And on the other hand...

Click here for The Yin Side where the other half of me holds forth!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog as Diary

One of my blog-o-pals has been threatening from time to time to delete her blog and start over, and in this sluggish dog-day period of August I have sometimes had the same urge, though I resist it; it seems vaguely suicidal. And today I'm glad I haven't done it. There's useful information there.

Yesterday I was at my doctor, the one who does lady-health things, and the question "Have you had a colonoscopy?" came up. I have! Why he didn't know puzzled me. But he is part of a different health care system, so the records were not so easily accessible (a whole 'nother issue).

"Within the past two years, maybe three...I think," I assured him. Though I wasn't completely sure myself. "Do I need another?" Fortunately, no, only if they found things previously; otherwise I'm good for 10 years out.

But when was it? I did recall that I wrote about it, over on My Yin Side (a colonoscopy has a yin quality, dark and hidden things) and there is the post: March, 26, 2009. My memory, and my blog, served me well. I suppose I could put it on my calendar for later, if I had a 2019 calendar. Oh wait, I can put it on my online version, which I never use. Or on my phone, which I do; I have it set so that a crowing cock announces upcoming events. Sometimes I wonder why a chicken is "singing" in the office or in my bag, only to realize it's my phone alerting me to something I have tried to forget.

In any case, I would have gladly scheduled another colo-check if necessary; a good friend is coming to O'ahu next month for her own. We could have done it together. A sort of spa day. It would have been fun. Now we'll just have to go shopping.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Little Early

Yesterday, 8/8, a double eight day. I spotted the first kolea of the season, looking a little confused, standing in the middle of the street. It surely is a returning one; I haven't seen one in the area since well before I left for China, last April. Checking my records, last year I noted the first bird's return on August 17, and even then it seemed a bit early. It's been such a strange summer, with weather, travel, world events, change...maybe my bird's return on 8/8 means things will settle down.

But probably not.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Monumental Capitols (Part 2)

Escaping the over-air-conditioned business conference rooms in our close-to-the-Capitol Hyatt, I took opportunities to thaw out (easily done in the high heat) and sample some area pleasures:
  • briefly browsing the National Gallery where I contemplated the difference between Western and Chinese paintings; looking at a famous Rembrandt or Rubens is not a bad way to spend a coffee break.
  • walking through the Georgetown University Law Center grounds and Chinatown (such as it is in Washington; Beijing doesn't really have a gweilo town, having dispensed with the foreign concessions some decades ago).
  • taking the Metro from Union Station to the Pentagon Center mall (where I actually bought a copy of Mandarin Rosetta Stone software--I'm such a sucker for personable, good-looking salesmen at mall kiosks. I suppose this is a good location for Rosetta Stone, a lot of diplomats and lobbyists who might need to acquire a second language).
  • dinner and drinks with a friend from China pilgrimage 2010 in the oldest Irish pub in Washington, dating all the way back to...1967. (I thought maybe Thomas Jefferson might have tossed back a shot of Jameson's there, but more likely a Kennedy.)

Leaving the Nation's Capitol in a cheap cab ride that allowed me to glimpse the Washington Monument and other familiar markers, I moved on for a long weekend in Portland, Oregon. I had a hotel reservation in a motel near my son's home, but somehow it seemed like I was supposed to stay here, a far cry from the Hyatt Capitol Hill, but still, what coincidence.

I haven't seen such retro signage and architecture since the Motel Vietnam, my one-time regular home-away-from-home in Central Florida, which has as much in common as not, with Oregon, as like and different as Washington and Beijing.

If you're open to it, you can be at home and happy no matter where you land. Especially if there are flowers, imbued as they are with memory, as well as fragrance and color. Maybe this was my Summer of Flowers (the Summer of Love long past). Here's a sampling from Beijing to Washington and Portland (not that we don't have a profusion of flowers all the time in Hawaii):

Hibiscus in Washington:
Roses, waning slightly, in the parking lot of my motel in Portland:
And just to round things out, lotus at Lu San Yuan Chinese Garden in Portland, sister city to Suzhou, China.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Monumental Capitals (Part 1)

I notice a lot of blogs I read have been a little stalled lately, perhaps it is the laziness of hot dog days, or just that summer is busy with travel and leisure. I feel stalled, but have compelled myself to share some observations about my recent travel.

My May China trip was certainly personal, but I mixed a little pleasure with business during a trip to Washington, D.C., a town I haven't visited in decades, and even then it was with grandparents or Girl Scouts. I vaguely remember cherry blossoms and a spitting camel at the Washington Zoo, or that may just be because of photos of me at four with Grammy and Pap. I have more valid memories of the Girl Scout trip, lead partly by my co-troop-leader mother, who made me call her "Mrs." and never paid any more attention to me and my troubles than any of the other Scouts, some of whom "sneaked a boy into their room." (I couldn't get away with that.) We visited our Congressman, and I sliced my big toe open (not in Congress). Mom made me drip blood in the bathroom. "Don't bleed on the hotel carpet!" she advised. "Bleed in the bathroom!"

I measured this recent trip against the recent walkabouts in Beijing. I was in D.C. during the budget debates and heat wave--but you'd never have known the dealing was going on just by walking around, although the heat was obvious and oppressive. I wanted to contrast the capitals, but found more in common than not. Yes, one party versus two, but really, which government gets more or less done. One is impotent, the other reckless; I leave it to you to determine which is which. It's kind of yin/yang.

It would appear that Congress has gotten the message.

The Great Hall of the People! Walk don't linger.

A constant police presence at the Capitol.

A constant police presence in Tiananmen. But this guy doesn't have the luxury of dougnuts in an air-conditioned squad car while on duty.

A bronze lion guards Capitol Hill.

A Yuan Dynasty stone lion guards something imperial.

Warriors for the people, justice for all!

Warriors for the people, but these guys don't have any shade trees.

I left Washington for a brief sojourn in Oregon before returning to the 50th State, which is just about as close to Beijing as it is Washington, at least judging by my air travel time.

More irony to follow in Part 2.