Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Amazing "Coincidences"

I subscribe to a holistic health newsletter written by a doctor named Joseph Mercola. He actually published (without permission, I might add!) a few articles I had written for the Gerson Institute. I was flattered, truthfully!

I just had to share this little article I found in today's newsletter.
(and I didn't ask for permission EITHER! So there). HERE is a link to his website.

Unbelievable -- What Are the Odds of This Happening?

* In 1975, a man riding a moped in Bermuda was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, the man’s brother, riding the very same moped, was killed in the very same way by the very same taxi driven by the very same driver -- and carrying the very same passenger.

* Twin brothers Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated at birth and adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both were named James, both owned a dog named Toy, both married women named Linda, both had a son they names James Alan, and both eventually divorced and got remarried to a woman named Betty.

* Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and John Adams helped to edit and hone it. The Continental Congress approved the document on July 4, 1776. Both Jefferson and Adams died on July 4, 1826 -- exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

* A German mother who photographed her infant son in 1914 left the film to be developed at a store in Strasbourg, but was unable to collect the film picture when World War I broke out. Two years later she bought a film plate in Frankfurt, over 100 miles away, and took a picture of her newborn daughter -- only to find, when developed, the picture of her daughter superimposed on the earlier picture of her son. The original film, never developed, had been mistakenly labeled as unused and resold.

* In 1858, Robert Fallon was shot dead by fellow poker players who accused him of cheating to win a $600 pot. None of the other players were willing to take the now unlucky $600, so they found a new player to take Fallon’s place, who turned the $600 into $2,200 in winnings. At that point, the police arrived and demanded that the original $600 be given to Fallon’s next of kin -- only to discover that the new player was Fallon’s son, who had not seen his father in seven years.

* In the 19th century, the famous horror writer Egdar Allan Poe wrote a book called ‘The narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.’ It was about four survivors of a shipwreck who were in an open boat for many days before they decided to kill and eat the cabin boy whose name was Richard Parker. Some years later, in 1884, the yawl, Mignonette, foundered, with only four survivors, who were in an open boat for many days. Eventually the three senior members of the crew killed and ate the cabin boy. The name of the cabin boy was Richard Parker.

* In 1930s Detroit, a man named Joseph Figlock was to become an amazing figure in a young (and, apparently, incredibly careless) mother’s life. As Figlock was walking down the street, the mother’s baby fell from a high window onto Figlock. The baby’s fall was broken and Figlock and the baby were unharmed. A year later, the same baby fell from the same window, again falling onto Mr. Figlock as he was passing beneath. Once again, both of them survived the event.

* In 1973, actor Anthony Hopkins agreed to appear in “The Girl From Petrovka”, based on a novel by George Feifer. Unable to find a copy of the book anywhere in London, Hopkins was surprised to discover one lying on a bench in a train station. It turned out to be George Feifer’s own annotated (personal) copy, which Feifer had lent to a friend, and which had been stolen from his friend’s car.

* In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia-Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto’s order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in face and in build. Both men began discussing the striking resemblance between each other and found many more similarities.

1. Both men were born on the same day, of the same year (March 14, 1844).
2. Both men had been born in the same town.
3. Both men married a woman with same name, Margherita.
4. The restaurateur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy.
5. On the 29th July 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restaurateur had died that day in a mysterious shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, an anarchist in the crowd then assassinated him.

* While American novelist Anne Parrish was browsing bookstores in Paris in the 1920s, she came upon a book that was one of her childhood favorites -- Jack Frost and Other Stories. She picked up the old book and showed it to her husband, telling him of the book she fondly remembered as a child. Her husband took the book, opened it, and on the flyleaf found the inscription: “Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber Street, Colorado Springs.” It was Anne’s very own book.

Are these instances merely coincidence, or are they something more? It all depends on how you look at it.

As the famous words of Albert Einstein sum up quite nicely: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Still so darn happy!

Ok I have been a very lazy blogger... mea culpa all over the place! :)

I have been very leisurely lately (still).
Last week I was especially lazy and did as minimal as possible (except for working out).
I blew off volunteering at the Center (bad Sue) and skipped my first yoga class! VERY BAD SUE. I have to say my biggest flaw is my laziness. I am a Lazy Leo. 'tis true.
But, I DID volunteer at Anju's school - 3 days last week...and tomorrow I WILL volunteer at the Center. I will be a responsible adult for a change!

I am VERY VERY VERY excited because my (new) dear, sweet, wonderful friend Hilary has given me all kinds of juicy job leads. I really want to teach pre-school kids (mostly for the hours, but I realize know that I just adore 2-5 year olds). GREAT NEWS is: I have an interview on Monday (that I actually arranged just by calling one of Hilary's friends). The director told me that she has an immediate opening - "would you be interested? It's only a few hours a week - teaching reading to elementary school kids." YES of course I am interested. Also, she said there will be pre-school teacher openings for the summer, and she is also looking for 3 teachers to start in the fall! Excellent!! I can ease my way in with the reading positiion (HOPEFULLY!). I feel really good about it. I LOVE doing music with kids and I have a music therapy kit and cd - I can print out visuals from a cd that I have. (Even though it's really for special needs kids - I can use it for low level English learners).

I have a few others, but I won't bore you with the details unless they pan out!
Anyway, I am loving that I am finally being a networking mama! It's FUN and as I said in my last post, I am meeting some REALLY sweet ladies. 'sall GOOD!

Ok the BAD news is, my darling daughter has injured herself again...she sprained her ankle really badly. It STINKS because she can't dance or play soccer for a month (we took her to an orthopedic doctor and these are his orders). I have been pushing her around in a freaking wheel chair. URGH. I feel badly but this is the second injury (same leg) within 2 months. I DO feel responsible because I suggested that she do some running long jumps on this dirt pathway in the middle of this track at a nearby park. DUH you are supposed to land in SAND! Hello Sue! So she fell (while I was jogging around the track) and could barely walk the next day. I am a stupido sometimes. Truly. :(

More good news: my face took a HUGE turn for the better. It looks nearly normal (except when I smile -still) It's weird because I didn't get any acupuncture for almost 2 weeks - and the dramatic improvement occurred after my first treatment after that hiatus. I have to talk to my doc about that.

I will post my "walk to the doc's" next. I still have to get a picture of my doctor. I am shy about asking him! He's always busy too. I am such a dorky blogger. :)

Take care everyone!


I meant to ADD that I am ESPECIALLY bummed about Anjoli's ankle because I am DYING to go hiking in this beautiful town called Wulai. There are waterfalls, hot springs and MONKEYS jumping around the trees there! It's not that far from us, we could even take the MRT and a bus (but we most likely will drive). We'll just have to wait a month or so to go.

Here is an excellent little article from the China Post on Wulai:

A return to bliss in Wulai

Thursday, December 13, 2007
by Greg McCann Special to The China Post

"I really want to see wild monkeys before I leave Taiwan," my friend Frank said as we ventured onto Wulai's Red River Gorge Trail. "They're called macaques, right? I've got to see them. It's a must."

That was back in October, just two days after he and three other first-time visitors arrived from the United States. Despite the rain back on that day, the water in the swimming hole still felt great for swimming. The precipitation had the unexpected bonus of make the tree-choked valley look even more atmospheric than it usually does. "Like something straight out of 'Apocalypse Now,'" fellow hiker Baxley remarked.

This past Sunday looked like it might be one of the best days of the year for a hike, and the five us made plans to return to Wulai﹝烏來﹞. We waited around for over an hour for Frank to show up at the MRT station and finally left without him.

There is no question that Sunday, Dec. 2 was one of the best days of 2007 for hiking. We hiked to our swimming hole, and I cannon-balled into the crystal blue first. I nearly went into shock from a temperature that must have been below freezing. Cold pools in Taipei saunas were mild compared to this mountain river. I actually had a hard time breathing and quickly scrambled out of the water.

After swimming around for a while, we basked in the sun on several large boulders that crown the pool. We must have spent close to an hour relaxing on the warm stones when the tree branches on the other side of the river began shaking. Baxley stood up and stared into the tree and, sure enough, about 50 meters up in the jungle mountainside, a troupe of Taiwan Rock Monkeys were making their way down to lower elevation.

We stood in awe for about 20 minutes as we watched them playing on the tree branches, dropping down from branch to branch and nearly plunge to their deaths on several occasions.

There are only two places in Taiwan that I know of where one can almost always see wild monkeys: Kaohsiung's Chai Mountain and Taitung's Chihpen Forest Park. I have to say that while I suspected for a long time that macaques roamed Wulai's mountains, I never really expected to see them here.

Once the monkeys disappeared, we decided to try hiking up one of the tributary streams for a bit, but, the water being so incredibly cold, we didn't make it far. Just as we were about to turn around, a flock of eight to 10 Formosan Blue Magpies made a dash from one side of the valley to the other.

Much prettier than their Chinese cousins, the sight of those regal Formosan magpies shooting straight across the valley like arrows was spellbinding. What with the frog, the monkeys and the birds (we also espied a couple of Steere's liocichla) I began to wonder if we hadn't somehow slipped into another dimension and went on a hike through Borneo.

We were then spotted by a couple having a barbecue in the underbrush. We would have never seen them on our own. They invited us to cross the stream and share some river shrimp and beers with them, but we didn't want to get wet again. One of them urged us to go on tracing the stream further into the mountains, claiming that near the source of the creek lived an "un-contacted aborigine tribe" that we would want to photograph. We passed up the questionable photo-op and decided to hike up a trail that meets a higher, clearer path and trekked along, with incredible views of the mountains all around. Several lone men passed us in this section, each carrying machetes and rucksacks of cut plants.

Finally, we hiked back out and had a wonderful dinner of golden needle mushroom soup, fresh vegetable fried rice and Taiwan beer at the Shan-Ye restaurant across from the Cheng-kung bus stop on the main road to Wulai.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Oh the Cuckoo...

...she's a pretty bird
She warbles as she flies
But I never give her water
Till the fourth day of July.

There's a cuckoo that sings to me every day.
S/he lives behind our apartments.
I hear her (I'll just call it a "she") whenever I do laundry.
(We have a Malibu Barbie washer and dryer on our back porch. I say that because they are plastic and small - but they do the trick! I am used to everything in the States being so BIG and STURDY - you know STEEL appliances!).

I am just so gosh darned HAPPY lately.
I am not going to overanalyze this new Sue (I honestly am a bit manic - have been for many, many years). I will just enjoy the ride!

Today Anjoli went back to school. I passed a new friend, Hilary, who hails from Toronto in the hall. I worked with her at the Book Fair last month. Awesome woman - so friendly and smart. She went to McGill in Montreal and knew the exact street where we lived (for a year -not even - 10 months actually! too c-c-c-c-old!).She got her degree in library science. Anyway, she's the PTA bookstore manager - when I met her last month we got to chatting and she let me know that she was looking for someone to replace her next year....so...ding ding ding...c'est MOI! I am SO EXCITED.
So, this morning she bought me coffee and I spent 3 hours with her in the bookstore. I helped her take down the Christmas decorations, etc and re-shelve books that weren't sold at the Book Fair. She started showing me the ropes - it's a REALLY big job - just like running your own bookstore! There are books from kindergarten through adult levels.
The profits go toward getting two authors to come to the school to lecture and sign their books.
We left the school together - I walked with her to her car. I told her I was deaf in one ear from "the surgery." She just stopped and said: "What surgery?" I am so surprised (and proud!) that I hadn't even told her - for awhile it was one of the first things I would tell people I had just met - just to explain what was going on with my crooked face.
I told her the story and her mouth dropped to the ground...then she gave me a big hug and said, "who CARES about your face! You're here! You're alive! I am SO glad we are working together - you are such a lovely person....and we have to get together outside of school - our daughters have to meet!" She has a daughter who, since KINDERGARTEN has attended a Chinese school (she's NOT even Asian - but she was born here and insisted on going to a Chinese school - I am SO impressed!!). Her daughter is the same age as Anjoli. I've met lots of other cool, FRIENDLY moms in the past month or so volunteering at the school. I'm so glad...I knew I WOULD.
Things just take time.

Over the weekend I went to get acupuncture after missing a week and a half of treatments and the doctor looked at me and said "Looks BETTER!" He's right - the paralysis IS improving. I have been taking this secret herbal tea (a mixture of herbs - he won't tell me what's in it!). It's supposed to help the neurons grow. I wonder if it is the tea that is helping? I drink it twice a day.

I will post pics of my route to my Chinese doctor's office. It's a really nice walk. Last time I went I ran out of batteries JUST as I got my doc to pose! He's so sweet. So I will take a pic of him tomorrow and post pics tomorrow night.

Have a great week everyone!


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

I think most would agree that we often have the best times when we are spontaneous. Yesterday we were pretty much grief stricken, not exactly in a festive mood. But, around 11:30 p.m. Anjoli, Sujoy and I ventured outdoors, lured by a fireworks display that we viewed from our balcony.

We just followed our nose and took a new route to downtown Tien Mu and ended up at one of Sujoy's favorite haunts, The Green Bar.(He really hasn't been there for months though - he hung out there every night when he lived here by himself for 6 weeks last spring). We stumbled upon a HUGE fireworks show outside the Green Bar. It was INCREDIBLE!
The Green Bar is owned by a very sweet American guy from LA named Rich. He's been here for 25 years - and he came at the age of 21! Ironically, he is Mormon and doesn't even drink. He is married to a beautiful Taiwanese woman - you can see her to the left in the picture below. (Rich is the guy with his back to the camera in the striped shirt).

I had been to the Green Bar a few months ago and was thrilled to find a TON of Who music on the "digital jukebox" - they let the customers choose whatever music they want. So I went over to the computer and was happy to see this!

Then Sujoy managed to help me find THIS (click on it for a better view):

The last time Sujoy and I were there, we had the place to ourselves and danced like crazy to Pete Townshend and the Who (I couldn't dance for TOO long though! It still hurts my head to bounce up and down!)

Rich is going to tape the NFL playoffs for us - he gave me his card and said I could call him and he'll tape whatever I want off the satellite. What a guy. I really miss watching football. WEIRD, huh??? Gotta see the...Pats win the SuperBowl, of course! Traitor Sue I know I know. I'm from New England so I gotta go with my ROOTS, right?

We had a really nice Christmas. My sister, Jen came to visit from San Francisco (Palo Alto actually). She arrived on the 23rd and stayed only 6 days - just long enough to get her inner clock all messed up, poor babe. Jen gave me an iPod shuffle - woo hoo! I worked out with it the other day - you should see my OLD mp3 player - it weighs about 3 pounds I swear. Santa brought Anjoli a Wii! She was VERY surprised. Sujoy loved his music box.

We had fun while she was here - you can read HER blog if you'd like her version!
Jen's Bloggie

We went to a tiny, beautiful island for 3 days (Green Island - off the southeastern coast of Taiwan). The weather was better than expected - it only rained one day. We went on a guided snorkeling trip- it was FANTASTIC. We had an excellent time there - so relaxing and the food was really yummy. Our host, the hotel owner, Jack was so sweet.

Jen is much better with computers so she gave me permission to post HER slide show...but I wasn't able to post it here...so, if you want to see it, please go visit her blog HERE!