Showing posts from July, 2012


On Saturday night we visited the Oriental Pearl TV Tower to see the beautiful views of the sunset over Shanghai. I'll share photos in another post. The thing that hit me though, was right upon entering the viewing platform high above the ground, they had decals on the windows, pointing out the direction of other areas of China, and their distances from the tower. The first one I laid my eyes on was Macau.

It hit me pretty hard. We've now been in Shanghai for over two months. We've been in our new flat for one month. We are trying our best to settle in. But I felt such an overwhelming longing for Macau that took me by surprise.
Funny, while living in Macau I never felt homesick for America. Oh sure, I missed In-N-Out Burger and good Mexican food like mad, and I wanted desperately to see my Mom and Dad and our friends and family, but I never for a moment wanted to leave Macau and move back there. One thing that really helped keep homesickness at bay was living so close to H…

Romance is painful.


Happy Olympics!

I heard China won the first gold medal, though I haven't even seen so much as a clip of anything Olympic Games related here in China. Perhaps because we've been on the go constantly since our guest arrived.

Our friends the Bradens, who we knew from living in Hong Kong in 2005 and visited last Thanksgiving while they were living in the Philippines have just relocated to London in time for the Games! The just posted a photo on Facebook of their daughter at the gymnastics qualifying rounds (in the audience, not competing!). If you're going to move all over the world, it sure is nice when it coincides with being able to take advantage of attending fun world events! It's even nicer having friends in all the places you want to visit!

Here's our guest's Coke from lunch today, getting in the Olympic spirit:


The worst traffic I've ever seen was in the Philippines. Shanghai is bad, but Manila wins for sheer craziness and audacity of the drivers. But gridlock on the other hand? Shanghai is the champion. Every day I see at least one intersection turn into a parking lot with drivers spread all over in every direction, jostling for position, while electric scooters and bicycles fill in any remaining spots. Then the chorus of horns begins, with everyone honking as though through a simple sound they could blast the traffic away.

It becomes especially dangerous for pedestrians to try and cross the street, because should any tiny spot open, the cars will lurch forward into the smallest of openings. I've seen a car hit a person on a bike twice in just the last month (no injuries to the people that I could see, but the cheap Chinese bikes involved looked like crumpled aluminum foil once hit).

I've once been in a taxi that completely bypassed the gridlock by driving us up onto the side…

Typhoon Signal 8

Macau is being pummeled by Typhoon Vicente this evening, while up here in Shanghai we enjoyed hot, dry weather with incredible blue skies filled with cotton candy clouds. I miss living along the waterfront of the Pearl River Delta with a front row view of some of the wildest storms I've ever seen. I'm so glad we got to experience a signal 8 typhoon ourselves last year.

This storm looks a bit crazy. It appears to have made a quick right turn so it could head straight toward Macau! Stay dry my friends.

The photo in the image is our former view. I can check the observatory cam any time I want to spy on how my old city is doing at any time, night or day. Still working on finding a similar site (in English) which gives such detailed weather information for Shanghai.

Snail Mail

This morning was pretty rough. It's Monday, which never helps.

The boys were cranky during Mandarin class (neither did their homework, bad boys).

The dog peed on a throw rug which I'd literally just pulled out of the dryer.

I tripped and dropped a kettle of boiling water, which poured all over my hands and arms (the fact that I'm not covered in blisters is miraculous). As the water kettle fell, it knocked over a brand new box of cereal, which I'd just opened to pour into a Tupperware canister, as well as a full container of coffee, and the bucket of ice from the freezer, which together exploded all over the stovetop, counter, the backsplash, the oven, the floor, and a box of groceries which had been delivered earlier, but not yet put away.

The mess was substantial, and my feelings of frustration were compounded by the fact that I had an interview with an Ayi (Chinese word for auntie, which is a domestic helper, maid, housekeeper, nanny, etc.) who was scheduled to w…


Today I had dim sum lunch with a group of new friends. I was falling hard and fast in love with a spicy dish, which most of the group declared to be a bit too warm for their taste. We got on the topic of various Chinese restaurants around town, and I mentioned how I've been too busy trying out (and returning to) all the Mexican restaurants in Shanghai to explore much Chinese, good as it may be. A lady from the great State of Texas declared Shanghai to be the worst place to eat Mexican food. I wholeheartedly disagreed, but the conversation stayed with me all day.

Our "home" in America is in the Greater Los Angeles Area, which makes room for hundreds of Mexican restaurants. 80% of the meals I prepare at home have some basis in Mexican cooking. My Dad makes his famous tacos from scratch every year on my birthday at my request, and has been doing it since I was celebrating in single digits. One of Nathan's first "solid" foods was salsa, quite by accident, whi…

Future Olympians

Michael took the boys to a local archery range right around the corner from our house. Twelve arrows for around a buck. I stayed home and did laundry. And by laundry, I mean I took advantage of having the house to myself and blasted Walking the Dog by Fun. twenty times in a row while dancing my way to and from the laundry room. Which is the best way to do laundry, especially when your washing machine capacity is equal to exactly one outfit and should you take two days off from doing laundry for a family of four you will never, ever catch up again. Unless you blast a lot of music from Fun. Nah, never mind, you won't catch up no matter how upbeat the music, but at least it lightens your mood.

Michael reported back that the boys really enjoyed themselves. Nathan had great form until it was time to let go and then he became a wet noodle. Ben had two modes, he either hit the bullseye or missed the wall completely. I'm sure they'll get more practice. A buck for an hour of fun fo…

57 + 4

July 17, 1955: Disneyland in Anaheim, California opened for a special press day. The date has been considered opening day ever since.

July 17, 2008: I started blogging because my husband was on a month-long business trip to Canada and I just couldn't get behind the whole scrapbooking movement as a way to document our life. We were also preparing for a move to Macau and I wanted to keep the grandparents aware of what their grandkids were up to. Of course, that move fell through due to the World Financial Crisis later that year. Four years later I've managed to document the winding road that has moved us to two different countries and allowed us to visit a couple more, and expanded beyond just writing about the boys. What a long, strange trip it's been. So glad you're along for the ride.

Share the Hair

Wow. I started this post right before Mother's Day. And then we left for holiday in Thailand and then moved to Shanghai and somehow it got pushed down the list. Alas, this is an instance where life got in the way of my plans! So let me just finish up my thoughts and get this out to you!

My Dad was born a blond, but his hair grew progressively darker until it was just shy of black. My Mom was a redhead, as was her mother. I was born with nearly transparent white/blond hair. My little brother was blond, but not quite as blond as I.

 My hair pretty much stayed like you see it above until sixth grade, when I cut bangs into it so I could be like all the other victims of the 80's and have sky high bangs. While I don't have any awkward hair photos saved on my computer and all my hard copy photos are in storage back in America, you'll just have to take my word for it. I did mine through Facebook for some photos, and this is the only one I could come up with from the 1980…

Circle of (Plant) Life

When we left Los Angeles a year ago, we gave all our houseplants to a previous next door neighbor, Verity, who has a green thumb like no other.

In Macau, we were the recipients of a selection of houseplants from one of the departing stage managers of Cirque du Soleil's Zaia.

When we moved from Macau to Shanghai, we bestowed the stage manager's plants upon the family who was also taking on our domestic helper, Daisy (another person with a blessedly green thumb).

Today I got half a dozen plants from a family leaving Shanghai for Bangalore, India.

Does anyone in the international community actually buy greenery, or are we all playing musical plants as we move around the globe? I'm not great at always keeping them alive, but it's nice to have a little green to freshen up the place. Especially in the city.


I'm sure it's more of a bar than a bra, but with a name like Coconut, one can't assume too much...

Happy 4th

It wasn't a holiday here in China, so Michael had to work. I took the kids out for Dairy Queen after lunch and then when Michael got home we jumped into a few other activities.
We spent it putting together IKEA furniture.

Dying my hair firecracker red.

And grilling burgers.

Happy Independence Day to my American friends!
Let freedom ring!