Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye Jo

I just got word that our dear friend Jo passed away today due to a heart attack. I can't believe it. She was only 60.

Jo was my daughter's best friend's grandmother. She was from Kent, England. I loved her dearly.
When my mom passed away (on 12/22/04) Jo became a surrogate grandmother to Anjoli.

Jo was a community activist and worked for 10 years with a group that tried to prevent a freeway from being built that would have destroyed the rural areas of our small community. Sadly, the freeway was built...
Jo LOVED music - especially the Who and Pink Floyd, and was a MAJOR Dylan fan. She had a beautiful garden and loved all animals - always caring for stray cats and dogs. She had a wonderful way with children and was a nanny and worked in a day care center for many years.
Jo certainly celebrated life - she never missed a party at our house! (We had some crazy parties, didn't we Jo?!).

I will miss you sweetie.
Love you.
Rest in peace.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Merry Happy Happy!!

(Click to see my FABULOUS earrings! I made them MYSELF!!) :)

I hope all of you enjoy your holidays. May you all have a spectacular 2008.

Many many thanks for all your good wishes, prayers and support both before and after my surgery. Words could never convey how much your messages helped me. I continue to heal and get stronger day by day. I am very lucky and truly blessed.

Love this video!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anjoli's Music Box

I just had to share this lovely gift that my daughter made in clay class for her Dad for Christmas. I was REALLY impressed. She did it all on her own.

I have more pictures to post but I have to rush to acupuncture now. I have been sick since last Friday, but I have managed to do a little volunteering at the American School this week at their Book Fair and at the PTA Gift shop. (I did lots of Christmas shopping at the Gift Shop!). I'm volunteering at their "Winterwonderland Fair" this Saturday. I'll be helping kids decorate cookies in the morning and helping run the games booth in the afternoon. Should be fun! I loved spending time with the kids at the book fair. I felt horrible if they didn't have enough money...I nearly bought some of them books (but that's kind of frowned upon) so I "saved them" for later when they could drag their parents back and pay for them! :)

My sister is coming for Christmas for a week (Dec. 22-29). We're very excited! We are going for 3 days to a beautiful tiny island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan called Green Island. We're going to snorkel and enjoy the saltwater hot springs. Can't wait! (Yeah like I NEED A VACATION! Yeah yeah I know...).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More pics of my 'hood!

Yesterday I wandered through some back alleys on my way back from grocery shopping at a store that is like a mini - Harrod's (with matching sky high prices). I discovered a few shops and cafes that I had never seen before. My absolute favorite is the Tom Waits Cafe. They have the BEST coffee on the planet. I haven't been back since returning to Taipei because of my (propensity for) insomnia...but I really am hankering for their coffee. The owner is a very interesting man- he was a label chief for Polydor here in Taiwan(he decided which albums to import and how many), but had to quit his job after a bad car accident. I guess it hurt him to sit for too long. He still puts together really cool compilations and writes the liner notes for them. What impressed me MOST was - he knew who Rufus Wainwright was! (AS WELL AS Ru's mom and aunt- the McGarrigle Sisters, and Ru's dad, Loudon). I will go visit soon and take pics of the interior (they were closed yesterday) and I'll ask if I can take a picture of the owner too. There are SO many cafes in my neighborhood, I need to visit them's very tempting!


You'll have to click of this cafe pic below. It looked very cute and cozy!

The exterior shot of Mais Cafe didn't come out so hot, but it looks like a pleasant spot.

This shop sells tea and BEAUTIFUL tea pots.

Whenever a shop has a grand opening, they have these beautiful flower displays outside the store.The arrangements remind me of funeral arrangements though- the way they are displayed on pillars! (Usually all of the flowers are displayed on pillars). I loved these orchids. I think this is a bedding store. I will have to check it out one day.

Looks a bit like San Diego!

This is a Chinese medicine shop around the corner from our apartment. I guess this customer had lice or something! :)

Here is a close up shot of my latest flower arrangement taken by Anjoli. (I posted a full pic on the previous post).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Busy being Leisurely

Yup. That's my life in nutshell.
Ok nice talking to ya.


I had a great week. I wish all my weeks were so HECTIC. hee hee.

I enjoyed the tour of Chiang Kai-shek's mountain retreat home even though it was in semi-typhoon conditions! Oh and someone stole my umbrella, but the tour guide gave me one to take home (from a stash of forgotten umbrellas). Anyway, the residence itself was "eh" pretty simple, but the tour guide was fantastic. She was 75 but looked/acted much younger. She was very FUNNY and she was a wonderful story teller. I learned a lot about Madame Chiang - she was a fascinating woman. She was a Wellesley grad, like my sister (the brainiac! I mean that in a good way, Jen). She was tight with Eleanor Roosevelt and was an amazing artist. Chiang Kai-Shek was a very shrewd man (to say the least) and also very interesting . He was a major bully though (well, he WAS a dictator) - he stole the land for this retreat from the Boy Scouts! (It was a Boy Scout camp). I WISH I had pics for you, but I didn't want to ruin my new camera. We went on a HEAVENLY walk through the woods - oh man it was SO cool...even in the wind and rain.

My chaperoning of the botany field trip was postponed last Wednesday because of the bad weather. We're going the day after tomorrow. I hope it doesn't rain.

Wednesday night I went with Anjoli and three of the "ladies who lunch" to the Cloud Gate performance. It was the first time Anjoli and I have been to a full -length modern dance performance. We loved it. The sets - the costumes and of course the dances were gorgeous. One honoring "the fallen" - those who died at the hands of the Japanese - was pretty intense. The dancers wore baskets on their heads - just like the victims who were executed by the Japanese. They also honored the students who were killed during the Tianamen Square incident. I hope to see them every year - they were that good. They tour around the world, so if they ever visit a city near you, GO!

I volunteered at the gift shop at Anjoli's school for a few hours (I'll do it every week). It was fun and the ladies were so nice. There were four of us altogether. They were very happy to have me there and I was introduced as being a "new friend." Aw. None of them were American, btw! ;)

On Friday I took a cooking class on Greens and Tofu, but I was a bit disappointed, because the class was called "Greens Galore and Tasty Tofu" but it should have been called, " Very Tasty Meat, Meat, Meat, Deep Fried Eggplant and a little bit of Tofu mixed into Pork Meat Balls." I was mega bummed, really, because there are a BILLION different types of greens and I was really looking forward to learning about how to cook them. I love the teacher though- I've taken classes with her before when we lived here last year. I think I will just pay for a few private lessons. She's so funny though - she says that she tries to make things low-fat for us porky Americans (my words, not hers!) but "eets just not very TASTY!" I don't get how the women are so tiny here, including the teacher. She makes all this fattening food, but I don't think she eats it!

I had to leave the cooking class before she finished (she started about 20 minutes late) and go to my flower arranging class. I am happy to report I probably made about 50% of it! I wish you could have seen me, because I was RACING her at one point (when I was placing the evergreens into the oasis). She insisted on putting in all my pink flowers and she rearranged my berries. I just had to laugh. Once the pink flowers die I will add white ones and I will also look for RED candles.

TA DA!!!!!!!!

It's not terribly Christmasy, but it sure is purdy!

Yesterday Anjoli had a soccer game. Sadly they lost - the other team scored when there was like one minute left. LAST week Anjoli scored the winning goal in her first game, and her team won the second game too. (They had a double header).
Anjoli is kind of afraid of the ball. I think she's just playing to appease her dad, who is a soccer freak! (She's a real GIRL and prefers dance classesto sports).
Her coach is EXCELLENT! He's funny, but a bit tough, and he really motivates them. Unfortunately he's just filling in for the real coach who is stuck in Turkey.

Here are some shots from yesterday's game:

It was SO beautiful Sujoy thought it would be a good idea to go the park and give Anjoli a few soccer pointers. I ran 6 laps on the track (3K/1.8 miles). I was hoping to do 4K but I got bored! Yeah, really!

I bought a new COMPUTER table and it's so pretty, I just had to take a picture of it!

And here is the view! (If you can see through the screen!).I know you all must be bored with my mountain pics by now. I promise to take more interesting shots soon.

My week ahead is not that exciting, sorry to say. Next week I've signed up to work at the book fair at the American School for five days! (Two and a half hours per day). I am also working at a games booth at their Winter Wonderland Fair on December 15th.
I am keeping myself VERY busy!

Have a great week everyone.