Friday, March 30, 2012

Squeaker Sneakers and a Tea Set (P*S*C* 47)

With Miss E in mind, there were a couple of purchases we made especially for her in China: a new pair of larger-sized squeaker sneakers (with a little device in the shoe heel that emits a little "squeak" with each step) and a heavy-duty tea set that was made out of stoneware china.
Once we arrived back home, it was time to give Miss E her shoes and have a little tea party - her first! We brought her little play table out to our living room, made some hot, weak tea and put out a little black sesame cake as a treat.
Though she wasn't wanting the tea, she was pleased-as-punch to drink several tiny cups of water. We toasted and clinked (or thunked as this wasn't delicate china). To her credit, she tasted the cake and politely declined another little piece.
As far as the squeaker sneakers?
They were/are a bit hit and I apologize to her parents for the's a Grandparent thing, you know? She wants - she GETS!

Monday, March 26, 2012

New and Renewing (P*S*C* #47)

It was simply wonderful to travel to China with a group this time and make NEW friends!
Fifteen of us were participants in this experience of a lifetime.
Not only did we travel in planes, but also in boats, trams, taxis, buses, subway systems and no one ever got lost --- for long, that is.
We sometimes went out in big groups, and sometimes split off into smaller groups.
Here we are shown in one of our more formal sessions visiting a "State" company.
Not only did we make NEW friends, but were able to RENEW some friendships that we had made on our previous visit. Shown here L to R: Tammy, Jimmy, Wes, Katie, Mark.
On our first night in Guangzhou, we were reunited with two young friends, Susan and Jack.
Many sweet times were spent with them in 2010 as they were our unofficial chaperons as we navigated this huge city with NO Chinese communication skills. We introduced them to peanut butter sandwiches (one "thumb's up" for Susan and one thumb's down for Jack) and Cheetos.
They introduced us to many new foods ordered in restaurants.
Here Wes is reunited with a former MBA student, Fen, and her family. They entertained us in their home and their daughter, Cindy, entertained us with her playing of the ancient instrument, the Chinese Shoo Konghou. Fen went all out in the meal preparations with oysters in the shell, clams, forest fungi and squid in vegetables!! We even had "Apple Pie" which turned out to be pineapple!
Janice, above, came to a field location just to see Wes.
Teresa and her husband and daughter treated us to a wonderful "hot pot" lunch where mutton was served. The precooked vegetables that went inside the pot to cook were cut to look like works of art - curls of celery and flower designs etched in the mushroom caps.
On the last night, Wes went out alone with these three: Fen, Rose and Vivian. Coming back to our hotel room, he told me they were waiting to see me in the lobby. It was obvious they had treated him like a respected, beloved professor!
New friends and renewing friendships...that's really what this trip was all about to me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Snapshots and Why (P*S*C* #47)

My name is Deb and I take a whole lot of pictures. If you know me, you have seen me snapping away. So, when my new (for Christmas) camera malfunctioned I was distraught. It wasn't an option to get it fixed in China, thus a new one needed to be purchased. In Hong Kong, the new camera purchased was a little Nikon Cool Pix with 12.0 megapixels, wide 4x zoom, touch screen, and a 3.0 inch LCD.
It was the cheapest camera in the shop. The young sales guy was very good with speaking English and we hit it off. As a result, I ended up with all sorts of nice extras: a free camera case, an extra battery, an additional memory card, a thumb-drive for downloading pictures directly to my computer and two animal-print folders.
Before my first camera expired, I took the above picture at the Hong Kong Museum of History.
This was in an exhibit showing family celebrations of their new baby boy within the village. I just love love these paper lanterns!
The remaining pictures were taken with my Cool Pix camera.
The picture of Wes (above) is a favorite because this was an unexpected surprise to find he's on the permanent "Wall of Fame" at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. This picture was from his time as a guest professor at the university and is now in the newly redone MBA Building. He's on the top row, second from the left.
At the Nunnery in Hong Kong, a working woman does her job dusting the railing in the rain. This favorite picture was taken at a restaurant we went to in Guangzhou. Somehow an Italian chef holding up a sign with an appetizing (??) dead goose tickles my funny bone. I giggle even now as I see it again!
Do you see what I see with this picture? How the baby (or is it a monk) holds the beverage
while appearing to walk away with a black jacket and pants underneath?
Four retired seniors take a walk in the rain through the grounds of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial. A favorite past time is watching people go about their daily routines, but it is a bit tricky to take their pictures discretely.
Of course, I also took many pictures of our trip mates and our young Chinese friends.
They will perhaps be featured in the future. At least I have an option to show these pictures, thanks to the camera replacement. BTW, the defective camera was returned for a refund once we came back home.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lettin' it all Hang Out (P*S*C* #47)

For whatever reason, I enjoy seeing laundry hanging up outside - even though I don't practice that practice myself. My Mom did, though, and I remember playing between the sheets on the line and I loved the scent of clean clothes once dry!
When we toured the Hong Kong Museum of History, this sampan scene caught my eye.
Here the clothes of the day hung out to dry on the lines of the boat.
And, once again, I was reminded of the Chinese way of drying clothes to this day.
The pink and yellow towels hanging side by side brought
a smile to my face as they nestled under the green awning. This sight appeared right in the middle of a Hong Kong neighborhood.
As did this view of the yellow apartment. What is unexpected to see: huge apartment buildings with clothes suspended from all stories bottom to top.
But my most favorite "hang out" of all? This group of clothing that was hanging from a tree right on a very busy street, and obviously hung from the first floor residence. If you look closely, the baby pants to the far left have that opening for quick "deposits" when out and about with the little one.
Sometimes with the high humidity and rains, you can spot the same clothes on the line for days on end.
Ah, laundry woes are the same for all of us! Never caught up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pink Suitcase Chronicles #47 Part One: Eating Adventures

We're home! Having been in China for the past 10 days was certainly an adventure. This time was far easier than the last trip there in 2010 --- we knew much more about the culture, cuisine and customs. We also went in a group this time with present MBA students, alumni and faculty from the SBNM (School of Business and NonProfit Management) at North Park University. The biggest plus for us was seeing Chinese students and friends we made during our last extended stay as Wes taught at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, China.
However, the saying we heard about food consumption by the Chinese in the Canton area still rings true, "We eat everything with four legs except for a table and everything with two legs except for a human." Our group experienced many adventures with unexpected food combinations...eel, snake, squid, octopus, sheep, duck, chicken, etc. But I am proud of their "try it" attitudes and no one went hungry, to be sure. They were all masters of chopsticks by the end of the second day. We all agreed that it is a much healthier diet than ours here in the states with all the breads, cereals, junk foods and desserts and carb consumption. We noticed many fewer citizens with waistline girth and heaviness in general.
Join me now in a little tour of our eating adventures...follow right behind the man with a basket full of expired chickens! The fish are adorned with fancy, colorful garnishes.
Look closely for little curly tentacles nestled in a bed of veggies.
The food goes round and round on large glass Lazy Susans.
Who wouldn't be attracted to eat fruits when they look like a party hat on a plate?
The above platter was filled with little bite-sized pieces of fish. The fish tail was inverted to look like a rabbit's head. A bit confusing, but highly amusing!
Unknown meat here; garnished with a little orchid.
Fried rice was a given at many meals. This one was surprisingly hot.
The Chinese version of bread, deep fried option (brown) tasted like a doughnut and was served with sweetened condensed milk to the side. Yum!
This little dumpling revealed sweet, black sesame seed "ooze" once it was opened.
We were told this was dessert, and it was delicious.
Much broccoli was paired with carrot strips.
Here's a sneak peek of one of our dining outings.
Does this make you hungry?
Would you be one who would like this experience?
Please join me for more China adventures...comments will encourage me along the way.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Spring Stylin'

Spring can't be far around the corner when this
Little Miss is readied with
a new haircut and perky pink flower!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Still in Disbelief

Though it has been one week since Rollie (pictured on far right) passed away, I am still in disbelief that this special man is no longer with us here on earth.
He was very much like a member of our extended family.
He was my (dipping and spinning) dancing partner at dress-up events and parties.
He was a friend of my beloved father, and would give me hugs saying, "This is in place of your father --- and not a Lutheran hug." At just the same height as Dad, it would truly feel like a moment of him being with me again.
He looked out for my own children when they were younger and was very much a presence in their lives - and hearts - as well.
He appreciated Wes and vice versa.
His grandson, Alex, is one of John's best friends.
I taught two of his Grandchildren back in the LCNS days.
His Grand-daughter, Heather, went to Prom with John back in the LHS days.
He was a special friend to my sister and her family.
My library friends knew him from Farmer's Market as my special friend.
His wife, Janis, is about the coolest woman I know and could only hope to emulate as I age.
My heart breaks for her incredible loss.
His family has grown from his to his and hers and all are one family now. And my heart breaks for them as well.
Rollie, know that I will always remember you.
Heaven's even a better place now with you there.