SWSW Birthday Bash Events!

Strong Women Strange Worlds, a literary promoter of female writers is turning two! They have a variety of virtual events and a great swag bag of free ebooks for all participants! Visit their website to register: https://strongwomenstrangeworlds.weebly.com/

I’ll be participating in two events and giving out prizes:

​Thursday, March 16, 6:00-8:00pm (EDT) Birthday Party Fun & Games!

Saturday, March 18, 12:30pm-1:00pm (EDT) Facebook Party!

For the first event on Thursday night, me and a few authors will be playing Bluff the Audience. We will be reading a passage from our book and making up passages for other people’s books. The audience has to guess who is the correct author!

For the second event on Saturday, I’ll be playing virtual Facebook games by asking people to write funny memes and guess songs from musicals.

Hopefully we’ll see you virtually for this online party!

Clipchamp video editor

Finally a replacement for Windows Movie Maker! I was had been using Windows Movie Maker on an old PC and when it died, I wanted to install Movie Maker onto the new computer. You can still download it from non-Microsoft sites, but it no longer has support. I have mac access, but I always feel odd using apple computers so I like PCs better.

After doing some research I discovered “Clipchamp” from Microsoft which does the same thing as Movie Maker, but its interface it a bit different. The interface reminds me of Canva and other online graphic programs. Indeed, it’s a very visual way of editing video.

When you open the program there are a variety of templates to choose from or you can start by uploading your videos.

After you choose something, you go into the editing screen. The preview screen is quite large and on the sides are your tools. I found that the audio takes a while to load, so you can go make a cup of tea while that is happening. For video clipping there are scissors and you can just use the delete key to remove parts of the video you no longer want. Audio is editing is similar, everything is drag and drop or remove with scissors.

Right now I’m on the free plan. Paying the monthly subscription gets you more special effects and storage space on a cloud. Since I’m only starting out, I’m just going to stick to the free plan for now.

I downloaded the program versus using on the web because I didn’t want to upload videos all the time. If you do try out this program let me know how things go! Always open to tips and tricks to do better at video editing!

Receiving a COVID-19 Humanitarian Service Medal

Just before Christmas in 2022, I was notified that the honorable MP Shaun Chen, Scarborough North, on behalf of the Canadian government will be awarding me and my team COVID-19 Humanitarian Service Medals for our work on anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. Our team had held a variety of anti-Asian racism events to discuss this issue in the workplace along with a seminar to discuss elderly care in the pandemic, created a newsletter and I made some of the graphics for promos.

I feel very grateful for the execs that pulled a nomination together and at the time, they said we probably won’t get it because so many other people deserve this medal, such as people working in healthcare. So it was a surprise that we were told that our group would be receiving medals.

There were a lot of group and individual pictures, but I’m just sharing the one with me. Sadly I see I have gained some pandemic weight and will think about not eating as much chips in the future. I could get an avatar for virtual meetings, but in person is another issue!

The longest video I’ve ever made is about cupcakes!

Recently I was part of an event where I demonstrated how to decorate cupcakes. I had 5 minutes allocated to doing this. In 5 minutes I can show people how to pipe icing onto the cupcake, but there was no time to discuss how I made the cupcake or icing. So I made a video with details on how to make really nice rose cupcakes with Betty Crocker box mix and icing.

Eventually I’ll get back to writing when I gain more energy, but at the moment I am in the process of getting a short story published in a “happily ever after” fantasy anthology and publishing a feminist Sci-Fi author’s book through Dark Helix Press. Will just stuff my face with cupcakes in the meantime!

Click image below for video link to cupcake decorating video or click here!

Doing my first live stream podcast interview and Medium personal essay about caring for the elderly during COVID

Many months ago I was booked for an interview on the Lurking for Legends podcast and totally forgot about it until the host Richard H. Stephens sent an email with the live podcast link! Since my last blog post, my 106 year old grandma passed, so I had been busy planning another funeral and dealing with over zealous relatives who all have opinions but at the end of the day only me and my siblings were paying for this funeral.

Having done a few interviews in the past, the biggest difference in live streaming is the lack of opportunity to correct mistakes. It’s similar to giving a talk in public. It’s a good exercise in practicing improvisation because there will be questions asked which are not scripted and you have to pull yourself together to speak clearly. There were also questions from the audience via the Facebook live feed and I had to answer these on the fly too. I always think afterwards about how I could have sold things better (my husband says I am the worst salesperson!) but every experience makes the next one better.

Link to the interview here: https://fb.watch/bEvr6vdY34/

I haven’t written anything in a while, so I wrote a long personal essay called How COVID Affected the Care and Death of the Elderly In My Family. It’s a recap of what has happened over the last few months with my mother and grandmother before they died. Death is final and even conspiracy theorists can agree that such a thing will happen to all of us! Or maybe not…

Have a look at the essay here if you have time and please follow me on Medium if you can. To qualify for their partner program I need 100 followers but I only have 2. Yes, pretty sad, I know. In the near future I will be posting more on Medium and then mentioning them on my WordPress blog as larger pieces fit there better I think.

Have a great day and please stay safe!

The 105 Year Old Woman Who Wouldn’t Die

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die is the name of a memoir I want to write one day about my grandmother. While planning mom’s funeral last October, grandma was hospitalized and I was told I will be planning her funeral in a week.

Flash forward, it’s February and she turned 106! She is still alive to the astonishment of the staff at the nursing home. At least they stopped telling me she will pass soon, which was getting annoying on a daily basis. Since the staff thought she was in trouble, they asked my family to feed all the meals since each meal takes 3-4 hours and their staff has fifteen minutes per person per meal.

However, last week, she was hospitalized again and it’s up to her if she wants to stay or go. We support her either way but draw the line at feeding tubes and other invasive measures.

Some friends have said I haven’t had time to grieve mom’s death because I am too busy with work and grandma. Mom always worried about grandma (her mother-in-law) starving to death from lack of attention in the nursing home, so I know mom would tell me to stop crying and take care of grandma and my child. There are other relatives around who have opinions but are not here…

Taking it one day at a time…shelved a lot of my writing projects for now. The only thing I published recently was my kid’s book series about marbles because of parental guilt since I am sacrificing time with my child to take care of grandma more. The marble books are whimsical stories about Fred the marble and his silly friends. Only a kid can write these type of stories! On Amazon here if you have marble crazed kids, talking marble stories are pretty niche!


Free mindfulness guide to overcoming dog anxiety

My colleague and fellow Canadian author, Alice Weldon asked me to help her spread word about her mindfulness guide to overcoming dog anxiety. It’s free from 12:01 AM Tuesday November 9th until Thursday, November 11th at midnight PST. You can also pick up the beautifully illustrated companion journal for free once you download the book.

In our busy, stress-filled world, who doesn’t know what anxiety feels like? Just as we can become nervous or stressed, so can our dogs. Author Alice Weldon is mourning the loss of a long-time canine friend who “crossed the rainbow bridge” in October. To honour the memory of her beloved furbudy, she’s giving away copies of her eBook on Overcoming Dog Anxiety that’s especially helpful for people who are physically going back to work and who now leave their pets at home alone for a longer time period.

Here are the links to get your copy:
Amazon Canada
Amazon USA
Amazon Australia
Amazon UK

Crap people say to you after your parents die #RIP #grief #loss #forgiveness

It’s been a busy week, planning for my mom’s funeral this Friday and suddenly my 105-yr old grandma landed in the hospital two days ago. Mom was the only one who could shove food down grandma’s throat and they were each other’s nemesis for the last forty years. Grandma has been struggling to survive for a while now, her body is getting weaker as time passes.

After learning about my mom’s death, a wave of comments from aunties and uncles crashed down on me, including:

  • “If you stayed with her, you could have saved her” (an elderly uncle fell at the same time who has no kids and for a moment me and my siblings where trying to deal with him when she suddenly died)
  • “Don’t kill yourself!” (I was depressed for many years after father died and have gotten somewhat better, not suicidal anymore at least. Thanks for the reminder)
  • Funerals are like weddings, I have to come to say goodbye to your mom!
  • Sue her family doctor! This was negligence in the healthcare system!
  • Don’t fight over money with your siblings! I want to mediate and we have to find a spouse for your single sibling!
  • I think we should talk, but you have to drive yourself to my house because I don’t have time to come to you.
  • At least she died not knowing she was sick, so she lived her life to the fullest!

Sadly, having experience the loss of my father before, I know that a lot of these comments are people dealing with their own grief and expressing it onto me. For people who say they want to help, but can’t really find time, it’s their choice. At the end of the day, I forgive and forget. My mother was very involved with family, friends and her community, so it’s a huge loss for everyone. May she give me strength to get through her funeral and grandma’s current hospitalization.

Work Hard, Dim Sum Hard, Go Out with a Bang! Love you forever mom!

There’s one more angel in Heaven
There’s one more star in the sky
Mommy we’ll never forget you
It’s tough but we’re gonna get by

-modified lyrics, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Andrew Lloyd Webber

Last Sunday, my tornado of a mother suddenly died. She was doing dishes when she fell dead, as if she was struck by lightning. At the same time, an elderly uncle fell, so my siblings and I were dealing with that crisis. It feels like we turned away for a moment and then she left. My many aunties, uncles, workmates and friends are super worried about me because after my father’s death I fell into a deep depression which took about five years to come out of. I wrote an article about how stoic Asians need to stop doing the face thing and seek help and was told I was victim blaming.

Mom’s death is different. She felt ill (general symptoms of stomach cramp/bloating, constipation, vomiting) so she consulted a doctor on the phone with an in person appointment later (COVID has really messed up healthcare) who told her she had stomach flu and there wasn’t much pain. Turns out she had multiple cancers in her body and her family doctor never sent her for any scans over the last twenty years of being their patient. Looking back, the only sign was weight loss which we attributed to her becoming older and being sad about dad’s death. Is it better to know death is coming or not?

She was a powerhouse, running a virtual Chinese school with a thousand students the day before she died. As a grandmother she doted on her grandkids and as a mother, she was strict with high standards which were difficult to meet at times. Despite her driving me crazy, I am glad I took the time to see her almost every weekend. We went on cross border shopping trips, ate meals with her friends, and I took her and my kid to Philly to play in Sesame Place.

Mom thought she would die soon after dad, so she spent the last six years drilling into me that the most important thing is the next generation. Depression wasn’t real to her, her strategy was yelling at me all the time about forgetting myself because family was most important. She had her affairs put in order and even picked out her casket! She was dim-summing 3-4 times a week with friends and even had sleepovers with her BFF. My lovely husband and I were planning on moving in with her next summer to take care of her because she said she didn’t want to go into a nursing home. We thought she would live past 100 and we were ok with that.

Whenever I feel sad, I feel her spirit behind me yelling at me to stop whining and keep going. So I think I am holding it together this time, I really am. I am a bit slow on responding to emails and doing work but I am trying.

Everyone is talking to me about how life is fragile and it is true. Please give your loved ones a hug or send them a message to connect. Also, find a good doctor who cares. We all know our time is limited, but it’s too hard to face, so we ignore it. Thank you for reading, have a good day!

The Artsy Raven Podcast is on Feedspot’s list of “Top 60 Literature Podcasts”!

The Artsy Raven Podcast was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 60 Literature Podcasts & Top 10 Canadian Literature Podcasts on the web!

Click on the link I discovered I wasn’t #60 but #36. The list updates automatically based on number of hits. Hopefully over time the podcast will gain more listeners and gain more recognition for the guests on the podcast! Listening to so many authors gives me energy to keep writing as it is a difficult task to write since there is seldom much monetary gains for writers. There are only so many lottery winners like JK Rowling, so please keep your day job unless you have a sponsor!

In episode 26 of The Artsy Raven we spoke with Adam Jonathan Kaat who wrote about his experiences on the grocery retail floor during COVID. In our interview with him, he said he had to publish the book quickly because COVID is a timed event and the traditional publishing cycle takes so long! Episode links here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/ep-26-writing-57308566