I may have seen a small or young mountain lion across the street last night, calmly walking down the sidewalk to where the road turns right over the I-5. Straight ahead, a trail of a city sidewalk is obscured by dense conifers and barricaded by two ties of guard rail. Once down a steep dirt trail, it runs parallel to the freeway over-grown with wild chicory, fennel, sweet pea, ceanothus, elderberry.Read More
The month flew by. Spring green has ripened to the greens of summer: the oak leaves thickening, the ornamental conifers push bushy tufts of soft, balsam scented needles. The red, pink, yellow and creamy white roses, tea scented or musky or spicy.Read More
Alan Feng, my contact for Penjing in China, notified me they will be having an exhibiton 19th-23th November, 2014, at the International exhibition center, Dongguan, Guangdong, China. I have offered to help them organize a tour from the US. Stay tuned for more details!Read More
Long term Unemployment-- What about it? I know a little about being unemployed. In the 80s I was out of work for eight months when Microsoft dropped PC DOS on the market and everyone in the computing industry either adapted or dropped out of business. Couple that event with an untimely exit from my employer, something which unqualified me for unemployment benefits. So-- I scrambled.Read More
I've been laying low since I returned to California from Beijing, and just now have uploaded my book, Beijing Abduction, to Amazon.com for Kindle! An unexpected delay at the last minute has been infuriating to wait, but I now have a Chinese editor in Beijing who has proof read my manuscript. The quality of the product is worth the wait!Read More
I look up to see a tall and handsome conductor sternly saying something to me and implacably shooing me and all the passengers in the car out onto the platform and up the stairs to the exits. I emerge into the dark somewhere I don't know where I am. I beat past the illegal cab drivers looking for a legitimate one.Read More
Last day of the old year is sunny and warm, not smoggy, riding to Beijing Nan Zhan Railway Station, going in another, new direction. My little leaf boat swirls in the current, drifting with the tug of tide! Faintly I detect the salt tang and morning mist in Qingdao.Read More
Early wake up call at 7am followed by fabulous western style breakfast: appetizer of cai green vegetables with sesame seeds, red shred and curly carrot garnish, glass of hot water, cup of delicious kaffei nai he tang, New Zealand butter, Austrian strawberry jam, square toast, buttermilk medallion size pancakes, omelet cooked in butter, and slightly sweetened yogurt. Piping hot. The shy waiter is named Pok. I'm so relieved. The let down brings tears. This trip is starting out pretty good. Everyone is pleasant and smiling at Chery. On the plane, at the security check at the diminutive airport, the guards couldn't hold back from returning my smile. My two tour guides and driver met me at the airport. The hotel is very nice. My room is huge with lots of closet space, two thick, red wool blankets with a floral design plus the duvet. Forced air heat on a thermostat. Pretty warm, 20C / 68F in the room.Read More
At the moment my plane is landing at Beijing Capitol Airport PEK in the late afternoon, the smoggy haze begins lifting. Feng and her husband SUN Libin find me in the Korean restaurant in the recreation building opposite my wing, the only place open at this late hour of 8pm for me to eat. We exchange gifts. They have brought me a ceramic bottle of Korean miijiu, 51% alcohol. Whoa baby! Back in my room we open it and have a little welcome home party. It feels great to be back in the big city and seeing my friends again. J
Out the window on my first morning in Beijing, I see it is clear and breezy. A magpie greets me, against the pale blue morning sky, standing on the roof of the adjacent building in the courtyard of the Xijiao Hotel complex. This hotel is affiliated with Tsinghua and is located off campus in Wudaokuo, very convenient. In Beijing today 42F / 25F and clear or 5C / -4C. In Dunsmuir, it’s also clear 32F / 17F or 0C / -8C.
After meeting Eunice WU for breakfast in the big dining room in the main building, I ride to campus and meet TONG Pei at the East Gate. She rides me sidesaddle on the back of her bicycle to the center of campus where I rent a bicycle for the three weeks I will be staying in Beijing. 100Y or $16.36. Later, I get my hair done at the Jiasuo Guest House salon. The ladies remember me! 180Y for cute cut and L’Oreal color or $29.45.
The Qinqi Fitness anmo clinic proprietor also remembers me. Her face lights up. We hug and air kiss. At the tailor in the basement of the TusPark building, she also remembers me. I buy a short, plaid corduroy, pleated skirt, also 180Y. Her business has grown, and she now has an apprentice. At the TusPark ATM I see for the first time the VISA/Mastercard logos.
By Thursday, it’s colder 34F / 18C or 1C / -7C and clear but windy, feels like 21F or -6C, riding my bike to campus to have lunch with my former colleague SONG Peijing. The former Overseas Office building is empty. All the buildings in a row north of the library are deserted and surrounded by a construction fence. The long anticipated expansion of the library is underway. The huge bauhinia trees that once shaded the bumpy parking have been dug up and removed to another location. SONG guides me to the new offices in refurbished dormitories next to the gymnasium.
The Centennial Park, where 100 world university presidents planted friendship trees the first month I was at Tsinghua in April 2011, commemorating the centennial of Tsinghua University founded in 1911, looks good, even now in winter. I think I see some hulking carcasses of transplanted bauhinia trees, wrapped in burlap and rope, and cut way back. I take a picture of myself in front of the UCLA pine tree and send it to Chancellor Gene Block. Here’s the link to my blog from April 24, 2011 .
In Dunsmuir today, it’s 50F / 29F or 10C / -1C and clear. In Pyongyang, my next destination, it’s 25F / 10F or -4C / -12C and snowing.
I'm sitting in a tiny coffee shop behind Dongsi subway exit in the Dongcheng District, home to the Forbidden City, known as the National Palace, and Tian’anmen Square, with a kaffei Americano 20Y or $3.27. Traveling here from Wudaokuo train station is mei wenti, no problemo. I take Line 13 to Xizimen Station. Wo zuo 13 haoxian qu Xizimen zhan. Then I transfer to Line 2 for only one stop before transferring to Line 6 and going all the way to Dongsi. Ranhou wo huan 2 haoxian yizhan zhiquian wo huan daodi 6 qu Dongsi. A single subway ticket is 2Y or $.33. The Puffee Café has a secure network with a password. Today is 35F / 17F or 2C / -8C brrrr! It is not windy and seems pleasant in the warm sun.
A new friend from the conference, xin pengyou, Mike ZHANG is meeting me here. He is Senior Editor at Commercial Press Shangwu Yingshiguan, founded in 1897, the first modern publishing house in China, currently employing approximately 600 persons.
We walk to the nearby National Art Museum of China NAMOC to see the new shows of contemporary traditional huahua painters
on the main floor before going upstairs to the fifth floor where the breakaway contemporary artists from the 80s exhibition. When China was opening to the west and their artists were exposed to outside ideas, all western art from the Greeks through Renaissance and Impressionism to Expressionism was promoted through a small art magazine called Translations of Fine Arts. The first issue was launched in 1980 by the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts and is still in circulation. The publication reprints articles in English on all the styles and major movements in western art.
With a massive body of traditional Chinese art going back millennium, contemporary artists are at a crucial juncture—to carry traditional styles and ideas into modern themes and techniques or materials OR to breakaway entirely into new directions. It is difficult to discover originality for ALL artists, Eastern or Western. Everything seems to have been done already—and better—by someone else before. Along comes the digital camera to further reduce the artist to a collector of artifacts.
Next, we walk to his place of business located on the trendy Wangfujing Daije shopping street, on the south end that is mainly commercial businesses. The Commercial Press, CP, produces paper books and nothing in e yet, although they do publish American bestseller authors. We tour the gift shop and sip tea. Mike has to run upstairs to meet with his colleagues, so I walk around, buy a Beijing street map 15Y $2.45 and visit a mezzanine art gallery of calligraphy before he returns and takes me to see his office and meet his co-workers. He’s working on the latest edition of the Oxford Dictionary in English with equivalent Chinese words. He’s on “P.”
At 5pm we leave and walk up Wangfujing Daijie to the fashionable retail end to meet his wife Xiong Jie and her friend Mei LEI. His wife, Jane, is an accountant for The World of English, a monthly magazine of English learning and a subsidiary owned and run by CP. This means they can commute together from their home in Haidian District. Mei LEI is a Senior Partner and Attorney at Law in the Beijing office of W&H Law Firm with offices in Asia, Canada and San Francisco. The women are waiting for us when we arrive.
The restaurant 西贝莜面村 (Xi Bei You Mian Cun) is famous for its northwestern style Chinese food, specialized in making noodles, oat noodles. It was established in 2001, headquartered in Inner Mongolia (a region noted for its top-quality mutton), with branches in many cities around China.
1. 果蔬拌菜 (guo shu ban cai, salad mixed with fruits and vegetables)
2. 凉面 (liang mian, cold noodles)
3. 豆芽炒河粉 (dou ya chao he fen, rice noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts)
4. 自制酸奶 (zi zhi suan nai, home-made yogurt)
5. 自制蜂蜜 (zi zhi feng mi, home-made bee honey)
6. 羊肉串 (yang rou chuan, mutton kebab)
7. 功夫鱼 (gong fu yu, Kung Fu fish)
Going down through the mall by escalator, we pass shops Bulgari, Rolex, Zara and more. To get to the exit we walk through a large, children’s toy store to the street. Under a waxing moon, no stars in the velvety night sky, people are out in the evening on the brightly lit walking street. At the Wangfujing subway station we say byebye to Mei. I travel a few stops with Mike and Jane until I get off and transfer to Line 2 heading north, getting home about 9:30pm.
Hou tou jian
After a wild ride from the airport with a cowboy cabdriver at-- flying through tolls on a toll pass and weaving past laden trucks and pokey cars at about 120 kph or 74mph-- we stop unexpectedly in the middle of the expressway for a red light manned by police. Cost 159Y or $25.99.Read More
The Hotel 7 Days is an economic choice for students and businessmen in the heart of downtown Guangzhou. The taxi drops me off at the entrance of a large, guarded courtyard. Two handsome Libyan men help me with my three bags. They are local residents, possibly students at the Campus France Alliance Francois de Canton adjacent to the Hotel car entrance.Read More
While enjoying dim sum breakfast today, we're overlooking the world's largest flower and bonsai market. Alan Feng is washing the tips of our chopsticks in a little hot water before eating. He explains this is a local custom.Read More
From the airport in Guangzhou, the taxi takes me to a large hotel in Foshan City where I am met by Alan Feng and his Master CHEN Zhi Jiu. After getting to know each other over supper at the hotel, they drive me to another one in the downtown district. It must have been grand in its day, a little shabby now but royally gorgeous. I can imagine great leaders staying here in the day. The lobby is loaded with gigantic stone penjing and carved wood pieces in glass cases. In the elevator area on my floor a huge glass etagere displays countless small ceramic treasures without as much as a cover. My room features a huge bed and baroque trappings, the bath is all sculpted ceramic tile and stone with fancy appointments to hold water glass and such. Marvelous glass encased shower with lots of hot water.Read More
We checked out of our hotel in Haikou after an early breakfast of fried bread, kaffei hui nai he tang and hurry up hugs good-bye. I board a bus with new friends and depart for the Volcano Park. We climb steps cut from polished blocks of lava through tropical paradise dotted with large penjing and grotesque rocks, croton, bougainvillea, mango manguo, cactus xian ren qiu, aloe, coconut yezi, papaya and red hibiscus. We circulate the small, extinct crater dripping with exotic foliage and fluttering butterflies.Read More
After flying from Monday to Wednesday, RDD to SFO to SEA to DET to SHA to HAK, and actually arriving at Xian Lu Fu Hotel at 1:24am Thursday morning. Basically without sleeping. One day was passing the international date line.Read More
Frost over the weekend drops all the leaves. Like golden doubloons, spinning in cerulean blue space, breaking with a soft snap, showering and whispering. Driving behind Lake Siskiyou, up into the mountains,Read More
The scrub jay, Leonard, visited every day, squawking for peanuts which he can take from our fingers mid-air. He was also good at catching insects and was gone many hours every day, probably down at the river catching those huge bugs they have down there that the fish like.
Today I puttered around with the bonsai/penjing trees, weeding and trimming. The long and limber pear and apple tree branches are bowed down to the ground, heavy with fruit this year. And I have lots of tomatoes, fangie or xihongshi. This is my best garden in years.
In the morning, before the hot sun blasts over the ridge behind Apple Street, Bruce and I keep up with small improvements and maintenance on the house.
Bruce and I drove the less popular, back way to Eugene to visit my son and granddaughter for her fourth birthday. We took the highway 97 turnoff at Weed and turned east on highway 161 which paralleled the border through Grass Lake to the town of Tulelake where we crossed the California border near Merrill, Oregon. We picked up highway 97 again at the city of Klamath Lake where we skirted the east side of Upper Klamath Lake. At Chiloquin, an Amtrak depot, we investigated the area around the railroad tracks. The highway passed near Crater Lake, but we pressed toward Eugene and promised to come back next summer to explore the beautiful and remote region.
The party, at a park in Eugene, swelled to include children and adults. I was thrilled to see my ex-husband Richard and Bruce visiting over the cupcake table.
I spent the day savoring the last of summer at Whiskeytown Lake with Helen and Barbara. Canadian geese strutted across the sand while sailboats tacked and turned in our sheltered bay.
On Labor Day, 9/2, I made grape juice for jelly from Marty’s Concord grapes, small but flavorful and grown in north Dunsmuir. On 9/11 we remembered the tragic anniversary.
Every day we must pick fruit and prepare them in for winter. I canned pints of pear halves. I picked fat, windblown apples, red and streaked and spotted yellow with a blue blush, while Leonard the gray jay sang a warbling tune from a low branch. The blue morning glories climbed up the porch and are taller than the tallest sunflowers, past blooming, and making seeds.
My darling son, James, took his first business trip to China, traveling with his boss and an interpreter. Here he was in Shanghai. They provided architecture services in design for clients there.
Happy Mid Autumn Day, Zhongqiu jie, September 19, 2013.
Suddenly the rain arrived in cold chi clouds. I ran between raindrops to fetch ripe apples, downed by last night’s thundershower. I have seen less and less of Leonard the gray jay. This morning black headed juncos from the mountain lakes arrived to pick through the debris of my garden.
Wo hui dao Zhongguo
Every day I study Mandarin. Wo meitian du dou xuexi putonghua. I have mp3 files for lessons I took in Beijing from my teacher, laoshi, Wu Dan. I’m preparing to take a two-month trip that starts in late November in Hainan, the Hawaii of China. I’m attending the 10th CAFIC International Conference on the theme “Intercultural Communication for a Harmonious World: Challenges and Opportunities." I’ll be presenting a paper, co-authored by my boss at Tsinghua, Chen Hong, Director of the Overseas Promotion Department, titled “Building a Better English Website for Chinese Universities” based on research I conducted while working there in 2011.
From there I will travel to Ghanzhou to see the Qingwan Penjing Garden and conduct an interview with the proprietors for European bonsai magazine Bonsai Focus, and California magazine Golden Statements. The next stop is Xi’an and finally on to Beijing where Bruce will be meeting me for a few weeks of Chinese New Year, Spring Festival. The Beijing Breakfast Letter will be revived with more adventures and images.
See you later
We visited Medford, Oregon, where Bruce gave a presentation as part of the Ashland Historic Railroad Museum’s monthly lecture series. The Medford Mail Tribune said, “Author Bruce Petty will present a slide show of historical photos of Southern Pacific’s Shasta Division at 6:30pm Friday, March 8, at the Ashland library.” Bruce’s co-author Larry Mullaly and his wife Alice live outside of town surrounded by farm land: cow pastures, alfalfa fields, and one wild elk. She has violets, daffodils, forsythia and apricot blooming.
Delicious camarones y pescadero tacos with horchata on the way out of town at Restaurant El Kora. I passed the time in the car doing easy Sudoku and working on my latest manuscript draft, an invertor in the cigarette lighter of the Explorer allowed me to use Pépe the netbook with powercord. Beautiful sunny day, warming up to 59 F or 15 C.
Professor Don Eads shared this image with us, an Obama family portrait. Left to right: Craig Robinson, Leslie Robinson, Avery Robinson, Marian Robinson, Akinyi Manners, Auma Obama, Maya Soetoro-Ng, Konrad Ng, Savita Ng, and Suhaila Ng.
I tested and turned on four irrigation valves today. Then I set out the downstairs bonsai. I’ve been hand watering every day for the past few weeks. Peas are well up and flowering. The Tuscan kale is finally going to flower here and there: blue crinkled leaves and bent coat hanger flower stems surmounted by a sparse spike of four-petaled yellow flowers. Purple and white lilacs are blooming on the hill. Apple blossoms scatter in the breeze drying towels on the umbrella-style solar clothes dryer.
Dustin Song Tao Zhu shares news from Beijing: Dear Petty,
How is everything going?
Now is spring, and we are enjoying the clean weather.
Last Sunday is our student festival, and was playing in one modern drama.
Here come the photos!
After replacing my netbook Pépe with Pépe II and all that entails with wifi accessories, printer, security downloads and reinstallation of Word … and all the rest: I finished and sent reports to the Overseas Office, finished reading my ms out loud to dear friends willing to give me the time, made improvements and sent to editor: 26,000 new words. Now I’m relaxing in the backyard, playing Sudoku, eating a sandwich and finishing my coffee from the Cornerstone Bakery.
A mature gray squirrel snuck into the yard and nibbled peanuts I had set out for the jaybirds.
Eunice Woo from Beijing shares with us: I went to the Garden Expo yesterday, know you love these stuff. This picture is the typical kind of gardens in Southern China (Jiangnan District). Here's the Expo's website: http://en.expo2013.net/cj/list.php?tid=111#5. This one from Daguanyuan, a garden, too, the TV show "The Dream of Red Mason" filmed there.
I visited this site and found it to have an excellent English version and many pages of interesting horticultural exhibits of Chinese style.
Beautiful veggie garden this year with tomatoes, medicinal and culinary herbs, sunflowers, marigolds, snapdragons. I planted pole lima beans with morning glory. Planted basil and more morning glory on the old pea netting. Big full moon this weekend and rain forecast.
Just groovin’ on the porch. The sun went down behind Mt. Bradley an hour ago. The sky is still light and the air is fresh and pleasantly warm at 79 F or 26 C. Listening to Grover Washington “Just the two of us.”
Finished my manuscript Beijing Abduction. YAY! Now, I’m looking for an agent who will represent me to a publisher. Every day I send a Query Letter and samples of my writing. We call this a numbers game. The more query letters I send the greater are chances I will find the right agent.
Not so busy now. I go to the lake with my husband to the lake or Farmers’ Market. Thursday after 3:30pm, the Dunsmuir Growers’ Market takes over the corner next to the Dunsmuir Brewery, making it convenient for locals to shop and stop for something cold to drink. The director of SAM (Siskiyou Arts Museum) Lauri Sturdivant sits across the table from local activist Joanne Steele at an impromptu party for Linda Price’s sister Tammy and Helen Cartwright’s daughter Nicole. Who needs a reason? Entertainment a string ensemble traveling from North Carolina.
Last scene at the Brewery Thursday night: Brett LaMott proprietor and chef at Café Maddalena quaffing summer ale with Bruce Petty, after shopping for new okra from Redding growers. Ted and Bonny Lou, fans of Wendy Crist, one of the organizers of the wildly successful Dunsmuir Growers’ Market. Wendy and hubbie Michael grow micro herbs at their sunny location behind the Von Hein’s place for local eateries like Café M and the Dogwood Diner. Not only fresh veggies and fruits are available but also local food items, BBQ and homemade tamales. Boomer, live, soft rock entertainment.
See you later
San Francisco Bay Area
Bruce and I drove to Palo Alto, CA for his annual checkup at Stanford. His doctor, Harcharan S Gill, MD from the Urologic Oncology Program, commented: “Excellent!” Dr. Gill credits Bruce’s great attitude for much of his outstanding recovery. Bruce had a chest X-ray and blood test at Stanford before leaving. We still have to get a CT scan up in Mt Shasta to complete the tests. Bruce will have to continue with these annual checkups for ten years. One down, nine to go. J
The Penrod northern California family has suffered the loss of beloved Vera, wife of Jay and mother of JP (Jay Pierre), Brian and Trudy. The beautiful memorial service was arranged by Trudy at the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Castro Valley, Vera’s neighborhood parish. At the beautiful and inspiring service in the vast sanctuary with stained glass windows glowing like jewels, it was interesting to see the many friends and family from Vera and Jay’s sides of the family.
Afterwards, we gathered at the Willow Park Golf Course event center, also in Castro Valley. Flocks of ducks were busy ducking and swimming in the pond near the putting green when Bruce, Parker (my young cousin and son of Michele), and I drove up. Again, Trudy arranged the dining room settings and buffet of fruit salad, cheeses and basket of breads, escarole salad, rotini and grilled chicken. I got to meet Vera’s exercise group; she led the class only two weeks before her passing. A young cousin made a slide show of many images of Vera from a young woman in bathing suit to bride to grandma, set to music like Frank Sinatra singing “My Heart Belongs in San Francisco.”
Tuesday night Feb 12, I drove to Palo Alto from Livermore where Bruce and I were staying with cousin Michele Hively and son Parker. At Renzo's I met members ofBayCHI, a group dedicated to the human element in computing. About fifteen people, half men and women, shared an excellent meal before the main program. I met many interesting younger people who had worked with the speaker, Jason Kunesh, on the successful Obama social networking digital campaign. I had Sicilian Chardonnay with stuffed sautéed calamari and minestrone soup.
Jason was the first director of user experience in US Presidential campaign history. He flew from Chicago to meet with BayCHI. He sat next to me at dinner. He’s very outgoing and an excellent communicator, as were all the BayCHI members I had a chance to meet. He says, “He takes very seriously his efforts not to take himself seriously. SERIOUSLY!”
After dinner, we met at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center formerly known as Xerox PARC) in their comfortable auditorium seating about five hundred. At the start of Jason’s presentation, "True Believers, Geeks and Kool-Aid Drinkers: Tall Tales of Design Chicanery from Inside Obama for America HQ", he asked “How many people here are looking for work?” I turned in my seat near the front to see maybe a dozen hands out of a group of about three hundred. Next, he asked, “How many people here are looking to hire?” Twenty-five or thirty hands show. I had heard that the tech industry had unfilled positions. This is the first time I witnessed that fact.
Returning home after the long visit in the Bay Area, all the berries are gone as well as most of the snow. I gardened a couple of days in the sun, trimming roses and planting dark red grasses, miniature conifers and Japanese maples in two large pots near the front steps in the sunny weather before the next passing snowstorm. My friend Linda is having a big sale at the Boxcar Gallery.
James sent me a darling picture of granddaughter playing with the puzzle we got for her at the McCloud Mercantile.
Snapshot: One Year Later
Over the Spring Festival holiday, I heard from many of my friends in China, young people I met in 2011 while I was working at Tsinghua University. We had cooking parties, visited the art district 798, and painted huahua.
I met Bruce at the lotus pond at Tsinghua while I was brush painting one Saturday in late summer. He was in Beijing doing an internship year at Beijing University in the Total Immersion Program. He is an instructor in the program and is called LaoLi or Teacher Li. He has a BS in molecular biology from Shanxi Agricultural University. We gave Bruce a sendoff when he left Beijing for his hometown where he planned to start his own English Language School. Jerry was in graduate school at Beijing Language and Culture University, studying to be an English teacher.
I wanted to know if Jerry was doing anything fun for the holiday. He answered:
“Yes, I went to Atlanta see the dolphin show, St Augustine, Miami the south beach, Key west sunset, Orlando the Disney world, have a great time there, it's very different from where I live in Kentucky, and this helps me have a overall understanding of America. Hope everything goes well, I miss you.”
Jerry has spent the past year in Bowling Green, KY, teaching Mandarin through the Confucius Institute. He writes to me:
“I'm happy staying in touch with you, too. Now I have met a nice student teacher in my school， we are having fun get together every weekend with some other friends, playing desk games and I go to church with them on Sunday. By the way, is Eunice coming to US this year?”
Eunice shared her holiday with us:
[Eunice’s hometown is Gan zhou in the southeast of China.] “The climate is very good, we have very short winter, just a week ago it reached 82F. These days it's about 60F, but soon the temperature will go up. Unlike big cities like BJ, environment in my hometown is among the best at least in China, my city has the title of garden city. Since we have good climate and good geological location, we can grow many things, every time I go back home I will be fatter, many yummy food can't be found in Northern China.
Today is Chinese New Year's Eve, the most important festival in China, tomorrow will be the first day of 2013 in lunar calendar. I hope everything goes well with you in 2013, big sale of your book, wish you happy and have good health^_^. Love you!”
Eunice and Claire were graduating seniors at the Beijing Language and Culture University in Wudaokuo, classmates of Jerry. She wants to study in the US, but for now she is studying for an English translator test in May. If she passes, my boss at Tsinghua said she would hire Eunice to help translate my novel into mandarin. I understand it is very difficult test.
I asked Jerry: “What about our other friends? Claire and Bruce?”
Jerry writes back: “Claire is now in South Carolina Confucius Institute the same work as me. Bruce is now running a small English Training Company with his friends in Taigu , a county in Shanxi Province and they are doing now much better than the beginning. There is a photo of him.
“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Petty tai tai : )”
Snapshot: Dustin Song Tao Zhu
One of my first friends at Tsinghua was a young man my department found for me through the Student Organization. He and his friends in the Chemistry Department met with me several times for dinner or to have a cooking party in my apartment. I was very happy to hear from Dustin over the holidays. After graduating with a BS in Chemistry, Dustin is altering his educational course, pursuing a degree in finance for his MS.
Dustin wrote to me: “Hi , Petty: It's a long time not to talk to you.
“These days is the biggest festival in China, and I have come back to my hometown in Jiangsu. Today is the first day of new year, I wish you good luck in new Chinese year of snake! GONG XI FA CAI(Chinese old saying: wish you make much money in new year)
“I am still studying finance, and will graduate [from Tsinghua with MS] in 2014 summer. The first picture is one of my photos which was taken when I was an host in our new year festival. I find to be a host was so interesting. And the second one is shot when I participated in the concert and I was dressed in ethnic costume. These ethnic clothes look so beautiful.”
Snapshot: Chinese dumplings jiasuo
Li Zhang and I met at the coffee shop on campus near where we worked. Li was a research assistant for my friend Sara Sterling in the Anthropology Department that year. Li accompanied me on a trip to the Beijing Botanical Garden to translate for me and photograph the penjing collection. Li taught me a lot about Chinese cuisine. She wrote to me this holiday from her hometown in Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai.
“Happy Chinese New Year! I took some photos of Jiaozi made by my grandfather and parents. It's my family's tradition to make dumplings on the New Year Eve. You can see my grandfather's hand in the picture.”
Snapshot: Book Corner
My philosopher friend Daniel A Bell (see Thanksgiving Nov 23 breakfast letter) crossed my radar last week. I want to share the link to this recent Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-a-bell/chinese-nationalism_b_2603116.html
New Ways to visualize and Make Sense of Data
By Hunter Whitney
I met Hunter at the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of ACM (Assoc for Computing Machinery) SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Human-Computer Interaction) dinner at Renzo’s in Palo Alto, on University Avenue, before the program. This book is an in depth and at the same time broad reaching compendium of ideas relating to visualization of data ideas, including some diagrams by Hunter such as Figure 6.2 Data analysis, the Yin and the Yang.
310pp with many illustrations on every page in black and white and color. You can find this jewel of a book at Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Data-Insights-Ways-Visualize-Sense/dp/0123877938/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361406540&sr=1-1&keywords=data+insights
See you later
Yong hoy fat choy! Xinnian hao! On December 20 I got the manuscript back from my editor Kathyrn Robyn. I can’t remember any longer what revision I’m on, but the filename is now BA ver.6.1. Not finished yet, but getting very close to it…J
Cedar wax-wings are getting into the Boston ivy berries. Little, teen-aged, gray squirrels pop up from under the snow at tree wells or edges of the house—sooo cute, like Chip’n’Dale...
Chip'n'Dale are two chipmunk cartoon characters created in 1943 at Walt Disney Productions. Here's a link to Utube cartoon that must be fifty-years-old, just like cartoons I watched when I was little. Apologies to my China friends who can't access Utube.
... they scamper over the snow or slide down with little feet sticking out—wheee! Stay safe little squirrels, the fox is nearby …
On New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2012, gray foxes track through the back yard, tripping the motion sensor light. In early morning, Bruce saw a pair of them, with bushy tails as long as bodies, walking together down the street, boy and girlfriend.
We've had tons of snow this past month, and I am not exaggerating. The city was plowing at midnight on Apple Street at one point. Click on Cornerstone Bakery to see hilarious pix of the Explorer after we dug it out, still had at least two-feet of snow on top!!
Friday night, January 18, artist friends of mine were hosting a reception of their new work at the Liberty Arts gallery in Yreka, that’s north of Dunsmuir by about an hour driving. Yreka is the county seat of Siskiyou and is surrounded by cattle ranches and agriculture.
New China Style
My son, James, is sharing a Willamette 360 project he worked on two years ago for a very good developer in China. There were four homes in the package for which they designed the elevations, but the plans were really designed by the Chinese client. The style is one they've been developing for the last several years that is quite popular. It's a mix of neoclassical and Mediterranean styling they call the "New Chinese style."
China Culture: Laba Day
Zhoumo wo hezhou le … This weekend I drank porridge
January 19 is Laba Day, celebrated in China on the 8th day of the 12th month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It’s a traditional Buddhist practice to offer rice porridge to the poor to show faith in Buddha and pray for the coming year: good weather and good harvest. At the time of the Ming Dynasty, in the 16th century, it became a royal food. The practice spread throughout the country. The porridge today is a nutritious mix of yellow rice, white rice, glutinous rice, water chestnut, chestnuts, peeled Zaoni with Shuizhu Shu, tropical red peach kernel, almond, melon seeds, peanuts, hazel Rang, pine nuts, sugar, brown sugar, raisins, red river beans, millet, Chinese sorghum, peas, dried lotus seeds.
Anyone know what zaoni with shuizhu shu?
Eunice Woo shares with us:
The word "La" is another way of saying December of Chinese Lunar Calendar, "Ba" means the 8th day of this month. the festival is originated from ancient emperor's sacrifice to God, dried fruits and grains are used to celebrate harvest - thank God for last year's harvest and pray for the next year's harvest. Most important tradition of La Ba is making and eating "La Ba porridge". every family's hostess gets up really early to make the porridge, the first family gets the porridge done will have the biggest harvest the next year. when you have the porridge you'll find different kinds of grains and dried fruits and nuts, many people think there are 8 kinds of them because the word "Ba" in the name of this festival, but it's not true, it's definitely more than 8. as to what Chinese people use specifically in the porridge, i'm not sure, different regions have different features. generally speaking, people from Northern China like sweet porridge without any meat in it, while in Southern China people like salted porridge with meat. in ancient times, the Emperor would serve his people porridge made by the emperess, today many big well-known temples still serve porridge freely to people. having La Ba porridge is super good to one's health too, although our ancestors don't know today's scientific theories, they decided to do this more than one thousand years ago.
Selected Poems of Zheng Min
This statement from the Publisher’s Forward of this slim book of verse is strangely prescient of the announcement of Nobel winner Mo Yan. “China is a country with a history of over five thousand years, rich with ancient cultures and civilization. China is also a country of poetry. China's poetry is recognized for its great achievements in art. Nine sessions of International Poet's Pen Club have taken place in China. The World Congress of Poets (WCP) frequently meets in China. Chinese poetry will surely be linked more closely with world poetry, thereby giving impetus to the further development of Chinese and world poetry.”
In November 2011 at Tsinghua University I was privileged to attend a reception for Zhen Min, a 91-year-old poetess who was writing before New China, was a member of a writers group called the ‘Nine Leaves,’ but who was suppressed during the Cultural Revolution. From 1948 to 1952, Zheng Min studied in the Department of English at Brown University, receiving her MA. This little book is of several of her later poems, nineteen poems on the subject of death. 71 pages, English and Chinese on each page.
See you later