Showing posts from June, 2013

Birthday Wishes

So this month is all about the milestones! Next up - on Sunday my youngest child turns 10 years old. We're out of the single digits in the Chase family!

He has two wishes for his birthday. The first is a laptop computer of his own. He needs it for school, and the desktop computer the boys share is dying a slow-but-loud death, so Michael picked up a new laptop down in Hong Kong today on his business trip (quite a bit less expensive than Shanghai due to the high import duties in China).

His second wish is one I need help for. Today I took Ben with me to get the ingredients for his Mama-made birthday cake. He was chattering away with excitement about his big day and told me that the month of July is his favorite EVER. His birthday is June 30, so I had to ask why the sudden love of July. His response nearly broke my heart - because the mail takes so long to get from America to China and so all his birthday cards would come in July instead of June. He was practically singing with hap…

Boys (will be boys)

The other night Michael and I were discussing my photography habits. Which is to say that taking photos is a huge habit, and I make a practice of stopping and snapping away at things that catch my eye or inspire me all the time. Cataloging and storing all these photos is becoming quite the digital nightmare. He was encouraging me to delete right away all but the very best shot. And I do cull my photos if there are obvious bad ones right away. But I also find that sometimes a whole collection of very similar shots become quite magical when strung together instead of just having a solitary image.

Today I was looking for a specific photograph and came across this ridiculous series of photos of Nathan and Benjamin, shot on the parking lot tram in Disneyland, California, in 2010 (Nat's 10th birthday, Ben was 7). Sure, the very last photo is the obvious keeper, but I can't help but laugh at what it took to get there!

So glad I didn't delete a single one of these. It's a go…


Living abroad changes you considerably. One thing that has challenged my thinking here in Shanghai is the way things are used well beyond the point where they'd be tossed in America (and in many other affluent countries). Take the rust-covered bicycle above. There's no doubt it would be taking up space in the landfill in the States, but in China it is used every day as the primary mode of transportation for the person living behind that red window frame. 
A friend of ours is headed to America in August for two weeks, and willing to bring back a suitcase of goodies for us. Two years ago I could have filled it with a long list of things I thought were impossible to live without. Now we are practicing the art of making do or doing without, something that gets easier only by doing it. There was a time when I craved the ease of going into Target in America to pick up everything we needed in one shopping trip. But during our visit to America in February, our 2-3 visits to Target in o…


My beloved and I tied the knot 17 years ago today. Our marriage is at that teenage stage where it's old enough to drive and have a job, but not buy lotto tickets or vote. It's also the most stunningly beautiful it's ever been- all the acne has cleared up and the baby fat is gone. 
I love you, Michael Chase! So grateful you are my happily ever after! 

For your eyes only

Yesterday I went to get a long overdue pedicure at a place where I have a membership, and therefore get an okay discount (I mainly go there for massages). I have a choice of taking a taxi for 36RMB (~$6USD) or taking the Metro train for 4RMB (~70¢), each way. If I'm by myself (and therefore do not have whining children with me complaining about taking the subway which can be crowded and noisy), I always take the train.

I prefer the train to be honest. It takes about the same amount of time, sometimes less if it's rush hour and the streets are clogged above ground. It gives me solitude, which sounds funny considering I'm generally pushed up against another three or four travelers. It makes me feel confident in a way that only mastering public transportation in a foreign country can. I know I'm in a minuscule minority, but I also find it peaceful... The never ending rhythm of arriving and departing trains reminds me of the waves on the ocean. 
I generally pop in my earph…

Costco-sized pain

It has taken our family twenty-three months to go through this bottle of Ibuprofen (generic name for Advil or Motrin) which contained 500 pills, purchased at American warehouse membership store Costco. 
I just opened the second and final bottle in my stash of over-the-counter medicines from America. 
So what I'm saying here is we really need someone from America who has a Costco membership to come visit us in the next twenty-three months, bringing a replacement, so we don't run out when the summer of 2015 arrives. Okay? Okay. 
Reminder: we do have a spare bedroom with its own private bathroom and a view of the Huangpu River and the Bund. And we are excellent hosts so you won't actually need any ibuprofen yourself. Which is good, because when one has only 500 pills, one may find it hard to share. Don't want to run out unexpectedly, you know?

Heat Wave

Last year at this time, my family and I were shivering through the month of June in Shanghai, having left the already blazing hot and humid Macau behind. This year? I'm already walking down the street, feeling beads of sweat joining up with friends to form rivers while watching torrents of salty moisture dripping from the ends of my hair. I'm reminding myself of the promise I made while painfully shivering in the miserably cold (to me) Shanghai winter: I promise I will not complain about the summer heat.
This is me, not complaining. Instead, I'm gonna work my hot mess status like a tabloid queen. If I can do it without passing out. Water... please...

Happy Father's Day!

Hey Dads out there! Hope you have a great day!

Lots of love to the three most important fathers in my life...

My own Dad, Marty, who in addition to instilling a great love of Disney in my life (see below), is the perfect gentleman with a wicked sense of humor, a strong work ethic and character, and a great love for my Mom and us kids. He was the first person who taught me how to face challenges head-on and to pick myself up and make beauty from the ashes when things went sour. I never give up, because he never has.

My Father-in-law, Jim, who raised five children and is the most humble servant I have ever met. No matter how inconvenient, there has never been a single time that he's said no when I called in need of assistance. And he makes some incredible lemonade. Which I wish I was drinking here in Shanghai right now! (Photo from our last night in America during our visit in February.)
And of course, the father of my own children, Michael, who goes to crazy lengths to keep our fa…

Passing the time

Whoa, has it really been over two weeks since I last posted? Apologies all around. Unfortunately, the Blogger mobile app on my phone has somehow changed a little bit, so any photos I post end up quite pixelated on the blog (and yes, I already played with the settings to make the photo quality higher, no change). I always have to go back in on the computer and upload a better photo (the same photo, actually, just uploaded via the computer). This takes some of the fun out of blogging on the fly while in a taxi or waiting for the train, and therefore the number of posts is going down.

There's that and then also I'm working like crazy right now to make up for my previous mess up which I posted about here. My deadline to get everything done is July 4, so you may not be seeing much of me here before then. When I'm done with everything I have to do, Michael has promised me a weekend away by myself to soak up some solitude and just write. I can't wait. I need it. As much as I…