Showing posts from August, 2014

Riding the lift with a crabby toddler...

No, really. Look:

I look forward to the weekly changing of the print ads in our elevators. Honestly, they give me such great comic relief as I take the long ride up and down to my flat. Sometimes I'm grateful for the language barrier, because it's always fun to guess exactly what the ad agency was hoping to accomplish (or advertise for that matter!).

Upon seeing this one, Nat remarked that Chinese kids are made of tougher stuff than other kids, who usually start out the toddler years eating something more gentle, like Cheerios or cubed cheese, rather than jumping into live crabs...

Welcome to Autumn and Hairy Crab season!

Why Lucy Rocket Rocks.

I think having a dog while living abroad, specifically while living in Shanghai, is the best. Especially if it's a little dog. Especially if it's Lucy Rocket. 

When we lived in Tokyo, we did so with a tiny newborn blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby Nathan. If you wanna stop traffic, meet people, or vastly improve your language skills, I recommend the foreign baby in Asia route. I rarely got more than a few dozen feet without being mobbed by excited locals exclaiming happy sounds, trying to interact with Nat, who incidentally ate it all up. (Side note: at 13, nearly 14, he is way less enthusiastic about strangers interacting with him than when he was 13 months). 
If I was struggling with a bag and the baby, someone always ran to my rescue, generally preferring to snuggle the baby while I carried the bag. (Another side note: the things you do abroad are very different than the things you do in your country of origin... I would never hand off my baby to a stranger in America, but in …

Playing the cows home

Though I'm a city girl through and through, I have lived in the country. For two years in middle school I lived about an hour north of Los Angeles in the High Desert on two and a half acres. And then for the four years of high school I lived on a huge spread of land on California's Central Coast in a town that had a population of 123 the day we moved in. Or 127 if you counted my family. Moments after graduating high school I moved by myself back down to Los Angeles where I was born and raised up through the end of 6th grade, and where I fit in far better among my fellow city slickers.

But one thing I did when I lived in the middle of nowhere was to roll down my windows and shout or sing cheerful greetings to the livestock lined up against fences along the country roads. I always felt like they could use a little lift in their otherwise surely monotonous lives. And frankly, I myself was in need of something to lift my own spirits. For my troubles I was often rewarded with a cho…

Lost in Translation. Again.

Our conveniently located wet market where I would get all my fruit and veg for cheap closed down at the end of last year, leaving me trying out all sorts of other options for produce. Sadly, the stores that I can walk to within about a 6-10 block radius tend to be some of the most expensive for produce, stocking imported organic goods from America or Australia. Which, for some people, is fine. But for us it's out of reach for use on a regular basis.

We've been doing a lot of potlucks and hosting lots of dinners at our house this summer, and it's been challenging to find economical options to feed a crowd. This Monday night we hosted our usual group, and I decided on doing a baked potato bar. Pretty simple, just bake up a bunch of potatoes (scrub, poke 6-7 times with a fork, rub with olive oil and coat with sea salt before baking on the oven rack for an hour at 180 Celsius) and then provide an array of toppings.

I searched online for a grocery which sells russet, or at leas…

Dreams of Tibet

I have wanted to visit Lhasa, Tibet for as long as I can remember. Knowing how close we are here in Shanghai, and that you can take a train across the permafrost to get there makes me crazy with anticipation and longing. But knowing we have a son with congenital heart disease whose cardiologist has not signed off on Ben making the trek to such a high elevation means we've not yet gone. Regardless, I'm drawn to it.

Last week on the Time Out Shanghai website I saw a contest for tickets to an art exhibition of photos of Tibet. With nothing to lose, I put my name in the hat and won! Michael and I headed across the river to LOHAUS, a six-story building built in the 1930's. It's a creative space for events and coworking. Why write that novel in a coffee shop when you can do it in an historic building next to other creatives working on their own artistic endeavors?

On Saturday LOHAUS was hosting photographer Yunyao Shen, a 25 year old man from Shanghai with quite a story. It …

Shanghai Pretty

We live right across the river from this building, the Bund Centre Building. I'm frequently in the neighborhood around it, and have been inside it just once, for a special birthday dinner for my friend Leslie.

Except for its height, it fits in so well with the architecture of the other buildings on the Bund. I was certain it was built close to the turn of the century, like the rest of the Bund buildings, completed in the early end of the 1900's. Today I looked it up, and saw that it was indeed built close to the turn of the century-- just the wrong century! It's actually as new as most of the buildings here on my side of the river! It was completed in 2002, after five years of construction. It houses mostly commercial offices, but it also has some space devoted to the Westin hotel, with rates starting around $170 USD. 
It's one of my favorite buildings in Shanghai, and today as I passed by it I couldn't help to enjoy the view of Shanghai's best summer feature:…