Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I do whatever my rice crispies tell me to do

I do whatever my Rice Crispies tell me to do.

I read that on a bumper sticker once. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to have to pull off the road. I can't imagine how I would have laughed if I had one of my peeps in the car with me.

The other day... I am pretty sure my Rice Crispies were cussing me out. Which was fine, because I wasn't exactly blessing the day of their birth.

For every nice thing that happens to me (see last post), 10 things that could only happen to me almost cancels it out.

So, here's the deal. Last year I missed my really good friend, Jennifer's, 40th birthday. I mean completely missed. Didn't even acknowledge it....not with a phone call, a card, a gift... NOTHING!

Now, in order to save face, and not look like the worst friend ever, you should know that when her birthday rolled around, I had only been home from China, with a new baby for 2 weeks. And, those two weeks, I wasn't catching up on sleep.

We came home from China to no power because a hurricane had rolled through the midwest. Really, I am not making that up. During the hurricane, one of our tress fell on our house. So our first 3 nights home, we didn't even sleep in our own beds. Then, when we were finally able to come home, it was only for 5 days. Then, we drove to the beach in North Carolina with Paul's parent's for a week. Soooo, we were not even in town for her birthday.

I have been determined to make it up to her this year. Her birthday is Friday, Oct 2. So, on Monday we went shopping and I took her to lunch. On Tuesday, I decided to make her one of the things that she loves the most. Rice Crispy Treats. Now, I am not sure what I do to this simple little dessert that makes it better than anyone else's, but everyone always says mine are the best. (I'm such a bragger right now, sorry!) Jennifer especially goes on and on about them. Jennifer thinks I am the greatest cook/baker in the world though. Sometimes, if I am feeling low about myself... which can happen when you think the only gift you have is shopping and you don't have a plug nickel to shop with... I'll cook or bake something and take it over to Jennifer and she makes me feel like a million bucks!

So, I was in the kitchen working my magic. (ha!) I finally had the marshmallows melted and I was pouring in the cereal. I got the first pour of the cereal mixed and then I went to add more cereal. Only when I went to pick up the bag of cereal, the bottom gave way and the entire bag of cereal poured all over the cooktop and all over the floor.

I'm not kidding!

It was bad enough to spill them, but then they started smoldering and burning on the cooktop.

One of the things I hate the most about myself is that I am messy. I hate it so much... it was hard to even type that. But, the thing is... I don't even try to be messy. It's a curse! I thought the bottom just fell out of the bag, but what really happened is I set the bag too close to the burner and melted it. Clearly, I had no idea until it looked like it had rained Rice Crispies all over my kitchen.

WELL, I finally got the first batch done and was onto the second batch. I have to make 2 batches to fill one pan. Right after I put the butter and marshmallows in the pan, I had an idea about something I wanted to write about. I ran to the computer and quickly typed my thoughts out. Apparently, it wasn't as quick as I thought.

Because I came back to this....

Badly burnt marshmallows

My Rice Crispies .... they told me to just call it a day. So, I did. I wrapped up the ones I successfully made and took them to Jennifer.

She was very happy!

P.S. Remember the Meijer gift cards from the last post? 4 -$10 cards. They are worth $1 each now. Apparently, they are old.

And depreciating.

Surprising? You tell me.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Lady with the BMW

Because I always have a story........

Late Sunday afternoon I went to the grocery store. As I was unloading my cart in the parking lot, I hear from the other side of my van, "Excuse me?" I see this older, sophisticated looking woman walking from her car, which was parked beside my van.

I was like, "Oh brother! She better not tell me I parked too close to her because how does she know that I wasn't here first!" I was all ranting and raving inside.

I was ready to defend my parking.... for all the moms who drive mini-vans. Darn it!

Instead I hear, "I know this is kind of strange but I have some boxes of food in my car. I am moving and Goodwill wouldn't take the boxes. I don't feel like trying to find a place to drop them. Nothing has been opened and none of it is expired. Would you like to have it?"

So I said, "Listen here old lady! Just because you drive a BMW doesn't mean you can start..."

Ok, ok. You know I didn't say any of that. As a matter of fact, even if she had started yelling at me for something, I probably would have just cried. I like to act like I am all tough, but really, I'm like a big.... um, don't really want to be a 'big' anything.... Let's just say, I don't like to do anything wrong and I cry easily if someone tries to tell me I did and almost especially if some one yells at me.

I really said, "Sure! Thanks!"

She brings the boxes over and says, "There are some Meijer gift cards in there. You can have those also."

4- $10 gift cards

The weird thing... there was almost nothing in those boxes we wouldn't use.

I should have asked to see her wings:-)
Yea God!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

What do Emme and Pebbles have in common?

The forces of nature are trying to hold me hostage in my house. First it was the white trash squirrel in my van. Seriously, have you thought about that? There are hundreds of trees just around my house and this so called mother builds her child a nest in my van. (Click, if you missed that post.) Seriously, does she think that throwing a few leaves under the hood of a van constitutes suitable living conditions? What kind of mother is she?

Then, Saturday morning, we are all running around like chickens with out heads cut off because... not 1, not 2, but all three kids had soccer games. I hit the ground running so hard that I didn't even have a chance to make coffee. Which, in all honesty, suited me just fine. There just 'happens' to be a Starbucks on the way to the fields. I mean, if I am forced, I don't mind stopping there for coffee.

But, as it turns out, I didn't even really need the coffee.

In the morning, one of the first things I do is run around and open all the blinds in the bedrooms. I can't stand to have them closed. (Hey, did you know that people who like their windows open like that... they like people and have a welcoming home. I'm just saying....)

So, I opened the blind in my room... the one that's RIGHT next to my bed, on my side, where I sleep.... and I am pretty sure that as soon as the blind went up, I hit the ground. Seriously, it would have been no different if someone had shot me because..... this is what I saw:

You don't need coffee when that is what greets you in the morning!

That's the biggest spider I have seen around these here parts. (My dad's from Hazzard, KY... I can talk like that sometimes.) I can't live here anymore. There was no way to get to that spider and smash him to smithereens. He was on the 2nd floor window, right in the middle of the window. Saturday afternoon and Sunday, I got used to him being right outside my window. At least I could keep an eye on him.

Then, Monday morning, the girls came running up the stairs announcing that the hurricane force winds moving through here yesterday, knocked him down... they saw him rappelling down as they were looking out the window below my window. What are the chances? Now, he's on the ground. What am I supposed to do about that? I am going to come outside one day, and Emme is going to be riding him. That's how big that spider is.

Lurking in the deep recesses of my mind was this picture. (Hey, I liked cartoons when I was a kid.) I scoured the internet to find the picture. That's Jackson pulling Emme. I don't know who the other two are because Paul has no hair and if I have to look like that mom to be skinny, I'll stay just the way I am. Thankyouverymuch!

Does that not SO look like Emme riding a spider? hahaha!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Really... on Spongebob?

Get ready internet friends, this is going to surprise you, but I am going to post every day this week.... barring any kind of natural disaster, mental breakdown or whathaveyou!!

Sunday morning before church, were we just hanging out. My mom had spent the night... so she and I were drinking coffee. The kids were watching Spongebob and Paul was searching for something on the computer. We were all in one room together.

My mom asked Paul a question. He didn't answer. He didn't act like he had even heard. He went on as if no one else were in the room.

It drives my mom crazy that he is like that so she made some kind of comment about him having a one track mind. He still completely ignored her. Honestly, he just didn't hear her either time.

But, a few seconds later, I realized truer words had never been spoken. The true words being Paul and his one track mind.

My mom, looking at the the Spongebob cartoon on the tv screen said, "Look at that woman's saggy boobs!" Of course, she was referring to a cartoon character, but do you know what my husband did? He instantly stopped and looked at the tv screen.

Can you believe it?! He completely ignores all questions, comments etc.... heck, I think a bomb could have gone off and he would have kept right on working. BUT, at the mention of boobs, on a Spongebob CARTOON CHARACTER NO LESS, he stops and looks.

I don't even know what to say about this.

P.S. I can joke about this because Paul takes every precaution to keep himself pure. He has two friends he is accountable to, he has me block all channels on our tv that could have 'bad' stuff on it, and
the list could go on and on.

Really, I thought the whole thing was hilarious!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Gap

Today, I have on a t-shirt from the Gap that says London. I bought it at a thrift store this week for $2. When Paul saw it this morning, he said, ".... because you've been to London so many times?" Smart Alec!! Apparently, he doesn't know that you can wear a t-shirt that states the name of the place without having been there.

I have been to the Gap. And, I know this is going to surprise you... I have a story about the Gap. But, before I proceed with this story, I just want to say that people are trying to use me for my stories. In recent weeks, I have had invitations to go two different places: New York City and Africa. The girls that have asked me to go to New York and Africa are supposed to be my friends AND they are supposed to be Christians... but judge for yourselves. Here's a message Sharla left on my blog:

Hi Friend! Finally catching up after my trip (She went to Africa.)!! You crack me up, I love how you always ask the questions that we all think... Well not the ones we're thinking the questions about... I've always wanted to ask fat people who wear skin tight clothes, with their belly showing... WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

Missed you and your wonderfully funny way of looking at life... Want to go to Africa with me sometime?

Her comment is cleverly disguised because what it really means is: You gotta come to Africa with me so I can see what happens when your along for the ride. Besides, I know you'd have some things to say about the people there.

My friend Amber left this comment on my Chicago Part I post: (Click here if you want to read the post.) I was thinking about asking you if you wanted to come w/ me to NYC this Fall and visit Whit, see some shows etc...but after I read what happend to you when you travel. I don't know if I need more drama. The crazies seek you out, I swear!!!
No really...I would love it if you could come with me! Wanna?

See, she tried to cover it up by acting like she didn't need the drama. But, I actually think that is the only reason she asked me to come. She wants to witness the crazies seeking me out; she wants to experience the drama first hand.

They can't use me like that! I won't let them!

They may change their mind after this story anyway.

A couple of years ago, on a dreary night in the winter, I was NOT in a good mood. Rare, I know. (ha!) I wanted to get away from all the people in this house. I didn't like them and I wanted to be alone. I also wanted to exercise my spiritual gift: shopping. Don't argue with me about whether or not this is or isn't a spiritual gift. The only reason it's not in the Bible is because there weren't outlet malls or Targets or Marshalls around when the apostle Paul wrote about the gifts of the spirit.

Anyway... I looked online to make sure the particular store I wanted to hit was in fact at the outlets. The online info said that it was, so I told the family I was leaving and that I may or may not come back.

I settled in the van for a nice 60 minute drive. I arrived at the outlets, parked by the Pottery Barn because.... one should always run in the Pottery Barn to see what kind of deals they've got going.

I left PB empty handed. I found a map of the outlets to find the location of my store. I looked. I looked for a long time. My store was no where to be found.

I was already in a bad mood... but now I was ticked. I drove all the way there for some retail therapy.... only so my mood could go from bad to worse? I decided to act like an adult and stomp my way from one corner of the outlets to the other corner of the outlets so I could see if the Gap had any deals.

As I was walking in the door, there were some ladies walking out. I very specifically remember them talking about an ambulance because they were in a world of their own and taking 5 DAYS to get out the door. I wanted to shout, "For the LOVE of.... move out of the way!"

I am so glad I didn't!

The Gap seemed empty and quiet. Empty and quiet for the amount of people roaming the store. Most of the people were roaming toward the door. I guess I thought maybe everyone was in a bad mood and leaving because the Gap didn't have any good deals.

I looked at some racks of clothes. And then, around the bend ahead, I could see a rather large crowd of people standing in a circle. To my horror, I could hear some quieter screaming sobs coming from somewhere in that crowd.

Being the curious (nosey) type, I moved closer only to see a large man lying on the ground. I didn't see his face... just a receding t-shirt exposing a big, hairy belly. The cries from a very distraught woman continued. I stood for what seemed like forever trying to decide what, if anything, I should do.

Suddenly, I went from a bad mood to sick to my stomach and I practically ran out the doors of the Gap. I was almost back at my car, which was a GOOD clip from the Gap, when I finally heard the faint cries of an ambulance. I sensed that the ambulance was way too late.

I drove straight home and went to bed.

Only I could drive an hour to shop away a bad mood only to see a guy die in the Gap. Yes, he did die. I asked the next time I went back.

I think about that often. I can't imagine walking in to shop at the Gap with my husband or dad, only to walk out never to see them again this side of eternity.

While there is some humor in the fact that only I could walk into the Gap and find a dead guy, it is also very sobering.

Sometimes, I wish I didn't find so much humor in life. Humor is good but it causes me not to write about deep, spiritual stuff very often. That's odd because, deep spiritual stuff, completely defines who I am and is without a doubt the most important part of me. Whether I write about it or not, it's part of life. Life that inevitably ends in death.

Have you thought about life after death? What happens if you walk into the Gap one day and don't walk out? What bridges "the Gap" between this life and life after death? I hope you don't walk around too long without knowing the answer.

Use me. I've got the answer!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am So Immature

Emme wearing a 3-6 month old dress. The dress was worn by Janae's girls... who are now 5 and 8. Emme is 2. She's wearing a 3-6 month old dress. Should I say it one more time?

Emme is standing in front of our squirrel infested van. Oh, just keep reading! Never a dull moment!

I am so immature. Right now, I don't even care to admit it. I might be ashamed... say, a year from now... but not so much right now.

Tonight, I was sitting at the kitchen table helping Shelby with her math. Emme climbed up into the chair next to me. Paul was heating up his own dinner. Jackson was downstairs on the computer and Gracie was practicing her piano.

I decided, at that moment in time, to scream. A loud blood-curdling scream. Shelby was scared to death and Emme burst into tears.

That made me really happy. Emme bursting into tears.

Why? Because she does it all the time... screams. Sometimes she does it for a reason... like when one of those other small homo sapiens bother her. But, many times it is for no reason. Just minutes before she climbed into the chair beside me, she did one of her terradactyl like screams. I don't even know why. She was coming up the stairs and so was Gracie. Apparently, she didn't like it that Gracie had stopped at the top. She produced a loud, pierce the eardrum scream.

I decided she needed a taste of her own medicine.

My throat hurts right now because of that scream. It's a small price to pay.


Do you remember Bobby? If not, click here.

His brother Billy was sleeping soundly under the hood of our old van late this afternoon. I am pretty sure now ... that that's where Bobby came from.

Why? Why would squirrels build a nest in our old van? There are so many trees around our house and neighborhood. We don't live in a new development... the kind with no trees. We live in an older neighborhood with lots of mature trees. There are thousands of places they could have built a nest.

The nest... the nest is bad enough. But, those blasted squirrels also chewed up some wires in our van. I needed to sell that van. Even if it was only for $611, I needed to sell that van. I've got a gold crown in my mouth that needs paid for. No one has called me about being in a rap video. SO, I think tomorrow... I'll go try and sell some plasma or something.

Do you see the naked baby squirrel??? If you look closely, you can see chewed up wires. I SOO love squirrels. And, animals in general. Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 12 &13 2008 Last Stop Guangzhou


Go Bucks!! Beat USC!!

Amber, you are not going to believe this. We get to the hotel and check in. Got to the elevator to go up to our room. The doors open and I hear Paul yell, "O-H." Scared me to death!! Then, I hear a response "I-O". Then, I see a couple decked out in their Ohio State shirts. Can you believe that??? They are from Ohio!

This morning, at 9:45, we left our hotel headed for the Nanning airport. I never really understood when others who have gone before me said they were sad to leave their child's province. Today, I understood. I understood but with mixed emotions. She is leaving her people, those who look like her. In the U.S., she will be a minority and she will not be part of a country that is centuries old with more history than we can imagine.
And, somewhere in the Guangxi province are her parents. I wonder about them. I wonder if they think about her all the time. I wonder if they are sad. I wonder what they look like. And, no matter how much we love her, I think deep down, she may always feel a sense of loss. And, even though she is so young, there are things about her that we can't love and hug away. I know we have only had her for 5 days, but it makes me really sad to watch her fall asleep. She about scratches her eyes out. I can't help but think this is some self-soothing she's doing to put herself to sleep. And, the way she plays. She can sit and play with the smallest thing forever. Did you see the novels she was reading?? Ok, well, she's not really reading them, but those books are there because she loves to flip pages and she will do it for a long time. Somehow, the pages stay intact too.
Now that I have totally depressed myself..... There is another part of me that knows she is so blessed. I will get to introduce her to my Father who can heal and mend delicate, fragile hearts He can fill that sense of loss like no one else can. I am not sure how much I should say in this blog, so maybe I will talk more about this when I get home
Then, there is a small part of me that is just angry. We weighed her today (not her official medical exam, that will be Monday morning). I am pretty sure she weighs 11 pounds. Honestly, I don't know how much longer she could have held on. After 5 days of good nutrition, she is starting act a bit more her age. She is grabbing things. Now, she always grabbed her toys, but she never tried to grab things off the table while we were eating. She is squirmy now. She can roll from back to front and from front to back. She wants to get down. Although I am not sure where she thinks she is going. She can't crawl, but she is starting to pull herself to standing while we are laying on the bed with her. Then she thinks she can walk. But, she is much to weak for that with no muscle tone, but it will come And, it will be fun to watch all of that happen.
So, as you can see, my emotions are all over the map. One emotion that remains constant is that we love her. We are so thankful that God put us through the events that lead us to her. I think because of that... we cherish her all the more.

Enough of all that!
It was a one hour flight from Nanning to Guangzhou. Emme did great! It was her test flight to see if she could handle the one that is 19 hours! She can! One hour... 19, is there a difference?
We met our new guide, Helen. I tell you, when these people pick us up, they wear us out before we get to the hotel. Their mouths go a hundred miles and hour. So, we are trying to take it all. Factor in that some words take several minutes to decipher. For example, it took me days to realize that our first guide, Grace, was saying building and not beauty. She was pointing to the different buildings. I was so confused. So, finally, I said to Paul, " Does she really think all these buildings are that beautiful cuz some of them look like if a good stiff wind comes along, they are going down." He said, "She is saying BUILDING not beauty!" Oh, well that makes a lot more sense.
Anyway, so sometimes after you finally get a word deciphered, you have to go back and put the whole paragraph together. It's just a lot of work!
Around 1, we arrived at the famous White Swan. I didn't have very high expectations because of some different things that I have read, but I love it here. I wouldn't change my experiences in Beijing or Nanning, but I think the hotel and the area is beautiful. That's beautiful not building, but I also think the buildings are beautiful!:-)
They say the White Swan is on an island, but if you asked me, which no one did, it's not an island. Anyway, it is different than the cities we've been in- where high rises loom over everything. On the "island", I think the White Swan may be the only high rise. Otherwise, the buildings are very European looking. They are smaller, maybe only 6 stories, at the most. The sidewalks are cobblestone or brick. It feels very quaint here. The restaurants have more than ox shin and fish lips. It's just picturesque of something you would see in a smaller European town. And, you can walk around the island in about 25 minutes because the sea of people mostly reside off the "island". When I think about it that way, it should be called Paradise Island!
This afternoon, Emme needed a nap and I took one with her. The first nap I have taken. You'd think that flight was a day and not an hour. I was so tired!
When she woke up, after I pulled Paul off the computer as he was frantically looking at how he could watch the OSU USC game, we walked and decided to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant. It actually felt like I was in Italy and not China.
When we sat down, there were 4 younger Americans sitting across from us. They saw Paul's OSU shirt and said "hi" to us. Guess where they were from??? Well, one was from Cincinnati, but one was from Oakwood, his house being on Irving Ave right across from the University of Dayton. (For those of you who don't get this, it's 10 minutes from our house!) How funny is that??
They told us we should get the pizza, so we did. We also got lasagna so Emme could eat something. The pizza was fabulous. The lasagna.... I don't know. It was brown under the cheese. It looked like paste. I think it was cat. I took one bite and I was done. It was awful! We gave Emme a few bites. We think it's cat... so we give to our daughter. Aren't we great parents??
It takes her FOREVER to gum something! And, she is such a lady. She moves her little mouth like she is chewing and she WILL NOT take another bite until that bite has found it's way down the hatch. We were about to pull our hair out! We stopped on the way home and got baby food. That's what she needs until she can eat faster!
Tomorrow, we are going to the Pearl Market! Shopping! Yippee!!

Praise the Lord for Guangzhou! When I saw breakfast this morning, I was sure I had died and gone to heaven. It was so beautiful that I may have to take pictures of it tomorrow morning! It was the best thing I have eaten since I have been here. It made me feel like I was on a cruise ship. There's a huge glass wall that overlooks the Pearl River. Now, the Pearl River is not the ocean, but TODAY, it was close enough!
After breakfast, our guide picked us up and we went to the pearl market. Yesterday, on the comments, Rett said they used the term rather lightly. Boy was she right!! It was a mall for crying out loud. People could tell me that this place has the best quality and on and on and on, but I wouldn't know the difference. I had to trust that Helen, our guide, was telling the truth. They still cost a bit more than I wanted to pay but I think I'd have been upset if I didn't buy some. Helen also told us that they double knot the string between every pearl. If there is a break, the whole strand doesn't fall apart. She told us it was $60 in the states just for the knotting. After spending that money, we walked around that mall for a long time but didn't buy anything else.
After this, we went to the French version of Walmart to get boring things like water, baby food and formula. That one store was like a mall; it was huge. I don't know how people do it without a guide. I wouldn't have been able to find anything.
We came back to the White Swan and feed Emme some lunch and we ate some noodles. (We are so boring!) Then, Helen came to help us fill out paperwork. Right before Helen arrived I was showing Emme how to take a Cheerio and put it in her mouth. Paul kept practicing with her and by the time Helen left, she was doing it by herself. Also, she was rolling all over the bed- front to back, back to front! It was a big day for Emme! She's doing GREAT!!
After Emme's nap, we went to dinner at an American-Chinese place called Lucy's. Paul ordered a chicken burrito. Getting Mexican food at a place like that is like getting biscuits and gravy at PF Changs! Yuck! Paul says if he doesn't get sick from that, he won't get sick!
Speaking of food, (anyone else think I spend half my time talking about the food here. I just can never get over it.) there is a 7-11 here. When is the last time you've seen a 7-11?? Poor Paul, all he wanted was have a fountain Mountain Dew and for the Buckeyes to beat USC. His world came crashing down:-) He said, "All 7-11's have Mountain Dew!" I don't think there is Mountain Dew anywhere in China. He's looked everywhere! And, at our convenience stores, we have hotdogs, right? There are other things, but you know what I mean. Well, at this place, I kept seeing this guy scoop out these steaming hot round things into a little plastic cup. The Chinese people were buying them like mad! They would then put ketchup all over them and pop them in their mouths. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to ask because it looked disgusting. Ready?? They're fish balls! Coming soon to a 7-11 near you!
Finally, we walked around "the island" and bought some squeaky shoes for Emme's first 3 years of life. We ended the night by getting her some ice cream. Ice cream makes her very happy!!:-)

Is this the most boring post you have ever read??? I'm tired!

Sharla, doesn't Abby have the same PJ's???

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coming To You Live

Coming to you live and in person... well, via the computer. This is no repeat, cheap post from last year. Why? Because it's time! There are some things you should know:

1) I hate talking to people when they have sunglasses on. It makes me really nervous. The eyes are a window to the soul for me (sounds way to deep for me, huh?). Really, it's not fair when one person has sunglasses on and the other person does not. I'm going to have to get some sunglasses. Do you know why I don't have sunglasses? It's because when I wear them... I feel like I am trying to be cool. Now, I know that I am not trying to be cool... but I don't know it. I've got this constant argument going on amongst myself about sunglasses.

Speaking of self, do you ever wish you could get away from yourself? Because, I really wish I could get away from me sometimes. It's a weird thought.

2) Every time my husband meets a Filipino, he tells them that his favorite food in all the world is a Filipino Dish called Chicken Adobo. Why does he do this? Isn't that kinda racist or something? Seriously, do they even care? Today at that soccer game this Filipino lady came walking up and he starts this conversation with her, "Hey, have we ever talked about Filipino food?"

I was like, "Are you kidding me?"

So he starts talking about it. Then, I feel like every time we are in one of these conversations, the Filipino person asks if he likes Lumpia. It's the weirdest thing.

The moral of the story: If you are a Filipino, steer clear of my husband.... unless you want to talk about Chicken Adobo.

P.S. He thinks he's part Filipino because he was born in the Phillipines. One of these days, I'm gonna have to break it to him. (Why isn't Filipino spelled Phillipino? I am so confused.)

3) Filipino food aside... I almost killed him today. We were watching Jackson's soccer game and we were sitting next to another family on our team. They have a son named Charlie. Every time this dad would yell at Charlie, Paul would say... in his best British accent mind you, and loud enough for way too many people to hear, "Charlie, you bit my finger!" Have you seen that video on Youtube? If not, click here for link.

He was driving me crazy!

Finally, I had to get my really serious face on (see, if I had sunglasses on, he wouldn't know how serious I was being because he wouldn't have been able to see my eyes. I have to open my eyes really big so he knows I am serious) and say, "STOP!"

Seriously! He was getting on my last nerve.

The only reason I didn't hurt him was because he had tickets to the OSU/USC game tonight. Which by the way is a really cool story. Last year he was so sad because he had to miss the OSU/USC game because we were in China getting Emme. He tried EVERYTHING to try and see it, but to no avail... because HELLO, we were in CHINA! (That's how big he thinks Ohio State football is... that even the Chinese care.) (I didn't want to break that to him either.) But, It's like God paid him back double (not that he had to) for last year. Not only was he going to be able to watch the game this year, he was going to be able to watch it in person and get treated to a really nice dinner at the same place the players ate. (everything paid for) I wasn't about to interfere with God's plans... so I didn't hurt him.

4) It really bothers me on Facebook when a couple has the same account. For example... if someone asks to be my friend and it says John Susan Smith. Who's asking to be my friend? John or Susan? And, does it matter you ask? Yes, it matters to me.

It stresses me out. I don't know who's posting what. Is is John or is it Susan? And, why do they have the same account anyway? Why can't they just be separate people?

I really don't understand this.

5) Finally, did I ever tell you which tooth was giving me the problem? It was tooth #31. It needed a crown. $611 later, he's sporting a gold crown. Yes, I said gold. I think that means I get to be in a rap video now.

If you haven't read my post from September 12 of last year... scroll down. It's one of my favorites.

P.S. You guys still stink with the comments!

The People's Park-One Year Ago- September 12, 2008

The Emme Fashion Show
I am not really too fond of this picture... gotta get rid of those 15 pounds. But, I want you to look down at the road. See all that activity? That's not even really crowded. And, again, you can see the love for me all over Emme's face. By the way, her outfit is a 6-12 months shirt, she wore it as a dress.
There's a park behind our hotel. You can't really see it because it is covered by buildings and trees. I kept thinking we should go visit it, but the mornings were full. By noon, we were pooped and then Emme took long naps and yada, yada, yada
Besides, a park is a park, right?? Nope, not in China. This park was more like a children's picture book. Page by page, or step by step, an outsider can learn beautiful things about the people of China at this park.
The park is called The People's Park and once inside I knew why. All through that park, the people and their culture came alive. As we walked in through the gate of the park, we could hear music playing. These older woman, maybe around 60, were dancing a choreographed dance. It was very pretty. And, it's fascinating.
I mean really, can you see grandma's in the US, taking their boom box to the park, making up a dance and then performing it for everyone who walks by to see? I can't help but wonder what in the world they are going to do with this dance once it is perfected. The next person we come to is an older gentleman. He is holding a long stick with a pointed sponge on the end. He pours water on the sponge and then draws Chinese characters. See what I mean? I don't get this either. In that heat, it doesn't take long to fade. Why spend all that time, for something that doesn't last??
So, Fronk (David) (I am not kidding, he acts exactly like Fronk from Father of the Bride.) So, he takes the writing utensil and draws Malia's name (Vince and Mary's little girl) in Chinese. When Fronk is done, he just laughs and laughs at himself. I told you he was funny. He even think he's funny.
The older gentleman takes it and "one ups him." He writes Malia's name in characters that are more beautifully formed than Davids. When the gentleman is done, Cindy write Emme's name using the characters. So, of course, the gentleman rewrites Emme's name... in water. Emme in Chinese. Next, we pass this little guy. Yep, that's his butt cheek. I don't understand the split pants. It seems a bit unsanitary. Plus, wouldn't you just feel violated?? People,(ok... we) are staring and taking pictures of his butt. I guess this is supposed to help with potty training and when the child has to go, he/she squats. Hence, the squatty potty. I will take a picture the next time I have the unfortunate need of one. This nice woman comes over to chat with us. Note- when speaking to foreigners: It doesn't matter how many times you say something, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND YOU!!!! It doesn't matter how many times you repeat that phrase, I am not going to respond. And, even if I do, you are not going to understand me. We just smile and nod at each other. It's very uncomfortable. FINALLY, Cindy comes up to interpret. The nice lady asks: How old is she? Why is she so small?, etc... Then, she thanks us and tells us we are good people.
Impromptu bands spring up all over the place. I am not going to lie to you and tell you it was beautiful music. Sometimes it sounded like a cat screeching on a hot tin roof. But, these people seem to be having the time of their lives. They are as happy as larks.
How do we know larks are happy??? Seriously??
And, why no shirt?? I mean, I know it's hot but in some cases.... it's just never that hot! These cement balls are called love balls. They are all over the place in Nanning. Yesterday Cindy gave us the story behind them.
Only in the Guangxi Province, they have a festival called the Folksong Festival. From what I understand, it's a big deal. Is is just me, or do they seem to have a lot of these type things that are a big deal??
Anyway, at the Folksong Festival, I know this is going to surprise you, but... they sing folk songs. At some point during the festival, boys stand on one side and girls stand on the other. The girl sings a song asking questions to a boy. Then, the boy sings answers back to the girl. (I am glad I don't live here, sounds like a lot of pressure to me! I thought festivals were supposed to be fun??!) If the girl likes the boy and likes his answers, she throws a ball at him. He has to catch it (more pressure). After the festival, they date to see if they want to get married. Married- geesh! (20 RMB to the first person to tell me what movie that line is from.)
So, as cute little Cindy is explaining this to us, she says, "Now, I am going to sing you a song and then, you sing a song back to me and then we can be friends." So, she sings this beautiful song to us; she had a very good voice. Paul then sang back to her. Now they are friends and I guess I am not... because I didn't sing.
Today, after the park, Cindy took us to a shop off the beaten path. Don't worry, it was safe. And, we bought gifts to give Emme from her province as she gets older. One of those things was a love ball. It was not made of cement. Emme's is colorful fabric with designs on it. Now, the next picture, wow! Let me first say, before we could make our way into the park, we had to dodge the thousands of people around our hotel buying moon cakes. David, in his Fronk voice says, " I hate a the moon festival. I hate a the moon cakes. I hate a the traffic." Paul and I were dying laughing. I don't understand the moon festival. It's the second biggest holiday here. People travel hundreds of miles home to celebrate this festival with family, friends, etc... I can't understand someone in China hating it. I think it's like someone in the US hating Christmas.
So, he hates the moon festival, but in the park when he runs across a Cantonese Opera, he gets really serious and says, "I love a Cantonese Opera, oh, I love it." He was a serious as a heart attack. To us, it looks and sounds like old woman singing into a Mr. Microphone. Mr. Microphone... it's for kids. You know, when you speak into the microphone, it echos and reverberates. But, we have to sit with a straight face and watch this band, excuse me... opera. And, to not offend him, we act like we love it too! Yes, the next picture is a giant rat. Why, because this is the Year of the Rat in China. Last year, in 2007, it was the Year of the Pig. That's when Emme was born- The Year of the Pig. So, last year, yep... they had a giant pig, made out of flowers no less.
Speaking of rats, earlier in the week, we asked Cindy some questions about the dietary habits of the Chinese. Paul says, "Is it true that Chinese people eat dog?" She says, "Yes."
And, as I sit here thinking about it, I have only seen one dog in all of China. We've been to two parks in Nanning and I have see nary a dog. I haven't seen a cat either. SCARY!!
So, then he asks, "How about cat?" She says, "Uhh, some people eat cat, but not all." She went onto say that the Chinese often says of themselves, "Chinese people eat anything with 4 legs, except a table."
So, at the park today, we are taking a rest as we are about to melt away, and we see a rat run by. So, of course, Paul says, "Cindy, how about a rat, do Chinese people eat rats?" She says, "Some people eat them. The ones in the rice paddies?" Of course we are looking at her with green faces about to heave. And, she goes on to say, they eat the ones that live out in the fields of rice.
Let me interpret... The ones that live among the rice paddies eat healthy things. SO, that makes a rat healthy to eat. The ones in the city, well, they eat crap! So, they avoid the city rats. Bunch of racists!
You know Paul's next question, "Cindy have you ever had rat?" In her very cute little giggle she says, "Yes." So, Paul says, "Was it good." She said, "Uhh, yes." keeps giggling..." But I not know it was rat. They tell me affer I taste it." giggle giggle giggle. I eat no more affer they tell me."
Well, that makes it better! As I was walking through The People's Park, I had some thoughts. I never really understood why we had to come to China for 2 weeks to adopt a baby they don't want. Today, as I watched the people, I understood. How could I ever explain China or Nanning (her provincial capital) to Emme having not experienced it. I know China by what I hear about their government which naturally carries over to ALL Chinese people for me. The people of China are not the same as the government. They, for the most part, are kind, caring, patient, loving people. They love life, as evidenced by the park. The older people, they don't retire and sit at home. The go to the park and make up dances and have bands and sing. And, they don't care what others think. What a great way to live!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2008 Green Mountain Park

This is what we see out every window... all different views from out hotel room. (Pictures explained in post.) Our guide Cindy and Fronk... I mean David (Vince and Mary's guide) Wendy might weigh 70 lbs. Maybe it's because of the concession stands in China (see later picture). The fish... they need a one fish policy in China! I forgot to add this picture the other day. This is all Emme came with. I love that little dress. 2 bottles that I am pretty sure were in a war and grapes the size of Emme's head. Are they kidding telling me she loved them. Honestly, it takes her 5 minutes to gum a Cheerio.
I hope you are all satisfied with the pictures of me (end of post). See what she does when I hold her. She pitches a fit! I hope you feel good about the pain and anguish you caused her so you could believe I was really in China. And, by the way, she doesn't hate getting her diaper changed, her clothes changed or getting a bath. She just hates it when I am the one doing those things. If Paul does it, she's fine. What is up with that??
So, today we went to Green Mountain Park. And, if I lived in Nanning, I'd build myself a hole in the side of the mountain in that beautiful park so I could get away from the 6.5 million people who live in this city. Before I go on, I absolutely love Chinese people! (Good thing...cuz one is my daughter, right?) They are kind and patient. When we walk into a restaurant, someone sweeps us off to the side (usually someone who speaks a bit of English). They give us a picture menu, take our order, allow us to pay apart from the others in line... even at McDonald's. I don't think we treat foreigners this way. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really do love them. I am sure there is crime, but I feel really safe here too.
Anyway, back to living in Nanning. I am pretty sure that 3 million of those people live right around our hotel. There is a constant flow of bikes, motor scooters and cars. I have said it before and I will say it again and unless you see it for yourself, it's hard to believe, but traffic rules are just a suggestion. Please, let me give you an example. Today, when Cindy and our driver picked us up at our hotel, the area was engulfed in a sea of people. This in part is due to the fact that The Moon Festival is this weekend and apparently, the hot spot to buy these moon cakes is next to our hotel. So, we finally get out of the drive by our hotel that leads to the main road and there are cars and bikes everywhere. We are sitting in the middle of the road of oncoming traffic trying to get over to the three lanes that went North, the direction we needed to go. Our driver, John couldn't get to those lanes, so he just makes a new lane heading north which is in the direction of the oncoming traffic headed South. And, SOMEHOW, this is ok with everyone. No one honks. The cars coming South try to move over for him. Then, I guess John doesn't want to wait to turn left, so he turns right, going RIGHT IN FRONT of the other three lanes of traffic waiting to go North. Again, no one honks or anything. So, he goes down the road a bit, and decides to do a Uturn right in the middle of the road with traffic coming straight at us. Then there are 20 bikes/scooters trying to get across the road and John just goes at them like they are bowling pins. Somehow, by the grace of God almighty, people either veer or stop. And, this kind of behavior is going on all over this city. And, everyone just drives with a straight face acting like this is NORMAL! I guess to them it is. I have yet to see a car accident or any of the 5oo,ooo motor scooters get hit. This in and of itself should tell you how kind and patient the Chinese are. In our country, there would be road rage all over the place.
Whew... I am worn out!
So, we make it to this haven in Nanning where I only see like 100 people in this whole huge park. The first thing we do it feed these fish. If you ask me, by the size of these things, they don't need to be feed. But, what they do need is a one fish policy among this school of fish living in this lake.
Then we climb up the Great Wall of Nanning (it felt like it anyway!) to a 9 story pagoda. Once at the top, we are at the highest point in Nanning, so we can see the whole city. And, with all due respect and somberness, it is very easy to understand how so many people can die here in an earthquake. I have never seen a house in Nanning or Beijing. People live in massive high rises. Many of them should not be able to pass a building inspection let alone stand up through an earthquake. Very sad!
By the time we left the park, we were again covered in sweat. We came back ate a noodle lunch again and sat in this silly hotel room until 6. Emme took a long nap. I read and read. Paul did some work and then worked out.
I can't exercise here because the Fitness Center is behind our hotel in another building. It just looks shady to me. And, I think the pool outside the workout facility belongs to the hotel. But, every time I look down from my room I see lots of Chinese people doing the breast stroke. They all do the breast stroke. I haven't figured this exercise out for them yet. It's not like they are doing the Michael Phelps breast stroke. It is very leisurely. Then, the men, who have on these European bathing suits, hiked up to their chest, go into the workout room and workout in these same shorts with no shirts. It's just too much for me!
Dinner, again with our friends Vince, Mary and Malia: roasted crocodile steak, conger eel spaghetti, superior sharks fin with conpoy and crab cream, boiled fish lip with mustard and ginkgo, ox shin with edible fungus and satay, braised turtle with cereal in chicken sauce, stewed superior fish maw (what the heck?? Actually, I don't want to know) with french mushrooms, stewed turtle with mushrooms OR PIZZA HUT? HMMMMM we chose Pizza Hut. We got a little crazy and got some spicy chicken on our pizza. How about that for wild eating in China??
I'm going to wrap it all up with this final thought... I was looking at little Emme tonight and feeling sad for her thinking about all the time she must have gone hungry. When I thought, "Had she not had not gone through this horrible time, she would not be special needs. If she wasn't a special needs child, she would likely not be ours." What others meant for evil, GOD used for good. (See the story of Joseph in Genesis) And all God's people said..... AMEN!
Emme loves her mommy.... not! Wow, all 12 pounds throws a temper tantrum! Check out those gums! No teeth! None. Nada. Zilch! What dad? Our friends- Vince, Mary and precious Malia. Thank God for them!!:-) On the way up to the pagoda..... The pagoda sideways... sorry, don't know how to turn it around. I get a little excited every time I see I concession stand. Until I remember I am in CHINA! Cup of noodles, pickled who knows what in those jars. Have these people ever heard of soft pretzels, cotton candy or popcorn??? I gotta take some lessons. Here are older woman in 95 degree heat in 100% humidity in LONG pants and LONG sleeved shirts working away. I pull one weed when it's this hot at home and I have to go rest.