Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
I fear I concluded the story of my boy with the red ball too abruptly. My last night in Pong Yaeng came quickly and I was in a hurry to notify my family of a discovery.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The boy, Little Red, traded in his ball for a broom. His ball had been recycled many times transforming itself into a helmet, then a bucket, a slingshot and finally a bicycle's tire patch. It was the eye shaped patch, the unmistakable color of a faded red rubber ball, glued to the back tire of his mother's bicycle, that quickened my heart and made me realise that I had hired his mother to be my parttime house keeper.
~my last night in Pong Yaeng
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
A Giant Leap Forward
When Little Qui stepped over the threshold of her new home she had no idea what a grand adventure she had begun.
Red Ball II
~ I saw him! I was at the bicycle shop across the street from the Primary school when it let out at 2:45. I feared I might not recognize him. But in the time it took to blink, There he was. You cannot miss him. But I must continue first....
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Shiao Lu Buys Rice
Granny sent Shiao Lu to the market to buy rice. She gave him four kwai and told him there was no extra for a red bean icy.
I am posting from Northern Thailand where I have a second home. Tonight I went to the Post Office for dinner. In our town the Post Master also runs a small restaurant and bar to the side of the stamp counter. Thus, his establishment is called, The Post Bar. As is my habit each time I come here, I stop to see Kuhn Aong and to pick up any mail that has come for me. There has never been a letter, not one in three years, but it is an excuse to say hello and to catch up on what is happening in town. He is also witness to a relationship I have with a small boy in this village. No one knows much about him as he is most likely the child of an undocumented Burmese refugee. There are a large number here, but he also may be from the hill tribes of Hmong and Karen. No one knows.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This painting has no story and yet many tales. It isn't finished. I returned to my home in Northern Thailand two days ago and was pleased to find this on my easel. I started it a year ago and completely forgot about it. It is of a girl who lives across the valley. She carries her brother on her back to and from the fields where she and her mother tend Paprika plants. I have watched this trio for three years now and have many stories about their comings and goings. I watch them from my studio. They cannot see me.
~~from the hills of Pong Yaeng, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai~~~Northern Thailand
Friday, November 20, 2009
Deng Zi Mei was pleased she had sold everyone of her Granny’s cabbages. Her last one went to Lao Bao for dumplings.
I have been in Zhong Shan and Hong Kong this past week working. While in China, it is hard for me to blog and this trip, the weather was freezing cold and seemed more so because in Southern China the buildings aren't heated. I woke up in the morning and could see my breath while still in bed!
Tonight though, I am in Taiwan. As soon as I step off the plane my pores fill up with the musty humidity of home mixed with a tinge of sesame oil. It is the aroma of home(some would call it stinky) but to me it is the most wonderful smell.
After a good bowl of Taiwan Noodles, I powered up to see what you have all been up to. Tonight I travel on to Thailand.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Bao Bao, the youngest of all the Wu children, loved his Ah Yi more than anyone in the world. In fact he adored Shiao Li. This feeling, he described to his wife many years later, was more urgent than love. He went on to declare that the years he had spent tied to his nanny's back were the happiest of his whole life.
~posting from Taiwan. Sigh. Home again.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When Mr. Ma arrived for his appointment with the Han’s of Tai Nan in order to finalize the purchase of their 50 hectors of terraced land, he could not help but notice the surprising presence of their youngest daughter. She sat very still next to her father and this made Mr. Ma feel uneasy. He thought Miss Han might lurch faster than a grasshopper to stop her father from reaching for his chop.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
A Late Night Return
It was only at major festivals that the Huang’s baby was brought home to join his family. Otherwise he lived with his Ah Ma. After The Autumn Festival, his elder brother’s usual chore was to take Bao Bao back to Granny.
~from New York. Returning home tonight. My husband Peter's Mother, Satia Hayes passed away yesterday at the good age of 95. She has returned home.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Mei Mei had been waiting in the bamboo grove at the end of the lane for some time. She was waiting for a good omen, hoping that the way the bamboo leaves fell at her feet would indicate to her how she would begin her trip. All she needed was some clear direction.
~from New York
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
A Quiet Chat
Jade and Moon had a quiet chat over tea. They talked about calligraphy and growing vegetables. It seems they also had a few things to say about their daughters.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Warriors of Exceeding Joy
~I have been quite busy since I returned from China and have had little time for "quiet chats" myself. I had a show that opened Saturday night at the OPEN DOOR Gallery and have been consumed with getting all my Wu Fung Road portraits ready in time. This show was for my dear friend Shaista who bravely fights, but with Exceeding Joy.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Miss Bao had been here and there and everywhere. She was glad to be back from her long trip and to see that Exceeding Joy was waiting to welcome her home.
~From Whidbey Island
Friday, October 9, 2009
After everyone in the household had used up all the hot water for baths and gone to bed, it was finally Ah Hwa's chance to do laundry. Perhaps it was the sound of water that drew Exceeding Joy, now a free bird, to stop by for a visit.
"So, what are you doing here?" The old servant inquired.
~from Hong Kong's Lamma Island
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Ah Ying had many important things on her mind as she herded her flock from Third Uncle’s pond. She could not remember if she had tethered up the water buffalo earlier this morning or if she had fed the chickens at dawn. She was confused about the chilies she had laid out in the courtyard and still was not clear if she was suppose to take her brother to Granny Chen's or go to the market. She was not sure how she would manage all her chores.
~from Zhong Shan, China
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
As Moon Festival approached, Mr. Wan's mistress wondered if she would see her lover, even if just for a few hours. It was doubtful though, given all his family obligations. Just in case he should surprise her, she wore her red envelope slippers and her lucky pearls.
~sold to anonymous buyer. Proceeds went to Home Sweet Home in Shanghai, a home for the homeless.
Friday, September 25, 2009
When the Lin Brothers had finished sweeping the Wong's courtyard it was late and Mrs. Wong, who controlled the family purse, had already gone to bed. The Wong's gate man refused to wake anyone in the household who had authority to see that the boys from Chai Yi were paid. It was also too late to walk back to town for dinner so he offered the brothers the stone floor of his guard house and a bowl of luke-warm tea.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Mrs. Tan was highly respected by all her neighbors. She was good with money. She could not resist any opportunity to show off her gold ring. "Wa! I tell you what! When I fled from Shanghai I came here with only one small piece of gold my Ni Ni gave to me for the trip. I sewed it into my red padded coat. I had nothing! I have sold and bought it back many many times whenever I am low on the cash."
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
When Mrs. Huang gathered her children and prepared to take them to her parent's home to pay respects to their ancestors, her only son, Little Brother, refused to go unless Shiao Li, his nanny, accompanied them. Huang Tai Tai sighed, but finally agreed.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
When Li Mei was about to set off to work as a kitchen maid for Mrs. Chen, her auntie told her not to be afraid. "You'll see. It is a very very lucky arrangement. The Chen's have many sons."
Sunday, September 6, 2009
When Uncle Tu finally returned from his trip to the big northern city he was informed by a very nervous Mrs Chen that her third son had carelessly let the old man's beloved song bird, Exceeding Joy escape. She went on to tell him that every resident of Wu Fung Road had spent two weeks or more trying to either catch the bird or coax it back into its cage. She hoped that Uncle Tu would not be angry and demand compensation.
Exceeding Joy had flitted here and there, eluding them all while she flew about exploring the courtyards of Wu Fung Road and singing as she pleased. At last the wayward bird alighted on the outstretched hands of Little Kite, a child with no known ancestors but in the care of the Chen family as a possible future wife for one of their many sons.
When Uncle Tu saw his bird and the little girl together, he was suddenly glad to be back in Chai Yi and even happier to live on Wu Fung Road. The big northern city had been a disappointment and he had found no happiness there.
"Chen Tai Tai," he said turning to her. "It's alright. Sorry for the trouble my bird has caused you."
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Not everyone on Wu Fung Road was listening for Uncle Tu's return. Some were at school. Chang Fei had just been called upon by Teacher Li to recited a passage from Dream of the Red Chamber when he was interrupted by the gleeful singing of Uncle Tu's bird, Exceeding Joy, who had been loose and free for more than a week.
Never had a student felt more relief.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Jya Lee, the eldest daughter of Mrs. Chen returned from the market and went straight to her mother to announce very good news. "I have seen Uncle Tu's song bird at the edge of town. Don't worry Mother, I am sure Exceeding Joy will return before Uncle does."
Mrs Chen sighed deeply. "Ah, my daughter. This is certainly a good omen."
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
~home from the big city.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Mrs. Sung's kitchen girl answered the door just before dinner. It was one of the many Chen boys stopping by to inquire if she had seen Exceeding Joy, Uncle Tu's wayward bird, flitting about.
Little Kwai answered. "I have no idea where that bird has gone. Why would you expect it ever to come back?"
~writing from New York
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Lee Shiao Jye was bored. So far, not a single customer had dropped in at the Forever Fortune Tea Room. Perhaps this was because Mrs. Soong's new opera, A Lonesome Maiden, was to be performed tonight for the first time in the courtyard of the Wu Fung Temple. Or it could also be that everyone had been preoccupied with the escape of Uncle Tu's song bird. But finally Miss Lee decided it was just too muggy to drink hot tea.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
When Exceeding Joy, Uncle Tu's escaped bird began to sing to Lau Da, he finally understood why this song bird made the old man so love sick. He thought that perhaps he might suggest to his mother that she find Uncle Tu a wife.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When Shaio Li married Mr. Bai, her old Ni Ni confided to the bride what she believed to be the secret of a long and happy marriage. "Dear Grand-daughter, whenever there is a full moon, look at your husband and say Rabbit Rabbit. "
Monday, July 27, 2009
When Eldest Brother Chen's head became a resting spot for Exceeding Joy, Da Ge did not think this was a good development. "Wa Wa," he said to himself, "I think my little brother may be in trouble."
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Before Uncle Tu embarked on his annual trip north, he made an appointment with Mrs. Chen to discuss arrangements for looking after his home during his absence. Over tea and dumplings he flitted about from topic to topic until alighting on the question of which of Mrs. Chen’s many sons he should select to care for his beloved bird. She whole-heartedly endorsed Lau San to make sure Exceeding Joy did not escape.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Little Envelope, the only girl to be born to the clan, enjoyed unrivaled freedom and access to the table of her ah yi’s. She loved these gatherings of gossip and speculation more than anything in the world. The family had been fortunate, for a long and prosperous run of boys had been born. So it was fitting when fourth Uncle sent her to advise the waiting aunties that a daughter had been born.