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.

Friday, September 01, 2017


You may have noticed that I didn't post anything during August. I dislike August.

I also dislike January, February, and July.

Two of these months are bitterly cold and dreary. The other two are saunas.

We had a heat wave again this year. Heat index temperatures were around 116 degrees Fahrenheit by day and over 100 degrees Fahrenheit by night for about two months. I couldn't bear it. My activities were pared down to the bare minimum. Even Mimi didn't want to linger outside on her thrice daily trips downstairs to visit the grass. My electric bill was one of the highest I've ever had. I had to run the air-conditioners non-stop.

I hate to waste four months of the year. That's a whole third of the year! I keep telling myself I won't let heat or cold keep me from enjoying my life. But I don't have a car and getting out hurts sometimes. The heat wave broke three days ago. I have my life back now.

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.