Monday, August 31, 2009
Last week I took advantage of a local import grocery store's email ordering and free delivery. Among other things, I ordered several sweet potatoes. I have ordered sweet potatoes from this store before, so I know they carry them, and I entered the product code for them when I placed my order. When the order came later that day, I noticed that the sweet potatoes seemed a little small, but I thought nothing of it until I peeled and began cubing them today and found this:
Well, I don't know if I've been missing something, but I hadn't seen these before. They certainly weren't the deep orange color I was expecting. I had heard of purple potatoes... but I guess I'd never really seen one. Is this a purple potato? After the bright color was revealed, I went back to the price sticker on the plastic bag the potatoes came in to see what they were called. There was a Chinese name, in characters, and then underneath it said, "Tianmuzishu." Is there another name for this tuberous veggie? And have you cooked with it?
I just tossed the purple contents of my cutting board into the crockpot with the other veggies and beef that were to form our stew for dinner tonight. By the time we had dinner, the purple had blended in with everything else and had no distinctive flavor. So, no harm done. I'll have to try the remaining two tianmuzishus on their own and let you know what they are like!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Renee joined Beth and I that same afternoon for a bit of a visit. It was such a treat to be with these two friends. I'm sad that we didn't get in more friend visits this summer... it's amazing how the time flies. Those of you that I didn't get to spend any face-to-face time with, please know that I wish I could have!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I loved how you would tell me, "Good job" when I did something for you, or say, "It's okay" in a comforting way as you shrugged your shoulders.
It seems fitting that this picture of you happens to be when you were hanging upside down on your swing, because you love to swing! "Push me on my swing?" is one of your frequent requests.
Once as I was trying to sneak into the house just for a moment, for a drink of water or something, leaving you on your swing, you called after me.
"Yes, Emma Clare?"
"I like you!"
"I like you too, Emma Clare."
"Yes, Emma Clare?"
"I love you!"
"I love you, too, Emma Clare."
Happy, happy birthday. I love you too, Emma Clare!
Today was the first school day of the year for all four of the kids. The boys barely paused for me to get a picture... then I took one of each of them as they rode off to school on their bikes!
Gwen is posing here with her bus moniter, the same one she had last year. Interestingly, China is still on high alert for swine flu, and Gwen's school protects against this by requiring parents to take their child's temperature each morning and show it to the bus monitor before they are allowed on the bus!
Here is Madelyn, posing by the flowers on our front steps, ready to go get started on the day. She and I are doing some things differently this year and I think over all the day went well. After a summer of fun, being busy with cousins and having lots of people around, it was really nice to spend the day yesterday just with her.
Friday, August 21, 2009
The day we spent at the barn with my cousin Tamara, I took each of the girls into this field of Queen Anne's lace next to it to take a few pictures. I love how they turned out!
This one of Gwen reminds me of the scene at the end of every episode of "Little House on the Prairie." Can't you hear the theme music playing?
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I was dumbfounded. I said nothing. Since then I have thought of many things I could have said. For starters, "No, that's not true."
Psalm 139 comes to mind this morning.
For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
We're back. It feels like home.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I consider other trips where I've been waiting in this very same lounge to go back to Shanghai, probably with different feelings about whether going to China is leaving home or heading home. This time I feel like I am going home... and it feels good.
I consider my reaction to seeing the Chicago skyline in the hazy early morning light as we landed this morning... why did I tear up at the sight of it? We only lived there three years... but we may again, sometime in the future. I love Chicago. I love people that live here. The Chicago airport has special meaning for me, because it's always our entry point into the US when we return from China.
I think about the people we've left behind in Northeast Ohio. Our family. It was wonderful to have so much time with them this summer, time that wasn't rushed because we knew we were there for a while. Hang out time. So good. Really, really good.
I think about all we have ahead of us in Shanghai. With back-to-school orientation and events starting next week, and school the following week, we'll be jumping right back in. I'm excited to see our friends that will re-gather in Jinqiao from their scattered summer travels. We'll all settle back into our China life... for as long as it lasts, with every family's timetable a little different. There will be missing faces, gone from Shanghai permanently, who we will track down on Facebook, and new faces, joining the China life for the first time. New friends to meet. Who are they? I can't wait to find out.
I'm feeling how little sleep I had last night... only four hours, since I got up at 3:15 AM to get everyone out the door by 4 AM. My boys had the bright idea that staying up all night last night would help them get over jet lag more quickly than sleeping only half the night, so apparently that's what they did. The foolishness of youth, I say.
Now I will go have a muffin and wait a little longer. Then mid-morning we board the plane, and after meals and movies and napping and reading for several hours more than a dozen, we'll get off the plane, breathe deeply of the distinctive China smell, wait in line to go through immigration, wrestle our nine large pieces of luggage onto carts, go through customs to face a sea of Chinese faces... and on the other side Scott will be waiting! And Mr. Wu, or course.
Can't wait. :-)
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Sunday, August 02, 2009
The girls and I are in western PA this weekend, enjoying time with my aunt and uncle and my cousin Tamara, who is my second sister. Yesterday we went out to the barn where Tamara's horse, whom she got as a twelve year old girl, is living out his days in the pasture. The girls had great fun grooming him with Tam, and then getting to ride him. Madelyn was pleased to get to show off the skills she learned in horse camp a few weeks ago, esp. when Tam let her ride on her own.
After a moment of uncertainty when he first started moving under her, Gwen was thrilled get to ride a horse! Tam took her for a nice long ride down the road and back.
Tam and I with her old friend, PV. He's a lot whiter than he used to be, but still seems to be full of spirit! What a treat for my city girls and I to get to hang out at the barn for a few hours!