Saturday, May 27, 2006

I love walking around the countryside. We went to see the rice paddies and fields near where we live. I have to make sure Lady gets her exercise. That's a small village in the background. There are lots of villages around here.  Posted by Picasa

Here's a farmer preparing his soil. We passed him on our walk the other day. Posted by Picasa

It's a long way from the harvest. FIrst, the soil had to be prepared by removing any barriers to receiving the seeds and allowing them to grow well. Then, the seeds were planted in bunches. Most of them took root, so they had to be watered and tended carefully so that they could grow and survive the translplanting. Next, the seedlings were gathered in small bunches and tenderly planted in a good environment where they could get their nourishment. Sometimes the farmer must carry the water to the young plants, but he does this because he wants them to grow. Now, he will watch carefully, and tend to the plants until the time for harvest. He will provide what they need. Remind you of anything? Posted by Picasa

We can walk between the paddies on the narrow ledges. The farmers use a string to make straight lines. Posted by Picasa

It's planting season! Once the rice grows up about 12 inches long, it is transplanted into the larger paddies, one by one, by hand. It is back-breaking work. The fields must be kept wet with lots of water. I'm not allowed to drink from it though. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

At the market this morning, we saw something we hadn't seen for sale before! Wonder how much they cost. Read on to find out about my adventure this morning.  Posted by Picasa

In Trouble Again

Maybe you better pray for me. Lady hasn't had a very good day. She woke me up in the wee hours this morning...scratching again. No, I don't have fleas. She took her medicine and tried to sleep. Well, we went to the market to buy veggies. I've posted photos of the funeral procession that went by. Lady made me take care of business before she'd let me go to the market. Our market is now covered with huge metal awnings. Still, the poorer countryside folks set up their veggies on rice bags or in baskets. They can't afford the table fee. Lady bought many veggies for soup and salad today. I couldn't convince her to buy any meat for me. We were just about finished and Lady was buying a small cabbage from one of the peasant old ladies. Well...I just couldn't help myself. There was this rice bag, and Lady wasn't looking, so...
I caused another scene. Lady offered the young peasant girl 3 yuan, but she wouldn't accept. Lady had trouble figuring out if she could leave or if the girl wanted more money. Many people came to express their opinion. I tried to act invisible. I didn't budge. After much deliberation, Lady figured out the two sisters wanted her to buy the bottom half of the bag weighing ten kilos. Lady didn't want any rice, and tried to pay half price (all she had) and let them keep the rice. They wouldn't accept. Now we had a huge curious crowd all eager to express their ideas. Lady gave the girls her last 13 yuan and told them she had to return home to get the 15 yuan she still owed them. Yes, I cost her 28 yuan this AM. Lady bought corn, green beans, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and spring greens that only totalled less that $1.25, but I cost her another $3.50 for rice she didn't want. I'm in trouble. I don't think I will be going back to the market soon.
Well, the girls followed us home! Lady invited them in and gave them cups of water to drink and some candy. She paid them, and showed them some photos. They asked her to give them a 100 yuan bill for ten tens. She did. By the time they left, they were apologizing to Lady for the trouble. Lady said they were welcome to return to our home. Now it was time for a scolding, but Lady started itching. She took off her clothes to find she had broken out again all over her trunk! She even broke out on her face again. Lady was so busy trying to apply medicine to her itchy rash that she didn't get around to scolding me. Guess we won't be going outside anytime soon.

Here is the beginning of the funeral procession that passed us this morning. They will burn the paper appliances and car to send it with the one passed on to the afterlife.They are very sad, because they have no hope. Posted by Picasa

Here's a closer look at the hooded mourners. Posted by Picasa

The mourners wear hoods or head wraps of unbleached muslin. When the procession stops to change pallbearers, the hooded mourners line up on the road in front of the coffin. Posted by Picasa

That's a live chicken sitting on top of the black, hand-carved wooden coffin. Posted by Picasa

Here, family members walk in front of the coffin in straw slippers and a cane, walking heel-toe-heel-toe. One carries a red clay jar. WHat's inside? I don't know. Posted by Picasa

On our way to the market today, a funeral procession passed by. These are some of the gifts for the one who passed on to take with him to the afterlife: a stove, a washing machine, a sofa, and even a car, all made of paper. The wreaths are also made of colorful paper. Huge paper flower poles are carried on sticks to the burial site.  Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 22, 2006


I know all about spots. The Chinese call it "pifu bing" which means "skin sick." I get "pifu bing" from time to time from playing with other little dogs who haven't had their innoculations. That's why Lady doesn't like me to play with them. Sometimes I come home home from my vacations at friends' homes and I've picked up spots. Lady is NOT happy when I come home with pifu bing, because it takes months and vets trips to clear up. Well, it wasn't me this time who ended up with spots! It was LADY! She came home last Tuesday night after eating a big dinner at a friend's home and started scratching like crazy! She took a shower, changed clothes and took itch medicine and still woke me up all night long. Good grief! She was up at 3:00 AM taking more itch medicine, and putting on cream. She always put cream on my spots as well. The next morning, Lady had two classes but came home right after that. Poor Lady was miserable, and started shedding her clothes. She wouldn't let me lick her. By Thursday morning, Lady woke up with fat lips, puffy eyes, and red blotches all over her face. When she looked in the mirror, she cried. I sure didn't want to be the one to tell her what she looked like! But, I stuck by her anyway. Lady stayed home from school and took more medicine. Friday, our friend, Betty's mom, took Lady to the Number One hospital in our city to see the skin doctor. In China, the people go to the hospital to see the doctors. First, you go to a window and pay about 35 cents to see the doctor, and get a little blue notebook. Then, you go to the floor where the doctor you want see has an office. When they found the room, several different humans and children were already in there telling the doctor their problems. Lady waited. Finally the doctor looked at her spots. All the other people in the room looked at her spots too, and listened in on the conversation. The doctor told her the same thing a nurse friend, and another American doctor had suspected, that she had an allergic reaction to either something she ate or touched. The doctor wrote a prescription, and wrote in Lady's little blue book. She told Lady to come back on Monday after having three days of medicine. Lady and Judy went downstairs to pay for the medicine. It cost $27 for all the medicine. Then, they went to the Pharmacy in the hospital to fill the prescriptions. They gave Lady a bag of drugs. All the boxes had English and Chinese on them, so Lady could read what she was taking. Two boxes had vials fo vitamins in them. Judy took Lady into a room crowded with chairs and beds. Long metal poles had hooks on them and were all holding IV bottles. Humans of all ages and ailments were hooked up on IV drips in the one large room. Most of the patients had a family member or friend with them. Some humans just came in and got an injection and left. Lady found a white wooden chair with stained, faded pink cushions, and sat down. The doctors mixed up her drugs according to the prescription, and brought it to Lady. They hung two bottles high on the metal pole. Many people stared at Lady as they don't often see white humans. A nurse came and inserted a clean needle into the back of Lady's hand. There she sat for over three hours as the medicine slowly dripped into her veins. In China, this is the most common way to receive medicine. And this is why Lady never likes to tell her friends when she is sick. The first thing they say is, "you need to go to the hospital and get an injection!" But what they mean is, she needs an IV drip. It is the Chinese way. Little children often have the IV into their head. Some patients lay on the beds, but no one changes the sheets when they leave. China does the best she can with so many people to take care of. As soon as one gets up, another takes his place. And so it goes all day long.
The doctor gave Lady some zinc oxide to paint on her spots. She smelled and looked funny, but I didn't tell her. I didn't want to lick her anymore, either. Lady continued to have a really hard time getting any sleep. Poor Lady. I am sorry she is so miserable, but I really like having her home all day to scratch me. I tried my best to take care of her. I kept bringing her toys, and blankets.
On the third morning at the hospital, many friends came. They had heard the news because Lady had missed both English Corners. Chinese like to visit people when their sick, but Lady doesn't like people to see her sick, or blotchy. Our friend Belle got Lady out of that noisy, crowded room and into a room of her own with a bed and clean sheets! Finally Lady could stretch out. Her knees and back side didn't hurt as much when she came home after four hours on the IVs. Joe came and brought nectarines. Her students Doris and Gloria came and brought beautiful flowers. A students' mom and dad heard about it and brought four dozen eggs! Jenny also came to stay with Lady. But while Lady was on the drip, she broke out again all over her face and neck. Her eyes got all puffy again. Jenny said she would talk to the doctor the next day. After Lady got home, three more students came by with gifts! Frannie and Skye brought Lady's favorite Dove dark chocolate! Jade brought more flowers, and cleaned the floors for Lady. Little Girl's mom brought dinner. Lady let me have a sausage for being such a good companion.
Monday morning, Jenny took Lady back to the doctor. Lady had a good night last night, but broke out again while waiting her turn for the doctor. People crowded around to hear the conversation. They strained to get a look at Lady's rash. The doctor wanted Lady on IV drips for two more days, but Lady asked if she could please just have one injection. The doctor said the injection would take two days to work. Lady said, "please?" The doctor agreed. Lady asked for the drug the American doctor had recommended to help her stop itching. The doctor wrote the prescription. The people leaned in again to get a look at what the doctor was writing. So much for privacy. It doesn't exist here.
Jenny took Lady down to pay for the new medicine. Today, it only cost $7. After getting the pills and the injection, they went back to the large, crowded room with the poles. Lady insisted on seeing if the needle were new. The nurse was annoyed and fussy. Jenny apologized, but Lady knew it was most important that she have a new needle. She won't even let the vet use an old needle on me. Lady wanted the shot in her arm but the nurse refused and pointed to Lady's backside. All eyes in the room seemed to be on Lady. Lady asked Jenny to ask if she could go in a smaller room. The nurse refused and wanted Lady to sit on a white block of wood with steps on it, and pull down her pants. She held the shot and waited. The block was in clear view of everyone in the room. My Lady saw all the people looking at her and didn't want to show her white backside to them. She began to cry, and Jenny (the police officer) said somehting to the fussy nurse. Very quickly she herded Lady across the hall into a small room with another nurse. That nurse closed the door and Lady got her shot. She was very appreciative. Now the fussy nurse was nice!
Although the doctor said it would take two days for the shot to work, Lady stopped itching within a couple of hours, and has been pretty much scratching free! Katrina came over and we went on a very long walk! Lady still has a lot of blotches and red dots, but they are clearing up. She is so much more comfortable. She thinks it was a red fruit she ate that she had never had before. She had many dishes at Linda's, so she is not certain, but all week she has eaten her own food. She gave away the fruit that Joe brought, as she is not taking any chances! Now Lady knows how I feel when I have my spots and I am all itchy. I think she will be much more sympathetic next time. After all, I am just a little dog!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Adoption Day!

Two years ago today, Lady brought me home to live with her. Because she does not know my birthday, we celebrate my adoption day with a party. My closest humans friends came, about 25 in all. Lady baked many treats, and planned some games. Before they could play the bone toss game, they had to give me a bone! The humans tried to guess my weight and my length. I am 37 inches long from the tip of my nose to the end of my tail. I weigh 9 kgs! Linda guessed correctly! Some of my guests brought me cards and gifts. I've alread begun to love the stuffing out of a doggie that Little Girl brought me. Man and Mom brought me sausages!! Lady saved them for later. I tasted so many treats. The kids all lined up and held a treat out for me to see who could get me to go to them. I ran straight for Betty but then ate the others' treats as well! When the adults played, I ran to Judy, Betty's mom. I love them because I stay with them sometimes!
I am so thankful to have such kind friends here. Lady is, too. Every day she tells God "thank you" for me (and her friends), and tells me that she loves me. I know. I can tell. And best I can, I tell Lady that I love her. I wag my tail, I lick her face, and I stick close to her side whenever she's in the house. I see that she gets exercise, and I make sure she wakes up early in the morning.
Below, you can see some photos from my party. I'm going to bed. After all, I am just a little dog and I need my rest!

Joe and Claude came, too! Posted by Picasa

Lady made many treats for my party. We had garlic and cheese bites, peanut butter biscuits shaped like bones, banana biscotti, and cupcakes for the humans. My cake had beef baby food in it and beef jerky. Delicious. Lady got all the recipes off the internet. We also had carrots and dip because I love them. Of course we had peanuts and sunflower seeds.  Posted by Picasa

Lady was trying to take my picture with my delicious meat flavored cake, but Jeremiah wanted his picture made. He brought me a rubber toy. I like it because it makes noise and I can chew on it. Posted by Picasa

Linda and Kaylee came, as well as my new friend, Anna, from Denmark. I am chewing a bone from the bone toss game. Posted by Picasa

Jerry brought me cute gift. We just found out his wife is having twins! In China that is a double blessing. Posted by Picasa

As the good host that I am, I enthusiastically greeted each of my guests. Somtimes I go stay with Belle for a vacation, so I really love her. Posted by Picasa

I'm pooped! Everybody's gone home. Today is my Adoption Day. So many of my human friends came! We had English Corner in my home. I even received some cool gifts! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Marley & Me

Have you read this book yet, Marley & Me? It's not about me! John Grogan tells the story of life with another Marley, a yellow Labrador retriever. The author states that his Marley is "the world's worst dog," but actually, Marley was a lot like me. And Lady tells me daily that I am a good boy, so he couldn't have been that bad. Lady just finished the book. I snuggled up against her on the bed or on the sofa as she read. She woke me up with her laughing, then sniffling, then laughing again, and her crying. I licked her tears. She hugged me and told me again and again how much she loved me. She considers me a gift from God. I like to hear the story.
One day, Lady was talking to God about being lonely living by herself here in China. She was new to the neighborhood and hadn't made any friends yet. She was just getting used to this new city. She didn't relish going home to an empty apartment. She missed her beloved Chelsea, a hyper doberman pinscher. She missed the companionship and the warm welcome she'd receive when she returned home. But she had a house and a yard in those days. Her apartment here was no place for a large dog, so she told God she'd like to have the closest thing, a black and tan dachshund. Lady had no idea how rare black and tan dachshunds were in this area.
About a week later, a friend called to tell her about a little dog who needed a home. Guess who? Lady asked her friend what kind of dog it was. When she found out it was a dachshund, she held her breath after asking what color. You guessed it! Black and tan! Lady knew it was the little dog for her, but she told them she would pray about it and call back. She thanked God for hearing her need and answering. She tried to contain her joy until she could actually meet the little dog and bring him home.
I belonged to Boy, and lived with him and his parents. House Helper also took care of me. After more than two years, Boy and his parents went back to the states for six months. Helper Girl took care of me. That's why I understand both English and Chinese. I missed my Boy. But he didn't return. Instead, Dad returned to pack up their belongings. They weren't coming back.
The first time I saw Lady, Helper Girl was taking me out to take care of business. Lady was walking up my stairwell. "You must be Marley," she said. She lowered her hand for me to sniff and lick. She tasted good. I let her scratch me behind my ears. I vigorously wagged my tail. After I returned from taking care of business, I came home to find all of my belongings packed up in a paper sack. What's going on? I knew somehting was up because for days my stuff kept disappearing, and Boy was not here. Now this. Soon, Lady had me in a taxi and off we went. She held me firmly and talked to me all the way. She told me the story. So this was my Lady.
After several hours, a bus ride, and another taxi ride, we arrived at my new home. I ran and sniffed every room in the place. I found my water dish. I found my toys. I was home.
It's been two years now.
The other Marley in the book was very big. I am small. He was yellow. I am black. He got into lots and lots of trouble. I get into my share, but every day, Lady tells me what a good boy I am. I think it is wishful thinking. I still shred my stuffed toys and leave the polyester fiberfill all over her floors. When she makes the bed, I unmake it. When she mops the floor, I decorate it with paw prints. I lift my leg on things I shouldn't. Still, she thinks I am wonderful.
Lady is happy to come home now because I always greet her enthusiastically. I keep her company. I introduce her to humans in the neighborhood. I make sure she gets daily exercise. I clean her face every morning. I am a daily reminder that God hears her cries and cares about her. I am a daily reminder that God knows right where she is and what she needs. I know this because she tells me.
While John Grogan's Marley and I have many differences, we are both fiercely loyal to our humans, and greatly loved. You can read about him in Grogan's book, and about me in my blog!

Friday, May 05, 2006

May Holiday

May 1 is International Labor Day. It is a national holiday in China, and begins a "golden week" in China where students are out of school and most workers have 7 days holiday. Trains, planes, buses, and cars are loaded with Chinese traveling to spots of interest or visiting family. Lady has the week off from school. We need to rest up from our vacations! Prices are higher during this time, and public transportation is SO crowded!
Now that I am back from my vacation I can post some photos from some of our Easter activities. We were very busy! Five friends came from GA to spend Easter with us. The visited all of Lady's classes and English Corners. The students asked them about Easter, so they told them the Story. We had a party at my house for children. We have one every Christmas and Easter for neighbors and Lady's friends. The children love to come to Lady's house for one of our parties. Some grown-ups came, too. Before Lady started explaining these holidays to them these children had no clue what they were all about. They didn't know that God loves them so much. But now, some of the children can answer Lady's questions about who Jesus is. They have been listening! We want them to know that Jesus loves them very much.
Next week is my Adoption Day Party! I will have been with Lady two years. She doesn't know when my birthday is, so we have a party on my Adoption Day, May 10. We invite my closest friends to come play with me and eat treats. I'll have Lady take some photos and post them for you. I can't believe it has been two years! I've been a busy little dog!

Each of the visitors took a group of Lady's students and shared with them the meaning of the holiday. They shared about their lives and their families. The students were so excited to get to talk with native speakers. Many had never heard the Story before.  Posted by Picasa

These are some friends' kids and some of our neighbors. They came to my house for our annual Kids' Easter Party. Some American friends from GA helped Lady give the parties. These children listen while Lady tells the Easter Story. If we don't tell them, how will they know?  Posted by Picasa

My little friend Jeremiah loves to hunt eggs! He found a lot of eggs with candy inside!  Posted by Picasa

Outside, the children had fun with the egg race, and the Easter egg hunt. I went on my own hunt and found the dog treats one of the visitors had brought for me. By the time Lady returned I had pulled the tablecloth enough to topple my basket from the table and had eaten every treat.  Posted by Picasa

At the Children's Easter Party, one of the visitors from GA helped the children decorate eggs. Our house was full of kids doing different activities. Some were making baskets, some decorated cookies, but all listened intently to lady tell the Easter Story. I love story time, and I was still and quiet so the children and their parents could listen to Lady explain the meaning of Easter. Mostly, I retreated underneath the coffee table so I wouldn't get stepped on. Posted by Picasa

On Easter morning, some of Lady's students went with the American visitors to the local church service. This was their first time. They had dual language Bibles to read and try to understand the message of Easter. I was allowed to go. Posted by Picasa