Photos: Sally's Backyard

Photographs at Los Altos Hills
Thanksgiving, November 25, 2010

By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: After Mom's passing on Christmas Day 2005, Sally has invited me to her Thanksgiving and Christmas Potluck parties in her home on La Loma Drive in Los Altos Hills. This is my fifth Thanksgiving dinner at Sally's home since 2006 where she has some 50 guests (half from ballroom dancing & half from her Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park). I cooked pan-fried noodles casserole with ten vegetables (bean curd, green onions, garlic clove, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, Napa cabbage, radishes, tomato, bamboo shoots). Sally emailed November 24 telling everyone "God's bonus gift for Thanksgiving at Sally's— The sweetgum tree is all in color, bring your camera to get your picture taken under the tree." My friend drove me to Sally's house a few minutes after sunset, and I took a photo of the sweetgum tree at 4:54 pm and the last photo of sweetgum star leaves at 5:09 pm. The photos of ginkgo tree and Sally's backyard were so dark that Adobe Photoshop was used to brighten them. Dinner was served at 5 pm, and I enjoyed the vegetable dishes on the buffet table, with Martinelli apple cider. Had dessert of fresh strawberries, blackberries, honeydew, and cheesecake. Nice conversations with old friends and new. Board games were played on two tables. I was sitting on the sofa in the living room when someone passed a "Question Book" around. One was "What life-changing experience did you have?" I told the story of my job with Prof. T. Ivan Taylor at Columbia Chemistry Department in summer 1962. He gave me the title "Technical Secretary, Administrative Assistant, and Lab Assistant". My job was to type his annual Atomic Energy Commission Report, payroll checks for his workers, order lab supplies and stationery. When I asked Prof. Taylor where to order nitrogen tanks, where to send lab tests, etc., he said "Peter, someone gave me this at a party last week, read it." It was Letter to Garcia when the Spanish-American War broke out, President McKinley gave a letter to Rowan to deliver to Garcia, leader of Insurgents in the Cuban jungle. He said "Yes, Mr. President" and accomplished the task in four days without asking a single question to President McKinley. The story went on to tell how in today's world, employees don't have the independence to perform tasks without bothering their boss all the time. I realized that the message was meant for me and changed my life instantly. I went to Professor Taylor's previous secretary and asked her for the information, and never bothered my boss again.

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Walnut Tree (Juglans major)

Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia)

Eucalyptus Tree (E. tereticornis)

Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

Ash Trunk Slices as Stepping Stones

Domestic Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Heritage Oak Knothole

Sally's Backyard at La Loma

Neighbor's Deodar Cedar

Sweetgum Star Leaves & Spiky Ball

Sweetgum Star Leaves & Spiky Ball 2

Sweetgum Star Leaves & Spiky Ball 3

— Peter Y. Chou, Los Altos Hill, November 25, 2010

     Mountain View Cloud Photos, November 26, 2010

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© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (11-28-2010)