Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Baby Joe is Freshman in College and Jonathan is in 2nd year Med school.

Time flies and we are entering the 'empty nest' stage of our life. We have been much more relaxed to the youngest one since he was born, everything has been 'whatever.' Although he did not have as high grades as my older two in high school, he was still in the top 10%. My oldest son never played any online games, the second one quit when he was a Junior in high school, but Joe did not quit even in Senior year when he supposed to prepare for his SAT and ACT tests. When I caught him playing online games after work, I was upset, so his dad told him not to let me catch him playing games. He said "now your mom is not happy, so no one is happy. You know she is coming home after 5, so why not stop playing before mom returns home." He found an SAT and ACT online training for Free but you could also pay for more training. Half way into the Summer, he was still not making further progress. I said "Maybe you have to pay the site in order to make progress or you are making circles and not getting anywhere. It turns out I was right, his SAT and ACT scores were average.
     He did not get accepted into Middlebury (Ranked 4 Liberal arts colleges) and he was sad because he could not join his brothers. He finally stopped playing online games. He decided to go to St Michael's (Ranked 99), 50 miles away from Middlebury, also in VT. 
Middlebury College Virtual Campus Tour
I Like St. Mike's
     We all love the natural rural setting of the small college, not too far but away from home to give him room to grow more independent. He did not make it to Middlebury, but he was the one made it to the State Competitions for track. Jonathan is in med school now and his brother Richard learned all the mistakes from his older brother, and he got much better MCAT scores and is now aiming better Med school. Joe on the other hand wants to major in Pharmacy, so he could help his brothers.
     Ivy league College rejection did affect Jonathan a lot on his confidence. First year College was difficult for him, all his school years before college, his grade was never below "A". He got his first "C" on linear algebra in college. His classmates dropped the class left and right, only Asian stayed. He thought he was half Asian, he tried his best and still got a "C". He said one of his Asian classmates did not even come to the class yet got an "A" because he already knew everything the professor taught in class. The "C" made him think he was not that smart, he was wondering what kind of major was better for him.
     It took almost 3 years for Jonathan to decide what he wanted to do with his life. He thought about majoring in writing since he used to get 100 in high school, writing was easy for him. His professor disagreed with some of his views and wanted him to change an essay in order to pass. He picked a very difficult subject "Hitler's Childhood", and he thought he did a very deep research on the subject. He also disagreed with his professor about some of the literature. So he gave it up.
     He thought about becoming a musician, he joined the college Orchestra and continued his private violin lessons. His new violin teacher was from Massachusetts, and a wealthy family in VT let the teacher use the family heirloom violin with the condition she had to spent time teaching violin in VT. Therefore she drove 4 hours each week to VT to teach violin, and Jonathan was one of her students. I reminded Jonathan about his older cousin who was majoring in music but abandoned his career altogether in order to feed his family. I used to give his high-school violin teacher a ride to the subway, since he had nothing except his violin. We used to see musicians in Cambridge with one hand carrying a musical instrument, the other hand a plastic bag to find soda bottles to return for 5 cents. If you want to be a musician, you have to prepare to be poor.
     He then tried to be geologist, I encouraged him since both of my parents were geologists. Anthony's father started his college wanting to be a geologist; he even gave his rock collection to Jonathan. He joined a senior field trip to White Sands National Monument and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. He did not want to become a geologist because he did not like to camp out that long. So he still wondered but decided on Biology for a major in his second year. He said he likes teaching children, so he could be a high school teacher.
     The 3rd year study abroad in Germany helped him determine what he wanted to do for his life. Compared to his high school German trip staying with a host family, German college classes were very different, and he also felt alone and really felt what it was to be a foreigner. His German was not good enough for the German junior college course, so he made an appointment to ask the professor questions, but only found that the professor's door was closed, so he waited an hour outside of his office hoping he would show up, but his professor was inside waiting for him. He did not knock on the door because his professors in the US do not close their doors unless they are not there.
     He had to buy food and cook his meals; the college cafeteria only served lunch like dinner. He was not used to eat such a big lunch. He had 3 German students sharing the living suite space; they were friendly to each other, but still spent most of his time with the other American students there. One weekend when we Skyped, he said "Mom, you should be happy that I joined Tai Chi class here in Germany". I asked "by a Chinese teacher", he said "No, a German", I said "A German went to China and learned Tai Chi", he said, "No, he never went to China, but learned from another German". I was a little skeptical but happy he was trying to find a way to manage his stress. One day in his Tai Chi class, a German girl next to him suddenly dropped to the ground, having a seizure, he was shocked and froze with panic, he did not know what to do. He wanted to help her, but did not know how. From the far corner of the room, a medical student ran over and performed CPR on her before the ambulance came and took her away. She was a pretty and slender young student and looked healthy to Jonathan. From that moment, Jonathan wanted to be a doctor, he wanted to be like the other medical student. To make sure, he applied to a non-paid internship at Charité in Berlin where he ended up paying over 600 Euro/month for rent and got up at 5 AM in the morning to take a bus to the hospital to be a surgeon's nurse's assistant. He saw the dying patients for the first time, trying his best to help them. He was eager to get up in the morning and he looked forward to see his patients. One of his patients told him that he was a "mother without breast" in German (a German expression). He also had a paid internship in Heidelberg University to help a PHD student with robotic micro surgery research to see if he liked medical research better. He liked to be a doctor to interact and help patients, not a nurse following doctors directions. He made his decision.
     The fourth year back to US college was the most difficult year in his 4 years college life, he had to take all science classes to be pre-med biology major. He did not have enough science classes. Since he is finally focused now, his grades were also the best and he received his first award from the dean, but his overall GPA was on the low side for trying to get into med school. He was competing with the kids who wanted to be a doctor since high school. His college mates suggested him to pay for online MCAT training but he did not want to pay thousands of dollars. Books only cost $400, he wanted to work it on his own, but his testing score was low. He took an EMT training and passed the test. He went to working for an EMT ambulance while waiting to see if any med school accepted him. He did not get accepted by any of the MD schools, but one DO school took him in so he was very happy. Yes, his brother Richard wants to do better than him. Talking about 'sibling rivalry.'

Friday, January 8, 2016

Girls Need to Follow and Keep Their Mother's Family Name

 Modern research shows that Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA) is the constant gene passed on from mother to daughter and son, but not from the father. Therefore only mothers pass on their mtDNA to their daughters; the mtDNA tells about daughter, mother, to mother's mother, and so on along the direct maternal line. Most girls traditionally follows their father's family name; each generation of girls have a different family name so the mother's family's name gets lost. This needs to change! Girls need to follow their mothers name since boys already follow their father's name. When a woman is married, they should keep their own maiden name, and there should be less close cousins marrying each other. It is true in China today; my mother kept her maiden name like every other married woman in China, but it is still her father's.


Mitochondrial DNA
     ZhuPu (族) is the most effective way to track the male Y chromosome and has kept the single family name villages in China for thousands of years. It is unknown how the ancient Chinese knew the fact that the male Y chromosome is a constant gene passed on from father to son only. I have searched my roots on my mother's "Guan (官)" side back for 18 generations and my father's "Han (韓)" side for 7 generations. As a woman, I do not carry the "Y" chromosome of Guan or Han, so I need to search my grandmother "Xia (夏)" which means Summer her mother (not Xia for sure), her mother's mother (??)... they all had different surnames and they were not on their family ZhuPu. I do not know anything about her Xia familyThe only way was to test the mtDNA to identify the world origin of a person's lineage which is a daunting task.  Since I do not have a daughter, the unique mtDNA would have died with me but I have a sister who has a daughter who carries on the line of mtDNA to any of her future daughters.
      My ancestral maternal lineage's route followed the east coast of India, to Burma, and then branched into a northern route headed to China and a southern route through Indochina, Indonesia, finally to Australia. So I also have many cousins along both of these paths.
    Before the test, like 92% of all Chinese, I believed that I was a "Han Chinese (汉)", but the results showed that I barely had 30% "Han (汉)". The Mitochondria DNA test shows that I am every woman. I am a Han Chinese, I am Japanese. I am also Dai, Maio, Yi, Lahu, She, Mongol, Tujia, Naxi, Tu, Daur. They covered China's North, Northwest, Northeast, South, Southwest and Southeast.  I do not know much about them since I lived in the culture race of "Han"
     Japanese: Han Chinese and Japanese have their DNA cluster very close. The first known written reference of Japan was recorded in the Chinese Book of Han in the first century AD. The first era of recorded history in Japan was the Kofun (250-538 A.D.), characterized by large burial mounds or tumuli. The Kofun were headed by a class of aristocratic warlords; they adopted many Chinese customs and innovations. Buddhism came to Japan during the Asuka Period, 538-710, as did the Chinese writing system. Today, 49% of Japanese words are loan-words from Chinese.
     Chinese-style pillar-and-bracket architecture reached Japan in the sixth century. The world's oldest and the only surviving Chinese style palace in Tang Dynasty (618-907) at today's Horyuji.
Ancient Chinese Buildings
Hōryū-ji (法隆寺) in Japan
     Japanese traditional clothing (Kimonos), kimono has another name, gofuku (呉服 literally "clothes of Wu (吳)") the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese during the 8th century; overlapping collar became particularly women's fashion.
Chinese Traditional Women Clothing
Japanese traditional clothing (Kimonos)
Banquet of Emperor (mural, Eastern Han (25AD-220 AD)
China moved on but the Japanese still kept the Chinese tradition today.  Still sleep on the floor.

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 1

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 2

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 3

Chinese Treasures of Japan Part 4

     Mongols (蒙古族): Mongols took over China, 5.8 million people classified as ethnic Mongols living in China today. To the Han Chinese, the dairy foods Mongolians eat marked them as barbarian foes. This may be why dairy products never became popular in China. Lamb and beef, the meat dishes of the Mongols, did enter mainstream Chinese cuisine. Fermented milk (yogurt) was probably the only dairy food that did gain a foothold; it is popular and now available everywhere. Hot pot originated in Mongolia where the main ingredient was beef, mutton, or horse. It spread to southern China during the Song Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty; regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood.  I love hot pot with lamb, beef and mutton, but never had horse meat.
     Mongolian clothes had a major impact on Han traditional clothes, By combining the essence of the Han traditional clothes and the Mongolian clothes, tight and narrow, with a round collar and buttons typically used to secure the collar, short-sleeved, loose outer garment, it was adopted as the standard military uniform owing to its ease to take off and wear by soldiers when riding horses, also much more convenience.
 
     Daur people (达斡尔族): are descendants of the Khitan. In the 17th century, some or all of the Daurs lived along the Shilka, upper Amur, on the Zeya and Bureya River. They thus gave their name to the region of Dauria, also called Transbaikal, now the area of Russia East of Lake Baikal. A customary sport of the Daur is Beikou, a game similar to field hockey or street hockey, which has been played by the Daur for about 1,000 years. Many Daurs are Shamanists and Lamaism.
    A video about the Khitans (388 CE-1218 CE) with a collection of Khitan-related pictures carefully chosen from various sources. The Khitans played an important role in the history of East Asia, Central Asia and Eurasia in general. Yelu Chucai was a Khitan advisor who was highly respected by Genghis Khan.
 The Rise Of Genghis Khan And The Mongol Empire Documentary - Documentary Channel 
    About 132,000 Daur in China today, most live in Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner (Mòlì Dáwǎ Dáwò'ěrzú Zìzhìqí 莫力達瓦達斡爾族自治旗/莫力达瓦达斡尔族自治旗) in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia autonomous region of China. There are also some near Tacheng in Xinjiang, where their ancestors were moved during the Qing Dynasty. Lady Gobulo, a Daur, Empress Xiaokemin (Lady Gobulo, Empress Hsiao-ko-min; 13 November 1906 – 20 June 1946), better known as Empress Wanrong, was the empress of Puyi, the last Emperor of China and final ruler of the Qing Dynasty.
Empress Wanrong (Gobulo Wanrong 郭布羅·婉容) is a Daur
     I guess my liight hair, when I was a child, could have come from Daur and Mongols.  I do love the music from the horse-head fiddle (morin khuur морин хуур) on "Beautiful Grassland".
Lang Lang and his father's Erhu "Horse Racing" at Carnegie Hall
The Miao (苗族): descended from the Jiuli tribe led by Chiyou (蚩尤). One of the first rice farmers in China. Some might have connected the Miao to the Daxi Culture (5,300 - 6,000 years ago) in the Yangtze River region. Most believe Ua Dab , others Taoism, Christianity, and Buddhism.  Historically, the term "Miao" had been applied inconsistently to a variety of non-Han peoples, include Hmong, Hmub, Xong (Qo-Xiong), and A-Hmao. 11 million people are divided into four major groups of Miao in China:
  1. Ghao Xong/Qo Xiong; Xong; Red Miao; Qo Xiong Miao: west Hunan
  2. Gha Ne/Ka Nao; Hmub; Black Miao; Mhub Miao: southeast Guizhou
  3. A-Hmao; Big Flowery Miao: west Guizhou and northeast Yunnan
  4. Gha-Mu; Hmong, Mong; White Miao, Green/Blue Miao, Small Flowery Miao; south and east Yunnan, south Sichuan and west Guizhou 

Hmong History : The Miao People of China
The Tujia (土家族): was in historical records as the Tujia from about 14th century, over 8 million, the 8th largest ethnic minority today. They live in the Wuling Mountains, straddling the common borders of Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou Provinces, and Chongqing Municipality, used to be  Ba Kingdom. Most of the Tujia worship a white tiger totem, some Tujia in western Hunan worship a turtle totem.

Travelogue - Tujia 
The She (畲) people:  are some of the earliest known settlers of GuangdongYuet people moved south during the Warring States period, waves of migrants from northern China have had a serious impact on the She people. Some She later moved to Zhejiang when Hakka moved in, there are a lot of She girls married into Hakka family.  In a census in year 2000, 709,592 She people have been counted in China.

The Unique She Wedding / 畲族婚礼 
 The Nakhi (纳西族): the descendants of the nomadic proto-Qiang, 300,000 of them live on the foothills of the Himalayas in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, as well as the southwestern part of Sichuan Province.  Nakhi split into three groups as the Nakhi in Lijiang (丽江), the Bai in Dali (大理), and Mosuo around the Lugu Lake (泸沽湖). The Nakhi's native religion was Dongba, Tibetan Buddhism (especially the Mosuo). Taoism and its "fengshui".
The Mosuo are often referred to as China's "last Matrilineal society
The Nakhi (纳西族)
 China World Heritage List :: Old Town of Lijiang
Travelogue 2011-03-07 Ethnic Odyssey:Dali Bai Minority
The Women's Kingdom - PBS FRONTLINE Broadcast
 The Monguor (蒙古尔) or Tu people (土族, 土昆), White Mongol or Tsagaan Mongol: "Tu" came from the name of Tuyühu Khan, who was the older son of the King of Murong Xianbei who migrated westward from the northeast in 284. The DNA of the Tu people indicate that Europeans similar to modern Greeks mixed with an East Asian population around 1200 BC. The source of this European DNA might have been merchants from the Silk Road. According to 2010 census, there are 289,565 Tu today live in mostly in the Qinghai and Gansu provinces.  They practice Yellow Sect (or Tibetan) Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity, and Shamanism.
  
Huzhu Mongghul (Tu) Bo (Shaman)
The Yi or Lolo people (彝族):  8 million descended from the ancient Qiang people of today's western China. Yi also live in Vietnam, and Thailand.  Yi used to be divided into Black Yi (nobles), qunuo or White Yi (commoners), and slaves before communist took over China. The Yi script was logosyllabic, similiar to Chinese, dated back to the 13th century. Under the Communist government, the script was standardized as a syllabary. Syllabic Yi is widely used in books, newspapers, and street signs. Bimoism (毕摩教) is the indigenous religion, also Buddhism and Christianity.
Watch tower
Life and culture of China's Yi ethnic minority

 The Dai people (傣族), 1,158,989 Dai are one of several ethnic groups living in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in southern Yunnan, also in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Burma. Practice Theravada Buddhism and Dai folk religion.

Life and culture of China's Dai ethnic minority 
 
Yang Liping (杨丽萍), a Bai's Peacock Dance
 The Lahu people (拉祜族): among the ancient Qiang people of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Migrating slowly southward. 720,000 live live in Yunnan province, mostly in Lancang Lahu Autonomous County, also in Thailand. Religion is polytheistic. Buddhism was introduced in the late 17th century and became widespread.

Lahu's life by Lancang River
     I have always been interested in Chinese minorities.  I got a chance to know Tibetans more since I used work in the region.  I have met Naxi, Bai, Dai. I had a chance back in the 1980s to visit the Inner Mongolia Grasslands but the heavy rain cancelled my trip.  Just looking at the picture of the vast grassland gives me the peace, but living in the tent would give me nightmares. Social race and culture,and economics and geography divided us apart. 


A Tour of Chinese Ethnic Minorities

Chinese Ethnic Minorities in Chinese New Year

 

List of ethnic groups in China

 

How Neanderthals Gave Us Secret Powers


Monday, September 1, 2014

Saving The Baby Robin

My next door neighbor has a cat named Gromit, which is a mostly outdoors cat.  His owner said that back in Ireland, the cat stays outside. Gromit loves to chase birds and chipmunks. He often brings them back home as his prize. They often ended up with a bird flying or a chipmunk running around inside of their house, and once the wife had to call my son for help to get the chipmunk out of her house. One afternoon, her husband and their 8 year old daughter came to me with a small baby robin in a cool whip plastic container. "Could you save this baby bird?"
     I did not know this baby bird was a robin since it did not look like a robin I know.  I told them I would try, if he eats, he will live. The bird was very weak and tiny.  I soaked a small piece of 15 grains bread and put over his mouth, to my surprise, he opened his mouth like when his mother came back.  I put it in and from that moment I became his mother. I call him "popper", the same nickname that I gave it to my middle son. I go out to dig earth worms for him and my Asian box turtle which I had since the 1970s. It was a mission and a nice break while unemployed for a few months.
A week later
     I found a box and put the newspapers in first, then some dried leaves.  He stayed in there most of the time. Two weeks later, he could jump out so I changed the box to a bigger, deeper box.  A few days later, he jumped out as well.  So I let him wander in my backyard in the daytime and put him in the box in my basement at night.  One morning, when I went down to the basement, I found him outside and he had made a mess in my basement.  I had to find a net to cover the box for the night.
     The bird has been walking around in my backyard, looking for small bugs to eat like a little chick. One morning, I heard him screaming in my back yard.  I rushed out to see what was going on.  The next door cat Gromit was circling my bird.  I chased off the cat, yelling "bad Gromit".  I let the bird jump on my hand and talked to him.  I noticed the cat Gromit was looking at us from the distance, when I looked at him, he turned away as if he was not interested.  I called him, he did not turn around and look at me, instead got up still with head looking the other way, slowly walked away.  Later I found in many times, he was hiding in bushes watching us. He was upset with me.


     I started to worry about who would teach him how to fly.  He was not flying, following me everywhere outside.  He walked very fast, I almost stepped on him a few times.  I have been feeding him earthworms that I dug; he just opened his mouth wide and made the baby cry "Aa Aa...".  My husband would not admit it that he also attached to the popper.  When he weeded in the garden, the bird would follow his hand, when he watered the garden, the bird would be overjoyed in the wet soil. He would find excuses to weed three times per day, but still complained to me that I needed to let the bird be on his own. It was 90 degrees for a few days, the popper was hot and he opened his mouth to cool down.  I thought if I put a bowl of water he might be able to take a cold bath. I put him in, he stood in the water did not know what to do, so I use my fingers to play with the water and splashed a little.  So he got it and started to bathe.  My son took the Baby Robin Bath video.
     Time flies, popper start to fly a little, but very low close to the ground.  But one day Jonathan was going out, he got in the van ready to drive away.  Popper could see him sitting in the van. All of the sudden, he flew towards the van, landed on his windshield.  I ran over to get him down, telling him "No, No".  I started to get worried if he followed us every time we drove out.
     He did not like to go back into the box in the daytime anymore.  He stayed in the yard waited for us, one day when I came back, he was not anywhere, he usually flew to us.  I started to call popper, nothing. A few hours later, my neighbor on the other side told me there was a bird in his backyard near the bushes. He looked scared when I went over to get him. I did not know he flew over that far.
     My son Richard was going back to school to study German.  I gave him a haircut the night before after dinner. The bird was looking from the distance because of the noise from the haircutting.  When I was done with the electronic haircutting tool and using a scissors to trim the back of his hair, the bird popper flew over my son popper's head.  I was trying to shoo him away, but it was too late.  He pooped on his head.  Yes, my deck was covered with his poop and he was watching me use water to clean and puzzled why? He love to stand on my shoulder or head, but I always only allowed him to stand on my fingers just in case he pooped. It would fall on the ground instead of me.  Still he pooped on me 3 times.
    The bird became famous on our street, kids and adults are like, they came to feed the bird.  Strawberries, blueberries, cherries...were great. He started to fly higher and higher, one day the cat Gromit walked over to me trying to tell me he had enough of the bird.  The bird was behind me watching, his feathers on the neck still not fully covered his skin.  I was trying to block the cat, his stared at the bird, very scaring looking.  My popper suddenly flew up over him and landed on the roof of his shed, yes his shed.  Gromit ran over to his side of the driveway, looking up really mean and scary.  He was telling him, get out of my property. I will get you one of those day.
     There was a thunderstorm on one Sunday.  I did not see the bird so I assumed that he found a hiding place. Then I saw him running back and forth in my backyard near the holly brush, soaked.  I opened the door, called popper, he flew towards me but crashed on the screen.  I felt so sorry for the poor little thing.  I picked him up and carried him through my kitchen to the front door since the front porch could shelter him, I put him into his box, he jumped out.  He wanted to stand on my shoulder so I let him stand on my fingers.  He shook three times and water splashed on me too, then he used his beak to comb his feathers as if he was complaining to me.  His feathers were just about dry, a pickup truck drove down the street, my popper was scared and he flew to the backyard in the rain again.  Soaked again and we started it all over again. I asked my son Joe to sit on the front porch reading and kept him company, he sat on his shoulder for awhile and pooped on him too.  But he did not like the front porch because there are cars coming and going.  At 4PM, I put him in the box covered without any lights in the basement.  By 8 PM, I worried he might be hungry so I went down to see if he wanted to eat.  The lights and basement really confused the little guy, he refused to eat and flew up high so I had to climb up to get him down.  I ended up putting him back in the box again without eating.  I got up really early the next morning, 5 is early for me, I took the box out and opened it up.  The popper looked up a little bit, flew straight up and gone.  I was ready to feed him some worms.
     That night became very difficult, he did not want to stay in the box anymore and he did not want to go down to the basement.  I tried to let him stay out later, but it is really getting dark.  I am afraid that birds of prey could get him since his mother did not teach him how to protect himself out there. I put him in the box, he jumped out, the first time and the second time, then he flew away, far away.  I called his name, popper, popper till my husband came out to get me.  Leave the bird alone.
     With worries, I woke up early every day to see him come back, he did.  He came back in the daytime, still wanted me to feed him by opening his mouth like a baby.  I cut up fruits, he wanted me to feed him. I told him to pick it up by himself.  So he will put his mouth next to the fruit opening his mouth "Aa Aa". Since nothing happened then he gently picked it up.  I also tried to show him how to find earthworms by bury the worms in the compost next to the grapevine, he learned very fast and loved this.  Only I could not leave the jar outside over night, it would be empty overnight.  All the worms would be gone and the jar would be upside down. I did not know who was eating my worms at night. I had to remember to take the earthworm jar inside.
     I had to go back to work so I tried to find him a safe place to return, away from other birds and the cat.  Finally I found a perfect spot, right above my back door where there is a triangle roof.  I used a hand saw  to cut two pieces of wood leftover from my hardwood floor, and slid them between the roof right above the door.  I showed him the food there and he learned fast. After that he flew there directly, got the fruit and looked at me for a minute, flew away to the neighbor's fences far away from my reach, I called him back.  He just looked at me for a minute or two then flew away.
    Before I went to work in the morning, I would put the fruits out.  When I came back, I saw the food was all gone, sometimes the dish dropped down by the door empty.  I was not sure whether the wind blew it down or he kicked it down.  He came back almost everyday in the morning or evening for about 5 minutes and I did not know when. Talk about a fast teenager.  I understood now when the parents said to their kids when they do not listen. 翅膀长硬了, 远走高飞 means wings are big and strong now, fly high and faraway.  Very True!  I ended up calling popper, popper, hoping he is coming back.
    Not sure when the cat Gromit started to come to me whenever I called popper, I did not pay much attention till one day, my popper was sitting on the neighbor's fence in front and above me while I was sitting on my back deck calling him to come closer to me, within my reach.  He was just sitting there, not responding my calls.  Then I noticed Gromit slowly walking towards me from my right, then sitting down facing me and staring at me.  Now the bird was sitting on the fence facing away from me.  I turned my head right and looked at Gromit, said I did not call you, why are you coming.  Go away so my bird could come down.  He just sat there, looking at me as if telling me to forget about the bird, I am here everyday within your reach like the good old days.  Three of us formed a perfect triangle.  I called Jonathan out to take Gromit away.  My neighbor must have heard me, he walked out of his house.  Ordered Gromit, come back home.  What are you doing there. He said.
Popper sitting on the high fence
I was calling him down
My neighbor was yelling at Gromit
Last photo I had with my Baby Robin
     The last evening I saw the bird was three weeks ago.  After dinner, I was sitting in my backyard and he came back and had some cherries and I managed to touch his feet before he flew to my neighbor's high fence.  He sat there and I kept calling him come down.  Gromit came again and sat next to me so I got up led him away back to his side of the yard, when I turned around walking back, he followed. I did this back and forth three times while the bird was watching.  Then my popper flew away and I thought that was it for the night.  I played with the cat a little bit, the cat also walked away.  I was sitting on my chair reading and I did not notice when my popper came back sitting on the high fence again.  I called him to come down, he looked at me for a minute or two and finally flew away for good.
     It has been three days without the sights of popper, the chopped cherries were molded already.  He did not come back for chopped cherries.  I started to get worried, did Gromit get him or some other predator?  I went out walking around the neighborhood after dinner, on the way back, two blocks from my house.  I saw a robin very similar to my popper on the sidewalk right in front of me.  I walked over and called his name, he flew to the dead tree nearby but sat on a branch, I looked up calling him, he turn his head sideways, looked down for a minute or two, then he flew away.  I think it was my popper.  I take a walk every evening after dinner, on the same street, two blocks away from my house.  One, two robins, sometime more I saw, I could not tell who was my robin.  The dead tree two blocks away from my house became our meeting place after dinner. I always see this robin on the way back.  He just sits on a branch up there on this dead tree, I could only see him on this dead tree since there are no leaves. I stand down on the sidewalk, sometimes for 15 min.  I have to be the one give up walking away.  I could only wish my popper is among them.  It has to be, because he waits there almost everyday after I make a circle around my neighborhood. Last few days he has been there waiting for me by himself without any of his friends. I wish he comes back to my backyard. But I also wish he stays with his friends because Fall is coming and he needs to fly south soon with his friends.
The dead tree two blocks away from my home is the meeting place for me and my bird, away from Gromit. A lot of time I see him on the way back from my walk as if he could see me walking around
Robin in the holly bush in my backyard. I wished that it had flown South with its friends but there are a few robins still around, since the holly bush provides berries for food.
     I go out for a walk after lunch at my work, a few miles away from my home. Every time I see robins, I think one of them is my baby robin and I do not know which one. Every now and then, there was only one robin that got my attention by flying right in front of me or making familiar calls.   When I followed the robin, the robin would jump to a lower branch of the tree from the ground or keep some distance from me but not fly away.  I called him "popper, are you my popper"?  He turned his head and looked at me, still not moving, and after some time, he sang familiar songs as if he was very happy to see me. After 5 or 10 minutes he did not fly away, but I had to go back to my office.  Always I was the one who walked away from him.  I asked him to go find his friends.  No one in my office or home believed the robin was mine, I was not sure.
     After Christmas, the weather has been very cold, especially at night, I wished my robin had flown south with his friends. But one morning, when I opened the back door, I saw a robin eating the holly berries in my backyard.  The first thing in my mind was that the holly berries are poisonous; it must be my robin whose mother (me) did not teach him that the holly berry is poisonous and teach him to fly south for the winter.  The only thing I could do was to cut some apple pieces, put them outside, then go to work.  When I got to my office, the first thing I did was Google "robin eats holly berry". It turns out that when the robin starts eating holly berries, most of the good stuff has already been eaten. Holly berries are the leftovers.  When I came back after work, I noticed the robin did not eat my apple pieces.  I realized that I did not teach my robin to eat apples, only strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranates. 
     I bought two pomegranates on Saturday just in case. On Sunday, we were going into the car to go to church, here is the robin again right near the car.  I went over to say hi, he jumped on a small tree's lower branch. Again, I called "popper, are you my popper?' He just sat there, but I had to go to church.  After church, the robin was still around, so I prepared some pomegranate berries.  I put them into a big bowl where he used to take a bath, and spread them out so they were not going to freeze together.  The robin was sitting in the holly bush, so I let the bowl sit on the branches, hoping he would eat them.  He just looked, not eating them.  After lunch, we went out for a walk.  On the way back, we saw the robin fighting with a mockingbird on our driveway.  I chased off the mockingbird, and the robin stayed around and we took some pictures, I like this one sitting in the holly bush the best.
    It was getting dark, the robin was still around, I went to the shed and took out a box to show the robin. "popper, you want to come back in?" it is so cold at night, below zero.  He watched me from the branches, then sang really loud for a minute or two, flew straight up high and away.
The next morning, I went to work.  Around 9 am, Bob in my office told me there was a robin sitting on the tree next to my car.  I went out calling "popper, is that you?"  He just sat there, I asked him if he wanted to eat apple pieces, the only fruit I had with me.  I went back to cut some apple pieces, went out again and put them on the ground asking him to come down and eat.  He looked at me for a moment, then flew away.            
     My poor robin in the holly brushes in my backyard. He greeted me in the morning and afternoon by jumping up and down. I put some pomegranates in a bowl and put it on the snow inside of the brush. He ate them finally, for the first time since he does not coming back landed on my hands. The storm winds howling at more than 70 mph, the Blizzard slammed New England.
Boston breaking snowfall records, the snowiest winter ever, 89.2 inches so far, my backyard.
My poor robin watching us shoveling snow.  I feed him fresh grapes and dry cranberries.
     
     Cold as it is this winter, my robin was living peacefully with many sparrows in a holly bush.  I put out chopped grapes for the Robin and seeds for sparrows. Last weekend, a  northern mockingbird came along and kicked out my robin from the holly brush on Saturday.  On Sunday, my poor robin ended up sitting on the branch of the chokecherry tree next to the driveway.  Unlike the holly tree, the chokecherry lost all of its leaves for the winter and it was windy. 


I climbed on the tree to try to reach him. He kept a yard away from me but was the closest to me since he was independent. 
     I was worrying about the robin so I put out two baskets on the tree one for food and one for the night.  I also took out a cardboard box to see if he wanted to get in like when he was a baby bird.  He jumped in the basket for food, but did not get into the other basket or the box.  It was snowing lightly and he just sat there for the most of the day on Sunday.  By 4:30 pm, it was getting dark, I went out again to see if he wanted to get into the box so I could take him down to the basement where is warm.  He looked at me for a moment, then sang a loud goodbye and flew away.
     On Monday morning, the mockingbird was sitting on the chokecherry tree as if he just claimed the new territory. My robin was sitting on the tree across the street, far away from the food.  So I was trying to tell mockingbird to get out, but he was not afraid of me.  Just sat there.  I called my robin to come to eat, the mockingbird flew towards my robin and they started another fight.  In the end, it was my robin that gave up and flew away again.   
    I looked up information about the mockingbird and found that their winter diet is very similar.   The male mockingbirds arrives before the beginning of the season, establishing their territories to attract the females to their sites, even attacking a Red-shouldered Hawk. I was not sure if my robin has any chance.  I put food out on my front porch and backyard every morning, when I came back after work, the food is gone. I wish it was my robin or my robin had some of the food. On Wednesday morning, as usual, the mockingbird was sitting on the chokecherry tree guarding his territory.  To my surprise when I went back to the backyard, my robin jumped out of the holly bush greeting me "good morning".  I was overjoyed. "ha ha, mockingbird, stay in the front.

     I thought the mockingbird was bad, then I saw a hawk sitting on the neighbor's maple tree. All the birds were in hiding, I could hear my robin's calls near me but I could not tell where.  So I hoped that he knew not to come out, I was trying to shoo the the hawk with a snow ball, but it was too high to reach and did not even get the attention from the hawk, he just sat there. I started to jump up and down and bark like a dog, "woof, woof..".  He looked down at me wondering what I was doing, was not scared, he sat there. I kept jumping and barking, after a while, not sure if he was tried of me or did not see any birds, he flew away.  After another 5 minutes or so, my robin flew across my driveway back into the holly bush. I wondered how the birds knew the hawk flew away?
     Last weekend, the robin was around. I was talking to him while he sat on the tree branch.  All of sudden, the mockingbird from behind me flew towards the robin fast like the speed of light.  The only thing I could see was my robin escaping right before impact. Ha, I was furious with the mockingbird, why won't he leave my robin alone? or get along like the rest of the sparrows? He is determined to kick my robin out of my backyard and front yard. I put out of plenty of food for all of them.
     Four days passed and I have not seen my robin in my backyard or front yard.  The mockingbird was greeting me, I asked him where was my robin and he looked guilty and flew away when I get close.  I still put food out every morning, calling but no robin.  Yesterday however, I parked my car at work, got out of my car and heard my robin's call.  I raised my head, my robin was sitting on the crab-apple tree along with 4 or 5 more robins.  I could tell my robin was the fat one. My office mates believed that was my robin since sometime he comes alone. One was sitting on the snow right across from my front window so I could see him.  I went out telling him not to since the hawk could see him since I saw hawks around.
     Although the snow is melting, last night was cold.  This morning, I went out as usual to put food out in the front and back yard. I called my robin as usual but did not expect a reply since I saw him with his friends yesterday. He jumped out from the holly bush with other sparrows.  At work around 4:30PM, I saw a bird fly in a circle by the window, I got up "it's my popper!" I went outside looking for him, but I did not see anything.  So I called "popper, popper." He flew over to me and sat on the branches of the tree next to my car.  He was jumping with his tail swinging up and down and also singing really loud. I was jumping on the ground calling him "popper, popper."  This lasted about a minute or two, then he flew away.  What a surprise!
My robin shares the fence and holly bush with sparrows until the mocking bird comes along. 
After kicking my robin out, the mockingbird is in the backyard eating the chopped grapes. 
 My robin stays in the front yard where I put out more chopped grapes.
     The mocking bird cannot stand having my robin around, so he keeps kicking my robin out. A lot of times, I see the mocking bird chasing my robin in the sky. My robin never gives up; he keeps coming back. They fought all winter long. Now, the snow is melting and Spring is here. Today was the first time I saw my robin bring a friend home.  I used to see another robin with him/her, but the other robin never landed.  My robin landed in the holly bush and the other robin stood on the roof of the shed, where he kept a distance from the holly bush where I feed my robin with fruits.
Spring is here. My robin brought a friend home, but this robin is not willing to get into the holly bush. Only my robin went in to get the chopped grapes in the basket.
     Two days ago, I came back from work. I saw Gromit out for the first time since the long winter, so I stopped and rolled down my window calling him "Gromit, Gromit...". He looked at me for a moment and walked back to the front door of his house. I parked and walked to my backyard, calling "popper, popper," checking if there were still chopped grapes left over. I was shocked to see feathers all over and some in the grape dish.
     Oh no, my robin! Who ate my robin? The Gromit or the hawk? Oh no, it was my fault to feed the bird here. Now it was too late. My robin was gone. I was so sad that I just froze there with tears in my eyes. The dish was too close to the holly bush, maybe Gromit or the hawk were hiding there when my robin came to eat. I should have put the dish higher, not on the ground. But it was too late. I took away the dish.
     My husband was calling me for dinner, since I had not gone inside of the house. I went in and came out the second time, just staring at the feathers. Not knowing what to do, my husband called me again. I went in, but came out with a camera. I saw some orange color, but not much. Was this really the remains of my robin? Or another bird? After I took a few pictures, I heard my robin call! I raised my head to see my robin sitting on the high fence! I was overjoyed to see him still alive! Oh no, but maybe his friend who does not know my backyard well was eaten. I was trying to ask him where his friend was, but he turned away from me and I took two pictures of him. Suddenly, he flew away. The mockingbird was after him again! Finally, I was able to go inside and eat my dinner.  Maybe the mockingbird and Gromit were good for my robin, since now he is trained well in how to escape.
    The next day at work (3 miles away from my home), I went outside for my walk after lunch as usual. A robin call across the street got my attention. I went over and talked to him a little bit and moved on for my walk. Halfway through my walk, I saw robin again after hearing his call. I talked to him again for a minute and walked away. With a quarter of the way left of my walk, the robin again got in front of me and got my attention, as if the robin was following me. He flew across the street, so I followed him across the street. He was walking on the front lawn, while I was walking on a sidewalk and we were only about 1 meter apart. He flew low over bushes, but side by side going forward with me all the way to the front of a Catholic church. There, the lawn was big and there was a female robin there digging for earth worms. He did his robin-walk getting closer to her, but she was digging for her worms and did not pay much attention to him.  This never happened before. I had seen robins many times before, but never this close for so long. It was as if my robin was intending to bring me to her so that he could introduce her to me.
     Today, I saw the pair of robins at my work again early in the morning. The female robin was digging as usual, but he was looking at me as if to try to tell me "what are you doing inside that building? Stay with us, there are plenty of earth worms out here!" After lunch, I went out for my walking loop. This time, the pair was ahead of me three times and three times I talked to them, making a circle that ended at the church lawn. 
     I know for sure the robin in my backyard is my robin. Now I really think the robin follows me to my work too. Sometimes, I can see a robin flying across the street over my windshield when I was driving.  When I arrived to my backyard, I called "popper, popper" and he flew over, while I saw his friend stay in the front yard. 
     Spring flowers are blooming.  My robin and his mate started to build a nest on the gutter below the neighbor's roof in the backyard. I saw my robin with a tissue in his/her mouth try to put on the nest, but the wind kept blowing it away. I am not sure if he got this idea from me, because I used tissue or paper towel for my robin when he was baby in the box.
  I was sitting in the backyard and my robin came back for chopped grapes. The mockingbird kicks my robin out, my robin kicks the starling out, and the starling kicks the mockingbird out. They are all fighting over my grapes. Now Gromit came over to claim his territory too.  
     Time flies, it was Memorial Day weekend. No sports were going on and the field was empty and quiet.  I  went to pick up my son at the high school and I saw a robin on the soccer field as if he knew me and I watched him for a while before I entered the building. When I came out with my son, a red-tailed hawk was standing on the top of the light pole where there was a small platform, picking and eating something. A dozen small black birds came flying around him trying to get a bite while the hawk shook his wings to scare them away.  I was terrified thinking it might be my robin, but could not do anything.  He took his time finishing the meal and then he flew to the parking lot on our right picking on a black thing.  I thought it was a starling, but when I walked over I found it was a dried up banana peel.  I was less than 3 feet away from him. The hawk was not afraid of me, now he looked like a red-tailed chicken except with a strong beak and claws. He looked at me as if he was telling me, "what are you following me for? Mind your own business and leave me alone".  I stood there for a minute not sure what to do.  Then, I started walking towards him slowly. He walked away slowly for a while and then very unwillingly and slowly, he jumped up to the lowest branch of a tree.  He looked at me again as if to say, "what is your problem, lady? Why are you following me? I am just doing my business here.Go home."  Now my son called me to get into the car.  I asked him if he took some pictures?  He said he forgot his phone at home.  When we pulled into our driveway at home, a pair of robins flew across the street into our backyard as they usually do, waiting for my chopped grapes.
 
Red-tailed hawk
     Another month went by, now it was June.  I saw the mother robin use her beak to pick 3 or 4 pieces of grapes, but did not swallow them. She flew up to the maple tree in my neighbor's backyard with a long singing.  I was wondering how could she sing like that with a mouth full.  Then, I followed her movement looking up and I saw two baby robins flapping their wings and opening their months for chopped grapes.  I was trying to take a picture, but it did not come out so clear since it was after dinner and already dark.  She came up and down for 3-4 trips every evening. Later, I found out she had three baby robins.  

Both parents are still feeding the babies. The babies are flapping their wings to get their parents' attentions.
     There were 4 starlings who also came down to eat my chopped grapes, but when the male robin was around, he chased them away. But if the mother robin came alone, she was the one had to wait for the 4 starlings.  Those starlings are always hungry and in a hurry. They empty the whole thing so quickly as if they were never there. My robin on the other hand takes his time, walking around and looking around before eating and then taking pieces to fly to his babies.  Now I am sure that my robin is a male. He is bigger and more comfortable with me.  The mother robin is now much better compared with the spring, but she still does not like to come too close to me. She also takes a few trips back and forth and never taking the food for herself. 
    It has been two weeks since my robin took his family home.  I do not see the babies anymore, he comes back everyday, sometimes another adult robin too.  I assume it is the mother robin.  I can tell my robin is fatter than the others since he comes back to eat the grapes every day.  He also sings beautiful songs while sitting on the fence.  I just need to call "popper, popper", then he comes.
My popper comes back every day when I am home.

 Robin Singing
     I had not seen the mockingbird for a long time, but then two nights ago in the middle of the night, we heard his songs.  He sang and sang different songs and he would not stop singing until 3 AM. The next night around midnight, again he started to sing and did not stop until early morning.  When Anthony went out to put the trash out, he saw the mockingbird on the wire, now mimicking a car alarm.  He must have been thinking that Anthony was going to try to steal a car, since it was around 5 AM. We are getting tired of his singing, since we do not sleep well when he makes noise.  In the morning, my neighbor came out and talked to me about the bird, since he thought it was my robin. They did not sleep well either.  They tried to close the window, but the bird was still right outside on the tree next to their window.  He was ready to kill the bird! The third night, the mockingbird was again out there singing and I even yelled out of the window to ask him to stop.  It didn't do anything, so at about 1:30 AM, Anthony went out, ready to use a water hose to chase him away.  I came down and wanted to go out, but the bird had stopped singing. Anthony came back and made a nice bow to me.  He said that he did not hurt the bird, he just shook the tree and the mockingbird stopped singing, probably out of fear.
A non-edited audio clip of a Mockingbird





More on others saving robins:
 
Hatching and raising a robin
     A mother robin incubates the eggs, keeping them warm until they hatch. She must leave the nest several times each day to feed, but she hurries back so the eggs don’t cool down much. When the eggs hatch, both parents feed the babies and clean up the poop by carrying off the fecal sacs to dump in other places. When the babies get bigger and fledge (leave the nest), both parents feed them for a few days, but the mother spends less time with them as she builds a new nest and lays a new clutch of eggs. When she starts incubating them, the father continues caring for the first batch. He (and the mother while she’s still helping) teaches them robin behavior, where to search for food, how to recognize danger and what to do in dangerous situations, and how to find other robins to associate with in nighttime roosts.