Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 draws to a close

There were too much emotions in the past few months.  I am glad that 2014 is drawing to a close, and now I look forward to a new year.  To catch up on what happened in 2014, I enjoyed meeting up with old friends.  Winnie's visit earlier in the year:

Meeting up with some classmates in California:
Lunch with Ping at a water front restaurant
 With TingTing, Tsing Ping, Judy, and Peggy at the front door of Tsing Ping's home.
Reconnected with Mei-ping, Yue Sheng, Doreen, and Jun-Lei:

With Mei-ping in a Peruvian restaurant when she came to DC to give a talk:
 A reunion in Philadelphia and Mei-ping took us to a charming little museum of recycled glassware arts.
 A nice walk in the neighborhood of Mei-ping's home.
KC came to visit and Bowtie was so happy to cozy up with her:
A reunion at Sylvia's old house to remember our dear friend.  The cleaning up of Sylvia's stuff and thinking of her made me feel sad and a bit depressed. The ashes of Sylvia (in the double happiness jar)and Claudia (in the cat jar) were behind us above the fireplace.
Some of my memories of Sylvia:

Mei-ping lost her daughter Sher to a traffic accident.  To me there is simply no answers to many questions in life.  I was very moved by Sher's life  Although short, Sher had achieved self actualization with her life, and left her prints in many, many people 's hearts and lives.
A slide show I made for Meiping:

It was only during the trip to Spain and Portugal, I started to regain some merry mood.  It's great that Tom nicely documented our trip:

Unfortunately I hurt my lower back climbing the fortress in Sintra (A UNESCO site):

But we all have to just look forward!  As soon as my back is feeling better, I will start some serious training to get ready for Mont Blanc in 2015.  What a wonderful goal for the new year.

We had a nice Christmas reunion:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Trip to China in June 2014

I have prayed for this trip to be positive and beneficial.  As things turned out that my prayers have been answered.  My friend IChung does not believe in God.  He majors in History, and knows all the wrongs committed by self centered so called religious folks.  On that account, I agree with him with respect to the flaws of human.  For myself, I told him that "I need God in my life."

A slide show of our trip to China:

Alaska! Alaska!

I finally made it to Alaska.  What a wonderful experience.  Although my traveling companions and I do not find agreements in politics, we all enjoyed the scenery, good food,  and wildlife together.

A slide show of our trip is shown below:

What I have accepted is that "Chances are that I won't be in Alaska again in the future".  The fact of life is that time is limited and there are other places to go before the end.

Meeting floating flower pedals

One meets new people when one travels.  Sometimes some of these new acquaintances become new friends.  A Chinese saying describes these kind of chance meeting as "Ping Shei Shien Phon".  I met a couple on the Croatia tour I took last December.  They opened their home to me this past month When I visited Seattle.  IChung, the husband, who is going to celebrate his 80 birthday next year.  Annie is 72 this year.  I quite admire their philosophy and style of life.  Their retired life include hiking regularly, baby-sitting two grand daughters, traveling, and sponsoring a school in rural China.   IChung, before his eye sight deteriorated, he had been writing Chinese calligraphy every day for 2 hours for nearly 20 years ever since his retirement.  Annie, in her quiet tenderness, shows so much wisdom and caring toward others.  How respectful and admirable is this couple, my new friends made during my travel.

Annie and IChung with their two grand daughters in their backyard:

IChung's calligraphy:

We went hiking in the Wallace Falls and picked blue berries afterwards:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Visit to the Loire Valley

The visit to Loire Valley was unexpected wonderful.  Ed has been a very gracious team leader.  It was also great to get to know some of his friends.  Loire Valley was rich in history, especially during the high middle age.  The stories of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the lion Heart, Knights of Templar, Joan of Arc...are fascinating yet so profoundly sad to me.

I posted some of the pictures I took on two you tube clips:

Chateau Bournand - Home away from home

Loire Valley - May 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

It's Spring Time

The long dreadful winter finally left us.  It seemed that I accomplished nothing but be home bound.  "Time is nothing if not amenable", wrote Elizabeth Bishop.  I guess with all the time staying indoor, I discovered Elizabeth Bishop, a poet (1911 - 1979).  It seemed to me that she did not write for fame, for money, or even for love.  Her writing seemed to be her desperate efforts to understand and describe accurately her own soul with objectivity.  Her work moved me as if I could felt the vibration of her struggle.

Sunshine and blossoms came along with Winnie's visit.  Annapolis, Inner Harbor, Brookside Garden, and Rockville Town Center did we visit.  Good times were captured by slides:

If Elizabeth said that "Time is nothing if not amenable", I say:  Love is nothing if not labored and delivered.

Memories from yesterday smiles, and wants to invite me to a new beginning.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia

After the trip, I stayed in Palace Hotel Zagreb for 5 nights in order to explore the city.  The hotel was nice and friendly. It was within walking distance to the Old Town and Upper Town, where most of the museums are located.
The hotel lobby:
A park right outside the Hotel, where I bought some roasted chestnut from an old man by the park side.
Some scenes of the lower town:
The State Archive:
The outside and inside of the Mimara Museum:

At Upper Town, one can see the beautiful St Mark's Cathedral with its colored tiled roof:

The code of arms represent, on the left: Croatia, Dalmatia, Kuna, and on the right,Zagreb.

A Kuna is a little animal, also the current currency of Croatia.  1 US$ equals 5.4 Kuna.  I found a stuffed Kuna in the Natural and History Museum:
The museums in Zagreb were very nice, the food in Zagreb was delicious.  However, my feeling is that the Happiness Index of people in Zagreb was not very high.  They were subdued and quietly go about with their life.  With an unemployment rate near 21%, the young people do not seem spirited.  Tourism is their number one industry, that made them too dependent on foreigners.

On January 12, I arrived Baltimore. The Bay Bridge looked beautiful under the sun set.  Oh, home, sweet home!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Painting of Madonna and baby Jesus

When I was in Zagreb, I visited many museums.  Some of the paintings gave me great pleasure just by watching at them.  Some paintings made me laugh. 

The painting I liked the most is one of Reno's in the Mimara Museum.  The artist was able to see and capture so much beauty and joy (in a woman) on the canvas.

There has been so many paintings of Madonna and baby Jesus over the centuries.  It is amazing that human beings have so much imagination and fascination about the relationship between this particular pair of mother and baby.  I guess it reflected that human beings must struggled centuries after centuries the nature of God and Human in Jesus.  My favorite one is the one shown more as an impressionist's perception.

  The remaining ones made me laugh as they made Mary look very unhappy and baby Jesus looked rather naughty or something.....