away all by himself in the skating rink. Usually, this place is pack with people. The weather is mild and overcast, a typical spring day. There are so many ways to continue your daily activities on your own as long as we practice self-distancing.

Shangri La

Vancouver Art Gallery’s Offsite exhibition in 2010 located at the Wild Bird Trust sanctuary

Shangri La to Shangri La
Community of squatters
Springtimes and sweaters

Forest bathing at Wild Bird Trust Sanctuary is a perfect spot to go thoreau-ing. “I love to see clear crystalline water flowing out of a swamp over white sand and decayed wood, spring-like.—Journal, 18 July 1852.” A breath of fresh air, birds friendly enough to eat on my hand, red and green buds emerging from the branches and twigs, plenty of room for a quiet reflection and contemplation amidst the turmoil what this new virus brings about. The meditative journey gave our inner self to expand and make room to focus on what is essential in life.

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not garden

Forget Me Not fleurs
A gift that keeps on giving
Spring twenty twenty

Out of the blue, this plant suddenly appeared in my garden. I let it stayed. Two years later, I am delighted to see how beautiful it is to have a mass growing in the garden this spring.

Legend said that God named all the flowers except for this one tiny plant. As God was about to leave, the plant cried out: “Forget me not, O Lord!” The Lord decided, “That shall be your name.”

“I would like to use this little flower as a metaphor. The five petals of the little forget-me-not flower prompt me to consider five things we would be wise never to forget….first, forget not to be patient with yourself…second, forget not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice…third, forget not to be happy now…fourth, forget not the why of the gospel…fifth, forget not that the Lord loves you.”
― Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Forget Me Not

 

Plant your own garden, Decorate your own soul

Plant your own garden

Layla Pie and Miss Pretty planting the hydrangea

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises. 

Summer rain

Weather forecast for the first day of summer. Rain.

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain.
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

Lavenders

Lavender Harvest. A good day. Rain the following day.

After a while, you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

Bouquet of flowers

Flower girl.

And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn and learn.
With every goodbye, you learn.

 

Note:
I originally posted this title on June 13, 2013, here. According to Dear Abby, it was a poem AFTER A WHILE by Veronica Shoffstall. Much to my surprise, this is my top post and most visited. As a curious person, I wonder who Veronica Shoffstall is?

In my searches, I cannot find a reliable source to indicate that Veronica is the real author. In the Urban 75 forum, this question Who is Veronica Shoffstall came up. Apparently, it was a Spanish poem written by Jorge Luis Borges. With the help of google translating it to English, much to my surprise (again} so it was his poetry.

I really don’t know whether it was plagiarism. That is not for me to judge. I just want to throw some more light into the validity of who I am quoting.

At any rate, it’s still beautiful poetry.

 

Thanks Again, John

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to reach out to everyone here at OLPH and say thank you!

Thank you for your kind messages, wisdom, thoughts, prayers, and support; it has really made a difference in my life during these difficult past few weeks. Me and my family truly appreciate the support and prayers, and we will never forget that. I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the OLPH community by my side throughout this all.

Thank you to Lora for Sandra for your sincere understanding.

Thank you to Lyn and Gail and anyone else who helped organize a beautiful bouquet of flowers to be sent to my Mother.

OLPH Staff

From OLPH Staff

My family is very blessed to have had my Dad!

James Lochhead Logan

James Lochhead Logan Lovingly Remembered

 

Jim Logan

Jim Logan Lovingly Remembered

I hope you don’t mind I share some photos with you all.

Evelyn Logan

Mom and the Logan siblings

It feels great to be back in the building with our wonderful students, by the way.

The Logans

The Logans

Thanks again and have a great rest of your week.

Johnnie Logan

Graduation: UBC-Bachelor of Education, CapU-Bachelor of Jazz Music