Twelve Months. Twelve Days. Twelve Moments.

To wrap up my year, I decided to choose one picture from each month of my phone’s 2015 camera roll.  When I actually sat down to do it, it wasn’t so easy.  Do you choose your favorite picture, or a picture of your favorite day, or a shot of something you still laugh about now, months later?   And it’s different choosing a picture now versus what I may have chosen months ago.  Our memories change.  Our emotions change.

These twelve pictures were clicks on my phone.  So fast.  They were simple and memorable and perfect in their own way.  That’s what moments are.  They add up to the hours of our days, and the days of our months and years.  Sartre compared moments to little diamonds.  Aren’t they though?  Some small, some big, some you’ll never have … some brilliant, some rough, all perfect in their own way.

It’s good to look back as we set intentions for the new year.  There are important people and important things that happen in our lives every single day.  It is about those big goals we set in front of us, and it’s about the little things too.  The lovely perfect and not-so-perfect things.  It is about the things we looked forward to, and those we never intended on, never planned on, never knew would come.  It is about the every day, and how we live each moment.


“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“What does?”
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason


“If the whole world I once could see
On free soil stand, with the people free
Then to the moment might I say,
Linger awhile. . .so fair thou art.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

The Big One

Last year, I started to get emails from a wonderful woman named Suzie.  She had lots of questions about getting her cat here and I was happy to help.  Her husband would be in Shenyang on a contract with an aviation firm.  Once Suzie moved here, we became friends.  We watched each others’ cats.  We talked and shared.  I got to know her children.  Then the contract ended after only 9 months and they were faced with a lot of decisions.  Such is the life of an expat.

One of those big decisions was about their cat, Humphrey.  Her husband had a line on a job in England, but it was another short-term contract.  She was torn about moving her 11-year old furry son to China for 9 months, then England for 6 months, then who knows where?  After much anxiety, Suzie popped the question.  She asked if we would be willing to take care of Humphrey for those 6 months, or 9 months, or longer, depending on their situation.  I said yes, then I asked Tim what he thought.  Then details, details, details, and Humphrey came to stay with us for a transitional period to see how it went.  He’s still here.

There was hissing.  Our 7 pound, 13 year old Daisy wasn’t too happy about waiting such a long time be the Alpha, then have a big ole British Blue move in on her territory.  The 10 pound, 12 year old Bandit just wanted to be sure the thing wasn’t going to eat his tuna.  And the much bigger, 11 year old Humphrey had never lived with other pets before.  So there was more hissing.

It’s been a couple of months now.  Daisy still doesn’t like him, and Humphrey isn’t sure what to make of her.  But he and Bandit are buddies.  The “wake the humans up at 5 in the morning, eat some tuna then go to sleep” buddies.  Suzie was true to her word when she said Humphrey prefers women.  Tim might get to pet him once a day.  But he loves me, even takes a shift sleeping under the covers when we go to bed.  Cutie.

So why “The Big One”?  Our other two cats, Daisy and Bandit, have names that can be translated.  Chújú (雏菊) and Tǔfěi (土匪) were the names given to them by our driver, Pan.  So what do we do with a given name like Humphrey?  It was difficult for him to pronounce and he didn’t understand.  So we decided on Da de, big one.  And the name fits.

Welcome to The Next Adventure, Humphrey!