When The Time Comes

This gallery contains 8 photos.

It’s that time again when expat life captures another shade of gray. One might think too Many Shades of Gray hints on the side of gloom. On the contrary.  For me, Gray now represents flexibility and impermanence. It is what … Continue reading

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My son is gay (via Nerdy Apple Bottom)

I posted this to my profile on Facebook. My son is soon to be 21. At age 4 he wanted to be a girl for Halloween. Ate age 5 & 6 he went as the pink power ranger. The catholic school he attended thought he had a personality disorder and recommended we bring him to a psychologist. We left the school. He struggled to find where he fit in for almost 14 years. Finally we sent him to a school in San Pete County, Utah. Wasatch Academy. It was expensive. I worked three jobs to keep him there. But this is where he felt comfortable being who he is. He is now attending the University of Utah, SLC and is a responsible young man. I am proud of my son.

My son is gay Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you. I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I’m still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts. Here are th … Read More

via Nerdy Apple Bottom

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Alter Ego

Pink Power Ranger

Pink Power Ranger trying to Blend

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My Gang Photo Challenge


Vicki on the set

Gray Cat-THVFH-


My Gang

Buddy in Christmas Cove

Hunting Squirrels

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It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

DamariscottaRemember the days of watching Charlie Brown? It’s a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown was always my favorite.  I think it was Linus that always tugged on my heart-strings. Identified with. There he was, in the moonlit pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin. It seemed so peaceful and serene.  Never scary.

Here I am in China with Halloween around the corner.  Many expats are hunting and scavenging for costumes and decorations. Costumes for their children or maybe their own Halloween party. The one thing that seems to be the most difficult to be had and I primarily associate Halloween with is …  A pumpkin.  A big round orange pumpkin. One that has a long sage green stem. One that can easily be carved (and smashed) and set out on your steps for weeks. One that I could not find here in Qingdao.

My friend had asked me if I knew how to carve a pumpkin.   She has two small boys. And her eldest had a pumpkin carving contest at school. Like every Mom she wanted her son to win. My friend is from a country where they don’t celebrate Halloween.  She has never had her hands dirtied by pumpkin goo.  So she thought I could give her a few pointers and let her borrow my carving tool. A few pointers and a carving knife is all I thought I was responsible for.

I arrive at her door in a dress intending to be the director not the producer or prop artist. We definitely were on different pages I had no idea the two pumpkins she had intended me to carve were going to be the size and thickness of a small bowling balls! When I walked through the door I had a small audience expecting Michelangelo.  The Halloween patterns were very intricate for a bat and a skull. She had downloaded from the internet were intended for a detail master sculpture with quality tools.  Disappointed we all were to find out I was just me.

After many cheers of Jia You! Jia You! Let’s Go! Let’s Go! The sporting event ended with disappointed faces. Needless to say my carvings did not even come close to looking like that of the downloaded internet pattern of a bat or scary skull. I felt like Charlie Brown with  five holes cut in my sheet and “I Got A Rock”!

I tried to reassure everyone we could find another pumpkin. Even two if they wanted. We would have another contest. I promised that there were bigger and better pumpkins out there. Even if they were stemless, hard as a rock, and wobbled like Weebles. I convinced my friend to put a candle in the malformed mutant pumpkin and the children could see the potential of it being a “scary” winner.  Not.. Mom.

In my defense I haven’t carved a pumpkin in 5 or 6 years.  I can’t remember ever following a pattern or tracing anything (exaggeration)!  In the past a freestyle form was the best part of carving and I never had an intimidating audience. I had to make it up to this desperate family. I searched for days for bigger and better pumpkins but every market and lead came up short (small in this case). Oh Great Pumpkin Where Are You!

Finally, Monday I asked the Korean grocer in my complex if he knew where I could find a larger version of the pumpkins we already found.  Voila!  He asked how many? And with next day delivery I had my “save the face” pumpkins. I was off the hook.  I proudly gave my friend the best of the two I ordered. She was happy and confident to carve her own and I was happy to let her.

Charlie Brown always seemed to beat all odds.  His stories always had a moral or lesson to learn. If there was one thing I learned from my pumpkin seeking/carving adventure is to bring back pumpkin seeds and grow my own.

"Autumn Surplus"

Reminiscing of Tricks and Treats of Days Gone By

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When The Gray Fades

When the Gray fades I have incredible views to the Yellow Sea, Shi Lao Ren Fushan & Laoshan.  The panorama is stunning.  When I wake to see the sunrise I cannot believe I live here in Qingdao, China. The Middle Kingdom.

As most of you know I struggle with my situation called expatriation. I have always dreamed of immersing myself in a different country and speaking another language.  But China was never on my list of places to live.

It has been a difficult transition. Only because I have always been so independent.  And now look at me.  I don’t even have a job. My friends and family look at me like I am some spoiled socialite sitting around eating bon bons. My dignity as a person has been washed away in the gray sky and water of Qingdao.

Going home this summer and staying for an unexpected 5 months gave me a perspective of what it will be like to repatriate. Lost.  I was a fish (Maine Lobster) floundering and trying to belong and fit in all over again. Sometimes it can be very lonely not having a place to call home. The friends in “my gang that made me feel like I belong-(ed)” hung by me through all my adversities this summer. And I love them for it.

A “local” expat has started a photography challenge. It has been in existence for 6 weeks I think I will give it  a try in week 7.  Unfortunately my photos are months old of “My Gang.”

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Shades Of Gray

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