Saturday, February 28, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Another Friend Online!

Today there is no NaBloPoMo prompt as it is a weekend though on the theme of the word "make" I would presume. It is also the last day of NaBloPoMo challenge for this month. Woohoo! I survived!!

I say that because it's not only a matter of writing and posting, but also of reading and commenting on other bloggers' posts, preferably those part of the challenge. And I am already actively involved in one blogging community, another I let go in part due to time commitments.

Having just met with blogger and author Carol Graham for the second time this past weekend after having read her book Battered Hope, I followed with another blogger's book. And I did this in between the schedule of my full-time work and the busyness of my life, primarily while travelling to and from work. And thus the fate for today's post came to be.

Usha Menon's book

This particular blogger I met online and then indirectly in person. I will explain that below.

I just finished reading this blogger's book where I got to come to know and understand more of this remarkable woman. She is, I believe, one of the first bloggers I met online in a blogging community I am involved with (as mentioned above). I met her on what is currently known as the Blog-A-Rhythm (BAR) blog site.

This blog site is comprised primarily of Indian bloggers, I would say at least 80% though I think it may be more like 90% or even 95%.

What I immediately admired about this blogger's posts was her ability to write Japanese haiku which is a short three-lined, structured poem. I think she is a natural at it, meaning brilliant! At least I see it that way. Along with the poems, she would feature delightful or interesting photos, some taken by her.

I say that in part as I have attempted to write some haiku in past with extreme difficulty. It is due to the number of words per line along with the last line standing in sharp contrast from the first two.

Additionally, I have read quite a number of her other posts which are mainly non-fiction and primarily related to the topics of education, society, and family - hers of course - in India. These themes also comprise her book which I finished reading today.

Furthermore, she is rather adept at technology blowing me away with her knowledge and skill. I am more like a dinosaur in comparison! ;)

Usha Menon is an avid blogger and part of the BAR (Blog-A-Rhythm) community, though I initially met her by one of this blog's previous names: see photo of Usha in front of her desk with her laptop; photo courtesy of Usha herself.

And how did I meet her indirectly you may wonder? This is a two-fold question:

Most recently Usha actually phoned me long distance, not once but twice. The first time was earlier in the week. She tells me she hung up thinking it was midnight. It was actually only 10 pm my time and not late for her to call me.

I first thought it was a misdialled number - occasionally I get calls from Malaysia and elsewhere - and then I wondered if it might have been Usha; however, she had hung up after one ring possibly two.

The second time she asked if she could phone me and I knew intuitively I couldn't stop her as I knew she wanted to and would sooner or later. She explained to me that she "wanted to hear my voice."

According to Usha, I sounded just like she imagined; however, on my end I heard a voice that belied her age, sounding much younger woman than her almost 80 years! And I loved her laugh too! ;)

We even texted on our mobile phones, the latter for a few minutes at one point about a week prior to that. And before that, we would communicate via social media (Facebook). I had asked her some questions including that of her book. This is what she 'told' me: "I want people to know that I did my best for everyone i knew, whether professionally or in a family."

Isn't that sweet? Isn't she a dear? Though she terms herself 'eccentricgrandmum' on her blog, I find her so endearing that I too think of her as 'Nani' which is my affectionate term for her meaning 'maternal grandmother.' She has that quality, that sense, that feel about least for me! ;)

How would I describe Usha? In no particular order: intelligent, compassionate, kind, polite, sweet, firm but loving (via her book), humorous, delightful! ...

I affectionally nickname her 'grandma' (short for 'grandmother') after she nominated me for a blogging award. And I later read an online communication between us where she informs me that she has "a motherly affection for me." ;)

Elly with Usha's son

Only two weeks ago, I met Usha's son Deepak and also met Rajeev upon her son's visit to Canada. (*According to Deepti, Rajeev's wife, she herself is Usha's grandniece so that makes Rajeev, Usha's .... [fill in the blank as I'm not great at figuring out the family tree!].

Usha had messaged me stating she had "a small gift" for me as a token of her friendship which Deepak had bestowed upon me. (I normally don't speak so formally but that is the word that came to me!)

Upon meeting these two men downstairs in the atrium near my workplace, I was greeted with a relatively large and soft package. I immediately thought "Punjabi suit?! How does she know what size I am?" ;)

After heading back to my office upstairs, I opened the package in shock and surprise to discover not one, not two, not three, but four gifts! That's "small?!" [An aside here to Usha: I knew you had a sense of humour! ;)]

Elly with warm beige shawl over beige warm down coat

The gifts are (1) a beautiful hand-embroidered beige shawl which is almost the same colour - matches - my long beige down coat (2) a necklace made of tiny shells (3) multi-coloured glass earrings and (4) her book that she had written entitled, Reverse gear. (For some reason, I keep thinking it's called Shifting Gears which would have been just as appropriate!)

Elly wearing earrings and necklace (with a pic I took)

I felt extremely humbled and touched by Usha's sweet and kind gesture.

Read more about Usha Menon on and in between the lines of her blog entitled, "Kuch Khatta Kuch Meetha." According to Usha it means as follows: "Khatta means 'sour' and Meetha means 'sweet.' Kuch means a little. And the title means some sour and some sweet."

Namaste nani Usha, my dear sweet blogging friend!

Have you ever connected with someone online not only because of what they had written but because of what you sensed about them?

Friday, February 27, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...or Read a Food Blog!

Some of my organic veggies in the fridge

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is the following, "Tell us about your favourite DIY, craft, or cooking blog?"

I need to keep my posts very brief this week as something important that I need to attend to has come up.

Since I don't really have time for craft or do-it-yourself projects, I will settle on a cooking blog. I have met a few online. Hard not to miss as there are tons out there on cyber space.

Lynn Ward's blog, a blog on recipes and food entitled "New Adventures In Healthy Eating" comes first and foremost in my mind. I haven't read her blog for awhile unfortunately due to various reasons, nothing to do with her and I see she hasn't posted in awhile either unfortunately. (However, after some messaging back and forth, she informs me that she hopes to get back to blogging ... hopefully soon.)

Her blog boasts - okay, I do of her - of mouth-watering, nutritious and delicious organic recipes. Sometimes she shares tidbits of news regarding the food industry that are very important to know.

Do you have a favourite DIY (do-it-yourself), craft, or cooking blog?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...or Buy?

My leather wallet

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is the following, "What is something you would never attempt to make yourself and would only feel good buying pre-made?"

I need to keep my posts very brief this week as something important came up that I need to attend to.

My immediate answer to this is three-fold: (1) sewing, possibly because of my post two days ago on making clothes (2) furniture and (3) a house!

Now your turn to answer this question: What would you never make but buy instead?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...My Own Recipe?

Clip art image

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: "Have you ever made up your own recipe? Tell us about it."

Before I do though, just to let you know that I need to keep my posts relatively brief this week; something important that I need to attend to has come up recently.

The quick answer to the question above is that I think I do this all the time; however, I'm not sure it deserves the title of 'recipe.' Let me tell you why.

Have you ever seen the Swedish chef muppet? He speaks Swedish primarily with the odd English word while attempting to cook? Well, I feel like him, some of the time at least.

In the video below, he is making hot sauce of all things! ;)

Muppets - Swedish Chef - Hotsauce by beautifulcynic

You see, I basically throw stuff together like he does, both by his throwing of two large utensils up in the air as well as his use of hot spices and pepper sauce.

How I usually cook is as follows: I first look in the fridge and/or pantry, decide what needs to be eaten based on freshness and expiry date, and then concoct my own recipe. I usually make something familiar as a base for a background such as rice as in stir-fried rice for example.

It's oftentimes no masterpiece, albeit at times I do surprise myself. More often that not though, it tastes good, sometimes just okay. And occasionally I confess, it tastes horrid.

If anyone was to ask for a recipe for my creative dish, I probably couldn't tell you in terms of amounts of things. Thus, not sure if the word "recipe" qualifies here.

Truly, I would rather someone cook for me!

Do you make your own recipes and/or do you follow those in a cookbook?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...My Own Clothes?

Wikipedia image of a sewing machine
(My Mom used to have one just like this!)

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is as follows: "Have you ever attempted to make your own clothes? Tell us about the results."

As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, "I need to keep my posts very brief this week or not do them at all as something important that I need to attend to has come up recently.

I did attempt, that is the operative word, to make my first piece of clothing in Grade 9 in Home Economics class. My first time sewing, you would think I would make something simple like an A-line skirt perhaps or even something simpler, but no. I made my first jumper which is a collarless and sleeveless dress worn over a blouse, shirt, or sweater. I believe it was a V-neck which entailed that I line it, not the easiest thing to do or to start out with in terms of making a garment.

Wikipedia image of a jumper (dress)

The fabric may have been crimplene, a form of thick polyester. It was a dark brown material.

The end result of my sewn project: a crooked hemmed jumper! Needless to say I wore it once only and that was in the class as a final demonstration of our artwork, I mean sewing. ;)

Have I sewn since? No, I guess I figured I "wasn't good enough." Since then, I think I would love to learn as I think it a useful skill to possess, if only to mend torn clothing and other items.

Would I make my own clothes again? Maybe a simple skirt or dress, but otherwise probably not! ;)

How about you? Have you sewn any clothes or anything else for that matter? Or only to mend items?

Monday, February 23, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Myself or For Me?

I made this healthy salad!

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is, "Do you prefer to have things done for you, or do you prefer to do them yourself?"

I need to keep my posts very brief this week or not do them at all (which I am considering) as something important that I need to attend to has come up recently.

This NaBloPoMo challenge requires daily blogging, posting, reading of and commenting on other blog posts. It easily takes a considerable amount of time that I currently do not have. However, since I have just come home from choir tonight, I will make this quick and short.

The obvious answer to the question above, at least to me, is "depends." I would say though that generally I prefer to do things myself, that is if I know how to do it and/or have the time. Those are the two qualifiers.

In past, when I was in my teens and 20's in particular I would say that I would have preferred that people do things for me. I was either lazy and/or thought I was (too) stupid to do whatever, to learn.

I often think if I do something it may be better, cleaner, or whatever so that is sometimes the reason I prefer to do things on my own, of my own volition.

However, if it comes to anything technological related for example, I prefer someone to do it for me ideally. On the other hand, it's best that I learn by doing, watching, and learning as I go, as I learn best experientially.

So there's my final answer. Hope that suffices!

How about you? Do you prefer things done for you or you to do them yourself?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...In-person Connections?

I had to go back to my old Facebook messages to see how Carol and I initially connected as I really couldn't recall. This is how ...

I had connected with Carol via her blog posts of course. It was after I nominated her for a blogging award last July that our interactions started to increase, though slowly at first. I didn't connect with her till a few months later when I asked her about voice activation in response to a comment she had made on another blogger's post.

A month later, I asked her a question about a writing challenge we were both involved in. And then due to a remark she made on one of her blog posts, I asked her if she could do a health assessment over the phone. Early December last year, I nominated her blog for another award.

It was then that we connected a bit deeper. Carol responded saying that she had already been nominated for that award several times, and twice within the past week. However, she informed me that she follows me religiously (meaning reading my blog posts). Her comment blew me away and tickled me pink 'cause if anything I have more reason to follow her blog!

Then she gave me a virtual hug saying that sometimes she feels my pain. I was curious about her remark so questioned her about it. She was referring to my emotional pain. I figured she was probably an empath which didn't surprise me at all. (I have only met one other person other than my mother who is a true blue empath, 100%! Carol is my third.)

In early January, Carol messaged me, "If you are in Vancouver - I could meet with you in person" in follow-up to to the health questionnaire which I had completed and sent to her. I was surprised yet delighted: where did she live? How close was she?

I later learned while reading her book that she used to live in North Vancouver where I live - it IS a small world! - and lived only about an hour give or take away from where she lives now.

I had hoped we could meet on my birthday which was on a Saturday in January; however, that didn't suit her schedule. She was to meet with another online blogger, Diane Bjorling, a "social media guru" according to Carol (and perhaps to herself as well) and would meet me after visiting with her.

However late the night prior, Carol discovered that she was to pick up her dogs and it had to be that weekend. So I thought, "Great, I have another weekend to clean and tidy up before she comes over."

So instead, we met the following Saturday later afternoon, not late morning as originally planned. Though excited, I was also nervous about meeting her. I can't recall why. However, as soon as I heard her voice when she called to tell me she was on her way, I felt a sense of relief. I think she laughed and it put me at ease.

Though I thought she looked a bit different from her photo online, she didn't sound anything at all like I imagined her too.

I noticed two other things about her: (1) she looked young, younger than me as I could see - I swear - NO wrinkles! and (2) she laughs a lot and I realized that it is her humour that helps to keep her going.

We were to meet
for one or two hours, though I think we ended up meeting for longer, 2-1/2 to 3 hours I believe. Regardless, time just whizzed by.

I remember wanting to ask questions about her, putting the ball in her court despite knowing that she was here to see me.

Right before she left, she signed a copy of her book (which I had asked and kept reminding her to bring with her...I didn't want her to forget!)

On Amazon online, the description for her book reads as follows,
"Carol is a determined resilient woman who endured traumatic events that would cause most others to roll over and quit. The challenges of cancer, rape, marital abuse, jail, loss of child and financial ruin coupled with a determination to succeed compels the reader to root for her to triumph. You will identify with Carol on many emotional terrains of love, loss, suffering, pain, heartbreak and ultimately renewal. This is her gripping story."
I'm not sure if I could have said it any better than that. And also if I could have, I would have read her book straight through. I was enthralled by it.

Carol says this about herself on her blog post, "If I Can Overcome Tragedies, So Can You." However, I think that statement requires - qualified actually - an exclamation remark at the end of it! (Hint, hint Carol!)

And by the way, we did meet this past weekend again, this time in Horseshoe Bay. (See photo on yesterday's post.)

Carol does love to share her inspirational life story and offer hope to others, and I am so glad she has with me and others. I highly recommend you read her book and her blog, the latter has some amusing stories and anecdotes as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Online Connections!

Carol Graham and I at Horseshoe Bay

Today and tomorrow being a weekend, I can post about anything as part of the NaBloPoMo challenge, though I assume related to or preferably on 'make' as this month's theme. Thus, I will write about making connections online, in terms of the blogging world at least!

I have met a few bloggers online early on through a few blogging challenges and communities. Some have become dear online friends and I truly hope to see them one day, in person. And even though some of them live in India!

One blogging female I connected with online had the most amazing stories - unbelievable! in fact, unbelievably true and of course inspiring, many tragic - along with a number of humorous posts.

I believe (going from memory here) that I initially felt an emotional connection due to her writing style. What I appreciated is that she didn't mince words. She spoke as she saw life or rather, experienced it. Truly remarkable if you read her stories.

You will find that Carol Graham often writes about the loves of her life on her blog, including her husband, children, and her 'babies' or 'other children' known as dogs - she adopts a number of rescue dogs.

Clip art image

However, I think my first read of her blog post and one that I admired was actually about do's and don'ts about blogging, of all things. I liked what she had to say and how she wrote honestly and matter-of-factly about the topic.

Similar with her post a few days later. And I also appreciated the similar themed blog post. Another of hers that I read was about speaking in public.

However, there was one blog post of hers I believe (as I can't find it tonight) that I could relate to in particular, in terms of past abuse. My sense though was that there was something else, something more regarding feeling a connection to Carol. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

On one of her posts where I commented, adding a relevant or somewhat related blog post in terms of a theme or thread of a theme, Carol responded, "Elly - you are such a brave woman. I am so glad I have connected with you. As you have said, we have a lot in common. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story."

And now, upon re-reading this tonight - I combed through her blog since last July when I first discovered her online through a blogging community - I find it amusing that I actually said that. That is, that I have a lot in common with Carol.

I'm not sure what made me post such a remark. I do have a couple or a few things in common with her, being abused by a man, being a premie as her daughter was, and being busy, though I'm not sure what else! ;)

I feel somewhat embarrassed by my comment as I think my comment was rather arrogant. In fact, I should be humbled in what Carol overcame!

I certainly do have courage though, albeit a limited amount it seems in comparison. Carol seems to carry this trait to the 'nth degree. I say that because I actually don't know if I could have put up with what she endured. I don't believe I would have had the strength or desire to overcome the things she has experienced in her life time and time (and time and time...) again! Literally!

And yet, I think that that might possibly be the connection that I sense. [Carol if and when you read this, you can let me know your take, your version on this! ;)]

More tomorrow about this amazing miracle-of-a-woman! ;)

How do you make and/or how have you made connections online with bloggers?

Friday, February 20, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make Me Creative?

Me rapping my poem at my EXA grad*

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is, "Would you describe yourself as creative?"

I notice there is no "make" as the NaBloPoMo theme word in the prompt; however, like I have said on the 1st day of this month, I equate the word "make" with "create" anyway as they share similar characteristics in meaning.

My belief is that all human beings are creative. We all have an inborn expression of creativity within us. It is natural and a given for humans.

Why do I say that you may wonder? The law of attraction is why. We create our reality, even our life, starting with our thoughts. The book title "As a Man Thinketh" by John Allen says it all.

Regardless, whether you believe that or not, I do consider myself creative. I AM creative! I believe my creative genius comes in the form of ideas primarily in the creative and expressive arts or rather expressive arts therapy (EXA) which I studied a number of years ago.

For myself, this includes but is not limited to creative dance/movement, creative writing, theatre, designing (as of greeting cards which I started to do at about age 18 or 19 as well as business cards, programs, presentations, costumes, and the like.

One of my paintings

In the expressive arts classes I attended, my creativity did not come through as I would have liked in paintings or through words of poetry. Instead, it came mainly through performances, not necessarily only dramatic, but also comedic in nature as well.

I have to laugh as one just came to mine that I did very spontaneously, literally on the spot! Talk about pressure! This is what I did:

I put out two chairs and took turns sitting on each of them while imitating being a psychiatrist like Freud for example and a client. This was to demonstrate my knowledge and understanding of counselling theories. Needless to say, I had a blast performing it.

Though boring a subject to me at the time, I entertained the class with this amusing and enlightened presentation. And yes, if I had a video, I definitely would have posted it here!

Another performance comes to mind, again during my expressive arts therapy training, where I did an enactment and partial spoof of one of my favourite songs, "The Logical Song" by the rock band Supertramp.

On a side note here: I found it synchronistic to discover that I, like the females in the video below (which I saw for the first time tonight), also used signs with most of the main words to the song, similar to what they hold up! I knew I was inspired! ;)

Yet another presentation or rather performance I did for an expressive arts therapy class was one where I became three different characters changing costumes and artistic modalities. Initially I was clothed in a silk kimono reading a powerful poem that I had written, then uncovered with a butterfly patterned babydoll top - I think I may have sung or danced then, and the last segment wearing a red feathered boa around my neck.

I also love creating costumes for Halloween. Since I don't sew, I use my imagination once I have an idea in mind and I usually go the nth degree in terms of details from head to toe. Due to the technological revolution, I am not up to speed on how to post them here. A couple of photos have made it online though.

Speaking of costumes, at my EXA graduation*, I wore a skirt and top. I was able to change to my jeans and other top from that in public view! Oh yeah, did I mention that I can sometimes get ideas and expressions of clothing? ;)

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have also created some inspired dances. And I have also penned words to not only poetry, but also to at least two songs.

Another form of creativity comes through in my cooking. I do not consider myself a great cook; however, what I usually do is check to see which food(s) need to be eaten first (in terms of freshness/expiry date) and then concoct a meal out of it. Sometimes it's a novelty, other times not, sometimes delicious, other times not.

What are your creative outlets? What is your best form of creative expression?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What if? 1000 Voices for Compassion Day!

How exciting! I mean how exciting a theme and that people from around the globe will unify to write on such an inspiring topic (of which I read a few already).

I had an idea come to me for a poem and though I forgot how it started - a pen and paper or better yet a voice recording device is handy at a time like this, and I had none on hand! (Not my best poem, it's an on-the-spot one...)

What if?

What if you were to give a person on the street a drink to wet their parched throat and/or to keep them warm?
What if you were to pick up the plastic ringed noose from a pack of cans saving lives of birds and fish?
What if you were to sincerely smile at a stranger and make their day?
What if you were to give someone a listening ear, a gentle touch, a much-needed hug to feel they are of worth?
What if you were to feed the ducks and swans in the pond and make their day?
What if you were to keep your garden free of weeds without chemicals and plant flowers contributing to beauty and the environment?
What if you were to open the door for the person behind you no matter who it is to make it easy for them to pass through?
What if you were to be the eyes or ears of a person who was disabled making them feel supported and less lonely?
What if you were to pray for those who are sick or lost or lonely, those less fortunate than you in the hopes of a miracle?
What if you were to sing or hum or play a lively tune and get people dancing on the street?
What if you played with your children and your pet dog or cat contributing to their happiness?
What if you laughed heartily and spread this infection like crazy bringing joy?

Today I had committed to writing about the theme on '1000 Voices for Compassion Day!'

And what if you and you and you and you and 1,000 and more, 1 million and more, 1 billion and more of us were to do any and/or all of this? What difference would that make to us and the world around us?

Peace and joy and love and laughter and happiness be unto you. Namaste!


Follow the hashtag #1000Speak to find the remaining voices from around the world. You can also find them on Pinterest or Facebook.

NaBloPoMo: Make...a Decision!

Getty image

Today's NaBloPoMo post is as follows, "Do you make up your mind, or do you think making up our minds is outside our control?"

I admit that I am not the best person when it comes to decision-making. The reason or rather reasons why? -

Firstly, I have the ability to see both sides of a situation. I was born a middle child and I believe that role has allowed me the advantage of not only seeing, but also understanding a situation.

When my parents argued for instance, sometimes about me, my Dad would defend me and my Mom would tell my father that he was wrong. I knew my mother was right, though I think she thought I was on my father's side. However, I could see that they were both right in their own way.

I've had this perspective all my life and though at times it can serve me well, other times it seems like a stumbling block.

Secondly, I am the type of person who prefers to take advantage of opportunities that come my way. This can make decision-making easy if it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I am faced with. If so, that is the decision I usually go for.

Thirdly, I am also prone to wanting to do everything! I have varied interests and I love to learn, so sometimes this may prove to be challenging when it comes to decisions. When faced with a choice, it can be challenging to choose as I want the outcome of both decisions!

Sometimes I make a list of pros and cons. Seeing and weighing my options helps to facilitate the process.

I believe we can make (up) our own minds. It is just a matter of choosing! Left OR right? Not both!

Getty image

That reminds me of one of my favourite poems, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost which I think illustrates the concept of decision-making very well. You are probably already familiar with it.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

How do you face decisions? Do you have any tips for helping you make them?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Happiness?

Today's NaBloPoMo post is, "What do you do to try to make other people happy? What do you do to try to make yourself happy?"Clip art image

This obviously is a two-part question though related or can be.

What I love to do to make others happy is any of the following in no particular order:

1) Teasing others (with words) in a harmless jestful way, not using jokes though as I cannot seem to ever recall them. It is imperative that I feel comfortable with a person or group of people in order to do this. This is really important as I need to know that the person(s) know that I am teasing them.

2) Being of service to others which usually makes them happy. I have this 'helping' magnet inside me it seems.

3) Sharing information and/or resources which is what I am naturally good at and enjoy doing for others.

4) Supporting others through words of encouragement. Now if only I can use those same words more often on me! ;)

Think of this latter point (or me for that matter) in terms like a cheerleader for her sporting team. I am like that: the "Rah-Rah!" cheerer!

Words like "You go girl!" (though I rarely ever use the word "girl" to a woman) may escape my mouth. I'm much more inclined, rather, to say something along the lines of, "Go for it! You can do it!" and now that I think of it, do I ever offer my help (as in "Let me know how I can support you")? Hmmm...that seems rather ironic considering what I said above!

In terms of the second part of the question above, in how I make myself happy, there are many ways. My interests vary and span a wide sector, though are mainly in the creative and expressive arts arenas:

1) Singing whether in choir - two this season - or at home to CDs of pop music OR chanting in Sanskrit with accompanying music in the background.

2) Dancing creatively at events or at home ... haven't done that too much this past year or so due to my foot and knee injuries.

3) Writing, another form of self-expression to me in the form of this blog at the moment.

4) Reading books, non-fiction and fiction; I enjoy both for different reasons.

5) Giving energy healing because when I give, I also receive, though that isn't my primary aim.

6) Walking in nature, and while doing so, preferably touching and/or hugging trees, smelling flowers and the like.

So I have an idea! Let's paint the town red! You do what makes you happy, and I'll do what makes me happy. What do you say to that?! ;)

How do you uplift others and yourself?

Today's blog prompts are by NaBloPoMo and by Sulekha Rawat who inspired Blog-A-Rhythm's blog prompt for Wordy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Lemonade?

Hybrid lemons in my fridge
Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is as follows: "What do you think of the idea 'if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.' Do you think it's always possible to make something bad into something good?"

"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune due to lemons usually being bitter, and lemonade being a sweet drink.

I certainly don't consider myself an expert at using (life's) lemons to make lemonade, though I would say my mother is a great example of this. I think she is a natural born fighter, a strong woman who firmly believes, "where there's a will, there's a way!."

Now that I write that, I think I do have this too at times. In particular when I have a goal, usually clear in my mind, I am resolute in accomplishing it. Nothing can stop me!

It's of course much easier in hindsight to see the sweetness that has come out of bitterness in life more often than not. Forgiveness is key. And sometimes that takes time.

I do my best of course (that's all I can do) - I'm not perfect - to forgive others and myself, to have faith and belief in myself, i.e., my abilities as well as in life to believe that I can make lemonade really well or sweet(ened) lemon tea (hot or cold) or whatever I choose to do with them, like juggling! Woohoo! (I do that sometimes!) However, I have the belief that things will always work out in the end.

In the meantime, I may stumble and fall, complain at times, until I have had enough. Enough of hurting (emotionally/mentally/spiritually/physically), enough of feeling sorry for myself, enough of whatever situation.

"Enough is enough!" or "I've had enough!" are two such thoughts that cross my mind from time to time that propel me to kick my own butt so-to-speak, get moving, and use the lemons handed to me wisely.


As I'm writing this, I am coming to a realization. The way through having bitter lemons is to ask a question or questions. For instance, "How can I do this?" or "What do I need to do in order to ...?" (fill in the blank)

So there, now you have a tip, a tool to help you make wonderful lemonade or what you will. So go on and enjoy those lemons!

By the way, I highly recommend this hybrid lemon (see photo above) which is a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange - they are plump, ripe, and juicy - or sweet lemons: ooh, so delectable and they both smell so good too! ;)

Do you make lemonade out of the lemons in your life or what do you do with them?

NaBloPoMo: Make...a Mistake? Who Me?! ;)

Images from clip art

I couldn't resist the title! Hope you don't mind, though I was actually making fun of myself. You can read it as if you are the 'me' if you wish to! ;)

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is as follows: "What was the last mistake you made? How did you try to fix it?"

I can't recall the last mistake I did so will answer generally.

I have, as we all have, made mistakes. In my case at least, many! Despite that, for some reason I still have to rack my brain as to what kind of recent mistake I made, yet alone any that I can write about!

Sometimes a mistake can be in the form of speaking impulsively, speaking one's mind, speaking one's truth, and at times speaking 'the' truth. There is a difference! At times speaking up is inappropriate and at other times, people can't handle it.

I would say my biggest mistakes other than that are when I do not trust and follow my intuition. I have come to learn that it is ALWAYS right! Yes, you read that right and it can be NO other way!

After all intuition comes from Spirit. I am not speaking about hallucinogenic voices or the like after all!

Though I would rather speak about what I did right, I will cite you at least one example, a big one, from my life.

In past, I have dated mostly the "wrong men". "How can you say that?" you may wonder. Hindsight is one of the best teachers in terms of lessons learned the hard way and unfortunately I did not necessarily learn from others' mistakes.

I primarily attracted men who were emotionally unavailable, i.e., an alcoholic, a pathological liar, a possessive man - dangerous! - a philanderer, and one with an emotional connection to an ex-girlfriend and another woman who liked him.

Truly I am embarrassed to admit all that; however, if it serves to help at least one person in this, then I am glad to have done so. Let me explain why -

Life is a mirror and everything we see and witness is a projection (think movie screen) of ourselves, namely our minds. You may have a challenging time believing this if you may be faith-based; however, I am telling you 'the' truth and there is a difference, i.e., what is indeed true!

Known as the 'law of attraction' it is basically the principle of like attracting like. This includes like-minded people, whether men and/or women, etc. And yes, to some degree opposites attract, though I am speaking here on an energetic level in terms of vibes.

Read my worst-case scenarios.

If I had trusted my intuition, my gut instinct, I would have never gone out with either the alcoholic or the possessive man.

However, even in worst-case scenarios, there are always lessons, albeit harsh, to be learned. And sometimes you have to - okay, I have to - learn the hard way in order to get it. I'm learning though...I think! ;)

What kind of mistakes do you tend to make? Can you 'correct' them and/or do you learn from them?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make ...a Petition?

Clip art image

Yesterday's post was a bit traumatic probably for most of you, myself included!

If you read it, you will perhaps notice my unanswered question of "What will it take to make a change...for girls? Not to mention for females in general.

One way to make a change is the making and/or signing of petitions that speak against such human atrocities.

There are a number of petitions that I sign from time to time to support such causes. I think of it this way: if I were in the victim's shoes, I would want people to speak up and support in fighting for my rights.

One such organization is There is also perhaps the more well-known Amnesty International organization.

I confess, since I've become more actively involved in blogging, I haven't signed petitions much lately. Nor have I yet made a petition; however, I don't think it's hard and well worth the effort.

And by the way, you can choose to opt in in signing as many petitions as you wish or only one a per-case basis.

What would you consider making and signing a petition for?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...a Change for Girls!

Heart balloons at Butter Lane, North Vancouver

Valentine's Day is "supposed" to be a happy day ideally, an unwritten rule or norm by society's standards. However, it isn't for everyone.

I'd like to bring your awareness to an unfortunately sad subject, though I think it deserves mention in terms of bringing it out of darkness. Some, perhaps many of you are aware of this already; however, others may not or may choose to ignore it.

It's a heavy topic - a burden - one concerning girls and women, i.e., that of being (a) reason of to the right.

Another disturbing trend is featured at That is, 100 million female infants killed after birth. Why? Because 'she' was born the 'wrong sex,' the 'wrong gender.'

She wasn't born a wanted 'he' to carry the family name and/or to avoid a dowry and/or ... fill-in-the-blank. Read at least one main reason why (for this injustice) here.

What will the world come to if it is comprised mostly of men? Is that why rape is so prevalent, though no excuse, in a particular country that practices this form of brutality?

The Oprah show first drew my attention and awareness, years ago, to the horror of FGM, short for female genital mutilation, primarily practiced in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

And while researching, I came across this which I didn't even know existed!

Oh my! When will this end? When will violence against females, innocent girls and women end? When will we as females feel safe and at peace in our homeland and/or while travelling abroad? When can we freely roam the streets without worry, without fear?

This blog post expands a bit on the top of child brides and another on violence against women.

I cannot write anymore about this. I am in grief and instead of celebrating today's "heart" day, I will offer up prayers for females, girls and women alike.

My heart goes out to you, to us...females.

My mind is too numb to think of a 'proper' question though there may be one other than the obvious.

Friday, February 13, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...Your Bed?

My (simple) made bed

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is an unusual one: "Do you make your bed in the morning, or do you leave it unmade all day?"

On the surface, this seems an odd question on NaBloPoMo's theme on the word "make." However, there are always two sides to a story. Let's check both sides shall we?

One argument against making your bed can be akin to wearing the same jeans on a daily basis, having them hang over a chair in your room for example. The reasoning "Why bother? I'm going to sleep in my bed again later anyway!" can be a valid viewpoint.

However, the argument for doing so weighs heavily. Consider this quote, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."

The year between high school graduation and college marked a year of transition for me whereby I undertook home support training. At that time, responsibilities were a lot more than they are today, and it included bedmaking.

One of the tasks I learned, believe it or not, was how to make a bed, properly. That is, with corners tucked as they do in hospitals; see photo. (It's not perfect of course, though the principle for doing so is important.)

Notice how much neater that might appear on your bed, rather than an overhanging bedspread that you can easily trip over.

Let me paint two scenarios. The first is an unmade bed and an unkempt room. The two may (or usually?) go hand in hand. Let's face it. It is easy to have a messy room if the bed is undone.

Not only that, but doesn't the thought of an unmade bed niggle at you as you go about your day or leave your home? Or perhaps even more so, it follows you through the day whereby you continue leaving unfinished tasks or projects. Ok, the latter may not be true, though I am making a point here.

On the contrary, a made bed leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction, even if only a minor one at that. Nevertheless, it is a sense of accomplishment as if checking a list of items to be completed during the day. It leaves you with a sense of completeness, with a day that will have you end or complete tasks rather than hanging them up in the air.

My Mom used to have a saying about a philosophy she had about this and I believe it's more or less what I have stated above, perhaps poorly paraphrased by me though. ;) However, the essence of her belief remains the same.

Consider the following challenge: Google made bed and unmade bed or the like, look at the pictures and notice how you feel mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. What thoughts and sensations are you aware of? How does it make you feel?

What impact does a made or unmade bed have on you? How does making or not making your bed affect you during the day?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make?...Darn those Socks!

Darning socks

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is, "What is something that is no longer made that you miss a lot and wish you could show future generations?"

Many years ago when I was still living at home with my family, my Mom, and my sisters and I darned our socks AND nylons! Yes, hard to believe perhaps, but true!

And as silly as this may sound, for those of you who may not be familiar with the word 'darn' other than an exclamation (as in Darn! or Darn it!), in this context it means, "mend (knitted material or a hole in this) by weaving yarn across the hole with a needle" as per google. See a great example of HOW to darn socks.

There was this thingamajig - do not know the name of it - that was rounded and wider at top. It looked somewhat like a spinning top without a point at the tip. See picture at top.

The hole of the sock or nylon was placed at the top on the widest part of this gizmo. And we would mend it with somewhat thick thread - three strands - well at least for our torn nylons. Not sure what we used for socks as I only remember that in shades of brown.

It may seem like a weird thing to wish for...actually they may still make it, though I suspect it is a European gadget as I have never seen it here (in Canada).

Let me explain or justify my reasoning for wanting to show future generations, until there will no longer be holes in socks, right? Someday perhaps?

At the time when I was growing up, this was one chore I detested. It felt like a chore and I think it was in one sense of the word. Now though, I can truly understand and appreciate its value.

Not only does this gizmo save money on having to buy new socks and/or nylons, it also saves socks from going into the landfill. At least, I imagine a lot end up there unfortunately.

I mean, how many people get holes in their socks? It happens way too frequently for me though, rather ridiculous I say, and I trim my toenails pretty regularly!

Can there not be an invention to slow this down or even better stop this from occurring? Oh, of course not! (Read that in a sarcastic tone.) We live in a world where the economy is fuelled by the purchasing and repurchasing of items, and that includes socks and nylons!

I used to donate my clean but holey socks to a children's program where I had the boys and girls make sock puppets. Now I prefer to fix them; however, I no longer sit in front of a television which would be an ideal spot and time to do so. I wonder if I should consider mending them when I'm travelling to and from work by bus rather than reading or resting my eyes.

Until then, I prefer to donate them. In Canada, there is at least one store, H&M - hopefully other stores do this or will consider - that accept donations of clean used socks and clothing that is torn. The fibres are broken down, i.e., separated into making new clothing. Now isn't that a concept? ;)

And after I pose the question below, I see this online about recycling socks. Now answer the question below first before you take a look at some of the possibilities! ;)

What do you do with holey socks and the like? Do you fix it, throw it away, repurpose it, and if so, how? I would love to know (and I may not be the only one)! ;)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make Centuries from Now?

Loose leaf earl grey tea

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is, "What are 5 things you hope they keep making hundreds of years into the future?"

Believe it or not, I had to rack my brains for this. So, let me see here...hmmm...

Well, let's say in keeping with the theme of 3D from yesterday's post, how about this 3D 'magic pen'?! I just discovered it tonight on social media. (It only took me about 3/4 hour to find it on Facebook while getting distracted by videos and comments! And afterwards, not before, I googled it which I should have done in the first place to save myself a lot of time!) ... see it in motion here below:

I would say another item is books. I love to turn the pages of a book, not flicker on an e-book on Kindle or the like. And I also love to examine the front and backcovers of books in colour, though I imagine that technology isn't too far off if it isn't already in existence.

Organic earl grey tea and also organic cream earl grey tea would be something I would certainly welcome centuries from now! ;) My favourite tea I could drink anytime of the year, though of course, particularly during the colder months of fall to spring. And if I could find that delicious darjeeling tea that I used to drink so many years ago that I loved - haven't found since - that one too! ;)

Tree walkways and tree suspension bridges
. These exist in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC) at the University of BC (video above), and also at Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver (video below). These walkways or bridges take you near or above the canopy of trees overlooking the horizon, perhaps seeing as a monkey or bear climbing a tree might see, from above, a breathtaking view. And it's fun! ;)

Speaking of which, that brings to mind ziplines. Though I haven't tried one yet, I bet it is a lot of fun: scary and exciting at the same time. In other words: thrilling! ;) The following is in Whistler, BC.

Obvious things such as iphones (which I do not have) and computers might be a given; however, with technology changing so fast, who knows what the future will hold in these areas!

I'm sure there are lots of things I could add to this list that may be more practical (and possibly boring), though my mind refuses to go that route. So I hope you've enjoyed the ride I've taken you on on this post! ;)

What are five things you would love to see centuries from now?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make...3D Print!

3D prints of a miniature human face

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is this: "Have you ever used a 3D printer or had something 3D printed? If you could use a 3D printer today, what would you make?"

There have been quite a number of synchronicities in my life and this is certainly one of them. Just yesterday, Monday, during Family Day holiday in British Columbia, I went to the library and noticed this piece of news on the front page of Sunday's local newspaper.

It featured a large coloured photo about 3D technology. This followed with a few inside pages of examples: a 3D mask and figurine somewhat analagous to a selfie I suppose, also prosthetics (which is what came to my mind initially regarding the question when I first read it last week) as well as orthotics and even human tissue! Wow! How exciting!

I had read or heard of this technology some time ago, a few weeks or perhaps even a few months ago via a previous news article or maybe even an inspirational TED talk. Regardless, aren't scientific breakthroughs utterly amazing?! Though I thought this technology was quite new, it has actually been around since 1984! How come I am only coming upon this rather recently?

Scanned Spinosaurus skull in two sizes

Possibilities of 3D printing around the human body that I imagined - animal bodies too - reproducing organs and body parts such as skin tissue, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, etc. And what about those who are disabled, some who require prosthetics or the like?

I love out-of-the-box thinking and being inspired with creative efforts such as this: the possibilities are endless, limitless, out of this world!

How excited are you about this relatively new technology? And what would you 3D print if you had such a machine?

Pictures from Wikipedia. I attempted to download two videos without success.

Monday, February 9, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Maker Faire

ORBIT 2 Kinetic Sculpture by Carl Pisaturo at 2008 Maker Faire (wikipedia)

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: "Have you ever been to a Maker Faire? What was the most impressive project you saw?"

According to the internet, "Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth - a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement."

I have never been to one yet alone heard of Maker Faire before, have you? It sounds intriguing though, considering I am curious by nature. Most likely because, well, I swear I haven't graduated from age two yet! The question "Why?" is still one of my favourites! ;)

If anything, I would hope that the faire would hold some of the inventions I create, at least in my mind, over the years! Unfortunately, I do not know any inventors and suppose I would have to attend an inventors organization or perhaps this faire and rub shoulders with some that how it works?

There is a mini-maker faire held in Vancouver in late spring of this year - fourth annual - so I may check that out. And apparently it's a worldwide event.

How about you: Would you consider attending such a faire? Why or why not?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Make ... a Collection

Today I'd like to blog along the theme of collections as a follow-up from the #NaBloPoMo theme a few days ago on home decor. I will keep it short; yesterday's post was much longer than expected. My apologies.

When I first moved into my suite (in a house) about 2-1/2 years ago, I noticed that there was quite a bit of wood in the surrounding environment, namely a pair of wooden blinds (which I admire) and a wood laminate floor that extends from the bedroom into the bathroom, not to mention the wooden deck outside. This paired with my coffee table and filing cabinet made of wood, and my dresser and side tables out of wood laminate made me consider ...

... to choose a theme to decorate my home: trees seemed to be a natural fit because of the wood (mentioned above), but more so because I love trees. You can read more about that and also see my tree shower curtain on my February 3rd post on paper trees.

I also have this 'thing' for hearts, or rather heart-shaped objects that I began to collect some time ago rather spontaneously. Read how this started on this post here.

Though I have gotten rid of quite a number of heart-shaped items, I still have the odd piece including a pillow (as in the photo above) and two angels holding hearts; see pictures to the left and below.

Apparently angels seemed to also become a household ornament that came to me spontaneously. Three out of four of them - one set is a pair - are from friends.

What are your collector items if you have any? If so, what is or are your favourites?

This post is linked to the daily #NaBloPoMo challenge for February.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

NaBloPoMo: Inspired Dance

In my post yesterday - scroll down or check here - I mentioned that I possess a limestone Burmese temple guardian at my door. Whether handmade or machine-made, it is of no importance to me. Either way, it is of sentimental value to me. Let me tell you an intriguing story as to why.

Quite a number of years ago, around 1998 I believe, I started to perform spontaneous dance. It started in a workshop when I felt very strongly compelled to dance impromptu for a woman whom I felt blossomed tremendously during the course. I dedicated a dance to her improvising on the spot, moving like a flower, small at first, and then opening up and reaching up towards the sky.

It was an unusual experience for me; however, I enjoyed the experience whilst dancing. Unfortunately, I do not recall how I felt during it, though I suspect that I felt invigorated by this newfound inspiration.

Another event that comes to mind is when I heard an instrumental piece of music composed by Johannes Galli and Michael Summ that touched me to my core. It seemed to connect to my soul at such a deep level which is why I asked Johannes if I could dance to it on the spot as a group were about to hold a meeting.

If memory serves me right, I uttered a very quick silent prayer and took a few deep breaths before proceeding, both most likely for inspiration. Regardless, I danced with ALL my heart, feeling the music in my heart, body, mind, and soul.

It wasn't until afterward that I discovered the title of this musical piece: "Magical Clown." However, I understood some time later when I realized it was most likely due to Johannes' passion of clowning and theatre work.

The CD is "Weltengaukler: Traum" Volume 1. ('Traum' means 'dream' in English.)

That piece still pierces my heart, my emotions somehow, not sure why. Perhaps it's because I find it exquisitely beautiful. I am listening to it now as I type this. It still moves me so deeply, even after not having listened to it for quite a long time.

The music starts off with a gong becoming louder and louder, then a drum, background strings, and then a clarinet (I believe). Well you just have to listen to it! (I would download this piece here if I could, if I knew how.)

I highly recommend, if you get this music, to play it loud (even if just once) so you will FEEL the music, not just hear it. (An aside here: I read this sign when I used to live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada about 25 years ago: "Music is heard with the ears, but felt with the heart." That resonated with me, pardon the pun, and thus I have always remembered that saying.)

This musical piece is only 4:48 in length. Sometimes it gives me shivers and I rarely get that sensation. Furthermore, it usually either makes me cry or close to tears when the music reaches its climax. I actually do not know the reason why this is so, other than perhaps because I find it exquisite.

When I later loosely self-choreographed this piece, I imagined starting small like an animal curled up in a ball, waking up slowly. I danced the four seasons, starting with the birth of spring and ending with the hibernation in winter moving in the four directions, starting with east, then south, and ending in the north symbolic of the Native American wheel or mandala. This is all what came to me intuitively as I heard this music.

I ended my dance with my hands, palms together starting upwards towards the sky and slowly descending downwards, ending in namaste position at my heart chakra.

Due to at least one upcoming event where I asked if I could perform this piece, I decided to purchase an appropriate outfit.

It was largely due to the gong at the beginning of the music, the drum perhaps too (though I suspect it is a djembe, not a tabla) that made me literally envision a Punjabi suit. Thus, I ended up going to Vancouver's Punjabi part of town.

The very first dress my eyes fell upon in the very first store I entered, hung my dress. I knew immediately (claircognizantly) that it was "my dress." After all, it was in my favourite periwinkle colour and with flowers (which I also love)! Plus, it came with a long, two-toned pink and periwinkle scarf to match.

As there were no video shoots of any of my performances (for some unknown reason), I have only photos to show, in sequential order of some of the main moves so-to-speak. Keep in mind that these are not original photos, as I had to take a photo of them in order to post here (due to lack of time and/or lack of knowledge).

I had performed this piece several times at various venues: at a Rumi evening (if I'm not mistaken), at a workshop (with some pictures above), at a former boyfriend's poetry reading at a unique bookstore, at a somewhat darkened cheesecake cafe, at a breakfast mini-lecture gathering, at a graduation class (with some pictures above), at a farewell home gathering of my dance therapy class, at a friend's birthday party.

Back to the Burmese temple guardian ... When my eye saw 'her' - this statue - across a crowded room of South Asian-looking artifacts, I felt a strong compulsion to get a closer look. When I positioned my body in front, it struck me immediately as to why I felt such a gravitational pull. My spontaneous dance (described above) ended in exactly the same position as this statue, kneeling and in namaste position!

WOW! Thus, in complete faith I paid a sum of cash for her, awaiting delivery to my home after work.

Is there an item of your home decor that speaks to you that has strong memories or sentimental value attached to it? And if so why?

This post is linked to the daily #NaBloPoMo challenge for February. (And I will attempt to download music as I was instructed how...hopefully tomorrow or the next day...)