At this festive time of year, I thank each and every blogger who has ever stopped to read and/or share my posts, especially through my current absence. There are many special friends I’ve made whom I miss and especially our delightful discussions and exchanges. Blogland is open 24/7; the people are real as real can be, friendly, and encouraging. Your support buoys up my spirits. Thank you for your generous support in the past year.
May you store up stimulating memories with family and friends during this time of goodwill and good cheer, a time for sharing and laughter, good food and spiced or spiked drinks to keep you warm (or not).
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas…promise me, (and a Hap-Hap-Happy New Year).
Harry, our new soft-spoken Chinese tour guide (30-ish) met us at the airport. We walked for miles and miles to reach our awaiting bus, which smelled bad: between burned electrical wiring and forgotten musty rags.
We asked him to use the microphone as he choked off facts about Wuhan during the drive, but still, he didn’t project enough. In fact, speaking louder did not help his English. He sounded as if he had a hot potato in his mouth and was the least confident guide to date. The bus trip took forever before we reached our destination.
Dark had been gathering before we arrived at the docked cruise ship. As we exited the bus, Harry waved goodbye and vanished. The ship sparkled like a mirage, outlined with tiny white lights as if it was Christmas. We dragged our luggage down long, rickety planks of wood and clanging sheets of steel. Slam. Bang. Clatter. The ship’s welcoming crew members shone flashlights at intervals along the way and cautioned we watch our step. At long last, we boarded and were handed heated hand towels and tea or apple juice. I wondered if cruise ships here always received holidayers in the dark to give them a glowing first impression.
Population Wuhan: 12 million
It takes 2-1/2 hours to drive from East to West Wuhan
Three towns joined into one in 1927 and called Wuhan
This is an educational standard next to Beijing: 87 universities; Wuhan has 69 universities
Smallest college in Wuhan has 8,000 students and the largest has 50,000
A total of 1.5 million students in the city of Wuhan
So far, our bus drivers have made U-turns as a matter of course
The three main industries are:
Steel and iron (10 square kilometers)
Automobile factories: Citron (since 1993 venture with France), also with Honda and Toyota
Tobacco is main industry and state-owned factory. Produces cigarettes. Pays the second most tax next to Citron manufacturing.
1-pack = 10 cigarettes
$3.50 USD for cheapest ones and locals smoke these
Special cigarettes are exported: sold by carton of 10 packages: 3,000 Yuan or $500.00 USD
Factory located 80 kilometers outside Wuhan
Most important social skills in China: smoking and drinking
Legal drinking age is 16, same as eligibility for a driver’s license
China white wine very strong: 35 to 43% (sounds closer to white lightning than wine)
In northern China, one famous brand 70 to 75% (rice wine) high alcohol content. Only the people in northern China drink this because the temperatures are cold there.
Chinese saying, “If you run out of oil for the hot pot, just pour in some wine.”
Traffic is terrible after 9:00 p.m. as the bars open
The bars are loud and packed with young people (9:00 till midnight); the older generation can’t stand the noise
Life isn’t much different for the young people in the east from the west.
Square dancing is popular with Seniors, who enjoy it mornings and evenings in the parks
Young people don’t like the sound of the loud dance music on weekends because they like to sleep late.
This is square dancing? I wonder why they call it that?
June is the beginning of summer. The average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. There are three ‘ovens’ (also called furnaces) in this area:
Six-and-a-half to seven months of the year, everyone wears Tee shirts in Wuhan because of the heat and humidity. A historical record high of 48 degrees Celsius occurred in 2006. Usual temperature is 44 or 45 degrees. When it gets this hot, school and work are canceled, a policy made ten years ago. Everyone now has air conditioning to combat the heat.
The gifts of generosity and kindness abound in my blogosphere. A sincere thank you to each and every one who has read, commented, and supported me in any way during 2016. I appreciate the camaraderie and friendships I have found here.
We are a community of novice and professional writers, crafters, poets, and artists. Each group shares or gleans information on writing, poetry, crafting, cooking. For this, I am grateful and have learned much. Discussions about resistance to rampaging or inconsiderate technology (cough) are also shared and lambasted learned through the year.
I wish you a Christmas of joy, peace, and fellowship, which I pray someday finally takes hold. We have hope. May the New Year 2017 continue in good cheer, friendship, and tolerance.
I give you this offering, pulled from the archives (a 1996 company newsletter I’d been volunteered to edit for almost five years). Judy Martin posted a poem earlier this week by the same name. I had already scheduled this and decided to tough it out and post anyway. (Be kind. I’m no poet.)
~ * ~
T’was the night before Christmas and a-l-l through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the m-o-u-s-e;
The hardware was hot and needed a rest;
The wires were near flaming from the fast-tracking quest.
If one more finger teased that p-o-o-r little mouse,
The uproar would doubtless have awakened my spouse!
I was resting and spent from my ceaseless drooling
Over menus of the best buys ever, no fooling.
My eyes black and bloodshot hung to my knees,
But I’d finished my shopping and wow was I pleased.
Something gourmet for grandpa, flowers for Jean,
Pulled off with a mouse, a credit card, and a scheme.
The malls were open all day and all night,
So I shopped when I could ‘cause my schedule is tight but
Tomorrow and next year, when Christmas returns,
Will I be shopping in town or in Internet world?
Where will your presents be purchased with care?
Will it be Larry’s or Cherie’s, or from your own chair?
Will you shop the last minute fighting the crowds,
Or choose from the malls warehoused in the clouds?
Pretty soon instead of by the chimney with care,
We won’t hear from Saint Nick but Paypal and email.
No matter how Christmas and Saint Nick visit,
Tolerate no child around you to miss it.
I’ll be here infrequently as time allows until the Next Post January 6th – Are We there Yet?
A couple from our group shared a strange incident from the night before. One of them had flipped through the TV channels for something entertaining. A particular station clicked, the air conditioner snapped on. Clicked again, and it turned off. They wondered what else might be off.
A moose will challenge anything in its way. We passed a moose killed on the road the previous night, but I didn’t see it, and we couldn’t slow down even though others asked.
Because we weren’t going to see icebergs today, Francis popped in a DVD about them. Did you know icebergs are about 10 stories high? Pieces break off, the berg rolls over and continues breaking off until it melts in summer. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dysuQIDtdoM (Something has changed in WordPress, I can’t seem to insert videos here lately.)
A short stop at Little Harbour, which has one street. In June and July, there are icebergs here, but not during out visit. The weather windy, nippy and overcast, we strolled down the one short street and took pictures of root cellars, the rocky shore and the few houses.
Houses along the one road. Not a car passed us.
Old root cellar. Painted door in good repair, it must still be in use..
More Quick Facts about Newfoundland:
The twin towers in New York were built by Newfoundlanders
Newfoundland only place you’ll find Pineapple Crush. Everyone else knows Orange Crush.
Are food for cod and puffins (we didn’t see these either as we were too late in the season)
Old Irish Tradition: Mummery (check link for Mummers’ costumes and song)
During the 12 days of Christmas, 25 to 30 people could knock on someone’s door. They’d be invited inside, given a piece of chocolate cake, and a drink for adults. Everyone tried to identify each other. The visitors performed plays, sang, played instruments, danced, and had a good time. This old tradition is now enjoyed only at Hallowe’en.
Pockets full of money and a belly full or beer…or wine if you prefer.
Can it be five days till Christmas already? I popped in to wish my special friends in Blog World a Merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and a Hap-hap-happy New Year. Here’s an Oldie but Goldie for a sing-a-long to put you in the spirit of the season if you need a nudge. I do. We have no snow and it’s warmer than usual for December.
My granddaughter dressed my tree this year, and even put the lights on—her first time at not yet twelve—because I’ve had tendonitis for the past six months and needed help. She took it a little easy on the ornaments, but the results are a colossal success and I’m grateful she was willing. This means we’ll have less to take down before my trip to Vancouver three days after Christmas. (Can’t let the cats have too much fun while I’m away or maybe cut themselves on broken bulbs, though they’ve been good as long as I took away the tree skirt).
Do you know anyone born on New Year’s Eve? This particular sister I’ll be visiting has missed birthday presents for 60 years.
I had no idea my cat Dickens, adopted last January, had FIV and gingivitis. I found out about his health conditions when I took him to the vet shortly after adoption. He’s lost so much weight in the past few days, I took him to the vet two days ago. He’s lost more teeth and his gums have been a bloody mess. He’s on pain killers and antibiotics now and already his coat looks less mangy today. How I hate forcing kitties to give them medication. On the other hand, it’s a bonus not to bleed to death myself while fighting with them. The pain meds are thick enough to smear on a paw, but the antibiotics are thin as water and he’s not forgiving.
Dickens is the tan one; Lady G. is brindle.
November had me chained to my desk. I’d participated in NaNoWriMo though I hadn’t registered. At the last moment, a friend challenged me and unprepared, I dove in, thinking no way would I complete the task ahead. Had it not been for Karen, I would have given up by day ten—my first brain drain–but she, the competitive type, kept me at it because no way was I pooping out first. Now I have a book of short stories to edit in the New Year and maybe, maybe, I’ll complete that circle too. I tell you to stay accountable. November paid off much better than last summer had workwise.
If I had not had your kind and generous support all year, I have no idea how I might have moved forward towards my long-time goal: indie publication. Thank you. Thank you for the jab in the ribs whether you had any idea or not. I could not have done anything without you, my supportive community, and I plan to return the favor again soon in 2016. I have been mostly absent since the summer, but it has been worth it. I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness, each and everyone of you.
It’s been an unusual, but exciting year for me. Thank YOU. Thank you. I had no idea what a wonderful world I’d entered when I began blogging four+ years ago. I am close to 500th posts. Close, but still a few to go.
Due to extenuating circumstances (unexpected family and social obligations: i.e. life in the fast lane), I haven’t had enough time to visit you all more often.
November, I spent writing with furious diligence, while life around me came to a standstill. Still appointments and family visits continue to take much of my time this month. Off and on holiday entertaining and a visit to the west coast for a sister’s 60th birthday also loom large.
When time permits, I shall flit in and out and can’t wait till my schedule isn’t hampered by all these commitments. You’re always on the edge of my mind. I have not forgotten you and miss you and our daily banter.
I like new ideas. These days what you know today is old news tomorrow. Someone somewhere dreams up invaluable and imaginative ways of making money. Time and again I’ve been bamboozled into parting with my hard-earned cash on near worthless product(s). When the darn thing breaks or falls apart, I don’t beat myself up about it because the investment is never large to cause true grief. Life is supposed to be an adventure. No? Sure it is.
Last minute Christmas shopping found me at Walmart in the Pet Department. Lady Gaga doesn’t know or care about Santa, but she would get a treat anyway. I bought her a cart load of Iams canned chicken, beef, and lamb paté. Her favourites. She only gets on heaping teaspoonful in the morning with a quarter cup of dry Iams and at night she has dry cat food only. One can lasts five days: five spoons.
On my way back to pay for all the goodies in my basket, I passed a sock display. Wild and jazzy colours; soft and fuzzy yarn.
Wait a minute. What’s this? The advertisement said the socks had aloe in them or were aloe? Can’t recall. Only hand-washing was recommended. Their softness sold me in three seconds. In winter as in summer, I suffer from callouses on my heels. At three dollars a pair, I almost threw three packages into my cart. Something stopped me.
The first time I wore the socks, I expected magic: soft feet overnight. And yes, I wore them to bed. Canada’s winters are cold; freezing this year. Sigh. No miracle occurred that night or the next no matter how velvety they were to the touch.
For washing, I threw them, inside out, into lukewarm water with a little dish soap. Thick fibres drifted to the top. Awful stuff. Scooping the fuzz balls out, I changed the water and started over again. Why did they shed and where was all that wool coming from? Would my socks disintegrate in the wash?
With care, I squeezed out all the water instead of wringing them out and hung them over the shower to dry.
The next couple of times I wore these strange foot warmers, fluff followed me everywhere: between my bed sheets, on the floor beside the bed, on the bathroom floor. At each washing, I expected a mass of fibres in my hands with nothing holding them together.
How many wearings or washings will they last? This latest adventure may be small but it’s not over yet. All for three measly bucks and no soft skin as anticipated. I wonder if I shouldn’t have put aloe and some O.V.O.O. on my heels before putting the socks on.
~ * ~
You want magic. I’m here to share it with you. Use a Ped Egg on your heels–dry (the surface is like a rasp). The shower routine with the stone doesn’t work for me. Slather your feet with Vaseline. Put a plastic bag on each foot with a sock over each (cotton is good but not necessary) to hold it all together. Go to bed. In the morning your feet will be soft as a baby’s you-know-what. Honest.
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