Showing posts from April, 2013

Flat Stanley in Shanghai!

Four years ago my son Nathan's 2nd grade class read the book Flat Stanley. All the kids in his class made their own Flat Stanley and sent them off into the world to have some adventures. Nathan's Flat Stanley went to visit my parents and went with my Dad to work on the set of CSI:NY (which is actually filmed in Los Angeles, not New York). You can revisit his adventures by clicking here. A few weeks ago one of our friends in Macau emailed to say her daughter's friend, who lives in Canada, was also doing a Flat Stanley project. Stanley was having a blast in Macau, but she was wondering if he couldn't head up north to Shanghai to do a little travelling here. I love having guests, so of course I said yes! Because mail takes quite a long time to get to China (even from Macau which shares a border), and even longer to get to North America, I thought I better post some photos so that Taylor in Canada can see what her Flat Stanley was up to just in case he doesn't make i…

Better than coffee

Yesterday morning I stretched awake, tumbled out of bed, pulled open my bedroom curtain, and was greeted with this.

I went from groggy to fully awake in less than ten seconds.

I posted this on Instagram and my friend Jimmy said this couldn't be real. But no, seeing people hanging out on the top of buildings forty stories up with no guard rails (or guards to stop them) is a daily reality in China.

I'm just glad the access door to our rooftop is padlocked closed. No need for my boys to go exploring up there. Just the thought of it makes my heart pound and my stomach flip.


After my husband read my post from yesterday about failure (I never, ever let him preview them), he looked me right in the eyes and said, "It would take a lot more than that to come close to damaging our marriage. Our marriage is pretty tough." And then he dumped some praise on my head and we discussed some options for digging me out of my self-created hole. So no need to worry about the state of our married life.

For some comic relief, I give you my oldest son's health assignment for today. He was to create a comic strip showing one of his daily activities. Nathan already draws a daily comic strip, but drawing himself drawing himself drawing a comic strip was deemed too meta, even for him. So instead he decided to tattle on his Mom.

His characters never smile, but he assures me they aren't terribly unhappy. He turns 13 this year, and all he wants is YouTube and Facebook accounts, along with a blog of his own to fill with his original thoughts and artwork. Watch out…

The Power of Failure

Several years ago I had the great privilege of facilitating a series of workshops on creativity throughout the state of California. I also taught an eight week class on living a creative life. Here in Shanghai I was able to speak at an event on creativity. Creativity is a great passion of mine. I actively value it, celebrate it, look for it, and help other people do those things as well.

One of the biggest points I made in every workshop, class, or speaking engagement on the subject of creativity is the power of failure. A few thoughts on failure...

Failure teaches us lessons more difficult to learn if you only ever have successes. I'm thinking specifically of humility... Can you learn humility if you never fall flat on your face? Maybe. But failure teaches it far more effectively. And tenacity. Can you learn to hang in there and keep trying and pushing if you succeed the first time you try anything?

Failure helps us grow in so many areas because we are forced to work harder for o…

Wanna share a pie?

I already shared the image of the McDonald's delivery guy with his heated backpack on an electric scooter. I thought I'd share how we get Domino's pizza here. Well, *we* don't actually, my preference is a place called New York Pizza which has the best sauce around. But for those expats who will order Domino's simply because of the link to home and overlook the cardboard taste, you can still have your pie in 30 minutes or less. But these guys pedal for their paycheck.

In Season

Almost seventeen years ago my husband and I won a trip to Spain on the Newlywed Game television game show. It was amazing. Meals were included, and every night we'd dine in a fancy room with a personal waiter for each of us, refilling our drinks when we'd so much as take a sip. At the close of each meal, I would get a small bowl of vanilla ice cream, topped with a heap of the best strawberries I'd ever eaten in my life. Until today.

Our street has a multitude of vendors of all kinds which stop by right in front of the entrance to our complex. Pirated DVDs, produce, keys, shoe repair, plants, wicker furniture... Whatever you want or need will eventually appear if you hang out long enough. I have purchased plenty of things from most of the vendors, especially the produce. Lemons out of the back of a van belonging to the guy who picked them from his family orchard that morning go for 1/10th the price of the lemons in the grocery store. I buy local when I can.

The last few wee…

It's Just a Dinosaur

I got a spammy text which I ran through Google Translate just for giggles. And then figured it was my duty to share so you could have some giggles too.

"Hola Super Brand Mall will be closed for relocation in May, the audience commodity clearing the last three fold straight down the price in the end, more dinosaurs, Carolina, grapes and sounds of Ya Bedding counter guarantee, come buy it [HOLA Rite music]"

McDonalds Delivery

What to do if you get a craving for a Big Mac but just feel way too lazy to walk a couple blocks to get one and don't have a car? If you live in Shanghai, you just have them deliver! No, we've never had McD's bring us food (I avoid them, period). All the fast food places here deliver, which I suppose is the Shanghai equivalent of a drive thru.

And just for scale, in my last post when I mentioned scooters, I was talking about what the delivery guy is using, not a kid's Razor scooter! These are all electric powered and there's more of those on the road in our part of town than cars. And none of the traffic laws (like stopping at red lights) apply to them. At least with the electric power they're quiet. Though their silence can be bad as you can't hear them approach. I've nearly been run down countless times, but no near-misses by anyone bearing a Fillet-O-Fish to a hungry neighbor!

In the lift this week:

I got to ride up to my flat with both Brad Pitt and a number of scooters. Since parking in the subterranean garage costs money, and scooters are stolen constantly in Shanghai, people just walk them through the lobby, into the elevator, and park them in their apartment entryway. The fact that (a highly photoshopped) Brad Pitt is being used for advertising in China is quite interesting. After he made the film Seven Years in Tibet, China banned him from entering the country. Curiouser and curiouser.


I'm having a particularly bad week. Having difficulty finding the usual thing to chuckle over in the midst of terrible situations. I had to look outside the situation this time, and turn to the reliability of always finding some really bad English (Chinglish) here in China. It may not be a silver lining to my current troubles, but it sure is sparkly. So I'll just pretend!

(This is a package of sticky-backed plastic rhinestones, which cost 3 RMB / 50 cents USD)
Say it in crystals well-being and charming! USE METHODS Auto Beauty Decorate your car, enjoy your trip. Computer landscaping As cold as this technological products can be changed to the glaring fashion items. Home decorating Make your cup be nice and vivid. -To improve the pattern and appearance of the product without notifying, please comprehend us. -Please contact our company if you find defective products owing to the production. -If you clip or transform the products without agreeing to the warnings, breakage and responsibility ha…