Wednesday, August 30, 2006

quilt square

While I was procrastinating from my real (paying) work, I made this quilt square for a charity group in PA. I like it even though when I showed off the finished product, Ki-Ki said, "You don't know how to quilt, do you?"
"Um, no," I said.
"You can tell," she said.
Oh, well!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

bicycle blues

Today my bike got a flat tire and I had to walk it over 2 miles to a bike shop. Suddenly, I have a newfound disgust for the slowness of walking. Especially in the rain.

jury duty

Today I have jury duty. It seems to be an age-old joke that “everybody knows how to get out of jury duty.” How do they? Is it a secret passed on from generation to generation? As an American rite of passage I seem unable to complete the ritual.

Even my Taiwanese-born mother has mastered the art. When she was mailed her white slip of paper, she dutifully showed up at the courthouse. But when they asked her if she had any reasons why she shouldn’t be on a jury, she said with her thickly accented English, “Yes. I don’t understand what you are saying.” She was allowed to go home.

I, however, speak perfect English, have no criminal record and have no racial biases that I wish to associate myself with. But I have no yearning to serve on a jury either, I have mounds of work and deadlines waiting. What to do?

Right now, just sit in the jury waiting room, and hope that my number is not needed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Ah, I was so excited in my last post because I thought I had finished "Year of the Rat." But nothing like a good night's sleep and a day to ponder to realize my overstatement. Because upon rereading, I realized a major flaw and started gutting the poor thing. It'll be worth it, I know, but sometimes the "writer's journey" is frustrating; and--I don't care what other people say--quite unsatisfactory when you're on it.

But as I was grouching about revisions, in my inbox came this really sweet and strangely apropos e-mail (name withheld but exact typos & spelling included):

I love the novel "year of the dog"! I think it might have been one of the best books i have ever read this year! I am only 11 years old. I am chinese and part american(kind of like what's in your book). I was born in 1994 which is the year of the dog. I was wondering... If you can ever just ever maybe write back. Cause I love your books so much!!! Year of the dog is a story kind of like my life. I have not yet found some one just like me untill i read your book. I relized that sometimes when you want something you will just have to be patient no matter how bad you want it.

Thank you for your time
(as know'n as your #1 fan)

If she can be patient, I suppose I can too.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

12:56 AM

This morning at 12:56 AM I finished my novel, The Year of the Rat! That sounds a bit overdramatic, but when you've slaved for what feels like years you indulge in some theatrics...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

double love

At Chinese weddings the symbol for happiness is repeated so it means double happiness.

And that is how I feel about my bike. After I got it, I loved it. I’ve never had any sport-like activity I’ve enjoyed more. Disregarding my work, I’ve biked almost every day, sometimes getting up at 7 AM (which for a freelancer is unheard of).

So what could make me love it more? How about if my adored husband biked with me? Why, what a wonderful idea! I think I’ll buy him a bike and double my happiness…

Friday, August 11, 2006

feeding the fish

I have had a checkered past in Montreal. It was the place where Robert proposed and it was also the place where he was diagnosed with cancer the first time. So it's been a place of extreme highs and lows.

But even when things were at their lowest, one of thing that never failed to fill me with a sense of peace, if not joy, was when we went to the lake and fed the fish.

I know it seems silly and corny. But when the bright orange fish glide through the murky green water, I'm always struck on how beautiful it is. It's my visual reminder to stop and smell the roses, to let go of the fears of the past and future and to appreciate the moment that I have.

It's a good thing I don't have those fish at home. They'd be obese.

Monday, August 07, 2006

my new ride

I've been searching all summer for an activity that I could enjoy and get me out of the house, because nothing makes me grumpier than realizing that a beautiful day has happened and I've spent it indoors at my desk.

However, running has lost it's appeal (in 90 degrees, forget it!) and walking is to slow (all I do is think about how I have to get back and work). So, the new solution was biking...all I needed was to get a bike.

So I did. And I heart it. Not only is it green and pretty, nothing brings back the wonder of childhood as you whiz downhill, with the wind in your hair. Such a simple pleasure, but priceless.

I was a little disappointed with the boring color of my helmet, so Robert put some pink flames on it to jazz it up. He knew then I'd be more likely to wear it. Since I'm not the most accomplished rider, he's afraid I'll crack my skull. I don't have that fear...the only thing I'm scared of is someone will steal my shiny new bike.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

quality not quantity

Even as a child, I never had a great many friends. This used to bother my in my teenage years, when I looked with envy at the popular girls with entourages. Giggling and perky, those girls had so many friends that there wasn't enough room at the lunch table for all of them. Jealously, I thought they were favorites of fortune-- their value increasing with each friend they had.

However, that was many years ago. Thankfully, those teenage years are over and I can now see how blessed I am with the friendships I've been given. A reminder of this was given to me this past weekend, when all the girls got together here in Boston. We celebrated Libby's birthday with pink cupcakes (cupcakes seem to be a trend, first Alvina gave me a cupcake necklace, then I sent some cupcakes to fuse8 and to Alvina, and now even more cupcakes for Libby); and once again I remembered how wonderful it was to have real, true friends. We even started a blog together(it's all children's book shop talk, come and join the fun!).

So, I can truly say I've grown up a bit. I no longer care that I don't have enough friends to fill an address book--in fact, I can count all of them with my two hands. But if you think about it, two hands is all I really need.