UPCYCLED CERAMICS: Yingge Ceramics Museum 2014 (Part 2)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week, I posted part 1 of our trip to the Yingge Ceramics Museum. I wanted to do a separate post for the upcycled ceramics because it was so fascinating. I was afraid if I tried to put everything in one post, it would be way too long. This upcycled stuff is awesome, and I didn’t want anyone to miss out by cramming it in with a lot of other stuff.

If you’re not familiar with upcycling, it involves taking an item–whether it be a piece of clothing or furniture, or some other item that   Here is a link to a blog post about someone who upcycled a couple headboards to make a Mickey Mouse bench. And if you’d like to see another sample, check out this blog post with an upcycled tire clock. I really like how a used item and a few supplies and some creativity creates something much more artistic and sophisticated than the sum of its parts.

The closest I come to upcycling is when I salvaging cotton fabric from outdated clothing for use in my quilting projects. I am fascinated to read about how fellow quilters make use of their scraps, unrealized ideas, and “mistakes” to create new ideas and projects. However, until last week’s trip to the third floor of the Yingge Ceramic Museum, I had never thought about the “scraps and mistakes” that ceramicists have to deal with. They can actually have things break, shatter beyond repair. As we wandered through the exhibit, I was fascinated how these artists have found ways to incorporate these bits of “scrap” ceramics to upscale their designs and take them to new levels.

I have a few closeups of some of these seven upcycled pieces, but first, I’ll show you the view of the whole display. It looks like they are on a shiny reflective surface, but actually what you are seeing is water. The inner surface of this case is black, and so it looks like these objects are on a black reflective surface until you look closer and realize they look like they are floating in the water. 10403199_800296353325751_4825507233357346044_n

In between each of the main pieces, you will notice that there are plates positioned around the edge of the display tank. These plates are broken or have some defect, which is then altered by adding a piece from another broken dish. The effect is quite amazing.

Here are two of them closer up.


It’s hard to do justice with a camera phone, but you get the idea. All these scraps and broken pieces of pottery used to create stunning displays that focus on characters who have striking detail. Now for some closer views of the individual pieces.





There is so much detail in this one. It’s hard to take it all in. You can see some of the imperfections in the plate that is in this photo, but it’s still beautiful.




I particularly like the way these figures seem to be moving.



I hope you enjoyed the exhibit. It made me think a lot about recycling and upcycling, particularly for artists and their materials.

Have you done any upcycling? Or been the recipient of someone’s upcycling efforts?

I’ll have one more part of the exhibit to show you in another post.

Thanks for stopping by!

10 Extra Conveniences at Convenience Stores in Taiwan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I first came to Taiwan in 2009, I felt somewhat secure about being able to find basic necessities when I noticed all the 7-11’s here. In fact, there are a LOT of 7-11’s here.  In fact, Taiwan was the highest density of convenience stores in the world. In addition to 7-11, there are three other chains:  Hi-Life, OK, and Family Mart.

Now just to give you an idea of how many stores there are, a bus ride from downtown to the bus stop near my apartment takes about 20 minutes. Looking out the windows during that bus ride, I counted 23 convenience stores. They’re almost everywhere!

On my first morning waking up in Taiwan, I only had to walk half a block from the room I was staying to an OK convenience store on the corner, where I got one of the standards we expect from a convenience store–a nice cup of coffee. As that was all I had money for at the time — I was changing my money over later that day, I didn’t really notice anything too different about what the store carried compared to convenience stores in the US, with the main difference being things were in a language I didn’t understand. However, in Taiwan, some things are in English as well as Chinese.

Now that I’ve been in Taiwan for five years, I am amazed at what can be accomplished at a convenience store. Even when I think I’ve heard just about everything, someone will tell me about another thing that can be done at one of these stores. So I thought it would be fun to give you a list of ten things that make Taiwan convenience stores REALLY convenient. In addition, almost all of them are open 24 hours.

  1. When I wanted to get tickets for this year’s Shen Yun performance in Taiwan (Chinese traditional dance)  in March, I went to our local convenience store (on the same block that we live). I used their electronic kiosk system called IBON to access the theater seating chart, typed in the two seats I wanted, and printed the seat numbers. I took it to the clerk and paid for the seats. She then printed the tickets and handed them to me in an envelope, all set for the night of the performance. I’ve also purchased train tickets that way.
  2. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you park a car on the street in Taiwan, their are traffic people who go around with an electronic gizmo that allows them to put in the license plate and print a ticket with the parking fee printed on it. Since parking is paid by the half hour, the ticket might be replaced later by a larger fee if you are there for a longer period of time. When you get back to your car, you take the slip from the windshield and treat it as a bill, which can be paid — AT ANY CONVENIENCE STORE.
  3. Utility bills (electricity, gas, water), as well as bills for cell phones and internet can be paid at any convenience store, as long as you pay before the due date. If you are late, you have to go directly to the utility office to pay. It only takes one time of forgetting to pay attention to due dates.  haha.
  4. Convenience stores are a collection spot for dead batteries. You save up batteries and just take them with you when you go to the convenience store.
  5. Most convenience stores have ATMs. You may not think that’s such a big deal. But ATMs in Taiwan are something else again. Not only can you withdraw funds and check your balance. You can pay people if you have their bank account numbers. Now before you get all crazy, you can’t take money FROM people, but you can deposit money INTO their accounts. So, for example, when we go to pay our utility bills, we can also use the ATM to transfer money from our account to our landlord’s account and pay the rent. And you get a receipt. I’ve had people transfer money to me that way, too. It’s pretty awesome!
  6. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor Chinese New Year, it’s customary to bring gifts when you go to people’s homes. The convenience stores provide a wide variety of such gifts. In addition, you can order meals for the Chinese New Year holiday (and Moon Festival as well). You order and pay in advance. Then you come in the day of your reservation and pick up your food. For Mother’s Day, you can do something similar with cakes. Pre-order and then pick up that weekend. (SEE NOTE BELOW!)
  7. Dry Cleaning. I kid you not. Take your laundry to your local convenience store, and return a day or two later and pick up your clean clothes.
  8. If you order something from an online vendor or an online auction, you can have it delivered to your local 7-11. You don’t have to do any money transaction online–you pay when you pick up your item at 7-11.
  9. Many convenience stores can provide photocopy service, as well as faxes and photo development.
  10. Top off your Easy Pay Card. (I will do a post about this card in my next Taiwan post, but there is a link for those who don’t want to wait.)

There you have it! Real convenience. However, you have to go to an actual lottery outlet to buy lottery tickets, but since I don’t buy lottery tickets at convenience stores in the US, I don’t notice that lack of opportunity. I have not taken advantage of all the services listed above, but I may try a few more in the next year. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Taiwanese convenience stores. One last peek: here is a YouTube video about 7-11 in Taiwan.


NOTE:  In Taiwan, Mother’s Day is celebrated the same day as it is in the US, but Father’s Day is celebrated on August 8. It has to do with the Chinese word for father and the Chinese word for eight.  August 8 = 8/8.  Eight in Chinese is ba.  And ba ba (8/8) is father. I don’t get the tones in Chinese, so if I have this language stuff wrong, someone can correct me in the comments.  😉



At the beginning of July, I posted about a Summer Mystery Quilt Challenge that I started in June. As I wrote earlier this month,

Step 1 (given on June 1) was all about cutting different widths of strips from these four fabrics. From the fifth fabric, we were to cut thirty-one 6 1/2″ squares. These cuttings were then placed in a series of 4 zipper plastic bags according to the instructions. I’ve seen July’s clue for Step 2, which is to start sewing. And I have until August 1 to get it done. YAY! This is a challenge that I can handle.

mystery quilt fabricThe fabric on the far right is the one from which I cut the thirty-one 6 1/2″ squares. That happened during the CLUE 1 cutting phase (the June clue).  CLUE 2 (the July clue) involved taking 3 1/2″ strips of the fabrics 3rd and 4th from the left (the black an the black print) and sewing them together, cutting them into segments, and reassembling them into another kind of 6 1/2″ block.

I had three 3 1/2″ wide strips of each of those two fabrics. By the time, they were sewn, cut and assembled, I had 18 4-patch blocks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband is experimenting with a camera that he inherited from a friend. That and he was using artificial light, so the colors aren’t quite lining up with what you see in the previous picture, but you get an idea of how the four-patch blocks look. While you see four of them here, the quilt that I am making for the Summer Mystery Quilt needs 16 of these blocks. Which means I have two blocks left over that I can use for some kind of fun project with other scraps and leftovers from other projects. As long as I had enough fabric to make a couple extra blocks, why not?

These blocks were completed last Sunday (July 20). I can’t wait for CLUE 3, which is coming Friday, August 1. I’m intrigued about what kind of block I’m going to be constructing next. Then, one more month to go for CLUE 4 (September 1), which will give directions about assembling the quilt top. I’ll be keeping you updated as it continues.

Thanks to Abigail Dolinger at Aby Quilts for providing this quilt-along challenge. The pace is not difficult, so if you are interested, you could manage to catch up with us.

An Alternate Route to the Construction Site (Building Rome)

Sm Steve n Menu at DebbiesBuilding Rome is a mini-challenge hosted by Bradley at Green Embers. Participants set weekly goals, then report in the next week, and cheer each other on along the way. You might want to join in the fun.

I’ve come up with a general format for these: (1) Report my progress for the previous week; (2) Provide commentary that explains shifts in progress and understanding and future goals–with the hope it doesn’t bore you to tears; and 3) the goals for the upcoming week. Then, me being me, I added a final note at the end.  It seems to work. Preparing these posts really gets me focused for the time ahead.



1. Complete 18 one-hour blocks. The tasks for those blocks include:  Only completed about 6 blocks during the week.

  • editing project (3 sections) — COMPLETED
  • writing project (finalize template, begin introductory material) MINOR PROGRESS (need more)
  • complete a project spreadsheet (PRIORITY) NO
  • preparing for fall classes — type notes for two lessons NO
  • Writing 201 — read post, choose piece for revision, and spend at least 2 hours on said revision  NO

2. Maintain walking three times this week (in spite of the heat).  DID THIS FIVE TIMES

3. Start piecing possible designs for quilted postcards. NO

4. Visit more of my fellow builders and comment on their posts. I visited everyone. I left some comments.

5. Make a plan for my blog. I gave some serious thought to this and have a general idea. Will pursue it more this week. However, extra points for posting every day last week!

6. Catch up on my unanswered comments. Made some progress. Need more.


I love Bradley’s theme for this week: SETBACKS ARE NOT ROADBLOCKS! Truer words were never spoken. It’s so easy to use setbacks as an excuse to stop moving forward. As some of you know, I didn’t have a great week, and it shows in my unfinished business above. But I am gradually becoming more and more like my normal self, and I expect this week to be better. In addition, I’m still pleased with the fact that I still made some progress in many areas. Plus, I did something that wasn’t on the list. I read a book! I can’t tell you the last time I read a book just for the enjoyment of reading. So that’s a bonus. I think it’s something we should remember in our reports–that sometimes things we didn’t think of when we were planning come up. If we take care of those things, or if we accomplish something that wasn’t on the list, it’s still an accomplishment. So it’s good to report the extras too.  🙂 

For example, I had three! unexpected social events this week. In other words, none of them were planned when I set my plan for the week. They were real opportunities — and with my current moods, it really made sense to embrace the opportunities rather than stay holed up at home trying to meet goals for the sake of goals, while ignoring relationships. So on Friday, I went to the ceramic museum with two friends. On Saturday, we attended a good-bye dinner for my colleague, Steve. (That’s Steve in the thumbnail above.) That evening, another colleague came to spend the night, and we spent Sunday morning together, before she headed back to Taipei. Those three events may have done more to help my spirits start returning to a normal level than any amount of work I might have gotten done.

My last bit of news has to do with a couple of meetings today that have the potential to change my life dramatically. This is particularly significant in light of the fact that I’m planning to return to the US in a year or so. The meetings have helped me think of alternative ways of meeting my objectives. I have a new perspective on a couple of things, and I have someone who wants to collaborate with me on a new research project. Doing something with a collaborator is going to be an added impetus to get it done.

So there are some adjustments to my to-do list for this week. Some things that didn’t happen last week will indeed carry through, but I’m going to step back a bit and do some longer range planning so that my goals in future weeks are more in line with this new perspective.



1. Complete 18 12 one-hour blocks. The tasks for those blocks include:

  • editing project (3 sections)
  • writing project (finalize template, begin introductory material)
  • complete a project spreadsheet (PRIORITY)
  • write an abstract draft and other preliminary materials for new research project
  • make a rough schedule for the coming year — determine which projects are really the priority in order to set appropriate course for return to US

2. Maintain walking three times this week (in spite of the heat).

3. Start piecing possible designs for quilted postcards.

4. Visit more of my fellow builders and comment on their posts.

5. Make a plan for my blog.

6. Catch up on my unanswered comments.

As I made the new list, I realized not that much really changes. I cut down the number of one-hour blocks, and make them more focused to leave other time for the other things that I want to pursue (quilting, blogging, and decluttering). It turns out the non-work items (#2-6) really don’t change much at all. I’m just focusing the “work” time differently. It will be interesting to see what next week’s goals look like after I spend some time this week looking at the big picture.

Good luck to everyone on meeting your goals this week!


This post is part of the Building Rome Project. http://greenembe.rs/2014/07/28/building-rome-week-31-setbacks-are-not-roadblocks/

WARNING!: I joined the Cartoon Craziness Challenge! Enter at Your Own Risk!


OK, it’s week 3 of the Cartoon Craziness Challenge. I’ve watched from a far, intrigued but terrified of exposing my nearly non-existent drawing abilities. I tried to put something together for weeks 1 and 2, but my attempts ended up in the recycle bin. But with this weeks theme of superheroes–and a few pushes and prods from a few people (You know who you are!), I am jumping in this week. Against my better judgment.  😉


drawing by j. mack

I suspect that I’m trying too hard. At the same time, I suspect I need to spend some regular time practicing specific features so that I don’t feel like I have to try to hard. If I could learn to draw a few basic eyes and mouths, maybe I would not shudder when I look at my efforts.

The superhero I drew is based very loosely on Wonder Woman, not because I’m particularly fond of Wonder Woman exactly, but because that was just the pattern I decided to try to model from. Although you will see limited resemblance to the model, here is what I started with.

When I drew my superhero, her mouth is way too large for her face, but it was already my fourth attempt, so I decided to hide it on the scanner. But then, my husband found it and saved the file, and here we are. So, without further ado, I introduce to you LATTE WOMAN!



She needs only coffee to help her accomplish amazing things! (Notice her logo on her forehead–or don’t!  haha!) Maybe I’ll try extra coffee if when I join in next time. The good news is I didn’t get as frustrated this week, so maybe this will actually get to be fun.   🙂

Thanks to Mental Mama and Indecisive Eejit for hosting this challenge.



This post is part of Cartoon Craziness Challenge: http://theindecisiveeejit.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/cartoon-craziness-challenge-week-3/

A question of balance?

Your Friday prompt for Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness post is, end your post with a question. Extra points if you fit an exclamation mark somewhere in the body of your post.

newyear's 2010 002A week to pick our own topic. How to get started. What will I write about? I could write about the fact that this week hasn’t gone according to plan. It hasn’t been a bad week, unless you judge it solely on how much of my weekly list got accomplished. However, there is more to life than a to-do list. I know that. Still, I’d like to be closer to catching up.

On the other hand, today and nearly every day this coming week has social events scheduled. Not my choice, yet they are all important, and they are all time sensitive. In other words, they can’t be put off.

If I had a third hand, I’d be focusing some time on the big picture and what is really reasonable to have on a to-do list over the next 7 weeks. Maybe I should choose just a few significant things (however I decide to define that), and allow lots of down time to do things I find relaxing and rewarding, like more quilting and other creative endeavors.

I realize as I am writing this, that the cloud of apathy that has been my constant companion for a while now might possibly be dissipating. Even if it’s just beginning, that would be great news. It also means that once again, SofCS has helped me make a realization that breaks down the “logjams” that exist in my head (and in my physical environment). Writing is amazing!

So, now I’m thinking that it’s time for a fourth hand that would take a day away from the expected and do some writing and exploring of all the things floating around in my head. In that way, I may discover a fifth hand that I hadn’t thought of. After all, I can let my subconscious mull all of this stuff over for a couple of days, and then see what nuggets of insight it will provide if I just take the time to write and listen to it.

So, I’m taking comments and suggestions. I suspect I know how this will go, but I’ll ask anyway. If you were in my situation, what would you do?


This post is part of SofCS: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-2514/

Yingge Ceramics Museum 2014 Visit: Part 1

10357197_800301846658535_124676647032877771_nAs mentioned yesterday, today I went to the Yingge Ceramics Museum.  (The link will take you to the English version of their website. I met Rena and Matthew (see left) at the Taoyuan train station this morning to catch a 9:25 train to Yingge, the next station north as you’re headed to Taipei. We were on the train less than ten minutes. Right outside the station, we hailed a taxi for a short ride to the museum.

The first two floors of the museum have permanent exhibits that show the history of ceramics in Taiwan. The different fuels, different kinds of kilns, and samples of various kinds of pottery. You can walk right into a model of a kiln to see where everything fits and how the cars move on the rails through it. You can see a large wagon filled with ceramic wares that would be transported to various markets. There are video displays that explain things in detail.  You can also check out an audio set (in Chinese or English). Then as you walk through the museum, many of the cases and displays indicate the number for the audio explanation of that item or section. You punch it in on a phone pad and hold it up to your ear and can learn about all kinds of interesting facts.

I think that my favorite part of the first two floors is the section  of two facing walls that has a series of tiles showing samples of the various ways they add decorative elements to clay. Next time I go, I’ll have to get a picture of those walls. But what I do have pictures of items from the third floor. The third floor has special exhibitions that rotate. So this floor was totally different from my last visit. It featured items related to 3-D imaging and copying, and the way technology is advancing ceramics into new areas. I learned in another area that ceramics can be used as semiconductors, chips, and other electronic components.

But the place where I really had a lot of fun was the part of the exhibit that shows what artists and ceramicists are doing in terms of the environment, especially with upcycling ceramics. Today, I’ll show you the arrangement that is behind Rena and Matthew above. I’ll also show you a few photos of work that is a ceramic version of origami. Next time, I’ll show you my favorites of the upcycling collection.

10561644_800295856659134_8912544092664874026_nI love how the leg of this table is a stack of coffee mugs. There are many little lamps with cups as the “shades.” Not seen in this photo are plates made into clocks.  Below is another view with yours truly.

10525827_800295839992469_4165168695356585230_nNow you can see one of the clocks made from a ceramic plate (on the far left).


A table of ceramic origami. It’s hard to believe these aren’t paper. They look so incredibly delicate, as you can see better in the close-up below.


And for tonight’s “weird” entry, I give you a ceramic arrangement called simply, “Traditional babies”


OK, and since we were feeling silly, and we didn’t understand this piece at all, we staged an additional dose of silly.


See you next time with some really interesting upcycled stuff. In the meantime, ask yourself, what would you do if you had lots of broken pottery to find a home for?


As an aside, to give you an idea of costs: the train ride was the equivalent of 50 cents US, each way. The taxi ride to and from the museum was about $3 US each way. Admission to the museum was free. So for $9 US, we had a lovely cultural outing.

If We Were Having Coffee: The One That Almost Wasn’t

admin-ajax.phpI haven’t done one of these since the end of June. I almost called this: The July Edition, but I think I do want to get back to doing this on some kind of schedule. So with any luck, there will be one more before the month ends, but no promises. So grab your cup of coffee, tea, or whatever strikes your fancy, and let’s get started.


If we were having coffee,I’d tell you that . . .

. . . today, we finally have our new bedroom air conditioner! It was installed early this afternoon, and it’s already heavenly. I may have to move my computer and sewing machine in there for the duration of the summer. We’ll see.

If we were having coffee,I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I’m frustrated that I haven’t been having coffee with you lately. I would tell you that I have kept hoping I would find some motivation to care about things. I want to feel excited about something. I want to have something to look forward to.  I want to CARE about something, almost anything.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . my blog is about the only activity keeping me connected to people at the moment. It is the only drive I feel, writing something every day, so that I feel that I am accomplishing something in spite of myself. I still get a few other things done, but it is not the whirlwind of productivity I thought I’d be involved in at this point.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I’ve just been invited to go the Yingge Ceramic Museum tomorrow. You can read the blog post from my first trip there in early 2013. I’d rather keep to myself tomorrow, but I think getting out in the world to do something that others consider fun might be good for me. Afterwards, we’re going to a coffee shop to do some zentangling and hanging out. With any luck, there will be photos.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . things will eventually work themselves out, and I’ll be back to feeling like my normal optimistic self, but for now, I’m going to ride this out and look forward to our next coffee.

Finally, if we were having coffee, I’d tell you that . . .

. . . I really appreciate your willingness to have coffee with me even when I’m not all cheery and full of good news. Your friendship means the world to me.

Share Your World: My first session (Week 29 of 2014 for the rest of the world)

Random photo: compliments of my daughter

Random photo: compliments of my daughter

While I’m still trying to figure out what I really want this blog to be, I keep experimenting with different things. Today, I thought I’d try the Share Your World, hosted by Cee’s Photography. Each week, 4 questions are posted, and you just answer them. And since the questions are totally random, it fits right in with my current blog “untheme.”  And by the way, for those of you who like photography, Cee’s Photography also has several photography challenges you might want to check out.

When I started blogging, I didn’t do a lot of challenges, but I’ve picked up a few along the way. I’ve noticed that Sheena Not a Punk Rocker might be responsible for roping me into many of them. She writes such cool posts, and then I think — hey I should do that. Go check out her blog, she’s got lots of cool RANDOM stuff. I really like random! And if you like the random photo on the left, you might want to check out my daughter’s blog, Sincerely Kate and see what else she’s up to.

So, I’m going to jump in right here with this week’s questions and see where they take me.

Share Your World – 2014 Week 29

Have you ever been in a submarine?  If you haven’t, would you want to?

BecunaIn the early 90s, I was in Philadelphia with my two oldest sons. We were visiting our friend, Sue. One of the things we did while in Philadelphia was to go to the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing. While there, we had the chance to tour the Becuna (SS-319), a submarine built in New London, CT. It was launched in 1944 and was involved in WWII missions. It was involved in surveillance after the war. It was decommissioned in 1969, and is now in the museum in Philadelphia. My oldest son love American history, and at that time, he was fascinated by WWII, so this was a natural stop.

So yes, I was in a submarine, but not in one that was submerged. I’m sure modern submarines have a little more space inside than the Becuna did. I admire anyone who actually works in space like that, even if it’s just standing still and you can come up for air. I can’t imagine being in that confined space for days or weeks on end.

On the other hand, I would say that if I were just going as a “passenger” and could read or write or knit on my own schedule, I might be interested in going to sea for a few days. There I said it.  But I don’t think I’d want to do longer than 3-4 days.

Are you a listener or talker?

This definitely depends on the situation. As a teacher, I have to do a lot of both. I am accustomed to people coming to see me when they need to talk, so I guess I’m perceived by some as a listener. I do find there are times when I’m overwhelmed with stuff, and I just talk and talk and talk. I try to watch how much I do that or who the audience is, because I tend to be a little too self-revealing at times. I’ve made a point of getting better about that. Now when I’m thinking about revealing something, I’ll check in with someone I trust before spouting off. But in terms of the general give and take of conversation, I know some people who also do both listening and talking, so I think it works out most of the time.

I have to say though, that my preference is to do less talking. I like that I can communicate with people through online messaging of various kinds. I’d much rather email or message someone rather than call them. It’s funny because it wasn’t always like that. I used to talk a fair amount on the phone, but no more.

Do you prefer crunchy peanut butter or smooth peanut butter?   Anything with your peanut butter?

Crunchy. Extra crunchy even! At least two companies make it. It’s awesome! I like mine on home-made wheat toast for breakfast.  Thanks, Dave!  ❤

Oh, but you can build fudge around my peanut butter anytime, with or without chocolate involved.

Have you ever been drunk?

No. I was willing to try it once. In my early 20s, I was staying somewhere for New Year’s Eve, and thought, let’s see what all the hoopla is about. But halfway through my second drink, I just felt fuzzy and uncomfortable. It didn’t seem like anything I want to go any further with. So I stopped, and that was that.

Fast-forward 20 years, and a friend (hi, Sue!) went barhopping on foot in the small town I lived in at the time. I had two drinks, and supplemented with Sprite. I had a good time, but again, it just felt like something I didn’t want to go further with. It’s not that I never drink, but I do it rather infrequently.

One more thing. Friends who know me well know that I can be just as much fun as the next person at a gathering even if I don’t drink alcohol. A few of my friends know to just give me a Coke, and I’m in having a good time right along with the rest of them. haha



SO, what you think? Is this the kind of post you’d like to see from me? Should I put it into the rotation? Tell me what you think in the comments.  🙂



The Musical Garbage Trucks of Taiwan

taiwan-mapI’ve lived in many cities in the US, but trash collection is pretty much the same. You find out what your collection day is (which day of the week), and on that day of the week, you take your trash out to the curb to be collected sometime during that day by the trash trucks.

When I first came to Taiwan, I lived in an apartment, where we took our trash to the basement of the complex and sorted it into assorted bins and containers. I had to have a student go downstairs with me and help me translate the Chinese signs, so that I knew where glass, plastic, and paper went. You would think that I could tell by what was already in the containers, but not so much. Some of the tenants weren’t very good about sorting their trash. But there were a couple of women who went and sorted and packaged up the trash from the basement and met the trash truck each day. Also, three nights a week, a second truck comes behind the garbage truck. It’s a white recycling truck. It doesn’t have music, but it has a spoken message. (It’s in Chinese, so I don’t know what it says.)

During my second year in Taiwan, I moved to another apartment where each tenant takes out their own trash and deposits it into the trucks. Six nights a week — at approximately 6:50, the trash truck comes right to the front of our apartment complex. Sometimes, it’s a tad later, but by 7:10, it’s been here to collect our trash. The trash trucks announce themselves with music. That’s your signal to head downstairs.

I should warn you about the music. It’s a certain kind of music that lasts for a certain duration and then can loop endlessly as the truck drives through the city, announcing its arrival to those who want to deposit trash. There are two main songs that are used — the one in the video below and —


the other one below. Let’s just say Beethoven would not be happy.



Taking trash out in Taiwan is much different from anywhere else I’ve lived, but this has been an easy adjustment to make. We don’t have to remember when trash day is. We can choose the trash day we want. It’s so convenient.  It’s easy. It’s especially easy because my husband has taken over taking out the trash. ❤

I hope you enjoyed this little piece of Taiwan trivia.