Lucky Day 13 of Fashion Challenge-Back in the U.S.A.

Back in the USA!  After a few days in snowy and ridiculously cold weather in Canada, I’m wondering why ANYONE lives there… really???  Parkas and big thermal boots would have to be your fashion statement for months on end…. OH.  HELL. NO.  If there is ever another trip to Canada in my future in the winter (which I certainly will try to avoid) then, note to self, pack some F*@king Boots.  I packed my one of a kind, expensive, handmade boots not my ugly Uggs.  Mistake, big time!  They had smooth leather soles that didn’t work too well on the ice and snow.  My only other packing choice of shoes were heels.  I’m an idiot.  So, I walked carefully and looked forward to getting back to warm Seattle.  At 50 degrees, it is like summer down here vs. Edmonton’s North Pole-like experience.  Brrrrrr…….

Of course, Izaak is the best part of this picture not the outfit.  He is a big hunk of cuddle muffin who likes nothing better than laying his head on my neck so he can feel my pulse and get cozy.  I do miss all my guys when I travel.  It sounds glamorous to those that don’t have to do it very often but life on the road is challenging at best.  Last night as we raced to Vancouver’s security and then customs to get back to the U.S. only to stand in line fretting if we would make our flight (we did by 2 minutes) I kept my co-worker calm when the TSA dude let through a whole group ahead of us because there flight was leaving 5 minutes before ours–these days if you complain too loudly, they will just ban you from the flight for being contrary.  Watch your words and action and always be polite… you get more with honey than vinegar!

Izaak missed me!
Izaak missed me!

So, first day back in Seattle, I brought out the stripes with animal print accents in the form of a warm Banana Republic sweater with a classic black skirt and tights.  Best part of the outfit was the chunky and clunky necklace that turned the outfit into interesting vs. boring.   It makes crazy noises when I walk but I like it.  Sometimes, you just have to walk loud and proud!

I have a standing desk at work now so the Rockport stiletto booties only lasted part of the day and then I had to change into flats to finish it out.  Always be prepared with flats just in case.   I am hoping that standing most of the day will be healthier for me in the long run vs. sitting…. can’t be worse, right?

Just got back from the gym and now settling in to watch American Idol (yes, I’m one of THOSE!) and get more work done.  I know I shouldn’t work so hard but I always feel I need to work harder than anyone else to be successful.  Probably not true, but I have a family to support, so off I go!

Day Three of 30 Day Fashion Challenge

A grey, rainy Saturday calls for fashion to match.  So, on Day Three of my fashion challenge to wear a new outfit every day this month, out came the grey tones in the form of a Merona grey balloon cozy cardigan that Hannah picked out for me awhile ago and the grey V-neck t-shirt that she also sourced for me at the Boise thrift store for a few bucks.  I love having her as my personal shopper because she has such a good eye for fashion AND she loves a bargain.  I taught her well–fashion isn’t about how much you spend but how you put it all together no matter the price you pay.

Day Three in grey tones rocking a bicycle scarf
Day Three in grey tones rocking a bicycle scarf

Of course, no outfit is complete without a necklace and scarf so I wound my grey bicycle scarf around the gorgeous silver Chinese inspired necklace that James got me for Christmas.  Done!  Off we went to run errands after we borrowed my son’s car (really my old car) that is now held together with plastic tape and a prayer.  We noticed another large dent and the side mirror pretty much hanging off the side, to which James replied when asked what happened, that he had a run in with a very solid pillar that got in his way.  Oops!  We were in China at the time of impact last year so he never thought to tell us since we had already warned him that there would be no further repairs to this 19 year old car–Infiniti makes a great car but it can’t run forever. But, for now, it got us to Ikea to buy some final home stuff we needed and to Lenscrafters for new glasses.  We get around Seattle without a car most of the time using Car2Go, Zipcar, Uber, our own two feet and an Orca card but it’s nice to borrow our own wheels sometimes. Having James over to puppy sit Thor and Izaac while we ran around town was an added bonus.  They love him and give him LOTS of puppy love while he was here.  We bribed him to stay for dinner by promising Chinese food, which is not at all like food in China but still yummy.  Good to be back in Seattle with family close by!

Thor and Izaak giving James lots of puppy love
Thor and Izaak giving James lots of puppy love

Boise to Beijing-The Journey Begins

Good bye blue skies and fresh air!  Hello grey, chunk-filled air that causes me to cough..hard.  So long family and friends!  Hello insane work schedule though I love what I do.  Tomorrow I will make the long, long journey from Boise, Idaho to Beijing, China.  Leaving behind my new granddaughter Mia and my lovely family including my husband, who will stay to oversee the purchase of our new home here in Boise, our retreat from China but primarily a vacation rental till we expatriate.  Though I have been busy working from Boise to get ready for my big project in China, I have been blessed to at least be able to see the baby and family every night.  We take a walk around the neighborhood-the whole crazy crew:  Baby Mia, Hannah & Mike, Thom and I plus the crazy canine duo pulling us along, Izaak and Ollie, plus Det. Stabler, the only cat I know who goes for walks too. Now, I really don’t favor cats, being a dog person, but I will acknowledge that Det. Stabler is an unusually loyal and smart cat.  Not that I ever want to support a cat again.  Ever.  I prefer dogs who love you always and never give attitude.

Thom enjoying some puppy love from our Izaak.  I miss him so much!
Thom enjoying some puppy love from our Izaak. I miss him so much!
Det. Stabler coming along for the walk sans leash
Det. Stabler coming along for the walk sans leash

For the next month or two, I will be all alone in Beijing working hard.  More days in a hotel than I want to think about, not that it is a bad hotel but I miss being home.  Our Ayi Pink probably thinks we bailed on her.  I wonder what she does all day in the apartment with really nothing to do except dust the ever present dirt that is spewing out of the vents and hopefully watering our plants so they are not all dead by the time we return.  The wave pool with sandy beach will be open for the summer by the time I return to Shanghai in late June.  I’ve been watching the feral cats use this sandy beach as their own private litter box all winter while working out in the gym overlooking it.  Wonder if they’ll clean up all the cat poop before the season starts?  Oh, right, I live in China.  Note to self–wear shoes in sand.

What do I miss from Shanghai?  I miss the daily adventures walking the streets with Thom.  Experiencing the unusual and crazy life in China.  I don’t miss the pollution AT ALL.  My lung scare is still top of mind and I don’t look forward to wearing my mask more to protect myself but I will because I value living and breathing.  My CT scan showed lung damage caused by remote exposure to TB but thank God, I was tested and it’s not active TB. Did I get “exposed” to TB in China.  Yep.  Damn Subways.  Oh well.

Three generations enjoying lunch on a sunny, clear day in Boise.
Three generations enjoying lunch on a sunny, clear day in Boise.

Packing today was an experience in futility.  Due to the lure of low, low prices in the U.S., I may have overdone the shopping a bit. Well, maybe more like 20 or 30 pounds worth. Don’t judge me–the top size in China is a small 4 so I loaded up on the generous US sizing to help my self confidence.  Now, I am forced to make my son bring over some of my clothes when he comes.  Sorry dude but you’re Momma’s mule!  (He doesn’t ever read my blog so I’m safe)  He’ll come over with Thom at the first of July with an extra bag or two to have adventures all summer exploring the China that I’m too afraid to see.  Yes, until you live outside the U.S. you never consider that your travel plans will be heavily influenced by the reality of “are there are toilets or not?”  In pretty much all of rural China, it’s a definite “NOT”.  No toilets, no go -just my policy.  Men can go anywhere, anytime–females are challenged in that regard especially if you don’t like to squat by the side of the road.  So, Thom and James will take the trains here and there and see lots of crazy shit I am sure.  I will stay home and work where there are heated TOTO toilets close by–my new office is AMAZING!

So, on my last day in lovely Boise, we went to a great lunch, sat outside on the patio and soaked in the clean air.  I will never, ever take for granted the simple things in life like being able to drink a margarita on the rocks with no worries that the “rocks” will be made of toxic water that will induce projectile vomiting.  Ahhhhh….I will miss those little things….Beijing, watch out, here I come!


My Destiny-Manhattan & Me

NY Post. Bagel Shops. $1 Pizza. Dog parks. Broadway. Interesting people-EVERYWHERE. Why do I love NYC so much? All that & more. You can never be bored here. I hate being bored. I want to be able to walk for miles and see something new and different, whether it be a store or people or a park, every day I am alive. I’m a walker and NYC is a walking paradise. Even in the downpour last night, we had fun dodging under scaffolding and running across broad avenues to reach the historic and wonderful theater where we saw Kinky Boots.

Broadway Baby-Kinky Boots Amazingly Fabulous!
Broadway Baby-Kinky Boots Amazingly Fabulous!

Enriching my colleague’s life with a night on Broadway, he was even more amazed when I leaned over and told him that those gorgeous ladies doing the high kicks in the skimpy outfits and kinky boots were all men. Priceless. He was still talking about it the next day and really appreciated the story line and talent displayed on stage. But never, ever would you or could you experience something like that in China.  I’m glad we could share that with him.  And, yes, those were Kinky Cocktails in sippy cups.  When I die and the grandkids are going through our crap, they’ll see my collection of sippy cups from all the Broadway plays we have gone to and think their Nai Nai was pretty cool and drank ALOT.  Oh, the stories they will tell but hopefully we will inspire them to see our big, wonderful world.

Today, after work we walked around the UN area between 49th and 55th and 2nd Avenue, wandering aimlessly with no destination in mind as we do everywhere we go.  Manhattan, we love you!  When we stumbled upon the Peter Detmold dog park by the East River and 51st Street we just felt like it was home.

Puppies galore!  I miss my Izaak so much!
Puppies galore! I miss my Izaak so much!

There were even Vizla’s playing among the many dogs with their owners chatting and enjoying the warm sunny day.  Ahhhhhhh….this is where we belong.  While there were no coal barges running up and down the river like in Shanghai, an apartment here would be awesome.  We favor a river view always, though whether we could afford one here is still to be determined.

Many of the buildings were very historic with beautiful stonework and rich details.  Doormen in their uniforms guarding the residences doesn’t bode well for affordability but does speak to feeling secure and pampered.  Many restaurants including Il Positino and other international restaurants due to the UN being so close made for a diverse atmosphere.  How can we make this happen?  Well, I have been known to be a planner and stubborn in my resolve to make things happen–it took me almost 4 years to get an international job, taking on the challenge of many different assignments to get to where we are now, so it’s in my wheelhouse to make this happen in the future for us as well.

We have no intention of cutting our current adventure short but we are restless vagabonds who long to have Manhattan as our base of operation some day, along with a nice abode in Boise, Idaho to visit often with the soon-to-be arriving Mia and her superb parents, Mike & Hannah, along with our son James who will probably stay in the damp, grey Seattle he favors.  When he graduates next year, I just may go back and get my MBA in China which could serve me well as a consultant in my future years should I go in that direction.  In the meantime, I will dream of living in the Big Apple with Thom and start saving to make the dream become a reality.  EVERYONE NEEDS TO DREAM BIG!!  That doesn’t mean, of course, that I’m giving up our VIP Membership at Dragonfly Massage in Shanghai.  A girl has to have her weekly foot massages.  I’m not a savage.

View from the dog park.  How do you beat this?
View from the dog park. How do you beat this?