Life in progress


One-Liner Wednesday – YOLO

You only live once – make the most of it.


Anyone who would like to try it out, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday, if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Make it either funny or inspirational.

Have fun!


Buck-Tick was Fucking Awesome

Of all the reasons I went to Japan when I did–because seriously, who goes on vacation just before Christmas when they’re a single parent with kids–this is probably the last thing my readers here can relate to. Yet, it’s an interesting story. An incredible story. So I’d like to share it with you, and perhaps you’ll enjoy it anyway. Perhaps it will inspire you to dream, and dream big.

Ever since I visited Japan nine years ago, I’ve wanted to go back. It’s a wonderful country, with kind, lovely, helpful people. But I wanted to go back in the spring, to see the cherry blossoms. Yet I went in December. Why?

It started out with a friend, Susie, who I met here at WordPress. (I’ll attach a link to her awesome Etsy store at the end of this post. Her jewelery is amazing.) She got tickets to a concert I would have given my right arm to see. But not only did she buy more than she needed, she won them. In a lottery. The band’s fan club does that sort of thing. To give you an idea of how incredible this is, the band in question plays to sold-out shows at Nippon Budokan, which has a seating capacity of 20,000. They played there yesterday. But the venue my friend got the tickets to? 2400 standing on the floor. And my ticket was number 252… almost within the first ten percent of the people to be let in. More about that later.

So the next thing was, whether or not to accept the ticket. Could I find someone to look after my kids? Their dad was busy with work – it’s his busiest time of year. No help there. Except I have a best friend who agreed to look after them. Yes. I could go. The flight was reasonably priced and, when I looked for places to stay I found some excellent deals for far less, in fact, than anywhere I could hope to stay on vacation in my own country. I was going to Japan to see my favourite band. It was now or never. Did I mention it was the final concert of the tour I really wanted to see?


Fast forward to the day before the concert. I was going to meet Susie the day of, but I decided to pop by the venue one day in advance when she planned to pick up our tickets. Good thing I did – she was detained on the day of the concert and I would have waited to see her and not made it to the front of the line where, as it turned out, I met a gal from Portugal who spoke English, who told me I needed 500 yen in cash to get in the door, even with my ticket. Can you imagine? Had I not known, I might have spent thousands of dollars to go to a concert and not gotten in for the sake of $5. So, with my 500 yen at the ready, I had to figure out when my number was being called. It was all in Japanese… except my new Portuguese friend introduced me to a lady who spoke both English and Japanese fluently… who just happened to hold ticket number 251… the one before mine. I followed her in. I’m shaking, writing this.

So I got in, as up front as I wanted to be, somewhere in the middle where I could see the lead singer – the one I’d come all that way to see.

Here’s my picture, taken by the lead guitarist.

Imai's photo of me

Seriously, how often do you get your picture taken from the stage?

As I watched this awesome concert that I’d been so blessed with being able to attend, that so many stars had fallen into place for me to be in that spot, at that moment in time, I remember thinking to myself how important it was to fully be in that moment. The music, the crowd, the incredible … moment!

I walked back to my hotel that night feeling truly truly blessed.


It was a bittersweet walk. Alone, I felt a little lost. My real reason for being so far away from home was over and I still had a couple of days left to go. I almost felt as though I had nothing left to look forward to. But.

When I got back to the hotel that night I went online to find out the concert had been taped, which is why I’m writing this today. It was played back to me, live on a streaming website, this morning. I had the chance to relive that wonderful moment! How often does that happen?

Here’s a tiny little excerpt of the concert. I know you can’t possibly understand most of what’s being sung, nor may you know who these people are on stage. But I was there. During this song, the lead singer, Atsushi Sakurai, made eye contact with me. This alone means the world to me. He is my muse – the one who has lead me through my novel and kept me going. He is my inspiration, pure and simple.

(Click on the word “Post.” One of those hands in the air is mine.)

You may not understand, but perhaps it will inspire you to hope that one day all your stars may align as mine did two and a half short weeks ago in Tokyo, Japan.

Susie’s jewelery! (I didn’t realize her shop was closed up until she gets back – please be sure to visit her after January 9th!)


My 2014 in review – see the Stats

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks so much to my top five commenters!


Just Jot It January 2015

The premise of Just Jot It January is simple – jot something down, anywhere you like, every day in January. It was a concept I came up with last year in a fit of desperation, really, to keep up my writing momentum of November’s NaNoWriMo and the now-defunct “Every Damn Day December.”

I’m thinking about perhaps posting actual prompts this year to help everyone along with ideas on what to post, should their jotting for the day be on their blog. At the moment I’m considering three prompts, each lasting 10 days with the final day as a day for us all to just jot out our collective back-patting.

So, with January just three days away, I’m wondering who’s up for joining me this year. Hands up, bloggers! It’ll be fun!

JJJ 2015

There’s even a neat badge! Rules will be posted January 1st, 2015.

P.S. I’ll still be hosting One-Liner Wednesday and Stream of Consciousness Saturday.


SoCS – Total Consumption

It seems to me that we all must consume things. We eat, for instance, consuming the nutrients we require to survive. But yet, the word “consumed” has so many negative connotations. Being consumed is, at the moment I write this, the most complete thing I can think of. By complete I mean absolute. It goes against the grain of thought for me, because I don’t believe anything is absolute.

The feeling of being consumed is to me almost absolute. Consumed by guilt, consumed by the feeling that I must do something – writing for instance – is so overwhelming that it feels … consuming. The all-consuming feeling that falling in love brings; it permeates every thought, every action.

Of course there is also being consumed, like the pie right down to the last crumb. Is that not absolute?

With one word – with one prompt of my own making – with one blog post I have managed to skew my philosophy on life. How does this happen?

You witnessed it here.

This post is part of SoCS. Click here: It may change your life.

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions


Sneaky Business

Before I went to Japan I dropped in to my local cell phone provider’s store to inquire about a package deal that would allow me to use my mobile in the event I couldn’t get online while I was away. They were offering a deal that included something like 40 minutes talk time, 150 texts and 20mb of data for $70. I asked what would happen if I wasn’t able to use my phone in Japan and was assured that it wouldn’t be a problem – if I didn’t use the service, the company would refund the $70. What could I possibly lose? So I went for it.

Today I called the company to let them know I hadn’t been able to connect to a wireless provider while I was in Japan and could I please get my money back. No, I was told. There was no way they could refund the money. They don’t do that. So I asked to speak to a manager.

Armed with the fact that I have 6 phones on my plan, and have been with the company for about 20 years, I formulated my response to the next guy I was to talk to while I waited on hold. After five minutes my speech was at the ready. The gentleman who answered was polite – he said he’d check in to the matter, and would I please hold for a moment longer. Eventually he came back and told me that they don’t normally give refunds for travel packages, and the store shouldn’t have told me they do, but he would make an exception for me since I was a long-standing customer and he agreed to remove the $70 charge from my bill.

Now call me suspicious, but I wonder why I had to go through all that. The store told me I could have my money back. Was all the tension-building just a strategy to make me believe that the company is, in fact, wonderful and cause me to tell all my friends to go to them because they are kind and forgiving if you’re loyal?

I smell a rat.


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for SoCS December 27/14

Hello and welcome once again to the Friday prompt and reminder for SoCS! Another Christmas is over and done with. Depending on where you are in the world, Boxing Day is upon us and with it, sales galore. I, personally, try to avoid the chaos that is shopping the day after Christmas – but today I have a child who is chomping at the bit to spend his Christmas money. What do I do? Full report at 11. With that in mind…

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “consume,” however you wish to use it. Enjoy!

After you’ve written your Saturday post tomorrow, please link it here at this week’s prompt page and check to make sure it’s here in the comments so others can find it and see your awesome Stream of Consciousness post. Anyone can join in!

To make your post more visible, use the SoCS badge! Just paste it in your Saturday post so people browsing the reader will immediately know your post is stream of consciousness and/or pin it as a widget to your site to show you’re a participant. Wear it with pride!!


Badge by: Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” or “Begin with the word ‘The’.”

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments, for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. Have fun!


Guest Post – Shaking Up Christmas

Well, I’m making one last post before departing the inner circle of this lovely blog of which I have been so honored to be a part.

For my exit post, I would like to share something related to the season.  My sole motivation and purpose for sharing this is not so that you will look at my family and say, “Oh, wow, look what they are doing!” but only so that you might be inspired to consider shaking up Christmas.  (Also, this post is not meant to leave out other holidays related to this time of year.  Our family’s holiday for this season is Christmas, so that is naturally how this project was born.  It doesn’t mean the same idea can’t apply to other same-seasonal holidays.)

The first two children we adopted came to us from a bio relative home.  Another story for another day – on my own blog – but part of the problem in this home was a lack of boundaries, and one of the ways this was evident was in the fact that the children were literally showered with gifts at every possible opportunity.  This meant that Christmas equated to an entire Toyota Highlander filled to the brim with toys.  AskmehowIknow.  That first Christmas, which was somewhat transitional, was something of a nightmare.  I hauled no fewer than eight garbage bags of stuff up to Mini-Me’s bedroom, and spent an entire day sorting through it, keeping only the most appropriate gifts.  I ended up donating about two-thirds of it to charity.

The children never noticed.

For the following two Christmases, I made it a priority not to ask my children what they wanted; rather I watched and listened and made Christmas present purchases based on what I knew my children to be interested in.  I made it a goal to purchase few but meaningful gifts, and I met each “This is what I want for Christmas” with a “What is Christmas really about?”

But by year four I knew I wasn’t getting through.

This post isn’t about religion, but I will tell you that part of our family’s definition of the true meaning of Christmas stems from our belief that it is the celebration of the birth of Christ.  But we believe that because He is our reason to celebrate, we need to be Him to the world.  Therefore, we believe that Christmas ought to be about giving to others and doing for others, and that it should definitely not be about “me-me-me” and greed and self-centeredness and consumerism.

So after trying unsuccessfully for three years to get our children to change their focus, we realized we needed to change their focus – we needed to shake up Christmas.

We got rid of Christmas presents – at least, the Christmas presents for ourselves/our family.

We traded our own presents in for Christmas presents for others.


The first thing I knew I wanted us to do was something for children in the hospital; we decided on books.  So every year since beginning our project, we have taken books to our local hospital’s children’s ward.  The second thing I knew I wanted to do was to help other whole families.  The first two years, we found ways to be matched with individual families who were in need.  This year, in place of an individual family, we have decided to take a delivery to a local homeless shelter.  It won’t be as “fancy,” but it will hopefully benefit many families.


Now, to be completely transparent – and before you call me a complete monster – we now do “New Gifts for a New Year” with our children – but we have cut them down significantly to “something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need.”

(And if they had continued with the “me-me-me-for-New-Year” attitude, I would have completely done away with gifts except at birthdays.)

But let me tell you, this seems to have done it.  For the third year in a row, I have not heard a single “me” as related to Christmas – or New Year’s.  They all get in on the planning and the shopping and the putting-together of gifts for others, and I can tell that their hearts are happy.  They couldn’t wait to go do our shopping for the shelter, and they reminded me today that, “Mama, we haven’t finished our book shopping for the children at the hospital yet!”

I absolutely LOVE the way we’ve shaken up Christmas.  The whole day is now about the time we spend together as a family, rather than material gifts – we make our deliveries, the kids pitching in and watching the joyous faces and experiencing the joy of giving; and then we enjoy a quiet Christmas dinner at home while watching classic Christmas movies and just being together.

Maybe for some, our story is drastic.  I actually know very few who can fathom the idea of giving up Christmas morning presents.  That’s okay!  I share our story of shaking up Christmas not because I expect every other family to do what we’ve done, but because I hope to inspire others to find one way to do one thing for others at this time of year, in the true spirit of Christmas.

Thank you again to Linda for the opportunity to guest post here in her absence.  I had a truly marvelous time, and any dents and dings you may find – well, I have to be completely honest – they came from Pav.  😉


One-Liner Wednesday – Festive Edition

Merry Christmas! and a Happy New Year to everybody!! I hope you all enjoy your holiday!!!


Venus Fort, Palette Town, Tokyo December 17/14



Anyone who would like to try it out, feel free to use the “One-Liner Wednesday” title in your post, and if you do, you can ping back here to help your blog get more exposure. To execute a ping back, just copy the URL in the address bar on this post and paste it somewhere in the body of your post. Your link will show up in the comments below.

As with Stream of Consciousness Saturday, if you see a ping back from someone else in my comment section, click and have a read. It’s bound to be short and sweet.

The rules that I’ve made for myself (but don’t always follow) for “One-Liner Wednesday” are:

1. Make it one sentence.

2. Make it either funny or inspirational.

Have fun!



Every once in a while I find something that changes me. Often it’s a thought, an idea that will niggle its way into my consciousness and take root. Often it doesn’t last; I’m relatively sure this won’t either.

This particular change in me was brought on by my vacation. I woke up this morning at 5:40 and I decided to get up. Just me, on my own. I was tempted to go back to sleep: sleep is a rare commodity for me. But today I felt like I needed the solitude that followed me around for eleven days in Japan.

It was strange, being alone with so very many people around. An experience unique for all of its sameness – because really, aren’t we all alone? When I consider the fact that at any given moment, I am the only one who observes what I am observing from my perspective I have a profound sense of being alone in the world. When, in Japan, I took that thought one step further to realize that all the people around me have grown up and experienced the world in a foreign setting, with few of the same cultural experiences, I am taken to a new awareness altogether. I don’t believe I really lived until I had this feeling – and it’s one I truly revel in, as long as I feel safe. From what I’ve seen and how I felt, Japan has one of the safest societies on earth.

And so one of my most treasured experiences while I was there was walking countless times across the street in Shibuya, Tokyo, amidst hundreds of people crossing in every direction.


panoramic view of Shibuya crossing

Ah, the humanity.

Life-changing. For me.

And yet for so many it is simply life. Routine. They come out of the Hachiko exit where the famous statue resides on the DSC00343entirely indescribable side of the train station (there are two “south” entrances on different sides of the building) and they go to work, or meet a friend, or… or… whatever. I was simply wandering around this vast part of a vast world, all alone. No one I knew knew exactly where I was at that particular moment in time.

Just like when I’m having a coffee at 5:45am, all by myself in my living room.

I love it.