Introducing Mr Lyle Alzado

Soon after I moved to Beijing, I brought over my cat Clyde. About halfway through my time there, Clyde died. The vet, seeing how distraught I was, gave me one of her personal cats (Xiao Mao). When my family moved back to the US, we brought Xiao Mao with us. Xiao Mao died here in the middle of July. The wife and I decided we were done with cats for awhile.

Then, we saw this:

Which led to this:

And this:

And, well, this:

Lyle is a seven-year-old American short-hair. Although big boned by nature, we’ve got him on a diet. The vet said that he was about 12 pounds when he last came into the shelter (he’s been there a couple of times), but is now around 16 pounds.

We’ve had him for a bit over two weeks, and he’s fitting in just fine. Leo (our Shih Tzu) is now well aware that Lyle outweights him and has claws. Leo actually likes cats, and I think missed having Xiao Mao around.

When they were taking my name for the adoption, they found that I was already in the system… turns out I adobted Blue (Siamese-mix whom I adored) 16 years ago.


Shanshan’s First Mother’s Day

Or, more accurately, Shanshan’s first Mother’s Day as a mother. She is wearing the same qípáo that she wore at our wedding celebration.

Uncle Leo is an an old-hand at family pictures by now, and decided to slip a little tongue into the shot. Cheeky, Uncle Leo, cheeky.

Chong Chong’s birthday is tomorrow, so I’ll forgo the usual “Chong Chong at months” post this month.

For today’s shoot, I decided to go with the Nikon D300 instead of the Lumix DMV-GX7. The first shot was with my 85 mm 1:1.8 D, and the second two were with my 50 mm 1:1.4 G. Ambient light only on the first two, with the third using the built-in flash.

Morning Walk with Leo

Seeing that we were once again recipients of excellent weather, I decided to take my camera along on my morning walk with Leo around the apartment complex. The shots were taken between 8 and 8:20 am.

Floodlights, buildings, sky, and clouds. Taken right after we exited the building.

The neighborhood fruit vendor opening his stand (that is, the truck) for business.

Brooms, these ones primarily used to clean-up pavement, manhole covers, and curbs, left out to try.

Constructing siding around a trench. There is a major public works program ongoing in the neighborhood to upgrade the centralized steam heating system. I think this is related to it, and probably has to do with where our apartment community ties into the main lines.

Air conditioning condensers mounted a catch guard, which I think is just a re-purposed fencing.  I think there is something, well, medieval looking about it.

Once again, the beautiful Beijing sky.

Leo on the move to leave his mark on one of the many statues we have on the property.

Mother and daughter. Some of the “basement dwellers” that live in the apartment community. I’ll talk about them more in upcoming posts.

Clothes put out to dry next to one of the basement entrances. Yes, that is Jerry on the sheet.

One of the recently enclosed balconies in the apartment complex. We decided to enclose ours as well. It made such a difference. More on the process and results in an upcoming post.

One final shot of the sky and clouds.

Separated trash containers, of the recyclable and unrecyclable variety, started showing-up on streets just before the Beijing 2008 Olympics.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they were put in place because someone thought that they would impress foreigners or because of some Olympic mandate. These ones were distributed throughout the community in the last year, and really aren’t used. Then again, trash collectors and recyclers sort the bins pretty thoroughly, and the waste we generate is miniscule compared to that I’ve seen in similar communities in the states.

A new restaurant was opened in the hotel on the property. Given the quality of the hotel, Shanshan and I have decided not to give it a try.

Leo, my dear sweet Leo, watches as one of the building ayis prepares a new dust head. Actually, I think he was more hoping that she had food that would be tossed his way if he stared intently and wagged his tail enough.


Here’s a photo I snapped of Leo:


His hair is getting quite long. We let it grow-out during the winter months, and then shave him when it is reasonably warm outside. Probably will do so toward the middle of next month. I’ll post before and after pictures at that time. The transformation is startling.

I got Leo right after my Cat Blue died, but before I learned that my (then) marriage would be ending. We actually were babysitting Leo’s mother (Tootsie) when Blue was sick with cancer. Folks who’ve known me for a while have some idea about what I thought about that cat, and how hard that was. Wow.

Anyway, as things progressed the way they did, and I decided to move to Beijing, it was only natural that little lion come with me. So, I brought him on the plane (business class, upper deck) with me. He was a hit. Once we landed, a workaround was employed to avoid the mandatory 30-day quarantine. He arrived to my apartment the following day.

Leo has been to Xi’an and back by train. That was an interesting trip, which I might write about in another posting.

And, of course, there was his legendary trip to the Summer Palace.

Leo is only ABC (American Born Chinese) that I know that has relocated back to China. I mean, not on a temporary assignment or anything.

I’m an ABA (American Born Armenian/Asian — take your pick). Although I’m second generation Silicon Valley, my Grandfather David emigrated to the US from Armenia as a young child.

Well, okay, now that it seems this post can go anywhere… I’ll stop here.