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Sunday, January 29, 2006

THE LUNAR NEW YEAR Gung Hai Fat Choy!

SUNDAY, Jan 29, 2006
It's the Chinese Lunar New Year, and it's the Year of the Dog (woof woof - - that's me!)
Gung Hai Fat Choy. Good Fortune to you!

I took advantage of a break in the steady downpour to go down to Chinatown this morning to watch the Chinese New Year parade. We have an enormous Chinese population here in my city, dating back to the turn of the century when Chinese workers came here to find their fortune working on the railway, and increasing the population during the hand-over of Hong Kong when a great many people immigrated here. And I'm certain most of them were present at the parade. A huge, pressing crowd and not much crowd control. Everyone was right on the road so there was barely enough room for the parade to pass and it was difficult to see much when you're a short person like me. I did find a step to stand up on and managed to see the tops of the performers. Lots of lion dancers and dragons, colourful banners and costumes. Drums booming, cymbals and gongs clashing, firecrackers exploding, confetti falling down in a rain of colour. It was fun. For the first time I noticed the bunches of lettuce that hung in shop doorways, good luck if the lion comes and snatches it. A lot of people were wearing red, the good luck colour. That last two nights when I went out I wore my embroidered scarlet Chinese jacket to celebrate 'my' year!

While watching the parade I recalled some events of the past. When I was supervisor of a Pre School in East Van, there was a little Chinese boy named Winston who absolutely loved the lion dance and would make his entry into the preschool with great dramatic pounces and snarls. On Chinese New Year we made a papier mache lion's head and decorated it with crepe paper and a colourful cloth body. Winston got to be the lion's head and performed for us with his little friends participating as the 'body'. It was always great fun.

And for the year I worked as an English teacher at an all Chinese daycare in Chinatown, this was a very important holiday celebration with the traditional foods being served and the lion dance performed in the gym area.

It's been a couple of years since I went down for the parade, and I'm glad I went. The rain held off until the end, started up just when I got home again. The bus was crowded with people coming home from the parade, carrying their little Chinese doo-dads and red paper envelops and banners. A very festive mood prevailed.

And good fortune has already begun to happen for me this week. It's a great start for the Lunar New Year. Yippidy yap yap!

***I guess I should also remember all the dog's I've owned: From when I was a small child, a black and white Border Collie, Flossie; Then a spanial named Dutchess who unfortunately got run over by a truck shortly after we moved to the Coast; she was replaced by another Spanial, Judy, who got sent away to doggie prison for biting the postman. After that, there were various bigger dogs: Taffy, a golden Lab; Chinook, a Samoyed-Lab cross who loved pulling and competing in dog-sled races; Tiny a Terrier-Poodle; and my beloved collection of prize-winning Yorkies: Candy, Fiona, Brandy and dear wee Megan who died tragically when she suddenly jumped out of my son's arms; Tippy, the hippy dog, a Border Collie; and last but never forgotten my adorable little Terri-Poo Sappho (Saffy) who was adopted by my Aunt Grace when I went to live in Greece and lived the rest of her life in doggie luxury.

I adore dogs, but now I live in an apartment and travel so often I can't keep one. But there's always my friend's cute little mini Pom, Niki, who I love to doggie-sit.

Friday, January 27, 2006

PLAYING TAG

FRIDAY, Jan. 27/06
I've been "tagged" by Sam for the number 7 game. So here goes:

7 Things to do before I die:
Climb at least part of Mt. Olympus (in Greece)
Visit the Cook Islands
Visit Buenos Aires Argentina
Lose 40 pounds (haha!)
Catch up with all the reading I'm behind in.
Find a man who won't break my heart (one way or another).
Earn a whole pile of money (another haha)

7 Things I can't do
Climb Mt. Everest (or probably even visit Nepal now)
Travel anywhere I want to at the drop of a hat!
Do math without counting on my fingers.
Run a marathon
Be a triathalon athelete
Visit ancient Babylon (in Iraq)
Visit the sites of ancient Persia (in Iran)

7 things that attract me to men * if you're a man and I tagged you change that to 'women'
Nice butts and abs
sexy eyes
a lovely smile
a sensuous voice
hands that are warm and give a nice gentle touch
the mouth, the kiss, the words they speak...
A bright, intellectual, interesting mind

7 things I say most often
Rats!
Shit!
Oh well!
You've gotta be kidding!
Broke again!
What is there to eat?

7 books or series I love
Fire From Heaven (Mary Renault)
The Persian Boy (Mary Renault)
The King Must Die (Mary Renault)
The Bull From the Sea (Mary Renault)
The Mask of Apollo (Mary Renault)
Gates of Fire (Steven Pressfield) (and all his others too!)
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (Louis de Bernieres)
***There's lots more, including "The Synonym Finder" and "Webster's Ninth New College Dictionary)

7 movies or series I can watch multiple times
Shirley Valentine
The Odyssey
Alexander the Great (Oliver Stone's version)
Othello (or anything Shakespeare)
The Sheltering Sky
NYPD Blue (tv series)
Sex and the City (tv series)

7 people I want to join in the game. (Tagged! You're it!)
Debra
Di
Gabriel
Scott
Keith
Michael
Martha




Tuesday, January 10, 2006

THE LUCKY PENNY

TUESDAY, January 10/06

Perhaps it was that shiney new lucky penny that I picked up on my way to the pool this morning. Whatever, the day has turned out to be full of magic so far. In spite of the on-going rain (almost a record rainfall since 1953) the sun broke through briefly but again, gray skies and gloom, however the events of the day so far have brought some respite. First I bumped into my Havana Buddy unexpectedly on the Drive. I was going up to have a latte at the Calabria but decided instead to go home and on the way picked up some milk so I could make my own coffee. Just stepped out of the store and a thought crossed my mind as to when I would next bump into that lovely Frenchman. No sooner had the thought formulated than I looked up and there he was coming up the street! Talk about magic!

We had our usual hugs and pleasant chat. He's leaving for France next week to visit his mother for 3 weeks. Then I got home to find my yearly bus pass had arrived. (Yay! Now I am not confined to waking or staying home as I had just run out of tickets and had no money to purchase more). Also in the mail was an application from the school board to apply for a summer school instructor's job (I'm applying to teach creative writing). If I could land that it would solve the usual problem of unemployment for the summer months. Wouldn't that be dandy?)

Then I noticed a phone message and it was my dear friend George calling from California so I returned the call and we talked for a long time. That was another very pleasant surprise.

In all, I feel like I'm on a lucky roll. So perhaps I'll apply some of that good will and good fortune to my writing and see if I have any luck with the next chapter segement of the novel.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

TRIP PREPS AND OTHER STUFF TO START OFF THE NEW YEAR

THURSDAY, Jan. 5, 2006

Here we are in 2006, another New Year. After my lovely weekend with cousins, I came back to town and decided to start off the week getting back on track, trying to stay positive in spite of serious financial difficulties, and to do so started making positive plans for my trip in March as well as other things. I have investigated the immunizations we will need and will make an appt. with the travel immunization clinic doctor to check re the Hep A/B and malaria meds.
I went to my own doctor yesterday and had an updated DPT shot. While there we talked about A. because he had been a patient at that clinic and well t hought of. I told her how how it has been for me getting over the trauma of watching him die, and the grief. It was good to talk and I'm glad I did though I'd at first not really wanted to see this young doctor. She hasn't instilled a lot of confidence in me in the past. But yesterday she lent a sympathetic ear which was helpful.

The hotel is arranged for our extended stay at the Lagoon Resort on Langkawi. I'll soon write another travel blog with updates on my travel blog site:
http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com

Last night I was invited out by my Havana Buddy to go see my son's band play. That made for a pleasant evening. He's a great guy, my Buddy, and has been supportive and helpful to me.

Tomorrow I'm going to get the passport renewed. That was weighing heavily on my mind but thanks to a loan from HB I am able to get it done.

Today I went to waterfit even though I'd much rather have spend the morning in bed. A cold, wet, gray day. But I was glad I went and swam some lengths as well which made me feel better. I need to increase my daily aerobics and exercise activity. I even managed to get my strip of gym tickets so now I can go back to the weight room next week. I've become lazy and my poor old body is suffering as a result. And I think the exercise will be good for my depression and uplift my spirits as well as energy. Wish I could go join Weight Watchers too, but I can't afford to right now.

There's still some business to take care of next week and I haven't figured out how to do it as I need some more cash to see me through til my clases start in the mid-month. But, somehow it will all work out. It always does. Somebody up there likes me and is watching out for me. So perhaps there will be some more pennies from heaven falling soon.