2008年10月30日 星期四

Happy Holloween!

Partly hand-made bread

I used the bread maker to knead dough and do the first rise of the dough for me. Then I shaped it and let rise for 2 more times. Our room temperature was around 19-20 C, so it was not easy to rise the dough. I will try other means to conquer this.

Our home made bread always reminds me of my old neighbors in Murphysboro in the US. Ann and George used to invited me for meals in their house. And whenever I liked, I could always stop by for lunch or supper, or watch TV with them. Their home-made bread tasted like the ones I made with my bread maker. They were getting older and should be about 88 and 90. Last year I stopped hearing from them. I am so afraid to hear something I don't want to hear. I did not bring their e-mail or address with me. I should contact them sooner.

2008年10月27日 星期一

Bread, Hot!

I used the yeast my sister gave to me instead of the sample pack in the bread maker and the result was good. I set the timer last night and this morning we had hot bread. But it was too much like the ones in stores. The size doubled the ones we made with the old sample yeast pack. Richy likes it. The old ones we made were more chewy, and this one is bouncy. I like something in between. I need to buy a bread knife.
The bread tastes better with the scent of materials added such as nuts and rasins when we eat it few hours after it is done.

2008年10月26日 星期日

Like father, like son.

Last night when I kissed Winston to say good night, he told me that his best friend kissed him on Friday. Because Winston had been gone to Taiwan for a week, and his best friend missed him so much. Winston tried to rub off the kiss on his cheek when he mentioned it.
I asked: Do you like it?
He said: No, I want lady's kisses, not boy's.
I asked: How about kisses from girls in your class?
He said: No, I don't like kids' kisses, only young women's.
I asked again: How about old lady's?
He said: No. (Kid's talk, never mind. Grandmothers.)
Like father, like son.
The only difference is that in Winston's eyes, I am still young, but in his father's eyes I am old.

I told Richy about Winston's favorite kiss, he was curious and asked: Have Winston been kissed by any young woman? Oh, It was me, me, me, Winston's mother. It was so embarrassing to define myself as a young woman at the age of 40s.

A Quiet Sunday

Today Richy needs to attend a training class in his company and he has to attend it every other Sunday until December. Winston and I do not plan to go any place far today. I want to take it easy after the trip back home. I still got some more laundry to do and Winston needs to practice his violin.

Richy will not come back for the night. They will feast and party after the feast. What an indulging life! For some people, they might think of this a good way to socialize and relax. But I don't feel so. The party will be in a KTV with many young "smelly" perfumed ladies attending them and serve wines. It is so .... But I did not stop Richy from going to the party. I only told him to drink less and not to drive back.

We tried our new bread machine bought from Taiwan. Thanks to my sister-in-law, we bought a bread maker that makes tasty bread with the just right moisture. If without her advice we would have got one that makes stone-like dry bread. But it was so expensive that the price tripled our budget. I had made two loaves of bread after we got home. The first one failed a bit because I confused "ml" with "g". I thought they were the same. The lesson I learned from the instruction menu was that 240ml equals 150g. Why and how? Just follow it. I don't want to get confused again. Although our first bread was overly thick because too much flour had been added, Winston and Richy loved it and finished it very soon. The second one was still thick but chewy and better. Richy could not understand why our bread looked different from normal ones in the bakery stores. Our bread shape was like a square, a bit rectangle. Shouldn't it strectch up some more? However the feel and the taste was right, so I am not worried, but I will find ways to improve it. I am sure Richy will ask me to do more research or call the vendor in Taiwan sooner or later. Oh, enough of the bread thing. Winston needs get up now. What a Sunday morning!

2008年10月24日 星期五

We are Back (II)

Winston got to visit his Grass Class in his old school. He was happy but experienced a strange feeling as he told me. He asked me why the Grass Class did not want him anymore. I was shocked at hearing this and asked him why he felt so. He told me there were 4 new students in the class so they did not want him anymore. I told him the same situation he was in his new class in the new school. He realized that having new students does not mean they don't like the old ones. But he surely would feel something different because he could not catch up with what they were doing now and it would need time for him to familiarize with old friends. I only let him play with the kids for 30 minutes, it would be too cruel for a kid to come and go. So, maybe keeping old good memories is enough and better for him. That gave me an idea not to visit the school I taught before.

I always felt that the best teachers for kids was the ones with love and patience. And that is always the main criteria I used to judge a teacher no matter what degree or diploma she ore he holds. So far, Winston has been lucky in meeting teachers, old and new. Even now, although the patterns of teaching and learning are different and may be not as good as the ones in Taiwan, the teachers in Winston's new class are nice and good.

Something I like best about Taiwan is--People. People are more friendly and unselfish. Of course, we always felt that the 5th grade and 6th grade (people who were born in the 1960s and 1970s) did better than the 7th grade in terms of attitudes, values, and others... But when we took HSR from Taoyuan to Taichung, a young man at about early 20s changed seat with us voluntarily. We did not ask him. We were only discussing who would sit where and very soon he stood up to let us sit in the same row. What a young generation! That was a valuable good deed which was very hard to be found in China. Here, you should feel lucky if no one block your way or cut in your waiting line.
Even for some young foreigners, I was surprised to know that they pay special love and care to stray animals in Taiwan. I felt ashamed that I did not do anything not-for-myself or not-for-money in Taiwan, or in China. I respect their voluntary efforts for the animals in Taiwan. I posted their blog addresses in my blog for reference. It is weird that I could not access their websites. Maybe they talked about human rights or mentioned something politically about Taiwan or China. If so, I am sure not able to access it. But for others in other places except China, I am sure they can get in.

Time went so fast. I did not have enough time to do many things. I did not even get to see my neighbors next door but I did see one back-door neighbor. I doubt they were out for vacation. I did not have time to meet all my old colleagues but only Jane who had been helping watching my house. So, I asked my neighbor to send my greetings to other neighbors and asked Jane to send my greetings to other colleagues. Next time, when I go back, I am sure to have more time.

We are Back (I)

A long trip back here. It took 12 hours waiting and transporting. Laundry and Cleaning were the first things I did whenever I arrived a place for overnight stay, even our houses here in China or Taiwan. And it would not end until the 3rd day after my arriving. That's part of the things that kept me busy in the past week when we were in Taiwan.
My parents-in-law were already in our house to welcome us back when we just got home. They brought us some fruit and bread. Fortunately, they did not bring us supper, because I wanted to eat out so much after the long & hungry trip. Silly me, the first thing I did after I unloaded myself was to clean the a-bit-moldy wood chairs in the dining room. Richy was angry after my parents-in-law left. He told me that it was like showing them that they didn't keep a good eye on our house. Oh, innocent me! I hadn't thought of things that way although I did hope they help let the cleaning lady in to clean our house every month. I felt misunderstood and many unhappy memories of this sort in the past just came back to me. I must be sick mentally. This tiny event could keep me down for days. Someone in Taiwan asked me whether I like China or Taiwan. I almost burst out tears. I like Taiwan, but.. So, I I like China, too.
The last few days, I was too busy to have any feelings at all. Winston had a cold and he had been running in and out with me to do many things. We went to the Law & Justice office to do some documentary certification. Don't worry, it was not a divorce document, although sometimes he was such a..... Anyway, we still love each other.
Richy went to work in Taipei for 2 days. Winston and I went to the supermarket, Cosco, banks, and the clinics. Winston was so sick and sleepy on the 4th day. He even fell into deep asleep in my shopping cart and on the bench while I picked his clothes. We bought something that was not easy to find in China. I bought some winter clothes for Winston and myself. Richy kept warning me the chilly cold weather here for winter. Our limited shopping time only allowed me to worry about the function of the clothes, no time for the looks. It was interesting that most clothes we bought were made in China, but we dare not buy them in China. We thought China's exported products might be under stricter quality restrictions. And it was so difficult to find clothes not made-in-china. I found that kids' clothes were more expensive in China than Taiwan. The one-kid policy does not just spoil the kids but also spoils the manufacturers of kids' wear.

2008年10月16日 星期四

Back Home for a Week

I need to get things pack to go back for a week. Our short visit won't give us much time to do whatever we like but we will try to do things quickly so we won't get anything missed.

Oh, I finally finished my DVD project. Back pains and dizzy head are part of the outcome of my work. I have finished 3 DVDs. Every 10 minutes palying time of DVD would take me 3 hours to do it. I already spent 3 days in the project. My work include cutting films, and adding words, music, headings, endings, and other related pictures of the activities. I also have to write history about the places we visited.
I will find time to have a massage later. It is cheaper here.

2008年10月14日 星期二

Making DVDs

I spent half day editing the films we took last two months but I only finished one small part of it. It was quite exhausting and time consuming. I bet many families with vedeo cameras must have piles of films un-edited at home. I will do it tomorrow again, so I can bring some vedeos back to Taiwan for families and friends to share our wonderful experiences here.

2008年10月13日 星期一

甪直Lu-Zhi: Old Water Town

The Town
Lu-Zhi has a long history more than, 2,000 years. It is a water town which mainly famous for its Luo-Han (羅漢)statutes and and old business streets. There are many bridges in the small town. Lu-Zhi and Ton-Li both are old water towns. But Ton-Li was a town lived by some big figure in Ming and Qing Dynasty, while Lu-Zhi is a market place with business streets. So Ton-Li is famous for its old and luxurious Gardens. And Lu-Zhi is known for its business streets and bridges.
Our Visit
It was only 20 minutes driving from our house to Lu-Zhi. We walked around then took a hand-rowed boat to see the whole place. It was interesting to sit in the boat watching all visitors and old buildings on the ground. The trees and buildings on the sides of the water way kept us from sunshine,so we felt cool even the sun was very hot today. When we finished the town, it was only 12:00. Richy wanted to experience the feeling of eating in a 5-star hotel. So we stopped by a hotel called Kempinski. This hotel is next to a very high-class golf court which was run by the government. We tried their recently promoted meals ( Hong-Kong style snack) with up to 30 choices of Hong-Kong buns, appetizers, and deserts at the price of $68RMB each person. Oh, men. It was really a 5-star hotel, but not a 5-star restaurant. I thought they need more promotion in Chef's cooking skills.
Our cost for the meal was $68 RMB each and Winton's half price. This was a discounted promotion price but still expensive. The normal price for a buffet brunch (providing western and eastern food) in this restaurant was $256 RMB each , a price I would never try even in Taiwan. Seeing the price, you would know Su-Zhou is a conflicting city with many low-end workers working and living in construction sites while many rich people living a luxurious life. The sight of the low-end workers' life always reminded me to feel grateful for what I had. I also felt worried about the gap between the rich and the poor. It was like knowing the existence of a hidden volcano.

Sa-Hu (Sand Lake) Ecology Park
There are so many ecology parks around Su-Zhou. We wanted to find a park called Bye-Tun Ecology Park but found another park on the way called Sa-Hu Eco Park. That meant at least 2 parks in 5 km span here. What a great nature resource here. Richy and Winston got off the car and walked through the park bridges to an small island. I was too tired to get out of the car so I did not take any picture of the park. What a pity! But I was sure to visit here again on the evenings. It was hard for me to walk in the park with a big hot sun watching me all the way. The economic was down, This was a good place to visit without having to pay entrance fee and most importantly it had no shopping centers to spend cash. Lakes, big gardens, grass lands, bridges, and some playgrounds. Every park was at least 10 times of the parks in our neighborhood in Taiwan. So whenever I arrived the park, I would stretch up and start inhale, exhale.. Wow it felt so free, and it was free.

Su-Zhou Science and Cultural Art Center
The center has been opened for only one year. It provides a variety of functions such as grand theatre, performance hall, Cineplex, commercial centre, art exhibition halls, gardens etc. It has an open hall for vendors and stores to do business there. But there are still few stores moving in, and some of the stores already in sight seem too expensive for visitors to drop in. I bet the business here is not good.
The gardens around the center is well designed and kept. Sitting right next to Gold Chicken lake, the center provides visitors a great place to relax in the cool breeze under shadows of trees and on the lakeside.

We stopped by the Art Center for about one hour and went home. It was weird that it was so spacious in the center with many different halls and all the functions it was supposed to provide seemed all there except one-- the exhibition function. There were so many kinds of art crafts and musical instruments in China. They should hold different art exhibitions and provide show houses for their artists in order to attract visitors and promote the traditional arts.
Anyway, I was glad that we found another place close to our house to relax.

2008年10月10日 星期五

Morning Exercise II

They changed the form of morning exercise and moved the time 10 minutes earlier. Winston taught me how to sing the rhymes and how to exercise. He even gave me tests. This morning he beat his sleeping bugs and got up very early for the exercise. The rhymes and songs sound funny. The kids' postures look cute and funny, too.
Wow it is Double Ten. Happy National Day! Happy Holidays!

2008年10月9日 星期四

The Flowers and the Stock Market

The Flowers~ ~edited from Krylov's Fables

Inside a lavish room, with windows opened wide, in a fine china vase, sway some artificial paper flowers in all their pride, bright with rare colors. They show their flaunting charms to all that lingered there.

All sudden, showers down the rain; the proud painted paper flowers complain: Oh, Can he stop the shower, Oh, Jupiter! The rain! The rain! It does no good at all. The rain is nothing but a curse. You see the streets are getting worse and worse. The world's all pools and mud. But God does not grant to meet their wish. To fulfill the appointed task, he let the rain complete.

So, passed the heat, and now the air is cool, and nature breathes once more. And leaves and grass seem greener than before. Now on the window side, the pretty natural flowers that grow in all their native charm expand and blossom again, and smell sweeter and more fresh for the rain.

But those painted paper flowers have lost their colors, and are thrown away with the rubbish of the day.


All real and true talent can disdain detraction. It is the artificial flower that fears the rain.

The Financial Market

The downturn of the market was like the rain. The market is running its appointed task in its life cycle to dispose some rubbish. It will finally clear out the inflated or unhealthy business units or banks through the storm. After the big (or maybe long-lasting) storm, the healthy and good ones will grow. It is a good chance to teach the companies or financial firms to forcus on their core businesses, not just making money out of highly leveraged money.

The Lesson

You never know when it will rain and how long it will last.

To individual investors, the stock market is a black box with psycho traps. Usually the ones with too much greed could not get out. It is good for the investors to watch the chaos and learn the lesson years before their retiring age.
And in this mess, always remember that there are many more things in our life which are more important than money and stocks. So, forget it!


2008年10月8日 星期三

I like living here

I like living in China, because life is simple and our free time is so controllable on our hands.

Although I would miss them, but sometimes Taiwanese parents' and other family members' over-caring and hearty suggestions for young family's decisions just would make you feel overwhelmed. And it gets more complicated when the good sons do not marry the obedient wives.

It is good to visit home and live in China. Oh, Don't...., Richy. Help!

2008年10月6日 星期一

Another Ecology Farm & Pearls Market

10/06/2008 The last day of China's National Holidays
It was a bit cloudy but no rains today. We went to Kun-Shan to visit Da-Tang Ecology farm located in a town called Qian-Deng. The ecology farm was run by the government, so the structure of the farm and overall outlook was very good but the service was not. This farm was a show place of farming. They grew many kinds of vegetables and fruit. However, it was hard to guess what kind of vegetable or fruit they grew because they did not put a name plate near every garden or tree. Fishing were allowed in the lakes. The farm was big. We walked all the way but cars were allowed to drive in so it was a bit dangerous and polluted. Fortunately, not many visitors today and it seemed to me that the locals did not like to visit place like this, so it was fine to me. The food in the farm restaurant was light but the service and the price was not good. If you did not call the waiters, no one would notice you and lead the way. And if you did not call them again, no one would bring the menu for you to order some food. I wondered if we did not call them, maybe we would not have to pay. Compared with the one we visited days ago, the Ninth Weekday farm restaurant, this one did not fit my taste. Richy told me that the Ninth Weekday was invested by Taiwanese, so the service and food was better. I just realized the difference between the local-invested and the foreign-invested restaurants.
Da-Tang Ecology farm is in Kun-shang and pearl city is in Su-Zhou. If you do not have a car dont rty Da-Tang. But Pearl city is a good place for bargaining and purchasing pearls.
Address of Pearl City: No. 88 Pearl Rd. Weitang of Xiang Cheng District

After lunch we drove toward a pearl market located in a small town called Wei-Tang. On the mid-way Richy was stopped by a police because he drove through a changing traffic light without slowing down. Richy's driving pattern became closer to the local people and it worried me a lot. I tried to remind him all the time but I knew he was tired of my nagging. The policeman did not fine him but warned him. Richy told me he will be more careful next time when he drives through this area. What a P....!

~ Life (ours or others') is something we could not afford to risk~

The Pearl Market was not far, but as usual, the road signs always took us more than double time to figure out the way. When we got there, it was already 1 hour left before closing time. Some said people from U.S. , India , and other countries come here to purchase pearls for resale. There is even a problem of over-production of pearls in China. Anyway, today we just wanted to take advantage of the over-production and save money. We only visited one store and purchased some pearl necklaces. It was quite a rush but because of the rush we got good price. Usually the first and the last customer of the day gets good price in most stores in China.

2008年10月3日 星期五

Organic Farm

Today we visited an organic farm invested by Taiwanese. The farm was not ready for visitors yet, but the owners invited some Taiwanese to know and walk around the place. Since it was not yet completely open to the public, many gardens were still rough in shape and seemed not well developed. However the shop in the farm already operated and sold some herb extract oil and organic vegetables. The farm was located near a famous sight-seeing place and there were already different kinds of farms nearby. Some farms focused on fun and play, while some focused on catering. This farm is the only one focusing on organic food. It was very competitive to run business there, not to say the farm so far still did not look very attractive to visitors. I hope they can develop the farm completely as soon as possible and start selling all kinds of organic food soon. Because the idea of eating light and heathy was still not popular and need to be promoted in China. And because the owners of the farm are from Taiwan, I really hope they can succeed in this sector of business.
We cooked the vegetables and ate Ginko nuts bought in the farm the following day. The vegetable tasted good and a bit different from the ones we bought in the market. The nuts tasted great. Friends told us the nuts were good for health. Few days later I saw some vendor selling the same nuts and I bought some, but they tasted bitter. I was happy to find the difference between the organic food and non-organic ones.

2008年10月2日 星期四

The 9th Weekday Suny Green Ecology Farm 星期九生態農場

Oct. 1 The National day of China.
We had lunch in a Taiwanese restaurant with Jessie's family and her colleague, Huei-Ming. Winston played with Jessie's two sons and it was so hard to separate them and take Winston home.

In the night time, we watched the firework and water dance show in Gold Chicken Lake from our house. The road and street were crowded with cars, buses and pedestrians. Of course the honks never stopped again in this big night.

Oct. 2 Visiting an Ecology Farm

Everyday will be a holiday until the 5th of October. Today we went to a Wildlife Farm recommended by Richy's colleague. The Farm must have been invested with big money. It was big. They dig canals around the farms. Geese, black swans, ducks, and fish could be seen everywhere in the rivers. On the green land were goats, deers, camels, horses, and ostriches. We took an electric boat to go around the farm. The boat was slow and easy to be controlled, so we let Winston to steer. He was excited to learn how to steer the boat forward, backward and turn around in a real river. The views were very nice along the river. Everyplace was an excitement to me.

At noon, we went in a very big green house for lunch. The restaurant was (in) the green house. I was so very surprised by the big trees, hills, vines, bamboos, and all other gardening "inside" the restaurant. The roof was partly transparent so the plants could get enough sunshine. There were even small waterways and fountains inside the green house. The whole place was well taken care of and because of so, the air in the room smelled fresh and cool. I think the restaurant was big enough to accommodate 500 diners. The food tasted fresh and good. We went home after lunch and drove 30 mins home.

Back Home
We did not visit other place but took a walk in our central garden in the neighborhood. Winston and Richy played sand in a Hawaiian style beach with a pool next to it. No kids would want to go home after they stepped into this area, neither would Winston.

We had an easy light supper at home. Richy and Winston played Wii while I updated my blog for the night. What a full-filled holiday!