Friday, March 30, 2007

I can see!

Surgery was a success. The surgery itself was really pretty painless, the following four hours were rough and I'm not 100 percent but I can see!

More tomorrow

Thursday, March 29, 2007

1 day left with Glasses

Wow, more then one comment! I'm amazed :)

Work has mellowed this week, I suppose you can get used to anything. I am getting ready for my eyesurgery tomorrow, I have a list of stuff to get at the store at lunch and I want to tidy up so I don't trip over anything. Lars was fine the next day so hopefully I will be too and I can finish up my dress. I am also starting to plan a big party for Lars's birthday, I have a caterer I'm talking to and I think the band idea is out but I'm looking into renting cool video game systems. I need to get moving on spreading the word, maybe save the date cards, because the weekend before 4th of July can be busy.

I have class tonight and we are supposed to get our midterms back. I never did write him an e-mail with my grievances and I'm torn about telling him. I'm not sure why it should come to me saying something, nobody in the class likes him... It is the Midwest passive aggressive pervasive attitude that is letting this slide so far, everyone will talk behind his back and nobody is telling him. I am pretty sure that people wrote some strong opinions on his midyear review that he won't see but I can bet nobody will say anything to make this class better, not even administration. I think I might give him a few positive suggestions so hopefully he improves a bit. I have a feeling that he won't be back again. Lars said he had plenty of teachers that were really bad and only kind of spoke English, he would learn from the book, it is a common thing in engineering programs. I have been very lucky, the majority of my teachers can actually teach.

back to work for me but if there are any other topics people want opinions on I'll be glad to respond.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wedding gifts

I got a request from Gone South about the social correctness of a bride requesting money directly as a gift. I got married 2 years ago so I have an opinion and it is fairly old fashioned because when I read the new style wedding sites most disagreed with me. In my opinion it is tacky to request anything directly for a wedding, it is the ‘job’ of the bridal party and parents to suggest where we were registered or what we may like. I don’t know how I grew this opinion, my parents and grandparents really never seemed to make a big deal about things like this, but in my head I firmly believe that a wedding is a celebration of the union and gifts are not required, any gift given is a statement by the giver that they approve of the couple’s choice and wish them well in life with XYZ item to help them or remind them of the wedding.

I also believe that one should register to help give guidelines of what the couple likes and would appreciate. I know brides that got mad because someone bought the same thing at a different store or a different brand thing. I think that is also tacky since a gift is a gift (see above). A lot of people like a registry for the inspiration, but, cash or a check is never a bad gift especially if the giver doesn’t like what is on the registry or there isn’t anything left. Leading me to my next strong opinion, what is a good wedding gift. I believe that a wedding gift should be a permanent thing, something that the couple can keep for years and think, “My aunt Pam gave us that” etc therefore electronics, consumables, clothing are not good wedding gifts. When money is flat out requested I feel like the couple is saying that the givers contribution will be purposely lumped with everyone else and that the couple does not care particularly. I’m sure that there are people who feel quite opposite and in preparation for my wedding I read the sites with all the different opinions and they didn’t change mine. I won’t fault someone for there choice, but, I feel a little bad when they have no memento from Great aunt Grace or their wedding.

I know some people strongly feel that money is the right gift to give and we appreciated every dollar, but bottom line is that I wouldn’t have asked for it directly and I grimace when I get an invitation that includes a request like that.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

10 things

I feel guilty for not posting, so many things have been going on and I have been so busy that I just don’t have time for anything at the moment.

Here is what I would have posted about over the past week if I had time;

1. Thursday 3/22 was my last day in contact lenses, I am getting eye surgery on Friday 3/30 and your not allowed to have contacts on your eyes for a week. I am excited and scared at the same time, I really hope it works out but I don’t really remember a time I didn’t have glasses or contacts. At this point it is part of my self image. Also, what will I do with all my contact stuff? And the free space I will get by getting rid of it? I’m not sure I can get rid of my glasses… I still have Lars’ from last year.
2. I have had my work load literally doubled in the past week. Last night I was up to 9pm with work with only a 1 hour break to exercise.
3. I have exercised every day except for last Friday, I am now easily doing a mile and a half on the elliptical. Only real problem is that it take longer then one 30 min TV show so I have to hop off the machine and start the next show. Running to shows I like really makes a difference.
4. I did some spring cleaning over the weekend, I moved stuff in the kitchen to hopefully better places, flipped the mattresses, exchanged wintry living room accessories for summery ones, I even made a cool birds nest out of chenille yarn as a coffee table center piece
5. I successfully put the arms on my dress, this was harder then any other one I’ve done because the sleeves were lined and the dress is lined and the bodice has interfacing so I was lining up 5 layers of fabric. It actually worked and this marks the first time I correctly lined any garment. Now all I have to do is some minor fit changes, the hem, the hooks on the front, make an underskirt, and sew on trim.
6. I order the trim from cheep trim plus 4 other trims I only kinda want because I needed to spend $65 for their min order. They are trims I like so I’m sure I will be glad in the future to have them.
7. It was 80 degrees yesterday, it was 30 degrees last Tuesday… Hopefully spring has sprung
8. My crocuses are sprouting, I left a straw by one all winter as a marker and there is hopefully little points. My tulips are also starting to sprout, it better not snow again.
9. I am starting to plan a big party for Lars’ 30th birthday on June 30th (his birthday is the 29th) so if anyone knows a good caterer or reliable people to do party serving I’m open to suggestions. The theme of the part is ‘things Lars likes’ so it should be very fun but since we are having it at our house I have a bunch of yard work to get done.
10. G2 and I are finally getting underway with tent making, maybe I’ll have it done by the party?

10 things are enough, trust me I’ve been busy. I go non stop all day and then I fall asleep.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big update

I have a thousand new work projects that I haven’t had time to breath at work over the past few days. I fully intended to post yesterday but got about 3 lines in and then another emergency had me running plus I had all the system work I couldn’t do in China to get done. I just had a meeting cancel so I find myself with a few extra min and since I can’t take a nap at work, I figured I would update the world.

This past weekend was nice and mellow. I don’t know if it was jetlag (doubt it) or that I had coffee too late (most probably) but I was up until 3 am on Saturday night. I was watching my Tivo that I had built up and doing a puzzle and just hanging out and Lars joined me about 1am and so we both finished the puzzle. It was a really hard one but it was a very pretty picture in the end, just a lot of blue and trees and for a while there I was just looking at the shapes of the pieces and not the picture to make it work. Anyway, staying up so late made me sleep late and then I decided to go work on my dress at G2’s and that motivated me into doing some cutting and sewing. I don’t know how great this will look since it isn’t a style I usually wear but it is coming out fairly well. Monday night I did the sleeves and they look really good, the lining fit just right. Today I hope to look for some trim online since I don’t have any more of what I used for Lars’ and it just needs something.

Over the past 4 days I have been trying to get back into my running routine, I let it slip badly when I was traveling and the week before was so hectic I only ran once. The fist day back on the machine was hard but now I’m back up to my normal speed and level. Pretty soon the roads might be clear enough to actually run outside, I have a nice 1.5 mile and 3 mile route and although I’ll miss running to a TV show, running outside always seems to burn more calories. I don’t have class this week so I’ll have the chance to actually exercise every day!

TV – news, not that I live by TV but I was getting pretty disappointed that the shows I liked were either gone or going downhill. Over the past few weeks we have started watching some very good new shows that hopefully stick around; “The Black Donnalies”, and “The Riches”. Both are pretty dark but well done, another dark one is “the Unit” recommended by my parents and we have been watching it for half a season now and every episode has been good. I’m also watching “How I met your mother” and it is in the Friends style but more funny less drama. “The new adventures of old Christine” is back and the first few episodes were funny and “Two and a half men” is being funny again too. On the other hand, I don’t know where ER went but it has been gone for a few weeks, Phyced is an awesome funny new show but it is in reruns already, Gilmore Girls is not as entertaining as it used to be, they are stretching it a lot and Rory has gone the way of Ann of Green Gables in that she has gotten so ‘good’ she is not unbelievable. Scrubs I hear is loosing its main character so I don’t know if that means it is over or if they will go a new direction but of the last three episodes, 1 was really bad and the other two were fairly decent, I think they are slipping. My reality TV for this season is “Top Designers” and “The Apprentice” and both are ok, Apprentice is getting old but still is a fun live drama and Top Designers is great because I like the decorating and art stuff they do but I feel like they don’t get enough time on each challenge and it would be way better if they got an extra day per challenge. Finally, my soap opera in space “Battle Star Gallactia” is as always really good but they keep doing the cliffhanger thing, plus, they killed off a character I really liked. I don’t think she is really dead, I have the distinct feeling that she is some sort of Cylon and will be back. I know it sounds like a lot, but I really don’t watch anywhere near the amount of TV I could and with TiVo it is so easy to watch a series because you never have to worry about time conflicts, you watch them when you want.

This weekend is an event with G1 and G2 so that should be fun and now I must get back to work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pictures of China

Part one; The Engineer (in many of the pictures) has another batch he is going to share with me.


Friday, March 16, 2007

I think I have recovered from China, I slept all night and feel normal today...  I came home with 1 day to study for a midterm in a class where the teacher really does not do well with teaching.  I have no doubt he knows his stuff in general but teaching should not be his career move.  Sometime today I need to write him an e-mail with some of my complaints with his teaching style, the number one complaint is that he doesn't ever seem to know what he is going to do in class and for the first hour he fumbles around, eventually saying something on topic.  Sometimes he goes into long and even reasonably interesting explanations of stuff to then say 'that has nothing to do with this class' I want to point out that we are each paying over $2000 for the class and we expect to learn something.


Wednsday night consisted of me cramming because he really didn't say what to study and Lars went to WalMart to get me a new graphing calculator because his from college died.  It died due to serious neglect, the poor screen only would display random digits.  He can't bring himself to throw it out though, it took him through high school and an engineering degree.  Anyway, yesterday I had to find time to do the homework assigned and to catch up with all my work from when I was gone.  Luckily I had decent internet so I took care of the majority of my e-mail from there but there are some things that just need to be handled with a phone call.


Today is St Patrick's Day and I am from a very Irish family that never particularly celebrated therefore I really don't have a tradition in my head.  Work is having a green clothing competition so I'm wearing 3 green t-shirts, green cargo pants and for the official counting I had a ribbon in my hair, a hat, a scarf, a sweat shirt, and my coat but I think another guy beat me, I'll have to wait for the end of the day.  The price is a $40 gift card so that was worth wearing a bunch of green.  


This weekend I have no real plans.  Lars says he wants to play video games (big surprise) and I think I'll start and possibly finish garb for coronation.  I also have 11 new DVD's from China to watch and all my China pictures to post.  


Anyone else have good plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I am home! The flight was fine, it definately could have been better. I was on the top deck of a 747 but seated next to an old Japanese man that farted alot. The flight attendent doted on him and more or less ignored me and gave me dirty looks for being in her way (ie. in my seat). The food was seriously subpar too but I watched 2 movies and studied and slept and we got in about 40 min early. I cleared customs in a record 5 min because business class gets to deplane first and our luggage came out first so I was waiting on the curb for Lars at the schedualed arrival time.

I have slept in my own bed and now it is time for dinner, no wheel of death~

Monday, March 12, 2007

I think I am officially ready to leave China.

Shanghai is a good city... It goes on for miles and miles and on a (rare) clear day you can see all the way to the ocean and it is city the entire way. The buildings here are awesome, they seem to each want to outdo each other for modern look and we had fun naming the buildings in the skyline (batman building is my favorite). The hotel is the Radisson Shanghai and it is in the center of the city on what is their times square. It has a very distinctive flying saucer top that is easy to navigate by because I ended up lost in a shopping plaza and popped out on a random street blocks away from where I thought I was and I could still find my way back. When I get back I’ll post the pictures I took, hopefully they came out ok.

The weekend was fun, the engineer I have been traveling with and I went all over the city and we bargained and bought all sorts of stuff on Saturday and we went to a huge Hindu temple where we took a ton of pictures and hopefully did offend too many people in there praying (bowing a lot mostly, I’m assuming they were praying). With the shopping we couldn’t go too crazy because we have to fit it all back in the bags we brought but Engineer was looking at a cool tea set that he sorta wanted and I started the negotiation process by offering a quarter of what the first price was and then we waked away because he really didn’t care much about it, anyway, the guy ran after us and sold the set for 60rmb, about $7, and he could not pass up that deal. Luckily he brought a decent size extra bag, a bigger one then I did, so I’m taking his bag and all the bulky stuff directly home since he has 3 more days in Japan and didn’t want to do two sets of customs and baggage claim etc. This works out well for me and him because with the extra bag everything I got too fits and I can check it easily. Engineer used to work for Ford so Sunday we took a trip out to the Ford dealer here just to say we did and we were a spectacle in the showroom because we were the only ones looking at the Navigator, the 4 door car is considered too big here and nobody was interested at all in the SUV but he helped design that vehicle so we were checking it out. Next we went to the Ritz with a supplier from the first stop, his wife and kids (they are the ones that live in the hotel) and an employee of our Company that moved over here with his family. It was a huge group and there were 4 kids under 3 and it felt like a family thanksgiving or something with everyone chasing a kid. The Ritz Shanghai is the same as the Ritz anywhere, fancy and over the top and the food was great. After that Engineer and I went to the ChoGarden market for more shopping and site seeing and we had tickets to a Chinese acrobat show at 7:30. The show was a show, I’ve seen similar troupes in the US but we had great sets, third row center, we could see everything. It was such a ballet like performance and I had such a busy day I nodded off in the middle but I don’t think I missed much. Engineer also fell asleep for some but all in all we both were glad we trooped across town for the 3rd time in one day.

Today we went to the last visit in China and Engineer ran to get his plane and now I’m here solo for the evening. I don’t have any fantastic plans, I should really look at my homework but basically I’m just worn out from the last 10 days. Thinking back I feel like we really didn’t do too much, a lot of time is spent getting to and from places but I think it was worth it. I made good business contacts and I think I understand the product better now due to copious amounts of time confined to a car with Engineer. I walked down town to get some McDonalds because I was hungry and I’ve had McDonalds in every country I have visited (that had them) so I couldn’t leave without sampling their Big Mac. I had to will myself to actually leave the hotel and face the throngs of people again, a sign I’m just tired because I really don’t mind crowds, but here people don’t really have personal space boundaries. I am glad I have NYC training for walking quickly in a crowd, ignoring people selling me stuff, and dodging cars. The energy level really reminds me of NY but it is just way more spread out and varied from the glass and steel order of rows and rows of downtown Manhattan. I am pretty tired of playing charades for just about everything, I shouldn’t complain because I only know about 10 words of Chinese but trying to communicate is really difficult. McDonalds was a lot of pointing and gesturing at the menu and all the shopping we did contained overly dramatic facial expressions to show that I thought they were selling something too expensive or a pantomime of what I was looking for like a necklace. I had fun doing it some but I’m glad I don’t have to do it all the time. I am also sick of the smog, there is so much air pollution some days you can’t see across the street, the air is thick and in Chongqing is was even worse, there just are no controls on the junk pumping into the air from cars and factories. People also smoke here all the time and everywhere and there is no such thing as a nonsmoking section... Right now I am just not motivated to do much more and I can’t wait to get home to my own house and husband, clean air, normal food and I even miss work a little. I have one last bit of shopping to do, Boss left without getting his kids presents so I have to go find something and I wanted to get Timmy some candy. Tomorrow is an early morning and a long day of travel, I have a 10am flight but I need to navigate a taxi and the maglev (fastest train in the world) so I’m planning on leaving around 7:30. I have an hour in Tokyo and get on the next plane back to MSP at 3:45... I will be back in the US about noon so I arrive earlier then I left.

I promise pictures soon – the movie from yesterday was requested by my mom who does Ti-chi and wanted a movie of people doing some in the park (I didn’t add the music, they had that playing)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

For Mom - Peoples Square in China

Friday, March 09, 2007

China day 6

So it has been a couple days... internet in Chong Qing left something to be desired but the hotel was still good. The supplier we went to see there was huge, I’ve never seen a bigger facility. ChongQing itself if the highest population city in the world, there are 3 MILLION people living there. It is a slightly deceptive number because it is a pretty huge area but the city itself is at least 20 miles square. There are huge apartment buildings going up everywhere and everything seems new or less then 10 years old. There was a mall under our hotel and we all went out after dinner and had a pretty good time. All meals in ChongQing were traditional Chinese wheel of death scenarios, there is a huge lazy susan in the middle of the table and all the ‘special’ food is put on it and spun around to you and you have to be polite and take what crazy food lands at your plate. Luckily with my boss there he is the senior one and I can get away with eating only the normal stuff.

Tonight I am back in Shanghai and tomorrow and Sunday we have off and are going to see the sights and hit the market. If a certain princess needs anything in the pearl or jade family let me know because I was told there are fantastic prices. I think I am buying another suitcase to accommodate my purchases...

It has been a grueling pace but I’m in the home stretch now.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Items served at lunch today;

Goose feet
Jelly fish
Pig intestine
Beef entrails
Roast pigeon
Fish soup (including fish eyeballs)
Pork fat (fried, because what makes fat better then frying in fat)
I could go on but I would rather not think about them.... I did eat some rice, some over cooked corn, what I hope was a potato pancake and my granola bar in the car after.

Today went very well actually, we got a lot done and saw a very good facility. The drive was uneventful and now I am in ShangHai in another beautiful hotel room and as I was writing the doorbell rang and I was delivered a fruit plate. I won’t eat it now because we are going to dinner in a restaurant with what is supposed to be a fantastic view and I’m hoping food that is ‘Western Friendly’.

There are a few topics rolling around in my head that I plan on posting about;
hideous toilets
Sudden movie star status
Chinese men

Here’s hoping tomorrow goes well....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Day 2-3 in China.

Last post was made from the airport and we got on the plane and arrived in China without incident. It was a 3 hour flight and I watched “Raising Helen” on yet another extremely comfortable and reclining airplane seat. When we landed we exited the plane onto the runway and that is always fun with wind and luggage on the steep steps but we made it ok. My first view of China was that it was very ordinary looking, I suppose it is communums but nothing is really all that different from the next thing and a lot of things look really old and tired. Customs was no problem and since I and the two people I’m traveling with are all taller then the general population it was easy for us to keep track of eachother. We were picked up by a driver who spoke zero English but it felt good to finally be getting somewhere where business could be done, not just endless travel.

We drove for about 3 hours and it was urban the entire way. China has more cranes and construction going on then anywhere I have ever seen. There are farms nooked in everywhere, either fish farms or veggie in greenhouses but they are literally inches away from a factory or an apartment, everything is all mixed together. Fortunately the road we were traveling on was great, better then a lot of American highways but the drivers were all a bit on the crazy side. I found out that the diving got worse when on the city streets and little things like solid white or yellow lines mean nothing to a good Chinese driver. I am more or less trusting that it is not my time to die because that is about how generally dangerous driving in this country is. Anyway, we arrived at the hotel and it is beautiful. It is totally modern and we are in club suites and that means that we didn’t even have to check in, we were taken directly to the 31st floor and offered drinks and snacks in the club lounge while they checked us in. My room is extremely nice and has all the comforts of home plus a nice robe and slippers. I havn’t spent too much time in it but it is 100 times better then the Japan hotel and atleast as nice as the nicest US place I’ve ever been. The supplier we are meeting here is American and the two people living here for a few months are living in the hotel. The main person we were here to see is living in the hotel with his wife, 3 year old and a 6month old and they have been here since January. We all went to dinner yesterday and he insisted on keeping us up until atleast 9:30 to get us over the jetlag. We talked business and general stuff and I finally got back to the room about 10 and then spent an hour on work.

This morning I got up and worked out, the gym was pretty crowded with other Americans, apparently this is a good business hotel. We left for the factory after breakfast and after a death defying ride there we spent about 7 hours going over processes etc. The Chinese, to keep costs down, do not heat their factories and the temp here today was about 35 degrees. After the -10 or so I’ve been living in I thought I would be fine but I never spend more then 5 min outside a day. Today my fingers were turning blue by the end but it was a very productive day. Tomorrow we go see another few facilities connected with this one project and we will be in Shanghai tomorrow night. Now I’m off to dinner, ironically we are going to a Japanese place but I like sushi so I don’t mind the irony....

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I am in Japan... by the time any of you read this I’ll be in China and unfortunately we are skipping the Korea section due to a little snafu in Japan.

It all started very well, we left ontime from MSP at 9:45am and business class is a very spoiling experience. Domestically the seats were not all that different, they were wider and had little table space in between. The real difference was the service level, they immediately had drinks and then a lunch and then a snack and this was all between MSP and Washington. The food was very good, I suppose when you only have to prep for 12 there is far less room for error. Transfer to the second flight was also easy, the Washington airport was done in a charming ode to early 80’s in green and purple but easy to navigate. The business class for international is great. We each had our own pod chair that was fully adjustable and didn’t actually go flat to sleep but you could really stretch out. The food was good again but they served dinner at 4pm, they were trying to get us all to go to sleep. The dessert was terrible, I know, I’m being very picky here, but it was a peach tart and it was absolutely frozen solid. The stewardess swore that is the way it was supposed to be served but I think someone forgot to put the microwave step in her instructions. I watched two movies, Stranger then Fiction and X-Men 3, both were good and I think Stranger the Fiction was very well done, it had a bunch of levels and a story within a story. I slept about 4 hours and missed the breakfast but we landed an hour early. I think the best part about business class is the lounge. It is a nice private area with internet, outlets that fit my laptop plug, and nice snacks and drinks. I had a cappuccino and talked to Lars for a while and then we left to go to our flight.

Things were still going well, we got seated first and dinner orders were taken... I sat next to a very nice guy who worked for Nike and we talked sneakers for a while. After about 10 min we noticed that we did not seem to be taking off and then we got the news that the flight was canceled due to weather. They shuffled us all off and nobody really had any information. According to our bodies it was 3am and the three of us were not really functioning clearly. We got sent to a shady Japanese hotel the had cement hard beds and there was no internet in the rooms. We didn’t have a p hone that worked in Japan and the Northwest desk was closed so we were freaking out a little and in a group of about 20 other Americans similarly freaking out. Finally we got our Company after hours travel company who got us reserved on a flight to china the next day. We paid almost 1200 dollars for tickets and we are skipping the Korea section but we actually got a good plan going today. We are all back in the lounge drinking coffee and waiting for the next flight. Next stop China, hopefully this was the only snafu...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snow part 2

So this is the back deck. I think it is about 3 feet, it is past my knees. Needless to say today is a snow day from work. I've got the laptop going but nobody is really doing anything since they are all home too. I leave for China tomorrow, I hear it is 55 degrees there, I'll post anytime there is good Internet, now I must go shovel the deck before it collapses.
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