Mellow Fruitfulness

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay When I was young, living in the staff quarter of a rural college south of Mongolian steppe, I often heard fruit stories from my mother's friends who had migrated from the south. My favorite bits were oranges knocking on your shoulder, waking up with olives about to jump into … Continue reading Mellow Fruitfulness

Poem Of The Day #16

Image by Gabriele M. Reinhardt from Pixabay It's hard to miss you, it's impossible not to miss you, it's delusional to try to get you back, it's a quiet desperation to live and breathe as if everything is normal. Love has no exit. I will watch a sad movie, binge a show, devour a bag … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #16

Girl Fight (Flash Non-Fiction #48)

"To fight, you have to get yourself dirty." George Orwell says that, but who wants to be dirty? We all want to be as clean, tidy, and pretty as we can, and often we worry that we are not clean, tidy and pretty enough. There are certain movies which can combine prettiness with a fighting … Continue reading Girl Fight (Flash Non-Fiction #48)

Sports, Grammar, And Love (Flash Non-Fiction #47)

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay Every four years when Olympic ads hit the TV screen, I would think of him. Not that he's an Olympic athlete or anything. He's not, but he's the only one among the people I'm familiar with who loves sports and is pretty good at it. It was 8th grade … Continue reading Sports, Grammar, And Love (Flash Non-Fiction #47)

The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash Pam is going to give a presentation in a conference and she comes to Ivy Training Center to seek help. Since everybody is occupied, Ivy ends up assisting Pam. The Ivy Training Center almost went out of business several months ago--business was slow to a crawl due to pandemic … Continue reading The Presentation (Flash Fiction #44)

Sunday’s Story

Image by justraveling from Pixabay I went to the grocery store this morning. As I was pulling in the parking lot, I saw a woman sitting in the car next to me--she is crying while talking on the phone. I felt the urge to go comfort her, but I knew this couldn't be done since … Continue reading Sunday’s Story

Instant Response

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay Yesterday, I went to get my second shot of Moderna vaccine at the local Walmart. The pharmacist is very young, probably just out of the pharmacy school. He is very cute and also an immigrant, probably from Middle East somewhere. He explained to me that after getting the shot … Continue reading Instant Response

The Russian Friend (Flash Fiction #39)

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash Lia is a new part time hire at Ivy Learning Center, which has many overqualified full time and part time teachers to tutor local kids--mainly from the surrounding middle schools and high schools. Summer is usually the busy time when anxious parents want to push their kids on SAT … Continue reading The Russian Friend (Flash Fiction #39)

The Italian Name (Flash Fiction #38)

Image by Pexels from Pixabay "Can I also have a can of orange soda?" Armei says to the kid behind the counter, who looks like he's hardly out of high school. Armei can't even remember the days when she's out of high school. That's so long ago and she's growing old. "You mean the 'San … Continue reading The Italian Name (Flash Fiction #38)

Quote Of The Day #18

Image by Elena Tishkova from Pixabay "Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton is on sale at Audible.com and you know me, who cannot resist a discount, which is the reason why my shelf is filled with books I don't feel like reading and my closet full of clothes I hardly ever wear. And Chesterton is rambling … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #18

Pammy Wants Justice (Flash Fiction #37)

Image by Alexas from Pixabay This story is a sequel to the previous flash story "The Cynic", which talks about the lunch Pammy had with her husband Pan at a new Asian restaurant opened up in Edison, New Jersey. There they met Brother Tai, who came to their table to sit with them for a … Continue reading Pammy Wants Justice (Flash Fiction #37)

Cicada 2021

Image by USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay I haven't heard any sound from cicada in Edison, but it is said in the Princeton township 30 miles to the west, cicada is taking over the neighborhood. They climb on every branch and sing all day long and shed their skins everywhere. There's a very interesting article about New … Continue reading Cicada 2021

The Cynic (Flash Fiction #36)

Photo by Atul Vinayak on Unsplash A new Asian restaurant has opened up in Edison after New Jersey lifted most of the restrictions for dine-in places. However there's rumor that this is just an old restaurant, which shut down in the nearby township and moved to this new more popular location, to take advantage of … Continue reading The Cynic (Flash Fiction #36)

The Great Escape

I should have read "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" long time ago, but I didn't. Mostly because I was afraid that the description is so bloody and horrid that I would be depressed after reading it, but I turn out to be stronger than I thought. There are only two … Continue reading The Great Escape

All The Loving Fathers

Image by Antony Trivet from Pixabay This is a corresponding post for "All The Loving Mothers" written on Mother's day in May. Laid Back Fathers Laid back fathers are usually nice and fun loving, leaving most of the domestic decisions to their spouses. They will step up to take charge when their wife nag them … Continue reading All The Loving Fathers

Quote Of The Day #16

I just read the essay "It Is Obscene" from https://www.chimamanda.com/ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose book "Americanah" I bought but haven't read yet. And it is such a wonderful essay, in which the author describes a student of her workshop who criticized her unfairly or heartlessly. People who ask you to ‘educate’ yourself while not … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #16

Resilient But Divided

When I was young, there's an old guy in our neighborhood who was rumored to have a colorful life--a farmer turned bandit, a bandit turned soldier turned small business owner. He's been to Russia and several other countries for business and had some beautiful souvenirs on display, which were covered under a piece of embroidered … Continue reading Resilient But Divided

Targeted

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash Language Ever since I started to learn Thai for 15 minutes a day, I've seen advertisement about language learning programs one after another. I used to hear a lot about Rosetta Stone software years ago, but now it has disappeared--no advertisement from Rosetta Stone. However there are plenty of … Continue reading Targeted

The Taste Of Chocolate (Flash Fiction #35)

Photo by Serghei Savchiuc on Unsplash When Apei was a little girl, her mother--for the sake of the family economy--would never buy chocolate for her. Thirty years ago in Penang--a tropical island off the coast of Malaysia-- chocolate was very expensive. Other candies made of coconut and durian are readily available. Apei had plenty of … Continue reading The Taste Of Chocolate (Flash Fiction #35)

Local Politics (Flash Fiction #34)

"Oh, you are so naive. You have no idea of the numerous little things. New Jersey has a unique party line politics." Dodo says. "What is party line?" Pammy asks. "It's too complicated to explain to you. If you participate in our meetings, gradually you will know. You've never come to a political meeting before? … Continue reading Local Politics (Flash Fiction #34)

Life And Existence

I've never known the difference between the word freedom and the word liberty--I think the two are interchangeable but most likely they are not. However I am too lazy to look it up. It's like watching all the seasons of "Frasier", but never really figuring out the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Still … Continue reading Life And Existence

A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

Arjian is a local hairdresser and a regular gambler at Atlantic City--a casino town at the southern end of New Jersey. There's a previous story about him here. On Saturday morning, when Arjian's wife Mei goes to the drive-by ATM machine, she finds that the balance is increased by about $10,000. She doesn't know where … Continue reading A Happy Accident (Flash Fiction #33)

The Controversy (Flash Fiction #32)

Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash "There's an ancient fable about a vendor selling spears and shields by the road. A bunch of spears are displayed tidily on his left with a sign that says,'the world's best spears that can puncture any shield.' On his right, there is a pile of shield on which there … Continue reading The Controversy (Flash Fiction #32)

How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay "I love this house when it's in my dream and it's being built. Once I live here, it’s a very different story." Armei says at the dinner table. Armei and Pammy and Lulu are good friends and also their husbands get along with each other. For this Saturday, the … Continue reading How To Talk (Flash Fiction #31)

Poem Of The Day #15

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay Love is a blind leap from the quietness of our frozen presumption. Suddenly the hushed order we proudly immure ourselves becomes laughable and absurd-- from a lover's eye. All the mistakes we made-- casually construed, clumsily carried out. Then it abruptly ended when you stormed off. You had a … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #15

The Neighbors (Flash Fiction #30)

KPhoto by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash Kyi-sook has this continuous feud with her neighbor Joe. Kyi-sook's husband Kai is a very laid-back guy and doesn't want to make a fuss at all. After prodding her husband numerous times without seeing any results, Kyi-sook realizes that she is the one who has to go out there … Continue reading The Neighbors (Flash Fiction #30)

Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

This book is so easy to read and so good that I can't tell you how much I love it. It's almost beyond my power of praise, just like "Notes From Underground" by Dostoevsky and "Words" by Sartre, which I love to read and hopefully to reread sometime. You don't need any philosophical background to … Continue reading Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

Photo by Susanna Marsiglia on Unsplash "I am so bored." I hear myself saying. Nalan and I have evolved from talking on phone to talking on Zoom. "I am more bored than you are." Nalan says. That's just typical of Nalan. Whenever I say something, she will say she is more than me. If I … Continue reading Energy (Flash Fiction #28)

Don’t See The Contradiction

After reading Herb's blog about Walmart protester who is eager to buy Walmart merchandise, I can think of people in my life who are unaware of the contradiction in their behavior. Even if one points it out to them, they still don't see it. The Crazy Lovers Or Haters This happened many years ago among … Continue reading Don’t See The Contradiction

An American Marriage

This is the first book I read by the author Tayari Jones. I really like the book. In many places, it is very funny although the plot is about a terrible injustice done to the main character, Roy, who's handsome, well educated, married. He's wrongly accused of rape and is jailed for five years before … Continue reading An American Marriage

She Has News (Flash Fiction #26)

Image by jplenio from Pixabay "Yashin, you can't stop talking, can you? Every time we chat, you have such bad news about mass shootings, Asians being attacked on the streets of New York, or some other disasters. When you exhaust the U.S. news, you talk about Mongolians' invasion of Burma in the 13th century." Lalin … Continue reading She Has News (Flash Fiction #26)

Words And Childhood

There are so many quotes from this book that I don't know where to start. It's Sartre's autobiography--the first 10 years of his life--when he and his widowed mother lived with his grandparents. It's a happy childhood, and Sartre repaid the love he received with penetrating comments. He couldn't have been so sharp as a … Continue reading Words And Childhood

Poem Of The Day #14

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay In an alternative history of an alternative universe, we would have nagged each other to death. You are so clean and immaculate-- your desk is free of a speck of dust, pens, files, folders line up as if soldiers in morning drills. How much your mother must have tidied … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #14

Love Animal Videos

I love to watch animal videos. I guess it's because I'm too lazy to have a pet. Or probably my Mongolian genes are working on my subconscious thoughts--we are supposed to be animal loving nomads. Videos about grateful wildlife. There are so many YouTube videos about grateful wildlife that I almost feel that the concept … Continue reading Love Animal Videos

Poem Of The Day #13

Photo by Landon Parenteau on Unsplash The end of May feels more like the peak of summer-- heat, humidity, haze, blinding light-- reminding me of that very hot day long long ago. In such a delirious temperature, even stones were hot, but you were so cold, as usual. A life of inescapable chores, an unhelpful … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #13

The Shocking Consequence (Flash Fiction #22)

This story is a sequel to "An Afternoon With Champ" and "The New Teacher". However there's no need to read the previous two stories. Here is a brief summary of the background. Jasmine met Champ at a mixed martial arts competition in Penang, Malaysia. Jasmine was a spectator while Champ was a contestant. The two … Continue reading The Shocking Consequence (Flash Fiction #22)

The New Teacher (Flash Fiction #21)

Tom Tsai, the owner of the Ivy Training Center, has just hired Cindy Wong, a high school senior, as a part time teacher for one of the weekend ESL classes in Edison, New Jersey. ESL stands for English As Second Language, and ESL students are children who can't catch up with the regular classes at … Continue reading The New Teacher (Flash Fiction #21)

The Anniversary

I really don't have an anniversary date for my blogs since I went on and off for many months before starting to post regularly in May 2020. So let's just arbitrarily take today as the anniversary date. This reminds me of my grandmother's birthday, which is actually an arbitrary date. In those eras--before WWII--I was … Continue reading The Anniversary

New Word #18: The Wonderful “ZZ”

Whenever I see a word with "zz", I start to imagine the sizzling sound of barbecuing, the fizzing sound of a bubbling beer, and the buzzing sound of an insect. The word comes with its own sound effect, which makes it easy to remember and interesting to reflect upon, although I have to say I … Continue reading New Word #18: The Wonderful “ZZ”

Poem Of The Day #12

I see you looking at me in the dim light across the noisy space of the restaurant. Is that you? Or am I dreaming? Love from the distance past, still prickly. For a while, it seemed resigned to be forgotten, but then it reappears, with a new force and a new perspective. Your restrained self … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #12

New Word #17 : In A Group

Many years ago, when I first encountered different names for different groups in English, I was really shocked. I had never imagined a "group" of birds is any different from a "group" of wild dogs before, and it took me a while to adapt. Here I use quotes on "group" because they are not supposed … Continue reading New Word #17 : In A Group

Poem Of The Day #11

The grandpa is the king of his modest castle, where the mother and the newborn come to live after the father dies. The grandpa is proud of the family longevity-- anybody who dies young is an abnormality and an affront to him. The mother--his daughter--is treated as an unpromising child. Her passivity is considered burdensome; … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #11

New Word #15: Raconteur

Racounteur means a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way. It's said it has a French origin and it comes from the French word "raconter", which means 'relate, recount'. My question is if it comes from "raconter", who takes the trouble to change the tail to "teur"? I can just imagine this … Continue reading New Word #15: Raconteur

Witchcraft And Cat Woman

Although I didn't grow up reading science fiction or fantasy books, I've always loved TV shows about witchcraft or cat woman. They are quirky, fun, frightening, charming and a lot more. That's until I read this book "Witch, A Tale Of Terror". Suddenly my happy witch meal becomes un-chewable and unappetizing when I know that … Continue reading Witchcraft And Cat Woman

Reflection Of The Day

I have a pessimist and an optimist in my mind--they fight often, speak loud, and rarely stop. If the pessimists talks about wrinkles, the optimist will dwell on experiences. If the pessimist talks about friends scattered far and wide, the optimist will point out the absence of peer pressure and endless comparison. If the pessimist … Continue reading Reflection Of The Day

New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

I encountered the word “Tsundoku” in heterodoxbuddhism’s post here. Tsundoku is a Japanese term that means one who buys books but don’t read them. And this inspires me to think of other words that should have existed but for one reason or another don’t exist in English. Conversationer. This is not a word, but I … Continue reading New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

All The Loving Mothers

There are so many wonderful mothers that I don't know where to start. Here I am going to list them--it's an inexhaustible list and I can only list a few. Real life mothers and literary mothers are going to be mixed together because they coexist in my mind without much difference to each other. Mothers … Continue reading All The Loving Mothers

Language Chaos And Empress Ki

New York City, as an international metropolis, is saved from a chaotic language scene due to the fact that English is so universal now that most people learn some English in school. In many parts of the world, for example in a large part of Asia, this is not enough and extra training in language … Continue reading Language Chaos And Empress Ki

Poem Of The Day #10

It happened without a cause; it ended with little fuss. No tears, no sulk, no whine, but the heart ached quietly. Not realizing the severity until long afterwards, you try to mend, but it refuses to heal. Heart is a temperamental misfit, a wayward friend, a silent killer. Oh, the heartless heart, how can I … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #10

At The Hair Salon (Flash Fiction #17)

Arlan, Maylin, Wani are doing their hair at the hair salon, although only Maylin has the money to do the flat ironing and highlighting. They always book the same time so that they can talk and catch up with each other. Sometimes if they don't think they have talked enough, they would go to the … Continue reading At The Hair Salon (Flash Fiction #17)

A Mafia Romance (Flash Non-Fiction #15)

Photo by bantersnaps on Unsplash Ever since I watched the video "Bullets Over Broadway", I've been interested in stories of mafia romance--maybe it is already a literary genre. In this early Woody Allen production mixing anxious witty remarks with some gangster flair, a cash starved Broadway play desperately seeks financial backing, and one of the … Continue reading A Mafia Romance (Flash Non-Fiction #15)

Past, Present And Future

In the summer of 1830, Russia was experiencing one of its worst pandemics. Cholera spread far and wide. A sip of contaminated water or a little unwitting touch of sewage will make people sick--diarrhea, vomiting, shock and death quickly followed. The tsar imposed quarantines and travel restrictions and cordons guarded by the military on many … Continue reading Past, Present And Future

Merry Month Of May

Plans are made to be changed; reading lists are drawn to be unfinished. That's my motto for May. When I don't have to be ashamed of my own "grand" plan, I feel deliriously happy. As a slow reader, I need all the encouragement from an unhinged delusion of my reading capabilities. The fact is I … Continue reading Merry Month Of May

Poem Of The Day #8

In my dream, you take a thousand shapes and forms, but last night you are shapeless and formless, only a shadow, a whiff, a soft press, and a vague impression. But I saw the tattoos. What a surprise? All over your shoulders and arms and elsewhere-- figures of beauty and disrepute. You are my resident … Continue reading Poem Of The Day #8

It’s Your Mom I Love

Yola has always loved other people's mom, but she didn't realize that until college. It dawned on her during one of the classes for her elective course European Literature. "Balzac's parents belonged to the first generation of middle class in France, and Balzac's mom always wanted to go up. You know what I mean. She … Continue reading It’s Your Mom I Love

Miscommunication

I can never read a doctor's handwriting. Any doctor. It's just not legible. It's a wonder how pharmacists can get the correct medicine for you based on those unstructured scrawls on a little piece of prescription paper. Is there a secret communication code wired in that illegible writing on the prescription? I don't know. It's … Continue reading Miscommunication

Give Friends Suggestions

We often give people suggestions, some giving more suggestions than others. Since I like to talk, when given a chance, and can't shut up--actually I am a typical introvert, not an extrovert at all, and I don't know how I've become a talkative introvert-- I'm often asked for suggestions. Now looking back, I think it … Continue reading Give Friends Suggestions

Optimist vs. Pessimist

If you ever go to a sales meeting, you will hear a lot of witticisms about optimist vs. pessimist. "An optimist see opportunities in every difficulty; a pessimist see difficulties in every opportunity." "A pessimist see a dark tunnel and an optimist see the light at the end of the tunnel." Or something similar. However … Continue reading Optimist vs. Pessimist