Saturday, July 29, 2017

Happy birthday to my dad!

Happy 84th birthday to my dad! We are so blessed to have him in our lives. He leads our family with character, warmth and laughter.

Some comments left on Facebook for him today include:

Happy birthday, Mr. Wilson! Thank you for everything that you did for my daddy.

HBD, WW! What a special legacy you have made with your life. Lots of us sure do love you, friend. Blessings.

Happy birthday Grandpa! You are one of my favorite people, and I hope you have the best day! Thank you for your wisdom, for the laughter, and for not laughing at my poor guesses during Wheel of Fortune 

Remember the guy in the middle from Pecos. A true man of God.

A man [for whom] I will always have the highest respect! Happy birthday!

Love your dad, happy bday to him! Please share my good wishes for him!

Monday, July 17, 2017


I just thought I'd show you the inside of a restaurant I went to the other day. I went during non-peak hours, as is the norm for me when dining alone. I think it's beautiful inside with somewhat unexpected decor. This restaurant's specialty is Chinese Sichuan (also known as Szechuan) food, which is spicy and YUM! 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Sky

One day last week the sky looked like it was on fire. It was beautiful. All these photos were taken from my south-facing balcony. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Downstairs lobby ain't much to brag about

Thank goodness I have an elevator! Mimi and I use it many times a day to go outside. There's an annoying little lobby at the bottom of the elevator, though, that we have to walk through to get outside. Some neighbors park their e-bikes in the lobby, instead of parking them one more floor down in the basement where they have ramps for easy in-and-out access. We have to squeeze by them to go in and out. There are signs in the lobby that say "no parking," but those signs have been there eight years and no one enforces the rules. In the photo above, Mimi and I have just come back inside the lobby from outside. We entered through a clear glass door that we have a key to.
The lobby is L-shaped, and we've just turned the corner of the L. There's the elevator on Mimi's left side. The lady from the 9th floor lets her brown male poodle pee at the very bottom of the stairs every single day (you can't see the stairs, but they are to Mimi's right side). People walk through the pee because they don't notice it until it is too late. Mimi, on the other hand, swings way out so she doesn't get anywhere near the puddle. 

Two families have first floor apartments. I wouldn't want to be them, with people right outside your door all the time waiting for the elevator.

All my neighbors used to be afraid of Mimi, because she barks loudly at them. Most of them have gotten used to her and laugh at her now. They know she's not going to bite. Maybe they don't all love her, but I'm not really thrilled with all their e-bikes and dog pee either, so we're even. 

In China, public areas like lobbies and stairwells are not well maintained. We have cleaners who come every morning with a wet rag mop. They go up to the 10th floor with the wet mop, and walk down the stairs mopping as they go. They never clean or re-moisten the mop during this routine, and things don't get very clean. The walls are black where the dirty mop slaps them when moving from side to side. 

Even very rich people live in this kind of environment where they have to put up with less-than-stellar public areas. What I mean is, I think the people on the 10th floor of my building, who have two floors and roof garden access and drive BMWs are probably millionaires. They have to deal with the dirt, clutter and dog pee just like us regular joes do. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Neighborhood outing

My goal is to get out of the house once every day, besides walking my dog, whether I need to or not. I usually go out on my e-bike and roam around, run a few errands, or buy groceries. Last week I took a turn down an alleyway I'd never explored before, and I saw these pretty rusted metal doors, with faded Chinese poem banners, smothered in bright green ivy. I love it.
While I was taking pictures, a girl came up to me and asked, in English, if she could help me. I don't know if Chinese really have an intention to "help" foreigners when they ask this question, but it is a nice way to break the ice, let the foreigner know they speak English, and start a conversation. I found out this "girl," who looks about 18 at most, is 32 years old and has a husband and 8-month old child. They all live with her in-laws. We had a nice conversation and I made a new friend.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The small street market

As I mentioned in the previous post, I had to locate a new veggie market when my old alley market closed down. Sometimes, I really don't want to go to all the trouble to go into the big market that I showed you yesterday. I just want to hop off my e-bike and buy some veggies fast. I found a nice street market to go to, but it is further away than the big market. It's veggies are actually better though, and they even sell fresh asparagus! It's in a run down neighborhood, but I like the feeling in those neighborhoods, so I don't mind.
It's just a small little nook of a market.
See that asparagus in the middle of the photo?
The view right next to the street market. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The big market in my neighborhood

After eight years of going to the same little family-owned veggie stall in my alleyway, one day it closed down. I was shocked! How could the family just disappear without saying goodbye? I couldn't believe it. I had to go in search of a new market. The other markets are further away, so it is not very convenient to get there. Instead of taking five or six steps from my e-bike to the veggies, I have to park, lock my bike, walk into a building, and make a real effort. But I found a really nice, pretty woman who always smiles at me and welcomes me, so I go to her section to buy veggies. That's her pictured above. 
There are many vendors in the building selling veggies, fruit, and meat.
I'm not much of a fruit eater, but the fruit looks nice.
Here is the entrance to the market building. The floor is often wet and muddy inside.
The market building is near a main road. I park my e-bike on the sidewalk like everyone else.
Another view of the market building.

Monday, July 10, 2017


I was at an office building last weekend when a thunderstorm and downpour began. I went down to the lobby and saw the guards trying to keep it from being flooded. What a mess! What a miserable job they had that day. I had to wait half an hour before the rain slowed down enough for me to walk outside. 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Subway people today

Young woman checks her cell phone on her long subway trip.
At first I thought they were ballerinas. But then I realized they just want to look precious.
Self-portrait. That's me in the reflection of her sunglasses.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Can't get enough of my Pekingese


I know one day I won't regret all these photos I've taken of Mimi. Sorry if looking at her isn't your thing. Just scroll on down. This blog is like my journal and I go to it to remember the days of my life. Mimi's a big part of it all. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Shanghai Train Station

I travel to Shanghai via high-speed train. Here's a look at the train station platform. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

Shanghai's Nanjing Road East - Pedestrian Street Mall

As mentioned yesterday, there are two parts to Shanghai's Nanjing Road. Here are pictures of the east part, the pedestrian street that people think of when you say "Nanjing Road." If your feet hurt, you can pay the equivalent of 50 cents and get a ride from one end of the pedestrian street to the other. I love Shanghai. 

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Shanghai's Nanjing Road East

In Shanghai, Nanjing Road has two famous sections. Nanjing Road (west) is a pedestrian street mall and considered the heart of the city. About a mile away, maybe even less, is Nanjing Road East, which is newer and even more upscale. 

People dress well in Shanghai, and I used to dress smartly on my trips there. I would wear heals and wouldn't even be bothered by it. But now I have to wear flat shoes due to some problem with my right toe that some doctor said was osteoarthritis. In fact, the only shoes that don't hurt my feet are Converse All-Stars, so that's what I wear in Shanghai now. No one is looking for me to be a fashion trendsetter, so there's no need to dress up. 

Shanghai is a fun big city and I love my trips there. But I only like to go on days in which someone can let Mimi out for a walk midday. 

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Happy 62nd Anniversary

Happy anniversary to my parents!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Flowers for sale

A common sight in summer, near busy intersections, are ladies selling sweet-smelling flowers, gardenias I think. Hang them on your backpack, rearview mirror, or set them on your table to make your summer smell special, infused with the best of memories. The lady pictured here, near the entrance to a Shanghai subway station, gave me a second flower after I took her photo. I think that means we are friends. :-)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lunch at my Chinese diner

I have a new go-to place for lunch. It's in my neighborhood, but too far to get to by foot. I go by e-bike. I try to go early before the big lunch crowd arrives. I don't even have to speak when I go in anymore. They already know what I want to eat.
Hot and sour shredded potatoes. It's hard to make at home. It is the most delicious dish on the face of the planet, right up there with chips and salsa. This dish costs less than $2. Most people get it as a side dish to go along with meat and a bowl of rice. But I don't need rice or meat or anything else. I just need me some "swan-lah-too-doe-suh." 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mimi says "hey"

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mimi, my beautiful Pekingese

Mimi is doing well. She has had an eye infection for two months. Once it was almost clear, but she rubbed it and it got messed up again. Now, it's almost better again. She's taken antibiotics and had eye gel applied -- not willingly though. She is 12-1/2 years old, and I guess it is taking her longer to heal than it would if she was younger. She's more moody and grouchy than she used to be, and I don't know if it can be attributed to age or illness or both. I love her and I know she feels the same about me, even when she's grouchy.

And for those smarty-pants among you who wonder exactly when it was that my dog was NOT grouchy, all I can do is wrinkle my nose and glare at you. Please leave my doggy alone. What you consider as aggressive behavior, I consider part of her job as my protective detail. She was merely protecting me. :-)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Brief updates: weather, friends, TV, movies, transport

WEATHER: June serves up pleasant weather where I live. July and August are unbearably hot and humid, but June's [usually] mild rains, known as the plum rain season, make for bearable temperatures. I'm trying to get out as much as I can before it becomes too hot. Today we had torrential rains instead of mild rains, but that's not common.

FOREIGN FRIENDS: Most of my foreign friends in town are leaving for the summer, but will be back in the fall. Chinese friends will still be around though, most of them anyway.

TV VIEWERSHIP: I get CNN International and Fox News on satellite TV, so for the most part, I hear the same news you do. I usually watch CNN in the morning (Anderson Cooper, et al) and Fox and Friends in the evening. (I'm in a different time zone, remember?) The toxic, argumentative political atmosphere bothers me though, so lately I've had have to turn off the TV often to maintain peace of heart and mind.

MOVIES: I don't watch movies much, but I watched the movie "Lion" on the airplane a few weeks ago, and I loved it. It is about an Indian boy who ends up being adopted by a family in Tasmania, where I once lived. The boy arrived in Tasmania the same year I did, in 1987. The movie is a tearjerker.

TRANSPORTATION: Bamboo Forest is opening more and more subway lines, and it makes life easier. When it rains and I have to get out, I stress out trying to plan the best way to get where I'm going and back. Taxis fill up with passengers during rainstorms and vacant ones can be hard to find; e-bike travel is not a great option; I'll get wet walking to and from the subway station, and sometimes at the other end, my destination is too far from the subway station. Buses seldom go where I want to go, so they are ruled out quickly. If you've always had a car, you've probably never had to think about this kind of thing.

Hope you've enjoyed these random updates!

Boating in the water town village