Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's Christmas Time...

Matt and I ordered ourselves a proper tree this year, but seeing as we've only been married a few years and don't have any finger-paintin' young-ins to bring home sticky, hand-made ornaments yet, I got crafty tonight and started to make some of my own. This is what I've come up with so far:

I've still got my work cut out for me in order to get our tree looking full and dazzling, but so far so good. Feel free to stop by and join in the festivities if you're in the neighborhood. I'd be more than happy to lend you a pair of scissors...

Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to Matt!

Happy 27th Birthday to the best husband in the world!*

*Sorry I only gave you socks and books for your birthday.

Rain, Rain...please stay!

The highways and byways are littered with accidents this morning because it's sprinkling outside right now. My local NPR lady just mentioned that there is a flash-flood warning for some areas in SD County, because we could get up to 1/2 an inch of rain throughout the day. Half an inch!!! Crikey! I better find myself a canoe!

I know it's probably a legitimate claim, seeing as we only get like 4 inches of rain or something in SD the whole year, but Geez Louise, people--Quit panicking and have yourself a proper thunderstorm now and then. What I wouldn't give for a little lightening right now...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Potty Mouth

A client walked up to me at the front desk today and quietly informed me that there was no more toilet paper in the bathroom.

"Oh, no!", I exclaimed loudly. And without thinking, added, "Was everything ok? Did you have enough to get by?"

As if she was really gonna answer that question. What is wrong with me? Somedays I can't believe Matt lets me out of the house...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I turn 1 million years old. Yippeee!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Magic Box

After two weeks of it sitting idly in the corner of our bedroom, on a whim, I sat down in front of our destitute, brain-dead computer and gave its little power button a tap, and VOILA!...It came alive! So folks, although it's quite possibly short-lived, our sweet little Dell is back in action--and I didn't even have to stick it in the freezer. It truly is a Thanksgiving miracle.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Matt and I are sitting at the SD airport as I write this, waiting for our flight to St Louis (via Minneapolis, of all places). Northwest Airlines is on my hit-list these days, so I hope make it through this flight without blowing a gasket. If I'm feeling inspired, I'll share my NWA experiences of late with you sometime. Frankly, if they don't cooperate with my demands, I'm going to threaten to smote them publicly on my blog. Ok, I need to stop. I can feel my blood-pressure rising.

In other news, I'm going to eat 25 pieces of pie tonight at the annual Kirkland Pie Night festivities. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Friendly Men

While I was walking home from the bus stop tonight a man stopped me on the street corner and asked,

"Do you like steak?"

to which I promptly answered, "No, I'm a vegetarian," and skedaddled out of there. (I should mention that it was a dark and gloomy street corner and the man was scary-looking. Had it been a bright, sunny afternoon, I might be inclined to dig deeper into his line of questioning, being the curious soul that I am.) I was lying, of course, as I tend to be an "every-other-day" kind of vegetarian and today was definitely my day off, but I didn't care. Earlier in the day, a different man on a different, but equally scary, street corner asked if I'd go have coffee with him, to which I truthfully replied "No, I'm married" and briskly walked away. I figure a truth can negate a lie, right? Surely a little truthiness never hurt anyone.

But I've digressed. My point in recording this pointless story was to say that perhaps the aforementioned "steak man" was speaking in code and had I been the agent he was seeking, I would have responded in return with my code-answer something such as,

"Only on Tuesdays if the moon is blue."

But clearly I wasn't the secret agent he was looking for. Hope he doesn't have to stand out on that chilly street corner for too long before the correct 007 strolls by.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ringside with the Cobra

Tonight I bought a Cobra Lily plant at the grocery store. Matt says if I ever become a lady wrestler I should adopt that as my stage name. Awesome.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm sorry for your loss.

That's what the friendly Pakistani tech-support guy said about my hard drive last night. I mean, shoot, we were close - but that's a pretty intense consolation for the loss of a machine.

Matt here, folks, posting in Erika's stead for the day. We're having a little hard drive trouble on the home computer (and by trouble I mean its death, and our denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Erika says to let you know her posting will be slim until we get this resolved.

Anybody know a good computer mortuary?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

In honor of last week's crazy events, for Halloween this year I'm dressing as the scariest thing I (well, it was actually Matt's idea) could think of:


For those of you hiding in a cave last week, the Witch Fire was the largest and most ferocious of the Southern California fires that burned through the area. I sewed on my shirt "10% contained." I hope I don't get rotten tomatoes thrown at me today.

Here are a couple of my co-workers dressed in their Halloween garb:

Road-Kill Raccon (Misty) and Slash (Ashley)

What did you all dress up as this year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We spent the evening at Jamie's house (Matt's new biz partner's girlfriend) with our eyes peeled to the TV. Her family was awaiting evacuation orders and we were there for moral support and stuff transport, should the need arise. So far they are fine and still at home, but every phone call makes them nervous as the Sheriff's Dept. is making "reverse 911" calls to households immediately affected by the blazes.

Just a mile or so down the road, we stopped and snapped a few pictures at the local Target parking lot. There are hundreds of people, cars, RVs, dogs, and horses stationed there and at the baseball diamond just behind the building. We passed a couple of pick-up trucks blaring fire-themed country music which helped to set the mood. Everyone was just walking around in a daze with their eyes towards the hills, staring at the approaching fire. It's mesmerizing. And huge. We took the above photos and though it's a little hard to see exactly what's going on, there are flames just pouring down the hills in the background. Y0u have to see it to believe it.

But as I've mentioned several times already, Matt and I are fine. Our neighborhood is in no danger at present, and unlikely to be so anytime soon.

Some Stats

Peggy Peattie/San Diego Union-Tribune/ZUMA Press

In the San Diego Area:

500,000 people have been evacuated
241,000 acres of land have burned
1,250 homes have been destroyed
Of the 4 main fires, 3 are less than 10% contained



It was a little unnerving last night trying to fall asleep knowing full-well that fires burning just outside the city were creeping inwards. The Santa Ana winds have been completely erratic, reaching hurricane speed winds at times. This makes the fires relatively unpredictable in turn.

The salon is closed today, as all SD residents have been asked to stay home (those that still have a home and/or haven't been evacuated to safer ground), stay off the highways, conserve energy and not use their cellphones. Yes, sir. I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that if they make us all stay home today, we'll all decide it's a good time to get some laundry done, sending the last drops of the already tight water resources down the drain, and then we'll all be screwed.

We really will all have to dive into the ocean then. And there aren't shark nets on SD beaches. Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself here. I think it might be time for me to conserve energy and climb back into bed. I'll let you know if I start on fire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fires Still Raging

Photo from SignOnSanDiego.com

OK, folks, this is getting serious. Today's my day off and I've spent the whole morning with my face glued to google maps and my ears glued to the local public radio station. There are fires to the north, south and east of SD and most are less than 10% contained. That pretty much just leaves the ocean for an escape route and the flames are expected to reach the coastline before too long. Anyone got a spare boat they could stick in the mail for me? The winds are only expected to worsen over the next 24 hours. It's nuts. Totally nuts. If you try to call, I probably won't answer. Officials are asking people to reduce cell phone usage. Matt and I are completely safe, though. No worries about it reaching our neighborhood.

San Diego on Fire

Photo of the 2003 San Diego blazes

More than half a dozen fires are blazing on the outskirts of San Diego right now. The hot, dry Santa Ana winds blew in a couple of days ago and brought with it FIRE! Apparently wild fires are rather common this time of year and as SD is in a drought (and has been for some time) it's ripe for a natural disaster. More than 250,000 residents have already been evacuated and many of the schools and universities are closed today because of air quality. The skies are smoky and anywhere you drive in the city, it smells like you've got a campfire in the trunk. It's nuts.

You can find more information here.

My neighborhood is quite safe from the fires, but on the off chance that things get out of hand, I'll jump in the pool.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Working full-time is sure cramping my crabby style. And it's not for a lack of stories that's keeping me from blogging, but rather the exhaustion! I'm just dog-gone tired by the time I get home every night. So lame, I know.

I think I might have to start a regular feature about all the little adventures I have on the bus. Matt and I are trying our darndest (and so far, so good) to live in the suburbs, own only 1 car, and even then rarely use it. I'm intimately learning the finer points of the SD transit system. Well, at least the route I take to get to work. And the people that ride the bus are ALWAYS fascinating. It's like getting to peek in on a really bizarre and exciting sociology experiment. I mean that in the best possible way. Yesterday an older guy started to chat with me at the bus stop and then when the bus arrived, insisted I sit near him. I generally like people and am always curious to hear their stories, so I obliged. Amid the friendly chit-chat he revealed that he originally came to Southern California in 1979 to get on a game show. He never got his 15 minutes of fame, but ended up relocating to SD permanently. He doesn't own a car, he likes to work out before eating dinner, and on and on. It's amazing what people will tell you if you just give them a listening ear. Last week two Morman evangelists became the unsuspecting victims of a homeless guy who went into a tirade regarding his own opinions about religion. My favorite bit was his theory that as global warming increased, God would slowly change days to include 25 hours a day, rather than only 24. Fascinating stuff. The bus is certain to be fodder for some interesting experiences.

And there's more...I want to tell you all about our family vacation to Santa Barbara, where we spent every day in the ocean and saw dolphins swimming just a mere 20 feet away from us (they are robots, of course, but that's beside the point). Last week I was in Kansas for my friend Jane's wedding and I had a fabulous time doing the flowers--My best work yet. And I've got lots of pictures from our apartment and neighborhood to share with you all. Oh, and yesterday I got my second haircut since starting my job and it's kind of awesome, but kind of terrible.

So much to tell, so much exhaustion. I miss you all.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All Aboard

There's something strangely satisfying about being the last person to board a plane. Everyone is waiting on YOU and they won't take off until YOU have your seatbelt safely clicked into place. It's rather liberating. On my most recent trip to Kansas, I was actually the second-to-last person on board but the guy behind me was so drunk he almost didn't count. He stumbled on, rather than boarded, the plane. I heard him mumble something about this being "his first time on this sh*t." I took that to mean he was a first time flyer. That might explain the wobbly foot work and the empty Bud Light clutched in his sweaty grip. Shortly after finding his way to his seat, he was promptly escorted off the plane. I heard a few cheers coming from the back, which must've come from his seatmates. Guess you're supposed to wait until the flight begins before you get completely smashed. He was probably just relieved to have his first flight postponed a little while longer.

Speaking of flights and booted passengers, a couple of weeks ago I got a letter in the mail from a private investigator looking for some details regarding an incident that occurred on board a flight to Hong Kong last spring. Apparently I was a witness and the DA in Anchorage, Alaska has a few questions to ask me. I'm hoping for an all expenses paid subpoena to Anchorage to come out of of this. I hear Alaska is lovely in the winter. Although perhaps I just ruined my chances by discussing this matter in public on my blog. We'll see...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Vacation and More

I spent the last 5 days in Santa Barbara, CA holed up in a cozy bunker on the beach with my mom, sisters, brother-in-laws, and all 5 grandkids (including the little one in my sister's tummy). Now I'm in Dallas at my oldest sister's house and tonight I fly to Lawrence to do the flowers for my lovely friend Jane's wedding this weekend. I've got some beautiful photos from my adventures thus far. I can't promise much this week, as I'll be knee deep in flower blossoms. I return to San Diego on Sunday. To all my lovely Lawrence friends, I won't have much time to goof-off, but give me a call and I'll find time to squeeze in some catch-up time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My new hair-howdy-do. It's nothing drastic, but certainly the first time I've ever colored my hair.
It's kinda hard to see in the photos, but there are some blond-ish streaks up front. Still not sure I'm keen on this whole coloring business. I'm kind of low maintenance when it comes to my hair. Baby steps for me, I guess. I'm slowly working my way up to a spiky, black mohawk. Any suggestions for what I should do next?

Before, in case you for got what I looked like or if you are an internet crazy and don't know what I look like in real life
(If this were a proper "before" photo, I would be frowning)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Day of Rest

Awwww....Sweet, sweet Sunday. It's here at last.

After being "on" everyday this week, I am ready for a day of rest. Lip gloss? Check. Ridiculously thick mascara? Check. Perfectly tousled, yet free of fly-a-ways hair? Check. Hip and trendy outfit consisting of black, red, and white which perfectly reflects the hip and trendy black, red, and white decor of the salon? Check. Deodorant? Uh Oh...

That's a pretty accurate look into my first week of work. But don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of it. I LOVE my new job. It feels good to be working full-time again. It's been over 2 years since I've had a "9-5" job and I like it. I'm worn out, that's for sure, though. It's hard work looking good. As my new boss reminded me several times this week, I'm in an image-driven business and it's (literally) my job to look good. Yikes! Thankfully the job comes complete with a staff of super talented stylists and make-up artists at my disposal, but it still feels a little overwhelming.

My actual position is "Salon Coordinator"--it's a big responsibility and I know it's a position I'll grow into. The salon is relatively new and in a season of transition. It will be my job to guide it through this phase and develop a strategy to ensure success in the next. Oh, and answer the phone. I'm 1/2 receptionist, 1/4 head of HR, 1/4 marketing director. At least that's how my boss sees it, I think. Regardless, it's bound to be a fire-cracker of a job, and I'm really excited. And did I mention I get free hair services? Oh, it's too good to be true...

Pics to follow...Need to find the camera cord.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Quick Hello

I forgot that having a job keeps you busy.

I'm desperate to update you guys, but exhaustion is taking over. No more frivolous days lounging by the pool and basking in the San Diego sunshine. All my creative brain-power that formerly went into crafting mischievous blog posts is now funneled into my new job in the form of the peppy secretary. I worked a 12 hour shift today. Must sleep. I have a new hair-do. I love my new job. And I miss you all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's Mine, all Mine!

I got the JOB! Details to follow...

PS It's likely it will involve a make-over morph.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Tilted Tulip

I'm been a busy little bee the last week or so and just posted a new batch of jewelry to my etsy site. Take a look and shop to your heart's content!

Job Story

The salon got in touch with me yesterday and asked me to come in for a couple of hours tomorrow to "hang out" (code for finding out whether or not I'm salon material, I think). I think that's a good sign. I guess it means I have one foot in the door and as long as I my other foot doesn't stumble and lag behind, I think I might get the job. That would be lovely, dear readers, simply lovely. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Some Serious Signage

This past Saturday, Matt and I spent the afternoon traipsing around our new neighborhood exploring it's hidden delights. Over the past few weeks we've noticed this city has an over-abundance of classic, old signs, in various stages of deterioration. We couldn't let another day go by without capturing some of them on film (uhm...digital film, that is). Most of these were taken on El Cajon Blvd, a street that begins out where we live in the 'burbs and meanders all the way to downtown. If the fancy strikes you, you can peruse our findings on Matt's flickr site. Enjoy!

Definitely my favorite sign of the day. Is one elf ruining the cloth and the other one patching it up? Any theories?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pass the Cheese, Please

Notice anything unusual in this picture?

I just found a bag of shredded cheese tucked neatly in between some books on the bookcase. I can confirm that the bag has been there at least three days. If only I could peg this one on my husband...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hair Raising, part II

Just got back from the salon and everything went great! My friendly interviewer and I really hit it off and he seemed very interested. I'll try not to get my hopes up too high, but I definitely LOVED the vibe of the place and am VERY interested in working there. I'll know by Monday afternoon. For those of you praying folks out there, thanks for any you might have offered up. I appreciate every single one.

And to those of my readers who cast their ballot in the clothing vote, I am grateful to you all. I went with my gut and wore neither outfit. I warned you that might happen. In the end I opted for something light and breezy, as it's still a million degrees in my car and the blouse (being white) is much more resistant to cat hair than the rest of my wardrobe (which is primarily black).

Here's what I wore:

The shirt is a favorite HK purchase of mine and has nice little button detailing down the front. And for all female readers wondering about my hair, I wore it very straight and simple, parted down the middle (channeling my mother's look from her younger days).

Thanks again for all the feedback. You guys are great!

PS Rumor has it my sister-in-law's husband's aunt was none-too pleased that I went nearly 2 weeks without posting. I'm very sorry about that and I'll try not to let it happen again unless I have a very, very good reason. Like if there's a nuclear disaster. Or if MTV develops a 24-hour pageant channel. Or if I give birth to kittens. Gotta keep the fans happy!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hair Raising

I have an interview at a hair salon tomorrow. It's a hip, little shop not too far from where I live, and they are looking for a salon director (fancy term for front desk person). The job post specifically mentioned they were looking for someone with "an overly enthusiastic personality." Pretty sure I fit the bill. Especially if you get me started talking about pageants, lottery tickets, Mexican radio stations, or vacuuming. (Have I failed to mention that I ADORE vacuuming? Yeah, I know. I'm a glutton for punishment.) If I know what's good for me, I'll probably keep my mouth shut about the aforementioned topics. Honestly, I really want the job and I think I'd be great at it. I just don't want to come across as desperate. Any tips?

You'd think I'd be preoccupied with what they might ask me and how I should answer, but frankly, all I can think about is how I'm going to do my hair. I had a non-interview interview at a different salon last week for a similar position, and it was disastrous. San Diego was in the midst of a record-setting heat wave and I had to tackle 45 minutes of highway driving (I'm breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it), in a car that only spits out ample air-conditioning during the evening hours when it's chilly outside, in order to get there. I was a right mess upon arrival. Rumpled and frizzy, enough said. They never called back. It's a lot of pressure interviewing at a hair salon.

So I really want things tomorrow to go well. The entire contents of my closet are strewn about the house as I type, since I tried on everything I own and paraded around in front of my husband hoping to glean some wisdom from his discerning eyes. What do you wear to an interview at a place where you know the interviewer is going to be fabulously but casually dressed, and you, the interviewee know you need to look hip and dressed to kill, while striking the fine balance between underdressed and overdressed. Am I rambling...?

I took some photos to show you all the two options I'm deciding between, but I'm not sure if I want to post them. After seeing them full-size on the monitor, I really just wanted to scream "WHOSE IDEA WAS IT TO FEED ME ALL THOSE TACOS?!??!! *%*&@%!!!"

Yes, this was my dinner tonight.
Don't let the lettuce fool you.
It's hiding all the delicious lard lurking beneath.

Ok. I need to relax. Upon my better judgement, I'm posting them anyway. I say the camera doesn't give the outfits full justice (and isn't there something about the camera adding 10 pounds?), but I'll let you fine folks do the choosing. You have until Thursday, 11am [Central Time] to cast your vote. And don't get upset when I completely disregard you opinion and panic moments before I'm supposed to leave and change into something entirely different.

Option A
Dressy, but not too dressy?
Do I look like I'm trying to hard?

Option B
Matt prefers it without the belt.
I think he's right about that.
He is a designer, afterall.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


It's time to break my silence. I'm afraid I've been in a serious slump the last two weeks. It all came to a head this past Thursday when I was sitting at home on the couch for like the millionth day in a row, having finished my daily scour of the internet for plausible jobs in San Diego and coming up nearly empty handed again, watching old episodes of Desperate Housewives (and feeling like one), when I realized that the waves of self-pity that kept pouring over me were liable to take me under once and for all if I didn't do something about it.

Ok, so that's a bit dramatic. Really I've just been bored silly that last few weeks, lacking all motivation to do anything with myself besides feebly search the internet every few hours for a job that might pull me out of this slump. And why don't I explore this amazing new city I just moved to, you might ask? Well, I've got lots of excuses (all of them lame, I promise), but it really just boils down to laziness. I'm plumb lazy.

Anywho, I've finally got up the gusto to write a post again which means I'm definitely on the up and out. Oh, and since last Thursday, I've had a proper case of the craft-bug, so I've been making all sorts of fun things in the past few days. If I don't have a job right now, I might as well pull my weight by selling some things online. At least I have a fun way to occupy myself right now.

It's also high-time to finish writing up our adventures during our move to San Diego before you all forget we ever didn't live here. Ok, that's it. I promise not to waste my life away anymore. Thanks for listening and understanding. Oh, and if you know of any job openings in this corner of the world, I'd appreciate the heads up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Delicious Breeze

Hong Kong smelled like dried seafood. San Diego smells like burritos. Oh, its heavenly.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bumbling Idiot

What's left of my sunglasses

It would be quite fair to say that I didn't wake up on the clever side of bed yesterday. I successfully shrunk some of my husband's t-shirts (guess I'm still re-learning how to use a dryer), nearly mooned a batch of shirtless boys in the car next to mine at the car wash when I accidentally vacuumed up my skirt with the industrial-powered hose (twice), felt hood-winked when I put a $20 in the change machine and got a pile of fake-looking $1 gold coins with Mr. Washington's face on them in return (how was I supposed to know they came out with new money while I was out of the country?), sat on my new sunglasses (there's a reason I refuse to buy expensive eyewear), and perhaps my most glowing achievement of the day, got stung by a bee.

$1 George Washington coins

Can any of you, my lovely readers, even remember the last time you got stung by a bee? I feel old admitting it, but it's been easily 15 years since I last experienced the excruciating pain brought on by a feisty, angry bee. This bee nearly became my lunch. It stung me less than an inch below my lip, after successfully dive-bombing Matt and I as we stood near our car during his lunch break. Maybe it was one of those sad little bees that can't make its way back to the mother hive and it took out its fury on me. Regardless, it was one angry little bee.

Honestly, once I got over the pain (which was surprisingly intense), it didn't seem like such a big deal. There wasn't much swelling and the pain eventually subsided. It kind of just felt like I'd been to the dentist and was recovering from a shot of numbing Novocain.

I woke up 4am this morning (I think because my husband was giggling in his sleep) to discover that my face had swollen considerably during the night and, except for the part near the sting that was itching like mad, I could no longer feel the lower half of the right side of my face. I (groggily) panicked, went straight to the kitchen pantry and mixed up a hearty slop of baking soda and water, and turned on the computer to consult Dr Google. Was this normal? Would I have to rush to a Mexican hospital in the middle of the night to go to the emergency room? (It's a long story, but in a funny turn of events, Matt and I have full health insurance coverage for every country in the world except for the USA--we think it might be a blessing in disguise that we just moved to a city within 20 minutes from the Mexican border.) Would my face stay like this forever?!?

No, of course not. I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days. Apparently bee stings swell the most around the eye and mouth area, and when stung, the stingee should immediately brush the stinger off the skin to ensure minimal swelling. Had I known this I would've done so, but I just stared crazily at the stinger protruding from my chin for about 45 seconds or so before making Matt pull it out. So I'm stuck like this for a few days (or until, according to Dr Google, my body develops the antigens to fight the bee venom). Hopefully I won't get called in for a job interview in the next few days.

I feel quite justified knowing my feisty little friend is dead now.


The first pie I've made since returning to the world of full-sized ovens.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lengthy Travels: Part One

United Airline's Coach Class Breakfast

I'm officially back-online with no more excuses to keep me from blogging. Sorry for the long delay. What a whirlwind few weeks we’ve had since landing on American soil. I find it ironic that (it feels as though) I’ve seen more of the USA in the last three weeks upon our return to the homeland than I have in my whole life.

We arrived in San Francisco on July 22 at 9:30am, (which I only mention because we left Hong Kong at 11:30 am on that same day, two hours before we landed—gotta love that sneaky time difference), bleary-eyed and full of anticipation and excitement. We’d spent that last 12 hours on the plane with our 4 eyeballs glued to a shared copy of the seventh installment of Harry Potter, devouring it page by page. Every 4-5 aisles of the plane there was someone reading the book. One of the flight attendants begged us not to reveal anything about it, as he had yet to make it to a bookstore to pick up his own copy. Every time we stopped reading to take a bathroom break or eat a meal, we considered letting slip ridiculously false tidbits as we made our way down the aisle past eager readers. “Can you believe Hermione’s pregnant with Grawp’s baby?!” or “What was JK thinking letting them BBQ a house elf at the Quidditch Championship after party?!”, etc. were just a few of the options we considered. We'd pondered waiting to read the book until we started our cross-country drive from Kansas to San Diego, but the thought of putting ourselves on a complete media black-out until we’d had a chance to read the book seemed too daunting a prospect. Overall the plane ride was completely uneventful. It's such a short (relatively) trip when you land in California instead of Chicago or Detroit.

Quincy and his adoring fans at the HK Airport

After retrieving our beloved Quincy cat from the bowels of the airplane, and getting him through customs (which was so astonishingly low-key I think an elephant could pirouette past the customs officials and they’d barely bat an eye), we re-checked Quincy for the next flight and sat down at our gate to take in the American-ness of everything around us.

To be continued...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Home Again

Matt and I made it to San Diego...finally! We moved in to our new apartment a couple of days ago and I have lots to tell about our trip, but as we don't have internet access yet, I'm at the mercy of my web-designing husband (who happens to be SO excited about being self-employed, he's all into his new gig and VERY reluctant to cede the computer to his eager wife). So, folks, SOON I will fill you in on the adventures of the last few weeks. I promise.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spoiled Rotten

I think I've spoiled you all over the last couple weeks. Who knew there would come a day when I would post 2 items in 1 day! Well, don't get used to it. Just wanted to let you know that Matt and I (and Quincy!) made it safely to San Diego earlier this week. We'll be on the road over the next couple of weeks, which means this blog could get a little sparse. I've got some great highlights from our flight to the USA, but until I can manage to wrangle the camera, the camera cord, the computer, and some internet access altogether in one room at the same time, you'll just have to sit tight. (Harder than it sounds considering the atrocious state of our suitcases these days.) Keep re-reading HK's Top Ten over and over again to keep yourself occupied until then.

#1: Friends

By far the best thing about our year in Hong Kong is all the wonderful friends we've made. Thanks to everyone for taking a chance on us and helping us to feel so welcome. We miss you all so much!

Mike and Helen

Helen and Michelle

A few people from the Care Group
(a handful of husbands and wives are missing)


Ellie and Lin

Baby Elias
(Sadly, I'm lacking a photo of his parents, Dustin and Nikki)

Kelly and Malcolm
(They welcomed us to Asia--sorry this was the only picture I could find of you guys!)

(who is quite possibly a distant cousin, as her and my grandma share last names)

I've posted lots of pictures, but I'm missing some key people. You know who you are! (Lack of pictures doesn't equal lack of missing you.) Keep in touch!

Monday, July 23, 2007

#2: Sham Shui Po

Fabric District

Hong Kong is made up of many smaller districts. And each district has it’s specialities. For example, our neighborhood contained the restaurant supply shops and the professional salon supply stores. Quite nice for a girl who is fond of high-end shampoo at wholesale prices.

Piles of wonderful ribbon!

Fabric Swatches

Sham Shui Po is by far my most favorite district in the whole city. It’s a crafters paradise. Many of the factories in Southern China keep a small shop in this district, allowing designers, product managers, sourcing people, etc. access to samples of what these factories produce. You’ll find a few blocks designated for buttons, zippers, and clasps, another area with beads, charms, and semi-precious stones, and on and on. My favorite area in Sham Shui Po is set aside for fabric and ribbon. The selection is incredible!!! And most shops will sell you a few pieces (samples) of each item that strikes your fancy. Ultimately, these shops hope to reach designers and the like, not just craft-fiends like myself, but they usually can’t tell the difference.

I was very excited to discover that my friend Michelle had the same love for SSP that I did. A couple of weeks ago we hit the shops together and it was great fun!

Michelle trying to decide which fabric she likes best

She decided!
(And already made me a beautiful bag from it!)

I love places that bring out the craft monster inside of me. As I exit the MTR and begin to walk around the SSP district, I get the most unbelievable creative surge and immediately want to buy everything, go into hiding, and make stuff! Lots of stuff! So, I made sure to stock up on all my favorite bits and bobbins before packing up and leaving town. And I can guarantee upon my next trip to Hong Kong, I'll be bringing an extra suitcase to fill with lovely goodies!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

#3: Street Markets

Overlooking a local market on Fa Yuen Street

I love to shop. I love a bargain. And I do a special little dance when those two loves collide. HK certainly offers the best of both worlds! This city is rampant with street markets, each with it's own unique bargains calling out my name. The one nearest (to my house) and dearest (to my wallet) is Temple Street Night market, just a few blocks down the street. It's a tourist-magnet, but I don't really mind. Sometimes it a real pleasure to mingle with other foreigners and I always get a kick out of watching them bargain for whatever small treasure they have their heart set on buying.

Cheap Stuff

More cheap stuff

The Ladies' Market in Mong Kok is another favorite tourist spot, selling lots of designer knock-off purses, over-priced Rolex wanna-bes, and tons of other useless trinkets. The "shop keepers" in each stall are especially zealous and are very talented at over-charging for their cheaply made goods. If you're feeling brave, the best knock-off stalls will have someone designated to lead you down a dark alley and up several flights of dingy staircases to a purse paradise--usually an apartment off the beaten path lined with shelves and tables full of more genuine looking knock-offs. You're almost always worth much more to them alive and eager to buy purses than mugged and drawing attention to their secret purse-lair, so there's not much danger in it. Oh, except for those Communist police patrolling the area. You need to keep a keen eye out for them. It's taken me awhile to really hone my bargaining technique, but I think I've gotten to the point that I can haggle with the best of them. It felt a bit awkward at first, especially when I would find myself negotiating the price difference of only a dollar or two, but once I came to understand that's its just a game (and to not take part makes you a party-pooper or a complete sucker), I learned to enjoy it.

Chinese Charms

Kittens, Anyone?

In the last year I've really had a good chance to scour the city for the best bargains and I know if I'm being overcharged or not. The best street markets to hit up are those that are primarily frequented by the locals. You always get the best deals, and the starting bids tend to be much lower than at the markets which are notorious tourist hot-spots. At the end of the day, the shopper is happy because they scored a great deal, and the hawker is happy because they just conned you into buying some cheap, Chinese crap. All's well that ends well. (I feel like I should end that with an Amen.)

Statues of Mao at an "antiques" market