Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shrinking Lisa

For many years, I have tracked the kids' growth on the kitchen doorway. While many of the bottom Sharpie markings have faded, one thing has become clearer and clearer as time has passed. As kids get older, they get taller. Well, most kids, anyway.

You see, in addition to Julie and Z's growth record, there has always been space (in our hearts and on our walls!) for Lisa and Peter. And while Peter has followed the trend, Lisa somehow has not. In fact, since some time in 2005, Lisa started her own trend, and has shown evidence of shrinkage. Despite being the oldest of this dynamic foursome, not only is Lisa the shortest, she is getting shorter. According to our very not-so-accurate documentation, Lisa has lost around one and a half inches.

A message to Lisa...Don't worry about all this...Just think of all the possibilities that may lie ahead if this keeps up...

Soon we will be able to get you into the movies for a reduced rate.

Kids meals come back onto the menu.

Flying to China just got a whole lot cheaper (as long as you don't mind sitting on someone's lap).

And remember one thing...You'll always be our little Lisa...(I think I sense a double entendre here.)


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The 1812 Project

One of the little visual things that changed in Maryland while we were in China this summer was the introduction of new license plates commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Recognizing Maryland's seminal role in the war with Britain, so soon after independence was gained, these license plates have inspired us to take on a new family project. Our aim over the next couple of years (the war lasted until 1814, I believe, so we have some time) is to visit a few of the places that figured in the battles that were fought in Baltimore and Washington, DC.

First up on our little tour? A visit to Fort McHenry, the place where the battle that inspired the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner was fought. We all have been to Fort McHenry a number of times over the years, but it has been a while, so we all thought the Julie and Z would get a lot more out of it now that they are "conscious" (as Z likes to put it). As for Desi and I, we "ain't that young any more," so repeat visits (plus writing blog posts) are essential for searing things into our memories.

It was pretty interesting to visualize British soldiers marching and sailing freely through American territory. I'm thinking the War of 1812 must have been the last time anything like that happened. (I'm not speaking of attacks like Pearl Harbor and September 11, 2001.)

Also interesting was the contrast between how Americans and Chinese today view 19th century British incursions onto their respective soils. I've posted before on how so many Chinese view the sacking of Yuanmingyuan as a national humiliation that persists until today. In contrast, there don't seem to be any detectable such feelings on the part of the typical American about the burning of the president's house. Are the Chinese long overdue in moving on past this "us versus them" mentality? Or are Americans way too ignorant when it comes to their own history?