Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Unlucky

So I spent all of Chinese New Year nursing a stomach flu, returned for two busy work weeks, had my first relaxing weekend in a long time and woke up at 1 am Sunday night for a stimulating four-hour vomit session.

I had such awful stomach cramps I called in sick to work (on proofing day no less, they were delighted) and Mike the Super Roommate called his doctor and booked me an appointment.

Food poisoning isn't usually the kind of thing I'd see a doctor over, but between Chinese New Year and then this I started thinking what the hell is going on? I'm not on the verge of this am I?

I forked over RMB910 at the fancy foreigner clinic to be told that, no, the alien spawn was not imminently forcing its way out of my stomach. I'm just unlucky. Two lame stomach bugs in one month - TIC.

That stands for "This is China." It's a phrase I'm trying to coin and is in no way related to the phrase TIA that Leonard DiCaprio used in this movie. (Blood Diamond)

My tum tum is telling me its time to resume clutching it in the fetal position. Later, blog.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Hurray for passed deadlines

All my copy is in, all the photos I need have been taken, and after a super-crunch deadline week (compounded by the fact I did zero work over the Chinese New Year holiday, but for interviewing Usher at 3am one night), last night my first event I put on for the magazine went off at a really nice bar on The Bund.

Erotic Fiction Night - we had finalists read the Shanghai-based erotic stories they'd written. We'd planned for a crowd of 60 or so, and more than 200 people showed up, which was a really nice little ego boost.

After work I took a half-hour walk into the French Concession in order to get a beer and a pork sandwich at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Ah, thank goodness for Friday night.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deadline week

Today I spilled soda on my work computer - possibly ruining my keyboard -- before I could file the last story I need to finish. Thankfully I saved it in an email draft, but I also have one more big story to edit, something I'll probably have to start at 6am before Chinese class since my writer hasn't filed it yet. 

And on the way home I listened to this song.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stomach Flu Chic

Everyone keeps asking how my Chinese New Year vacation was and I always want to give a positive answer (give the people what they want!) but on Monday evening the laoban walked in and asked me and I just blurted, "I got the stomach flu and my grandma died." Boom. Yeah, my break was kind of lame.

On a more positive note (and I'm still trying to decide if it's truly positive) when I walked in Monday morning all the Chinese girls told me I was "so beautiful" because apparently I've dropped a noticeable amount of weight from having a week-long stomach flu. Now everyone in the office wants the stomach flu. I don't think I really lost that much, I just think all the water went out of my face or something. But I did get several "wow! so beautiful!" throughout the day which led me to whine to Je$$ica over dinner that night, "Does that mean I needed to lose weight?" To which she winningly responded, "No, it just means you look skinnier now."


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bye Millie

From Christmas at home 2010

My grandma died yesterday. She was a few months shy of 89. She's suffered from dementia for quite a long time now, but she began to really deteriorate in the past 12 months.

I'm so glad I got to go home for Christmas and see her one last time. I'm also happy my family moved to Florence while she was still mobile and we could take her for walks on the beach and trips to the grocery store.

She grew up in Chicago, made it through high school - despite her mother's misgivings - and when she was 21 she joined the Women's Army Corps (with her parents written consent, which was required). She went to Australia and the Philippines. She typed secret messages. All the typing girls were just given one piece of the message to type, the idea being they wouldn't be able to decipher it, but grandma said often she figured it out. I always wished she'd talk more about that time in her life but she just dismissed it with, "Oh it's all in history books now."

After the war she moved to the Oregon Coast to marry my grandfather, Vake. They ran West Lane Plumbing together and raised four kids (a lawyer, an architect, a doctor and an IBM project manager).

Behind her home she maintained a huge, beautiful garden. One of the highlights of visiting when I was little was getting to pull carrots out of the ground - always more delicious than what you get at the supermarket. I also liked to listen to her curse at the crows in German.

It's funny how the human mind works, but grandma maintained her sense of humor her whole life. This last Christmas she had more trouble recognizing us than ever before, but she still managed to stick her tongue out in a photo and on another occasion she told me I needed an accomplice in Shanghai, that I ought to stick her in my suitcase.

I remember when I was younger that at the end of family vacations, as we pulled away in our rent-a-car, she'd stand in the driveway and pull up her pant leg a bit, twirl her foot and give us a peek of ankle. That joke never got old.

I'm sure there will be longer, more detailed Millie stories over at my aunt's blog. I've always liked the one about how Grandma quit volunteering for sky watch patrols because WW2 was over and it was pointless. She was pragmatic and couldn't be counted on to do what was conventional. I think that's the real spirit of living in the West (and by that I mean Western United States).

She lived through the Great Depression, received more education than many women of her time, fought the good fight in the Pacific, left home for good to marry on the Oregon Coast and raised four kids. She has 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

I like the term Tom Brokaw coined, greatest generation. It seems unlikely I'll ever be called upon to do something so important as what my grandparents did in World War Two. Then after that, they worked hard and on their own merit produced a successful business and four self-sufficient kids. I've been given more than they ever were by ten fold and I know that the opportunities I have received must be credited in part to the work ethic and educational values they instilled in my mother's generation.

Today I'm a little bit sad, but mostly I'm grateful and proud.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

新年快乐!(Happy New Year)

12 days. No blogs. Quite a dry spell.

But today is the first day of my week-long Chinese New Year vacation, so no more excuses. Tonight we're going to make hot pot at home and watch the gala on CCTV - something I'm told should be seen once. My neighbors are burning a bunch of incense in a shrine in their apartment and the hall is all smoky.

I've been back in town three weeks now, and it's taken a bit of adjustment, getting back into the work groove and also I keep having strange, stressful dreams. The one I remember most distinctly was one where I was walking around my home in Oregon, and I kept telling my parents and my brothers I wouldn't be able to see them for 10 months and no matter how many times I said it no one seemed to care, which was most upsetting.

I'm working on my next cover story, we're presently cat sitting, that's about all the news here.

Since I got my new iPod I've been taking pictures with it, I try to do one a day. Here are a few:

Special Chinese New Year display at the fruit stand
It snowed earlier this month.

This idiot in my building made the worker hose his car off.
James and I went out to a delicious sushi dinner.
A picture of my desk at work.
And here's the cat we're sitting.
And here he is in the toilet.

Kodak moment.