Monday, April 30, 2012

at the yarn market

I'm sure you all know that I am a knitter, and one of the things knitters like to do is fondle yarn.  Chengdu has some very good yarn stores, but if you need something other than wool, or you want things at rock bottom prices you should head up to the North Market's yarn section.
 This is inside one of the little nooks at the yarn market.  If I hadn't gone with a friend the first time I never would have found it.  I bought my sable(? the picture on the package looks a little like a raccoon) yarn here and I love it.  So soft.  It can be a mess, when you come during the winter it's packed.  There are ladies feeling yarn everywhere, and people sitting and knitting even though the space to walk through is only big enough for two people to squeeze by.
 This is the needle and hook guy.  You can buy sets of needles for next to nothing.  It's awesome!

And of course, I can't go up to the north market without finding things to take pictures of. 
 creepy dolls on strings.
 I never thought to buy bras on the street, but apparently in China that's how it's done.
 Hungry?  There's fruit...
Or fried potatoes.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Greens, Potatoes, and grits

So this week we did not get 5 lbs of greens.  We got 4 lbs of greens and 1 lb of tiny potatoes.  Which is a plus I guess.  Do you remember the grass from last year?  Well we got it again.  It actually stir fries nicely.  Maybe the are some type of chive?  They do have a very very faint onion or garlic taste to them.  The weeds from last week did not stir fry up so nicely, they tasted like weeds.  *sigh*  I also just tossed out some of the really stinky greens.  I don't know what they are, but they smell bad raw and when cooked they smell and taste worse. 

 The stinky greens are the heart shaped ones in the middle.

I know I've been MIA lately, in case you were wondering what I've been up to, I've been trying to use up our food stores in the run up to our pack out (beginning of July?).  We have a plethora of grits so I've been trying to come up with clever ways to use them up.  I have made grits pudding, grits pancakes, and used a ton of grits instead of rice or potatoes, but still.....  I have not taken any pictures though because well grits pudding was REALLY gross looking (although it tasted good-like a grainy bread pudding), and grits pancakes just look like pancakes.  I am going to try making leftover grits muffins but I think I want to make them savory instead of sweet.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crafty crafting

I got bit by the crafting bug this week and did a couple of projects.  This post on pinterest captured my attention since we just threw away about 100 dvd cases as we prepare to move.  I rescued one and turned it into this:

I think the cardboard I used was too thick though because the cases doesn't close.  I'm going to have to make another one, I just need to wait until we clean out some more cases. 

I've been planning to make a interchangeable needle case forever.  I LOVE this Lantern Moon case, but am unwilling to spend the $$ (maybe I should add it to my amazon wish list....) I even had fabric picked out and laid aside for it, but I just hadn't wanted to commit.  Well this week I finally did it, I would post a tutorial, but I was making it up as I went and I think there are things I would do differently if I had to do it again so I'll just show off my finished product.  I think I'm going to try and make another one so I WILL eventually do a tutorial-maybe.

I'm also reverse engineering a doll dress because Babes got another Madame Alexander doll for her birthday and those tiny doll clothes are expensive.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5 lbs of greens

Have you ever wondered what 5 pounds of greens looks like?  Well, I didn't either, but I found out yesterday.  Our weekly delivery of organic produce consisted of 5 lbs of leafy things.

Most of them I've seen before, some I like, some I REALLY don't like, but we did have a new addition yesterday.  They looked like weeds. 

I mean I swear I've seen them in the back yard, and they smelled like weeds, when I chopped them it smelled like I was cutting dandelion leaves, or grass or something.  What did they taste like?  Well, exactly like what I thought cooked grass would taste like.  Now the question is, how do I cook up and disguise 5 lbs of greens so that DH and babes stop complaining about cooked weeds?

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

United says "Screw You" to the Foreign Service

United's Senior Manager for Marketing, Customer Service and Business Systems responded to my letter to United CEO Smisek on March 7.  He said that United developed the waiver for the military "in recognition of the commitment made by members of our military and the family members (including the four-legged ones) who share in their sacrifice" and intends to limit this "special process" to military families only.  United has sent a standard customer relations response to individual e-mails saying that concerns would be conveyed to senior management for disposition.
This is the response we received from United in response to their change in pet shipping policy that will basically make it a nightmare to transport Honeydog from post to post.    While I'm super mad about that, what makes me most upset is the response from United. 

"in recognition of the commitment made by members of our military and the family members (including the four-legged ones) who share in their sacrifice" and intends to limit this "special process" to military families only. 
"In recognition of the commitment"??????  What the ^%$?  Now, I know we are NOT the military.  My brother is military, and the stress that he and his family endure, is something different...  I'm not saying we are the same as the military they are responsible for the physical safety of the United States.  However, the Foreign Service serves the people of the US, especially those overseas.  If you are overseas and get sick, are arrested, or are the victim of a crime, a Foreign Service officer (FSO) can be there to support you.  They will help you arrange payment at a hospital, visit you in prison (they will NOT be able to get you out, you are in a foreign country you must abide by that country's rules), or help you file a police report.  FSOs have arranged search parties for hikers, helicopters for sick babies, and given repatriation loans to down on their luck travelers to get them back home.
If you are in a country that goes to pot or has a natural disaster FSOs are there to help you finalize your documents and arrange evacuation travel to get you to someplace safe.  In the past year they have done this in Japan, Egypt, Libya, and Syria.  Most of those FSOs did not live in the places they were helping out, they left their families behind to help out those in need.  In the case of natural disasters FSOs help to keep Americans in foreign countries apprised of dangers, coordinate search and rescue efforts, and inform family members of the situation on the ground.
FSOs are charged with the job of promoting US trade and tourism.  When at all possible they try to facilitate travel and are always looking for new ways to make the visa process easier, faster, and safer (to protect the US at home).
FSOs and their families serve as living breathing representations of America.   In many places in the world what people know of America comes from movies and television and the few Americans they might meet.  Sometimes we are able to contradict the movies, and sometimes not (Can I tell you how many times I have been asked if all American women are like the ladies in Sex in the City?).
Embassies and Consulates are also targets.  If you are looking for a way to hurt America but can't afford the plane ticket what do you do?  You look to the Embassy.  From the local crazy person to more organized attempts US Embassies and Consulates are vigilant because we know we are targets and are vulnerable.
So United, don't talk to me about commitment.  I know very well what "commitment" means and for you to suggest that our contribution is not valuable is insulting.