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November, 2009

  1. Burrrrrrrrr

    November 15, 2009 by admin

    Well, winter is upon us.  A week ago a cold front came in, then followed by 4 days of heat and humidity, then cooler with rain and now it’s just plain cold…at least by the standards of THIS Southern California, flip-flop wearing native.   I caught a slight cold.  The people around us keep saying everyone is sick.  That has a different meaning when you live in a city of 15 million or so people around, the kleenex must be flying off the shelves for goodnessakes.

    Somebody’s eyeing their winter jammies


    Bernie is sick too


  2. Billie Jean is not my lover

    November 15, 2009 by admin

    Michael, I always believed that, really.

    I dragged Ken to go see “This is it”.   Should you have spent the last year in a cave or say, rural China, “This is It” is the docusequinsdancery film made up of rehearsal scenes from what was to be Michael Jackson’s final concert tour.  If you just made the slightest “tsk” sound, rolled your eyes or even role-played that you thought that was lame, I will never speak to you again.  Even Ken was toe-tapping through the songs, I almost “grand jete’ed” out of my damn seat.  I think I’ve already spent too much time in Shanghai because his rehearsal outfits were actually looking really cute to me.  The movie was soooo great and really entertaining and we both want to see it again.  So there.

    Blog Update: I’ve been thinking a lot about Michael Jackson in the last 24 hours.  I was reminded of when I was 5 yrs. old and sitting mesmerized in front of the TV watching the Jackson 5 perform.  I couldn’t wait for American Bandstand (oh so dorky) to be over because I knew the sultry voice of Don Cornelius was coming on Soul Train afterwards.  I couldn’t wait to see them all dance and what that asian girl with the super long hair was going to wear.  I wanted to be a soul train dancer when I grew up!  It’s true I liked to watch Shazam and Isis, but I liked Fat Albert more.  And later on, “What’s Happening” would be my favorite weekly show with little Janet Jackson, not “All in the Family”.   Michael Jackson’s music would permeate the 12 years of dance classes I took later.   What I’m saying is, the song “Ben” can still bring a tear to my eye, okay?!.

  3. Moving?

    November 11, 2009 by admin

    When I think about all the money I’ve spent moving from one apartment to the next it kills me.  Jenny is rolling her eyes right now because the ONE TIME she helped me move all she got was some bad pizza.

    This picture will be my reminder in life that when I think I can’t do something (like, say, um, speak Mandarin for instance) I will pick myself up by the flip flops and keep on trying!

    Yes, that is a couch on the back.


  4. “Rainy days and Mondays always get me dooown”

    November 10, 2009 by admin

    But today is Tuesday and I’m not down at all!  However, it IS raining cats and dog’s here…more like raining acid and construction particles, but I still love it.  The streets around town are a bit more quiet when it’s raining and there’s something really peaceful and beautiful about it.  Of course, if it continues for days on I’ll want to hang myself.





    Bernie needs better winter clothing…

    bernie in disguise

  5. Whatever happened to Antonio Banderas?

    November 6, 2009 by admin

    I’m only asking because as penance for my Wednesday night drunky’s, I am locking myself in at night until Ken comes home this weekend.  I have two movie channels to choose from and my options were Cocktail and Zorro and if that isn’t penance I don’t know what is.  Antonio Banderas at one time was the best thing to come out of Spain since Manchego cheese.  He was the star of Almodovar films for godssakes.  Remember a million years ago when Madonna had that crush on him?  He came to America, married Melanie Griffith and poof, never to be heard from again.   I mean, if Tom Cruise can recover from making Cocktail?!!!  Well, he is a nut but still.

    Anyonehitwonderhoo, I made “Marie’s everything in the fridge asiany soup” tonight and you can too.  Here’s what you do.

    You can use liquid chicken or veggie broth as your base but I happen to have a Korean soybean paste so I use that.  (Chef Stiller says that boullion cubes are a waste of time so there you go).

    Must haves are garlic, fresh ginger and lots of cilantro and any kind of chinese noodle.

    Boil your broth with lots of sliced ginger and some chopped garlic.  For seasoning you can add a little sesame oil and soy sauce but not much.  Add potatoes, mushrooms, celery, carrots, eggplant, whatever.  Saute chicken if you want to add meat. I throw my noodles right in broth and cook them for 3 minutes.  Add the cilantro/spinach/chicken at the end and take off heat and eat.  Super easy and it’s soooo good and good for you.  Note: do not break noodles when putting them in, according to Ken Wong family tradition it’s not a good idea for luck reasons.

    Night night.




  6. Somebody Shoot Me.

    November 4, 2009 by admin

    So listen to this.  Wednesday night is considered “LADIES NIGHT” in bars around Shanghai.  The bars will typically pick a drink and make it free to the ladies all night, even the old one’s like me.  The american women’s expat association has been gathering for LADIES NIGHT at  Zapatas for like years now, because we Americans like our drinks free, don’t we.  Somehow I just can’t imagine the french expat ladies passing around pitchers of margaritas.  One of the gals I went with was like, “we should go to the little bar I own on Taikang Lu” (yes, I hate her like only a jealous third-grader could hate). This seemed like a good idea after four million pitchers of free margaritas so off we went to Taikang Lu to her super cute, super cool bar, Lane 274 Bar.

    Note to self:  Champagne is NOT a good idea following margarita’s.

    The Drunky’s



  7. Mao

    November 3, 2009 by admin

    I was telling my Mandarin teacher, Jessie, about how I attended a seminar on Mao, in broken Chinese, “chinglish”.  With raised eyebrow she said, “you were talking to people about cats?”.   And this is how I learned the word for cat…mao.

    A few times now while walking around town I’ve noticed a man and a woman with a big bag of cat food and they’re feeding all the stray cats they can find.  They’ll stick handfulls of food in the bushes, behind fences, anywhere.  Then I read a small article about them in the newspaper.  Below is one of the cat caretakers on their bikes.


    And in not-so-pleasant animal news…

    My neighbor across the hall, the one with Charlotte the black cocker spaniel, told me when she first moved to this area she was walking Charlotte at the park across the street and a husky ran over and bit Charlotte in the neck!  The owner was there but didn’t have him on a leash.  She went to the police station nearby and told them what happened but they couldn’t do anything about it (they had a pack of cigarettes to get through).   I’ve seen this woman with her husky but he’s usually on a leash.  Yesterday though, as we walked by the park I saw him across the street standing next to his owner…offleash.  When he saw us he darted into the street and almost got hit by a car.  His owner was screaming at him but he kept coming.  I picked Bernie up in my arms and was shooing him away when the owner came and grabbed him.  I was shaking mad, so I gave her the “Breglia eyes” and mumbled “stupid cow!!”.  Don’t ask me where that came from, I’m not proud of it but this city makes you do crazy things.

  8. Twick or Tweet

    November 1, 2009 by admin

    So Ken has been gone for many days now and I’m missing him terribly.  I keep myself busy during the week but on the weekends I’m just lost without him.  We have several buildings in our complex and the property management sent out a notice that if we want to participate in Halloween, kids would be coming by to trick or treat Saturday night between 6 and 8pm.  They sent a bulletin that read the following:

    “Trick or treating is a custom for children on Halloween.  Children proceed in costume from house to house asking for treats such as candy, please refer to the following link” and they give a link to wikipedia.  Lame.

    Well, what else have I to do on a Saturday night so I bought a bowl full of candy and waited patiently (read desperately) for the little goblins.  My door bell rang ONCE the entire night.  However, the one time it did ring, I opened the door and about 25 princesses, witches, skeletons and one robin hood screamed “TWICK OR TWEET!”  One of my neighbors I have gotten to know and really like was there with her kids and she was dressed as Frida Kahlo, her blackened hair pulled back in a bun, unibrow and red bolero sweater.  She told me that she was going to a party later that her gay friends put together for Halloween (I held back my rage of jealousy) and said “oh, that sounds fun, I guess, if you like really fun parties with really fun gay people”, I wanted to slam the door on her black patent mary janes.  After wiping away the tears and a large bowl of candy on my lap, I  watched, “License to Wed” which made me want to drink the tap water here.

    I think my camera was temporarily possessed because I took 5 pictures but none of them came out, here’s the best one.


  9. A Brief History in Jade

    November 1, 2009 by admin

    *Warning: if you are under 30 yrs old and have the attention span of a gnat, you may want to skip this blog entry.  If you’re not, buckle down and get through it.

    I went to a lecture on the history of Chinese Jade held at the Shanghai Museum by Joe Zhou (Zhou is pronounced Joe, isn’t that cute?) who was for many years the curator of the Jade section of the museum.  He is now a museum consultant and works on special projects for the Guggenheim foundation.  He was fascinating, when I could understand him.  The museum carries pieces dating back to the neolithic periods of 5000 BC to 2000 BC up to the climax of the dynasties, the Qing dynasty being last and ending 1911.  Yep, the Chinese have been doing things just an intsy bit longer than we have.

    Jade was a very important part in their history.  It was used as a first “currency”, weaponry, jewelry and most importantly as a vessel for wine.   From the very beginning to today, it is still carved by a process using sand and water.  The most precious Jade was not the green color we think about, many times it was the pearly white color, sometimes a goldish yellow with a bronze running through it.  They still mine Jade today and pieces are very expensive. However, many items that are sold as Jade today in the markets are actually other types of stone or glass.  Joe’s advice to buying anything Jade was simply, if you really like something and you can afford it, buy it but don’t get too caught up in it’s worth as most likely it’s not real.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, don’t think about it too much.   Here are a few piece that ARE real and are priceless.

    This dagger is from the period following Neolithic, 2100 to 770 BC.  The handle is made of bronze and filled with Turqouise and to this day, scholars don’t know how they bound the turqoise to the bronze or the bronze to the jade.


    Bunnies and suchDSCN0219




  10. “You are middle”

    November 1, 2009 by admin

    I am in need of a cocktail type dress for the holiday season so I went shopping in a few boutiques today.   It’s the first time I have actually tried on dresses here and I was confused because the sizing was in the 30’s.  Most of the dresses said 36 and they looked a little…small.  I found a couple of cute things but told the sales girl,  “I need something bigger…Da”, da meaning big.  She took a minute to look me over and said quietly, “you are middle”.   It was how she said it that really struck a nerve.  It was like she read my soul and knew my lifelong struggle of never being really great at anything.  Had my third grade math teacher gotten to her, I wondered?  I was pretty good at many things and didn’t suck at too many things, but never great at anything.  I was, as my Mandarin teacher taught me, ma ma hu hu which means so, so.   In the MIDDLE.  I tried to shake it off while trying the dresses on, but nothing looked that great and the one I liked most was too tight in the bust.  I left the store briskly but not before saying “I am da…DA!!!”.