Reading People

I don’t know what smell was more alluring, the smell of old books or the red peppers. It was a hole in the wall Thai book noodle shop in Ayatthaya, Thailand. The eighty cent train ride from Bangkok transported me back in time to the land of ancient temples and cheesy paperbacks. I browsed the browning pages while waiting for […]


  So, between my semi-annual my-body’s falling-apart check upand street-food crawl in Bangkok, I stopped at a café for a cup of WiFi when I started talking with a guy named James. He has your typical ex-pat bio. James is a former country dancer employed by a high-tech business in Portland but he’s working at the India branch. Like I […]

And So the Red Tape Rolls

I have a legendary story about how I got my first job in advertising. I wrote a letter seeking advice regarding what to do with foam rubber sumo wrestler. I hoped that my letter–or at least picture of this monstrosity– would lead to an interview. It didn’t. The letter lead to a job offer at an agency bigger than wrestler’s […]

Are you there, Cortana?

            A coworker was telling me about a friend who works for Microsoft. This guy’s job is to fine tune how Cortana works. You know, that annoying voice that greets you when you power up your laptop, asking if you want to add anything to your grocery list. His s job is to actually listen […]

Chinese Costco

The rumors are true. There is a  Costco store in China. The bummer is, the store in online, meaning no free samples of  pigs in the blanket in the frozen aisle. I mean, without samples, what’s the point of Costco? But in the quaint village Kunming,  (population approaching seven million), there is Metro. It’s a German version of the popular […]

Dang Zhang Lang!

Nothing says you’re in china like a cockroach in your refrigerator. So I sublet an apartment in Kunming from a young Canadian with slightly bad hygiene. (The locals really didn’t notice. All westerners stink to them). But this guy looked like he needed a shower right after he toweled off, the smell of BO reminiscent of a high school locker room. […]

Zhunk Food

It’s Dragon Day festival in China,  another holiday that revolves around food. Lots of it. These are called zhongzi (pronounced jong-gee) a pyramid shaped package of rice and sweet fruit filling–at least I think it’s fruit–with a few good size seeds. You can crack a tooth on one of them if you’re not careful. You can’t buy zhongi from a […]

Twice as bright, half as long

It was even too twisted for a Stephen King novel. I got the text from my husband and the waves of pain from southern California hit Kunming China like a tsunami. A friend lost his second son in eighteen months. To make the nightmare even worse,  both deaths were the result of suicide. The second son,   like his brother, pried open […]

Magic Mountain

I knew it was going to be a serious hike when a leathery vendor tried to sell me a canister of oxygen. “No thanks, ” I said, wondering if she knew something that I didn’t. It’s Jiao Zi  (pronounced like “wowza”) Mountain.  It’s forty two hundred meters  high, a century back in time and a two hour drive outside of Kunming. […]