Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"He was asking for it," says Mimi

My dog bit the groundskeeper this morning. I was trying to talk to him and I was holding her usually tight leash a little too loosely. She must have not liked the look or smell of the guy, because she went right for his ankle, a move she tries on every person and dog that comes too close that she doesn't take an immediate liking to.

I think Mimi thought in her own little brain that she was playing with him, because she didn't try to kill him or anything. She just got her slobber all over the leg of his trousers, like she was teasing him to come chase her or something. He pulled up his trouser's leg to see if she broke skin, and though we could detect a little redness, she hadn't broken his skin. The groundskeeper is such a good sport though; he laughed it off and said "mei shi," no problem.

Mimi was all smiling and everything. She looked at me for approval and wondered why the game ended before it ever got started good. If only we could find a game for her that didn't involve her teeth and "mouth water" as they call it here....

I understand the groundskeeper's initial fear. In this country, rabies are a big problem. If you get bit by a rabid dog (which Mimi acts like sometimes, but is not), you have to go to the hospital and pay a couple of hundred dollars for a series of rabies shots. If you don't, you may start foaming at the mouth, bite people and die within a few months. If Mimi had seriously bit this guy,  I would have had to pay for his shots, and rightly so. I know, I must remember to keep that leash tight, or else pick her up and throw her over my shoulder like a baby when I stop to talk to someone!

In America, Mimi and I would walk and walk and walk and never encounter another person. But in this most populated country of the world, we can't walk more than five seconds without passing someone or some group of people. I'm usually very careful to keep her leash pulled tight so she can't lunge at anyone.

I told the guy Mimi has had her rabies shots and cannot carry the rabies disease. But no one here believes that story, although in my case it is true. Even if you showed them your pet's rabies' certificates, they would assume they were forged. Lots of people try to save money by not getting their pets vaccinated, and some find fake certificates to use. But my dog really did get rabies shots, in Texas in December. So she is really good.

And when I say good, I mean bad. Mimi is really bad to be biting people. She has a bad master who could never figure out how to train and restrain this notoriously off-the-wall doggy breed.

On the other hand, her behavior works great for her watch dog status, and I always feel very safe with her around. If the delivery guy tries anything funny, Mimi will have him for lunch.

My 11-year-old Mimi is so sweet, calm and loving when she is home inside with me with the door closed. My neighbors who share the elevator with Mimi wouldn't believe it. I've told them as much, and they are like "are you kidding me?"

Anyway, she's my sweet little wolf, and I"m keeping her.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Weather

View from my balcony. The tall buildings in the distant mid-left look much, much bigger in real life.
The "plum rain" season of May and June has finally given way to the steamy days of summer. From now until the end of July, we have forecast highs of 100 degrees Fahrenheit every single day, with the heat index running anywhere from 114 - 121 degrees Fahrenheit. 

First the rain and dangerous lightning storms hindered gatherings of friends, and now it is the heat. No one gets out unless it is absolutely necessary, like to go to work or buy groceries. Since most people, including me, rely on pubic transportation, and getting to said transportation requires lots of walking and waiting, it becomes dangerous to be out. The humidity is the killer.

Usually by the middle of August, the humidity drops dramatically and it is just normal summer heat. I'm looking forward to that time, when life will start to get back to normal and the electric bill starts having lower numbers on it. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

On a cool June day

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Out and about since I've been back

The beautiful horticulture of the Middle Kingdom can't be beat. This is inside my apartment complex, where I take Mimi for walks.
Cute little neighbor girl flashes the "peace" sign
I decided to stop and smell the roses, literally. If only it didn't hurt so much to bend down to smell them.
My veggie seller was sure surprised to see me after my lengthy year-and-a-half hiatus.
I love Chinese food, and I especially like Xingjiang (SHEEN-gee-ong) food that originates from western China. This is a Xinjiang restaurant in the city where I live.
The city has beautiful free public parks. I noticed this little play area was in the shape of "ying-yang."

Before I left Texas

Before I left Texas, some college friends came to bid farewell. In this photo: (l-r) Phil Moore, Laura and James Wilson, Jane Collette, Andy and Patsy Phillips, me, Mark Thomasy, Cindy and Bruce Welch. My parents, Laura's mom LaVerne, my niece Valerie and my nephew Nathan were also there. I had bronchitis at the time, and was kind of "out of it," so I didn't get to visit as well as I would have liked, and I can't remember some of it either (meds?) but I will never forget their gesture of love at coming together on my behalf. Thanks to you all!

P.S. For the record, this is not my hairdo of choice. This is what you get when you let your hair grow out after 11 months from a state of baldness.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Catching up

Since arriving back in town, I've tried to catch up with some of my previous friends. I met with Oscar and Damian at Starbucks. These great young men are kind of like my local little brothers. They are the ringleaders of a group of young people that I often meet up with. It was so good to see them again and to know that their lives have gone well over these past couple of years. I have quite a few others I need to catch up with soon as well. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Elephants never forget

After a year and a half in Texas, in a one-level home that has a fenced in backyard with grass, you'd think this little Pekingese might have been confused when she returned to her high-rise apartment, elevator, in-door potty training expectations, and all the other things that are different in her life in the Middle Kingdom.

She acted like she hadn't been away a single minute.

They say elephants never forget. Nor do Pekingese.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

They missed me

"Hey, come over here!" The 88-year-old woman and her middle-aged caretaker (pictured) wave their hands and yell at me from their kitchen sink overlooking the apartment grounds where I am walking Mimi.

"We haven't seen you in almost a year and a half! Where were you?" they ask.

I am touched. They had noticed my absence and gotten the time frame almost exactly right.

I tell them what happened, and they are shocked -- mostly that I had come back overseas after such a serious diagnosis.

They tell me to come in and visit, but I have Mimi with me right now, so I tell them I'll come back another time when my dog is not with me. Sounds good to them. They like me, but they aren't anxious to have dog hair or muddy paw prints in their spotless abode.

A few days later, I'm out with Mimi again when the caretaker yells at me to come over to the window again. She has something she wants to give me. I can't tell what it is until she places it in my hand. It is a warm, wet piece of corn on the cob.

I don't like warm wet things, but I thank her profusely and carry it in my left hand while Mimi's leash is in my right. When I get to the downstairs door to my apartment building, I have trouble handling the key so I can get in. Finally, I get on the elevator, punch more buttons with my hands that are not free, and get back home.

Life here is awkward like that sometimes. Awkward, but interesting. 

The Problem

I have a work computer and a personal computer. The work computer crashed last month and I can't even turn it on. I've been using my personal computer for work, but it freezes up every 20-30 minutes or the keyboard goes berserk and I can't type on it.

Then I happen to live in a country that is a wee bit paranoid and thinks they need to block access to the Internet. I guess they think blogs are dangerous and will incite unrest. Some days are better than others when it comes to getting the internet to work.

As you can imagine, updating this blog has been nearly impossible as of late.

I expect to get a new work computer in about three weeks.

Not sure what I can do about my personal computer. I've had it since early 2009, and I had some parts of it replaced two years ago, and I think it is dying a slow, ugly death. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and get a new one eventually. It's hard to believe both computers I can use both died on me at the same time.

Please do not think I've forgotten about updating this blog though! I really want to. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Back in the Middle Kingdom

For the past one year, seven months and five days, I was sick and back in Texas. I had trouble keeping up with this blog because (1) I wasn't doing anything of interest, just lying on the sofa watching TV, and (2) I was too sick to keep it up.

But now I'm somewhat better. I am happy to report that on April 16, 2016, I arrived back in the Middle Kingdom. I am going to start posting to this blog on a regular basis once again.

I considered starting a fresh new blog, to go along with my fresh new lease on life, but decided against it. I like having everything representing my history in one spot. This blog chronicles the last ten years of my life!

For newcomers to this blog: The blog records my daily life activities, and does not discuss my work. I have poor internet most of the time, and I often post "on the fly," so don't expect any deep discussions or philosophical insights on this blog. I started the blog to let my parents see what my life is like, but then decided to let others in on it too. Welcome!