Friday, September 30, 2016

Laundry Day in Beijing

I was truly amazed when we drove through the city of Beijing that people would hang their clothes outside their windows.  They had clothes lines out their windows, and usually no balcony.  They could be on the 6th floor or the 20th floor.  High rises.  It didn't matter.  
Our tour guide, Stone, told us that many people have washers, but not dryers and they had to hang their clothes outside.  Some were fortunate if their had a combination washer/dryer.  I can't imagine life without both.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


In every shopping area we visited in China, we saw jade - of all shapes and colors - every imaginable character and creatures.
At the jade factory, we were shown a picture of the Olympic gold medals that were created just for the Olympics in Beijing.  I wish we could have seen the real thing, because the photos were just so beautiful.  We were told that the lighter the jade is, the higher the value.  You can see that the jade is white, or almost white.
At the Terra Cotta Soldier exhibit, they had jade warriors of different sizes.  So big and heavy!
I thought this jade horse was absolutely beautiful - just no place to put it in my house.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Yes, even in China they have McDonalds

I took this photo from the bus because we never were close to a McDonald's, never walked by one - at last that I can remember.
It's always interesting to see what they have on their menu just to see what's different.  And, yes, even in China.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Day Spent at The Home Show in Phoenix

I have done a lot of work on my place since I bought it a couple of years ago.  Hoping to find the perfect items, I have been to a couple of Home and Garden Shows but I was always overwhelmed with the many vendors at the show.  It is a great place to get ideas.  It is also a great place to see new products on the market.
 My ticket - I went with my friend, Pat, and her new neighbor
offered her two free tickets to the Home Show.
Such a wonderful gesture.
 I love good tea and I tried the one on the left:
Mountain Mist Black Tea.
It was absolutely won-der-ful!
Really looking forward to trying the Cardamom Chai Tea.
 I bought a set of hand and face cream with some healing powers.
Looking forward to trying it.
 This is the highlight of the day:  Snap Guidelight!
It is a cover for electrical outlets that also 
serves as a nightlight.  
 It is on a sensor so that it only comes on at dusk or night.
They also make a switch cover that not only is a nightlight,
but you can also charge your phone.
And ... these are very easy to switch out.

So - it was a fun day and proved to be fruitful.
Since I wasn't under any pressure to buy anything, 
it made the day very enjoyable.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hey, Ladies!

Meet this handsome, 2.5 year old!
This was Keaton's school picture and he is so adorable!
He's grown quite a bit
he calls ME Grandma Jean!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Blue Apron to the Rescue!

My daughter, Kimmy, got us started ordering from Blue Apron, a company that provides you with the items you need, along with a recipe, for fixing dinner.  We tried it for free - 3 meals for 2 - FOR FREE!  We really did enjoy it, cooked dinner together, and tried some things outside of our normal eating habits.  So... today when I got home from work, I found this waiting for me...
 It comes packed so nicely with three recipes right on top.
 It's packed in an insulated box with frozen packs on the bottom.
We put all of the food in one drawer so we don't mix it up with other stuff.
 Tonight we are having Browned Butter and Thyme Gnocchi.
These are all of the ingredients.
 This is a Maitake mushroom - I have never seen anything like it.
It is actually like a flower and you simply
break it apart.  So easy and pretty mild in flavor.

 You brown the mushrooms and chopped shallot 
in olive oil and then butter.  Saute for about 3-4 minutes.
 Add fresh corn (that we cut off the cob),
chopped kale, and fresh thyme.
This cooks for only a few minutes - until the kale cooks down.
While this is sautéing, you boil water and add gnocchi for 3 minutes.
I have never had gnocchi and have been wanting to try it.
You mix the gnocchi with the vegetables.
Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
It really was good.
And, honestly, it was really quick to put together.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Housing in China is an amazing sight...

There were just rows and rows of tall apartment buildings.  In every direction, there were high rises.
 These photos were taken from our hotel room window.

 Remember I told you about the cranes in China?
(One-third of all the cranes in the world
are being used in China.)
Even when I see a crane here in Arizona, I can't help
but think about all of the cranes in China.
 See the tall building on the left (above)? 
It is the Shanghai Tower and the second tallest building in the world.
The one on the right is the Shanghai World Financial Center,
also among the tallest buildings in the world.
 The picture below is a good depiction of
the housing situation in Shanghai and Beijing.  
Remember Beijing has 19 million people,
Shanghai has 24 million - 24 million in one city!  Whew!
It reminded me - just a bit - of the homes shown in 
the movie Divergent.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Throwback Thursday!

I have been waiting for this day all week!
 Kim made silly faces with Myah and Kylee
one night while babysitting.

LOVE these photos!
And LOVE these girls!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Just a few photos of the Buddhas we saw in China

There was one Buddha we were not allowed to photograph.  It was a very large, white jade Buddha laying on his side.  They thought the flashes of light from cameras might distort or affect the color of the jade.  It was beautiful.
I looked up the stories of Buddhas because we were told that the Buddhas with large bellies take everyone's problems in - causing them to have large bellies. I didn't ever find that exact story, so maybe that was our tour guide's version.  Anyway, I liked the idea of a Buddha taking on everyone's problems.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cabaret !!

The Gammage Center in Tempe kicked off their 2016-2017 season with Cabaret.  You know, I don't really remember much about Cabaret - only that Liza Minnelli performed.  I didn't know the story line or much of anything.
The picture below is of the stage, just prior to the show.  We sit up very high, so it's not a great picture, but the lights were really nice.  You know... I didn't expect it to be risqué, but it was.  My daughter thought I should have expected that.  Hmmm.  So, I looked up the word "Cabaret" and it indicated it is a form of entertainment featuring music, song, dance and it takes place in a pub or restaurant, or nightclub.  So, I never suspected it would be what I considered to be risqué.  I also didn't know the story line, so I was surprised to know that it actually dealt with the Jewish community in Germany and the rise of the Nazis during WWII.
Kate and Kim bought season tickets with MaryAnna and I, but Kim was not able to go so she gave her ticket to Sondra (who happens to be the mom of Isaiah and Isaac).  
I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't say it will be one of my favorites.  However, it's always fun to get together with friends and family.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sleeping is so much better

I suppose you have all seen the commercials - and lots of billboards - for Tuft & Needle.  I needed a new mattress because mine was 12 years old and while it was still comfortable, I was starting to feel "grooves."  So I researched mattresses on line, spoke with my friends, and finally I went to the Tuft & Needle store - over my lunch hour - just about a mile from where I work.
It was so very simple.  I parked right on the street in front of the store.  Was greeted by two people when I walked in the door.  They showed me into a room with one of their beds, closed the door and gave me some time to just try it out and relax.  I was in and out in 30 minutes.  I bought two mattresses - one for me and one for my daughter, Kate. I don't even know how old her mattress was.  It still was comfortable, but I know it was at least 14 years old.
Before I got home they had already delivered the mattress - it was sitting by my front door waiting for me.  Yeah!  It weighs 72 pounds, so I was able to muscle it inside.  Kate's was also delivered the same day.  Delivery is free.  Another Yeah!
Setting it up was a breeze.  My youngest daughter, Kim, helped me place it on the bed.  You simply follow the directions online and it probably took less than 5 minutes from opening the box, cutting the plastic seal, and watching it expand.  So very simple.  I kept my box spring to place under the mattress.
It is a very comfy mattress.  The first two nights were a little different.  Then after that, I slept like a baby!  My daughter loved hers from the very first night.

The mattress comes with a 10-year warranty.  The great thing is that they give you 100 nights to figure out if you want to keep it.  If you decide it is not for you, you simply call them and they arrange for a charity to pick it up, then you receive a full refund.  The hard part?  Figuring out what to do with your old mattress.  Mine still looked good, so I sold it on Craigslist.  I had quite a few calls about it, so that was easy, too.

I have to say, bottom line, I am quite happy with my new mattress!  

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Day Spent in Suzhou pronounced "Sue Joe"

One of the best days of our trip was the day we spent in Suzhou, China.  Population is 7 million people.  It really didn't feel like that, but then again, we were only in one part.  It was such a quaint city - so very inviting.  We had some free time to walk around and it was an absolutely wonderful day.
Suzhou is one of the oldest cities in China and is built on a canal system.  We went on boat rides through the canals - a sort of gondola ride.  We were able to see the backs of homes and businesses.

This was our driver and singer.  Yes, singer.  He serenaded us while we rode through the canals.  We had multiple boats for our group, so we could hear them singing up and down the canals.  It was fun to listen to them, but I have to say some sang better than others.

Residents of Suzhou actually use the river like this lady, doing some washing.  We saw laundry hanging over the river from windows.  I need to mention that the water did not look clear and clean.  It was pretty cloudy or dark.
Suzhou is also a perfect location for wedding photography.  We saw several small groups taking their wedding photos.
This sweet lady was selling small wire floral bracelets that she made.  She wove small blooms onto a piece of wire and fashioned a clasp.  They smelled so wonderful! I had to buy one.  It only lasted for part of a day, but the scent was a wonderful reminder of our trip.

 It was such a beautiful day for a boat ride.  
The character and quaintness of this city was amazing.