Posted in A Moment in My Life

“My Hero for the Day”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, January 14, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

I’ve been dreading dealing with a possible oil leak problem. You could say I was procrastinating, but I called it monitoring the situation for a few days to confirm I had a problem. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I also hoped it might be a hiccup and miraculously stopped, then we could pretend it never happened. Who was I kidding? I wouldn’t be comfortable with not knowing the truth. The fact was that something was leaking at one point. I needed to get it checked for peace of mind. Using the finger test emphasized a mild scent of oil. Ugh. My car is too new to have an oil leak problem. 

Sometimes it’s good to procrastinate. Had I taken care of the problem yesterday, I would’ve gone back to Midas straightaway. However, yesterday, I wrote my column, pushing off my car problem a day. In the meantime, I got an epiphany to check with the Nissan service department first since they partnered with Hyundai before the pandemic. Finger crossed that perhaps they would service my Veloster anyway.

I was stunned to see workabees busy setting up the Infiniti shop where the Nissan/old Hyundai service department once was when I drove into their Colma parking lot. Once I hunted down the Nissan service department, I asked Jan, the first person I saw at the counter, who confirmed Infiniti is moving in. Jan also said Hyundai and Nissan were no longer partners. What! Wow! Dealerships are more delicate than relationships. I tell you. 

He asked me what the problem was. I told him I suspected an oil leak. He was curious what the signs were, and luckily I had photos to show him, which he confirmed was an oil leak. Not surprisingly, he directed me to a Hyundai Dealership because I might need parts. This detail was the part I dreaded—going the distance to a Hyundai Dealership when the closest one was in San Leandro or Santa Clara. If my car isn’t well, I don’t want to go the distance. Good thing I had a backup plan. Now, it looks like Midas, here I come. Jan did not like my backup plan at all. He suggested a reputable auto shop, if not a Hyundai Dealership. When I asked for a local auto shop recommendation, he took my number to send me a referral. 

As we said our goodbyes, Jan decided to check with his buddy in the service department to see if he would be willing to take a look at my car anyway. Jan made my day just by offering to check. That news was an answer to prayer. I wanted to get this problem resolved asap, if not today. At least, have a clue what the problem was right away. 

Five minutes after I left, Jan called with the good news that his buddy would help me out. I U-turned and skedaddled back. I couldn’t have asked for better service if I had an appointment. Once I arrived, they took my car in, and voila—there was no oil leak but rather a botched oil change job where they inserted the filter incorrectly. Jan said I just needed another oil change but didn’t suggest returning to Midas. Phew! I can handle that. What a relief! 

There has been a significant decline in products and services during the pandemic, blaming it on Covid, but today, Jan proved one size doesn’t fit all. He could’ve taken the easy road and not bothered with me and sent me on my not-so-merry way since they no longer have a partnership with Hyundai. Instead, Jan went over and above his job title to do an act of kindness, and in turn, did me a huge favor. He helped me cut to the chase and saved me from headaches and worries, not knowing what was wrong with my car. Jan gave me way better service than I had experienced in a very long time. I can’t be more grateful to him, which makes Jan my hero for the day.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Fantasy Lover”

A Moment in My Life – Thursday, January 13, 2022

Jeannie Yee Davis

If you told me you have never had a fantasy lover, I’d say you’re lying. Well, okay, maybe that is your truth. I don’t know. That’s fine. Everybody is entitled to their secrets. Who am I to judge? I figured if you show me yours, I’ll show you mine kind of thing. Ha-ha. I know what you are thinking, and you are right. Whether you tell me or not, I’m going to tell you my story anyhoo. Shall we get to it then?

An old song, “Magnet and Steel” by Walter Egan, grabbed hold of me, flooding my brain with all these thoughts with one thing leading to another, and conversations started flying in my head. You’d think this one prominent conversation sparked this song: “Magnet and Steel,” heavy stuff. Who doesn’t want a love story with magnet and steel in it? Magnet and steel sound inseparable—always and forever like true love, which is everybody’s dream. True. Not everybody cares for true love, but this is my story, and true love rules in my world, so please bear with me.

This new couple I know, I’ll call them Ricky and Lucy, have been seeing each other for a couple of months, but they are no strangers to each other. They have a history and dated in college, but it was short-lived. Fast forward two decades and fate bumped them together with him moving into her suburban neighborhood. What are the chances of that? It sounds like the beginnings of a Hallmark romance to me—especially learning that Ricky had a little crush on Lucy, and she had mutual feelings for him. Oooh, and the plot thickens with magnet and steel.

I know I better taper down my expectations, which is wise because expectations can challenge a relationship. Lucy had me falling for the guy when Ricky said all the right things at the right time to her, virtually swooning me off my feet. I won’t go into details to keep their romance theirs, but trust me, it was romantic. I was thrilled that she found her Mr. Right, and she got to live in a Hallmark romance. Little did I expect what came next.

Spending more quality time together meant seeing who you are when nobody is looking, which can be a good or bad thing. In this case, the first petty annoyance surfaced, leading to their first fight, which exploded, revealing a gazillion minor annoyances. One obvious issue: Ricky’s preconceived expectations of who Lucy is. Here’s my take. Since college, Ricky carried a torch for Lucy and created a lifetime fantasy world starring Ricky and Lucy. That sounds so utterly romantic except for the fact that Ricky is expecting the real-life Lucy to fit into his fantasy character, which is as different a person as the real-life Lucy.

I am no stranger to having a fantasy lover, as I had one throughout my teen years. Eddie Young, oh, how I adored him, my first major school crush. “And where he goes, I’ll follow! I’ll follow! I’ll follow! I will follow him. Follow him wherever he may go,” so the song goes, and I lived it, well, not really, but I would’ve if I could’ve. He was a senior, and I was a freshman at Marina Junior High. Two years kept us apart like Romeo and Juliet. It was a classic YA story with my eyes falling for Eddie on the first bus ride to junior high. We lived on the same block. He, up the West side, and I lived down the East. Day-after-day, I watched at my window for his coming and going hoping to see him again. We were both shy, meaning when I caught sight of him, I hid. A lot of good that does for meeting up, doesn’t it? And that’s when I moved us into my fantasy world, where, since I knew nothing about him, I created everything I thought Eddie would be. 

Eddie and I were at Marina for one year before he graduated and transitioned to Galileo High School. It felt like a lifetime before I would graduate and join him, but fate bused me to Mission High instead when it was my turn. I was madly in love with Eddie for five years despite the hopelessness of seeing him again. Then, one day after school on the N Judah streetcar, Eddie hopped on at Market and Van Ness. I gasped and stopped breathing when I saw that tall, gorgeous guy with thick wavy black hair from my dreams. I hadn’t seen him in two years, and I knew I had to summon the courage to approach him now or never. Since my girlfriends were riding with me, I asked Eddie to get off at the next stop, which he did, and we stood at the bus stop and talked.  

This moment was the first time I heard his voice and learned a bit about the real Eddie, and wow, what a flabbergasting experience. Except for his appearance, the Eddie standing before me was a total stranger who did not fit my make-believe Eddie, the one I worshiped for five years in my fantasy world. Five years of believing certain truths made it difficult to accept any other reality. Eddie was my metal in my fantasy world, and I was steel. It was a sure thing, but meeting the real him, my fantasy lover burst and faded into the fog that day.

And there you have it, my fantasy lover experience. I was young and naive with nothing to compare my truths with, but now in hindsight, I am older and wiser (all these clichés, but they are what they are), and if I had it all over to do, I wouldn’t have let my make-believe truths prevent me from getting to know the real-life Eddie. Who knows, I might have fallen in love with the real him, too, had I given him a chance. 

I can’t do anything about my past, but I can share my truths with others going through a similar experience. I see a lot of similarities in the Ricky and Lucy story, and it saddens me to think that Ricky might lose his dream love because he doesn’t realize that his expectations for Lucy to be the person he created are unrealistic. If my hypothesis is correct, I hope Ricky will recognize that he, like me, has a fantasy lover, who he has unfairly expected to fulfill the character he preconceived her to be. 

For Ricky and me and anybody else like us, we need to leave our make-believe worlds in the fantasy zone and allow all our relationships in real life to play out naturally without prejudiced expectations. Let each surprise us with their uniqueness, which we may or may not like, but they are who they are. The neat part is we can learn to compromise. Lucy said she felt like she couldn’t be herself around Ricky, which is a devastating realization. I’m a firm believer that we should be comfortable around our significant other, especially at home.

There is something quite endearing about loving someone so much that they’d create a make-believe world with them in it. It’s also sad because nothing is better than the real thing. Thus, it’s not every day someone gets an opportunity to live out their fantasy with their fantasy lover as Ricky does. For that reason, I sure hope he does it right and does not blow it. If he does, all he would ever have is Lucy as his fantasy lover.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Once Upon a Cruise”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, December 31, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

I’ve learned that I shouldn’t count on things remaining the same throughout the year. Regardless of how certain I was that nothing would change. I discovered this by writing a letter to myself at the beginning of the year. A segment on the Kelly Clarkson show inspired me to do this. A school teacher started this project by having his sixth-graders write a “Dear Future Me” letter with their goals and predictions that they would read on graduation day six years later. I found this idea fascinating. Forget the six-year wait. I was curious. What would my life look like at the end of one year? With that thought, I wrote my first “Dear Future Me” letter, and good thing I didn’t wait six years to reveal the surprising outcome.

I began this year very Country thanks to Laine Hardy, and as of today, it looks like I’m ending the year with Reggae. I’m not surprised. Thanks to Alan Walker, I began 2019 loving EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and adopted Country music by yearend. Throughout the year, I’ve been all over the music map, but the beginnings and ends are noteworthy, revealing how eclectic my music tastes are. My music appreciation is diverse, yet the extreme genre change is intriguing. Still, I am excited to discover new music styles. Since I see a pattern, I eagerly anticipate next year’s genre evolution. One constant revelation I checked off my list was that Country music remains high on my list of favorites.

Reading my letter reminded me that I’m still critically hard on myself, and I have proof. I listed a sizable checklist to complete this year. I met only three out of 18 goals, which is pathetic, people! Disturbing! Traumatizing! Disappointing! Shall I go on? You got the picture. 

In January, I was filled with high hopes and so gung-ho, as you could tell from my ambitious checklist. I was inspired, energized, and soaring to the stars in my mind. Everything I set out to do was achievable at that time. My BFF, Noreen, and I planned a celebration trip together in the Spring of 2022 after accomplishing our 2021 objectives. Sadly, I don’t see us celebrating any time soon.

What happened? Life did. As unbelievable as it was, it has been an unusual, crazy, active year, and, to think, we barely came out of Shelter-in-Place. It is hard to keep the pandemic in mind when I think back because so much happened in my life this year, especially with the ripples of lifted mandates that allowed us to socialize in person again. I didn’t feel safe initially, but as soon as I did, I dined with as many loved ones as possible. When in-person meetings weren’t feasible, most of us became acclimated to cyber-socializing, and I was no different. I thought I did the right thing by putting people first, and I had a blast doing so. I became more involved in the online groups I joined, where I met many lovely people, and some of us became friends. The year even included meeting someone special.

Getting more involved when meeting more people means getting more involved—an example, I got recruited as a moderator for a Laine Hardy fan group. After much nudging, I accepted. Now, those who know me know I give my all in my endeavors. This role was no different. I felt Laine’s career and mine mirror each other, and we were both going to soar this year. I wanted him to succeed, so I did everything possible to help get him there, which ended up a full-time job. He is soaring, and that makes me happy. I did my job well, but in hindsight, what about me? Who was helping me soar? By the time I realized this, most of the year had flown by without me. Too much time lapsed to catch up before yearend.

I had a blast with so many people this year. In many ways, I felt like I’d been on a long-term cruise. Shelter-in-Place reminds me of the days at sea onboard a cruise ship where we lived within the means of the ship, and it wasn’t half bad when everything you could imagine to live comfortably was at your fingertips. There was food, events, entertainment, people, music, songs, and dancing everywhere you went. Most of my year contained music, songs, and a new friend cyberly taught me dancing. As I said, I had a blast. Thoughtful friends occasionally dropped off food throughout the year, which feels like room service. When they lifted the mandates and quickly resumed them, it was like being at a port for a day, allowing us to venture out to town.

While cruising, the only way we conducted business in the real world and communicated with people back home was by the internet. Being Sheltered-in-Place was no different. We have been relying on cyberspace for business, shopping, education, workouts, entertainment, and of course, socializing in this pandemic. Thus, I’ve been cruising all year.

I was literally and metaphorically cruising all year. Every cruise for me meant gear in hand, i.e., laptop, planner, and writer’s journal, searching for a quiet open space to write in between events or before someone engaged me into something fun. Much the same way, this has been my story. Remember I said that I thought I did the right thing by putting people first? Well, I did by responding to everybody pronto and saying yes often. No, they didn’t twist my arm. I love being with people, so I cave easily. I started with a daily routine, but changing my plans was often necessary to meet others’ schedules. That was fine and dandy. I always had a good time, but it cost me my productivity.

Time keeps ticking away, but I feel like my life is going nowhere; likewise, a cruise ship keeps sailing, but it gets nowhere except back and forth from port-to-port. After every cruise, there is always much to catch up on, and that’s where I am now. With the year ending, I reflect on all the people I engaged with, the delicious meals we shared, the enlightening conversations I’ve had, and I know I was blessed. People are an essential ingredient to a happy life, but along with the great memories, there was grief, hurts, and disappointments. Being an overachiever, failing to accomplish goals is devastating. 

The good news, and there is some, is that I’ve learned a lot about myself this year, and yes, so I dropped the ball, but one person could do only so much. My new goal is to do a better job balancing everything in my life. One huge takeaway is that I need to lighten up and not be so hard on myself. Nobody is perfect. Striving for perfection, my vice, is setting myself up for failure. With that said, so I didn’t meet all my goals, but tomorrow is another day, a brand new year with 365 days to write my story, and I intend to write a great story that begins with “Once Upon a Cruise.”

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“The One That Got Away”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, December 10, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

Allegra and Chunk finally succumbed to their intensifying feelings for each other. One thing led to another, sending them inadvertently on their first date. It all fell into place seamlessly. It was a solid deal, only to have everything go south the following morning when Allegra announced to Chunk that she didn’t think they should see each other again. The befuddled Chunk speechlessly accommodated Allegra’s wishes and left without an argument. They resumed life as coworkers, pretending the date never happened. Has this ever happened to you? This particular storyline was a scene from this week’s “The Flash,” but it could have conceivably been anybody’s story. 

Fast forward ten years, where the apparent sexual tension between the two prevailed so thick that everybody at S.T.A.R. Labs knew something was up between the two from their nervous, awkward flirtations whenever the two were in the same room. However, both denied anything was going on when asked. They finally admitted their love for each other when Armageddon threatened the end of the world.

Wow! Ten years! Ten years, people! That’s a lifetime—wasted. You never know what might happen in ten years. After my late husband Mark’s first surgery to remove his cancerous thyroids and some cancerous lymph nodes, his oncologist said his cancer might return in twenty years. I went ballistic, freaking out hearing that it might return in twenty years. After everything that transpired, what I would give for those twenty years. A year later, he needed another surgery to remove more cancerous cells. It was a never-ending game. My heart raced, and my body was a pool of jelly every time he got lab results back. It was never good news. It became our new normal to live with the variations of better or worst results. For eight years, we played this game until his body finally lost the fight when leukemia joined the game. Then it was game over. Mark didn’t make ten years with his cancer.

During the last weeks of Mark’s life, I prayed for a miracle. Since I expected a miracle, I needed to stay optimistic and uplifting for Mark, giving him hope and avoiding any talk that indicated death. On the other hand, I should have addressed the final moments. Discussing the end felt like I was a hypocrite—not trusting God would deliver the miracle. I now know that avoiding the last stage did nobody any good. In hindsight, I should have asked all the questions I could think of while Mark was here. It was Catch-22, giving him hope while preparing for the worst. 

I know better now. Once I learned of my soul sister Lenore’s terminal cancer from her roommate, Matt, I knew I needed to hustle and tell her everything I wanted to say to her while she was still with us. I hoped that she would have her final words for me, too. You can imagine how devastated I was when Matt told me not to say anything to Lenore that reminds her of her cancer. Excuse me? How does this work? She knows she has terminal cancer. She knows she has weeks left. What was the sense in disguising that? At this point, if we dance around the elephant in the room, we can’t say the heart-felt words that we want to say. How do you tell her everything she means to you without her suspecting that this might be the last time I get to spill my heart out to her? It’s crazy. I did the best I could to spill my heart without upsetting her.

Words, in the end, are all that we have to get our message across without being misunderstood. I’ve always known how imperative communication is, but being human, the simple act of communicating is the scariest and most challenging thing to do. It’s irrelevant whether it’s good or bad. Talking to another person is the hardest thing for us to do, which explains why Allegra and Chunk, who saw each other daily and were insanely in love with each other, but they couldn’t divulge that to each other. They would rather live without experiencing the love together than risk the spoken word’s rejection.

This story reminds me of a friend who finally connected with a guy she had a crush on for years. She was ecstatic to learn that he had a crush on her for a while as well. They were in the early stages of getting to know each other and hitting it off nicely. They had much in common, and they enjoyed being together, especially sharing bear hugs. Although their story spanned a month, but similar to Allegra and Chunk’s story, one day, it went south without a word. They appear to be still friends, but whatever potential romance might have been—fizzled. Why? Why do these things happen? She got me at the edge of my seat. I want to know what happened! I am curious how the story ends.

I am a firm believer in talking things out. Our minds are tremendous storytellers. We tell ourselves stories all the time. It may not be the truth, and most likely is the wrong interpretation of the situation. That can cause havoc in relationships. Nobody knows what is going on in someone’s mind or life unless they tell us what’s going on. The reader could easily mistake something as simple as a comment in a FB post. That’s when it’s unfortunate when people don’t ask for clarification. It breaks my heart to think people would make up what they think you mean instead of asking you directly. Can you imagine the hurt relationships that stem from misinterpretations of words spoken? Or no words are spoken like when someone has a change of heart in a relationship for whatever reason, and they walk away without talking things out or giving the other person the respect of an explanation.

Relationships are the most important thing in our lives, and communication keeps the relationship strong and healthy. I know it is horrifying to face someone and tell them your heart, whether love or hurt. It’s never easy, but we have to try because there is nothing worse than blowing a good relationship over the fear of rejection or hurt or a misunderstanding. Sure, after you talk things out, maybe the right course of action might be to go separate ways, but at least you both agree, and you know how you got there and where you’re going. For me, there is nothing worse than the unknown of why a relationship didn’t work out. 

We don’t always have control over how people handle situations, but ideally, I would like to avoid at all costs not letting this become my reality of having to mourn the one that got away.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“1020 Stockton Street”

A Moment in My Life – Friday, October 29, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

I rarely go to San Francisco’s Chinatown. The last time was during my family’s previous visit from San Diego. Nothing beats a real Chinatown shopping spree when you’re not a local. Isn’t that how it always goes? I live just outside of San Francisco, and I never go there. My family lives in Southern Cal, and Chinatown is on their agenda every time they visit. When I hang out with my family, they take me places that I don’t typically go, and it’s mounds of fun for me to follow them around as they collect whatever is on their lists. 

We parked at the Plymouth Square Garage. When we elevated to the surface to Plymouth Square, a stale smell of cigarettes greeted us on the sunny and unusually windless day. Numerous small groups of Chinese people gathered around cardboard boxes playing cards. While other people congregated to enjoy the busker singing with a lovely instrumental assemble behind her. It was tempting to linger and enjoy the music. Except, we were on a tight schedule—lots to do and little time to do it all in. After all, we were heading to City View for a dim sum lunch. Dim sum never gets old. It doesn’t matter what city you partake dim sum in. Dim sum is a “must-have.” Something about having dim sum in Chinatown sets the mood for the day.

My niece said that she loves it when other people order for her because she’s introduced to unique foods that she might never have experienced. I feel the same way about tagging along with others. I experience things that I might never have considered myself. Such as the Fortune Cookie Factory, which I wouldn’t think of checking out, but since my younger sister wanted to go there, I didn’t mind trekking along. It’s been ages since I was there. I did not expect anything more than the regular shaped fortune cookies, the small and large flat round ones, and possibly a bag of the multi-colored cookies that was the craze during my last visit there. It was fun tasting the pink strawberry-flavored cookie and the brown cookie that tasted like chocolate. 

Times have changed, and we go with the flow. This time, there was a line to go in with a Covid vaccine check at the entrance as you whiff the delicious sweet famous scent of the fortune cookie in the making. We filed in assembly style and observed their shelves where now, to my surprise, there was a nice assortment of cookie choices to choose from. The first display caught my eye and stole my attention. They had chocolate-dipped cookies in a variety of colors. Who’d think they’d have cookies dipped in lavender? I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but for purple cookies, I would. It cost an arm, but I had to have that! Interestingly, they had porn cookies! Really? Well, it turned out their version of porn was harmless. The author with the handle “Fu Ling You says” delivered off-the-wall humor quotes like “Artificial insemination is copulation without representation.” Haha haha. Cute. I even got a purple shopping bag! I was on Purple Heaven. By the way, these cookies were worth every penny. They were the freshest, most delicate fortune cookies I’ve ever eaten.

After leaving Ross Alley, my family went in and out of shops along Jackson Street towards Stockton Street. I loitered on the street as I waited for them, and that was when I noticed the view of the Bay Bridge backdrop from Jackson Street for the first time. What a magnificent sight! I was awe-stricken. Sure, I’ve seen the bridge closeup and even outside my office window, but there was a new meaning of seeing it from Chinatown. I don’t know why. It felt personal to me. 

Once we ventured onto Stockton Street, my family divided to conquer more shops, so I continued taking photos. I stood at the corner of Jackson and Stockton and snapped a photo of Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment building across the street diagonal to where I was standing for old time’s sake when I decided to go over and snap a picture of the front door. Well, that wasn’t enough. I placed my phone up to the door window, trying to take some shots of the lobby when someone came out. I stepped aside to let the man out. I’m a bit of a slow thinker at times. After the door latched shut, I thought how nice it would be to go inside and look around. Before I knew it, an older man approached. I stepped aside. He unlocked the door and went in. This time, I followed him inside. It was darker, muskier, with a smaller lobby and stairwell than when I was nine years old. After our family of five relocated from Canada, we lived in Grandma and Grandpa’s one-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor for a month or so. At the same time, my newly widowed Auntie, her infant, and two toddlers moved in just before we did. It was a full house before the TV series was born. 

To this day, I wonder where everybody slept. I’ve asked each member of the family, but nobody had an answer for me, to my surprise. I guess I’ll never get my answer. All I know is that I slept in the Ernie Ford foldaway bed (from “I Love Lucy” fame) in the kitchen. 

I didn’t stop there. I was curious if my elementary school was still there. I peeked around the corner, and it was right where I left it, but it had barricades due to construction. It was comforting that Commodore Stockton remained standing. 

After my fun going down memory lane, I found my older sister in a dry good shop. Remember I said I’m a slow thinker sometimes? Well, after waiting on the street for a bit, it dawned on me that I should tail my Big Sis and learn how to shop for authentic Chinese food items. The short time I followed her, I learned the best-dried mushrooms and scallops to buy. At that moment, I wish she lived closer so that I could tail her more often. I laughed when I remembered I got bused to another high school, and I was relieved finally to be out of my older sister’s shadow. Now, I long to follow her? Too funny. But that shows how much things have changed—not only with people but with things and places.

Soon, it was time to head for home. The quick spree through Chinatown was delightful. We all had a great time doing our own thing. Every time I venture into Chinatown, it is like a new town for me. Everything keeps on changing, but it is reassuring to see some things never change, like Grandma’s and Grandpa’s apartment building, where we called home for a while at 1020 Stockton Street.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“In Simpler Times”

A Moment in My Life – Thursday, October 28, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

I long for simpler times. I missed yesteryear of being disciplined with a schedule that worked for me. I miss writing my column five days a week. The silver lining from being sheltered-in-place was that it afforded me the time to get disciplined and set good habits to write every weekday, whether I felt like it or not. My goal was to complete my column by noon each day. I didn’t know whether I could pull it off or not. I just did it, and it came together for over 180 columns. The funny thing was that being sheltered-in-place, I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, yet I managed to write about engaging topics each day. Where did those days go?

I’m grateful for shelter-in-place for the sole reason that I launched my writing career without external distractions. It’s hard enough fighting the internal nuisances without any outside provocation. Sometimes, you can’t help it. Life happens, and when it does, you have to go with the flow. Despite the pandemic, my family came to town for our cousin Heman’s funeral in the early fall. There are always pros and cons to every event. It was lovely being with people again, but it was hard to rebound from the diversion. Before I made it back to my routine, I participated in writing a novel for the November writing month, and then it was time to prepare for the holidays, and you know how that goes. It wasn’t until after the holidays did I get back on course.

Over Christmas, I fell madly in love with Laine Hardy and soaked up everything I could find on him, and he made me happy. Laine saw me through each day with his songs cheering me up—especially when he sang “Louisiana Lady.” As the song goes, “when we’re together, everything’s all right,” and when I listened to his music, everything was all right in my world. We were both starting our careers—he with his music and me with my writing. In the beginning, we mirrored each other, and I had so many plans that I couldn’t wait to flush them out. I was beyond excited for him and me. I wanted us to succeed. I felt he and I were both shooting for our stars this year. Well, one of us is making it happen while the other sadly got sidetracked.

My first quarter was floating along nicely, and my Seattle BFF and I planned a trip together next Spring to celebrate each of our successful endeavors. Then life happened, and I took on more than I could chew, spiraling my plans south. I began writing short fiction weekly while maintaining my columns, but it became harder and harder to juggle the two. When that was already a challenge, I got recruited as a moderator for The Team Hardy Fan Group, which I declined. Still, after much persuading, I caved and accepted as I honestly wanted to help Laine soar. If that wasn’t enough, then came my stalker, who ate up two months of my life, simply by interjecting himself into every aspect of my world and suffocating me in the process. It’s incredible having someone constantly there distracting you from getting anything done. I know what you’re thinking. I should’ve put a stop to it sooner. It’s easy to say that from the outside looking in. When you’re in the heat of the situation, it’s not that transparent. It took me six weeks into the friendship before I realized it was taking a massive toll on me before I attempted to dial it down. Long story short, I quit the moderator role since Laine’s career is soaring. Now, I need to concentrate on my career. I also removed the stalker from my life, freeing up my time to focus on what’s important.

Being off course for most of this year, it’s not easy to get back on track. Lately, I feel like my life has been a chaotic mess. I’m barely able to write a column, let alone write one daily. I don’t get started writing until late afternoon. If I do write, I don’t finish until late in the evening. It’s not my ideal, but I’m grateful that I wrote. Days go by when I have no idea what to write. What happened to those days when I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, yet I managed to write about engaging topics each day? I’m busy as heck now, and I have no time to write, but that doesn’t matter because I have nothing to write either.  

That’s not true. I have plenty to write about since the world reopened, I’ve spent time with many people, and I’ve gone to some places. Yet, I have nothing to write? What is wrong with this picture? Oh, I got it. Life is full of experiences, conveniences, and luxuries that only we get to experience in this time period. The problem is that my mind is overwhelmed with information. I realized this a moment ago when a FB friend commented that she loves stories like what I shared on FB about visiting my grandparents’ apartment, where we stayed with them briefly when we moved to San Francisco. That comment was a lightbulb moment for me. Suddenly, all these story ideas flashed before me, and I do have story ideas. Now, I need to manage my schedule and rebuild my routine to get back to my good habits. 

My family’s one-week vacation here just ended, and I’m playing catchup on everything that I didn’t do while they were here. I had a great time with them making coming down from vacay more challenging. Here we are again with November approaching, and it’s NaNoWriMo time again. I’m shooting for writing a novel again. Then, it’s time to prepare for the holidays. See, it’s a vicious cycle. I’m so sorry that I fell off my good habits, it’s incredibly late in the year, but I shan’t give up trying to get back on course. It is what it is. Here’s what I need to do. I need to simplify, set a new game plan, add discipline, and enjoy my path like how it was in simpler times.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“Sunshine and Raindrops”

A Moment in My Life – Thursday, October 14, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

“In the Still of the Night” played in the background filling my thoughts with memories of all those nights I was exhausted, but I couldn’t sleep. Closing my eyes meant giving my mind free rein to wander from one memory to the next, longing for my old life with my honey when sleepless nights meant rolling over and snuggling up in his gentle arms—a sure sleep inducer. Instead, I roll over to a box of MidNite sleep aid on the nightstand that eases me into sleep. It began as a friend I called upon after an hour or so of sleeplessness when I couldn’t ward off the gremlins in the dark of my mind that told me fables of all the disturbing things in my life now. MidNite has become my dearest friend, who I rely on nightly to avoid the gremlins.

It’s a vicious cycle. If you can’t sleep, you become more exhausted and less resistant to those gremlins, which means you’re most lightly not sleeping tonight. Some people wallow in the dark side, but I choose not to go there. I’d try anything, within healthy limits, that is, to get a good night’s sleep. Some nights are rougher than others. When trying as I may, I cannot chase out the gremlins. That’s when I discovered the Hallmark channel of family-friendly programming with feel-good endings. I replay scenes from my favorite movies, and most likely, I’d smile my way into sleep.

Something about the romance movies get me floating for days afterward. It’s a story someone made up, but imagining a couple in love is so endearing. It might be depressing to see others happy in love when we are alone, lonely, and have no one to love. It may make us long for raindrops falling from the sky to conveniently hide the tears streaking down our faces from the ache we feel inside. For me, however, oh, how these stories warm my heart like sunshine and help me make it through my days, and especially my nights. Being in love with the right person is the most beautiful act in the world as far as I’m concerned. I remember being newly in love. My honey and I held hands all the time. My family teased us for not letting go even while we were eating. Hey, that’s what new lovers do. You can’t separate them for anything.

As engaging as a movie goes, it doesn’t replace real life. It provides some comfort for a moment, but nothing replaces a soft touch, a gentle squeeze of a sensual embrace, or the whiff of his unique scent that flutters the butterflies in your stomach. Or heats your cheeks when you look into his eyes, and he smiles only for you. You miss each other when you’re apart, and your hugs last longer than any others. Mutual attractions do so much for healing. 

To move forward, we need something to look forward to, such as a new relationship, a new life, or a fresh start—some newness that lifts our self-esteem. The excitement of a new relationship changes your perspective by giving you something new to focus on. It revives your emotions and your passions, reminding you of who you are as a person. It gives you purpose to live again—to live a new life and permits you to leave your old life in a safe place, but in your past where it belongs. 

My honey and I never spoke about the “what if” one of us passes on. For me, it was denial. I didn’t want to think about that topic. In hindsight, I now wish we did. It would’ve made it a lot easier had I gotten his blessings to move on with someone else. Of course, our vows said, “Until death do us part.” I know many people who have remarried in widowhood. Yet, it felt like a betrayal to me for the longest time. I plan on being with my honey when I go to heaven, but then, how does that work if I have a new someone? Then, I learned that we wouldn’t be “a husband and a wife” in heaven, but instead, we will all be as one. Of course, God would keep it simple. It took a while for this to sink in. It’s fine with me now.

I’ve got so many hang-ups. That’s why I write the things I write. I’m working through all these processes and taking you along for the ride. I struggled with the idea of loving someone else other than my honey. That also feels like a betrayal. However, I’m learning that humans are capable of loving more than one person. We have humongous hearts that can love many in different ways. Knowing this is helping me to move on without losing any part of my honey while giving a part of my heart away to someone new. 

My honey was my sunshine, who would’ve done anything for my happiness. The feeling was mutual. My honey wore big shoes that were extremely hard to fill. Knowing that he always has my best interest at heart, I know that when the timing is right, he’ll miraculously make sure there will be someone special who can fit his shoes, even if not perfectly. After all, every day, there is sunshine, but each canvas is unique and beautiful. As I waltz through my life enjoying each Hallmark movie, I know that there will be light and dark days, and I will be okay as long as there is sunshine and raindrops.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“It Doesn’t Take Much to Lose the Trust”

A Moment in My Life – Thursday, October 7, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

When I think back to days not so long ago when I used to hand out my calling card with every contact information I had on it to strangers, I get the willies now. I was so trusting. Everything felt safe and uncomplicated. I remember my older sister asking me one day if I was giving out too much information to people, and I shrugged my shoulders and continued doing what I was doing. I wanted to live what I preached, and that was that I’m an open book. What you see is what you get. Lucky for me, I never ran into any problem people. 

Although people back then were more reclusive and tended towards their little clique, and that was it. Not a big deal. It wasn’t like I was hard up for friends. I have many cliques of my own anyway. I wanted to connect with and be friends with everybody, and that was pre-FB. I believe you can never have too many friends, that’s all.

I didn’t expect the different flavors of people I would recently meet that ended up challenging me in unexpected ways. One thing for sure I did not expect, and that was to lose trust in people. I’ve never been afraid of people before. One time, I was about to ask a street person home for thanksgiving. Thank God I couldn’t find him so that I couldn’t invite him. Later I learned he was a fugitive on the lam wanted by the US Marshalls—like in the movie. That’s another story for another day. My point is that I wasn’t afraid of people.

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know. That’s how we learn about life. Who would think that an old friend from high school would have you jumping out of your seat because he couldn’t keep his hands off you from across the table? You know, I love cuddling and hugs just as much as the next person, but I tell you, there is a time and place for everything. I don’t welcome being grabbed or touched, especially not by certain people. It baffles me to think that we’re all adults here and behaving like school kids. 

Yeah, we had a crush on each other back in high school, and our story was a lot like a movie where we lost touch, went our separate ways, and he found me on FB one day. Now we’re both single, and he thinks it’s our second chance. It’s one-sided thinking. The feeling is not mutual, especially when he wants to skip the getting-to-know-each-other stage and take me on a road trip in his RV. I think not. I’ve never been and never will be that kind of girl. Here’s where I told him, “Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more!” After this incident, I lost trust, and I feared this guy. Luckily, he couldn’t come to my house because he never bothered to jot down my address from my Christmas card, and my older sister would be so pleased that I refused to give him my address when he asked for it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was my stalker, who, unlike Hit-the-Road-Jack, who couldn’t care less about getting to know me, Stalker got into every nook and cranny of my space. Stalker came into my life soon after the incident with Jack, and I don’t know what it was, but I felt red flags from the get-go, and something inside me hesitated, so I did not give Stalker my contact info. Thank God for that! Initially, I wasn’t sure if it was nerves from the rawness of the Jack episode or what, but Stalker didn’t help. It was too much, too soon—both of them pushed me out of my comfort zone into areas that I did not want to go.

It’s been a challenging year where one friend told me I needed to change my venue for meeting people. I laughed. I know he meant well, but I wasn’t trying “to meet people.” These episodes happened to happen, and that was it. I’ve lived a pretty uneventful life with normal relationships. Then these episodes happened, making me question the purpose. They sent me on a journey that I never expected before, and maybe they will end up in my fiction stories—that’s the only place I plan to let these stories play out. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my older sister said. She’s right. I need to be wiser in what I share. These two guys didn’t know where I lived, but still, for a spin, they had me pretty scared that they might show up on my doorstep. I had nightmares of Stalker sitting outside in his car on my street watching me. Not a healthy way to live. Since then, I’ve redone my calling card with select contact information on it. 

The takeaway from these experiences taught me that it is good to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I shouldn’t be so quick to trust everybody because we need to earn trust. If trust isn’t solid, it doesn’t take much to lose the trust.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“The Day FB Went Dark”

A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

What were you doing the day FB went dark? That’s the similar question everybody asked forever after the big earthquake that shook San Francisco in 1989. For me, I was sitting right here writing when I decided to go into FB and change my cover photo at just past 9 a.m. Only to receive a “failure to open the page” notice. Who would’ve thought FB was down? I figured it was on my end. I rebooted my modem, which didn’t help. So, I hard booted my MacBook, which also didn’t help. Oops, don’t tell me, my verbal posts caught up with FB administrators, and they threw me into FB prison! That was my first thought. I Messengered my buddy, Big Bro, at about 9:30 and asked if he was having trouble. That message looked weird and didn’t appear to get sent, so I texted him ten minutes later. He called and said he wasn’t having trouble, but he couldn’t open my page. Ugh. Yep, I knew it. I was tossed into FB prison. It was a big maybe. Another possibility was that my profile got corrupted somehow, which stressed me out more.

What if FB couldn’t restore my profile? I would have to open a new account. Ugh. All that history since 2008 in this one account—poof just like that. I began kicking myself for not having taken copies of all my photos and archived them nice and neatly as the FB memories do. FB spoiled me rotten, and it got me relying on and trusting it for these daily memories. I swore I’d begin collecting all the everyday memories into File Manager if I got back into my account. 

The second layer of panic—my list of friends! I’ve got 626 FB friends. How in the world am I going to recreate that friend list? I have no clue who the 626 friends are. That’s the stupid thing about FB that I dislike. It decides which 25 friends I get to interact with. I have a love/hate relationship with FB. If it comes to that, I will do the best I can to recreate my list. The good news is that if you’ve been active in my FB world, I’ll know you and send you a friend request. As for the others who never make an appearance, I’m sorry, but I might not know who you are to send you a friend request. I don’t like losing people, so know that it wouldn’t be on purpose.

A moment later, Big Bro called, saying that it wasn’t just me. It looked like it was a FB problem. Phew! What a huge relief! I could live with that. After we hung up, I googled for news, and that’s when I learned about the system-wide lockout between FB, Instagram, Messenger, and What’s App! That was awful news, but it felt good knowing I wasn’t in FB prison. Self-center, I know, but hey, I can’t worry about everybody else, and someone has to worry about me, so I guess I’m the best candidate for the job. 

Knowing that there was nothing I could do with FB, I resolved to get as productive as possible in my real-world before FB came back online. Isn’t it hilarious how much we rely on FB? It’s absurd if you think about it. FB has become such a big deal in my life that it feels like I’m reporting in to work each day. When I was a moderator for a FB group, it felt like reporting to work, except it wasn’t a seven-day workweek with a job. I’m slowly catching my breath now that I recently quit that role.

I honestly have a love/hate relationship with FB. FB has been a Godsend, especially during the isolation period of the pandemic. I admit FB has seen me through the dark times after my hubby’s demise. I am grateful for all of my daily FB connections that eradicated my aloneness. However, on the same token, when you’re in your writing zone, FB can be a big pain in the butt with all the alert notifications coming through all day and all night long. Not only FB but Messenger, well text, too, for that matter, especially group chats—those are the most distracting. I’ve yet to learn how to turn off alerts without acquiring yet another app that turns everything off for me. I’ve gotten into the habit of ignoring the alerts during my “zone time,” but I get dozens of alerts when I return to FB, which is overwhelming. Yes, it’s wonderful having all those interactions, but let’s say, every good thing has a downside. 

The day FB was down, I have to say that I didn’t miss it at all. It was super quiet, though, and for one day, that was great, but I know I wouldn’t want that much quiet every single day. I would miss my FB buddies and my favorite groups and all the lovely interactions I have with my peeps. Also, I would die if I had no place to share my skyscape photos and fun times. But, for the one day, I loved feeling like I was living my life in the flesh again. Many people posted funnies after FB came back online about living in the real world again, but it’s so true what a difference it made not having FB. I got a lot done without guilt. See, with FB, especially when I was moderator, I felt guilty if I stayed out of FB longer than an hour. I conditioned myself to be a good team player, just like on the job, and for this one day, it felt wonderful and freeing and guiltless to live my life again. I usually found myself constantly checking for FB alerts. Crazy, right? It’s that love/hate thing I mentioned. It just became something I habitually do. I do it because if I check more often, there are fewer alerts, which is less overwhelming to catch up on than a dozen or more alerts at a time. 

I wouldn’t ever want FB to be down again. I would much rather decide to quit FB than for it to lock me out. However, taking a day off from FB without missing anything was like a Hallmark movie where we got to experience our life without FB in it for a day. I regained access to FB just after 3 p.m., but my East Coast and England peeps didn’t get their FB back until hours later. The lesson I learned from the FB Day-off was that I liked living my real life without distractions, but I don’t want to lose everything and everyone from my FB world. I am super grateful that I didn’t lose my FB account, and now that I’ve had a taste of life pre-FB, I can make accommodations to co-exist in both worlds and make it work for me. I don’t think I would’ve arrived at this positive conclusion had I not experienced life without FB in it. For me, it was a blessing in disguise the day FB went dark.

Posted in A Moment in My Life

“I Can Keep a Secret, Can you?”

A Moment in My Life – Monday, October 4, 2021

Jeannie Yee Davis

“I’ve got a secret. I can’t tell you. I’ve got a secret. I can’t tell you.” Do you remember singing that little song as a kid in elementary school? I swear that’s how I feel right now. As a grown-up, I have never felt this excited about any secret before. Well, maybe I have, but I don’t remember. It’s awful, people! Ugh. I’m dying here! I feel like I have to tell someone, or I’m going to burst! 

When hubby was here, he was my go-to person. We had no secrets from each other. When I’m sworn to secrecy, I usually ask if I could tell hubby. Often, it was affirmative. It was neat sharing with hubby. He wasn’t a gossiper, so it was a win-win. I don’t know. I think it was mainly the satisfaction of sharing with him more than telling the secret. On the rare occasion when it was negative, then so be it. Hubby wasn’t privy to the secret. Luckily, those few times, the secret wasn’t a biggie. 

At this moment, I don’t have hubby to turn to, and this is a secret that I positively could have shared with him. Isn’t that a killer? Have you ever been in this position before? How did you handle it? Never mind, I don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter how you handled it because I was sworn to secrecy, so there are no alternatives here.

I’m sure all of you at one time or another had some great news that you were dying to share, but it restricted you from doing so for whatever reason. Maybe you had to wait until after some announcement took place before you could reveal what you know. That was usually the reason, like the big boss announcing the promotion or speaking with someone involved first. Or the couple is announcing their engagement to the family first. Or revealing the new baby or what have you. Or a new venture about to take off, or what every writer dreams of—a publication contract. Maybe there’s a new man or woman in your life that you’re dying to spill. Or perhaps you hit the jackpot but can’t tell anyone anything until the winner is confirmed. 

I don’t know. All I know is that these secrets are time-specific. Maybe this is one of those. Maybe after things played out, I’ll be released from the secret, then I could scream to anyone who would listen. Hilarious. I could see it now. By then, it would be old news, and nobody would care because everybody already knows. But at this moment, for moi, it is like the most exciting news I’ve heard in a long time, and ugh, I can’t tell anyone!

I am SO happy about it. It’s exhilarating. I’m beaming from ear to ear. I’m floating and can’t wait to see how it all plays out. Can you see why it’s killing me that I can’t tell you? I’m doing the next best thing—write about it, and that’s how I’m handling this. It gives me a little satisfaction. Even though it kills me, I can keep a secret, can you?