Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, albeit a bit late!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving day with lots of turkey and things to be thankful for! We did celebrate here, though not in the traditional way. We went to Lawry's and had turkey and prime rib on Thursday night. It was quite good, though not as good as homeade! We could have put together the meal here - but for the trouble of hunting down the ingrediants, and making it - and the cost - it was just as easy to go out. The turkeys are imported from the US and are about $8/lb for whole turkey, about $12/lb for turkey breast. We'll have ours at Christmas for much less!

The kids got out of school Thursday at 1130, and no school on Friday. Has been a nice weekend so far - Thursday they played outside most of the afternoon and then C had soccer (getting pretty cold for soccer at 5pm here!) then Friday they both had various play dates, friends over and then they headed over to the original clubhouse with Michele and their friends and their ayi - they had a pack of about 12 kids that went to play. It was rough, but E and I went for manicures, pedicures and head and shoulder massages while they were off on their playdate. We met a group out last night at Din Tai Feng, which is pretty much our favorie all time restaurant here.

When we arrived home, we got our Tree up - it looks ok. Not like the one at home, but it was free (we borrowed) and much easier to assemble! The crazy thing is you cant find any ornament hooks here! I had to tie ribbon on to all the ornaments to hang them. Really, was so fun. (???) We didnt bring any ornaments or deco with us - so I bought some at the market, and ikea...and we have plenty. I did win 2 xmas decorations at the school bazaar - so that was good - a nativity scene and a dancing/singing santa/snowman thing. I never win - so was quite excited at my haul!

I know I had more tidbits to share but I can't remember them right now? I will for sure be back. Today will be busy with soccer games, and showing some potential expats the fake market, neighborhood, school, etc then we are going to a party tonight. I'll be back!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chinese american idol?

I went into the office today. I don't go into the office much, no need, really. Today, I was asked to judge an english contest. 30 people had 2 minutes each to stand up and talk about whatever they chose to....and then they were judged on Manner, Grammar, Fluency, etc. After each person went, you had to give a few comments....I am pretty sure I threw out a few " that was a bit pitchy...and you really have to bring it if you want to win comments!" Paula might want to look out, I may be the judge if they decide to really have a Chinese AI! One guy actually did sing - not very well - but we had to give him props for trying. The topics were somewhat odd and off the wall - random. One guy talked about his gay friend, one girl talked about getting up in the night with her baby and how tired she was, several talked about hope and what does it mean - and success - how does one truly find success (pretty lofty topics, I thought, for someone learning the language?) One gal had memorized McCain's concession speech and recited that? Another acted as the CEO of Google and announced layoffs. Wacky. Then I stood up and they asked me questions like - how to learn english? (um, practice and study?) what is most important element - ( pronunciation works for me - if I can't understand, its a problem!) Fortunately, no one asked me to demo my chinese!

The crazy part was(ok, it was all a bit crazy but bear with me) -when we were done - (2 more rounds to go, so no winner yet) - all these people came over and wanted their pictures taken WITH ME! Me, as in AD? Can you stand it? It happens out and about here with the kids, but rarely do they take pics of me or E, and I was not expecting it at work of all places. I think E's admin was the first one over? Just wild. good thing my hair looked ok today - can you imagine? Anyway, I am not sure why I dont get this reception back in Chandler, but I will sure be letting them know!

Gonna a be a long winter...

2 degrees celcius at 745 this am. That's about 36F. Yikes it is cold if you add the wind and the humidity. Guess I better start shopping.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An Open Letter to CEO of The Coca Cola Company:

Dear Sir -

Though I rarely take time to send suggestions and feedbacks on products that I use - I felt most compelled to write. Whose idea was it to change the Diet Coke (hereby known as DC) Recipe in Asia, therefore calling it the most deceptive "Coke Light"? Aren't the Coke recipes locked away in a secret place and duplicated religiously? Was a taste test done across Asia to determine that those living in the far east wouldn't be happy with the original DC?
Enough of the problem - let's talk about solutions as there is still time to please a loyal customer of over 20 years, someone who ONLY drinks DC normally and would almost give her eye-teeth to be able to have it while in China! The Coke light - ugh...just not good - too sweet, too flat, blech. blech. blech. On the rare occasion I have found a true DC....the cost was $3.00 a can. Yes, $3. I admit, I have bought a couple for that insane cost, but I would be much happier for a bit of a bargain.
Please contact me if I can be of service in launching the real DC here, though I do have a day job, I would be willing to double up and support the efforts to ensure a smooth, affordable pipeline of DC.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cluck, cluck, (organic) chicken!

Not sure how widespread the news has been around the world about the melamine found in eggs here? I know the milk was widely broadcast, but since then, they discovered it in eggs, too. nice, huh? Anyway, I am not normally an organic food buyer at home -sometimes I did but not a requirement. Here I do tend to buy more organic items, at least it seems like it might be better - there is enough crap around on a daily basis. So - the eggs I have normally been buying, which were not found to have the melamine in them - have a color brochure that comes with each box (yes, these are expensive eggs!) - I find it very interesting - here are some snipets -

"sun daily farm is in Mount Qipu, where thousands of ancient cypress release massive negative oxygen ion continually (is this good??)......
All hens are of pure german genetics...breathe joyfully under the shade, walk freely in the forest (I might enjoy living at Mt Qipu, too, I do have German blood!)....
Supplied with nutrition balanced organic corn, soybean, every day - they also can enjoy the green grass, and spring freely!(I don't spring too much anymore, myself...)..
they then go on to say they run an egg researh institute with phd's to ensure the best quality eggs.

Anyway - they are quite good, and don't contain any chemicals, so we will go with them for now. I just thought it sounds like a pretty good life!

Sir Wrigley

As I had mentioned, Wrigley flew back with me a couple of weeks ago. I hired a pet company to assist and we routed through Beijing to avoid the Quarantine here in Shanghai. Please don't ask why there would be a locked up Q in Shanghai but not in Beijing...I couldn't tell you why! While it was expensive I felt it was well worth it.

When I arrived in Beijing, there was a person waiting for me to get off the plane, he took me to get my bags, then to get Wrigley, then to the Q office. Wrigley couldnt get out of his crate there and when he saw me he just howled! I know he said he had to go to the bathroom!!! By this time he had been in his crate for about 19 -20 hours! The Q office filled out some paperwork, took a pic of me and wrigs - still in the crate - then told me to leave. The escort took me out into the airport where another person was there from the company - world care pet - to meet me. She told me he would need to stay there for 3 hours. So, my mom - who was with me, and I got a starbucks...and sat to wait. Side note, had not been to Beijing airport - was huge - and freezing! very nice, but way too cold. So we waited...and waited...and then tried out a Big Mac.....(same by they way as home!)..waited more...then out she came wheeling wrigs on a cart....he saw me and just let out another howl...She then arranged to have a car pick us up so we could take Wrigs offsite to get out, go to the bathroom, have a drink, etc. My mom stayed at the airport with all our bags, and off we went. He was so happy to run around. There were no accidents in his crate - he had held it for about 24 hours at this point! Quickly we headed back to the airport, and then went to check in for our next flight. I felt so bad sending him off again, but we had no choice. Finally, we landed in Shanghai, and went to get the bags....and...the first thing down the luggage carousel was WRIGS! omg! I quickly got the cart over and someone helped us get him off. I have never been so happy to be home in my life! The whole process was about 30 hours...and Wrigs did just wonderful. He is settling in really well.

The other thing we had to do once he arrived was register him - for $150 the police will register him so they wont come to take him away. we hear about them raiding neighborhoods and taking dogs - you have to pay tons of money to get them and sometimes you never get them back. SO, we paid for that and will have to also do it again in Feb - as that is their annual registration period. I felt it was money well spent!

here he is, in one of the pics we took for the police -

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An All Star Winner!

C made it to the all star baseball team here in Shanghai...and today they played against a Japanese team. The start did not look good - the other team very coordinated and they play together every week. They were up at bat first and all of them hit the ball way into the outfield. Our boys were really scrambling! A change came about after the first couple of innings, however and they did great! C had more great plays then I can relay - multiple hits, outs, just did a super job all around. Final score was 31-28.

I must say I might need to work on my coordination as I had a hard time - watching and cheering for C, keeping an eye on D (who was running around with other kids) answering e's text messages on HOW IS THE GAME! and trying to snap pics from my phone - which is not a good camera for sports pics, to send to E.
It was quite a disaster. So, I didnt really get any action shots, but here is one of the baseball boy...and my neighbor, thankfully, who wasnt doing all at once did get a few good ones that he will forward my way. After that we made a run into ikea, which was close by, for a few things, and then we stopped at california pizza kitchen - our first time here- we kind of had an all american day, right here in china! As tired as they kids were, the miraculously recovered on arriving home - C ran out the door to his friends and D and Michele went right to the park. I predict good sleep for all tonight!

ode to milk

Oh imported milk...
where have you gone?
we have been without,
for far too long.
I look all over -
stores far and wide
the shelves are empty
no place for you to hide.
China stopped the imports
making sure you are melamine free
but that was never a concern to me!
I dont think other countries
have been souping up the milk with plastic -
and really the australian milk - it almost tastes fantastic!
For now I keep on looking..
the local milk it doesnt taste good...
I'll stop at all the stores, in all the neighborhoods!
If you happen to see some President, even better anchor lite...
holler and I'll be over - and even be ready for a fight!

My new toy!

I do mostly like to walk here - its so good for you and helps offset if I can't go to the gym as much as I would like. however, days where I am in a hurry, or its rainy or soon to be much colder, it is a pain if the kids are coming along. They don't get as much enjoyment as I do, trekking off down the road on foot. So - when yuwei is off with E, or has the day off (we do let him have a day off sometimes!) I got this to take us around! It's so much fun! we tried it last night - went to the school for a fundraiser and it was perfect. I will say I had to search hi and lo for this - they used to be common here - locals used them as taxis - but the police cracked down and said no! however, I was told as a female american - no one will utter a word to me on this. Which is good, as I wouldnt understand it anyway, lol! We actively searched for a couple of weeks - yuwei calling all over, a guy from work making calls, visiting shops across shanghai - nothing. I was so bummed. Then, I thought to post a question on a local mom's internet board - shanghaimama's! and someone not only said they knew where to get it - they offered to take me there! she was super nice and we went right to a shop about 20 min from my house. Yuwei was very worried about buying without "laoban" - that is boss in chinese - meaning E! "oh...madam...we wait for boss. I take him next week." me - um, no, yuwei, its ok. I can buy this. E wants me to buy this as he is tired of trying to find one for me! if we dont get it, our luck it will be gone! I am sure he was worried as for him it was very much money, and was nice for him to be concerned, but I dont need "boss" to buy something! ha! So, without further she is:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm back!

What a busy month this has been! yikes. Time flies when you aren't in China?

First I was in Arizona for 2 weeks - and I can't tell you how nice it was! Target. Nordstroms. mexican food. yum! It was so nice to go into work and see people vs being on the phone! It was very busy with lots to do in a short time period, but all went well. I even tried a couple of restaurants I haven't been to before....eddie's house -
and cowboy ciao - Eddies had good food but was overserviced? Or maybe I am jaded from being in China and having limited service? Ciao was good...great combo of flavors and wine. I managed to bring back about 100lbs of food items in duffle bags- always a good thing...heinz ketchup, sweet baby rays, granola balls, trix, tomato sauce and 6 bottles of yummy napa get the idea. So much cheaper and of course some things you cant get here at all. The other big thing I brought back...was....WRIGLEY! he is here, in china, in the flesh. I may not be able to post a pic till seems I am having firewall difficulties...aka...TCF.
He did great on the trip and is settling in really well.

I do plan to post more later this week, along with some pics...lots to tell - ear infections, MRSA???, tallest building, a life sized santa, OPUS ONE private tasting. truly too much to detail tonight, after getting up at 4am and having a busy day. Will try again add pictures too!