Saturday, February 28, 2009

I miss it already

There is so much about Taiwan that I love. I love the people and the language and the culture and the food. I love their love of things American.

I don't love the jetlag or the exhaustion brought on by the arduous journey.

I'm already wondering when I will return.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another day, another adventure

This link will take you to an overview of some of the terrain I traversed in today's adventures. My first foray was south of the circle (shown bottom center) where I saw no fewer than 4 7-11's in the space of about 6 blocks. One of those was directly across from what appears to be a Taipei version of Circle K. Two of the 7-11's were within a stones throw of each other. If you look closely at the picture with the 7'11 banner, you'll see across the street and down just a little ways another 7-11.

At one of the 7-11's, I stopped in for yogurt and a power drink (something/anything like Gatoraid). I couldn't find any brands I recognized. I skipped over the beer flavored tea and bought the "Pro-Sweat." Yum.

Later I ventured west. With just a bit of a hike I got to the lake (for which City Lake Hotel is named? Probably.) and walked around the lake and a third of the way up the mountain. I did see a butter-yellow slug bug (tag!) and I spent a few minutes visiting with a chatty local, but once I got to the lake I was resoundly ignored. I was the only non-local hanging out there today.

There is a two-story structure that allowed for a pleasant passing of time. It helped me to reclaim some of the wind I'd lost. Little did I know.

After resting a bit and meditating on "things" I was back in motion. I set off to finish the loop of the lake. On the far side of the lake, there is a mountain. I'm not sure how tall it is, but after hiking a ways I realized the distance to the top was marked along the way. I was about 1/3 of the way up when I decided I'd had enough. Out of nowhere I'd developed a deep straight-from-the-lungs nasty cough. Maybe it was the altitude. So, with only 1200 meters to go, I bailed on the mountain climbing and headed back to the hotel.

Considering I rode the stationary bike for ~25 minutes this morning, my legs have gotten quite a work-out today.

I think I'll call it a day a wee bit early tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I am here

The trip was relatively uneventful. I hope to see some sights this weekend, but I came early to make sure I'm well rested for a busy week. When I get back home, I am going to be very busy as well. Part of that busyness is stemming from:

I hope we're past the last of the freezes, although history says "probably not." The pond is under re-construction, I'm putting new beds for my grandmother's irises, something needs to be done to bolster the elephant ears...and I'm halfway around the world! Spring Break is still 3 weeks away.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Preparing for another trip to Taiwan

I've lost count of how many times I've made this trip. The first trip was in '99. While on that remarkable trip I made a lot of life changing decisions. One was to upgrade my commuter vehicle from our '88 Nova (purchased new in '88) to a '99 Mustang Convertible. I'll save that story for another post. The trip was also memorable because I didn't keep food down until my last day in Taiwan. This problem has plagued me for most of my trips to Asia. With each trip, I pick up new tricks for keeping on my feet.

For this next trip I'm breaking out of habits - that seems to be the theme of my life these days. I've always flown American. I've always stayed at the Hyatt. I know what to expect. I know my way around that part of Taipei. I have comfort and confidence in the known, even though I'm surrounded by the unknown. I've been studying Mandarin but "I am not Chinese" and "I don't understand a word you are saying" are my most useful expressions.

Thursday I will fly to LA, then experience my first trip on EVA air. I'm flying "economy" which is the expectation in today's economy. I'm staying at a hotel close to my new employer's headquarters. I'm not familiar with this part of Taipei so I don't know where I'll find corn soup or buy Pringles when/if my tummy gives me trouble. I've learned lots of tips for traveling sans barfing - hopefully all will carry me through this new adventure.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Then Sings My Soul

This song became very precious to me about a year ago when I realized that my husband, my friends, my family - all could be counted on to fall short of expectations if I was looking to them to fill the role of Christ in my life. For the full story, read this post.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Should I or shouldn't I?

It seems to me that what they are saying is NOT "give peace a chance."

What I'm reading is: "Our products are safe and if you don't believe us, don't buy 'em."

So there.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Then Sings My Soul

I ran across a site that celebrates music as a form of worship. After a little thought I decided to start with Rich Mullins singing "Creed." This is one of the first music videos of a Christian song that I listened to over and over again.

Creed, by Rich Mullins
I believe in God the Father
Almighty maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried
CHORUS: And I believe what I believe is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man
I believe that He who suffered was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and on the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where He sits at God's mighty right hand
I believe that He's returning to judge the quick and the dead of the sons of men
I believe it, I believe it
I believe it I believe it, I believe it
I believe in God the Father Almighty maker of Heaven and maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, Our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit, one Holy Church,
The communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends
I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe I believe it, I believe it

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Alabaster, you're a nut

My cat has been a bit of a flake lately. But that has nothing to do with this post. He has always liked to hang out on the back of the office chair. The top of the chair shows evidence of his rear claws. I've stopped using the leather conditioner on the chair because then he really has to grip with the claws to keep hold - which does even more damage.

He also likes to sit on my lap, and lay on my keyboard, and otherwise pester me endlessly when I'm trying to work.

This was a first. He was waiting for me, anticipating that my next move was going to be a relocation to the office. Silly cat.

Here's a view from the perspective of the doorway:

Monday, February 02, 2009

Home Improvements

I recently finished a lovely microwave cart that is really (in my world) a printer/turntable cart (more on that later). I was charmed that the brush I bought for the urethane was hand made and labeled - with a personal signature from "Hon."

Unfortunately I seem to lack the skillz required to clean urethane out of a brush so the second time I used this brush the bristles were breaking off into the 2nd coat of urethane. I'm sorry "Hon." The replacement brush, made with non-natural bristles and lacking the personal touch, fared worse. After finishing the project and failing to successfully clean all of the urethane out of the brush, I threw the poor thing away.

The cart looks great. I'll save that for another post.