I’m headed on a dangerous path with all this me time. This afternoon, I popped in John’s Chinese music– Jay Chou. Actually, Chou is his Taiwanese Romanized spelling. The pingyin version is Zhou Jie Lun. Anyway, his music is well, difficult to describe: an interesting blend of boy band, hip hop/rap, and movie soundtrack/soundbites. Like he’s got phones ringing and car engines roaring. Sounds much worse than it is. So yeah, I was grooving in the study today. Actually, dancing around and shit. Poor dogs. They just tried to tolerate the loud music (I even hooked my laptop up to John’s speaker system) and random, unrhythmic movements. Thank goodness I’m all alone with the curtains pulled. It was a freakin’ karaoke session man. Gotta stop this shit. Before I know it, I’m gonna be hooked on Michael Learns to Rock (John already is!). I know, can you believe that’s the band’s name? They got all kinds here.
As a follow up to the Remy tampon debacle, I’m happy to report a discovery! Lawson’s (the 7-11 equivalent) sells OB tampons! I know, tampons SHOULD be in every fricking supermarket and hypermart around, but I guess some people still can’t get over the whole hymen-ripping thing… Whatever. Thank goodness, there is now an alternative to diapers!
The other week my dear friend Sue told me she was pregnant. Of course, I congratulated her (despite my own aversion to bearing/raising children). Still, I was so surprised. Just the month before, she told me they were going to start trying… sure didn’t take long, eh? I guess for some people the body adjusts rather quickly even following years of birth control. Anyway, she’s due next May. So crazy– my first close friend to get pregnant.
Actually, most of my buddies are still living it up Sex in the City style! Ok, maybe not that flashy, but you know, they have that independent working woman thing going on. I have to say, being married is great but sometimes I feel so vulnerable from the dependency. Yes, love is a beautiful thing: you choose to love in spite of the vulnerability. But I still feel torn at times: dependency can really screw you. Family, friends, love, whatever… Too many things have fallen through because I mistook people for being reliable. I know, this is all a bit jumbled. Like I’m trying to talk about something without specifics. I apologize and offer some context.
John headed out to the States yesterday. You’d think after dating long distance for five years and putting up with years of his work travel, I’d have it down by now. Well, I don’t. I still cry when he leaves. Sure, I could go out with friends… but I’m rather elistist when it comes to friends. Plus, it’s tough to settle for an acquaintance’s company after hanging out nonstop with my best buddy, you know? Anyway, that was the first thing to tip all this off. I hate depending on Bubs, and I hate being a wuss.
The second thing was a call from my parents last week, asking me to re-connect with my estranged brother. Seems like a simple enough parental request: “Just call your brother and talk to him. He loves and respects you. Your call will make us all very happy.” Some of you may not know my history with Johnny. Long story short: I think he’s a funny and intelligent guy. But he’s also immature, irresponsible, and unreliable. I blame two parties for his lesser qualities: Johnny himself (he IS 30 now) and my family (myself excluded, of course). I used to think my parents were in a league of their own, because they baby him like he’s an imbecile or cripple. Since moving to Shanghai, however, I’ve realized Confucius and persisting Chinese traditions (including methods of parenting) are the culprits. In China, there are entire legions of “little emperors.” It’s just insane. Sometimes parents get lucky: their child loves and respects them for their lifetime of contributions. Other times, even sacrifices become expectations and nothing is too much. I’m done with this bullshit. I’ve wasted years trying to repair, but honestly, there’s no point in patching a leak when the bike’s riding through a construction site. I don’t lie, and I don’t feign concern. My parents will just have to find other sources of happiness.
John and I celebrated our nine-year milestone yesterday. We went out to dinner at the San Francisco Steakhouse in Gubei. We’ve been eyeing that place for a while, so yesterday we finally took the plunge. Ok, so our decision to dine there was influenced in part by a coupon (I gotta come clean)… You see, we recently acquired the Enjoy card (it works similarly to the Entertainment card in the US), so admittedly, we had a kickass voucher. Regardless, the main meal was fantastic. John said his ribeye was comparable to Ruth Chris’ (but without the critical blue cheese crumbles), and I had Australian lobster. I was licking my fingers after trying to eat every tiny ounce of meat outta the thing (I was even cracking open the thin lobster legs!). Was a good time.
John and I got all bummed out reminiscing about our college days. What a drag: we’re now older farts than ever. I mean, I don’t mind being in my late 20’s. It’s not the number that bothers me. It’s really just that my perception of time seems to be changing. Time just flies by, and I guess I have a fear of witnessing people I know age.
Related (or maybe not)… today I decided, it was time for another chop. I’ve had long hair for like three years now, and even though there are minor differences (layers, highlights), I always do the same damn thing with it: ponytail. I say I’m gonna do braids or pigtails or funky twists. Nope. At the end of the day, I’m one lazy beotch. So, it’s time. I was falling into a really annoying, indecisive state about this, but for Crissakes, it’s just hair. I’ve lived through enough hair disasters to know it’ll just grow back. Get on with things, right?
We recently discovered a DQ (Dairy Queen) in Shanghai! In fact, there are three parlors in the city, and one is dangerously close to our apartment. Needless to say, John and I have gone to the joint so often that the workers know our order (large Oreo blizzard). Initially, this DQ was a nightly treat; John and I even used hand signals (shaking the DQ cup upside down) to indicate the time for a blizzard run. But, for the sake of our wallets (and our waistlines), we’ve cut back. But damn the temptation! Especially amidst a hot and muggy summer such as this one. Who doesn’t crave cool and creamy soft serve filled with delectable cookies crunchies… Now I just need a Carvel in Shanghai, then I’ll surely be done for!
My friend Danielle is out of town, so I’ve been taking her foster dog Lulu to the Second Chance Animal Aid (SCAA) adoption days. Lulu has mites, so her fur is splotchy, but she is a sweet, calm dog. Most people at the event look at her with disgust or fear: little do they know, she was nearly slaughtered for food. Some guy attempted to kill her by banging a hammer on her head! Luckily, she was saved, but her low immunity just couldn’t fight off the mites. Since Danielle has taken her in, Lulu is doing much better. She receives daily medications, weekly dips, and plenty of TLC.
I was pleasantly surprised at yesterday’s adoption day. Several British children saw her, and rather than freaking out about how “ugly” she looked, they bombarded me with questions. What happened to her? Why is she trembling? When I explained Lulu’s story, they immediately jumped to adopt her. One kid was only in Shanghai for two days, and he ran off to ask his mum if they could take her. Even the six-month UK quarantine wouldn’t deter him. I knew the adoption was not going to happen, but I was so happy to see kindness and compassion in children so young. It really made me hopeful.
Unfortuantely, the rest of yesterday was a blur. My cat allegies hit hard, so when I got home, I had to take a Benadryl. That is some strong shit, man. I was pretty much knocked out from 5pm to 11pm. John kept asking me what I wanted from the store, and I couldn’t even speak. Was ridiculous. I feel better this morning, but I gotta check out an accupuncturist. Allergies suck and I need some serious relief (other than getting drugged up).
By now, I’m sure you’ve noticed my growing dog fanaticism… It all makes sense: after all, I do run a dog website (StarPups*Shanghai plug!). Plus, I’m involved with SCAA (Second Chance Animal Aid), where love for animals takes on a cult-like fervor. So what started as a hobby has quickly developed into something more: I now volunteer weekly at the animal shelter, attend monthly SCAA meetings, research new pet services for StarPups, and juggle a growing rolodex of doggie contacts. And things will only grow from here, as I’m starting up with Animals Asia Foundation at the end of August (hopefully).
Anyway, I’ve got a dog story for you. As you know, earlier this week I returned from a 10-day trip around southern China. During my travels, I missed my puppies A LOT. Especially hearing about the South Korean scientist cloning an Afghan hound, I really felt fortuate for the good temperaments of my babies. After I got home, I started calling R&M my angels on Earth. I know, totally dorky and out of line with my atheistic views, but I liked the sound of it. Angels on Earth. Has a nice ring, don’t you think?
Naturally, the very next day, John and I came home to bathroom garbage strewn all over the floor. Devils in the house! What the hell were R&M after? Brace yourself, because this is a bit disgusting: my used tampon. Yep, it was gone. Not a shred left. Aside from being grossed out by the thought of my angels chomping on some bloody, gooky stuff, I started worrying (big surprise) about worse-case scenarios. What if the tampon got stuck? I began madly researching “dog ate tampon” online. Some people fed laxatives, others induced puking… Fuck. I pulled out my dog nutrition books. I could give them hydrogen peroxide or a teaspoon of petroleum jelly, but which dog? Who the hell ate it? They both acted guilty.
I called my vet friend Nathalie in the US. She said all I could do was monitor and inspect their dumps for 72 hours. If either stopped eating/shitting, we were in deep trouble: intestinal obstruction, i.e. surgery.
So began the poop inspections. These last two days, I’ve had to smush it around in the plastic bag like I was searching for gold. Who knows whether it was consumed whole or part, right? (Of course, John doesn’t have the stomach for such things.) Luckily, my days as a solid waste engineer prepared me well for such checks. And I only had to inspect for two days, because this morning, I was overjoyed to find the evidence. Guess who?
Remy. This is an important discovery, because despite their “Angels on Earth” status, in the last two years they’ve gotten into the trash (kitchen trash) maybe three times. And each time, it was a mystery. Now we know. Looks like Martin is turning out to be the true goody goody– and a better prospect for Dr. Dog.
John’s friend Jay dropped in to town in late July with his girlfriend Jill. Shanghai was on the tail end of their 2-month journey beginning in St. Petersburg and ending in Beijing. We were glad to have some visitors, and as they are both seasoned backpackers, John and I seized this opportunity to test out the low-key travel style. Within a day of their arrival, we had sketched out five stops in eight days. Then, off we were. I had my qualms about not having lodging booked ahead of time and about visiting so many locations in just a few days, but this was our chance to wing it all.
We returned yesterday afternoon, and I am wiped. We rode every kind of transportation possible– mini-buses, taxis, normal trains, sleeper trains, sleeper buses, tuk-tuks, you name it. For the most part, we had good weather: Typhoon Matsa created some cooling winds (but also some drenching downpours). And we saw some pretty awesome spots. But we defintely underestimated the difficulties involved with getting from one place to another. In conclusion, the lessons we learned were:
1) Don’t cram too many cities in to one trip. (We plan to revisit three of the places we stopped: we just didn’t spend enough time this first time around
2) Use hostels (what a great find!).
3) Avoid winging it on trips shorter than two weeks. I’ve come a long way from my former Type A neurotic self. Still, I feel very strongly now about planning ahead. You see, NOT planning ahead only results in more stress and inefficiency during the trip. In other words, you end up wasting valuable “relaxation” time trying to flush out transportation details, ticket purchaes, and lodging.
Overall, we had a good time. John uploaded our best pix here. We hit some great places to knock off our China list. But I’m glad to be home, reunited with the pups.