Friday, April 24, 2009

Website

I got my website up and running. It wasn't that hard. I wish it looked more professional but... I'll deal. It's not too bad for doing it myself, I think.

I do wish I had more to say! It's pretty blank right now.

I didn't put anything on the book page (yet) because I don't know if I should. And... Yeah, the news is blank. I'll fill that in when there is some. I need to work on my links too. :)

What do you think so far? Cheesy?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's Monday!

It was a long weekend for me. I have so much on my TO DO plate I needed to get some checkmarks in some boxes.

[Completely as an aside... when I wrote this, I didn't realize that I had some boxes that weren't on my radar. Like Steven's JCI which apparently expired three days ago. *grumble*]

I finished the pictures from my China trip. Unfortunately, Facebook is being persnickety and won't let me upload them. I'm going to keep trying to get them up today, and will let you know the links when I have them.

I also spent a great amount of time with Seth this weekend trying to help him read. I NEED him to graduate kindergarten for heaven’s sake! Does anyone else think it’s crazy that he has to learn to read in Kindergarten? I think it’s a little much, personally.

I wasn't going to go off about this but… I have big problems with his teacher and her methods.

I've mentioned the behavior sticks before. We (Steven and I) have spent a great deal of time encouraging Seth to come home with a stamp at the end of the day, trying to throw some weight behind her system. But then… it all changed.

In the last few weeks he’s gotten sticks taken away for ridiculous stuff like, we forgot to pack him a napkin in his lunch and he didn’t have his name in his jacket (the jacket he’s used ALL YEAR!). So now I’m ticked. If she’s going to take away sticks for things that have nothing to do with Seth, I’m no longer supporting her. I told Seth that I didn’t care if he got a stamp or not (and I don’t). Guess what? He didn’t get a stamp all last week. Oh well. I don't think it's fair that he's punished for things that are not his fault.

The end of the year cannot come fast enough.

The other thing that irritates the snot out of me is she expects memorization only. It’s all about sight words with her. This is NOT the way Seth’s brain works. And personally, I would much rather have him sound out the words than know them by memory. But if he doesn't know the words by memory, he doesn't graduate kindergarten. You can see my dilemma.

I have spent hours with this kid and the reading thing. The big problem is he's extremely logical and English is, um, not. If I spend time to explain the rules to him, he seems to get it. That’s what makes me the most frustrated, though, is that I’m spending lots of time explaining advanced level English rules (in kindergarten speak) so that we can get through a set of flash cards that he’s expected to memorize and not read anyway!

The kid won’t take anything at face value either. He wants to know the "why" about everything. If T has a sound and H has a sound… why does TH have a completely different sound when put together? Hell if I know! I just does! That, of course, is not a logical enough answer for him.

I know... I need to calm down. I'm okay. Promise. We made some progress... so I'm rolling with it. For now.

Who said potty training was the hard part? This is WAY more work!

Oh, and I get to do this next year with Bekah. Yea! I'm so excited I can hardly talk.... Or maybe I'm horrified. Whatever.

I also spent some time writing this weekend. I need to finish this draft. Seriously! This book is taking me SO long. It’s been forever since I've had a book take this long! ARG!

On the TO DO list this week:

  • JCI (cough!)
  • Bekah shots (that should be loads of fun) and signed up for school.
  • Getting entry stamps in our passports so that we can be all, like, legal and stuff. ;)
  • Finish first draft (hahahaha - laughing over that one).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Daily Grind

This is going to be one of those ramble posts (because, really, that’s what I’m good at!).

I didn’t work on any China pictures yesterday. I’m so close and yet SO FAR from finishing! I needed a break. My life was sort of hectic yesterday. If you follow my Facebook or Twitter feed you’d know I was doing moronic stuff like spilling half a can of coffee on my head and not paying attention and squirting toilet bowl cleaner (with BLEACH!) instead of spray-and-wash on my daughter's pink jacket. ACK!

I ran away to lunch with my girls. I needed it (although my day did not improve when I got home).

We ate at a cool Greek place at the sea wall. I took these when we were walking to our car. Seriously, I live in the best place in the entire world! How can it get better than this? I NEVER want to leave and I’m so happy to be home!





Um… As far as writing goes, I’m really struggling to get back into the swing. It’s hard to get motivated! This is why I hate not writing every day. Vacations always mess me up!

I will get back to the pictures of China soon. I’ll leave you with this:



This is a Chinese advertisement for Toshiba. On the surface it looks fine, right? But what’s up with this:



That’s a purse and a jacket on her head! What the heck is up with that?! How’s that supposed to sell computers?!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Squatty-Potties

It's time to tell you the grossest thing that happened to me in China. I was reminded of it when I saw this picture:




I need to back up a little and explain the potty situation in the Asian cultures. I'm sure I have some readers who don't realize that around these parts squatty-potties are the norm. Literally, it's a hole in the ground that you squat over and do your business.

In Okinawa it's not so bad. The potties are shaped like a ski: a rectangle with rounded edges that has a lip at the top. This lip is VERY important. I've really never had a hard time finding a western-style toilet here. There's at least one somewhere, if you know where to look for it.

This does not hold true for China. Western-style toilets are like the holy grail that you constantly search for but is just out of reach. If you find one you pee, no matter if you have to go or not.

There are two distinct differences that make squatty-potties in China horrible - or rather, WAY more difficult and gross than Japan.

The first: They have no lip at the top of their hole. Remember how I said that was important? That's because it keeps the pee IN the hole and not sloshed around it. The better places (like the hotels and airports) keep someone in the bathroom at all times that stand in the middle with a mop. That person swishes the floor after each use. NOT with sanitizer, mind you! Just swishing the pee around so that it dries faster.

The second: In Japan they flush their used toilet paper. In China... there's a bucket where you drop it after. It's lovely to see while you're going.

You can imagine the smell.

*ahem*

Okay... so now my story.

We were at the wall in Xi'an. I was standing outside the bathroom waiting for an opening when I took the picture above. I had to go pee SO BAD. I really couldn't wait. Because, trust me, if I could have, I would.

When the bathroom opened up, the floor was so full of pee that I was sliding as I walked. Like, I was literally holding the walls to keep from falling. (I'm getting sick just thinking about it.)

But I had to go, so what could I do?!

I tried to do my business. It was difficult just to get my pants down without slipping. And between the squatting, the making sure that I was balanced and not getting my pants wet...

I fell.

I landed on my right hand - the one I use to do EVERYTHING! I had to get my pants up and buttoned with my left all while keeping my right as far from me as possible.

I WAS FREAKING OUT. Still am, actually.

I was so close to crying. I made it out of the stall only to discover... there was no soap.

*SOB!*

I rinsed off with water, all while trying to not slip again...

By the time I made it out to Steven I was at maximum freak out. I held my hand WAY far away from me while I asked (okay, YELLED - but I was REALLY STRESSED) him to get me out the wipes and hand sanitizer. I used the wipes (7 of them) and the sanitizer (half the bottle just to be sure).

*Exhale*

Now doesn't that story make you want to visit China?



Album #3 can be found here. Are you getting sick of the pictures yet?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheeseburger in China

Yesterday I brought you the story of Wal-mart. So for something equally fabulous I thought I'd talk about McDonald's. I know - We went all the way to China and ate at McDonald's (gross!). But (hear me out!) we had one free night in Beijing and the next morning we had to get up at 4am to catch a plane to Xi'an. We needed to eat something fast so that we could pack and get to bed. McDonald's just happened to be across the street from our hotel... so....

The kids enjoyed it:





I want to talk about the menu in China because it's odd. First of all, they sell chicken (crazy!) and then most of their sandwiches are made either with chicken or a veggie patty. The only three things that had hamburger meat was the hamburger, cheeseburger and big mac. Even the quarter pounder was made with a veggie patty.



And the really, really cool thing (at least from Steven's perspective) they had delivery. McDonald's delivery!!! And it was 24 hours too!!!



Why can't we have that?!




I've uploaded Album #2 - It can be found here.

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