A pleasant surprise

When I went to Alyssa's school today, another parent approached me and told me that Alyssa has been really nice and sweet to his little one. This makes me really happy.


Little spamers

Apparently talking on the phone everyday is not enough for them now, Alyssa and Vivian both started to email their grandparents.

Is heaven a continent?

Alyssa asked me this difficult question after listening to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven".

She also surprised me by learning to sing the song after listening to it twice.


Rude neighbor

For the first time in my life, I got yelled at by a stranger at the roadside in our neighborhood. Apparently she thinks that she is entitled to a superior right of way because she is driving a big bad SUV with a little child in the back (and I am a guy on a motorcycle). Not wanting to argue with a stranger (particularly an arrogant one), I just let it go at that time.

Now that I think about it, I am kind of regretted. Maybe I should have yelled back. Or I should trade in my bike and get a 18-wheeler so I can harass other stupid cagers.

Great songs

Maybe I am enjoying my kids too much, today I almost cried when I heard the song "希望" that 李宗盛 wrote for his 3 daughters. I couldn't agree more about the part that kids give us the strength to move on. It is very very rare to find a pop song that's so moving.

Another great example is the song "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, but that one is too sad and I can't bear to listen to it.


Sun dog

I saw a sun dog on my way home this evening. It's not as bright as the one I saw in Iowa several years ago but is still pretty amazing.


Correct woodworking procedure

I was reading Karen Katz's "Daddy and me" to the kids and noticed that there is something funny about the steps involved in building the dog house. In the book, the little boy said "First we saw the wood. Then we measure the wood". That seems to go against the "measure twice, cut once" rule.


Waking up in a zoo

My little alarm clock (aka the zoo keeper) brought her whole collection of stuff animals to wake me up this morning. Needless to say, I was totally stunned when I opened my eyes.

My first fountain pen

Browsing through Nakaya's website reminded me of my first fountain pen from Platinum. It was an ordinary blue metal pen with a steel nib (possibly a Platinum Standard). I probably got it when I was 12. Not sure how much it costs exactly but I am pretty sure that it was more than my monthly allowance and I have to save for quite a while to get it.

That was the start of my love for fountain pens. I really enjoyed using the pen for everything and completely wear out the tip. When I went to college, the tip of the nib is sharp enough to cut through a piece of paper with one stroke. I finally gave up and bought a Cross Townsend (Medalist) as the replacement. I still have the Platinum with me and I enjoy taking it once in a while.

So I guess that's the good and bad with being young and poor (not that I am rich now, but I am certainly becoming older). You only get to have so little but yet you can enjoy everything so much. Given the number of pens that I have and the amount of handwriting I get to do now, I really don't think I can wear out another pen for the rest of my life.

Weird dream

Okay maybe this is not so weird given what I've been through recently. My dream last night is about David going through my collection of fountain pens and watches after I passed away, just like what I did with dad's stuff. It is interesting to have a recount of all my toys in a dream.


The little story teller

Vivian was very into reading story books since she was little. Back when she was only two-year old, we only need to read the story to her once and then she can read the book to herself again and again.

Recently she has some really good audience. She would call her grandparents and read a whole pile of books to them over the phone almost everyday. I have to say that the internet phone is a GREAT invention. If not for this, we'd be broke because of phone bill.


We are not sharing anymore

The road crew in town are working on replacing road signs recently. So far they have only put in the new signs but haven't remove the old ones yet, so there are double signs everywhere and is kind of an interesting view. Curiously there are some signs that didn't get replaced, and those are all "Share the road" signs that are used to remind drivers about cyclists have their right of way too. What's even worse is that there are some graffiti on one of the signs that covered the bicycle on the sign.

This seems to be consistent with my experience that Athens is not really as bike friendly as the city officials like to say, and there are some weird people here who do go out of their way to harass cyclists on road.

To be fair, most people here are pretty nice to cyclists. But encountering one of the bastards when you are on a bike is enough to ruin a nice day (assuming that you can survive the encounter).


Sleet tonight

We are having sleet tonight. While I am worrying about tomorrow morning's commute, the kids are excited like crazy. They went out to the back yard and had a lot of fun with all the ice on the ground.


Finally a good night's sleep

The emotional shock of dad's passing is finally wearing thin and I had the first good sleep last night. Now I only have to fight the jet lag (again!), oh joy.


Closed Note

On the trans-pacific flight back from Taiwan, I watched a lovely Japanese movie called "Closed Note". The story is mostly about love and courage, two most common themes in Japanese films/literature, but this movie has done a nice job telling a simple story and I really like it. The whole part about fountain pen is very interesting too, which makes me want to get a nice handmade fountain pen (such as the ones from Nakaya, if I can afford it).


Another sign of getting old

One nice thing about staying in Taiwan is that I get to have a cup of nice bubble tea everyday. It is really amazing that these drinks are so popular in Tainan. Just within the two-minute walking distance from our home, there are at least 10 different tea shops for us to choose from. So everyday after lunch, I would stop by one of them and get a drink to fight off my jet lag.

Today while waiting for our order, the guy at the counter was eager to introduce their new specialties to us. To which Gatien replied that he has been ordering the same thing (green tea, 3/10 sugar, no ice) since he was in high school and really not interested in making any change to that. Come to think about that, I am doing the same thing too (almost always green tea with preserved plum and tapioca, 3/10 sugar, 3/10 ice). Gatien said that I am showing the sign of getting old too. So now in addition to not knowing most of the pop stars when buying CDs, I also have this "afraid of change" going against me.

My inheritance

While we are going through dad's stuff, we are (kind of) surprised to find that he has a collection of mechanical watches. I picked a Oris BC3 from his collection as a part of my inheritance.

Personally I love mechanical watches, even though they can be a pain in the a** to maintain. I am pretty happy about adding a new one to my collection.



We had dad's funeral today and everything went pretty well. I never thought of it this way but all these formalities make an easier transition for everyone to accept the passing of their loved ones. Somehow I feel a bit relieved after the funeral and that I can start to put my sadness behind me.


Back to Taiwan again

It's only been a month since our last visit and now I'm back to Taiwan again to attend dad's funeral. I didn't expect to be back again so soon but I guess this is not up to me.


Dream of dad

Last night is the first time that I had a dream about dad since he passed away. Incidentally, this is the time when the deceased first come back to visit the family in Taiwanese culture/religion (first seven).

In the dream dad told me that he is very worried about whether I can be a good father and take good care of my kids, particularly Alyssa given her hospitalization incident when she was little. This is exactly what I expect he would say if he can talk to me. Maybe I am having some serious self doubt about my parenting ability at this time of reflection.


Quill the guide dog

We watched a Japanese film about the life of a guide dog "Quill". It is rather moving and makes us better appreciate the role Nina plays in our family.


My alarm clock

No way to set the time, has no snooze button, and highly effective.