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Friday, September 30, 2011

Mums Are Coming

A View From the Side
This is the time of year where mums are out on display in all sorts of colors! There are so many varieties of pink, orange, red, and yellow colors at the market. I picked up two pots the three tones ones for my garden

Gorgeous Pink Mum
When there are so many different ones to choose from, it is a difficult decision since I can't say which color I like best. Somehow, pink seems to have a softer touch and feel to them.

Side By Side

Mums love the cooler weather, and my flowers have begun to bloom. We all so have lot of rain these last few weeks, and I hope that the mums wouldn't freeze up before their time.

Joining Weekend FlowersPink Saturday, I Heart Macro, and Today Flowers!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

X Is For Xenophobia

One of the young men that frequently visited our house had a very bad case of xenophobia (means: an intense fear or dislike of foreign people, their customs and culture, or foreign things). He could be absolutely normal at time, but if there was a strange sound, or strange people entering, he freaked out, and hid under the dining table.

A middle-aged Vietnamese couple took him in and gave him a sense of normalcy in which he understood the language and the cultural. They slowly introduced him to our little group, and encouraged him to participate in all the meetings. He didn't talk much when he first came to our house, and no one really paid attention to him either.


It was at Christmas time that we all found out he had fear of sound and strange people/things. We watched him ran under the table and shook like a tree branch in strong wind when the champagne cord popped. It was a hysterical scene, and some couldn't stop from bursting out laughing.

When I looked under the table, this young man was in a fetus position, and his eyes shut so tight that you could see all the lines on his forehead. The couples explained to us why he behaved that way. He was traumatized by the noises of guns and explosions during his escape to the USA.


Understanding his fear helped everyone with their compassion toward this young man, who later was welcomed with open arms in our family. He had a sweet manner, and quiet personality. Although his fear brought on many unfortunate mishaps, such as the loss of jobs after jobs, or the ability to live on his own, he carried on, and kept trying.

We all had a phobia of some sorts, but the only different was: one could handle them better than the others. The dramatic exit of the first group of "boat people" brought on international attention, and we were among these people. We were in the first wave of "boat people"...

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red and Pink Double Decker Zinnia

Amanda at SelfSagacity sent me her seeds for this double-decker zinnia flower. I planted them later in the year than before. The first round was unsuccessful, and nothing grew since the weather was still too cold in June, and there was barely any sun light.

I tried again to plant it in July, and it took off beautifully. The first layer of petals was all pink as you can see in the photo. It was a wonderful surprise to see the second layer of petals forming, and they started out with creamy color, which later turned completely red.


I had no idea how this happened, but I enjoy watching their transformation. Nature sure has a way to provide us with amazing things, and keeps us ponder.

Participating in Macro MondayMellow Yellow, and Ruby Tuesday!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Starburst Zinnia Flowers


Zinnia flowers are the easiest ones to grow. They are resilient, easy to care for, tolerate full afternoon sun, and have long lasting flowers. Since the weather was a bit on the strange side, my zinnia flowers turned out different too.


The petals on these pink zinnia flowers didn't open all the way, instead they like starbursts to me. One thing for sure though, I love the different shades of pink from this year blooms.


Very few zinnias that I grew in this same pot open all the way. The petals remained unfolded and pointy at the end. In different angles, they all look as though they have a star shape, which were unique and special. I'm going to keep the seeds any way for next year, and see what would happen.

Joining Weekend FlowersPink Saturday, I Heart Macro, and Today Flowers!

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Smarter Choice With Straight Talk

This post brought to you by Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you ever make a mistake of dialing 411 on your phone, you will see a charge in your bill at $4.99 per minute at the end of the month. It could be one of those unfortunate accidents, or mistaking 411 for 611. It happens even to the most careful person.

If you have Straight Talk though, 411 calls are free, no extra charge. No other mobile phone carriers could beat the price of Straight Talk. For only $45 dollars a month, you will get unlimited calls, text, picture messages and web! Want to Call a friend, add only another $5 dollars, and you can connect with people around the world.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

W Is For Winter

Father Paul brought a big bag of winter gears for our family since this was our first experience with cold weather. We got to pick out hats, mittens/gloves, coats and boots. Each of us got to keep whatever we wanted or whatever that fitted us. When the first snow came, we went outside to feel the snow in our hands, and to have fun watching it fell out of the sky.

The raw feelings of how cold winter could really be with all our gear on sent us back into the house quickly after a short while. We had to slowly getting used to the temperature. Being a teenager at a difficult stage of learning and discovering oneself, I preferred to watch my little sisters building a snowman through the window.


The first winter was horrible for me, as I had a hard time walking on the snow, and kept my feet from skidding in different directions. I ended up on my buttock more often than I wanted to remember, especially at my high school. I had no control over my right leg without the assistance of my hand to guide it. My brain couldn't tell it what to do, and I had to embrace this bitterness of a cripple in its true sense!

I would plummet to the floor at a slightest push or shove right at the high school entrance door every day. I watched other kids walking on snow and ice with envy. They all seemed to enjoy sliding, slipping, and drifting on the wet surface that scared the heck out of me with ease.


Not knowing where to get help or who to turn to for help, I opted for the only alternative that worked out best for me: waited until everyone cleared out! This resulted in terrible tardiness on my record, and I was sent to see a school counselor, Mr. Richard Burrell! I described my situation to him in tears of humiliation.

Again, I experienced the helping hand of guardian angel! Mr. Burrell got permission to let me into the school five minutes earlier than other students, and left minutes ahead of them. He greeted me at the door when I arrived and allowed me to get to my class before the bell rang. I also got to leave each class early to make it to another before the hallway jammed up.

Slowly, I learned to steady my walk on snow and wet floor without falling down that often..

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Yellow Sunflower

Yellow sunflower is the most common color to see during the summer. I love growing them. The squirrels and the birds love them. In fact, I don't think I could even save a seed this year because these two critters have been eating them so far.

Ants also seemed to like them because I saw a line of ants on the stems, leaves and flowers! I don't like to share my sunflowers, but I don't have any choice unless I caged them.

Some of my yellow sunflowers also have streaks of orange-brown color on them! This year though, the sunflowers in my yard didn't grow that big or tall while others were gigantic! I think my soil needs to be fertilized and fed.

If I'm not mistaken, this is a Baltimore Oriole bird caught eating my sunflower seeds! If it is not, please let me know. I only get to snap one photo, and it quickly flew away. I'm hoping to see it again soon.

Joining Mellow Yellow and Macro Monday!

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Pink Rose Mallow

I saw this pink rose mallow at a local fruits and vegetables market. Outside in front of the store, they also sell seasonal plants and flowers. Rose mallow is also known as Peppermint Schnapps, and they look similar to rose of Sharon and hibiscus.

The only different that I can tell is the petals of this pink rose mallow! They are much rounder in shape, and bigger in size than the other two. In any case, they are all in the same family.

Rose mallow is a perennial plant, and it needs full sun. This plant can also re-seeded itself, and it you don't want them to take over your yard, earlier removal is a must throughout the year.

Joining Weekend FlowersPink Saturday, I Heart Macro, and Today Flowers!





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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

V Is For Vague

Everyone in my family went through a vague time of life. My parents regretted the decision of leaving their country, even though it was a matter of life and dead, but they were tortured by the thought of having two children back home. Two boys! You see, Asian culture always preferred boys over girls, any time and every time!

My sisters and I, five girls, lived pretty much in the shadows of those two missing boys! Although they were not there, they were more in existence than we girls were. In turn, we kept busy and studied our brain out with the Vietnamese/English dictionary days and nights in order to get good grades at school. We had to float along the water current of life.


Looking back, I couldn't remember how we all survived this terrible period of confusion, ripping, and challenging. Our weekend social events included visits from other Vietnamese refugees from around town. These get together occasions helped with the isolation and homesick feelings, plus gave us a connection of union. To my understanding, it also prevented suicide attempts for many single people who found themselves lonely and out of sorts.

Slowly, we all had to come to term with reality, and the life as was lying in front of us. My family, along with many other families and single people had regular get together every weekend to form countryman ship in order to survive! Single people were all male soldiers who left their families behind in the rush for safety.


Each family had a story to tell, and none was more terrified than the other. Our experiences as boat people would always stay in our mind, and got pushed further in the back so we could catch up with life as it happened. We had to learn from one another the types of foods we were familiar with, where to get them, and other small aspects that we wouldn't normally think of.

From these gatherings, we formed a support system where new arrivals were welcomed and got helped from the group to get settled into their new life. Having someone pointed out the way was what kept many from going berserk! As for school-age children, we were on our own in every step of the way...

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Black Eyed Susan

Are you ready for this? How many names do you think black-eyed Susan flower has or associating with beside its scientific name, Rudbeckia hirta? Well, here they are:
  • Brown-eyed Susan
  • Blackiehead
  • Brown Betty
  • Brown Daisy
  • Gloriosa Daisy
  • Golden Jerusalem
  • Poorland Daisy
  • Yellow Daisy
  • Yellow Ox-tailed Daisy

Who knows right? I only recognize it as black eyed Susan (poor Susan)! This perennial flower re-seeds itself and come back each year. It commonly comes in yellow color, to slight orange.

I found this black eyed Susan at the front corner of my brother house, and he had no idea how it gets there either. However, it is beautiful, and we love it!

Joining Mellow Yellow and Macro Monday!

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby Pink Cone Flower


I like watching flower grow, and photograph them from the budding stage to when the flower fell off its stem. This baby pink cone flower was the subject of my affection.


I watch this cone flower grown into this beautiful baby pink. There is no way we can decide which color or which flower we love most. They are all different and we react to our feelings in different time, moods, and situation.

Cone flower once bloomed, it lasted a while and making great cut flower to make arrangements. It is a perennial plant and doesn't require much attention, except weeding out the baby self-seeded plants once a while since they can take over your garden area.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

U Is For Unparallel

A day or two later, my father got upset with my bad behavior so he yelled at me for being ungrateful to the priest, even though Father Paul didn't say anything after that episode. He threw my brace in the garbage, but insisted on me keeping the shoes since they offered a lift to my right leg. I believed he was very disappointed with outcome more than he led on.

I stayed in my room most of the time, finding comfort in Chi's and Marty's letters, which came regularly every few days. Marty often wrote about his life at the college, what he did during the week and his plan for the weekend. Chi' had a difficult time dealing with life just as I had! If we were left alone to accept our "imperfection", it would be much easier than getting set up for disappointment and frustration.


Father Paul only came once a while for a dinner or so. He didn't ask about the brace or the shoes anymore. He accepted as I have accepted. I co-exited with reality when I was around people, and escaped into my own world when I was alone in the bedroom. I picked up on writing poetry and short stories, completely and totally emerged in the world of my imagination.

Writing became a life jacket for me to grab on! I weaved a bit of reality and my mind soared to wherever it wanted. It was the most difficult time for me, and I was caught between life and dead decision; though the later was never strong enough to consider.


I went into a lock-down of my own. Chi's letter became too sad to read, and Marty's letter was too much of a "la la land" for me to enjoy. Their letters came and set aside for weeks before I could gather up interest to open them. High school life was also a nightmare with language barrier and cultural shock to deal with.

The situation at home was gloomy with my parents' pain of having to leave two of their children back in Vietnam. My sisters and I buried our head into quiet study with a dictionary from morning to night when we got home from school. Communication was completely cut off, and each one was on their own to deal with a strange reality.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Yellow Daylily


This rich colorful yellow lily is still blooming in some areas around here, even though the weather has turned chilly in early morning and evening. Now, 6:00 o'clock is dark and gloomy in the wee hours, but 8:00 o'clock at night is still light.


We are definitely going into Fall earlier this year with the color changes in the trees, and the temperature drops. I'm hoping the warm weather hangs around for a while longer to dry up some of my flower seeds, or at least help them mature enough for next year.

Joining Sweet Shot Tuesday!

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Hot Pink Rose


This was my backyard rose taken at high noon heat in the middle of July! The hot pink color was amazing and very attractive, much different from previous years for some reasons. We can say that it had to do with the strange weather we experienced this year.


Nevertheless, no complaining from me! I enjoy seeing different things since they tend to make me wonder, amaze, and arouse curiosity. My brain needs this kind of distraction to keep me focus on the good things in life, and to cultivate positive energy.

Have a great weekend!

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