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Pocket shrines: Mom in a matchbox

March 21, 2021

  In my hand I hold a matchbox. The old school kind — wooden matches with cherry red tips inside. But that’s not all that’s in this matchbox, nor is setting a fire its function. For this matchbox, I just learned, … Continued

Lost and found: a very old Italian cobbler

November 11, 2019

  When friends ask, what was my favorite thing about our month in Italy, my answer may be a surprise. For it’s not the stunning Tuscan countryside, the sumptuous food, the laid-back lifestyle. No, it’s not even the delectable Montepulciano … Continued

The face of the moon and the circle of life

October 16, 2019

    Sunrise and moonset. At the same moment; precious and rare. Thus, the morning concert begins: A church bell peals. A rooster crows. A dove coos. A dog barks. And Franco trundles down the steep driveway with his dawn … Continued

The who of the where

October 12, 2019

    Writing from Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy, where we have returned for the fourth time.   The learning of names, the remembering of their weight, tone and heft, the who of the where — is not unlike learning new students’ … Continued

From Barcelona with semi-colons

October 2, 2019

  Why anyone would come all the way to lovely Barcelona to write about semi-colons is lost on this writer; I didn’t set out to do this. Rather, I’m just responding to a challenge from a grammar-wonky friend who inquired: … Continued

China Portfolio, a final view

June 4, 2019

  With China on my arm… “Stay this moment.” –Sam Abel National Geographic photographer   An unfortunate nighttime encounter with a bathroom doorjamb has rendered me with a sizeable purplish bruise on the left inner forearm. Upon reflection, it strikes … Continued

The China – U.S. puzzle: a backgrounder

May 22, 2019

This legacy post from May 2013 serves as a helpful backgrounder for the first-time reader of this writer’s work in China.   On this rainy Saturday in old Chongqing my host students take me to visit an ancient restored village … Continued