X – well…. X is for?

Yeah, X, not the normal starting letter of many American words.  I’m spending a ton of time teaching my preschooler to start reading (she is interested, I’m not pushing) and helping my 1st grader get better at reading (I am pushing, she is less interested) and you run into all the silly things about English that are just a bother.  Too many things are just not sound-out-able.  I know because we are a mish mash of latin, french, german and a ton of other languages/dialects/creole/slang that all come together to make American English and with that bag of nuts it is no wonder learning to read is not an easy thing.  I don’t even want to talk about learning to spell….  I’m getting better but I’m over 30 but I vividly remember asking my Mom who invented spelling and she assured me they were long dead and that made me feel slightly better.

Back to X.  There are plenty of words that sound like they start with X but they don’t.  Then there are words that do like xylophone that sound like a Z.  There is XL as an abbreviation for eXtra Lage but I’m working on becoming a small…  People talk about X boyfriends and I really don’t have many of those and I’m on good terms with the majority so I usually call them former boyfriends because I don’t want to put a big X on their faces and X them out of my life – they were just part of a different phase and we all grew and moved on with little or no drama.  Same with workplaces, I might have more issues with former jobs then I do with former boyfriends but I gained so much from those professional associations and situations that I would never X that out either.

I’m going to have to resort to chinese – Xi’an – a massive huge city in central China that I had a wonderful time visiting. Auditing Die Casting and Machining facilities in China has its ups and downs but it is NOT the slum or slave child labor that you see on the news for clothing manufacturing (this is on my mind because of Monday night with John Oliver from this week).  The facilities I visited were large and well maintained and basically staffed by adult men.  I think the reason they have to keep them up is because the machines to do the work are so expensive that you don’t neglect that type of investment.  There are no children there half because (hopefully) better companies realize that child labor is wrong, and half because kids probably can’t lift or reach the big machines.  Some places were equal to what I’ve seen in the US and others were about as good but with fewer safety measures.  The most striking example was when I was watching a machine cycle where a part went in and the multi axis machine made all the fine cuts – I remember being able to see so clearly what the machine was doing and it was very cool.  Then the engineer I was traveling with noted that usually you can’t see that because there is a safety door closed between the operator (and public) and the part.  Oops… well…

In Xi’an apparently my glowing white skin and very femaleness in a mans world was cause for open mouthed stares and work stoppage.  I was always treated nicely and while I know the term ’round eye’ (Gweilo) is not the nicest term, I accept it because yes, I have very very round eyes.  Much like I don’t mind being called a Yankee – fine with me, yup, northern all over.  So other then that, my only other issue with Xi’an china was that the food was very very spicy, their speciality is even called a ‘hot pot’.  Thank goodness I could duck the majority because they mostly ignored me in favor of my male boss who had to take one for the team.  Engineer and I just lived on granola bars…

China 075

Machine center and adult male working it~

I was there for business so I did not get too many pictures but Xi’an is massive so no one picture could describe it anyway.  It is like the state of MN with a city and a country and a waaaaay out there back country but it is all the same ‘city’.  Here are a few Chongqing

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