Saturday, January 04, 2014


So I can't decide what I want to do with this blog.  I've taken a billion pics with the thought that I was going to post about them... but I haven't.  I think my negative China attitude has something to do with it, and maybe I'm experiencing a form of writer's block.
But maybe it's time to try something new.  I've been inspired by the 365 grateful project.  I probably won't post everyday, but I will try to find something to be happy/grateful/inspired every day.

This is a horribly blurry picture, but I am grateful for the love between Babes and her Honeydog.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Lame Duck

I've been feeling a little bleh about my blog lately.  It's not that I haven't had ideas to write about, I've taken tons of pictures of interesting things with an idea to blog about them, but....  I don't know.  I just haven't wanted to write.  Part of the problem is that the weather has turned cooler and also grayer.  I think another problem is that we got our next assignment.  (USA 2014 BABY!) The Foreign Service lifestyle is good and bad.  I have many expat friends and it seems that knowing a year out approximately when you are going to leave, and where you are going is a rarity.  In some ways it's awesome to know that they are not going to tell me to be out of China by the end of the month (or in 2 weeks as I have heard happening).  It is also awesome to be able to plan for tricky assignments; read up on schools, figure out what we should take, do some seasonal shopping, etc.  
On the other hand, I KNOW that a year from now I am going to be in Washington DC (well, maybe).  So Wuhan no longer holds a great deal of attraction.  It's like having senioritis, but it happens every two years.  I could make new friends, but I'm leaving in a year, I could go explore a new part of the city, but I'm leaving in a year....  See how that could become a problem?  It also tends to make me negative about the place I'm living.  Ew, I'm glad I'm leaving, look how they.....  
This kind of thinking is a trap.  If you do this, especially in the foreign service on a two year rotation, you never end up liking where you are, but are always looking forward/back.  It is very important to live in the here and now, and not focus on where you were 6 months ago, or where you want to be 6 months from now.  
One of the reasons why I write this blog is to help me remember to keep an eye out for new experiences. This lifestyle is a gift, and I should try to keep my sense of wonder about the world around me.  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Walking in Wuhan

I saw this at Wuhan International Plaza.  I think it was a new shop, offering fur (or fake fur, I didn't go up to feel) for ladies and their pooches.  Babes got a huge kick out of the display and wanted to get a cloak for Honeydog, but, as I pointed out, Honey already has fur (plus the shop looked REALLY expensive).

I don't think they were too pleased about me taking pictures, but they were too afraid to come talk to the foreigner.... Yay for me!

Monday, October 07, 2013

The Wuhan Botanical Gardens

Last week Babes was out of school for the National Holidays.  I was pretty excited I had a whole week with my cutie patootie, all by ourselves (not only was it a holiday, but DH was out of town)!  I had plans to be girlie, but first we set out for exploring.  I've been wanting to go to the Botanical Gardens for awhile now, Babes loves flowers and it seemed like just the place for her.  After checking on my trusty Google Maps, I decided NOT to take the bus (2 1/2 hours!  YIKES) and decided to drive myself (24 minutes!). Well, let's just say that between construction and non-existent roads it took us 3 hours to get there.  Babes was great, she was pretty patient, only pulling out her old lady of endless suffering routine once or twice.  What was so endlessly frustrating is that we were really RIGHT THERE, circling around it for over an hour!  A left instead of a right and we could have saved ourselves so much pain.  But that's neither here nor there.

The gardens are stunning!  We were unfortunately not in the right season for a lot of flowers, we must have just missed the lotus blossoms, and were a little too early to smell the Osmanthus, but the gardens were quiet and ethereal none the less.  I wish I was a better photographer, the late September light, as it slanted through the trees and sparkled off the water was inspiring.  I kept expecting to run into a fairy or sprite as we wandered through the trees and across the bridges.

And oh!  The bridges, if I were a painter I'd exclusively paint bridges.  I love the symbolism of the bridge, spanning the space between.  You are not on water, you are not on dry ground, but somewhere in between.  Every bridge, every pavilion we came across seemed prettier than the last.  I can't wait to go back again (hopefully this time with better directions).

Oh, and one good thing about getting lost, we found this awesome bridge just outside of the butt end of the Moshan park.  Supposedly a rebellion was put down on this spot with a skillfully placed arrow, and they built a bridge to commemorate it.  The archer though is impressive, it looks as if he is rising up out of the water to fire an arrow into the heart of the mountain.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Adding cuffs to Jeans, a tutorial

Ok, so after my trip to the fabric market. I really was inspired!  Babes has entered her 6 yr old growth spurt and has grown an inch since last spring.  While this is awesome, it means that ALL of her pants are entirely too short.  But she has my kid body type, which means she's all leg and no center mass (*sigh* how that has changed!) so the waist on the pants are actually still really loose, but the hems are halfway up her legs.  I was on my way to buy new pants, when I said to myself, "self, these pants are still good, why buy new pants when you can jazz these old pants up?"

So I started with a pair of her old pants and some colorful fabric from the fabric market.  Deciding that just cuffs would be a little odd I took out my seam ripper and ripped out the back pockets and the hems of her jeans.  (I don't think either step is necessary, but ripping out the hem of the jeans added a bit of length to the bottom of the pants and made it easier to sew through).

Using the ripped off pockets as a guide,  cut out two pockets and two cuffs (Make them a little bigger than twice as long as you want the cuff). I sewed on the pockets first, but I forgot to take any pictures.  Basically you just pin, and sew them in the place of the old pockets.

Fold the cuff material in half and sew a seam across the top, to hold the material together. Turn the jeans inside out and pin the cuffs onto the jeans with most of the material toward the knee.  Then, sew the cuffs at the point of the newly opened hem.  Don't forget to sew closed the cuffs before you turn the jeans right side out.

Turn the jeans right side out and decide where you want the cuffs to fall, you want to make sure you cover the seam you just made, but also have the cuffs long enough to make the pants fit right.  To be sure of this, I just did a quick stitch and had Babes try on the pants before stitching the cuffs on more securely with an invisible stitch.

And you're done!  Babes now has a pair of pants that fit reasonably well, AND they look pretty different from the way they looked before.  (If you look closely you can see how long she's been wearing the pants, there are several seam lines from when the pants were shorter, it's almost like rings on a tree)