In loving memory of Kusum

My beautiful friend Kusum Bhatia passed away in a tragic house fire on Tuesday, November 20th, 2018. She is survived be her dear husband Ravi and her loving son Roche.

Kusum has been a wonderful friend these past 6 years, after we first met as roommates for 2 weeks in 2013. She, Susan, and I were the ‘Three Musketeers’ – Kusum called us that. Sadly, we were supposed to meet for coffee the very week she passed so unexpectedly. Earlier this year, Kusum had been struggling with some health issues, and unfortunately, I didn’t visit her in our old haunt as I had before (though I tried and brought Don with me for her to meet, but visiting hours are strictly after 4pm, and I am always at the hospital in the mornings; I was also going through various challenges with new jobs – besides the merry-go-round of trying out new work environments, there were repeated tests (not difficult, but time-consuming), qualifying courses, and finding more opportunities due to working on-call since May, then going through 5 new jobs in 5 months (!!), which is mostly due to my own limitations). I deeply regret that lost time. Things had just settled down for me, and Kusum was doing better, so we planned to meet that fateful week last month. I am including just 2 pics of her here; the rest are sprinkled throughout this blog. (You will note that I’ve given up photography as a hobby.)

Kusum has been a true friend of the heart and an unforgettable companion, with all her funny stories about family and life. I had prepared a eulogy for her, yet lost it between the car parking lot and the funeral home in the light drifting snow (arghh!). Kusum is the only contact in my 300+ contact list with a special symbol next to her name that always brightens my day, whenever she calls – it’s a flower, like her name, which means Blossom (and Fire) in Hindi. May her bright spark rest in peace, and break the cycle of birth and rebirth in this world of unnecessary suffering.


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Bunch of pics…it’s been awhile

Haven’t really been posting regularly for quite some time. But here are some pics for posterity, including one from PetSmart.

This is reaching back aways, but a good friend from high school played on the Team Canada Women’s Ice Hockey team for 2 Olympics. These are pics from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City – the year that both the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey teams won!

Women’s sports has come a long way in the past 30-some years. When I was a teen, there was next to no future for women in sports, particularly team sports. Vicky is now the Head Coach for U of T’s Women’s Hockey.

Friends from CMHA.


–>  AUGUSTINE, I didn’t include your pic to respect your privacy.  🙂


Much loved Smoky, the rescue cat I got for my friend Aaron in 2015.

This is Professor Li, who is 106-years old in this picture, below. She is related to the last emperor of China and was born and raised in the Forbidden City. She is highly regarded for all the books she has written on the Philology of the Chinese language. She also raised 9 children by herself (!!) and was invited to Canada in the 1950’s at the invitation of the United Nations to help with the Chinese Pin Yin at the Toronto Reference Library (though she speaks to me in English). The government is currently doing a study on her because of her strong genes, obvious longevity, and Manchurian ancestry (with gray eyes).


Don and I are coming up to our 3rd anniversary this month, yet I have never posted his pic here. I try to be mindful about how people may feel about being seen on a seemingly stigmatized site, such as this one.


Andy Capp, an old cartoon favourite.

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RIP Uncle Tony

My Uncle Tony by marriage is a proud 3rd-generation Chinese-Canadian who passed away on Sunday, June 3, 2018. His funeral and life commemoration was on Saturday, June 9, 2018. I will be posting pictures shortly.

It is a shame I or someone didn’t  video-record Tony’s funeral service. It was beautiful and moving, and a real slice of history (Canadian, American, Chinese). He’s travelled to 29 countries and worked in 5 (?). A former CBC anchor, a documentary filmmaker, a ground-breaking author, and a much beloved professor of many years, Tony B. Chan was a trailblazer in so many areas. Rest in peace, Tony (June 25, 1944 – June 3, 2018).

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Canadian family history

Sorry to the subscribers for all the mass editing!

(Above: The nameless pond-side near my mother’s home.)

Since I do rattle on about socio-environmental issues in Canada, here are some ‘fun facts’ about my family below, since *credibility* is at a premium when one is a mental health survivor…

  • A number of my relatives are 4th- and 5th-generation Chinese-Canadians;
  • My parents obtained their degrees at Queen’s ’61 and Mount St. Mary’s College ’64;
  • My late grandfather (born 1909) and his 11 siblings were/are all university-educated, as are my aunts and uncles, etc;
  • My aunt is in the Canadian Who’s Who;
  • 3 of my aunts, and 2 of my uncles by marriage, are published authors;
  • My uncle by marriage had 3 uncles who served in WWII and their family restaurant Panama Café was a Victoria landmark from 1910 to 1967 (see photos below).

Pics from the extended family…

Interior of the Panama Café, ca. 1917. Chan Dun is standing behind the counter (City of Victoria Archives, M00274).

Standing in front of the Panama Café are Koo Ching Lim (left) and her husband Chan Dun (right) with three of their four sons who served in the Second World War, from left: Ira, Paul, and Roy (Photo courtesy of Anthony Chan).

Thanks Tony, be well. We love you.

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One-Word Essays

(Note: These are NOT my photos; they come from an email circular.)

My relative who has been on psychiatric meds for over 40 years sent this email. She was able to stay at one job, got married, and has been active in church and in her communities.

One Word Essays




















































May your troubles be less,
May your blessings be more,
May nothing but happiness
Come through your door!


Hope You have an enjoyable DAY

and experience all of GOD’s BLESSINGS !!!


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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who have children of their own, or have been like a mother to others! Have a great day and year!

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Remembering Tooker

Today is activist and politician Tooker Gomberg’s Memorial Day.

Please read here to learn more about Tooker.

And a NOW Magazine article on his passing.

God bless his widow Angela Bischoff, who is handling both and her other eco-campaigns through the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA). Angela has twice  been voted Best Activist by readers of NOW Magazine in 2013 and 2014.

Love and peace to all.


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