Monday, March 30, 2009

On Top of the World!

Greetings again from Shanghai,

Last week I went to lunch with my American Women's Club friends on the 93rd Floor of the Park Hyatt Hotel at 100 Century Avenue, in Pudong.
CeCe is making some snide remark in the first photo and Denice snapped it but I decided to keep it anyway. In the second photo there is Denice (her back to the view - she's frightened by heights) Ali and Linda. The third photo is the view of The Pearl Tower with the Huangpu River below. There were three cruise ships in port last week. Shanghai is a major stop for the Asian cruises. The river reminds me of the Allegheny River after a Spring rain; muddy and fast flowing.
Linda and her husband are leaving us next week and I will certainly miss her. She has been here six months and has out shopped us all. She's having a "garage sale" next week because she cannot take all her "household goods" and her "Chinese treasures" back with her - only the treasures so those of us left behind will sift through her goods and determine what we cannot live without. We will then toast them next Monday evening at a restaurant here in Puxi. We have spent some great times with her at the Fabric Market, the Pearl Market, the Northern Market, the Commodity Markets and at coffees each month. I hope our paths will cross again.
This lunch turned out to be very nice. It was another sold out event and the restaurant imported all the food for the luncheon. Alaskan Salmon and Australian beef. I had the beef and it was great with very crispy french fries which, in my opinion, is the only way to eat them. No Heinz Ketchup here - it was home made - not my fav but what the heck - some places like to make their own - I'm a Pittsburgh Girl Pure Bred!
Then I promptly got bronchitis for the entire weekend.
We've got a huge April in store - lots of classes, and the Botanical Gardens (Springtime edition). All before I go home in 3 weeks. Hopefully, we can put an end to our living arrangements before this week is out. I hate having that hang over my head.
And I have some shopping to do before I go home. . .

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Grand Day for a Parade!

Greetings from Shanghai!

Well, what more can I say about March 14th? Read on. . . .

When Mike and I decided to move to Shanghai, I really thought we'd not be hanging out celebrating our wedding anniversary like we used to do. Boy, was I wrong. This year turned out to be one of the best yet.

Sure, we've been to New York for the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade which was chilly and very long but very exciting.

We've spent most of the last 30 years at the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade. Some years spent on the Boulevard of the Allies just down the street from Froggy Morris's place. Last year we spent St. Patrick's Day Parade with Kate in Market Square and fighting for a rest room at Wendy's on Fifth Avenue. Then onto a fabulous family dinner at Nora and Amy's with great friends and family. I love having dinner with that group!

So this year we were not expecting too much. Boy, was I wrong!

Last September we joined LeCheile, the Irish Community in Shanghai. We went to a fabulous Bar B Q at O'Malley's Irish Pub in September where Denice learned how to play the harmonica - move over Mr. Slaman.

As time went on, we realized that we just had to attend the St. Patrick's Day Ball - I mean, after all - it has been 30 years since our wedding in Beaver, PA and the reason we chose St. Patrick's Day was because; well, we didn't want to forget that day and beside we always wanted to share the day with friends and make it an important one for everyone.

So we volunteered to serve on The Committee for this year's Shanghai St. Patrick's Day parade. What an experience we had - so much fun. We met so many interesting people from all walks of life.

Mike was almost St. Patrick - yes, a promotion from The Pope to St. Patrick but alas; it was not to be. There was an Irish gentleman who showed up with a real beard and he looked quite remarkable - no crozier though. Mike ended up holding the Parade Banner at the beginning of the parade with Sandy and getting sunburned - he's still peeling! He doesn't care - it was great. He so enjoyed the entire experience. Who knew the sun would shine through the pollution this early in the year.

I was a Parade Marshall with a florescent green vest along the parade route but no one in the crowd listened to me anyway - they didn't speak English! And there were no police barricades. You see, there aren't many parades in Shanghai. The organizing committee had to secure clearance from the local governmental jurisdiction and well, there just aren't many parades here. The streets are so crowded with cars and bicycles and motorcycles that a parade just doesn't seem to work. BUT, the Irish never let a small thing like that deter them.

Denice and Elise - the little Italian and Belgium girls painted shamrocks and tri-colors on many many faces. Margaret, Tom and Linda came to lend their support and the parade stepped off. We even met a lovely Irish lass from Pittsburgh - Miss Caitlin who brought Mr. Donut donuts and I ate one for breakfast and they tasted just like the ones back home. SWEEEEEEEETTTTT!

We marched about 6 city blocks in the French Concession up a pedestrian street (sometimes - I have seen cars drive on that street) to a stage where they had an Irish Band flown in from Ireland - a very cute piper who piped the entire route - many Irish organizations - a group of Chinese "alumni" who had traveled to Ireland to attend school in many Irish universities - an Irish "football" league - a Chinese marching band - a Leprechaun, Chinese stilt walkers and clowns - two (2) GREEN Chinese dragons - the consul general of the Irish Republic - all told - about 750 planned marchers. But in the end - there were really many many people who marched in the parade and quite a few of them were Chinese. Why, people were hanging out the windows at Pizza Hut. A good time was had by all.

At the stage - the Irish Community's children performed for the throngs of people and they were absolutely adorable. There were young ladies with painted nails and green hair and green hats of many different shades.

The t-shirts went like hot cakes. The meat pies went like hot cakes. The Murphy's Stout went like water. The Murphy's girls were quite beautiful (just in case you want to know for future reference).

My most memorable experience was the Chinese river dancers. I could not believe how well they danced - their costumes were beautiful and well, the band flown in from Ireland was top notch.

Then we had to make a mad dash to The Blarney Stone with some Shama friends for lunch because God knew when we'd eat later that night at the Ball.

Then I had to run and get my hair washed and blown dry - it cost me about $6 - totally amazing.

Then Cinderella and her Prince Charming were off - read the next post.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Color Analysis vs. Psychological Analysis

Good afternoon everyone!

This is going to be a short entry but I wanted to share about today's Color Analysis Class.

CeCe, Denice and I went to the Community Center today for Florence's Color Analysis Class. It met for two hours and we met some lovely ladies there. A striking Asian beauty, a lovely Canadian, a beautiful Dutch girl and another American who I know from American Women's Club.

We all wanted to have someone tell us what Season we are. First, a little bit about Florence. She studied in Belgium and then came to Shanghai to take some classes here. She's worked for Italian Vogue and she knows her stuff. CeCe and I met her when she took us on the Commodity Market Tour a few weeks ago.

So, we started out learning about warm and cool colors. That progressed into Seasons and from there we talked about what colors look good on us.

I did find out that I'm a Summer. I'm Warm and I tend to wear teals and pinks. I also wear corals and that is from the Spring Season but hell, I'm going to wear them anyway.

If you know me, you know I wear lots of green too. It "used to be" my favorite color - I say "used to be" because it should NOT be in my color palette anymore because it is more Spring. "Hogwash", I say. I'm still going to wear green and coral and salmon as well. They look good on me and I like them.

I did find out I should wear more Purple and Blue so that means I need to go shopping again - darn it anyway - I've been embarrassing Mike way too much!

Hope you all have a great week. Tomorrow CeCe and I will run to the Fabric Market. I don't need anything and I'm not going to get anything else until I lose another 15 pounds. That means I'll be out with Annamae when I get to Lancaster. I need some sandals for summer and some shorts and some camis. Oh boy, maybe I do need my head examined? Or maybe not!

It's Strawberry Festival Time in Shanghai!

Good afternoon all,

I'm pleased to announce that I've been out to City Shop and picked up some beautiful strawberries this afternoon. This little box holds 15 strawberries and cost me about 13 RMB which equals about $1.85. Note that they also have a larger box but I didn't think we could eat the larger box.

They are picture-perfect and you can smell them just as soon as you take the plastic off.

I think I'll make some French Toast with strawberries, dusted with powdered sugar snow for breakfast tomorrow. I could stuff it with cream cheese. Kate sent me a wonderful recipe that she used for St. Patrick's Day Parade Breakfast.

Hope you all aren't too hungry!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lecture after Lecture . . .

Good afternoon all,

This week was an educational experience all its own.

Monday I had another jewelry class at the Community Center with CeCe.

Tuesday we went to a lecture at Gang Feng Wang's home. He lives in a typical apartment building a short drive west of Shama. Skip (CeCe's driver) took us and made sure we were in the right apartment block before he left us. He's the greatest!

Gang Feng Wang is a 53 year old man who grew up during the Liberation of China. He is a professional fashion photographer but his passion is photographing typical Chinese people in their own elements. He also provides commercial photography for many businesses and companies in Shanghai and China. He is absolutely brilliant and I will have to purchase some of his photographs to bring home. He did provide us with some post cards that I will bring home with me next month so if you plan on seeing me, please ask me to bring them along. They are amazing. His web page is Check out his work. Let me know if you'd like me to bring something home for you.
I have included a photograph of a beautiful "room furnace" that looked like cloisonne and was in the middle of the room at his lovely home. A photograph of Gang's father and my friend Cynthia. Mr. Wang was a delight. He's 85 years young and got all dressed up to meet us. He worked on a Chinese merchant freighter for years traveling the world and his English is quite good; he doesn't think so but it is very good. He loves to sing and serenaded us with a lovely song that brought tears to my eyes. He so reminded me of my own dad, whom I miss so very much.

Gang's wife, Coin Qian, is a lovely young woman who is a contemporary artist here in Shanghai. Her work is basically of Chinese women but I did see some other works in her home. Her web page is .
Needless to say, the Chinese have a wonderful way of welcoming you into their home. There were wonderful dumplings with pork and vegetables and some with chicken and vegetables. Very much like raviolis but different and very good. I ate mine with a fork but our friend, Julie ate hers with chopsticks because she's almost Chinese by now.

Morning with Betty Barr

Good afternoon everyone!

This morning I attended a lecture presented by Betty Barr, PhD. What a lovely lady who shared with us her enthusiasm for Chinese culture and stories about her life in Shanghai.

Betty is married to George Wang and together, they have written three books - Shanghai Boy, Shanghai Girl - Lives in parallel, Between Two Worlds Lessons in Shanghai and another book about the life of Margaret Wang, who was George's first British wife.
I've included two photos here - the first one is a photo of the Old China Hand Reading Room - the location of today's lecture. The second is of Betty addressing the women from the American Women's Club Shanghai who attended. Cookies and tea or coffee were served while Betty shared many stories about her childhood, her life as an expat here in Shanghai teaching English as a Second Language and her marriage to George Wang.

Denice and I attended this lecture and we were so glad we did. We enjoyed the time we spent with Diane Smith Walsh and meeting the others in attendance but Betty was the STAR! The Staff at the Reading Room ran out of Betty's books to sell so Denice and I walked to Taikang Lu to Deke's studio where there were more for sale. We both bought the first two, hoping we could get Betty to sign them but she had left after lunch and we'll have to get them signed soon.
These books hold the history of Shanghai and of three amazing individuals and their stories. I cannot wait to read them, get them signed by the authors and take them home for my Mother to read. I think they will be a highlight of my stay here in Shanghai.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Greetings from Shanghai!

Happy Daylight Savings Time!

Here in China we don't change time - it's always way too far ahead of the rest of you.

Today Mike and I went to Mass and then he came home and was a cranky person - he finished up the paperwork for our 2008 taxes.

I went out to the dry cleaners and I thought you'd be interested in what I saw today.

The first photo is the dental clinic close by. It has a huge tooth out front of the shop. I never see anyone in there and maybe that's a good thing. Today it looks like someone is standing there talking on their cell phone. Maybe they are calling for help. Who knows.
The second photo to your right is the area around the corner. A little old man sells little items here every single day. I tried to buy hair clips here a long time ago and he wanted me to pay a fortune for them. I moved along. He's got inserts for shoes, hair combs, pony-tail holders, panty hose and knee highs.
The next photo is of the little shop where you can get the scrunchies to use with your shower gel and scrubbies for your dishes in the kitchen. Haven't stopped by this shop. I have no clue what the prices are but there seems to be a brisk walk-in trade.
The last photo is the Elephant dry cleaners. You buy a card for 1,000 RMB and take it with you. They give you a 60% or so discount on your dry cleaning and they use the money on the card each week. The information on the card tells them where you live so they can deliver it to you. If we take it to them on Sunday, we usually get it back on Thursday. This week they will deliver it on Wednesday - or cheeng shi san. See, I am leaning something.
I have to cancel the Chinese lesson this week. Mike is leaving Shanghai on Tuesday afternoon for an audit trip to Suzhou. Needless to say, this will be the first time I've been alone in this apartment - alone overnight in Asia period. I'm not liking it but I know Denice and CeCe are upstairs so what can go wrong? He'll be back on Thursday. I'll be so busy during the day that I probably won't even think about it.
Monday I'm going to the Shanghai Expat Association Coffee and a jewelry class - making a bracelet tomorrow.
Tuesday I'm managing the Spencer Dodington walking tour of Yu Yuan. I don't know if it is the gardens or just the tourist trap or even just the area. It is supposed to be a beautiful day so that is good - CeCe and I already took a walk in the rain and it wasn't fun. CeCe and I really like this area and there are lots of shops there. I need to take a curling iron back that I bought last week. I wanted a big fat one and the guy handed me the box and like an idiot, I never looked inside. It turned out to be a wee little skinny one so I was pretty angry once we got back in Skip's van. I paid 45 RMB for it - about $6.25 so I really want to get the right one.
Wednesday we're going to the Fabric Market. I'm the guinea pig this week. Right inside the door is a cotton knit stall and I've been wanting to get some twinsets made so this week I'll pick up two - a black one and a green one. I'll let you know how they look later in the week.
Wednesday night I have a meeting at the Irish Consulate - final plans for the remainder of Irish Week AND the HUGE St. Patrick's Day Parade that will happen this Saturday. You do know that it's the BIGGEST one in China! Just mentioning that the Parade in Pittsburgh is the 2nd largest in the US. I cannot believe we won't be there this year. The first year we haven't been there with Kate. She'll stand in for us though and she's already planning to be at Finnegan's Wake after the parade. Can't wait for photos. I'll share mine next week with you.
I'll be writing another blog shortly about the Opening of Irish Week here in Shanghai. Mike and I belong to LeCheile - the Irish organization here and we spent Saturday afternoon preparing finger food for an art gallery event and the event at the Times Square Mall with the Irish Consular General and the Luwan governor. Stay tuned for those interesting photos. As a tease, I now know where Kate gets her skill at catering - her DAD! He made a great cheese platter - don't miss the photos - eat your heart out Eric!