Dogs are Everywhere 恶心了

Dogs are everywhere
Almost everywhere
That I go
They have too much and then

One night on my way home, I saw an elderly couple walking a cute, furry Chow Chow. Then I noticed that the cute Chow Chow was dropping a deuce right on the sidewalk. Like any good dog owners, the couple waited patiently for Chow Chow to finish his necessary business. Like any bad neighbor taking no personal responsibility for neighborhood upkeep, the woman used a plastic bag to pick up the doo-doo and chucked the bag and all off to the side.

This is a cute Chow Chow, but not The Cute Chow Chow

I stopped and deliberated for about two seconds. Is it my place to correct an older couple? I decided, yes it was. Toting around a curious toddler has made me particularly sensitive to seeing people letting their children and dogs use public areas as latrines. Also, people tell me all the time what to do. Don’t give your kid ice cream because it’s bad for her stomach. She needs to wear more clothes or socks. Since your baby goes to bed so early, you should teach English at night and make more money. Shave her head so her hair grows faster. The list seems endless.

Don’t I too have a voice? Don’t I too have the right to tell people what to do? I’ve no qualms about telling people to not smoke in restaurants and to wait in line. Is this situation much different? Isn’t public health at stake here?

My blood boiling, I flipped around and said rather loudly, “Disgusting! You can’t do that!"

The old man cocked his head toward me, a cigarette pinched between two fingers and his scraggly eyebrows furled. He was clearly dumbfounded. Well, of course, more explanation was needed. The idea that tossing dog poop and trash around was wrong probably never occurred to him. Meanwhile his wife and Chow Chow had continued their jaunt down the street, leaving the man alone to deal with the crazy foreigner.

“You can’t leave dog poop there. Children walk around here. They might touch it. That’s disgusting!"

Another pause.

So I continued making my case, “There’s a garbage can right over there.” Literally, about five steps away was a garbage can. “It’s really no added inconvenience to you to throw the dog poop away.” (Just so you know, my Chinese does not sound so well-spoken as this translation into English.)

He looked at the grassy area, mulling over a response. Ah! He had it. He raised his hands as though encompassing the expanse and said, “Oh, but this whole area is a garbage can.”

Oh no he didn’t! This is our neighborhood. This area, even though not beauteous, is where literally thousands of our neighbors--babies and groceries in tow-- pass through every day. Our neighborhood! Isn’t this communist China? Communist as in community? Don’t we--as a community--all share a piece of responsibility for public health? And does this man think we all want to deal with his Chow Chow’s excrement because he is too lazy to take five steps to the nearest garbage can? Does he think we all want to live in a garbage dump?

Exasperated, I heaved, “Do you like your place (as in location)?” I admit, this sentence really showed my lack of Chinese fluency. I wanted to say, “Don’t you care about your neighborhood that you live in?”

Despite my awkward Chinese, the elderly man got the point. He chuckled, “You are right.”

I shifted my weight and crossed my arms. I wasn’t leaving until I witnessed proper poo disposal. The elderly man leaned over into the grassy area, extracted his Chow Chow’s filth, walked five stops to the nearest garbage can and chucked it.

Satisfied with the poo disposal, I emphatically shook my head uttering out loud, “Disgusting!” as I walked away.

So what did I accomplish? At least one additional poop was properly disposed. Perhaps, just perhaps, the elderly couple will think twice before leaving their Chow Chow's doo-doo in public places.

Unfortunately, even if this one couple forever change their ways, their change is like emptying the ocean one bucket of water at a time. There are about 20 million other people that need sanitation reformation. I can't tell you how many times I've watched children and dogs pee and go #2 in the same vicinity as crawling babies and playing children. I haven't mustered up the courage to tell a grandma to have her baby pee in a bush instead of on the floor two feet from where Dumpling is playing.

But I might soon enough.

Chinese Word of the Blog: 恶心了! Ěxīnle (literally, evil heart)
English Translation: Disgusting!

Where the offense happened. Does this look like a garbage dump?

Where the children play and pee.


I'll Never Find Another You 青梅竹马

There is always someone
For each of us, they say
And you'll be my someone
Forever and a day

-The Seekers

Our marriage is like green plums and a bamboo horse. No, I'm not talking about under ripe fruit and animal statues. I'm talking about love, baby.

I first laid eyes on my husband when I was thirteen years old and he was fifteen. birdMAN was wiry, sporting a 90s skater look, reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio as troubled preteen in 80s/90s sitcom Growing Pains. I had frizzy long hair and wore long hippy skirts. We were just two green plums.

A few years later, we ran around with the same circle of friends. We went to movies (You Got Mail and The Wedding Singer come to mind), bowling, snowboarding, or just hanging out at our houses. Just innocent fun, like a child rocking on a bamboo horse.

Fast forward a few more years to September 30, 2001, the day these plums got hitched. We were barely old enough to (legally) drink alcohol, but according to the state of California, old enough to say "I do". Seventeen years! If we had kids earlier, we could have a teenager. Instead, we went to school, worked full-time, bought a house, sold a house, moved to China, and then had a baby. Now these green plums have gotten a bit riper, softer and purple.

So like I said, our marriage is green plums and a bamboo horse. That's love, baby. Seventeen years of marriage done and done. Only forever to go.

Chinese Saying of the Blog: 青梅竹马 Qīngméi zhúmǎ (literally green plum, bamboo horse)
English Translation: childhood sweethearts that grew up to became a couple

A picture for every year. Watch us go from green to purple plums.

I do! September 30, 2001
2002 A picture of a picture. This is before the
days of digital cameras.
2003 This is the only picture of us at my sister's wedding. Why
did the professional photographer not take a decent picture of us?
2004 Fairfield, California
2005 - Kona, Hawaii 
2006 Disneyland, California. birdMAN vowed never to go back
and we never did. But if Dumpling has her way...
2007 San Diego, California
2008 Ashland, Oregon
2009 Napa Metric Century
2010 Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China Our first trip to China.
We had no idea we would end up living here for so long. 
2011 Sausalito, California
2012 San Francisco, California
2013 Chiang Mai, Thailand
2014  Great Wall at Gubeikou, China
2015 Lombok, Indonesia
2016 Beijing, China and pregnant with Dumpling
2017  Beijing, China
2018 Atlanta Georgia. Three's a party!
2018 Dumpling celebrates with a fried bread stick
And a ricotta and mozzarella stuffed concoction at our
favorite Beijing Italian restaurant, Bottega
We love food!
Seventeen years: the Cheesecake Year