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!”

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

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.

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!

.

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

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.

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

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.

 

Punctuation

Tranquillity seems to ooze from this light, blue-grey that inspires moments of quiet meditation. This soothing shade creates a look of elegance and simplicity. – Benjamin Moore

IMG_1360

Meet Grace, a new addition in my sanctuary, another lifeline, for me.

Grace is a very quiet cat, hardly meows. Looking at her has a calming effect on me as well as my other feline companion, Lucy.

it’s funny to watch my cats after eating catnip zoning out. A whiff of this plant soothes me, as well. Catnip tea has the calming effect on humans, but I prefer Chamomile.

Miles Fly By

Moses at Mt. Nebo

At Mt. Nebo overlooking the Promised Land

It’s a long road to freedom, a winding steep and high.
But when you walk in love with the wind on your wing,
And cover the earth with the songs you sing,
The miles fly by. (Song by Medical Mission Sisters)

It was a hazy, hot day when I took this shot from the top of Mt. Nebo. I can’t even tell you what the Promised Land is? There are so many roads that would take you there, but the question is what path to take.

Santiago de Compostela The Way

The Road

From this road, it appears that the path I thread on was smooth. Paved. Hot on my feet. Vehicles zooming by. I wished for trees along the way to shelter from the blistering sun. There were no short cuts but to stick to this road until we reach our destination.

A thought came up recently from one of the articles I read.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Santiago de Compostela The Way

An elderly couple walking hand in hand

Metaphorically speaking, the road is the way to a destination. Roads have mostly been destroyed to use the comfort of a vehicle. Fast. Furious. Get those rocks off my road!

I’ve been thinking lately about my sister and her husband, who passed away recently. When her husband had his first bout of illness, the doctor gave my sister something to think about. The sickness is operable but no guarantee of a good result. It’s either the blood clot in his brain to be left alone, live a good quality of life and monitor his health.

My sister, with her infinite wisdom as a nurse, opted to provide a quality of life for her husband as she made a vow for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health at their wedding.

Santiago de Compostela The Way Fog

The fog of unknowing

From then on, we entered into a foggy road having to stick together along the path. We cannot see what’s ahead, nor can we know what’s behind us.

FOG. F.O.G. How can I eliminate this fog on the road? A light in my head and I thought. FOG. Focus on Gratitude. FOG. Focus on God. FOG. Focus on Goodness. I could think of so many meanings of fog.

Miles flew by.

Many events and memories happened between my sister and her husband. Their two younger children graduated from high school, entered university and received their diploma. Some got married and four grandchildren soon. They travelled. A lot. Two significant trips that they have wanted to do: Holy Land and going back home to New Zealand, the birthplace of her husband.

Five years. Ten years. Fifteen years.

Santiago de Compostela  Map

Map guide starting from France to Santiago de Compostela

To be on the road, we need a map to guide us to our destination to provide us with some knowledge of the place. But the path we take is more important than the roadmap. In our way, it becomes personal how we face the unknown, exploring the possibilities of quality life instead of quantity.

My brother-in-law lived for another 15 wonderful years receiving the best care one can ever get from my sister.

Back to the question: “Where do I see myself in 5 years?”

My answer: Alive.

 

Saturated

I am using the word saturated instead after finding out that “All Wet” is a slang word during the 1920s, meaning “full of crap!” Please note that I am not implying that your post in this week’s Lens-Artist is cr*p but quite the contrary. You are all brilliant!

rain and ladybug

Phew… to save my skin, English is my second language, and I enjoy looking for meaning and definition of words and phrases.

Are you thinking of visiting the beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada? If you are, it’s essential and fashionable that you bring an umbrella. Out of 365 days in a year, we get at least 180 days of rain. It’s only water, and nothing stops us from staying outdoors.

Vancouver Rain

Another thing that is useful here is to bring your rubber boots with your rubber ducks to add fun to your adventure in the rain.

It’s raining, the children are splashing in the puddle, and I just have to join in.

depth puddle

Vancouver made a great impression on the world during the 2010 Olympics. To commemorate what an artist thinks of us is this “all wet” blue raindrop.

raindrop

The Drop at Vancouver Convention Centre

Now, that’s what I call “full of crap!>

100 days old and counting

It’s a celebration!

Happiness Square

For all those resilient folks returning to your old self that was your normal before becoming totally absorb having your cake and eat it, too, it’s time to celebrate life!

It has been more than 100 days since Covid became part of our daily vocabulary. We learned how to protect ourselves and others living in a bubble.

The old word bubble is back in style again.

How do you maintain your bubble? What old ways did you bring back to life to return to your old normal?

As for me, Covid or no Covid, I am normal as I can be until others changed their idea of what they think of me. Simple.

Bloom where you are planted

At the Manor, there are 48 suites with two or one-bedrooms and bachelor suits. Most of the people who live here are immigrants from the Chez Republic, Bosnia, India, Ireland, Iran, Korea, Japan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Yugoslavia and other countries that I can’t think of.

I am one of them.

Bee Home

The Birdhouse took over by bees.

Now, we are citizens of Canada. We made The Manor our home.

“O Canada, our home and native land” is the first line of our National Anthem.

Rock Garden

Front entrance rock garden.

The residents here are lovely, approachable and pleasant. We enjoy chatting from the balcony, window or entranceway as I potter around the garden. I must admit the garden is an icebreaker for many, even from passersby.

Flowers from the Garden

Bloom where you are planted.

One of the tenants took up photography and had a field day taking macro shots of all the flowers in the garden. The end product was framed and gifted to our lovely manager of the building.

When I cut flowers from my hard-earned gardening, these go to the manager as well.

Our Doors

Our Doors.

From single to couple to third-generation residency, I’ve witnessed them. Most of these people love to have their family around living in the same roof. It’s good to see a couple having a child or two and be able to bring a surviving parent to add the responsibility of taking care of their children.

Of course, I get to play with the children when they were younger in the garden.

Lucy and Grace

The Blue Room

Kindness plays a big important role in living in this community. If you are unkind, who else will help you but your neighbour?

I must admit I find myself special because the manager allowed me to paint my suite when I had one of my episodes on mental breakdown. The activity kept my focus away from living in my head.

The end result was brilliant.

Pistachio green paint in the living room, kitchen and hallway. A hint of a rose colour for the bathroom.  Skyblue for my bedroom to calm me down.

Oh, these little things, I am grateful.

List of Lies

One ear to another - Malta

Lies I’ve told my 4 year old recently

  • The mole men live in the subways.
  • The bird men live in the skies.
  • The monster doesn’t actually live under the bed (he’s hiding somewhere else nearby).
  • There are 71 flavors of snow, but only 63 flavors of water.
  • If you sing enough, you will never grow old.
  • Don’t worry, I lock up bad dreams in little cages.
  • Every good room has a ghost.
  • When we made you, we left part of ourselves behind so you would never be lonely.
  • Your shadow knows your secrets.
  • Books hide when they don’t want to be read.
  • Time moves faster when close your eyes.
  • You knew everything, but then you were born and forgot, and now you have to learn everything again.
  • Be nice to your brother, he will always be your best friend.
  • We’re not lost.
  • Moms and Dads never really get lost.
  • We know exactly where we’re going.

Memories found in my Facebook written by Kiki.

What lies have you told yourself lately?

Morning Wake Up Call

April 2020 Full Moon

Note to me: Wake up early. Full Moon. April 16. 2020.

This is a rare day for me to get up early just to witness the full moon high up. Usually, the moon rises from the east and very low on the ground at night. With my balcony facing west, I get a good view.

Most days, I do nothing but watch the stillness of the morning. Breathing the fresh air, looking at the full moon waning as the dawn breaks, listening to the silence.

Plant your garden

The sight of the garden is enough for me to brighten my day all year round. The poem I posted here is a reminder to plant my own garden, decorate my soul.

Crow Nesting

Again, from my balcony, there is plenty to amuse myself, especially the birds. Crows. Starlings. Finches. Woodpeckers. Robins. Seagulls. Sparrows. Hummingbirds. We feed them. Currently, the crow is busy building a nest on the holly tree. Crows are the least of my favourite because the smaller birds disappeared since they started nesting. And that’s ok. It’s only during the spring.

I'm through with love

Life is short without coffee drinking from my precious cup. The cup’s original writing is, “Fortunately, there’s still sex.” I have to change that now.

Thinking of sex, one has to be mindful of sexually transmitted diseases. AIDS was the number one killer then, now it’s COVID, and you don’t even have to have sex!

So, the trending word now is CATS.

Our local SPCA is busy providing cats and dogs as companions for all those lonely people during this shelter in place.

Thank God, I have cats. I’m alone but not lonely.

Cats

And here they are, all over me, waking me up to feed them breakfast. The time is past 9 a.m.

Aloha and Mahalo

Hello Peeps!

Hawaii (2)

No, I didn’t forget to get a spray tan, it’s me, I’m dead. Let’s not get into the details, but I’m embracing the weightlessness of afterlife. I’m not usually one for surprises but get ready for the adventure of a — well your — lifetime.

Instead of gathering you all down the road at a church, park, or something totally average and un-me, I’m inviting my besties and a few people who owe me from my living days to my destination funeral in Tulum (please use #Tulumeral).

Hawaii Diamond Head

This isn’t your Grandma’s funeral. I flew around the world, took weekends off, and maybe went into credit card debt for your birthdays, bachelorettes, weddings, second weddings, children’s birthday parties, mixers, whatever, so I’ll be cashing in this last favor. Get your Pilates bodies and designer wallets ready to fiesta in the name of your girl.

As described in my will (written via Notes App), the schedule is STACKED. Please review the itinerary below and RSVP to my mom. See you on the beach.

DAY 1: Set Your Intention (To Party)

Hawaii Hanahuma Bay

Please coordinate to stay at the eco-lodge. It’s $400 (American) a night. A steal. While I won’t have to deal with the impending apocalypse, I took the liberty of ensuring we stay somewhere that is preserving your home, Earth. You’re welcome. A yoga class will be held on the roof while an art piece projecting collages of images of me mashed with audio from my voicemail greeting plays. If you have photos to contribute, please contact Jordan, that artsy guy I dated last summer.

DAY 2: Open Casket & Open Bar!

Hawaii Rest

I’ve arranged for a little bit of the funds from my Save The Goldendoodles Foundation to cover flying our fave hair and makeup girls from Glam Squad to do my open casket makeup1 and get you ready to mourn all morning and spend the night partying on behalf of the departed! The dress code is hot widow. There will be an open bar that my cashed out 401k is covering following the ceremony. A cash bar is getting very tacky post-30. Please take note of that for your future gatherings. Remember, now I’ll always be watching you.

Lauren, you are in charge of overseeing this to ensure my makeup is smoky, sultry, don’t you wish you had made a move while I was alive, etc.

DAY 3: A Weekend to Die For

Hawaii Sunset

Before you head back home, swing by the lobby to nurse your hangover and grab some brunch. The menu is limbo-themed, so enjoy eggs in purgatory and our signature cocktail, the Diablo Michelada. Vegan options will not be available. There’s nothing like creating an awkward vibe in the office when you’re asked about your weekend and extra day off and explain it was for a funeral. Revel in that. Use it to elicit empathy from your office crush, make an IG post dedicated to our times together using photos where you look hotter than me. Death has changed me. I’ll allow it.

See you there or see you in hell!

— Me

Source: 

The Power of One

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“The amazing thing is that chaotic systems don’t always stay chaotic,” Ben said, leaning on the gate. Sometimes, they spontaneously reorganize themselves into an orderly structure.” ― Connie Willis, Bellwether All it takes is one to start a commotion or chaos on … Continue reading

Crystal Clear

”No one is ever born into life alone. Everyone has shared the bond of family, at least at birth, and for many people, it is a bond that will follow them throughout life. For many people, it is the most essential bond of all.”

I was lucky enough to have in my life a family filled with love, compassion, acceptance, and tolerance. I am what I am as a direct result of a family life where belonging is imperative.  It is gratifying to my health and one of the reasons why I am still alive.  Without my family’s caring nature, I cannot conceive living alone.

Reflection 25 years ago

Reflection 25 years ago

When I was younger, I tagged along with my sister, her husband, and two boys.  Have a van, and we travelled anywhere. I was more than welcome to join since I can chop woods and carry water on top of being a babysitter. Stopping on a pristine crystal clear rocky river bed to cool off on the way to the campground is always part of the fun.

Reflection of my 17 year old nephew

Reflection of my 17-year-old nephew

I used to drive the children around and take them on a field trip.  Sometimes, I am the one that takes them out for the weekend of cub scouts or brings the boys along on a camping trip without the parents.  Yes, they trusted me with their children.  Trust is essential.

Years flew by, and I am the one being driven around by their fifth child. Making a short conversation so that I don’t distract him while driving, I asked: “Aren’t you much too young to drive as a sixteen-year-old?”  He quickly exclaimed: “I’m seventeen years old!”  “Oh, pardon me, young man,” I responded.  His father beside him was chuckling while he teaches his son to drive. No, I wasn’t scared of a young person driving me home.  I trust him.

Reflection of a one and half child

Reflection of a one and half-year-old child

Life is all about the play when I am with my sister’s grandson. At his age, everything is magical, even playing hide and seek behind a jug of water. ROAR, he screamed as he was trying to scare me with his dinosaur sound.

Through thick and thin, our family will pass the bonding to the younger generation. I am hopeful that we have shown them the importance of forming an intimate family unit as a cornerstone of our existence.

Hello Dali

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A bigger than life bronze sculpture is exhibited at Downtown Vancouver sponsored by Chali-Rosso Art Gallery. A faceless woman to symbolize all women. The height is 360 centimetres equivalent to more than 11 feet. It weighs 500 kg equivalent to 1100 … Continue reading

Pilgrim Progress: The Road I Travelled

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Little do I know that the road I travelled in 2017 will become the theme for unity in the Christian world this year. Malta. Photos taken were stored, collecting dust. Now, I am revisiting the pictures I’ve made and reflect … Continue reading

Dare to be something different

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I’ve kept these shots for the longest time and just don’t know when to share it. Now I dared myself to show and tell about my cousin, Jesse, taken when we were younger. The photos reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger … Continue reading

The nature of Emerald Isle

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“It’s the one place on earth heaven had kissed with melody, mirth, and meadow and mist.  ~ Irish Proverb.” Never have I seen so many shades of green in this rolling hills of Dingle Peninsula. According to the song Johnny … Continue reading

The House of Belonging

The House of Belonging

This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
I ask
my friends
to come,

this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.

This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.

There is no house
like the house of belonging.

The House of Belonging- David Whyte ©1996

What Buddha Never Taught Me

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The year 2019 sounds so futuristic remembering a 1996 visit of Thailand. I feel nostalgic tonight. Photography then was archaic when we have to use a real camera, a film and the negatives processed. I could never tell whether the photos … Continue reading

Times: Person of the Year Journalists killed or jailed

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

When a journalist becomes the story, it’s not good news. That’s what happened to Daphne Caruana Galizia, the best investigative journalist in Malta, killed by a car bomb. Her name is not mentioned in Times: Person of the year. I … Continue reading