December 31, 2005


A very pretty girl dwells in a very pretty daisy. She is the angel, the queen over all of the flowers.

Angel in a flower

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A very pretty girl dwells in a very pretty daisy. She is the angel, the queen over all of the flowers.

Saturday, December 31, 2005
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December 28, 2005

I had eagerly waited to see "Memoirs of a Geisha". Everything about it seemed to pre-qualify it as a very good movie: the famed director, Rob Marshall, who directed "Chicago", a dazzling movie with "all that jazz" and dances; the very best Chinese actresses, Gong Li and Zhiyi Zhang. You have to be blind not to know them if you even just occasionally read some movie magazines; And it's topic, Japan with forever cherry blossoms and Japanese Geishas with their endless innuendos, … the sex, the beauty, the kimonos and the subculture.

But after I saw the movie myself, I think from now on I would much prefer seeing movies of Chinese martial arts, e.g., “The house of Flying Daggers”. Or at least I would much prefer Zhang Yimou to Rob Marshall, even though "Geisha" has often been compared to "Red Lantern".

Geisha is a pretty bad movie. Everything about it feels wrong, forced, affecting and lame. The dialogues, made worse by the heavy-accented delivery, were recited out like maxims from Mao's age. There was no shortage of cheap life philosophy. The chairman said to the little future-geisha something like "Next time you stumble do not cry" after he bought her sweets. Or Zhang ZhiYi’s Sayuri played wise: “You cannot judge a man from his appearance”. Nor shortage of one-line declarations: "I am innocent", "I will destroy you!".

The acting to me is very much overacted. Gong Li's Hatsumomo, with her often-unkempt hair, sneers and stares, is so intensely mean and treacherous that she lost depth and dimensions. Like caricatures from old movies. I read in the Time how Gong Li cried the whole time when the movie was over and workers cleaned the set. I was moved then, now I think how she could overact even offset.

(I wish I could say something better. I like most of her movies. I read gossips about her.)

The heart of the movie, the bare-threaded love story between the Sayuri and the "chairman" (he does not even have a name), is one of most unconvincing boring love stories I have seen. A little girl met an adult man (accompanied by two Geishas). He bought her sweets; she fell in love for him and determined to become a Geisha. She secretly kept his handkerchief. She met him again after about 10 years or so. She willingly or unwillingly waited on and flirted with numerous clients, including his friend. She sold her virginity at the highest price, while she adamantly declared her love for the chairman. Later, after America invaded, she bathed with Americans and later had sex with the general. Sure, she does all these because of her love for the chairman.

The movie ended with Sayuri and the chairman holding each other, and Sayuri declared something like “everything I do is to get closer to you.”

The movie is filled with a lot of subplots of catfights between Hatsumomo and Sayuri. Very raw and stupefying. At its climax, Gong Li’s characters burned down the Geisha house. Yet miraculously, Zayuri kept the little handkerchief intact.

It also skims though the art of being of a Geisha, through Zayuri’s initiation. Very short and superfluous. But I enjoyed this part the most.

Roger Ebert says, “I suspect that the more you know about Japan and movies, the less you would like ‘Geisha’”. I think differently. However much you know about Japan or movies, it is unlikely you would love the movie.

It is too banal, too bad.

Memoirs Of a Geisha

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I had eagerly waited to see "Memoirs of a Geisha". Everything about it seemed to pre-qualify it as a very good movie: the famed director, Rob Marshall, who directed "Chicago", a dazzling movie with "all that jazz" and dances; the very best Chinese actresses, Gong Li and Zhiyi Zhang. You have to be blind not to know them if you even just occasionally read some movie magazines; And it's topic, Japan with forever cherry blossoms and Japanese Geishas with their endless innuendos, … the sex, the beauty, the kimonos and the subculture.

But after I saw the movie myself, I think from now on I would much prefer seeing movies of Chinese martial arts, e.g., “The house of Flying Daggers”. Or at least I would much prefer Zhang Yimou to Rob Marshall, even though "Geisha" has often been compared to "Red Lantern".

Geisha is a pretty bad movie. Everything about it feels wrong, forced, affecting and lame. The dialogues, made worse by the heavy-accented delivery, were recited out like maxims from Mao's age. There was no shortage of cheap life philosophy. The chairman said to the little future-geisha something like "Next time you stumble do not cry" after he bought her sweets. Or Zhang ZhiYi’s Sayuri played wise: “You cannot judge a man from his appearance”. Nor shortage of one-line declarations: "I am innocent", "I will destroy you!".

The acting to me is very much overacted. Gong Li's Hatsumomo, with her often-unkempt hair, sneers and stares, is so intensely mean and treacherous that she lost depth and dimensions. Like caricatures from old movies. I read in the Time how Gong Li cried the whole time when the movie was over and workers cleaned the set. I was moved then, now I think how she could overact even offset.

(I wish I could say something better. I like most of her movies. I read gossips about her.)

The heart of the movie, the bare-threaded love story between the Sayuri and the "chairman" (he does not even have a name), is one of most unconvincing boring love stories I have seen. A little girl met an adult man (accompanied by two Geishas). He bought her sweets; she fell in love for him and determined to become a Geisha. She secretly kept his handkerchief. She met him again after about 10 years or so. She willingly or unwillingly waited on and flirted with numerous clients, including his friend. She sold her virginity at the highest price, while she adamantly declared her love for the chairman. Later, after America invaded, she bathed with Americans and later had sex with the general. Sure, she does all these because of her love for the chairman.

The movie ended with Sayuri and the chairman holding each other, and Sayuri declared something like “everything I do is to get closer to you.”

The movie is filled with a lot of subplots of catfights between Hatsumomo and Sayuri. Very raw and stupefying. At its climax, Gong Li’s characters burned down the Geisha house. Yet miraculously, Zayuri kept the little handkerchief intact.

It also skims though the art of being of a Geisha, through Zayuri’s initiation. Very short and superfluous. But I enjoyed this part the most.

Roger Ebert says, “I suspect that the more you know about Japan and movies, the less you would like ‘Geisha’”. I think differently. However much you know about Japan or movies, it is unlikely you would love the movie.

It is too banal, too bad.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
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December 25, 2005

Days Of Sand And Sunshine (Larry W. Jones )

Warm days of sand and sunshine
When we stroll down by the bay
Is a wonderland on a far flung shore
A song of love that's sung for evermore

Warm days of sand and sunshine
In the tradewinds of summer time
Tells me that my dreams come true
In these days of sand and sunshine
With you

Just being here with you is like a summer breeze
A breeze that makes sweet memories
A wonderland on a far flung shore
A song of love that's sung for evermore

Days of Sunshine and Sand

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Days Of Sand And Sunshine (Larry W. Jones )

Warm days of sand and sunshine
When we stroll down by the bay
Is a wonderland on a far flung shore
A song of love that's sung for evermore

Warm days of sand and sunshine
In the tradewinds of summer time
Tells me that my dreams come true
In these days of sand and sunshine
With you

Just being here with you is like a summer breeze
A breeze that makes sweet memories
A wonderland on a far flung shore
A song of love that's sung for evermore

Sunday, December 25, 2005
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December 21, 2005

I bought my first apartment late last year, in 2004. A one-bedroom condo in a five-story building.

The process was easy, considering the gravity of decision and the size of commitment to make. But hey, we are in a real estate boom, everyone buys a house, with or without money, or job, or good credit. The most convincing argument to me is that every time you pay mortgage you put money in your bank.

Sounds good. Time to own you own place.

For more than 10 years, I have been moving around at an average rate of once every year. For various reasons, money or convenience, or both. With a neglegible amount of belongings and a "whatever, I do not care" mind-set, it is easy to just pack up, leave everything behind and go.

In 2004 I had Emma.

In 2005, We really wanted and then decided to buy a place for our own.

The first step was to get a mortgage. We sent out copies of passports, visas, pay stubs, w-2, tax-return forms, bank statements... everything that could prove that we were legal and not entirely penniless.

The second step was to look. We were not looking for a dream surburbia place with a swimming pool, a front meadow and a back yard. That is for desperate housewives. Not even two-bedrooms. No. Affordable is the key.

We were not ambitious enough to try to bank on the future potential of our soon-to-be-ours property. It is tempting though when the on-site financiers calculated how your investment would grow in five years. Wow, they knew all the terms that were never before existed in my dictionary.

We wandered into a few open houses, playing cool. Since we did not know anything, we asked polite and banal questions, like how big is the apt., how much is the assessment? We made full use of the Internet, searching and receiving emails and emails of available possible properties in the nearby neighborhood. However, no power search was needed, since our criterias were simple and few.

Money, money or lack of money decides all. Even if it were money borrowed. But to us simple-minded fellows, money borrowed is money to be returned. We never could understand when people say money can labor itself and grow two or three-fold.

It did not take long. After a few viewing of spacious modern condos that were not quite in our affordable range, we jumped on a small yet Ok-looking and decent-priced place.

Then the rest happened in a whirlwind. We made an offer, did a quick bargaining, signed tons of paper who knows what, skipped the steps of decoration, remodeling, fixing, or whatever, we moved in.

Everyone says the real estate bubble is soon to burst. We jumped right in.

And now, I want a two-bedroom.

Into the real estate bubble

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I bought my first apartment late last year, in 2004. A one-bedroom condo in a five-story building.

The process was easy, considering the gravity of decision and the size of commitment to make. But hey, we are in a real estate boom, everyone buys a house, with or without money, or job, or good credit. The most convincing argument to me is that every time you pay mortgage you put money in your bank.

Sounds good. Time to own you own place.

For more than 10 years, I have been moving around at an average rate of once every year. For various reasons, money or convenience, or both. With a neglegible amount of belongings and a "whatever, I do not care" mind-set, it is easy to just pack up, leave everything behind and go.

In 2004 I had Emma.

In 2005, We really wanted and then decided to buy a place for our own.

The first step was to get a mortgage. We sent out copies of passports, visas, pay stubs, w-2, tax-return forms, bank statements... everything that could prove that we were legal and not entirely penniless.

The second step was to look. We were not looking for a dream surburbia place with a swimming pool, a front meadow and a back yard. That is for desperate housewives. Not even two-bedrooms. No. Affordable is the key.

We were not ambitious enough to try to bank on the future potential of our soon-to-be-ours property. It is tempting though when the on-site financiers calculated how your investment would grow in five years. Wow, they knew all the terms that were never before existed in my dictionary.

We wandered into a few open houses, playing cool. Since we did not know anything, we asked polite and banal questions, like how big is the apt., how much is the assessment? We made full use of the Internet, searching and receiving emails and emails of available possible properties in the nearby neighborhood. However, no power search was needed, since our criterias were simple and few.

Money, money or lack of money decides all. Even if it were money borrowed. But to us simple-minded fellows, money borrowed is money to be returned. We never could understand when people say money can labor itself and grow two or three-fold.

It did not take long. After a few viewing of spacious modern condos that were not quite in our affordable range, we jumped on a small yet Ok-looking and decent-priced place.

Then the rest happened in a whirlwind. We made an offer, did a quick bargaining, signed tons of paper who knows what, skipped the steps of decoration, remodeling, fixing, or whatever, we moved in.

Everyone says the real estate bubble is soon to burst. We jumped right in.

And now, I want a two-bedroom.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
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December 18, 2005

Fireworks. Dec 2005

Light Shower

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Fireworks. Dec 2005

Sunday, December 18, 2005
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At the top of world or cloud gate

At the top of cloud gate

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At the top of world or cloud gate

Sunday, December 18, 2005
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I longed to take a picture of Chicago night. But I probably never could. So steal one from the web, edit it a bit, put my dear Emma in it.

Emma the winter baby. Chicago night in the distant background.

Chicago Night

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I longed to take a picture of Chicago night. But I probably never could. So steal one from the web, edit it a bit, put my dear Emma in it.

Emma the winter baby. Chicago night in the distant background.

Sunday, December 18, 2005
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Better not read the book if you were to see the movie, especially if it is a good movie. This is all I can say about "Brokeback Mountain".

I read the novel, a short fiction published in The New Yorker. I chewed the dialogues, especially the now overly quoted one-line philosophy: "If you can't fix it, you got to stand it."

Or the dialogue:
"This is a one-shot thing we got going on here."
"Nobody’s business but ours."
"You know I ain’t queer."
"Me neither."


...

So when the movie began, I anticipated its unfolding, eagerly waited for Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jack Gyllenhaal) to utter the words, say them exactly as I knew. I viewed the scenes and scenes of rocks, clouds, forests and rolling mountains as recalled the sentences in the original novel. I studied the pained and aged face of Ennis, thinking this was a face too old for an 19 year old. I think Jack is too handsome for the novel Jack Cowboy...

I tired myself.

Only toward the end, did I gradually pulled myself out of the novel, the words and sentences humming in my head and pained with the old tired miserable resigned Ennis.

I like the song played when the movie ended,
"Never had much money
Never quite satisfied
He is a friend of mine"

"Love under siege".

Brokeback Mountain

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Better not read the book if you were to see the movie, especially if it is a good movie. This is all I can say about "Brokeback Mountain".

I read the novel, a short fiction published in The New Yorker. I chewed the dialogues, especially the now overly quoted one-line philosophy: "If you can't fix it, you got to stand it."

Or the dialogue:
"This is a one-shot thing we got going on here."
"Nobody’s business but ours."
"You know I ain’t queer."
"Me neither."


...

So when the movie began, I anticipated its unfolding, eagerly waited for Ennis (Heath Ledger) and Jack (Jack Gyllenhaal) to utter the words, say them exactly as I knew. I viewed the scenes and scenes of rocks, clouds, forests and rolling mountains as recalled the sentences in the original novel. I studied the pained and aged face of Ennis, thinking this was a face too old for an 19 year old. I think Jack is too handsome for the novel Jack Cowboy...

I tired myself.

Only toward the end, did I gradually pulled myself out of the novel, the words and sentences humming in my head and pained with the old tired miserable resigned Ennis.

I like the song played when the movie ended,
"Never had much money
Never quite satisfied
He is a friend of mine"

"Love under siege".

Sunday, December 18, 2005
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December 17, 2005

I got it. To make a complex movie, especially on a global scale, you should just throw in one plot in every 5 minutes. Each plot must be fast-paced and sleek and scattered in different important places around the world, like Geneva, Beirut, Persian Gulf, and Washington is a must for a complex political movie. And remember, keep the characters uttering some theme-related words, like key words in a article that is aimed at search engines, for example, oil, heir, merger, synergy, so we all know this is about oil, big oil companies. Sure, to soften up the movie, add some wives, kids for decoration purposes. To keep relevance to the current society, put some plots referring some contemporary events, for instance, quote torture methods used on Falun Gong, or illustrate how a young man became a suicide bomber as a side note.

This is how Syriana is, at least to me. Despite the many reviews I have read, much admiration I have accrued because of the reviews, I walked out the theatre wondering what a big mesh and mess of plots I have just seen.

I went back to the reviews of the movies. Rogers Ebert thumbs up the movie and says the following: "The movie's plot is so complex we're not really supposed to follow it, we're supposed to be surrounded by it ..." There it is. Feeling like a child, watching up adults dress like important, talk like important, act like important, therefore obliged to admire, thinking "hey, it must be important."

I have seen this guy's movie "Traffic", also very complex, but I managed to follow and enjoyed tremendously. But this one, I lost.

How to make a complex movie, eg., Syriana

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I got it. To make a complex movie, especially on a global scale, you should just throw in one plot in every 5 minutes. Each plot must be fast-paced and sleek and scattered in different important places around the world, like Geneva, Beirut, Persian Gulf, and Washington is a must for a complex political movie. And remember, keep the characters uttering some theme-related words, like key words in a article that is aimed at search engines, for example, oil, heir, merger, synergy, so we all know this is about oil, big oil companies. Sure, to soften up the movie, add some wives, kids for decoration purposes. To keep relevance to the current society, put some plots referring some contemporary events, for instance, quote torture methods used on Falun Gong, or illustrate how a young man became a suicide bomber as a side note.

This is how Syriana is, at least to me. Despite the many reviews I have read, much admiration I have accrued because of the reviews, I walked out the theatre wondering what a big mesh and mess of plots I have just seen.

I went back to the reviews of the movies. Rogers Ebert thumbs up the movie and says the following: "The movie's plot is so complex we're not really supposed to follow it, we're supposed to be surrounded by it ..." There it is. Feeling like a child, watching up adults dress like important, talk like important, act like important, therefore obliged to admire, thinking "hey, it must be important."

I have seen this guy's movie "Traffic", also very complex, but I managed to follow and enjoyed tremendously. But this one, I lost.

Saturday, December 17, 2005
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December 16, 2005

Hungry! I want cookies!

Hungry!

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Hungry! I want cookies!

Friday, December 16, 2005
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December 11, 2005

Emma, we told Santa you have been a good girl. He would visit you in China

A Christmas card for Emma, sent by very good-looking and middle-aged Leo and Xun.

We have told Santa ...

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Emma, we told Santa you have been a good girl. He would visit you in China

A Christmas card for Emma, sent by very good-looking and middle-aged Leo and Xun.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
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December 08, 2005

I tried to put Emma in a bubble and add some special effects, applying a technique I just learned from the web. Obviously I am not very successful. Post it anyway.

Emma in a bubble

Emma in a bubble

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I tried to put Emma in a bubble and add some special effects, applying a technique I just learned from the web. Obviously I am not very successful. Post it anyway.

Emma in a bubble

Thursday, December 08, 2005
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December 07, 2005

The budding artist Emma (at age of merely 2) has produced the following works, which her teacher proudly hung on the wall and we took pictures of.



A Tree Leaf
Emma's Work: A tree leaf. 12/2005

Tasty Cookie
Emma's Work: Tasty cookie. 12/2005

My Soles
Emma's Work: My soles. 12/2005

Emma's work

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The budding artist Emma (at age of merely 2) has produced the following works, which her teacher proudly hung on the wall and we took pictures of.



A Tree Leaf
Emma's Work: A tree leaf. 12/2005

Tasty Cookie
Emma's Work: Tasty cookie. 12/2005

My Soles
Emma's Work: My soles. 12/2005

Wednesday, December 07, 2005
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December 06, 2005

This is a mock article of Anderson Cooper's same-titled article. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/28/vacations/). His from a rich, privileged, popular person's perspective; mine a poor, underprivileged, not-at-all-popular person's perspective.

Does anyone actually take vacations anymore? Pack up the wife, and the kids, go to the Grand Canyon ...

I think so. My boss went to Yellow Stone, with kids and a troop of others. My sister-in-law went to London before Thailand.

Do you think Brad and Matt really want to be frolicking at Clooney's place on Lake Como? Do you think Al Reynolds enjoys smearing suntan lotion on Star Jones like butter on a lobster at a Jamaican resort?

Maybe. Celebrities always do 2-in-1 vacations. They never stay in one place.

As a kid I used to fantasize vacations. Grown up so old, I have had just a few, far and between.

Paris Hilton has a house in the Hamptons, Rosie O'Donnell is planning a cruise, I've got nothing.

I think only the rich ones or the irresponsible take vacations.

Technically, that's true. If you are caught in the middle, dangling a little bit above poverty line, you are on your own.

I'm convinced a big reason I stay home and work full time was the fact that I am totally responsible. Now if I leave to take a vacation, I worry Emma would not be able to go to a decent preschool.

Even if I felt comfortable taking time off, I don't do vacations very well. By the second day I'm bored. Besides I have to be really careful not spending too much.

I used to think the problem was where I was vacationing, but it's not; the problem is me.

The last time I took a vacation, I went to a ex-professor's place in Philadelphia.

The intention was to show that I too was normal. I went to places and had something to tell. Part of the plan was to see America.

The plan was carried through. We spent half of the time in museums, which suited my professor's taste of being an Assyriologist. Then we hurried through the hustling New York.

I took a dozens of crap pictures and returned unenlightened, unimpressed.

The truth is, places fare so much better in imagination.

Isn't the whole idea of getting away from home, getting away from home? Why leave your home to stay in someone else's?

I do love nice hotels. There's nothing more fancier. Imagine yourself being served.

But the problem with hotels is that it's impossible to afford, especially you make a tiny fraction of what your boss makes and you really really want your kid to go to a good school.

I used to think I was the only one not taking my vacation days, but I recently saw a survey conducted by Expedia.com that said Americans fail to use 415 million days of vacation each year. Which helps explain why the average vacation in America has dwindled to just four days.

Europeans take off a month -- and that doesn't include siestas, strikes, or cigarette breaks.

Sure, Europe hasn't really produced anything of note since the Black Death, but who has time to gloat? Some people are too busy on the work trade mill, some are too busy worrying.

What's even worse than not taking vacation days is spending your working days just to think with your paycheck, you are to voluntarily forgo all your vacations.

When I came back to work everyone said the usual hellos and I replied with the usual "fine. How about you?" I learned that from my first-grade English textbooks.

I'm no social scientist, but I'm convinced there's a correlation between the decline of vacations and the rise of graphics fevers and movie crazes.

Here's my theory: Unable to take vacations, people are giving themselves miniature mind vacations.

Myself, a computer programmer, is a perfect example: Under constant threat of unproductive boredom, I now have taken on graphics design, photo editing as my hobby, after my interests in stocks, penpalling ... faded. And I have a set of movies days to celebrate. "I may not be able to go to Thailand," I say, "but after a chain of consciousness-changing movie ride, I don't really care."

Take my word for it.

The problem with vacation

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This is a mock article of Anderson Cooper's same-titled article. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/09/28/vacations/). His from a rich, privileged, popular person's perspective; mine a poor, underprivileged, not-at-all-popular person's perspective.

Does anyone actually take vacations anymore? Pack up the wife, and the kids, go to the Grand Canyon ...

I think so. My boss went to Yellow Stone, with kids and a troop of others. My sister-in-law went to London before Thailand.

Do you think Brad and Matt really want to be frolicking at Clooney's place on Lake Como? Do you think Al Reynolds enjoys smearing suntan lotion on Star Jones like butter on a lobster at a Jamaican resort?

Maybe. Celebrities always do 2-in-1 vacations. They never stay in one place.

As a kid I used to fantasize vacations. Grown up so old, I have had just a few, far and between.

Paris Hilton has a house in the Hamptons, Rosie O'Donnell is planning a cruise, I've got nothing.

I think only the rich ones or the irresponsible take vacations.

Technically, that's true. If you are caught in the middle, dangling a little bit above poverty line, you are on your own.

I'm convinced a big reason I stay home and work full time was the fact that I am totally responsible. Now if I leave to take a vacation, I worry Emma would not be able to go to a decent preschool.

Even if I felt comfortable taking time off, I don't do vacations very well. By the second day I'm bored. Besides I have to be really careful not spending too much.

I used to think the problem was where I was vacationing, but it's not; the problem is me.

The last time I took a vacation, I went to a ex-professor's place in Philadelphia.

The intention was to show that I too was normal. I went to places and had something to tell. Part of the plan was to see America.

The plan was carried through. We spent half of the time in museums, which suited my professor's taste of being an Assyriologist. Then we hurried through the hustling New York.

I took a dozens of crap pictures and returned unenlightened, unimpressed.

The truth is, places fare so much better in imagination.

Isn't the whole idea of getting away from home, getting away from home? Why leave your home to stay in someone else's?

I do love nice hotels. There's nothing more fancier. Imagine yourself being served.

But the problem with hotels is that it's impossible to afford, especially you make a tiny fraction of what your boss makes and you really really want your kid to go to a good school.

I used to think I was the only one not taking my vacation days, but I recently saw a survey conducted by Expedia.com that said Americans fail to use 415 million days of vacation each year. Which helps explain why the average vacation in America has dwindled to just four days.

Europeans take off a month -- and that doesn't include siestas, strikes, or cigarette breaks.

Sure, Europe hasn't really produced anything of note since the Black Death, but who has time to gloat? Some people are too busy on the work trade mill, some are too busy worrying.

What's even worse than not taking vacation days is spending your working days just to think with your paycheck, you are to voluntarily forgo all your vacations.

When I came back to work everyone said the usual hellos and I replied with the usual "fine. How about you?" I learned that from my first-grade English textbooks.

I'm no social scientist, but I'm convinced there's a correlation between the decline of vacations and the rise of graphics fevers and movie crazes.

Here's my theory: Unable to take vacations, people are giving themselves miniature mind vacations.

Myself, a computer programmer, is a perfect example: Under constant threat of unproductive boredom, I now have taken on graphics design, photo editing as my hobby, after my interests in stocks, penpalling ... faded. And I have a set of movies days to celebrate. "I may not be able to go to Thailand," I say, "but after a chain of consciousness-changing movie ride, I don't really care."

Take my word for it.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
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December 05, 2005

Christmas Tree and Emma

**Note: When money is object, you dream up your christmas with photoshop. With a million shooting stars just for you.

Christmas Tree

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Christmas Tree and Emma

**Note: When money is object, you dream up your christmas with photoshop. With a million shooting stars just for you.

Monday, December 05, 2005
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December 02, 2005

Christmas Fantansy. Greeting Card 2

Christmas Fantasy

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Christmas Fantansy. Greeting Card 2

Friday, December 02, 2005
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Portrait. Pencil Sketch

Portrait 2 (Pencil)

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Portrait. Pencil Sketch

Friday, December 02, 2005
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Portrait (Pensil)

Portrait

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Portrait (Pensil)

Friday, December 02, 2005
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November 30, 2005

Santa Emma

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005
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November 29, 2005

There was a time I loved to read so much that I wanted to be a librarian so I could live in a library and read to my heart's content.

Now I changed my plan.

One day when I get old, old, retired and has nothing to do, I think I would just buy a movie ticket and stay in the movie theatre and watch a chain of movies.

Especially if the theatre has a movie like "Walk the line". I can watch it over and over and over. If I get tired, I can just close my eyes and immerse myself into the music.

I wonder when Emma would be ready for such a black movie day with me? I can take her with me, before I get really old and before she gets tired of me.

Movie day

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There was a time I loved to read so much that I wanted to be a librarian so I could live in a library and read to my heart's content.

Now I changed my plan.

One day when I get old, old, retired and has nothing to do, I think I would just buy a movie ticket and stay in the movie theatre and watch a chain of movies.

Especially if the theatre has a movie like "Walk the line". I can watch it over and over and over. If I get tired, I can just close my eyes and immerse myself into the music.

I wonder when Emma would be ready for such a black movie day with me? I can take her with me, before I get really old and before she gets tired of me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
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November 23, 2005

Each and every Harry Potter books or movies comes out, it comes with a choir of exclamations about its financial magic and how better and darker it becomes yet again. You would be damned if you do not contribute your dollars and your humble opinions, for it is now a "cultural phenomenon", a thing that everyone talks about.

So I paid my due Sunday by walking into a theatre to watch the fourth installment of Harry Potter, "The goblet of fire".

I have to admit, I was not impressed by the first or the second, nor was I taken by the volumes of books.

I have to admit too, that I have already read a lot of reviews before I even watch the movie. All said that it is very "dark" and you probably can sense the hormones in the air.

I found both points (the hormone and the darkness) are true. Except that the wizards' ball is nothing magical (remember the banquet in the first Harry Potter movies? Where thousands of pumpkin laterns lit up the magnificent hall, with the headmaster having silver beard flowing like a fairy? And the food). The teenagers' giggling, blushing, small talk is really much too mundane.

The dark side, the central theme of the movie is much too dark and sinister for a teenager world too. But sure, if you are fighting against the world's biggest devil, you simply cannot have childish benign fights. From there, the movie goes to the category of end of the world and one hero thing...

I studied the characters. I think the growing-up Daniel Redcliff lost his cute elf-kind of boyishness and likableness. From time to time, he looks too angular or square for Harry Potter. Ron's hair looks too shaggy, he is really a teenager boy with too much hormone and crushing idleness and boredom. Harmoine still looks cute. But her make-up and dresses mirror totally the concept of 21st century's beauty, totally this world, totally muggetish.

Whatever. I paid my due.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Each and every Harry Potter books or movies comes out, it comes with a choir of exclamations about its financial magic and how better and darker it becomes yet again. You would be damned if you do not contribute your dollars and your humble opinions, for it is now a "cultural phenomenon", a thing that everyone talks about.

So I paid my due Sunday by walking into a theatre to watch the fourth installment of Harry Potter, "The goblet of fire".

I have to admit, I was not impressed by the first or the second, nor was I taken by the volumes of books.

I have to admit too, that I have already read a lot of reviews before I even watch the movie. All said that it is very "dark" and you probably can sense the hormones in the air.

I found both points (the hormone and the darkness) are true. Except that the wizards' ball is nothing magical (remember the banquet in the first Harry Potter movies? Where thousands of pumpkin laterns lit up the magnificent hall, with the headmaster having silver beard flowing like a fairy? And the food). The teenagers' giggling, blushing, small talk is really much too mundane.

The dark side, the central theme of the movie is much too dark and sinister for a teenager world too. But sure, if you are fighting against the world's biggest devil, you simply cannot have childish benign fights. From there, the movie goes to the category of end of the world and one hero thing...

I studied the characters. I think the growing-up Daniel Redcliff lost his cute elf-kind of boyishness and likableness. From time to time, he looks too angular or square for Harry Potter. Ron's hair looks too shaggy, he is really a teenager boy with too much hormone and crushing idleness and boredom. Harmoine still looks cute. But her make-up and dresses mirror totally the concept of 21st century's beauty, totally this world, totally muggetish.

Whatever. I paid my due.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
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November 22, 2005

It is silly to say "ah, how time flies". But time dose fly.

Snow starts falling, winter has come, along with the number of holidays (cannot help wondering why all the important holidays happen to be in the cold and dark winters).

Five months have gone since Emma left for China. Look back the days even months I spent thinking and rethinking, unable to make a decision, "should I let her go to China?", afraid to meet people's sympathetic eyes, struggling to justify and really try to find the answer, "will it do her good sending her away?", "what if, what if ...", "will it be better that she just stay and I manage...?" I am still a little guilt ridden, in this America, where moms are pushed to perfection to the degree of martyrdom

But, hey, what the heck! She is doing so-ooo good and she is so-ooo happy. She is amazing. She can recite so many chinese poems (my mom said about 10), and sing so many songs. She has grown so much. When she goes to the day care center, she eats without help. The teacher gave her great comments:"She is bright and happy, love singing, playing and going out..." She even gained quite some weight.

Maybe just because she is away that every little progress becom such miracles. When I called her, the one after anothers poems she recited gave me such sweet joy. The every little thing she does all gave me such pride.

Well, it has been surveyed above 70% of moms would always think their children are excellent. I am one of them.

Five months have gone. In another three months, she will be back!!!

Is it really a bad thing to let a baby leave her parents at a very young age for a short time period and let her be taken the best care of? I would disagree now. I know when Emma comes back, I will need some time to rebind with her, but I know I will do just fine.

5 months gone!

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It is silly to say "ah, how time flies". But time dose fly.

Snow starts falling, winter has come, along with the number of holidays (cannot help wondering why all the important holidays happen to be in the cold and dark winters).

Five months have gone since Emma left for China. Look back the days even months I spent thinking and rethinking, unable to make a decision, "should I let her go to China?", afraid to meet people's sympathetic eyes, struggling to justify and really try to find the answer, "will it do her good sending her away?", "what if, what if ...", "will it be better that she just stay and I manage...?" I am still a little guilt ridden, in this America, where moms are pushed to perfection to the degree of martyrdom

But, hey, what the heck! She is doing so-ooo good and she is so-ooo happy. She is amazing. She can recite so many chinese poems (my mom said about 10), and sing so many songs. She has grown so much. When she goes to the day care center, she eats without help. The teacher gave her great comments:"She is bright and happy, love singing, playing and going out..." She even gained quite some weight.

Maybe just because she is away that every little progress becom such miracles. When I called her, the one after anothers poems she recited gave me such sweet joy. The every little thing she does all gave me such pride.

Well, it has been surveyed above 70% of moms would always think their children are excellent. I am one of them.

Five months have gone. In another three months, she will be back!!!

Is it really a bad thing to let a baby leave her parents at a very young age for a short time period and let her be taken the best care of? I would disagree now. I know when Emma comes back, I will need some time to rebind with her, but I know I will do just fine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
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November 17, 2005

With plans made, guests invited, house cleaned, menu planned, turkey bought, recipes studied, we are ready for Thanksgiving!

Ready for thanksgiving

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With plans made, guests invited, house cleaned, menu planned, turkey bought, recipes studied, we are ready for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2005
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November 11, 2005

This is a tale about magic. It is more about
a family's loss and magical healing than about the struggles of
an Irish immigrant family in America. Names like
"America", "Irish" have far less importance and relevance than
"magic" and "three wishes". Even though the characters
kept uttering "American dream", "Irish man", "Irish woman", so on and so forth.

Yet the sunshine of America, or in this case, New York, does gild
the junkie building where the family lives in. And the four
Irish people who make up the family are all good decent people without nationalities but with a lot of emotional/psychological baggage. They are all haunted by the death of Frankie, the son to the parents and the bother to the little girls.
Jonny is a hardworking, goodlooking, very very loving
father and husband, Sarah is a pretty, strong-minded, smart, very very loving wife and mother. And the two girls are understanding, a little precocious, heavenly good. And the neighbors? Even though they live in a junkie building in a rough neighborhood in Manhattan,
where supposedly all sorts of criminals converge,
no neighbors are bad, never done a bad thing, not in the movie.
And one of them Mateo is so good, deep, generous
wise, and supernatural that he is definitely not in the league of "everybody". It is not even easy to meet a person like this in a high class neighborhood. He happened to
be a very rich man too. In the end, he paid off about $32,000 medical bill for the family. And everyone in the movie is deep, spiritual, moodiness the questions of life, death and roots. And the big, dirty, empty, pigeons' house that the family creatively transformed into an artistic hideaway for the family? That's a designer's job.

But the movie is about magic, specifically three wishes or three major events, with each one more dramatic, more magic than another. The crossing of American border by posing as tourists is the first magic. The movie glided briskly through, ending
with a colorful depiction of Time Square and a joyous song "Do you believe in magic?". The second one, a very symbolic one, where the family put out every penny they have earned at a little toy stand, and they played a lottery sort of game, with hours after hours of losses and pressure mounting to improbable high, they won all their
money back and a ET doll. The events after the second magic are weaved into one big magic. The movie zigzagged along a path of dark side, then bright side, despair, then jeer joy. Some of them make sense, some not.

Why all the depiction of blood, ominous hard stares and silence? I held my breath when the scary Mateo made the first acquaintance with the two little girls. And the part where Johnny broke down in front of Mateo? The time the bills came at more than $32,000? Then it was paid?

Well, do you believe in magic? If you do, you will believe in the movie and feel happy. This is the form of blessings, if you believe in God.

The director is Jim Sheridan who also directed "In the name of my father" and "My left foot". I think I like these two movies better. I am totally unconvinced by the good luck that fell upon the family, the same way when I approached by religious people and was given a thousand examples of how people was magically healed from cancer or whatever. Am I cynical?

In America

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This is a tale about magic. It is more about
a family's loss and magical healing than about the struggles of
an Irish immigrant family in America. Names like
"America", "Irish" have far less importance and relevance than
"magic" and "three wishes". Even though the characters
kept uttering "American dream", "Irish man", "Irish woman", so on and so forth.

Yet the sunshine of America, or in this case, New York, does gild
the junkie building where the family lives in. And the four
Irish people who make up the family are all good decent people without nationalities but with a lot of emotional/psychological baggage. They are all haunted by the death of Frankie, the son to the parents and the bother to the little girls.
Jonny is a hardworking, goodlooking, very very loving
father and husband, Sarah is a pretty, strong-minded, smart, very very loving wife and mother. And the two girls are understanding, a little precocious, heavenly good. And the neighbors? Even though they live in a junkie building in a rough neighborhood in Manhattan,
where supposedly all sorts of criminals converge,
no neighbors are bad, never done a bad thing, not in the movie.
And one of them Mateo is so good, deep, generous
wise, and supernatural that he is definitely not in the league of "everybody". It is not even easy to meet a person like this in a high class neighborhood. He happened to
be a very rich man too. In the end, he paid off about $32,000 medical bill for the family. And everyone in the movie is deep, spiritual, moodiness the questions of life, death and roots. And the big, dirty, empty, pigeons' house that the family creatively transformed into an artistic hideaway for the family? That's a designer's job.

But the movie is about magic, specifically three wishes or three major events, with each one more dramatic, more magic than another. The crossing of American border by posing as tourists is the first magic. The movie glided briskly through, ending
with a colorful depiction of Time Square and a joyous song "Do you believe in magic?". The second one, a very symbolic one, where the family put out every penny they have earned at a little toy stand, and they played a lottery sort of game, with hours after hours of losses and pressure mounting to improbable high, they won all their
money back and a ET doll. The events after the second magic are weaved into one big magic. The movie zigzagged along a path of dark side, then bright side, despair, then jeer joy. Some of them make sense, some not.

Why all the depiction of blood, ominous hard stares and silence? I held my breath when the scary Mateo made the first acquaintance with the two little girls. And the part where Johnny broke down in front of Mateo? The time the bills came at more than $32,000? Then it was paid?

Well, do you believe in magic? If you do, you will believe in the movie and feel happy. This is the form of blessings, if you believe in God.

The director is Jim Sheridan who also directed "In the name of my father" and "My left foot". I think I like these two movies better. I am totally unconvinced by the good luck that fell upon the family, the same way when I approached by religious people and was given a thousand examples of how people was magically healed from cancer or whatever. Am I cynical?

Friday, November 11, 2005
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November 06, 2005

Where did you come from, baby dear?

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Sunday, November 06, 2005
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November 04, 2005

More and more American VIPs, senators, corporate CEOs or the like, are young or young-looking, good-looking, seemingly competent, smart and important. They talk in volumes, big and deep, funny, smooth and beautiful. Even the spouses. Like Obama Barak, "the audacity of hope", or John Edwards. I am always impressed and despaired by the quality and quantity of good luck they possess. In my company, from the president down to the slew of directors, they all are quite good at talking smooth, funny, sensible and important. I thought all Americans are natural when it comes to talking.

Then the emails of now resigned FEMA director Michael Brown are published. I scanned the pages, since most of the highlights are repeatedly quoted in news everywhere. I found only a few emails from this "brownie", mostly short, mostly small talk, trivial, vain, stupefying...girly. "Tie or not... Button down shirt". "Anything I need to do or tweak?" "Iam a fashion god". What???? Most news decried these as cheap jokes in a time of crisis. I see only idiocy and vanity...

At least I can take solace that not everyone is able to talk big and right, even in a time of crisis, even he/she may be and look like somebody.

Brownie and small talk

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More and more American VIPs, senators, corporate CEOs or the like, are young or young-looking, good-looking, seemingly competent, smart and important. They talk in volumes, big and deep, funny, smooth and beautiful. Even the spouses. Like Obama Barak, "the audacity of hope", or John Edwards. I am always impressed and despaired by the quality and quantity of good luck they possess. In my company, from the president down to the slew of directors, they all are quite good at talking smooth, funny, sensible and important. I thought all Americans are natural when it comes to talking.

Then the emails of now resigned FEMA director Michael Brown are published. I scanned the pages, since most of the highlights are repeatedly quoted in news everywhere. I found only a few emails from this "brownie", mostly short, mostly small talk, trivial, vain, stupefying...girly. "Tie or not... Button down shirt". "Anything I need to do or tweak?" "Iam a fashion god". What???? Most news decried these as cheap jokes in a time of crisis. I see only idiocy and vanity...

At least I can take solace that not everyone is able to talk big and right, even in a time of crisis, even he/she may be and look like somebody.

Friday, November 04, 2005
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Seems like there will always be discussions, books, plays, movies about the forever young beatles. A month ago, I read about a Broadway play about John Lennon and Yoko Ono, two weeks ago I read about a new 1000-page-long biography about the beatles, today I read about a movie about exploring the psychology of Lennon's killer. Of course, there is always news about Paul McCartney, his music, music tour, wedding, wife and new baby. I even spent a couple of hours reading about his high-profile, highly successful designer daughter stellar McCartney. Not to say for days there were news about the death and funeral of George Harrison everywhere, anywhere. Was it two years ago? Not to say the many many websites already existed or are sprouting daily.

I am a moderate Beatles' fan. I like the beatles. I like their sweet, black and white good-boy images. I like their simple, innocent and exuberant songs. Of the four, I like John Lennon the most. Maybe because he died earlier and young. Maybe because most people love him more. Maybe because of the song "Imagine". Then I like George Harrison. Maybe because he is dead too. Maybe because his rendition "My lord, my sweet lord".

That is it. I am not crazy about them. I am not crazy about anyone. Or anything.

Stop here. Look back. Think hard.

I think I am forever in need of an answer to the question "what is your favorite ...?"
Favorite Food? None.
Favorite color? Do not know
Favorite song? Not sure
Favorite genre of music? Um, um...
Favorite books? Cannot remember
Favorite author? Hard to say
Favorite movie? There are too many... uh I forget
Favorite shoes, clothes? Nonexistent.

My problem is I do not go crazy about anything (well, I did accidentally, incidentally, coincidently, inexplicably, unfortunately end up in a psycharitric hell once. Thank God (even though I am atheistic) I am out). There is always this tepid feeling, "Ok", "Not bad", "I dont know". Or whatever I liked, loved, it quickly change. Things change, feelings change, like the change of season, or the passing of time, mostly unnoticeably or sometimes noticeably. Like music hits, movies hits, or whatever cultural hits, they do not stay. Like the frivolous anonymous millions of the cheap and insignificant, "the people", I forget and move on, collect and then throw off or lose.

The Beatles ... My favorite?

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Seems like there will always be discussions, books, plays, movies about the forever young beatles. A month ago, I read about a Broadway play about John Lennon and Yoko Ono, two weeks ago I read about a new 1000-page-long biography about the beatles, today I read about a movie about exploring the psychology of Lennon's killer. Of course, there is always news about Paul McCartney, his music, music tour, wedding, wife and new baby. I even spent a couple of hours reading about his high-profile, highly successful designer daughter stellar McCartney. Not to say for days there were news about the death and funeral of George Harrison everywhere, anywhere. Was it two years ago? Not to say the many many websites already existed or are sprouting daily.

I am a moderate Beatles' fan. I like the beatles. I like their sweet, black and white good-boy images. I like their simple, innocent and exuberant songs. Of the four, I like John Lennon the most. Maybe because he died earlier and young. Maybe because most people love him more. Maybe because of the song "Imagine". Then I like George Harrison. Maybe because he is dead too. Maybe because his rendition "My lord, my sweet lord".

That is it. I am not crazy about them. I am not crazy about anyone. Or anything.

Stop here. Look back. Think hard.

I think I am forever in need of an answer to the question "what is your favorite ...?"
Favorite Food? None.
Favorite color? Do not know
Favorite song? Not sure
Favorite genre of music? Um, um...
Favorite books? Cannot remember
Favorite author? Hard to say
Favorite movie? There are too many... uh I forget
Favorite shoes, clothes? Nonexistent.

My problem is I do not go crazy about anything (well, I did accidentally, incidentally, coincidently, inexplicably, unfortunately end up in a psycharitric hell once. Thank God (even though I am atheistic) I am out). There is always this tepid feeling, "Ok", "Not bad", "I dont know". Or whatever I liked, loved, it quickly change. Things change, feelings change, like the change of season, or the passing of time, mostly unnoticeably or sometimes noticeably. Like music hits, movies hits, or whatever cultural hits, they do not stay. Like the frivolous anonymous millions of the cheap and insignificant, "the people", I forget and move on, collect and then throw off or lose.

Friday, November 04, 2005
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October 27, 2005

Sense of Wonder

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Thursday, October 27, 2005
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October 25, 2005

Photoshop together with a dose of love and attention creates magic. I tend to fall in love with my "art" too fast.
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Photoshop together with a dose of love and attention creates magic. I tend to fall in love with my "art" too fast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
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Emma's Birthday Party @ Chengdu, China

Emma's Birthday Party

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Emma's Birthday Party @ Chengdu, China

Tuesday, October 25, 2005
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October 21, 2005

love playing with you

Love Playing With You

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love playing with you

Friday, October 21, 2005
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October 20, 2005

5 minutes into the movie, I started complaining and disbelieving. Boring, phony. "This is not a movie. This is a play, a childish school play." The set is bare to none. Chalk drawn streets, bushes. A voice (a calm, slightly sarcastic one) droned over for the most part. A lanky, self-important fellow with an ambition in literature and philosophy walked around the stage of the supposedly small town served up most of the introduction.

Then 15 minutes into the movie, Grace, a beautiful fugitive who was fleeing from gangsters, stepped onto the stage. After some ridiculous town meetings, the little town sheltered her. In exchange, she offered her service, doing domestic chores, or babysitting children, or nursing old men, or comforting the lonely and blind. It still feels incredibly boring and cheaply sentimental. I cringed at the narration such as "... For the first time in her young life she take pride.", or Grace's exclamation about this "beautiful town amidst magnificent mountains." Thought this would be just a rosy but silly movie about a small town.

Then gradually, I lost track of time, I forgot to be clever and critize. I was drawn in by the dramatic story that turn by turn spiraled worse and worse in its development. (The characters still were talking big and heavy, as if they were all trained by literature academy). The affection and kindness shown by the town people earlier now became sour. They started exploiting Grace. Everyone becomes meaner. Women turned their envy into jealousness and abuse. Men moved onto her, raped and eventually turned her into a whore. Children were no more sweet innocent angels they are supposed to be, instead, they are hateful bullies. In an improbable plot, Grace was chained and enslaved.

It is shocking to see the level of evil unfold, the path to hell guised by the claimed self-righteous good intentions, the helpless on the side of both of victimizing and being victimized. It is disturbing to view the shamed pleasure taken by the males in using Grace as a whore, and Grace's numbing acceptance of her humiliation, sexual abuse and total abandonment on herself.

...

I think it is such a masterpiece, unlike any other. It as bare as honest as cynical as it can be. Later I learned the director von Dier also directed "Dancer in the dark", also a movie about a victimized heroin, also a stark dark movie about human innate evil, collective injustice. ...

Dogville

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5 minutes into the movie, I started complaining and disbelieving. Boring, phony. "This is not a movie. This is a play, a childish school play." The set is bare to none. Chalk drawn streets, bushes. A voice (a calm, slightly sarcastic one) droned over for the most part. A lanky, self-important fellow with an ambition in literature and philosophy walked around the stage of the supposedly small town served up most of the introduction.

Then 15 minutes into the movie, Grace, a beautiful fugitive who was fleeing from gangsters, stepped onto the stage. After some ridiculous town meetings, the little town sheltered her. In exchange, she offered her service, doing domestic chores, or babysitting children, or nursing old men, or comforting the lonely and blind. It still feels incredibly boring and cheaply sentimental. I cringed at the narration such as "... For the first time in her young life she take pride.", or Grace's exclamation about this "beautiful town amidst magnificent mountains." Thought this would be just a rosy but silly movie about a small town.

Then gradually, I lost track of time, I forgot to be clever and critize. I was drawn in by the dramatic story that turn by turn spiraled worse and worse in its development. (The characters still were talking big and heavy, as if they were all trained by literature academy). The affection and kindness shown by the town people earlier now became sour. They started exploiting Grace. Everyone becomes meaner. Women turned their envy into jealousness and abuse. Men moved onto her, raped and eventually turned her into a whore. Children were no more sweet innocent angels they are supposed to be, instead, they are hateful bullies. In an improbable plot, Grace was chained and enslaved.

It is shocking to see the level of evil unfold, the path to hell guised by the claimed self-righteous good intentions, the helpless on the side of both of victimizing and being victimized. It is disturbing to view the shamed pleasure taken by the males in using Grace as a whore, and Grace's numbing acceptance of her humiliation, sexual abuse and total abandonment on herself.

...

I think it is such a masterpiece, unlike any other. It as bare as honest as cynical as it can be. Later I learned the director von Dier also directed "Dancer in the dark", also a movie about a victimized heroin, also a stark dark movie about human innate evil, collective injustice. ...

Thursday, October 20, 2005
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October 17, 2005

Once again, another month fled away. Summer became fall. Emma's birthday has passed. She became 2 years old already (although she started telling people this about two months ago).

While I squandered my time away (obsessed with some long, long, winding Korean TV series, devouring 10 episodes in one night, ... or simply doing nothing while pondering what to do), Emma has taken up every minute to grow (except her hair which remains short, which Mom chopped it off in cool calm whenever it gets a little long. I need to tell my mom not to ...) Her reservoir of ancient chinese poems has more than 6, her songs about 15, she learned to dance in various forms and beats, she would strech her arms, legs, little waist, or tilt her body or head this way and that way. And most importantly, she is such PR. Polite, happy, courteous, running around as an angel. She greets people with kisses, hellos, and she sends people off in traditional Chinese way. She would say: "Go slow, slow." She learned to put away her toys, little shoes and little jacket ...

Cannot blame everyone that is crazy about her. She is a wonder girl. I hope she can always be like this, grow up a wonderful, wonderful woman. At the very least, better, much better than I am.

Wonder Girl

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Once again, another month fled away. Summer became fall. Emma's birthday has passed. She became 2 years old already (although she started telling people this about two months ago).

While I squandered my time away (obsessed with some long, long, winding Korean TV series, devouring 10 episodes in one night, ... or simply doing nothing while pondering what to do), Emma has taken up every minute to grow (except her hair which remains short, which Mom chopped it off in cool calm whenever it gets a little long. I need to tell my mom not to ...) Her reservoir of ancient chinese poems has more than 6, her songs about 15, she learned to dance in various forms and beats, she would strech her arms, legs, little waist, or tilt her body or head this way and that way. And most importantly, she is such PR. Polite, happy, courteous, running around as an angel. She greets people with kisses, hellos, and she sends people off in traditional Chinese way. She would say: "Go slow, slow." She learned to put away her toys, little shoes and little jacket ...

Cannot blame everyone that is crazy about her. She is a wonder girl. I hope she can always be like this, grow up a wonderful, wonderful woman. At the very least, better, much better than I am.

Monday, October 17, 2005
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Emma's birthday, Chengdu, China

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Monday, October 17, 2005
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October 16, 2005

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Sunday, October 16, 2005
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September 26, 2005

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Monday, September 26, 2005
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September 15, 2005

Emma in China
The best part about a library is that it offers a wealth of surprises, new books, a variety of audios and videos, and better yet, it is free. I visit libraries regularly and often. I become a child again, with a child's short attention span, quick shift in interests and insatiable appetite. Like a child, I am drawn to bright happy colors, naughty exaggerated characters and simple accessible ideas.

Last week, I found a few books on sand castles, origami paper flowers, patterned scrap albums, sand castles, cartoon drawings of vehicles, and clay imaginations. Well, I also got a book on bathroom decoration, a few video tapes of Shakespeare plays (last time my target was books on stocks). When I got those books, I looked for things to do for young children, very young children. Like sand neighborhood houses, and sea turtles. Car cartoons made up of boxes, and funny faces. I cannot wait to do these with Emma. She taught me and still teaches me how to have fun.

Sand Castles, Pattern Papers, Cartoons and Clays

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Emma in China
The best part about a library is that it offers a wealth of surprises, new books, a variety of audios and videos, and better yet, it is free. I visit libraries regularly and often. I become a child again, with a child's short attention span, quick shift in interests and insatiable appetite. Like a child, I am drawn to bright happy colors, naughty exaggerated characters and simple accessible ideas.

Last week, I found a few books on sand castles, origami paper flowers, patterned scrap albums, sand castles, cartoon drawings of vehicles, and clay imaginations. Well, I also got a book on bathroom decoration, a few video tapes of Shakespeare plays (last time my target was books on stocks). When I got those books, I looked for things to do for young children, very young children. Like sand neighborhood houses, and sea turtles. Car cartoons made up of boxes, and funny faces. I cannot wait to do these with Emma. She taught me and still teaches me how to have fun.

Thursday, September 15, 2005
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Little Ugly Bear 9-15-2005
Days go by, through a jumble of festivals, memorial days, western or eastern. This week we will have mid-autumn festival, on which day Chinese stores sell moon-cakes at outrageous price. And those moon cakes are filled with all kind of imaginably absurd outlandish fillings, eggs, ham, sea and land critters ... in the spirit of competition.

Day after day news here is still filled with bad news, people dying in hundreds from bombs, airplane crashes, and hurricane disasters. Sometimes you thought if fate deals you one deadly blow then it may spare you from another. But No. They just keep coming, keep hitting on your face, until you become numb, take all the bad news as part of the reality. Who can believe this is America? Sometimes I thought of a nation's fate is much the same as that of a stock, what to bet? Rise or fall, who is to say? Past glory is no guarantee of today's prosperity. In what way history can be our guidance? 10 years ago when we gave up everything, took every risk, and endured all possible hardships just to get to the land of America, who could imagine that now today we would look back at China with wonder, pride, then envy even regret?

Mid-Autumn Day

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Little Ugly Bear 9-15-2005
Days go by, through a jumble of festivals, memorial days, western or eastern. This week we will have mid-autumn festival, on which day Chinese stores sell moon-cakes at outrageous price. And those moon cakes are filled with all kind of imaginably absurd outlandish fillings, eggs, ham, sea and land critters ... in the spirit of competition.

Day after day news here is still filled with bad news, people dying in hundreds from bombs, airplane crashes, and hurricane disasters. Sometimes you thought if fate deals you one deadly blow then it may spare you from another. But No. They just keep coming, keep hitting on your face, until you become numb, take all the bad news as part of the reality. Who can believe this is America? Sometimes I thought of a nation's fate is much the same as that of a stock, what to bet? Rise or fall, who is to say? Past glory is no guarantee of today's prosperity. In what way history can be our guidance? 10 years ago when we gave up everything, took every risk, and endured all possible hardships just to get to the land of America, who could imagine that now today we would look back at China with wonder, pride, then envy even regret?

Thursday, September 15, 2005
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September 12, 2005

It's a thrill to hear Emma recites one after one little Chinese ancient poems, cute rhythms, that she sings happily one after another children's songs. I did the math, she knows by heart at least 4 poems:
1. "How hard farmers work"
2. "Little flower"
3. "Little bunny"
4. "Goose, goose, goose"

8 songs
1. "Long-nosed Elephant"
2. "In this world Mom is the best"
3. "Song of handkerchiefs"
4. "Three little tigers"
5. "Little Swallow"
6. "I found a penny on the street"
7. "Mice and Rice"
8. "Little bony please open the door"

Too bad I could not see how she gestures, dances while she sings and says. She grows and develops like magic.

Emma in China

Grow like magic

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It's a thrill to hear Emma recites one after one little Chinese ancient poems, cute rhythms, that she sings happily one after another children's songs. I did the math, she knows by heart at least 4 poems:
1. "How hard farmers work"
2. "Little flower"
3. "Little bunny"
4. "Goose, goose, goose"

8 songs
1. "Long-nosed Elephant"
2. "In this world Mom is the best"
3. "Song of handkerchiefs"
4. "Three little tigers"
5. "Little Swallow"
6. "I found a penny on the street"
7. "Mice and Rice"
8. "Little bony please open the door"

Too bad I could not see how she gestures, dances while she sings and says. She grows and develops like magic.

Emma in China

Monday, September 12, 2005
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September 08, 2005

Days go by, life goes on, amid bad news and good news, like weather, like nature itself. They say Katrina may cost as much as 200 billion, but the market is still expanding its happy bullish bubble; some people say "God, get me out of here, I am not back any more", yet some people already packed up to New Orleans to help rebuild and make a pile of money.

What to do? To live in fear or/and trepidation? To look for hope and opportunity in a disaster like this? To throw all the money you have to insure against all possible disasters, catastrophies and accidents? Or go ahead deciding "nah, this is not going to happen to me. Not today, not tomorrow." To believe or doubt? In a disaster like this, should you curse or give thanks?

We People here in Chicago are largely unaffected. We still have the beautiful sun. Leo and I finished the movie for Emma, adding the warm loving "sunshine" tune across every footage. I thank God for giving me Emma and keeping her safe.

What to say?

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Days go by, life goes on, amid bad news and good news, like weather, like nature itself. They say Katrina may cost as much as 200 billion, but the market is still expanding its happy bullish bubble; some people say "God, get me out of here, I am not back any more", yet some people already packed up to New Orleans to help rebuild and make a pile of money.

What to do? To live in fear or/and trepidation? To look for hope and opportunity in a disaster like this? To throw all the money you have to insure against all possible disasters, catastrophies and accidents? Or go ahead deciding "nah, this is not going to happen to me. Not today, not tomorrow." To believe or doubt? In a disaster like this, should you curse or give thanks?

We People here in Chicago are largely unaffected. We still have the beautiful sun. Leo and I finished the movie for Emma, adding the warm loving "sunshine" tune across every footage. I thank God for giving me Emma and keeping her safe.

Thursday, September 08, 2005
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September 05, 2005

It has been a week since the horricane Katrina rendered New Orlean a deserted ghostly city and millions of people homeless, bad news and video clips raining down day after day. I watched Bill Cosby pleading for help, holding a baby doll in his hand. I cried silently while Ceilin Dion sang "I pray that you'll be all right ..." with tears running. I collected Emma's clothes, toys, diapers, sippy cups, eletrolight water together with some clothes of mine and Leo's to send to Salvation Army Katrina fundation. I sent 25 dollors too. I hope one day Emma will have a bigger heart and more ability to give help.

Hurricane Katrina

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It has been a week since the horricane Katrina rendered New Orlean a deserted ghostly city and millions of people homeless, bad news and video clips raining down day after day. I watched Bill Cosby pleading for help, holding a baby doll in his hand. I cried silently while Ceilin Dion sang "I pray that you'll be all right ..." with tears running. I collected Emma's clothes, toys, diapers, sippy cups, eletrolight water together with some clothes of mine and Leo's to send to Salvation Army Katrina fundation. I sent 25 dollors too. I hope one day Emma will have a bigger heart and more ability to give help.

Monday, September 05, 2005
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September 01, 2005

Who: Emma Kong
When: 8/22/2005
Age: 22 months old
What: Go to day care center everyday
Why: Mamma's idea. Mom thinks it is very good for Emma to be with other about-the-same-aged boys and girls, to have a teacher who has the training to take care of young children and methodically lead them to play, sing, read and have all kinds of group activities.
How does Emma do?
Um... She cried quite a bit. She became a little clinging. But she is getting along slowly. She still does not play much with other children. Rather she chose to hover around the teacher. She probably is still somber.
Did she do anything special, funny, cute, aweful, bad ...
The funniest thing is that on the first day Emma sat alone and refused to play. The teacher sat with her, Emma put her head on the teacher's lap. The bad thing is that she cannot stand the teacher leaving her. She cried so the teacher stayed with her. The good thing is that she feed herself quite well. (On the first day, she insisted a big girl to feed her, the teacher the next day. From the third day on, she did the feeding herself)

Day Care Center

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Who: Emma Kong
When: 8/22/2005
Age: 22 months old
What: Go to day care center everyday
Why: Mamma's idea. Mom thinks it is very good for Emma to be with other about-the-same-aged boys and girls, to have a teacher who has the training to take care of young children and methodically lead them to play, sing, read and have all kinds of group activities.
How does Emma do?
Um... She cried quite a bit. She became a little clinging. But she is getting along slowly. She still does not play much with other children. Rather she chose to hover around the teacher. She probably is still somber.
Did she do anything special, funny, cute, aweful, bad ...
The funniest thing is that on the first day Emma sat alone and refused to play. The teacher sat with her, Emma put her head on the teacher's lap. The bad thing is that she cannot stand the teacher leaving her. She cried so the teacher stayed with her. The good thing is that she feed herself quite well. (On the first day, she insisted a big girl to feed her, the teacher the next day. From the third day on, she did the feeding herself)

Thursday, September 01, 2005
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August 25, 2005

I have not blogged for almost two weeks. Lazy, lazy, lazy...Don't matter since I am the only reader and writer of my blog. Not motivated. I wonder which is harder. Produce blogs / journals on demand and under supervision, or babbling in writing totally on my own? The first option is structured and supervised, like that when I was in school, but basically I have no freedom of speech because of the "censorship" and possibly harsh critiques; for the second option I do not feel like confessing any dark secrets either (since I do not have any truly dark ones, none but the mundane and the travails, fits of aspirations and depression, or whatever), but without the structure and good motivation, I am just lazy, lazy... Writing has yet to become a habit.

Lazy to blog

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I have not blogged for almost two weeks. Lazy, lazy, lazy...Don't matter since I am the only reader and writer of my blog. Not motivated. I wonder which is harder. Produce blogs / journals on demand and under supervision, or babbling in writing totally on my own? The first option is structured and supervised, like that when I was in school, but basically I have no freedom of speech because of the "censorship" and possibly harsh critiques; for the second option I do not feel like confessing any dark secrets either (since I do not have any truly dark ones, none but the mundane and the travails, fits of aspirations and depression, or whatever), but without the structure and good motivation, I am just lazy, lazy... Writing has yet to become a habit.

Thursday, August 25, 2005
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I finished Emma's Album for her second birthday. Too bad I lost the album for her first birthday. I could not recover all the little cute verses I wrote. I hope she would like it, especially when she grows up, when she looks back at her childhood, so she would realize how much I love her. But doing this album is as much for myself as for her. I actually just seized this opportunity to have this fun to build it, search online, cut and paste, throw in colors, flowers, patterns, this and that...

Emma's 2nd Birthday Album.

Leo is putting together a movie for her also. Lucky to be in this age of make-everything-yourself, movies, blogs, music, whatever.

Emma's Album

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I finished Emma's Album for her second birthday. Too bad I lost the album for her first birthday. I could not recover all the little cute verses I wrote. I hope she would like it, especially when she grows up, when she looks back at her childhood, so she would realize how much I love her. But doing this album is as much for myself as for her. I actually just seized this opportunity to have this fun to build it, search online, cut and paste, throw in colors, flowers, patterns, this and that...

Emma's 2nd Birthday Album.

Leo is putting together a movie for her also. Lucky to be in this age of make-everything-yourself, movies, blogs, music, whatever.

Thursday, August 25, 2005
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August 18, 2005

Birthday Album for Emma.

Secret album for Emma. Page 10.

Birthday Album

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Birthday Album for Emma.

Secret album for Emma. Page 10.

Thursday, August 18, 2005
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August 11, 2005


The sky was gray, the air cool. It drizzled when I got out of the station. But the office was cold as usual. There is no connection or reverse relationshop between the weather and indoor temparature. In the office, we brave the cold. Going out, we brave the hot.

My family sent me some more of pictures of Emma. Happy pictures. She is beaming with joy in the pictures. She plays, swings, sits in a swiming ring in the water. She probably has overcome her fear of water. I remember how she resisted going down to the lake of Michigan. No more fear! How great! She is always such an angel of happiness. She always has this perfect smile, white pearl teeth, smiling squinted eyes, short hair ...

In two months Emma will be two. Silently I have been planing for her birthday party in my mind. Sadly there will be no birthday cakes, no bulloons, no gifts wrapped in shinny gift papers, not from me. What should I give her? Does she still remember me? Yes, she does, she calls me sweetly "mommy, mommy" on the phone ... what should I give her for her birthday?
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The sky was gray, the air cool. It drizzled when I got out of the station. But the office was cold as usual. There is no connection or reverse relationshop between the weather and indoor temparature. In the office, we brave the cold. Going out, we brave the hot.

My family sent me some more of pictures of Emma. Happy pictures. She is beaming with joy in the pictures. She plays, swings, sits in a swiming ring in the water. She probably has overcome her fear of water. I remember how she resisted going down to the lake of Michigan. No more fear! How great! She is always such an angel of happiness. She always has this perfect smile, white pearl teeth, smiling squinted eyes, short hair ...

In two months Emma will be two. Silently I have been planing for her birthday party in my mind. Sadly there will be no birthday cakes, no bulloons, no gifts wrapped in shinny gift papers, not from me. What should I give her? Does she still remember me? Yes, she does, she calls me sweetly "mommy, mommy" on the phone ... what should I give her for her birthday?

Thursday, August 11, 2005
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August 04, 2005

Another week is gone. What is not gone is the sun and the relentless heat and dry air.

Nothing much has happened, as I would forever conclude. Even in the news. I am a news junky, popping into CNN news, Google News, Sina.com news at least 8 times a day. But I seldom feel much, be there debates between evolutionism and ID (I cannot make up my mind anyway, I definitely do not believe ID, yet what to make sense of the prevalence of God in which I want to believe. Dumb me), be there love declared by celebrities (Pitt and Jane, Angelina and Pitt ..., despite that I always devour these gossip without fail. Boring me.) To me, news is almost like TV or a bad movie, all you need to do is just sit and read/watch like an Idiot. It never causes a stir, unlike a good movie, which is a ride of changing consciousness. It is just a way of killing time (Yet how I pained over the time lost, pained over the fact that I am getting old).

Anyway, anyway.

Anyway, last week I joined Bally Fitness club, since then I have been exercising regularly and hard, hopefully by the time I go back to see Emma, I would lose some weight and be fit. At night, when I am not surfing aimlessly, I study stocks, mutual funds, I wish one day to get a degree of finance, to really have a command of money matters... I go to a church service on Sundays, I wish I could really be touched and accept ...

Another week

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Another week is gone. What is not gone is the sun and the relentless heat and dry air.

Nothing much has happened, as I would forever conclude. Even in the news. I am a news junky, popping into CNN news, Google News, Sina.com news at least 8 times a day. But I seldom feel much, be there debates between evolutionism and ID (I cannot make up my mind anyway, I definitely do not believe ID, yet what to make sense of the prevalence of God in which I want to believe. Dumb me), be there love declared by celebrities (Pitt and Jane, Angelina and Pitt ..., despite that I always devour these gossip without fail. Boring me.) To me, news is almost like TV or a bad movie, all you need to do is just sit and read/watch like an Idiot. It never causes a stir, unlike a good movie, which is a ride of changing consciousness. It is just a way of killing time (Yet how I pained over the time lost, pained over the fact that I am getting old).

Anyway, anyway.

Anyway, last week I joined Bally Fitness club, since then I have been exercising regularly and hard, hopefully by the time I go back to see Emma, I would lose some weight and be fit. At night, when I am not surfing aimlessly, I study stocks, mutual funds, I wish one day to get a degree of finance, to really have a command of money matters... I go to a church service on Sundays, I wish I could really be touched and accept ...

Thursday, August 04, 2005
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July 26, 2005

It is hard to believe this plump, stern-faced woman who shakes her head constantly and changes her outfit rarely can really make a change in a chaotic family's life. If I were a kid, I would run away from her. While I was watching the program, I got so indignant that I wish perversely secretly the kids would simply protest, disobey and resist the nanny by all their might. No, the kids did not, the mother did. Then on the last day the mother cried and gave in. Then the household got to be run by the nanny. How could she simply drop in and dictate all the schedules and rules to the family? Ok, let there be chaos, let things fall behind schedule, let the 3-year-old pee on the street, the mother be a nightmare ... it was indeed bad enough, but what kind of magic is that a stranger nanny drop into the house out of blue (sure, hired a bunch of reality TV men ...), then in a week there is order in the house, 3-year-old now pees in the bathroom, dad now helps in the kitchen, babies sleep in their own bed ... it is as easy as put utensils in a drawer ... How is it possible in one week a stranger can turn a family into angels just by giving orders and speaking harshly.

This is against all logic, totally fake. Or the family simply played on to get a big fat check or the equvalent ...

Later I went to the nanny website and read some of the posts. I found everyone had only anger towards the mother while totally accepting the 911 magic ... true? I am appalled as much by the mother as by the nanny ...

Nanny 911

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It is hard to believe this plump, stern-faced woman who shakes her head constantly and changes her outfit rarely can really make a change in a chaotic family's life. If I were a kid, I would run away from her. While I was watching the program, I got so indignant that I wish perversely secretly the kids would simply protest, disobey and resist the nanny by all their might. No, the kids did not, the mother did. Then on the last day the mother cried and gave in. Then the household got to be run by the nanny. How could she simply drop in and dictate all the schedules and rules to the family? Ok, let there be chaos, let things fall behind schedule, let the 3-year-old pee on the street, the mother be a nightmare ... it was indeed bad enough, but what kind of magic is that a stranger nanny drop into the house out of blue (sure, hired a bunch of reality TV men ...), then in a week there is order in the house, 3-year-old now pees in the bathroom, dad now helps in the kitchen, babies sleep in their own bed ... it is as easy as put utensils in a drawer ... How is it possible in one week a stranger can turn a family into angels just by giving orders and speaking harshly.

This is against all logic, totally fake. Or the family simply played on to get a big fat check or the equvalent ...

Later I went to the nanny website and read some of the posts. I found everyone had only anger towards the mother while totally accepting the 911 magic ... true? I am appalled as much by the mother as by the nanny ...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
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July 23, 2005

Phone calls home. The first thing my mom told me was: "Emma has made a lot of progress ..." She can say a lot of Chinese now. She can say complete chinese sentences with correctly used adverbs and adjectives. For example, she said " Emma just took a bath" and "Popo sang a song" and "How beautiful your hair is". The only thing is that she never use "I". Instead, she only refers herself "Emma", like "Emma just pooped. Oh, stinky ..."

A lot of progress has been made

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Phone calls home. The first thing my mom told me was: "Emma has made a lot of progress ..." She can say a lot of Chinese now. She can say complete chinese sentences with correctly used adverbs and adjectives. For example, she said " Emma just took a bath" and "Popo sang a song" and "How beautiful your hair is". The only thing is that she never use "I". Instead, she only refers herself "Emma", like "Emma just pooped. Oh, stinky ..."

Saturday, July 23, 2005
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A card for Emma

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Saturday, July 23, 2005
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July 20, 2005

Emma obvious has missed Harry Potter frenzy by a generation. But it is so hot, I wonder if she would catch it as a 7-volume classic? Will she devour it in a week when she grows up? JK Rowling now is richer than the queen. I am envious that she is still so young and attractive with sleek hair. Human beings are not created equal. How come she is endowed with such magination so wild and story telling talent so captivating?

Harry Potter

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Emma obvious has missed Harry Potter frenzy by a generation. But it is so hot, I wonder if she would catch it as a 7-volume classic? Will she devour it in a week when she grows up? JK Rowling now is richer than the queen. I am envious that she is still so young and attractive with sleek hair. Human beings are not created equal. How come she is endowed with such magination so wild and story telling talent so captivating?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
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Oh Emma has been left for a month. In a month, she has become quite savvy navigating the home base of my family. Now she is in Yaan now, doing the same old thing, eating the most nutritious food "fish". (My sister tried to emphasized the goodness and expensiveness of the fish she bought. "It is over 60 yuan a pound. Everything is inflated in China after the 1:8 exchange rate is applied. Still it is very good organic fresh precious fish.)

Emma probably has gained some weight. But she is still shy, not quite easy at other babies' presence. My sister said she never fought. She cried when other babies took away her toys. Is it because of her age? Too young to interact with others? Or is it because of her inherited reticence, never aggressiveness from Leo and me? I tried very hard to break off free from my mold, I dread Emma would have to bear it in her life. ... At least Emma has perfect teeth and beautiful smile.
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Oh Emma has been left for a month. In a month, she has become quite savvy navigating the home base of my family. Now she is in Yaan now, doing the same old thing, eating the most nutritious food "fish". (My sister tried to emphasized the goodness and expensiveness of the fish she bought. "It is over 60 yuan a pound. Everything is inflated in China after the 1:8 exchange rate is applied. Still it is very good organic fresh precious fish.)

Emma probably has gained some weight. But she is still shy, not quite easy at other babies' presence. My sister said she never fought. She cried when other babies took away her toys. Is it because of her age? Too young to interact with others? Or is it because of her inherited reticence, never aggressiveness from Leo and me? I tried very hard to break off free from my mold, I dread Emma would have to bear it in her life. ... At least Emma has perfect teeth and beautiful smile.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
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July 12, 2005

From "The New Yorker", from Dahl, the author of "Charlie and his Chocolate Factory."

It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think he or she is wonderful.
Some parents go further. They become so blinded by adoration they manage to convince themselves their child has qualities of genius.
Well, there’s nothing very wrong with all this. It’s the way of the world. It’s only when the parents begin telling us about the brilliance of their own revolting offspring, that we start shouting, “Bring us a basin! We’re going to be sick!”
School teachers suffer a good deal from having to listen to this sort of twaddle from proud parents, but they usually get their own back when the time comes to write their end-of-term reports. If I were a teacher, I would cook up some real scorchers for the children of doting parents. “Your son Maximilian,” I would write, “is a total wash-out. I hope you have a family business you can push him into when he leaves school because he sure as heck won’t get a job anywhere else.” Or, if I were feeling lyrical that day, I might write, “It is a curious truth that grasshoppers have their hearing organs in the sides of their abdomen. Your daughter Vanessa, judging by what she’s learnt this term, has no hearing organs at all.”

About Doting Parents

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From "The New Yorker", from Dahl, the author of "Charlie and his Chocolate Factory."

It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think he or she is wonderful.
Some parents go further. They become so blinded by adoration they manage to convince themselves their child has qualities of genius.
Well, there’s nothing very wrong with all this. It’s the way of the world. It’s only when the parents begin telling us about the brilliance of their own revolting offspring, that we start shouting, “Bring us a basin! We’re going to be sick!”
School teachers suffer a good deal from having to listen to this sort of twaddle from proud parents, but they usually get their own back when the time comes to write their end-of-term reports. If I were a teacher, I would cook up some real scorchers for the children of doting parents. “Your son Maximilian,” I would write, “is a total wash-out. I hope you have a family business you can push him into when he leaves school because he sure as heck won’t get a job anywhere else.” Or, if I were feeling lyrical that day, I might write, “It is a curious truth that grasshoppers have their hearing organs in the sides of their abdomen. Your daughter Vanessa, judging by what she’s learnt this term, has no hearing organs at all.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
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The millennium park was open to public in 2004. For days since its opening, I
had only the impression of a few giant pieces of
metal with aluminum sheen hanging high in the sky, it was like
a badly assembled pot. I still feel a bit of the same way when I look at it from afar
from aside. I heard a comment saying it was postmodern. Maybe. Another very postmodern
thing in the park is the two giant towers with giant slowly changing animated faces.
What are those faces? They are very real very normal sometimes even very ugly faces.
Mostly they have misterious half smiles. Their eyes slowly, slowly blink at you. I think
I saw them slowly sticking out their pink fleshy tongues. Wierd! Definitely postmordern!

But the Millennium park is a wonderful place.

Chicago Millennium Park

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The millennium park was open to public in 2004. For days since its opening, I
had only the impression of a few giant pieces of
metal with aluminum sheen hanging high in the sky, it was like
a badly assembled pot. I still feel a bit of the same way when I look at it from afar
from aside. I heard a comment saying it was postmodern. Maybe. Another very postmodern
thing in the park is the two giant towers with giant slowly changing animated faces.
What are those faces? They are very real very normal sometimes even very ugly faces.
Mostly they have misterious half smiles. Their eyes slowly, slowly blink at you. I think
I saw them slowly sticking out their pink fleshy tongues. Wierd! Definitely postmordern!

But the Millennium park is a wonderful place.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
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We are not afraid. This is the title of new website, launched two
days ago, in response to the barbarous London Bombing. In two days,
it was inundated with posts, comments and visitors, for it invoked the
defiance and anger in many people.

I went to the website and saw many photos of happy strong sunny young
women and men, with the phrase "we are not afraid" in various languages
written across. I think this is great.

Going back to my lonely blog, visited by none but me, I decided to blog about
current events (cultural, political, social) from time to time. As self-centered and
well-protected-and-loved as Emma is now, blissfully ignorant of the happenings in
the world, if one day she read back this little journal I keep for her, not some
history books, she may have a little more thin grasp of the world in which she
grows up ...

We are not afraid

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We are not afraid. This is the title of new website, launched two
days ago, in response to the barbarous London Bombing. In two days,
it was inundated with posts, comments and visitors, for it invoked the
defiance and anger in many people.

I went to the website and saw many photos of happy strong sunny young
women and men, with the phrase "we are not afraid" in various languages
written across. I think this is great.

Going back to my lonely blog, visited by none but me, I decided to blog about
current events (cultural, political, social) from time to time. As self-centered and
well-protected-and-loved as Emma is now, blissfully ignorant of the happenings in
the world, if one day she read back this little journal I keep for her, not some
history books, she may have a little more thin grasp of the world in which she
grows up ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
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July 10, 2005

I am not used to pray. I am not used to believe in the power of prayer either. But I want to try, especially after I read the book of "Powerful prayers" by Larry King. So many people have said that their prayers had been answered. So I want to try. The following is my prayer for Emma :

"Dear God, please bless Emma so she grows up happy, healthy and wise. Please help me to find the best way to take the best care of her. Please bless Emma and me so that the bond between her and me are strong and steady. Thank you for giving me such a lovely daughter."

I prayed for Leo and myself too.

My prayer

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I am not used to pray. I am not used to believe in the power of prayer either. But I want to try, especially after I read the book of "Powerful prayers" by Larry King. So many people have said that their prayers had been answered. So I want to try. The following is my prayer for Emma :

"Dear God, please bless Emma so she grows up happy, healthy and wise. Please help me to find the best way to take the best care of her. Please bless Emma and me so that the bond between her and me are strong and steady. Thank you for giving me such a lovely daughter."

I prayed for Leo and myself too.

Sunday, July 10, 2005
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July 09, 2005

After running a lot of errands and waiting till 9:30 (so that I could be sure Emma was fully awake on a Saturday morning in China), Friday night I called Emma. I was expecting a long speech from her, instead she gave me three shorter speeches. Her voice was sweet and crisp, a quality that is special to babies. She spoke in a variety of tones, but I could not figure out at all what she was saying. It was like someone faking Chinese. It sounds fluent meaningful Chinese, but it was hard to guess its meaning. I asked my mom what she was saying, my mom laughed and confessed she did not understand. She probably was faking sichuang dialect.

Later I asked my mom, "has Emma had any new development in her language?" My mom said: "oh, yes, she can say some more new things. Like, when she tumbled down, she would say 'mei guanxi' (it is ok). But she does not always know how to use these words. " Yes, I know that, for some days, she would always say "how wasteful" whenever there was a spill.

Saturday night I called Emma again. The first time she was not home, out playing, swinging and sliding. The second time, she was busy eating, she protested and refused to get to the phone. So I could only imagine she ate her delicious fish and other many dishes. She is always a good eater

What did she say?

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After running a lot of errands and waiting till 9:30 (so that I could be sure Emma was fully awake on a Saturday morning in China), Friday night I called Emma. I was expecting a long speech from her, instead she gave me three shorter speeches. Her voice was sweet and crisp, a quality that is special to babies. She spoke in a variety of tones, but I could not figure out at all what she was saying. It was like someone faking Chinese. It sounds fluent meaningful Chinese, but it was hard to guess its meaning. I asked my mom what she was saying, my mom laughed and confessed she did not understand. She probably was faking sichuang dialect.

Later I asked my mom, "has Emma had any new development in her language?" My mom said: "oh, yes, she can say some more new things. Like, when she tumbled down, she would say 'mei guanxi' (it is ok). But she does not always know how to use these words. " Yes, I know that, for some days, she would always say "how wasteful" whenever there was a spill.

Saturday night I called Emma again. The first time she was not home, out playing, swinging and sliding. The second time, she was busy eating, she protested and refused to get to the phone. So I could only imagine she ate her delicious fish and other many dishes. She is always a good eater

Saturday, July 09, 2005
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July 04, 2005

Since Emma left, I have started reading various parenting books (a little hypercritical, I guess). I borrowed 3 books, "The magic tree of minds", "Outwitting toddlers" and "Raising a thinking teen" (a book for older kids, from 7 to 12. The right one should be "Raising a thinking child"). The first book "magic tree" has a fascinating title, but I was totally bored by its dry technical style. The second and third are interesting and practical, occasionally fun. The first book deals with the matters such as potty training, bottle weaning, sending toddlers to preschool, toddlers' sleeping problems and etc. The second one deals with children's social and emotional development. It is probably easier to prescribe these methods and hypothetical dialogues. For example, Emma never likes to wear shoes. Should a super-serious shoe-buying ceremony do the trick? Another challenge is that to get her to sleep alone. Will sleeping with her in her room first then gradually retrieving back to my room manage it? Maybe.

Anyways I learned some DOS and don'ts.

Don't threat, especially make empty threat. For example, if Emma cannot stop eating candies, I cannot say "Hey, emma, if you do not quit now, mommy will never buy you candies" (why not, I need to think of a better example)

Don't make false promises.

Don't award for daily routines. Like giving her candies to award her sitting in a car seat. It has to be something special.

Don't expect explaining/reasoning can be effective. No. It won't work if Emma does not want to sleep alone and I simply explain "because it is better, healthier to sleep alone"

DOS:

Do outwitting toddlers. A little pretending/good will lying is ok. Pretend coke is something poisonous if she has never had any. Using a little adult superiority is ok. Always be calm, dignified, even though you do not know anything. This is hard

Use "I can problem solve" method, always ask the right questions to help children think and find a sensible way to solve problem. This is hard.

Always do the right thing is hard.

Outwitting toddlers

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Since Emma left, I have started reading various parenting books (a little hypercritical, I guess). I borrowed 3 books, "The magic tree of minds", "Outwitting toddlers" and "Raising a thinking teen" (a book for older kids, from 7 to 12. The right one should be "Raising a thinking child"). The first book "magic tree" has a fascinating title, but I was totally bored by its dry technical style. The second and third are interesting and practical, occasionally fun. The first book deals with the matters such as potty training, bottle weaning, sending toddlers to preschool, toddlers' sleeping problems and etc. The second one deals with children's social and emotional development. It is probably easier to prescribe these methods and hypothetical dialogues. For example, Emma never likes to wear shoes. Should a super-serious shoe-buying ceremony do the trick? Another challenge is that to get her to sleep alone. Will sleeping with her in her room first then gradually retrieving back to my room manage it? Maybe.

Anyways I learned some DOS and don'ts.

Don't threat, especially make empty threat. For example, if Emma cannot stop eating candies, I cannot say "Hey, emma, if you do not quit now, mommy will never buy you candies" (why not, I need to think of a better example)

Don't make false promises.

Don't award for daily routines. Like giving her candies to award her sitting in a car seat. It has to be something special.

Don't expect explaining/reasoning can be effective. No. It won't work if Emma does not want to sleep alone and I simply explain "because it is better, healthier to sleep alone"

DOS:

Do outwitting toddlers. A little pretending/good will lying is ok. Pretend coke is something poisonous if she has never had any. Using a little adult superiority is ok. Always be calm, dignified, even though you do not know anything. This is hard

Use "I can problem solve" method, always ask the right questions to help children think and find a sensible way to solve problem. This is hard.

Always do the right thing is hard.

Monday, July 04, 2005
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July 03, 2005

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Sunday, July 03, 2005
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July 01, 2005

We have called home many times. Many times, we overheard mom and dad urge Emma to speak on the phone. But Emma just kept her silence for a good few minutes then handed over the phone to mom or dad.

This Friday (Saturday on the side of China), I called home again. As usual, Emma was promptly put on the phone with me again. Hey, without much delay, she started her monologue, a mixture of mumbling, singing songs, and reciting children's rhythms. She called me mommy a couple of times. As if not enough, she called my name "Xun" and nickname "3 mei". She sang "In this world only mommy is the best", she sang "three little mice", she chanted "little little rabbit, open your door for me, for I want to come in ...", then "little white piggy, little fatty piggy ..." She gave a long speech with a lot of emphasis and much of it I had no way to decipher ... She was loud. She shouted her songs through. But, Hey, Emma, here you go. We can talk now, or at least I can listen to you now on the phone.

Phone monologue

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We have called home many times. Many times, we overheard mom and dad urge Emma to speak on the phone. But Emma just kept her silence for a good few minutes then handed over the phone to mom or dad.

This Friday (Saturday on the side of China), I called home again. As usual, Emma was promptly put on the phone with me again. Hey, without much delay, she started her monologue, a mixture of mumbling, singing songs, and reciting children's rhythms. She called me mommy a couple of times. As if not enough, she called my name "Xun" and nickname "3 mei". She sang "In this world only mommy is the best", she sang "three little mice", she chanted "little little rabbit, open your door for me, for I want to come in ...", then "little white piggy, little fatty piggy ..." She gave a long speech with a lot of emphasis and much of it I had no way to decipher ... She was loud. She shouted her songs through. But, Hey, Emma, here you go. We can talk now, or at least I can listen to you now on the phone.

Friday, July 01, 2005
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June 27, 2005

Emma is riding a horse
Everyday my sister sends me some pictures of Emma. (Yes, this little universe of ours orbits around Emma, she little beauty cutty only). And this one I love the most. She is riding two colorful horses outside an unimportant shop. Her smile wins the best smile baby award.

Riding a horse!

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Emma is riding a horse
Everyday my sister sends me some pictures of Emma. (Yes, this little universe of ours orbits around Emma, she little beauty cutty only). And this one I love the most. She is riding two colorful horses outside an unimportant shop. Her smile wins the best smile baby award.

Monday, June 27, 2005
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June 26, 2005

Because of Emma, my sister especially bought a digital camera and she sent me some pictures.


Since Emma left, the only way I got to know how Emma's doing is through telephone calls and sometimes emails from my sister. We called many times and every time we were told that Emma was doing wonderfully, also she seemed to be less shy as she was here. When she met other little toddlers, she would play with them. As usual, she has a great appetite, eating quite a lot and in a wide varieties. She has got a lot of fresh fish to eat. She gets along with my 13-year-old nephew. Still she is closer to my mom.

We all tried to get Emma talk to us. She just held the phone to her ear, not saying anything. I called over the phone: "Emma, Emma, talk to mommy!", "Emma, how are you?", "Emma, you forgot mommy?", "Emma, emma,can you call mommy?" She was always silent. I could hear my sisters and my parents talking to her "hey it is mommy ... say, hello mommy". She would not say. After a while, my sister took over the phone ...

I think I am fine, but I think about her a lot, a lot ... I miss her. I do not know if she really is as good as my parents described. But my mom always says, even when she was here, that Emma is always better when she is not with me. When she was with me, she seemed to be more needy. My mom said every baby behaved this way, it was called something like "sadness with mom."

She is in China

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Because of Emma, my sister especially bought a digital camera and she sent me some pictures.


Since Emma left, the only way I got to know how Emma's doing is through telephone calls and sometimes emails from my sister. We called many times and every time we were told that Emma was doing wonderfully, also she seemed to be less shy as she was here. When she met other little toddlers, she would play with them. As usual, she has a great appetite, eating quite a lot and in a wide varieties. She has got a lot of fresh fish to eat. She gets along with my 13-year-old nephew. Still she is closer to my mom.

We all tried to get Emma talk to us. She just held the phone to her ear, not saying anything. I called over the phone: "Emma, Emma, talk to mommy!", "Emma, how are you?", "Emma, you forgot mommy?", "Emma, emma,can you call mommy?" She was always silent. I could hear my sisters and my parents talking to her "hey it is mommy ... say, hello mommy". She would not say. After a while, my sister took over the phone ...

I think I am fine, but I think about her a lot, a lot ... I miss her. I do not know if she really is as good as my parents described. But my mom always says, even when she was here, that Emma is always better when she is not with me. When she was with me, she seemed to be more needy. My mom said every baby behaved this way, it was called something like "sadness with mom."

Sunday, June 26, 2005
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June 21, 2005

This is seventh day living without emma, my twenty-months old daughter. I don't feel comfortable when I am home because it is too quiet. I decided to call her in order to make myself feel better. After a few ring, somebody picked up the phone on the another side of the Earth. It was my father-in-law, not my daughter. She was having her bath. My father-in-law reported that emma is doing very well in China. Great, so I don't need to worry too much. I ended up the phone without hearing emma's voice. Half an hour later, my father-in-law called back and asked emma to say something, to say "Dade". However, she didn't say anything. Did she forget me? Did she hate me because I let her go? Or, she just doesn't have moon to talk. I don't think she will know that I want to hear her voice as I want to see her, hold her - my dear little daughter.

The Seventh Day

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This is seventh day living without emma, my twenty-months old daughter. I don't feel comfortable when I am home because it is too quiet. I decided to call her in order to make myself feel better. After a few ring, somebody picked up the phone on the another side of the Earth. It was my father-in-law, not my daughter. She was having her bath. My father-in-law reported that emma is doing very well in China. Great, so I don't need to worry too much. I ended up the phone without hearing emma's voice. Half an hour later, my father-in-law called back and asked emma to say something, to say "Dade". However, she didn't say anything. Did she forget me? Did she hate me because I let her go? Or, she just doesn't have moon to talk. I don't think she will know that I want to hear her voice as I want to see her, hold her - my dear little daughter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
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Emma learns to drawIt is last Tuesday that Emma left us for Chengdu, China. Without her, we got an empty and quiet place. She got a new happy noisy place in China. She got to know her aunts, her cousin, and I am sure, soon enough, my numerous relatives. When she left, she (or my mom) took barely anything, not any toys, clothes or books, for the reasons that 1. it was too hard to take too much luggage; 2. You can buy anything, everything cheaply in China. I know China is a good place where my parents live comfortably in their new apartment, Emma seemed to love China, her new place immediately. I called home a number of times, everytime my parents and sisters reported in excitement how well Emma has adapted. She hardly cried, she smiled all the time, she slept alone now and had this trantion smoothly. She liked her new toys and the playground in front of her building ...

I am both happy and somehow bitter, why, am I just so unimportant and dispensable to Emma?
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Emma learns to drawIt is last Tuesday that Emma left us for Chengdu, China. Without her, we got an empty and quiet place. She got a new happy noisy place in China. She got to know her aunts, her cousin, and I am sure, soon enough, my numerous relatives. When she left, she (or my mom) took barely anything, not any toys, clothes or books, for the reasons that 1. it was too hard to take too much luggage; 2. You can buy anything, everything cheaply in China. I know China is a good place where my parents live comfortably in their new apartment, Emma seemed to love China, her new place immediately. I called home a number of times, everytime my parents and sisters reported in excitement how well Emma has adapted. She hardly cried, she smiled all the time, she slept alone now and had this trantion smoothly. She liked her new toys and the playground in front of her building ...

I am both happy and somehow bitter, why, am I just so unimportant and dispensable to Emma?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
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June 14, 2005

Tuesday Emma left! Without being much cranky, she just left, disappeared from my sight. At the security check-in, she waved by-by to Leo and I after a few cries. It was like going out by-by. At night I called my father, she was still the happy Emma, she had milk, apple juice, she played with the people on the airplane, she went to sleep for hours, then woke up happy again.

Emma left

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Tuesday Emma left! Without being much cranky, she just left, disappeared from my sight. At the security check-in, she waved by-by to Leo and I after a few cries. It was like going out by-by. At night I called my father, she was still the happy Emma, she had milk, apple juice, she played with the people on the airplane, she went to sleep for hours, then woke up happy again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
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June 08, 2005

Emma strides on the meadowIt is all summer now, with the sun, the heat, the beauty and the restlessness. Emma cannot stand the cold, she got a lot of heat rash.

Emma does not wear clothes, let alone diapers. Quite sometimes, after a bath, she refuses to put on anything. Naked, smiling, her little belly bulged, she walks briskly and happily around. It takes a lot of patience and skills to put her diapers on.

Still summer days are kind to little children. Every day after dinner, when the day is still bright and the wind cool, we take Emma, Emma takes her little green pail and purple shovel, to the lake. It is beautiful to watch the tides rolling, Emma always works hard collecting sand in her pail. She has fun throwing stones into the water. She is always picture perfect.

How I wish every day it could be like this!

Emma these days

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Emma strides on the meadowIt is all summer now, with the sun, the heat, the beauty and the restlessness. Emma cannot stand the cold, she got a lot of heat rash.

Emma does not wear clothes, let alone diapers. Quite sometimes, after a bath, she refuses to put on anything. Naked, smiling, her little belly bulged, she walks briskly and happily around. It takes a lot of patience and skills to put her diapers on.

Still summer days are kind to little children. Every day after dinner, when the day is still bright and the wind cool, we take Emma, Emma takes her little green pail and purple shovel, to the lake. It is beautiful to watch the tides rolling, Emma always works hard collecting sand in her pail. She has fun throwing stones into the water. She is always picture perfect.

How I wish every day it could be like this!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
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June 04, 2005

Emma looks like that she is sure to leave us soon. It is so sad that I cannot even talk to her about this. She is so young so little she cannot even tell us her opinion. China or America does not make any senses to her. Mommy, "po po" (grandma) and hundreds of other disconnected words do. Still there is no way to explain to her what "going to china" means. She is so young that we make almost all decisions for her, yet I cannot be sure, 100% sure that we made this decision right. Even though there are many reasons why Emma should live with my parents in China, even though many many Chinese babies I know indeed do very fine and they were also seperated from their parents and raised by grandparents at somewhere far away, in China, on the other side of the earth. ... I do not know. My heart ache, attacked by the fear and guilt that I once let Emma go, go somewhere I could be of no help at all, I could not even see ... I decide to take her back in half a year

I have been stalling to get ready this and that legal document necessary for Emma to leave. But yesterday I went to get her travel permit (a sort of temporary Chinese passport). In April, her USA passport was mailed to us. Emma had passport pictures taken for both documents. Dressed in white or red, she looked puzzled, somewhat indifferent, in one picture, she frowned, as if in protest; in the other, she looked straight ahead without any expression ...

Emma's going away ...

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Emma looks like that she is sure to leave us soon. It is so sad that I cannot even talk to her about this. She is so young so little she cannot even tell us her opinion. China or America does not make any senses to her. Mommy, "po po" (grandma) and hundreds of other disconnected words do. Still there is no way to explain to her what "going to china" means. She is so young that we make almost all decisions for her, yet I cannot be sure, 100% sure that we made this decision right. Even though there are many reasons why Emma should live with my parents in China, even though many many Chinese babies I know indeed do very fine and they were also seperated from their parents and raised by grandparents at somewhere far away, in China, on the other side of the earth. ... I do not know. My heart ache, attacked by the fear and guilt that I once let Emma go, go somewhere I could be of no help at all, I could not even see ... I decide to take her back in half a year

I have been stalling to get ready this and that legal document necessary for Emma to leave. But yesterday I went to get her travel permit (a sort of temporary Chinese passport). In April, her USA passport was mailed to us. Emma had passport pictures taken for both documents. Dressed in white or red, she looked puzzled, somewhat indifferent, in one picture, she frowned, as if in protest; in the other, she looked straight ahead without any expression ...

Saturday, June 04, 2005
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May 31, 2005

Because of memorial day, we had a three-day weekend. The thought of the time I have at hand makes me exhale in relief. Still Emma sometimes worried that I went to work. She looked around and
cried "Mommy ban-ban (Mommy went to work)..." (I am worried if she could handle the coming year that she has to live without me. I am also worried if she indeed has adapted her life in China, will she forget about me? Will she lose the attachment she has now for me?)

We had a three beautiful day, bright sunshine, tender breeze, lush greens everywhere, perfect for out walking, sightseeing, picture taking, swing and slide. So glad we do not have to be prisoners of winter.

We went out. We did not do much. The first day we went out shopping. Mom and dad and Emma are leaving. So we hunted for something to buy so they would not return empty-handed. It was disappointing since we could not find anything worth taking home. What does America produce except the universal Hamburger? The second day we went out to do laundry, then drove around to get Emma DVDs and books. On the third day, mom, dad and I stayed home in the afternoon while Emma took her long lap, in the morning we took her out to the little park by the lake. We met a little Chinese baby, adopted by an American couple. Emma did not show much interest. My mom and I observed that when Emma was with little babies or younger toddlers, she seemed to be quiet. In the evening, we played in the beach
...

Three day weekend

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Because of memorial day, we had a three-day weekend. The thought of the time I have at hand makes me exhale in relief. Still Emma sometimes worried that I went to work. She looked around and
cried "Mommy ban-ban (Mommy went to work)..." (I am worried if she could handle the coming year that she has to live without me. I am also worried if she indeed has adapted her life in China, will she forget about me? Will she lose the attachment she has now for me?)

We had a three beautiful day, bright sunshine, tender breeze, lush greens everywhere, perfect for out walking, sightseeing, picture taking, swing and slide. So glad we do not have to be prisoners of winter.

We went out. We did not do much. The first day we went out shopping. Mom and dad and Emma are leaving. So we hunted for something to buy so they would not return empty-handed. It was disappointing since we could not find anything worth taking home. What does America produce except the universal Hamburger? The second day we went out to do laundry, then drove around to get Emma DVDs and books. On the third day, mom, dad and I stayed home in the afternoon while Emma took her long lap, in the morning we took her out to the little park by the lake. We met a little Chinese baby, adopted by an American couple. Emma did not show much interest. My mom and I observed that when Emma was with little babies or younger toddlers, she seemed to be quiet. In the evening, we played in the beach
...

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
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May 29, 2005

Emma in a hammockEmma loves to draw. Sometimes we teach her to draw a circle. We say "Emma, let's draw a sun". Then she draws a circle, not very round, and most of the times her circles do not close. We say "Emma let's add sun rays". She then draws long long wavy lines across her circles while mumbling "sun rays. sun rays". I think her interest in reading is somewhat fading, but for the past few months, she has kept drawing something everyday. I am glad.

Draw a big sun

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Emma in a hammockEmma loves to draw. Sometimes we teach her to draw a circle. We say "Emma, let's draw a sun". Then she draws a circle, not very round, and most of the times her circles do not close. We say "Emma let's add sun rays". She then draws long long wavy lines across her circles while mumbling "sun rays. sun rays". I think her interest in reading is somewhat fading, but for the past few months, she has kept drawing something everyday. I am glad.

Sunday, May 29, 2005
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May 23, 2005

I have been avoid TV for Emma's sake. When Emma was about 3 months old, I heard from radio (NPR) that children who are exposed to TV too early too much would most likely develop ADHD and kids younger than 3 are not supposed to have any TV at all. I was startled and then dutifully followed the advice. Along the way, somehow sometimes neighbors and colleagues dismisses the TV-no-good point. They think TV has its educational value and they give me examples. They sounded also reasonable, but I kept my long-held view that TV is mostly trash and tends to be overstimulating therefore harmful to babies (think of the bombardment of sounds and visuals). Video games are also considered even more harmful, too intense and stimulating.

However recently there came out a book titled "Every bad is good for you", then there are favorable reviews in Time and "The New Yorker" offering serious arguments that popular cultures actually have smarted us up instead of dumbing us down. Video games are so intelligent, complex, compelling that gamers actually benefit from them. Similarly TV plots are so multithreaded, insightful and sharp (talking about good TV only, like the Simpsons), Children actually can learn social skills ...

I do not know. Should I allow Emma or even encourage her to watch TV and play games?

TV or not?

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I have been avoid TV for Emma's sake. When Emma was about 3 months old, I heard from radio (NPR) that children who are exposed to TV too early too much would most likely develop ADHD and kids younger than 3 are not supposed to have any TV at all. I was startled and then dutifully followed the advice. Along the way, somehow sometimes neighbors and colleagues dismisses the TV-no-good point. They think TV has its educational value and they give me examples. They sounded also reasonable, but I kept my long-held view that TV is mostly trash and tends to be overstimulating therefore harmful to babies (think of the bombardment of sounds and visuals). Video games are also considered even more harmful, too intense and stimulating.

However recently there came out a book titled "Every bad is good for you", then there are favorable reviews in Time and "The New Yorker" offering serious arguments that popular cultures actually have smarted us up instead of dumbing us down. Video games are so intelligent, complex, compelling that gamers actually benefit from them. Similarly TV plots are so multithreaded, insightful and sharp (talking about good TV only, like the Simpsons), Children actually can learn social skills ...

I do not know. Should I allow Emma or even encourage her to watch TV and play games?

Monday, May 23, 2005
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May 13, 2005

Emma goes not sleep every night around 10pm (aren't babies supposed to sleep early and get up early?) She sleeps in our bed with Leo and Me (another habit that is so not-good).

A little after 9 pm, we give Emma a bottle of milk. Generally she takes the milk, climbs up to bed, and drinks it all. Then she looks around and sees that there is still light in the living room, where my mom and dad are still busy with something. She quickly gets off bed, goes to the living room and plays various things. We would have to cajole her back to bed with a book or two. Her favorite bed book is a giant book about Peter Rabbit and other animals, like mice, squirrel. She always refers to the book as "mice with cookies". So when she gets back to bed, we starts reading, or she simply quickly turns pages, or she plays peek-a-boo. Then later she would think about her bears, bunnies, babies, she would get off bed again to fetch them. Back with an armful of stuff animals (it often takes her two or three trips), she gently place them in bed, cover them up, or ask me to take care of them, then probably around 10, we turn off the lights and Emma finally falls into sleep.

How Emma goes to sleep every night?

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Emma goes not sleep every night around 10pm (aren't babies supposed to sleep early and get up early?) She sleeps in our bed with Leo and Me (another habit that is so not-good).

A little after 9 pm, we give Emma a bottle of milk. Generally she takes the milk, climbs up to bed, and drinks it all. Then she looks around and sees that there is still light in the living room, where my mom and dad are still busy with something. She quickly gets off bed, goes to the living room and plays various things. We would have to cajole her back to bed with a book or two. Her favorite bed book is a giant book about Peter Rabbit and other animals, like mice, squirrel. She always refers to the book as "mice with cookies". So when she gets back to bed, we starts reading, or she simply quickly turns pages, or she plays peek-a-boo. Then later she would think about her bears, bunnies, babies, she would get off bed again to fetch them. Back with an armful of stuff animals (it often takes her two or three trips), she gently place them in bed, cover them up, or ask me to take care of them, then probably around 10, we turn off the lights and Emma finally falls into sleep.

Friday, May 13, 2005
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May 10, 2005

Saturday evening, we took Emma to Mary Beth's party (MB looks thinner and pale, tall and elegant). Looking at her stylish and comfortable apartment, I felt bad about my own stripped-outedly less-than-simple apartment. Leo and I simply do not have the enthusiasm or guts to decorate the rooms. We simply do not know how.

Emma felt right at home. She found her little corner where MB kept toys, books, two bottles of playdough and various other things for her and played right away. Somehow she seemed that she had forgotten about Emily, she had some sort of puzzled look when she looked at MB too. As more and more people came and started crowding the place, she walked her way here and there through the crowds, stuffing candies and cookies into her mouth. Later she found a big friend Derby(?), a little girl with blonde hair. So interested by her, she watched her for a long time, later as she got a little more familiar, she laughed and pointed at Derby and kept saying: "baby, how cute!" Her highest form of approval.

MB's birthday party

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Saturday evening, we took Emma to Mary Beth's party (MB looks thinner and pale, tall and elegant). Looking at her stylish and comfortable apartment, I felt bad about my own stripped-outedly less-than-simple apartment. Leo and I simply do not have the enthusiasm or guts to decorate the rooms. We simply do not know how.

Emma felt right at home. She found her little corner where MB kept toys, books, two bottles of playdough and various other things for her and played right away. Somehow she seemed that she had forgotten about Emily, she had some sort of puzzled look when she looked at MB too. As more and more people came and started crowding the place, she walked her way here and there through the crowds, stuffing candies and cookies into her mouth. Later she found a big friend Derby(?), a little girl with blonde hair. So interested by her, she watched her for a long time, later as she got a little more familiar, she laughed and pointed at Derby and kept saying: "baby, how cute!" Her highest form of approval.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
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May 04, 2005

We have 5 people, 3 generation in the same house/apartment, under the same roof. Each generation has different focus. All of us use computers every day, for Leo and I that was an old die-hard habit, even though I found it less and less interesting. For my parents and Emma, it was a source of forever curiosity. My parents, especially my mom, always asks all kinds of questions, like how you put music there? how you get TV programs out from a computer? What is a floppy disk? How you open a word document? How can I use web browser? Emma's does not ask these intelligent questions, she goes directly into actions. She punches our computers, sometimes dislocating one or two keys out of the keyboard. Leo and I spend quite some time on the computer, reading news and aimlessly serfing. My parents love to read news about China, especially this chairman of chinese national party from Taiwain. Emma loves music, she is always facinated by the pshychodelic kind of varing images generated by Windows Media Player while playing music. I love music too, but I do not know if these kind of images are good for babies.

Computer and Us

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We have 5 people, 3 generation in the same house/apartment, under the same roof. Each generation has different focus. All of us use computers every day, for Leo and I that was an old die-hard habit, even though I found it less and less interesting. For my parents and Emma, it was a source of forever curiosity. My parents, especially my mom, always asks all kinds of questions, like how you put music there? how you get TV programs out from a computer? What is a floppy disk? How you open a word document? How can I use web browser? Emma's does not ask these intelligent questions, she goes directly into actions. She punches our computers, sometimes dislocating one or two keys out of the keyboard. Leo and I spend quite some time on the computer, reading news and aimlessly serfing. My parents love to read news about China, especially this chairman of chinese national party from Taiwain. Emma loves music, she is always facinated by the pshychodelic kind of varing images generated by Windows Media Player while playing music. I love music too, but I do not know if these kind of images are good for babies.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005
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May 02, 2005

Saturday we drove south to MSI. We also made a detour to the univseristy of chicago on our way. The rain unexpectedly started falling, then we only sat in the car while I showed my parents (and Emma) the places once I frequented (in often shifted admirations and doubts). Grass (and trees) was greener on this side of chicago. UC was so beautiful and serene and classy. MSI was an eye-opener, even though I have been there before a couple of times, I felt everything was still so different and exciting. I loved the drawing robots and house-building twin robots. And Emma? She loved cows and phones scattered everywhere. She never failed to pick up a phone and seriously listen to it.

Sunday we went to visit Liu Jin's family at UIC. There we, three generations, 3 babies (age 1, 1.5 and 2), 8 adults, crowded together and chatted. My parents and theirs were talking about visas and taking all these little babies back to China. Emma and Leo played, occasionally together. Leo was the active and predominant one, he raced and jumped from room to room, he offered his skills in reciting poems and reading alphabets, Emma was the gentle, quiet and shy little darling girl. Unlike at home, where she was the center of attention, where she talks a lot and does a million things, here she just quietly watching, tentatively played the varous toys of Leo's. I marvelled at little leo's ruthless energy, but my heart went out to my little Emma.
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Saturday we drove south to MSI. We also made a detour to the univseristy of chicago on our way. The rain unexpectedly started falling, then we only sat in the car while I showed my parents (and Emma) the places once I frequented (in often shifted admirations and doubts). Grass (and trees) was greener on this side of chicago. UC was so beautiful and serene and classy. MSI was an eye-opener, even though I have been there before a couple of times, I felt everything was still so different and exciting. I loved the drawing robots and house-building twin robots. And Emma? She loved cows and phones scattered everywhere. She never failed to pick up a phone and seriously listen to it.

Sunday we went to visit Liu Jin's family at UIC. There we, three generations, 3 babies (age 1, 1.5 and 2), 8 adults, crowded together and chatted. My parents and theirs were talking about visas and taking all these little babies back to China. Emma and Leo played, occasionally together. Leo was the active and predominant one, he raced and jumped from room to room, he offered his skills in reciting poems and reading alphabets, Emma was the gentle, quiet and shy little darling girl. Unlike at home, where she was the center of attention, where she talks a lot and does a million things, here she just quietly watching, tentatively played the varous toys of Leo's. I marvelled at little leo's ruthless energy, but my heart went out to my little Emma.

Monday, May 02, 2005
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April 28, 2005

Just one and a half year, emma is already such a girl, except her very short and kind of jagged hair. She already has developed such affection towards stuff animals, like bears, bunnies and babies. She loves holding a snuffy bear and keeps saying "Bear, how cute! how cute" (in chinese). It is a wonder. What determines how girls behave like girls and boys like boys? Or is it that nature simply leads us to treat a girl like a girl? We buy her skirts and bears. If we deliberately buy her just cars and toys deemed more masculine, will she love them as such?

Bear, how cute!

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Just one and a half year, emma is already such a girl, except her very short and kind of jagged hair. She already has developed such affection towards stuff animals, like bears, bunnies and babies. She loves holding a snuffy bear and keeps saying "Bear, how cute! how cute" (in chinese). It is a wonder. What determines how girls behave like girls and boys like boys? Or is it that nature simply leads us to treat a girl like a girl? We buy her skirts and bears. If we deliberately buy her just cars and toys deemed more masculine, will she love them as such?

Thursday, April 28, 2005
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April 10, 2005

Why suddenly I stopped blogging? I do not know. Born laziness is always the convenient reason. Then mom and dad spend most of the time with Emma, taking over most of excitement or bore of babysitting / Emma-sitting, ... so I just contently watch her grow.

Then one month passed. Then Emma turned 18 months old. Such a big baby girl. Then spring truely arrived! We switched to day-time saving days. Days become longer and brigher and sunnier and sometimes hot. Grass becomes green and we quietly wait for trees to get green too. The little tender tree buds at the tip of tree branches! We drive long and far here and there doing chores, shopping or just sight-viewing (then for Emma, that means dozing off most of the time).

She has grown and progressed and hopefully gained weight.

Blog again!

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Why suddenly I stopped blogging? I do not know. Born laziness is always the convenient reason. Then mom and dad spend most of the time with Emma, taking over most of excitement or bore of babysitting / Emma-sitting, ... so I just contently watch her grow.

Then one month passed. Then Emma turned 18 months old. Such a big baby girl. Then spring truely arrived! We switched to day-time saving days. Days become longer and brigher and sunnier and sometimes hot. Grass becomes green and we quietly wait for trees to get green too. The little tender tree buds at the tip of tree branches! We drive long and far here and there doing chores, shopping or just sight-viewing (then for Emma, that means dozing off most of the time).

She has grown and progressed and hopefully gained weight.

Sunday, April 10, 2005
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March 11, 2005

Yesterday we had a day of snow, then today it looks like a bright sunshine day. Bright sunlight flushes through blinds, leaving stripes of light and shades on my book. Weather changes dramatically this week.

It is said weather is baby faces, rain in a sudden, sun in a sudden. In comparison, Emma seems more stable. She has 90% sunshine time, smiling, laughing so heartily like sunshine, she has about 10% crying time, bad temper time.

One day sun, one day snow

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Yesterday we had a day of snow, then today it looks like a bright sunshine day. Bright sunlight flushes through blinds, leaving stripes of light and shades on my book. Weather changes dramatically this week.

It is said weather is baby faces, rain in a sudden, sun in a sudden. In comparison, Emma seems more stable. She has 90% sunshine time, smiling, laughing so heartily like sunshine, she has about 10% crying time, bad temper time.

Friday, March 11, 2005
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March 09, 2005

Everyday now when we leave, Leo and I, Emma coolly waves byby and say "by-by, by-by" clearly and loudly. Sometimes she is even so proud of herself for the sophisticated cool, she giggles. The needy Emma disappears.

Another example of growing-up, every morning, upon getting up and out of bed, Emma would volutneer pick up her wet diapers on the floor (at night, we change her diaper once or twice), then cheerfully throw them into garbage.

Bye-bye

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Everyday now when we leave, Leo and I, Emma coolly waves byby and say "by-by, by-by" clearly and loudly. Sometimes she is even so proud of herself for the sophisticated cool, she giggles. The needy Emma disappears.

Another example of growing-up, every morning, upon getting up and out of bed, Emma would volutneer pick up her wet diapers on the floor (at night, we change her diaper once or twice), then cheerfully throw them into garbage.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
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March 08, 2005

Winds again change directions. CNN news and then various other source of news report that recent studies show that milk intake does not help or help little children with bone health, that it is probably better to have some more tofu and juice fortified with vitamin D and calcium.

Good news and bad news for Emma. On the good side, it is probably no big deal that she had been allergic to milk for her first year; on the bad side, she just shook off of the allergy and now enjoys milk very much. She eats her baby cereal with milk, so delicious that I cannot help stealing some. Well, I guess our compass of food and nurtuition just cannot rest on ever-changing ever-scientific reports, studies or trends. Eat what you like!

Another note. Emma has made another leap in her intelligence development. She can recognize more numbers now. She knows zero, 2, 6, 8 and the plus sign. No,no, not their intrinicate meanings that passed along through generations, but just the signs themselves with their Chinese (SiChuan) pronounciations. My parents should be get a award for this.


"Next year, she probably can recite multiplication table?" I teased my mom.
"Not so fast. She can go to preschool at 5" My mom quickly declared defeat.

Dairy has little benefit on children's bone health?

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Winds again change directions. CNN news and then various other source of news report that recent studies show that milk intake does not help or help little children with bone health, that it is probably better to have some more tofu and juice fortified with vitamin D and calcium.

Good news and bad news for Emma. On the good side, it is probably no big deal that she had been allergic to milk for her first year; on the bad side, she just shook off of the allergy and now enjoys milk very much. She eats her baby cereal with milk, so delicious that I cannot help stealing some. Well, I guess our compass of food and nurtuition just cannot rest on ever-changing ever-scientific reports, studies or trends. Eat what you like!

Another note. Emma has made another leap in her intelligence development. She can recognize more numbers now. She knows zero, 2, 6, 8 and the plus sign. No,no, not their intrinicate meanings that passed along through generations, but just the signs themselves with their Chinese (SiChuan) pronounciations. My parents should be get a award for this.


"Next year, she probably can recite multiplication table?" I teased my mom.
"Not so fast. She can go to preschool at 5" My mom quickly declared defeat.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
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March 07, 2005

A unusually sunny day. Yeah, think of the past days of cold, days when everybody caught cold then recaught cold from each other, it was like the whole house was full of germs. Even the sky outside of our windows looked ill too.

But now we got this bright sunny day. Sunshine spreaded everywhere. Everyone felt as happy as the sunshine. We even collectively got up earlier. All of us, not just the early-birdie Emma. After breakfast made up of a variety of Chinese, American, adult and baby food (cereal of mixed grain, milk, bread, congee, ...), we set out to the zoo.

Tigers, lions, snakes, flamingos, ... With the exception of monkeys and apes, almost every other kind of animals were as quiet and still as stones, beautiful red stones (flamingos), ugly scary green ones (green snakes), giant brownish stones on top of giant slab of stones (lions)... Emma is the wise one, she mostly only briefly glanced at the various animals, but showed rather great interests in other babies, and sure, food. She relished so much of the piece of dry bread we brought. But to our delight, she sometimes
muttered words like "tiger", "monkey". We headed about in about two hours.

To the zoo

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A unusually sunny day. Yeah, think of the past days of cold, days when everybody caught cold then recaught cold from each other, it was like the whole house was full of germs. Even the sky outside of our windows looked ill too.

But now we got this bright sunny day. Sunshine spreaded everywhere. Everyone felt as happy as the sunshine. We even collectively got up earlier. All of us, not just the early-birdie Emma. After breakfast made up of a variety of Chinese, American, adult and baby food (cereal of mixed grain, milk, bread, congee, ...), we set out to the zoo.

Tigers, lions, snakes, flamingos, ... With the exception of monkeys and apes, almost every other kind of animals were as quiet and still as stones, beautiful red stones (flamingos), ugly scary green ones (green snakes), giant brownish stones on top of giant slab of stones (lions)... Emma is the wise one, she mostly only briefly glanced at the various animals, but showed rather great interests in other babies, and sure, food. She relished so much of the piece of dry bread we brought. But to our delight, she sometimes
muttered words like "tiger", "monkey". We headed about in about two hours.

Monday, March 07, 2005
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March 02, 2005

A sunny day Days stretch longer now. Today when I came back from work, it was still a bright day. Not really sunny bright, but the sky was lovely smoky light-gray, I could see clearly the streets with too eagerly-early-lit street lights, running cars and clowds.

However, the best thing about coming home is the little Emma that comes out of the door to greet me. With a bright smile on her pixie face, she happily walks out the door, walking in circles, looking up and for me. At the sight of me, with even brighter and more lovely smile, she runs towards me.

A sunny day

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A sunny day Days stretch longer now. Today when I came back from work, it was still a bright day. Not really sunny bright, but the sky was lovely smoky light-gray, I could see clearly the streets with too eagerly-early-lit street lights, running cars and clowds.

However, the best thing about coming home is the little Emma that comes out of the door to greet me. With a bright smile on her pixie face, she happily walks out the door, walking in circles, looking up and for me. At the sight of me, with even brighter and more lovely smile, she runs towards me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
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Born hard-working. Picture downloaded from webHa, Always wondering who is always going to clean the house, who will always sweep the floor... here to my joyful surprise, I found that Emma would always carry the house-cleaning burden. She already started the self-training. Everyday, She would pick up the ... and then earnestly sweep the floor. Sometimes we say: "Emma, throw this into garbage!", pointing to some tiny-bit of garbage, Emma then would pick it up, with a big smile, throw it away into the garbage can! Wow.

Born hard-working

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Born hard-working. Picture downloaded from webHa, Always wondering who is always going to clean the house, who will always sweep the floor... here to my joyful surprise, I found that Emma would always carry the house-cleaning burden. She already started the self-training. Everyday, She would pick up the ... and then earnestly sweep the floor. Sometimes we say: "Emma, throw this into garbage!", pointing to some tiny-bit of garbage, Emma then would pick it up, with a big smile, throw it away into the garbage can! Wow.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
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February 26, 2005

The first number is zero. From a group of red, yellow and green plastic numbers, Emma can pick out the various red, yellow, green ovals that are meant for the number zero. Quite a progress.

Start from Zero

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The first number is zero. From a group of red, yellow and green plastic numbers, Emma can pick out the various red, yellow, green ovals that are meant for the number zero. Quite a progress.

Saturday, February 26, 2005
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February 24, 2005

It is snowing again! White snow like white power in the sky. Little flower buds and tree sprouts are depressed a little. Fortunately there are always ways to get around. Yesterday, Mari from my company brought in two little pots of two little love spring flowers, warmly wrapped in the layers of green thick leaves. Very spring! The winter does get me bored and cold.

The good thing is that Mom and Dad are here. They make good companions. When dealing with Emma, Mom becomes volumable (the right word?) and always in good mood. In return, Emma talks a lot back, in every 10 words, we actually can recognize a few words, like eat, walk, by-by, book and various things she immediately picks up from the last sentence we just said. She talks in a tone that is somewhere in the middle of Mandarin and SiChuan. Very funny. I told mom it is beacause she is an American, all americans speak chinese in that wierd funny tone. Anyway, Emma is a grandbaby now, more so than a daughter. In the morning, she contently eats and calmly by-by me, during the day, she plays joyfully, walking around barefeeted ... Like this, she gradually disappear from my radar

Disappeared from my radar

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It is snowing again! White snow like white power in the sky. Little flower buds and tree sprouts are depressed a little. Fortunately there are always ways to get around. Yesterday, Mari from my company brought in two little pots of two little love spring flowers, warmly wrapped in the layers of green thick leaves. Very spring! The winter does get me bored and cold.

The good thing is that Mom and Dad are here. They make good companions. When dealing with Emma, Mom becomes volumable (the right word?) and always in good mood. In return, Emma talks a lot back, in every 10 words, we actually can recognize a few words, like eat, walk, by-by, book and various things she immediately picks up from the last sentence we just said. She talks in a tone that is somewhere in the middle of Mandarin and SiChuan. Very funny. I told mom it is beacause she is an American, all americans speak chinese in that wierd funny tone. Anyway, Emma is a grandbaby now, more so than a daughter. In the morning, she contently eats and calmly by-by me, during the day, she plays joyfully, walking around barefeeted ... Like this, she gradually disappear from my radar

Thursday, February 24, 2005
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February 21, 2005

The sky is still gray and gloomy. The weather is cold and dry, even drier inside, thanks to the radiators that suck up the last bit of moisture in the air. Yesterday again there was a flurry of icy rain mixed with snow. Mom and dad started wondering why there is always so much snow here. It is so different from here in Chicago and the little cozy nest they have in China. Not just weather, but food, shopping, entertainment. Not to mention language barrier, cultural barrier.

I caught a cold two days ago.

Cold Day

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The sky is still gray and gloomy. The weather is cold and dry, even drier inside, thanks to the radiators that suck up the last bit of moisture in the air. Yesterday again there was a flurry of icy rain mixed with snow. Mom and dad started wondering why there is always so much snow here. It is so different from here in Chicago and the little cozy nest they have in China. Not just weather, but food, shopping, entertainment. Not to mention language barrier, cultural barrier.

I caught a cold two days ago.

Monday, February 21, 2005
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February 16, 2005



Mild weather, blank day. I've thought little and done almost nothing.

Wierd and Silly

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Mild weather, blank day. I've thought little and done almost nothing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005
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February 13, 2005

Over 100 pictures in just a month, thanks to her aunt and leo's tireless picture-taking. A pity though, when we take pictures, we take a lot, the same gesture, the same bear-hugging, the same people, the same setting, ... then for a long time, we forget the whole business, we simply go places, talk our small talk ...

Anyway, more albums. Time with her grandma-and-pa, time when she posed like a model, hugging her bears, and time when she just ate and ate and ate, at home or in a restraunt. Eating is probably Emma's forte, she always eats with a terrific appetite, she eats almost everything and anything, she eats often and a lot, yet she is thin and slim, even underweighted! Wow, how enviable!

Emma definitely is getting over her little vomiting and diahierrea. She is an little eating animal now. She sleeps good now. And she know more words now, in English, chinese and chinlish (my parents' little-baked wierd English).

More albums!

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Over 100 pictures in just a month, thanks to her aunt and leo's tireless picture-taking. A pity though, when we take pictures, we take a lot, the same gesture, the same bear-hugging, the same people, the same setting, ... then for a long time, we forget the whole business, we simply go places, talk our small talk ...

Anyway, more albums. Time with her grandma-and-pa, time when she posed like a model, hugging her bears, and time when she just ate and ate and ate, at home or in a restraunt. Eating is probably Emma's forte, she always eats with a terrific appetite, she eats almost everything and anything, she eats often and a lot, yet she is thin and slim, even underweighted! Wow, how enviable!

Emma definitely is getting over her little vomiting and diahierrea. She is an little eating animal now. She sleeps good now. And she know more words now, in English, chinese and chinlish (my parents' little-baked wierd English).

Sunday, February 13, 2005
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February 11, 2005

Finally sat down to fulfill my duty as a mother, to put together some (only a small fraction) of Emma's pictures taken by her aunt, uncle and Leo. How they had taken pictures, totally uncritically! They simply used their cameras to follow Emma ... And I simply moved these pics to the web without any censorship. This disaster. This bomb of pictures!

A new album posted!

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Finally sat down to fulfill my duty as a mother, to put together some (only a small fraction) of Emma's pictures taken by her aunt, uncle and Leo. How they had taken pictures, totally uncritically! They simply used their cameras to follow Emma ... And I simply moved these pics to the web without any censorship. This disaster. This bomb of pictures!

Friday, February 11, 2005
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February 07, 2005

The weather is getting warm and the winds were gentle, even though the sky was still gray and kinda gloomy, we set out to act on my plan of visiting all chicago's worthy spots. I want to show my parents that indeed Chicago is one of the world greatest cities, having a lot to show off.

We went to the Art Institute! We toured the rooms after rooms of paintings, soon my parents were burned out, we soon retreated to Chinese arts, to view the distorted portait of Mao Zhe Dong, and various artifacts from various dynasties ... Mom and dad got very sentimental there, commenting a great deal about how Americans have stolen this many things from China ...

Emma was totally unattached to any patrotism. She got very interested in the stairs in the art institute. How wonderful, how exciting, how fun it was to just climb up and down the stairs! What great exercise! Therefore we waited for her patiently, helping her climbing stairs. The Art Institute does have a lot to offer, especially stairs.

Stairs of the Art Institute

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The weather is getting warm and the winds were gentle, even though the sky was still gray and kinda gloomy, we set out to act on my plan of visiting all chicago's worthy spots. I want to show my parents that indeed Chicago is one of the world greatest cities, having a lot to show off.

We went to the Art Institute! We toured the rooms after rooms of paintings, soon my parents were burned out, we soon retreated to Chinese arts, to view the distorted portait of Mao Zhe Dong, and various artifacts from various dynasties ... Mom and dad got very sentimental there, commenting a great deal about how Americans have stolen this many things from China ...

Emma was totally unattached to any patrotism. She got very interested in the stairs in the art institute. How wonderful, how exciting, how fun it was to just climb up and down the stairs! What great exercise! Therefore we waited for her patiently, helping her climbing stairs. The Art Institute does have a lot to offer, especially stairs.

Monday, February 07, 2005
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January 30, 2005

Emma braved the cold Always thought that I was too OLD to celebrate my birthday. It used to be startling reminder of that one more year had gone. Used to thought that birthday parties are previleges of the young, the powerful, the rich and the vain. Ha, WHAT A THOUGHT! But now everything felt natural. With my parents here, once again I became a child, entitled to the love of my parents, my sisters, Leo's sisters and in-laws, Leo, and Emma, yes, the little charmer Emma.

We went to a Chinese si chuan restraunt, Lao Chi Chuan. We ordered a good many dishes, ate a good deal of food and said a good many wish-your-future-better blah, blah. Emma remained the center of attention. Relatively a new comer, she checked around the restraunt, hardly broke a smile until she had enough of her favorite fish.

Yes, at night, there was the traditional birthday cake and the traditional birthday songs and the not-so-traditional filming. So loud!

So this was MY birthday party! A party that was delayed for years!

MY birthday party

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Emma braved the cold Always thought that I was too OLD to celebrate my birthday. It used to be startling reminder of that one more year had gone. Used to thought that birthday parties are previleges of the young, the powerful, the rich and the vain. Ha, WHAT A THOUGHT! But now everything felt natural. With my parents here, once again I became a child, entitled to the love of my parents, my sisters, Leo's sisters and in-laws, Leo, and Emma, yes, the little charmer Emma.

We went to a Chinese si chuan restraunt, Lao Chi Chuan. We ordered a good many dishes, ate a good deal of food and said a good many wish-your-future-better blah, blah. Emma remained the center of attention. Relatively a new comer, she checked around the restraunt, hardly broke a smile until she had enough of her favorite fish.

Yes, at night, there was the traditional birthday cake and the traditional birthday songs and the not-so-traditional filming. So loud!

So this was MY birthday party! A party that was delayed for years!

Sunday, January 30, 2005
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January 28, 2005

Yeah, Dinner Time! The first friday since I went back to work! So on the night of this Friday, we had a party, a Chinese party. Everybody sang, emma danced.

Dinner Time

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Yeah, Dinner Time! The first friday since I went back to work! So on the night of this Friday, we had a party, a Chinese party. Everybody sang, emma danced.

Friday, January 28, 2005
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January 27, 2005

A chinese flute boy. Unfinished Emma is really getting used to my parents, then her aunt and uncle came to stay with us for a few days, then the little one-bedroom condo was quite crowded (at night, the couple has to sleep on a airbed). Little Emma is quite pleased, happy with all the attention and a variety of food. She seems to have gotten used to the food my mom made for her (Unlike the first two days, she basically would not eat any). The most magic thing is that she understands Chinese more and more, she definitely understands the word "ci" for eating. So mom said it was like boblof(?)'s conditional reaction, on the words of "ci", she would just comply so well, sitting in her high chair and eating with the greatest satifaction. Ha, ha ...


As a mom, I am happily relinquish my duties to all the people surrounding her. I can even draw some pictures while she is awake. Wow ...

The little mouth that likes to eat

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A chinese flute boy. Unfinished Emma is really getting used to my parents, then her aunt and uncle came to stay with us for a few days, then the little one-bedroom condo was quite crowded (at night, the couple has to sleep on a airbed). Little Emma is quite pleased, happy with all the attention and a variety of food. She seems to have gotten used to the food my mom made for her (Unlike the first two days, she basically would not eat any). The most magic thing is that she understands Chinese more and more, she definitely understands the word "ci" for eating. So mom said it was like boblof(?)'s conditional reaction, on the words of "ci", she would just comply so well, sitting in her high chair and eating with the greatest satifaction. Ha, ha ...


As a mom, I am happily relinquish my duties to all the people surrounding her. I can even draw some pictures while she is awake. Wow ...

Thursday, January 27, 2005
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January 21, 2005

Despite my doctors' confidence (none of us can understand the doctors here, why they cannot just treat patients. Or they treat you this way: if it is not life-threatening, they ask to buy over-the-counter stuff, like Tylenol, if it is life-threatening, you are on your own to go to the emergency room, if you go there twice, they diagnose you as insane), Emma was sent to emergency room. The first major sadness and great torture she has ever experienced. Poor baby. It was hard for her to get all sorts of poking, trying, puncture(?), it was hard on all of us watching her cry like never before.

In the emergency room

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Despite my doctors' confidence (none of us can understand the doctors here, why they cannot just treat patients. Or they treat you this way: if it is not life-threatening, they ask to buy over-the-counter stuff, like Tylenol, if it is life-threatening, you are on your own to go to the emergency room, if you go there twice, they diagnose you as insane), Emma was sent to emergency room. The first major sadness and great torture she has ever experienced. Poor baby. It was hard for her to get all sorts of poking, trying, puncture(?), it was hard on all of us watching her cry like never before.

Friday, January 21, 2005
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January 20, 2005

Again last night Emma threw up a big pool of things. She still had diahierria. To skittish parents like us, this was really scary. So we took her to see doctors again. To have-seen-it-all doctors, this was just nothing. They said they have seen thousands of babies like this, this may last a couple of weeks, on and off, off and off, as long as the baby was not dehydrated, everything would be all right.

Doctors! Doctors! It is good (?) to have these kind of confident doctors. ... I do not trust doctors. My parents are especially frustrated by them.

Anyway. Leo and I returned relaxed and happy. We bought for baby another few bottles of Pedialyte.

About me? My lazy bones are now itching for work. As for Leo? He got sick, really sick. I hope he can get better soon.

Still sick

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Again last night Emma threw up a big pool of things. She still had diahierria. To skittish parents like us, this was really scary. So we took her to see doctors again. To have-seen-it-all doctors, this was just nothing. They said they have seen thousands of babies like this, this may last a couple of weeks, on and off, off and off, as long as the baby was not dehydrated, everything would be all right.

Doctors! Doctors! It is good (?) to have these kind of confident doctors. ... I do not trust doctors. My parents are especially frustrated by them.

Anyway. Leo and I returned relaxed and happy. We bought for baby another few bottles of Pedialyte.

About me? My lazy bones are now itching for work. As for Leo? He got sick, really sick. I hope he can get better soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2005
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January 16, 2005

A deceivingly bright sunny day. Yet dry biting-cold out. We stayed home.

Emma has not been very well since yesterday afternoon. She got pretty bad diaherria, then last night she threw up a pool of white mushy thing. We all got a little worried. Yet this morning she woke up in a good spirit.

My parents got really interested in my brand new computer, busy learning how to use mouse, keyboard, internet, ... the sort of thing.

Days after days just passed without trace.

Sick baby

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A deceivingly bright sunny day. Yet dry biting-cold out. We stayed home.

Emma has not been very well since yesterday afternoon. She got pretty bad diaherria, then last night she threw up a pool of white mushy thing. We all got a little worried. Yet this morning she woke up in a good spirit.

My parents got really interested in my brand new computer, busy learning how to use mouse, keyboard, internet, ... the sort of thing.

Days after days just passed without trace.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
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January 15, 2005

Today two couples, two aunts and uncles came to see Emma. Too much attention, too many people, and too much love. The new uncle and aunt are very shy, I can see. The not-so-new uncle and aunt just adore Emma. So, they all just have their eyes on Emma and Emma only. And Emma is such a charmer. She danced her little dance, tilted her big head this way and that way, she signed her most charming baby sign, she gave little little apple to this one, then that one, and she walked back and forth with the new toy her new aunt brought her (that is such a cool and precious toy) ... everybody just looked at her and laughed ...

They are spoiling Emma!

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Today two couples, two aunts and uncles came to see Emma. Too much attention, too many people, and too much love. The new uncle and aunt are very shy, I can see. The not-so-new uncle and aunt just adore Emma. So, they all just have their eyes on Emma and Emma only. And Emma is such a charmer. She danced her little dance, tilted her big head this way and that way, she signed her most charming baby sign, she gave little little apple to this one, then that one, and she walked back and forth with the new toy her new aunt brought her (that is such a cool and precious toy) ... everybody just looked at her and laughed ...

Saturday, January 15, 2005
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January 13, 2005

Back again! Back to blog for my dear Emma again, the most adorable and beautiful and the truest Emma! Back to celebrate all the joy and love in the world! Emma does not understand any of this! She may have sensed something! Where was mommy in those days? She cried with all her might! But now everything is back to normal, even better. More people are showering her with attention! Grandma, grandpa, daddi, and mommy. My parents dance, sing songs for her! Now, again, she is the happiest baby in the world! She finally got used to her Chinese grand parents. Suddenly she does not follow me everywhere. Suddenly she is calling "ye, ye", pounding the bathroom door, demanding in her own language my dad to come out to play with her.




Back Again!

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Back again! Back to blog for my dear Emma again, the most adorable and beautiful and the truest Emma! Back to celebrate all the joy and love in the world! Emma does not understand any of this! She may have sensed something! Where was mommy in those days? She cried with all her might! But now everything is back to normal, even better. More people are showering her with attention! Grandma, grandpa, daddi, and mommy. My parents dance, sing songs for her! Now, again, she is the happiest baby in the world! She finally got used to her Chinese grand parents. Suddenly she does not follow me everywhere. Suddenly she is calling "ye, ye", pounding the bathroom door, demanding in her own language my dad to come out to play with her.




Thursday, January 13, 2005
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