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November, 2010

  1. Tanked Giving

    November 26, 2010 by admin

    I mean, THANKSGIVING and I hope everyone at home enjoyed a beautiful one.  Here in Shanghai a few of us got together at the restaurant with the most American name we could find, Boxing Cat Brewery.  It was a good time had by all and they did a terrific job with the turkey and the 50 sides of carbohydrates.  I felt absolutely sick to my stomach AND they had free-flowing beer and wine…perfect!!

    Instead of going on and on about how thankful I am for the wonderful friends and family I have, because who’s kidding who here, this year I would like to offer up some Chinese things I’m thankful for.

    1. You MUST bring your own bags to the grocery store or pay for each plastic one you need.  Every country should adopt this policy.

    2. Xiaolongbao.  Those wonderful little bites of deliciousness that keep you warm and happy all winter.

    3. The several old men and women who give me a warm smile when I pass them each day on my dog walk.  You know they’ve been through it all and seen it all and still greet each day with a smile on their face.

    4. Poker/Mahjong: what else would all those people in the park do with their free time???

    (I really AM thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  I missed you terribly… especially that egg/jalapeno/cheese hot mess thing that mom has perfected)

    And Bernie trying to tame the wild turkey

  2. “…and throw in a pinch of salt”

    November 23, 2010 by admin

    You know, I try to keep this blog politics free.  I want it to be light and funny with as many dog entries as any one human being can take.   However when you live in China, or any other foreign country, different things go on and sometimes you just have to talk about it.   For instance the current talk at the water cooler (read my apartment complex) is that our phones are bugged.  For sure there is always this clicking on the line when you first connect and sometimes I just want to ask them if they need more time before I begin my conversation.  Anyway, if this is true, god help the person who has to listen in on my conversations with my mother.  Sometimes I’m expecting a Chinese voice to come over the line saying, “geezuz ladies, enough of this talk about BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!”  or “how many dog stories are you going to tell the old lady!, GET A JOB, LOSER!”.   Believe me, If I was fluent in Mandarin don’t think I wouldn’t be first in line to get the job where I could listen in on people’s phone conversations.  I’m dying to know just what all these Shanghainese women are going on and on and on about.  There are some chatty Chen’s here.

    Ahem, and now there’s this renewed tension going on across the water…you know, the hullabaloo going on in orthnay oreakay.  Hellooooo, it’s like an hour’s flight from here so you tend to get a bit more involved when it’s that close to home.   I’m hoping Hu Jintao or our buddy Wen can step in, offer a good meal, followed by shot after shot of Baijiu and when Kim wakes up at noon the next day with his head in the toilet forgets why  he was mad in the first place.  I don’t know.

    I should probably stick to dog entries.

  3. Blah, Blah, Blahg

    November 19, 2010 by admin

    Today’s blogging will simply be a photo entry, please keep your applause to a dull roar.

    Fat Cat from Jenny’s Bar on Donghu Lu (you do NOT want to get into a conversation with this one about darts)

    Me, getting a pedicure which included a special scrub that offered to “remove foot Horny”.   I don’t know if it did but it sure felt good…


    A bit of European history among the ruins in Moganshan

    Bernie Art

    Our lovely Natalie is showing off one of the beautiful bedroom displays at the IKEA in Shanghai.  If, say for Christmas, you should want one of those black picture frames (including the Romanian couple from 1989)  to hang over your bed, just let me know.

  4. Tail tale

    November 18, 2010 by admin

    Niu Niu at the Sculpture Park

    Jenny and Natalie, you can skip this entry as you received all the painful details of this already.

    Last weekend, Ken and I went for some fresh air and hiking in the bamboo forest of Moganshan.  As soon as we got to the cottage we dropped our bags, changed our clothes and set off for a long hike.  It was a bit cold and drizzly, but perfect weather for a hike where the bamboo keeps you protected.  About 45 minutes into the hike, two villager women came running up behind us and we moved out of the way to let them pass.  They came up to Niu Niu who was a bit in front of us and must have spooked her because she took off like a bat out of hell and poof, she was gone.  We hiked another 20 minutes, calling out her name but nothing.  Ken told me to go back up the trail with Bernie and he would keep heading down and would meet me back at the cottage.  In my panic, I left Bernie’s leash in Ken’s backpack so when we got back to the cottage, where the chickens roam FREELY (see this Chicken post for details), he spotted one immediately and all I saw was a flash of white go by.  After searching for him about 15 minutes I heard a rustle where I realized that while chasing a chicken he went over an 8 foot wall and landed in some bushes behind an old house that was closed off because it had a bad fire some time ago.  I’ll spare you the details of how I had to get him, but I’m talking some Mission Impossible 3 action.  He hurt his leg a bit, but was fine (note to PETA, no chickens were hurt this vacation).  Ken came back to the cottage, but without Niu.  After a short rest we set out again to search the trail but now it was full-on raining and getting dark.  We hiked another hour and a half and after I had a good cry overlooking the tea plantations, we decided it was time to just go back to the cottage.  And if you can believe, when we returned, after 4 hours of her MIA, Niu Niu was waiting at the door.  Can you believe this bitch?!  She is one smart, Chinese dog.  And we were two very happy and sore hikers.

    After a nice dinner by the fire and sucking down a bottle of wine, we all slept peacefully.

    Note to self: Kids would have been easier.

  5. Bridging the Gap

    November 11, 2010 by admin

    The very first Gap store just opened in Shanghai, I believe it’s the first one in China and it’s down the street from my house.  I should be excited about this as there aren’t many places for me to buy clothes.  There are a million small boutiques here but they typically only carry a few sizes of each piece and if they aren’t completely bedazzled then it’s most likely going to be too small.  There are also lots of high-end stores, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Max Mara, Ferragamo but all the imported brands have a 25% mark up so even if I did shop at those stores (which I don’t) they would be even more expensive.  Which is why I am forced to buy many things from Zara.  I never thought I would crave JCrew and Anthropologie so much in my life.  Which brings me back to the Gap.  The whole purpose of buying the occasional jeans, jacket, scarf, socks or underwear at the Gap is because it would be fairly cute and inexpensive but when you add on 25%, it’s just not a bargain anymore.

    Here’s a new window display from Zara…my shopping options are getting worse and worse.

  6. It’s a tall order…

    November 9, 2010 by admin

  7. Dogs don’t wear shoes

    November 4, 2010 by admin

    or they shouldn’t anyway.  It really drives me crazy when I see it.  There’s this fancy pants sheep dog in our complex and he has like 8 pairs of shoes…which I guess actually means he has 16 pairs?  They’re all like high-top athletic type shoes in every color. Anyway, one day I was in the car driving out of the complex and the sheep dog stops right in front of the car to go poop and while he’s doing that kick thing that dogs do after they poop, one of his shoes flies off and almost hits the car.  Zhai and I laughed for about 30 minutes.   Again, dogs don’t wear shoes, okayyyyyy!

    On a totally different subject but equally irritating.  I read an article in the paper the other day.  The Shanghai Expo is now over and they were covering some statistics and comments.  Before the Expo began, the USA pavilion was rated the highest as the one people were most looking forward to seeing.  After the Expo, it was rated the most disappointing.  They commented that the building itself was very boring, there wasn’t anything that great to see inside or informative AND there was too much corporate sponsorship advertising all over the pavilion.  Welcome to America.   I guess we did get our point across after all.  Geeez, that’s the best we could do with $60 million?

    Bernie and Niu Niu (sans shoes) at Shanghai Sculpture Park