Under the Pi Pa Tree

I’m sitting under the pi pa tree observing hundreds of yet to ripen fruits. I wonder what pi pa jam tastes like? It was just this season that I learned what this fruit tree was called. Pi pa or “loquat”. I’m guessing it’s in the kumquat family, but to be sure it would require more research than I’m inclined to do at this moment. If these were apples I’d know what to do with all the abundance. There is apple pie, apple sauce, apple cider, and more apple pie (of course). Hmm. I wonder what pi pa pie would taste like? I like the alliteration of it anyway.

Below the pi pa tree is a new addition. A little well to bring water up to serve the garden. With all the flowers we are using much more water than we used to and it is quite noticeable in our water bill. I’m also hoping that the well is a more sustainable option than sourcing the water from the city (we have solar panels so the extra electricity for the pump is compensated for). We shall see how the experiment goes.

It’s quite amazing to have so much greenery surrounding me in this city of millions where most homes are apartments. The city itself has plenty of gardens and parks — it’s quite good in that way, but the idea of having a private garden is rare.

We purchased this house back in the late 90’s when it was just being constructed on a plot of land surrounded by farm fields at the outskirts of Shanghai. The way things worked back then was that you basically get a lease on the land (50 years in our case), you pay the builder for the construction of the unfinished building, then you hire another builder to do the home finishing to your personal design.

Everything was done by cash then. I still remember carrying a large suitcase full of stacks of 100RMB bills (about the equivalent of US$8 at the time) to the purchase. So surreal. It was about two-years of my salary. Not a small amount of money but very reasonable to be able to purchase a home.

We celebrated our first Christmas in the house in 1999, but it wasn’t long before we relocated to the US and the house was empty for about a decade (it was not a renters location). When we moved back to Shanghai in 2013, the city had expanded and we were now solidly in the suburbs. Now there is a metro station being built within a 10-15 minute walk from our place, so I expect the development to accelerate even faster. Who knows we may have one of the few villa’s in Shanghai proper after another ten years. They’ve stopped giving construction permits for villas so its a real possibility.

I’ll be retired by then. Maybe I can open up a little stall to sell all the extra ripe fruits from our pi pa tree? Or, pi pa pie for that matter.

Under the Pi Pa Tree

Be well,


Morning Ride

Morning Ride

Her arms wrapped around me,
Wanting more, I sped up;
She held on tighter;
I smiled into the rushing wind,
Wishing I could go faster.

Mrs. Monty and I decided to try the neighborhood restaurant that only recently started to serve brunch. We’d heard positive reviews. The selection was very limited and the meals were average at best, but the morning was lovely if only for the ride.

Be well,


Upon Every Sunrise

Upon Every Sunrise

Sitting in the corner, quietly observing
The life of the party, I scroll through
Mental images of those we’ve buried;
Memories aged, blurred by
Tears, salty with a touch of ocean
Where is the miracle?
But upon every sunrise, every
Tide drawn by the moon, every
Green shoot greeting the sky, and every
Love not forgotten,
I dance.

It’s nice to write free-form after a month of prompts and themes (but I do think I’ve grown due to all the hard work and am grateful to have put in the effort).

Be well,


My 2nd A to Z Challenge Reflection (#AtoZ)

This was my second year doing the A to Z challenge and I’m two for two in terms of completion rate. This year’s theme was literary devices which proved to be an excellent platform for learning and practicing some new techniques. Some of them better executed then others but all in good fun.

In addition to my literary theme I also incorporated a visual element where I created “found patterns” from each letter of the alphabet.

Overall my views for April (all posts not just #AtoZ were down vs. last year (1368 vs. 1703). This is on trend with my overall viewership which has been decreasing. My guess is that this is due to a general transition of my prospective readers from living mostly on-line to getting back to the “real” world.

Three Most Popular Post (by views):

#1: A is for Alliteration (40 views)

#2: B is for Bathos (37 views)

#3: C is for Catachresis (24 views)

Most Overlooked Post (by views):

Z is for Zoomorphism (5 views)

A to Z Blogs I Read Regularly:

I was sad to see that a lot of my “regulars” did not participate this year, but happy to have read all the contributions from:

MidLife Cat Lady

The Dream Girl Writes

This is Another Story

Brewing Coffee Twisting Words Breaking Pencils

Christina Dankert

The Sound of One Hand Typing

Hope you all enjoyed this series and for those of you participating, congratulations no matter how far you made it through. I expect to participate next year, but hope to see you before that. Don’t be shy to stop by once in a while. I’ve yet to figure out what my next project will be, but I look forward to figuring it out.

Be well,


My First A to Z Challenge Anniversary: Now We’ve Gone From A to Z…

On this anniversary of my first A to Z challenge, I’m posting each of the illustrated “seriously silly poems” from my book Apples Eating Zebras and other seriously silly poetry — a carefully edited and polished compilation of my A to Z posts from last year. Enjoy!

Pick up a copy of this silly collection dedicated to the child in all of us and enjoy with a loved one.

Be well,