Life in progress


JusJoJan 31 – We Did It!! 2015 edition

Hard to believe the month of January is done and dusted for yet another year. Just Jot It January 2015 was a roaring success this year, and I have all of you participants to thank for it. 😀

I think the idea of having prompts worked out well for some, so I’ll think about doing that again next year – maybe even one per week or every three days.  Anyhoo, here are the links in case you’d like to read some of the pingbacks.

Prompt # 1 for January 1st to 10th inclusive: reading.
Please visit the prompt post for more details.

Prompt # 2 for January 11th to 20th inclusive: ‘rithmatic.
Please visit the prompt post for more details.

Prompt # 3 for January 21st to 30th inclusive: sex.
Please visit the prompt post for more details.

as well as the main pingback and rule post, where you can find most of them:

I promise to get to all the posts in the next month or so. In the meantime, I’d like to invite everyone who joined in to choose their own favourite JusJoJan post and link it in the comments below–please keep it to just one so as not to overwhelm–and I’d like to invite everyone to check out the posts that are linked!

Thanks once again!

Oh, and here’s a present for you! Your official Participant 2015 badge. Grab it and post it as a widget on your blog! Remember, whether you posted your jot every day, or simply jotted down a phone message for a loved one, you’re a Just Jot It January Winner! 😀

JJJ Part 2015

Happy February, all!


JusJoJan 30 – It’s a Blogaversary!

It’s kind of official! I began seriously writing on my blog two years ago today! To celebrate, I wanted to do something special – an experiment of sorts. Please bear with me while I explain.

A number of years ago I worked as a bookkeeper in an office where, whenever someone had a birthday it was their job to bring in a couple of dozen donuts for everyone to eat. It was a great way to make sure everyone pitched in, it was fair and it was fun, and we got a lot of laughs out of it.

Since it’s my blogaversary today, I’d like to throw a party in my comment section. It’s going to require some effort from you. The benefit is that you’ll get to chat and maybe even meet someone new!

What I propose is this: I’ll comment first. When you comment, say hi to the person in the comment below yours. EDIT: Please comment and then reply to the comment below yours after yours is posted. If you know the person already, ask them how the weather is, what’s new, whatever. 🙂 If you don’t know them, ask them where they are in the world, or how they came up with their blog’s name – anything you can think of. You can even go visit them if you’d like, or share a link! And don’t stop there. Talk to everyone in the comment section! I’ve extended the “reply” button to 7 comments deep, but if you need more, just let me know. It might be a good idea to follow the comments by clicking the(paraphrased) “notify me by email when there’s a new comment” box.

Let’s get to know each other! 😀 And have a virtual donut!

OH, and one other thing: It’s my good friend Joey’s blogaversary too! After you’ve commented here, click the following to say congrats to her!

JJJ 2015

Wow! Only one day left!


JusJoJan 29 – Kamakura, Japan – Part 2

It wasn’t the perfect weather to go to the beach, but for me, living where the nearest large body of water is Lake Ontario, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Pacific Ocean. So off to the beach I went.

PacificI wrote this about the day:

I could have spent much more than the two hours I was there had I been able to sit. The weather was cool but quite comfortable in my winter jacket. A group of adults were there with their children, one of which–a two year old boy–was completely naked. Not something you’d see in Canada.

Soft, deep sand and gentle waves… Again I was warned about the hawks, but the crows were in abundance. The highlights of what they were eating were a stingray and a small (2-2.5 ft. long?) shark.

The conch shells were many – giant clam shells and starfish as well.

blue starred star

The next day it rained, but nothing was going to keep me indoors. I walked with my umbrella to Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, where there was a wedding going on. I didn’t get any pictures of the bride, but I did spend 500Yen to make a wish and write it on a wooden board. It’s probably still hanging there.

Some pictures:

Near the front gate

Near the front gate

Autumn colours in December

Autumn colours in December

green reflection

A reflective pond

I wrote:

I want to go shopping in Yokohama, but I’m reluctant to leave the quiet of here. Five days in Tokyo will be busy enough.

And they were. To be continued.

JJJ 2015

This post is part of Just Jot It January!!


JusJoJan 27 – How Parenting is Like the Weather

Long ago I read a story–it’s probably a famous one, but I’ll relate it here in brief–about how the sun and the wind entered into a competition to make a man take off his coat. The wind, of course, tried to blow it off, but the harder the wind blew, the tighter the man held his coat around him. The wind eventually gave up and then the sun came out. The man, becoming hot, took off his coat. The moral of the story is that sometimes coaxing is better than trying to force someone to do something.

The story came to mind today, as it often does on a bitterly windy day, when I try to bury myself in my scarf. For some reason the thought led to parenting.

My motto has long been, “Pick your battles.” If it’s not that important, meaning no one is going to get seriously injured or be more than ten minutes late for something, I tend to either let the issue go or do my best to be persuasive rather than forceful. The practice has improved my powers of persuasion to the point that I’m getting pretty good at it. Failing that, I’ve learned to be patient. To take a deep breath and remind myself that it’s not the end of the world if Alex completely empties a drawer of perfectly folded clothes to do it again himself, or insists on cleaning his own feeding tube when I know damned well he’s going to ask for the help he at first refuses because it can’t reach where it has to hang.

But I’m only human. There are times when I feel I must stuff him in the car against his will, or restrain him to keep him from falling out his second storey bedroom window. Part of these necessities come down to the fact that I’m not completely fluent in sign language – part of it comes from his own behavioural issues and the fact that he’s mentally well below his age level but physically entering puberty. This puts him in the range of adolescence mixed with the terrible twos.

Still. It’s better to be sunny than windy.

JJJ 2015

Just Jot It January is nearly over – link your post today and get your participant’s badge at the end of the month!


JusJoJan 26 – It’s the Little Things

While there are large things in life that cause stress, like selling your mother’s condo whilst trying to maintain your own home, keep your family reasonably comfortable and happy and hanging on to your sanity (yes, I’m making this about you, because if I don’t I may realize what seventh circle of purgatory I’ve landed myself in), sometimes it’s the little things which finally make you snap.

Like when you take your kid for a haircut and the barber grazes the back of his neck with the trimmer and oh my Lord it’s the end of the world. He gets home, strips off his shirt and wraps himself in a fleece blanket that he refuses to take off even when he goes to bed that night, waking himself up at 2:47 (and you with him) because he’s so tangled up in coverings and the next day you find yourself applying Polysporin to a pink-tinged area that (point to it again? I can’t find it.) is so minute but he still refuses to wear a shirt over.

And then! And then! later when he’s almost forgotten about the agony he’s in over his haircut and he’s helping your mother wash the dishes (he’s washing, she’s drying) and he’s all done and putting the Tupperware bucket upside down on top of the clean dishes in the dish rack and your mother is taking it off to get to the dishes that HAVE to be dried and your kid is putting it back on and she’s taking it off (because by this time your mother’s OCD is battling to the death with your kid’s OCD) and he’s putting it back on and screaming and she’s taking it off and yelling at him in a language he can’t even hear (because he’s Deaf) let alone understand and all you want to do is run away from home…

…because it’s the little things that finally do you in…

JJJ 2015

This crazy slice of YOUR life was brought to you in conjunction with none other than Just Jot It January. Click on the link and join in today – only 6 days left!



SoCS – Pain and Gratitude

If you’ve been hanging out at my blog for a while you’ll know I hate whining. The last thing I want is for people to feel sorry for me – that’s not what this is about. What it is about is something I’m reminded of during every waking moment.

Other than when I was pregnant, I’ve never dealt with this much prolonged pain in my life. I’m talking about my shoulder. In December, just before my trip to Japan, I went to see an Occupational Therapist, who told me I needed to “stay off” it, so to speak. To try not to do too much with it. The timing was actually perfect for this. Going to Japan meant that I didn’t have to reach for things in high places like I do at home – things like plates in cupboards and hanging laundry near the rafters in the basement. I could give it a rest. Therein lies my biggest problem.

It turned out that I was exercising the muscles around the joint and protecting it with these regular household tasks. What happened when I came back from Japan? Pain. Pain like nothing else. Gone were the protective muscles. Now I’m told I have tendonitis on top of the degeneration in my shoulder joint. It’s not just the shoulder now, it’s the elbow as well. Nerves are affected and as I sit here typing my funnybone is numbing my baby finger. Good thing I don’t have to hit the “enter” key at the end of every line, eh?

I fear I’ll be living with this for the rest of my life. Gone is the ambition to ever go back to Karate, though Tai Chi I might be able to manage. It might even help. What I really seriously need is a series of exercises to build up the correct muscles around the problem so that I can function properly. I have hope! In the meantime, I have pain. Oh, and Advil. Lots of Advil.

I did want to take the time today to thank everyone who participates in SoCS. It’s been a while since I did that, and it’s now in my own stream of conscious to do so. I’m grateful for so many things in my life and I rarely have the feeling that I’m showing my appreciation enough. I do appreciate every single one of you who take the time to write using my prompts and visit one another. I earnestly don’t know what I’d do without this community of writers, of people who care, of like minds who relate so well with not only me but with each other. Nothing gives me a thrill quite like the one I get when I see people meeting one another for the first time and it’s SoCS, or JusJoJan, or One-Liner Wednesday that brought them together.

So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Cheers with pain killers!! 😉

This post is part of SoCS:

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

Badge by: Doobster at Mindful Digressions

And JusJoJan:

JJJ 2015Click on the links and join in both today!


JusJoJan 23 – The Shortest Jot

Never blog drunk; never blog angry.

Have you ever written something that you regretted enough to erase it from your blog?

JJJ 2015

This very short post is part of Just Jot it January. Click here and join in:


JusJoJan 22 – Kamakura, Japan – Part 1

From Yokohama Station I hopped on another train which took me to the little seaside town of Kamakura. I’d done my research online before I went – it’s a place with lots of Temples, a little shopping street (by little I mean narrow, not short) and had what I thought would be a nice, inexpensive place to stay. In a word, it was beautiful.

Villa Sacra in Kamakura is a little inn with several uniquely decorated rooms. A very old, traditional Japanese house, the floors creak, the ceilings are low, and the hospitality is fabulous.

CAM00507 CAM00503 CAM00505(1)

The room, however, was quite small. I spent most of my time out wandering the shopping street, eating at Mister Donut – hey, it was cheap and free refills on the coffee! – and walking. Oh boy did I walk. I’d estimate about 4-6 hours a day, rain or shine.

I was in my room for the only earthquake I felt. At first I thought it was someone leaning against the wall behind me. The walls were thin enough that I could feel the people in the next room, but the rumbling sound and the extensive swaying of the entire room led me to believe otherwise. When I looked it up on the internet (I had excellent WiFi), sure enough I was on the outskirts of a quake. It wasn’t nearly as frightening as I thought it might have been, probably because if the house had been standing that long already, it wasn’t likely to fall down while I was there, right? Right.

Besides, I had other things to worry about. I wrote this in my notebook over coffee:

December 9th, 2014 – Mister Donut, Kamakura

I’ve been sitting by the window for about 20 minutes on this lovely bright sunny day and so far only one person has walked by in sunglasses. Okay, now it’s two. But that’s among hundreds. This must be a nation of people with eyesight issues.

Not that that’s the biggest danger here – every 3rd hydro pole has a sign that says “Be careful of tsunamis,” stating that here we are just a little more than 5 meters above sea level. Be careful – as though if you see one, just step around it.

I think I’ve been bitten by a mosquito. In December. Life is good.

After that I took a day trip to Enoshima. It is, apparently, the honeymoon capital of Japan. In a way this seems appropriate, like if you can handle the uphill climb here, you can handle being married.



December 9th, 2014, Enoshima (Island)

An island carved in rock and surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, yet not too far from land that one can’t walk here across a bridge, it is populated by shrines and hawks. I’ve now seen my very first “Beware of the Hawks” sign.

I tried to get a few pictures of the hawks but they’re fast fliers.



I managed to nab this one in a tree.

The weather was gorgeous – in the tens to low teens, celsius the entire time I was in Kamakura. The food was fantastic and very inexpensive – I managed to eat for between 500-1000 yen ($5 to $10 Cdn.) most days. Lots of seafood, as you can well imagine.

I was going to write about my entire time in Kamakura in one shot, but there’s still so much to tell. I’ll try to write again soon!

This post is part of Just Jot It January: click the link and join in!

JJJ 2015



JusJoJan Day 21-30 Prompt

Aaaand now for something completely different. I agonized long and hard over this prompt and finally I’ve decided to take the plunge.

Your final prompt in the 2015 edition of Just Jot It January is, sex.

Want some suggestions on how to use this prompt? Do you really need them? Okay, here we go:

1. The obvious.

2. The not-so-obvious. Try really really hard NOT to write something overt while sticking to the subject. In other words, keep it subtle.

3. Sex – everyone’s got one. Write something educational!

4. Don’t use the prompt at all! It’s not mandatory – it’s only if you get stuck. Alternatively, use the prompt every day for 10 days. It’s up to you!

5. I’m adding a fifth suggestion this time around. I strongly suggest that if you write something explicit, you write “Explicit” in the first sentence, so as not to surprise anyone at work. ALSO, if you write something non-explicit but you have a suggestive title to your post, write “Non-Explicit” in the first sentence so that your readers will know it’s safe to go ahead.

Please make sure you check back both here and at the pingback page and see who has posted – it’s a great way to build your blogging community and reciprocate. And don’t forget the most important part – have fun!! Let’s finish the month off with a bang, shall we? 😀

This post is part of JusJoJan: Anyone can join in!


JusJoJan 20 – Alexa Rank

I thought as it’s the last day of the second Just Jot It January prompt, which is ‘Rithmatic, I’d take the opportunity to talk about a little website called Actually, it’s a huge website, dedicated to calculating every other website’s world ranking. Mine, this one you’re reading now, apparently comes in a little over 1.7 millionth in the world, and a little under a respectable 400,000th in the United States, where, according to Alexa, 80.1% of my traffic comes from. Cool, eh? It does the ‘rithmatic for you!

The numbers seem to fluctuate often – every minute perhaps? How accurate it is is anyone’s guess.

You can look up your site too. Just google “alexa rank” and your web address. There’s a search bar there too. If you find your site high in the ranking compared to mine, take heart. My fiction blog (at – go visit sometime!) ranks just under 17 millionth in the world – so high that it refuses to give me any more stats. (It seems the closer you are to #1, the more stats you get.)

If you’re interested in checking your own website, comment with your ranking!

JJJ 2015 Join in Just Jot It January today! It’s a great way to get motivated!