My favorite poet from childhood

Everyone has a favorite poet from childhood, right? Mine is 李白, Li Bai in Mandarin (Lai Bak in Cantonese). I mean, sure, I have other favorite poets, but he wins just because I know the most poems written by him.

Because I admire his poetry so much, but didn’t know much about him as a person–my parents were more into the arts than gossipy history–I was delighted to find that there was a book written about him recently by noted author Ha Jin.

(I ended up buying the ebook version since it was taking me too long to read the library copy and I had to keep returning it and forgetting where I was.)

One of the things I was most tickled to find were poems in the book that I had written out in my youth as part of my Chinese lessons. My mom taught me and my sister Chinese/Cantonese after we moved to Canada. She was a teacher in Hong Kong and since neither she nor my dad wanted us to lose our heritage, it fell to her to give us lessons in reading and writing.

Here’s one of the poems with lovely imagery. Yes, that’s my writing in my old workbooks, circa late 70s, possibly 1980/1981.

And the continuation of the above…there are 3 parts.

Another nice thing about this book is that Ha Jin talks about Li’s contemporaries, and poets who pre-date Li whom he admired. In mentioning those other poets, Ha Jin shares some of their more well-known poetry, some of which are my favorites, too! This one below is an example; he only gives the translation but I immediately knew which it was and found it in my notebook:

Another favorite in the book is this one by Wang Han:

One interesting thing I noted is that both the ebook version and the print version are missing a word.

And that word is 回, which means to return. I know because I have it in my handwritten text. (And besides, I can recite this poem in my sleep…and I have!…so I know exactly how many words it contains and what the words are.)

Do you have a favorite childhood poet or poem? Let me know on Twitter!

Non sequiturs

I saw this “quick and easy” cleaning schedule post from The Spruce. Quick?? Easy?? Good gravy, if I followed this schedule, I’d be doing nothing but cleaning from Monday to Friday. At the end of my life, will I remember fondly all the hours I spent cleaning? I doubt it. I would rather relive the memory of writing all the books I wrote that touched the lives of kids and adults.

And not-speaking of art, this was an illustration I did after I got my first iPad and was trying out a free illustration program. So, I’ve not yet been hired by an art director, but no matter, my drawings still make me chuckle.

Which are you–the clueless monkey with bravado, the clueless penguin with curiosity, or the clueless polar bear with trepidation? Heh!

Chinese people (at least the Hong Kong Chinese with whom I’m most familiar) are fond of dates and cooking with them. Me, not so much. I feel like I really should like dates more, but the only dates dish I like is a duck gizzard soup my mom used to make. It was sweetened only with large brown dates. I never asked her for the recipe because I don’t know where the heck I can buy a pound of duck gizzards where I’ve been living for the past 30 years.

The Spousal Unit loves dates. He didn’t grow up eating them, but some time in the past 10 years, he suddenly decided that they are one of his favorite things. *scratches head* And he claims he has found a new absolute favorite of favorite:

Why buy one bag when you can buy 3?

I’m still not a huge fan of dates, but these, I will admit, are pretty good. So if you’ve ever wanted to try dates, we heartily recommend them.

My books get around

I was making my usual weekly library run this past Wednesday…yes, I borrow way more books than I can read…and was chatting with Kathy, one of my favorite people who works in the Children’s Department.

She mentioned that it seems like my books are always checked out. She said that whenever she wants to use one, she has to put a hold on it. Not only that, but she also said that it’s highly unusual for nonfiction books to have so many holds on them!

Of course, me being me, I didn’t really believe her, so I looked up my books on the library site…and what do you know? She was right. 😃

And also…

Well, way to warm an author’s heart!

Comfort foods

Last I looked, it’s still cold and wintry here in southern Indiana, which means it’s still perfect weather for soups. Here are a couple of my favs…

a soupy ramen

This isn’t your average ramen though; it’s the pricey stuff recommended by author friend Debbi Michiko Florence.

This next one brings me right back to my youth. I have great memories of making wontons with my mom for wonton soup (which is always served with noodles). She would make her own fresh fish balls, too, but we’d sometimes go to a wonton house. Either way, these soups tasted amazing.

fish balls

I miss my mom’s cooking but thank goodness the Spousal Unit can cook really well.

What are your favorite soups and why?

The loveliest time of day

I think sunsets get romanticized a lot…

but often times, sunrises are just as, if not more, spectacular:

Why isn’t a bigger deal made of them?

To me, sunrises signify a chance to make a fresh start, to carpe the heck out of that diem. They embody youth, and hope, and optimism.

Sunset signals a winding down, a time to assess all the things I’d accomplished and all the rest that I failed to do. It’s more of a bittersweet time of day. And given that I’m often in a sad, nostalgic mood these days, I prefer sunrises and the joy of a clean slate to write my day on.

What about you?

Book Giveaway: HOW TO RETURN A MONSTER by Charlotte Offsay

If you have or know of a little one who just became an older sibling, you’ll want to win a copy of this super adorable book on the topic to gift that child!

Writing and Illustrating

Today you have a second chance to win a copy of Charlotte Offsay’s picture book, HOW TO RETURN A MONSTER illustrated by Rea Zhai and published by Beaming Books. Charlotte has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States..

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book, so thank you for helping Charlotte and Rea.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you…

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This week’s fun things

I rediscovered a huge stack of Chinese calligraphy workbooks in a file cabinet.

I guess I should start making use of them because my writing is rusty and I need practice.

I’m trying to copy words from this book of ancient text…do you know it?

The other fun thing? My biographical graphic novels have been announced!!!

I hope you’ve had some fun news this week, too!

Inspiring the Next Generation of Women-in-STEM

A good post to read in preparation for Women’s History Month in March!

Justine Laismith

It’s been over a hundred years since the landmark moment of women’s rights to vote. We are still striving for equality and diversity. There is a lot of effort to encourage girls to study the STEM. When Egmontannounced the publication of Little Miss Inventor, social media when wild with support for the book, hailed as a positive role model for girls.

Books about great women throughout history have ballooned since. Here are a few:

Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World byKate Pankhurst

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli

Women in Science : 50 fearless pioneersby Rachel Ignotofsky

Queen of Physics by Teresa Robeson

Brilliant Ideas From Wonderful Women by Aitziber Lopez

A Galaxy of Her Own by Libby Jackson The author herself is an inspiring woman who instrumental in making Tim Peake a household name.

Blog 108 Women in stem books

When you read the…

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Slow knit

I started this shawl a few months ago (in October, 2021)

and I’m disappointed to say that I’ve not made much progress …

I’m just a bit over half-way to the end. I wish I could knit faster in general, but lace-weight yarns in particular are harder to deal with.

It’s at least a pretty variegated color! I mainly knit while watching tv with the family or talking to my dad on the phone, so I’m accomplishing more than just sitting on my butt for a chunk of time.

Do you do anything to occupy your hands while you’re watching or listening to something?

Happy Chinese New Year!

Because the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, it falls on a different each year on the Gregorian calendar. This year, it’ll be February 1st.

For me, if I feel like fooling myself, it’s a chance to restart my plans and resolutions if I’ve already let the January intentions fall by the wayside.

If I were still living in Hong Kong or Vancouver, it would be a time to eat tons of good food and hang out with my wacky, but lovable relatives. Alas, I’m stuck in the middle of the U.S., in the middle of a pandemic. Maybe I can convince the Spousal Unit to roast me a duck…which wouldn’t be quite the Chinese roast ducks that I’m addicted to, but would be better than nothing.

This year is the Year of the Tiger, the Spousal Unit’s year. I’m a Dragon (so it’ll be my year 2 years from now), and if you believe in that astrological boloney, we’re not supposed to get along. But, we’ll be celebrating our 33 anniversary this year, and so far, so good.

Happy Chinese New Year!