Archive for the ‘USA’ Category


Not Our Favorite Summer

July 22, 2015

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Ocean, sail boats, coast line

This summer did not go according to plan. Only three of our many plans came successfully to fruition. DaddyBird was able to attend the university graduation of BabyBird. I was able to attend the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. We both (separately) were able to spend time with family. Other than that, all plans fell apart.

Early in June, we found out that we were going to have to move out of our apartment by July 31st. Since we had planned to be in California until July 21st, we decided that some change to our plans was needed to accomplish this feat. DaddyBird’s USA trip plans were significantly shortened. He returned to Shanghai two days before I was scheduled to leave.

The move was accomplished, but two days later DaddyBird was seriously injured while assembling and moving a large bookcase. He attempted to survive on his own, but on the third trip to the doctor, it was determined that surgery was necessary. Therefore, my trip was shortened by four days so that I could return before he was released from the hospital and be here to take care of him while he recuperates. He is healing well, although he wishes it would happen faster.

In addition to the inconvenience of having to move out of an apartment we were very happy with and the pain and frustration of being injured, we missed out on seeing friends and family members. I don’t start back to work until August 10th, so had hoped to get to do a little travel within China, but that won’t be possible either.

On the bright side, we easily found a new apartment, there are many shops and restaurants in the new neighborhood, and the apartment staff have been VERY helpful – taking care of DaddyBird in my absence and helping with transportation to and from the hospital. It is not all bad, but definitely not our favorite summer experience.


Veterans Day

November 11, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

My grandmother and grandfather sent their three sons off to World War II. Happily, all three of those sons came home intact. My Uncle Ray served as a medic helping to transport wounded soldiers back home. My father worked in the Pacific as an airplane mechanic. Their younger brother, Marv was a combat soldier in Europe.

soldier in uniform

My Dad

World War II impacted everyone. It was part of everyday life. Those who stayed at home supported friends and loved ones in a variety of ways. My mother was a pen pal for several soldiers from her hometown. For those who might not know just what to write, the greeting card industry helped out.

colorful card

We’re all behind you soldier! We’re proud to buy the bonds and stamps. We’re glad to pay the taxes! Because we know you’ll grab the foe…

inside of greeting card

and kick ’em in the Axis! Keep ’em flying!

The world is an imperfect and sometimes ugly place. Bullies have to be policed on the individual level and on the global level. This means that some have had to put their lives on the line and stand up to them. Being mostly a pacifist, I would prefer it if we all just did unto others as we would have them do unto us. Since not everyone does, someone has to do the kicking.


Reading with Cats

September 26, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

In continuing World Animal Remembrance Month, I must say that I am a cat person. I have been from the beginning. We lived on a small farm and had cats to help control the mouse population. Tommy was a big grey tabby whose domain was the barn. He would allow me to pet him a bit, but otherwise he was all independent and businesslike. Near the house, we had Momma Kitty, a short haired calico and her daughter, Rusty Dusty, a long haired calico. The area around the house, garage and the woodshed were their domain.

Before I came along, cats had always been outdoor animals. That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted companionship, not just mouse hunting. Kittens were soon smuggled into the house for supervised visits. Eventually, my mother’s resolve was eroded and the “no cats in the house rule” subsided. Then Manix came to live with us. He was rescued from the street by my sister, who then brought him home to the farm because she couldn’t have pets in her apartment. His tail had met with an unfortunate accident. He was a black long hair. He ended up being “the house cat.” My father was not big on pets, but Manix was big on sitting on Dad’s lap while Dad tried to read the newspaper. Sometimes Manix sat on the newspaper.

Over the years, I’ve shared space with many cats. Mittens (left in search of his own male territory, too much competition on the farm), Ashley (died young on a busy street), Tigger (after 3 years fell prey to the same busy street), Maggie (nearly killed by the vet who spade her, turned into a real kick-ass cat), Peanut (too stupid not to get massive injuries in cat fights), and George (gave me 8 years of companionship and ran my life). After George, there was a long hiatus. I had to euthanize George because I couldn’t afford the surgery he needed. I swore I wouldn’t have another cat until I had a cat surgery savings account set aside. This ban on cats held until a mother cat moved her three kittens into our backyard. I had forgotten how therapeutic cats are and I needed a bit of therapy.

teen sitting with long haired calico cat in lap while reading

I would come home from school, grab a dill pickle for a snack, and sit down to read or watch TV. Maggie would plant herself in my lap and ask to share my snack. Yes, she ate dill pickles. She would eat everything except citrus fruit. When she wasn’t chasing the neighbor’s little dog out of HER yard or tearing a grocery bag apart with her wicked claws, she could be sweet. Just don’t cross her.

George, as I said, ran my life for 8 years. I didn’t like the name George, but it had been given to him before he came to live with me AND he answered to it, so it stuck. George’s deep belief was that I was put on the planet to make a lap for him to sit in. If I wanted to read while doing that, fine, as long as it didn’t interfere.

grey, long haired cat

No post about the cats of my life would be complete without Earl. We already had three cats (the kittens deposited in our backyard). These three were interesting with very different personalities and amusing antics, but they only saw us as providers of the kibble and scoopers of the litter. We were their housekeepers. One evening, a skinny little grey kitten sneaked in through the cat door and helped himself to some kibble. Each night at the same time, he came for dinner. He was very skittish, so it took several days to get close enough to touch him. After a bit of petting, he decided to move in. The poor thing was so undernourished, that we thought he was a short hair. After a few weeks of steady meals, he turned out to be a long hair. He would meet us at the door to talk to us about our day. He would jump into my lap before I hit the chair. He recognized my bedtime routine and would curl up next to me and we would go off to sleep together. Unfortunately, we only had 6 months with Earl. He was hit on the street. Saint Earl set a benchmark against which we will always measure the cats in our life.

brown tabby and white cat

Currently, our companions are Oliver and Bert. We’ve had four years with them and expect many more. Oliver has the dubious honor of being both the worst and second best cat we have ever had. It is a good thing he is beautiful, funny, and plays fetch better than most dogs. Bert lives in Oliver’s shadow, but is a sweet, mostly well behaved cat.


World Animal Remembrance Month

September 12, 2013

Posted by Kanga.

September is World Animal Remembrance Month. I suspect that most of the World is unaware of this fact. I only stumbled upon this fact today, myself.

The scope of this “remembrance” is “to remember, respect and honor the memory of all animals—a month to pay tribute to companion animal family members; animal victims of abuse, cruelty and neglect; animals lost in natural disasters; and animals killed in the line of duty.”

Here’s my contribution to World Animal Remembrance – Meet Bessie the Cow.

eight people and one cow

Pictured here are my Aunt Louella, Great-Aunt Alice, Great-Uncle Charlie, Bessie the Cow, Great-Aunt Mary, my mother, Great-Uncle Sharon, cousin Mildred, and Grandma Bettie. How do I know the cow’s name is Bessie? Because when writing the names of the people in the picture on the back, my grandmother included Bessie. Multiple pictures were taken that day and Bessie figured prominently. I never had the pleasure of meeting Bessie, but I am sure she was a fine cow.

If you don’t come from a farming family, you might think it’s strange to include your farm animal in the family photo. Farmers totally understand.


Do you miss America?

August 13, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

view of the Columbia River from Crown Point

We are often asked if we miss America or most specifically if there are things we miss. Our answer is “No, we don’t miss America, but we miss Portland.” We miss the many people there that we love, we miss the climate, and we miss the culture. It is really too bad that we can’t afford to live in Portland.

Our Oregon sojourn is over and we are in California for a few days again. To see all our Portlandia pictures click here. To see all of our Oregon pictures click here.

We’ve been terribly remiss. We visited many friends, as many as we could squeeze in in one week. However, we did not even think to take pictures with all of them. Duh! I’m so used to taking pictures in a culture where people usually don’t want their picture taken, that I forget that it is acceptable. Despite the lack of photographic evidence, we enjoyed our time with Cedate, Laura, Tony, Colleen, Mari, Jeremy, Sue, Kraig, Paul, Gary, Troy, Martina, Todd, Angie, Kristen, Troy, Shawna, and Linda. If I’ve missed someone, my apologies. It was a whirlwind week and my brain is old.

Here is something that we do miss. The coin operated laundry.

large laundry machines

We spent Sunday afternoon in a self-service laundry. There are no such things in the UAE. People there either have laundry machines in their home or give their laundry to a laundry service. Our current all-in-one laundry machine does not remove cat hair, so we happily ran our clothes through these machines and reveled in the lack of cat hair when they came out.

coin operated clothes dryers

This is a rather disjointed blog post, but I hope it makes some sense. We love Oregon and Portland, specifically, and enjoyed our time there.


A Hobbit’s Breakfast

August 10, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

yellow food cart

First Breakfast came from Yolk Breakfast in the Woodstock neighborhood.

orange juice in a plastic cup

Fresh orange juice in an industrially compostable cup.

English muffin, egg, arugula, smoked pork

The Brother Badass sandwich – smoked pork, arugula, egg, on an English muffin.

light blue food cart

Second Breakfast came from Egg Carton on Foster Road.

bacon lettuce tomato sandwich

Bacon, lettuce, tomato, and cheese on an English muffin with pink lemonade.

food carts

Third Breakfast came from Fried Egg – I’m in Love on Hawthorne.

three sandwiches

Three sandwiches. Mine had egg, tomato, avocado, and cheese. Yummy!



August 9, 2013

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Our first Sunday back in the States, I went to church with my in-laws. I haven’t been to a church service in a very long time. This church was fairly traditional and followed a familiar pattern. I enjoyed the music which was a mixture of old hymns and modern choruses. Singing is what I miss most.

This week we attended a very different church, The Bridge. The church currently meets in a yoga studio. Prior to the church service, food and goods are distributed to the homeless and anyone in need.

people selecting food

The church service was conducted as if it it were a restaurant and the activities were menu items introduced by the faux French maitre d’, Pastor Jeff. This included prayer, a story, a rhythmic recitation, and a dance break.

people dancing

It was a lot of fun and meaningful. There was something for everyone – stories, music, movement, art, and humor. Very multiple intelligence.