Monday, November 25, 2013

High School Classmates Reunion in Taiwan

It has been 45 years since we graduated from the First Girls High School in Taipei.  None of us believed it. But by looking at pictures of all the grand children from classmates, we knew it was true!  I flew to Taipei on Oct. 28.  After an overnight delay in Narita, I arrived Taipei on Oct.30. On Oct 31 and Nov 1, some Chin friends went on an outing.  Below is a clip I made on the occasion:

The Chin class is close.  We were all so spontaneous and happy together.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Greek Isles and Mediterranean Cruise

My first cruise with Princess took place in September.  T&J, and Gail were traveling with me on Princess Ruby.  Tom has nicely documented the trip below.  Since i hurt my right knee and had to take some different excursions than T&J, I saw a bit different things along the way.

Our trip started by flying into Rome, board the ship, then made stops at Naples, Santorini, Kusadasi, Mykonos, Athens, Katakolon (Olympia), Corfu, Dubrovnik, and ended in Venice.

We sailed through Mediterranean sea, Aegean Sea, and Adriatic Sea on this trip. One would just be so charmed by the clear color of these waters!

When in Naples, we took excursions to Sorrento and Pompeil:

The coast of Sorrento:
The cliff:
The water color:
We walked around the old town, shopped (I bought a box made of olive wood for my curio) and bought some local wine in Sorrento; I also hurt my right knee on the bus in Sorrento!
Have to remember the wine, the injured right knee, and the almost lost GPS!
Not able to see all in Pompeil due to the injured knee!! Below is a picture of the ancient street of Pompeil:
Santorini has establishment of white washed square houses and blue domed churches on top of the cliff.
Our island drive excursion visited a winery for us to look at the water and taste some local wines.
Kusadasi (Ephesus) is the first location of Turkey for me to visit ever.  The city tour allowed me to have a glimpse of some ruins (But not able to go to see the Library!) below is a 600 years old Turkish bath)
One column, the only remain of one of the world seven wonders - the temple of Artemis:
 The legend says that Jesus's Mom and John settled in Ephesus.  John continued with his work on spreading the gospel and died at the age of 64.  He was buried in the valley of Ephesus.  A Basilica of John was erected. We could still see some remain of the Basilica:
Mary, lived on top of the hill and died at the age of 92. She was later assumed.  We went to see her shrine.  The place feels very serene.
Many, many people said prayers: (Reminded me of the prayer notes in front of Japanese shrines, or in front of Xianjian temples...... We are so human....)
Mykonos is a fabulous little island. Gail and I had some Greek Salad in Little Venice. The windmill is adorable.
I could only take a city tour and visit the museum in Athens due to my injured knee.  I was quite disappointed that i was unable to climb to the Acropolis. But such is life.  I am happy that I was not hurt more than what I did, and was still able to see so much beautiful things!

The coliseum built entirely with marbles, and was used in 2004's Olympic
The Acropolis Museum was built on some ruins.  One can see the ruin before entering the museum.  Note that the ancient Athenians built aqua ducts to deliver water from the nearby mountain to individual homes.  Mountain instead of the river provided the water source for the ancient Athenians.
It was raining when we arrived Olympia.  It was a very short visit, but one gets a feel of the ancient grand game.
 Gymnasium / Dormitory for the athletes?
 the gate from which the athletes enter the contest.
Corfu is a small island outside the west coast of Greece. We had a wonderful bus tour from the east coast to the west coast in the center part of the island.  Further north is just forest.  Many houses were built high on the hill to avoid pirates from the sea.  The most impressive visit was to see the Achilleion Palace (Cici's palace).  CiCi was not only beautiful, but showed great taste.

On the East coast of the island is the Mouse Island.  A very cute little island as a photo opportunity.
Arriving Dubrovnik extended my classroom and playground to Croatia for the first time.  We only had a few hours : visited 2 museums, walked the old town and watched a Croatia song and dance. just enough to entice for future trips.

To view the entering into the Grand Canal of Venice on the 16 floor of Princess Ruby is nothing short of mesmerizing. It was 7 AM in the morning, and the full moon (Chinese's autumn festival) was still hanging low.

This is my third time visiting Venice.  Would this beautiful city one day really going to be all under water???What a shame would that be!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Two friends passed away

I recently lost two friends of my age to cancer.  They were both lively and wonderful individuals.  Christina who lived in California was a high schoolmate of mine.  I remember her smiles vividly when our class celebrated our 50th birthday on a cruise.  I regret that I did not get to know her better.

Sylvia was introduced to me by other friends after she had gone through three separate chemo treatments two and half years ago.   She was a  strong character, and had bravely fought against cancer for more than 3 years when I first knew her.  Her last trip away from home was taken with Haepyng and me earlier this year.  We drove to Lewis, took the ferry to Cape May, then drove to Atlantic City for a few days.  We walked on the boardwalk (before it was later destroyed by hurricane Sandy) , explored the seaside towns, looked for light houses, and leisurely toured Cape May.  On the way over, we ate at the Marriott restaurant in Annapolis, stopped by to see T&J, and when we drove back from Atlantic City, we ate by the water at Harve de Grace.  While Sylvia was under some pain, I think she did enjoy the time she spent with Haepyng and me.  May her rest in peace.

Sylvia's friend Paul wrote the following announcement about her passing:

On Friday, September 13, 2013 at 11:40 a.m., my best friend and most esteemed colleague passed away. On this day, Sylvia was triumphant in her six year battle with cancer.  I, my wife Claudia, and Sylvia’s closest friends surrounded her with love round the clock as she became unable to care for herself at home and was subsequently admitted to the hospital and finally to hospice.  Dr. Sylvia S. Shen was one of the smartest and most capable people I have ever known.  Within her petite body, dwelled a kind, determined, and noble spirit.  Her friendship, courage of conviction, fortitude, and intellect have enriched my life, as well as the lives of her friends and colleagues.

It was Sylvia’s wish not to have a funeral or a memorial service.  As per her wishes, her body will be cremated on Saturday, September 21, 2013.  Her ashes will remain with me, forever enshrined at our home.  In memory of Sylvia, and in honor of her life and achievements, please consider making a donation to either Hospice, or to uterine cancer research.

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I and the United States Government have had the good fortune and privilege to have had Aerospace support from Dr. Shen in the evolution of spectral remote sensing for eighteen years.  Sylvia’s work was perhaps the single most important aspect of her life and she dedicated herself to it.  Her pioneering efforts in the application of mathematics to the field of spectral remote sensing have played a key role in its evolution and application in answering many difficult questions. 

Dr. Shen is a Fellow of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).  Her analytical methods, algorithms, publications, and contributions to the unclassified remote sensing community are many and include: Two decades of organizing and chairing two key SPIE conferences, “Algorithms and Technologies for Multispectral, Hyperspectral, and Ultraspectral Imagery” and “Imaging Spectrometry,” which have served as important focal points for the exchange and evolution of ideas by researchers in the field of spectral remote sensing; Committee service and study contributions to the NASA Landsat Program; Journal reviewer for the Professional Societies of SPIE and IEEE. 

The Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program is our nation’s only 24/7 civilian airborne emergency response chemical, radiological, and imagery mapping capability.  Dr. Shen’s contributions to the collaborative efforts of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evolve the ASPECT Program have been essential to its decade of successes.  As a member of the ASPECT Team, Dr. Shen has deployed, analyzed, and developed state of the art spectral infrared analytical and imagery situational awareness products.  These products were deemed essential by first responders and Joint Operation Center personnel since 2003 for mitigation of disasters ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. 

Dr. Shen has also been a key technical contributor to the NGA Collaborative Atmospheric Measurement Program (CAMP).  The goal of CAMP is to determine the quantitative accuracy of passive infrared ground, aircraft, and space based measurements of green house gases, and to recommend best practice measurement techniques for future implementation.  Her efforts have resulted in the development of a forward radiative transfer model that will be implemented by the ASPECT program for future quantitative gas measurement missions. 

The NGA, the EPA, the Aerospace Corporation, the ASPECT Team, and the remote sensing community have lost a pioneer in the field of spectral remote sensing.

Devil's Tower, etc.

The trip I took with Ed in July from Yakima to Ann Arbor was one amazing journey I would say.  The stops we made included Yellowstone NP, Grand Teton NP, Wind Cave NP, uaster SP, Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower, Black Hills NF, Crazy Horse, The world only Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, seeingMaynie in Milwaukee, and  visiting with Elizabeth's family.  The time certainly was well spent.  My mouth still get watering when I think about the buffaloburg we had in SD.

Below are only a few pictures to remember the trip:
Me and Ed hiking in Yellowstone NP:
Ed with the Devil's tower in the background:
Ed and Meini in Milwaukee:
Ed  reading a story to Joshua .

Time spent in Galapagos

I did not wrote anything about the trip to Galapagos i took with tom and Janice this May.  Tom documented wonderfully the trip below;

Galapagos certainly was a gigantic classroom.  I had my best classes without any exams attached.  It was sheer enjoyment.  Below are some pictures I took to show the plane that took us from Quito to the Island, the boat we slept in, the small motor dinghies to land ashore from the boat, some scenery, and the various wildlife.