Thursday, July 05, 2018

Food for thought

Once I met a Chinese man who told me he had fought in the Korean War. He'd lost a few fingers during the war. But he told me not to worry, he didn't hold a grudge against me, an American. He said the Chinese soldiers were envious of the American soldiers at the time, because the Americans had food to eat, and the Chinese soldiers were starving. I'd never thought about how the availability of food could affect the outcome of a war. What was one of the key foods carried and eaten by those American soldiers he envied? Spam. It also was a staple for soldiers in WWII. Some people like to poke fun at and/or criticize the canned meat, but it played an important role in our history and may have more to do with your freedom than you realize. You don't have to eat it or like it, just give it a little respect. Spam entered the market 81 years ago today. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! (Yes, I'm in the U.S. for the holidays.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Coconut Pralines Recipe


2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup (I used Karo light corn syrup)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used walnuts)
2-1/2 cup coconut flakes


large pot
wax paper
wooden spoon

Step One:
Mix sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup, and butter in a large saucepan.

Step Two:
Bring to a rolling boil. After the rolling boil begins, set your timer for 3 minutes and stir continuously. If you have a thermometer, boil until the mixture reaches 235 degrees. I don't have a thermometer, but the 3-minute timer works right for me.

Step Three:
Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Step Four:
Add nuts and coconut. Stir until the coconut and nuts are coated completely.

Step Five:
Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. They will be gooey for the first 12 hours or so (the photo shows the pralines in their gooey state), but they will eventually dry to the consistency of pralines.

Don't use soft or fine sugar. Use regular granulated sugar.
Don't eat these if you need to lose weight. :-)

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Recommendation - She Reads Truth

If you have an iPhone or iPad, want to read your Bible more often, and enjoy reading short daily devotions that are not too shallow or trite (like I feel so many of them are), then I have an app to recommend. The She Reads Truth app offers a free download of the Bible in various versions.

I already had Bible apps, but none were so beautifully designed as this one.

The app includes Bible reading plans and devotions that you can download for free. Additionally, they have extra Bible studies that you can purchase and download for $2 or $3 each.

The plan for reading the Bible through in a year is free. At least five other Bible studies are free as well.

The devotions are beautifully designed. Each day's devotions have three parts: Bible reading on one screen, a beautifully crafted devotion on one screen, and when you swipe to the third screen, you can comment along with a community of other readers...if you want to.

Many of the devotions have a graphic design that you can share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. They look like the one below.

The design is more likely to appeal to women than men, but they have an app for men too, called He Reads Truth!

It looks like you can follow some daily readings on their desktop websites that are not available on the app. The websites for men and women offer things for sale: gifts, memory verse cards, and all kinds of goodies. Check it out. (I don't know these people, I just like their stuff and think some of you might like it too.)

Firewalls, VPNs, and the Internet

I waste half of every day trying to get my internet or VPN (virtual private network) to operate well enough so I can do my work.

If the internet itself is slow, there's no hope.

Sometimes the internet works fast enough, but the VPN is either overloaded or blocked by the government.

I need them both to work well at the same time.

Without the VPN, I cannot connect to Facebook, Instagram, this blog, ANY blog based outside of China, Google Search Engine, Twitter, YouTube, or most news sites. They are blocked by the government here.

Pretty much the only thing I can do without VPN is send email that the local government can see. I'm not writing anything on emails that they would be interested in, but still, no one likes their mail read by unintended receivers.

And it is slated to become even worse by February 2018.

It is exhausting.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Disney in October

In China, there's only one "Cheesecake Factory" restaurant, and it is located right outside of Shanghai Disney in a shopping area known as Disney Town.

In Disney Town, everything has ears! I'm not into Halloween, but this is kind of cute.

I did not visit Disney's park. I have arthritis and an enlarged bone joint in my right big toe. It doesn't bend anymore. It hurts to walk, and just by going to the restaurant, I thought my foot would fall off. No way I could have walked through the park too!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Repulse Bay, Hong Kong

Photos from Repulse Bay and Stanley Village in Hong Kong, September 2017.

Friday, September 15, 2017


I feel like I'm living in a different world than I was in a few weeks ago, now that fall temperatures and lower humidity have made their way to my city. Leaving the house is enjoyable once again. However, I've spent the last two weeks with a cold or flu or sinus infection (who can tell the difference), that started with several days of high fever. My illness is on its last legs, and I'm looking forward to getting around town more soon. 

I have a weeklong trip to the tropics starting Sunday though. I can't put away my summer clothes just yet.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Big bathroom tour

I haven't shown you much of my apartment, but today I have a photo of my large bathroom to show you. I also have a smaller bathroom attached to the master bedroom, but it's hard to take photos of that one due to its size.

It's common in China to have the washing machine in the bathroom since plumbing fixtures are available there. An alternate location for a washing machine is an enclosed balcony, but I don't have an enclosed balcony.

Once upon a time, I had to bring towels from America to use here. The ones available here were tiny; even the ones people used to dry off after a shower were no larger than a hand towel. Also, they had children's drawings on them, like bears or tulips or constellations, and the colors were hideous, in my opinion. Then one day I saw some good larger towels at Wal-Mart and bought them. But I got tired of pink, and Wal-Mart closed down. So when I saw these turquoise ones for sale at the Japanese home furnishing store called Nitori, I got them. 

There is a large hot water heater on the wall above the toilet. The sliding glass doors in the back enclose the shower area. 

I have a small cube-size clothes drier on a piece of furniture on the wall to the right that you can't see. Most people here don't have electric clothes driers, preferring to hang their clothes to dry. The clothes driers that are available are either small and minimally effective, or they are good and really expensive. I ordered mine directly from the factory since I couldn't find any in the stores. It takes 3-4 hours to dry a pair of jeans. But during rainy season, it could take 3-4 days to dry a pair of jeans, so the drier is still a better deal.

I like the brightness of this room. All my rooms have windows. 

That's the bathroom tour!

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Watching TV with me

I've been sick with a cold or sinus infection for seven days already. A few days, I was stuck in bed, watching TV. But I wasn't lonely, because Mimi the wonder dog was also there watching TV with me. She's eyeing DiNozzo on NCIS.