Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Kitchen

The Kitchen God's Wife opens with the narrative voice of Pearl Louie Brandt, the American-born daughter of a Chinese mother and a Chinese-American father, who is a speech therapist living in San Jose, California. Pearl's mother, Winnie Louie, has called Pearl to request that she and her family attend the engagement party of Pearl's cousin Bao in San Francisco. Pearl is reluctant to oblige her mother, since she is more involved in her American identity.

Nevertheless, she feels an obligation to attend the family festivities. Then, two days before the engagement party, Pearl receives another call from her mother telling her that Auntie Du has died and that the funeral will be arranged for the day after the engagement party. With these obligations on her shoulders, Pearl sets out for San Francisco with her young daughters, Tessa and Cleo, and her husband. Upon Pearl's return home, her Auntie Helen, Bao's mother, who co-owns a florist shop with Winnie, makes a demand:

she insists that Pearl must tell Winnie that she has multiple sclerosis, about which everyone else in the family knows. Helen claims that she is suffering from a malignant brain tumor and does not want to die knowing that Winnie is unaware of her daughter's illness. Helen adds that if Pearl will not tell Winnie the truth, she will do it herself. Later, Helen tells Winnie that she must unveil the truth of her past to Pearl because she cannot go to her grave with such secrets. The reader later learns that Helen knows her tumor is benign and is using the threat of her own imminent death as a pretext to force mother and daughter to be honest with one another.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) is a passerine bird of the family Icteridae found in most of North and much of Central America. It breeds from Alaska and Newfoundland south to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Mexico, and Guatemala, with isolated populations in western El Salvador, northwestern Honduras, and northwestern Costa Rica.

It may winter as far north as Pennsylvania and British Columbia, but northern populations are generally migratory, moving south to Mexico and the southern United States. Claims have been made that it is the most abundant and best studied bird in North America.[2] The Red-winged Blackbird is sexually dimorphic; the male is all black with a red shoulder and yellow wing bar, while the female is a nondescript dark brown. Seeds and insects make up the bulk of the Red-winged Blackbird's diet.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Pinnated Bittern

The Pinnated Bittern is a large heron, measuring between 25–30 in (63.5–76 cm) with a weight of roughly 1.8 lb (800 g)[citation needed]. Sexes are similarly plumaged, but females tend to be smaller than males and have brown instead of black on the tail.

Both adults and immatures are generally buffy, though heavily marked with cryptic patterning. Juveniles tend to have a somewhat more reddish ground color. The throat is unmarked white, the foreneck is white broadly streaked with pale brown, and the rest of the neck is buff with thin black barring. The breast and belly are white with broad pale brown streaks, while the back is buff, heavily streaked and barred with black. Rectrices are black in males and brown in females; the slate-grey remiges create a conspicuous two-toned effect in flight.
The bill is stout and strong, yellowish overall with a dusky upper mandible. The bare facial skin is bright yellow, with a brown line running across the lores. The legs are greenish-yellow, and the iris is yellow.