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

Gallery

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

This is where it ends. This is where it begins.

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Studying in public school, our creed has no bearings. We are unified as human beings in singing daily our national anthem out in the courtyard, rain or shine before we start our regiment of learning academics. Religion is not a … Continue reading

Of Public Places and Spaces

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Public arts abound on alleyways and bus boards in Vancouver.  Local painters and writers creative works are shared for the public to enjoy. It astounds me how much imagination a person has from painting to writing. Putting them together create … Continue reading