Send As SMS

Will & Tracy

This is our blog

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me.....

No, I'm not talking about the B Horror/Slasher film that came out in the 80s. Its actually my birthday today and I can't not (I just did the double negative thing, didn't I) have a post on my blog on the day of my glorious birth 34 years ago. And in Shanghai alone, the city of 22 million, I share my birth date with approximately 60,000 people (thanks Will for the fast calculation).

My actual due date was December 29th, so I came a little early that year. My Grandma (gosh, now I'm second guessing myself if I remember the story) was sick in the hospital with pneumonia. My parents told me I was sooo smart - I knew how to breath right away - well, sort of - I took a breath a little too soon and so I swallowed some amniotic fluid - thus had to be rushed to the University of Michigan hospital in an incubator (Years later as an L&D nurse, I realized I was not as smart as my parents led me to believe - it was not amniotic fluid, it was meconium - I inhaled my poo - that may explain a few things).

I also learned that my Dad freaked out because my head looked like a banana (Oh, those first time dads, how they freak out about that!) Then, my mom freaked out too because WHO IN THE FAMILY HAS RED HAIR!?? (Its lucky that I, too, looked like my Dad!) For years I've heard the story that there was a girl in high school that my mother didn't like (hate is a strong word) who had red hair - She figured if she didn't like mine, that she would dye it! In the end, she thought I was a keeper... red hair and all. Well, then she proceeded to give me the "Pebbles" look for the next several years. Maybe that is the reason for all my hair issues now. hmmm - either that or I should go back to that look - I was cute!

So I really don't have an agenda today. Will is working hard to keep me in the lap of luxury and to pay off my NEW PRESENT: The canon zoom/fancy megapixel, image stabilizationl and video camera all in this neat little itsy bitsy camera! I'm so very excited to bring you all more photo ops of Shanghai! The girls and I also thought about starting our own reality show. The Shanghai Lifestyles of the not so rich and famous .... starring the members of the Tai Tai for Life club. We're definitely thinking fame and fortune for sure!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Make new friends, but keep the old...

Two of my very good friends recently had babies - one a boy, the other a girl - much to the happiness of both baby daddys, they both look like their fathers. I really treasure the friendships I have made with both Tara and Sarah and although Al (Sarah's husband) wasn't too happy at the suggestion, I thought maybe, just maybe in the future, these two little ones will meet and it will be all my fault!! Tara and Gil welcomed Ryder Lennon Levy into the world on December 8th at 0808am (I"m tellin' ya, the Chinese would kill for a birthday like that!). His birth weight was 7 lbs, 2 oz,and he measured 20 inches long. Sarah and Al welcomed Sophia Danielle Zimmerman yesterday December 18th at 8:54am. She was 8.6 lbs and 21.5 inches long. So here is one picture of Ryder and the other is of the Family Zimmerman.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Breakfast of Champions...

I don't think I need to say a whole lot with the menu. We have been to Arch Restaurant for lunch, but they opened up a new location and since it was Sarah's last "real breakfast" before she has Sophia (She is going in to be induced this afternoon - EFW 8.5- 9.0 lbs!). So we all had a nice chuckle over the menu selections this morning...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oh the weather outside is frightful ....

So thank goodness the wine is good, right? Boy oh boy, they warned us about the summer heat but also of the yucky wet winter. I think it is finally upon us, although they say this is very mild so far. Think New Orleans.... it is rainy, wet, cold and windy. The fog has been so dense the last couple of days you can't see more than 1/4 mile. So it is no surprise that I'm a little bit blue. No, no I say, I won't be dragged down. Since I feel like I have abandoned my post here which has been always very cathartic, I need to revisit and revitalize!

Since meeting Ian (ie "wine dude" from previous post) - and ordering wine - we have also added our names to the list for a couple of "wine" events. Hey its the holiday season to have a little fun and of course to practice our schmoozing skills! Our first effort was at the Allegrini Event that was hosted in the newly opened Le Royal Meridien Hotel (one of the tallest in Shanghai) - complete with leather walls and a huge wall of fish. The object: 7 glasses of wine in 2 hours. Mistake 1. Tracy thought we were going to be fed 2. Tracy dressed up a little, but actually told Will not to worry about wearing a suit. Oops and Oops :) . Soon after arriving, we find Ian and also met the woman who helped with our wine order (the wine distributor). She in turn introduced us to the few guests that were already there. We are IN! The schmooz factor was dialed to 10.

Aah, the upper crust, we meet again... It is an amazing people watching time here - people that you would NEVER mix with in the US (and the world!) are thrown here all together to feel each other out on who has the biggest bank account. For those of us who don't have a bulging bank account, it is pure fun and no pressure! I need a James Bond Hidden Camera for events like this. The people who actually talk about their money really don't have much (well, maybe only 6 zeros in their 401(k), not 7 or 8...9?) but they have no class. My baby on the other hand, has class ...and just maybe a little has rubbed off on me.... so lets get started...

First up, I swallow hard (no pressure, right?) and introduce myself to this lovely fake blond with real Coco Chanel glasses. Her name is Tippy. So what does my classy baby do... he proceeds to speak aloud and say, "...well that should be easy to remember - I always try to pick a pneumonic device to remember someone's name, but this is a wine event, so its easy - Tipsy Tippy." Did my husband really just say that to her? Yes, yes he did! And she is laughing. Whew, one point for Will. Next, is Ann - she and her husband are originally from Dallas, he is here running a big hotel chain. So my classy husband goes for point number 2. "Oh , well we're from Austin and I"m originally from Corisicana...its about...." ...he gets interrupted by Ann... "Oh yes, I know Corsicana - do you know the McNuts? (Owners of the famous Collins Street Bakery)." Will: "Of course I know (of) the McNuts, who doesn't know the McNuts?" We toast to Corsicana...and the McNuts! Damn, he's good. While I proceed to sip my wine and make SMALL TALK - about what? Will leaves me and goes to have this great conversation with a low key computer dude - totally normal. I'm stuck with Tipsy who decides to screw her palate and go immediately for a glass of red - the last red on the list. The Amarone (a la $100USD a pop - chump change). It is now 7:30 (1.5 hours to go)...

So by the end of the two hours, we hadn't eaten anything and had downed 6 glasses of wine (notice I didn't say 7). I was doing quite well thank you very much until that Amarone .... and that did me in (damn the heavy reds, but ooooh so good). By this time, my new name was chatty patty and I was having a grand time chatting with the ladies. My lovely husband came to rescue me and on our way out I turned and said .... "See you at coffee on Monday (hiccup) Tipsy!" .... pure class.....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Burn baby burn.....

Boy did I get burned yesterday…but there of course is a funny story to be had in all of this… So if I didn’t mention this convoluted tale…lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start….when we read we begin with … yeah yeah - I digressed....

Once upon a time, Will and Tracy were transported to Shanghai and then on to Moganshan for a mini-vacation in a galaxy far far away – well about 4 hours from Shanghai. There they met a lovely couple, their name was Brady. Just kidding, it was Kitto. During our conversations they mentioned they had been to a little small town for a wedding last summer named: Grand Haven. My my, Shanghai to Grand Haven, heavens to mercatroid – Grand Haven you say? The conversation continued – who’s wedding? A name that was familiar, but not so familiar. I told Joanna (immediately on a first name basis of course) - *I'm* from Grand Haven. She goes on to say the guy that got married owns a cool little business in Shanghai called Sherpas! Well, that is just our *favorite* place to order from (along with numerous other expats). I told her send him an email, see if he recognizes my name, probably not, but cool small world – another soul from West Michigan in Shanghai! Next day: big surprise – he doesn’t recognize my name – who do I think I am – Hadley Baas, Missy Engel?

Well, I send him another email just to say hi…. He basically blows me off at first… spouting out names like Bram Brosseit and Sanders Cleveland and some other “bozos” – and yeah how he hung out with them, and what year did YOU graduate – blah blah blah. Well surprise surprise (think Gomer Pile here) - I told him of course I knew Bram and Sanders (like I know that Sanders real first name is Robert – did you know that??) – old friends ya know. Graduated in the only reciprocal year of the century – woo hoo 1991! I play it cool, saying sure they’d remember me (do I tell him now I was a nerd/jockette and “maybe” they remember me?).

Next email from Mark: Oh great, so you know about Sanders, but did you hear about “Bram’s accident – the one where he lost his ear – now he is having problems with his balance and walking, so he spends most days on the couch watching TV LOUDLY.” I’m initially concerned, and honestly saddened. Then Mark also says he included a picture of himself – “just in case” I happened to remember him (see picture included). In my mind there were so many things to call bullshit on, but what was real and what was moonshine? I’ve seen too much in Austin and at the hospital - so I played it cool and sent him a nice note back – saying thanks for the picture – seems like you belong more in Austin (my second home town) than in West Michigan (and definitely not in Shanghai). And...Thanks for the update, I hadn’t heard about Bram, but I’ll – (here’s the kicker) – “I’ll keep him in my thoughts” – yes, I said this about Bram B!! Then, of course, I immediately sent out a super secret email to my spies in Grand Haven saying what the hell – didn’t anyone tell me about Bram?? I know I’m not that well connected in GH, but what am I talking about – YES I AM! The mystery deepens....

Of course in a few hours he sends me another thread and is laughing hysterically while apologizing - I think he threw in there that he was an ass, no wait, spaz, yeah that was it – does anyone use spaz anymore – what a bozo! But, wait, he said what … he BLIND COPIED Bram and Sanders – oh, how in high school I would have been SOOO embarrassed. Alas, I’m an adult now and totally mature, right? Well, I gave him props for pulling my leg and then threw in a little dirt on Bram. So much for being mature. We had a fun exchange and maybe Will and I will run into Mark and his wife around town. What a cool small world after all.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hospital, Hospital, Where for Art Thou Western Hospital...

Will and I have been begging and pleading for a list of the "local hospitals with foreign wings" because that is what Dell China's policy will pay for (90%) know, just in case we: 1. Get hit by a bus 2. If in the (hopefully) foreseeable future we have a baby. I asked for a general list from three of the closest districts we live in and around. For almost 4 months we have asked and after getting it in Mandarin and asking for a translated version, Will forwarded me the list today. I cried, then laughed, then cried, then laughed and now I'm sending out another poll question: please help us choose - which one of the following would YOU go to (and no, Seattle Grace does not have a Shanghai Branch). To get us all started, I'll cross one out because I'm not setting FOOT inside the Chinese People Armed Police Army Shanghai Unit Hospital (try to say THAT 10x fast) .....

Luwan District:
1.Ruijin Hospital
2.Dawn hospital
3.Ruijin hospital Lu bay branch (Lu Wanqu central hospital)
4.Lu Wanqu women's and children's dispensary

Xuhui District:
1.Shanghai Chinese medicine university attached dragon China hospital
2.City sixth people hospital
3.City chest branch hospital
4.Fudan University attached Zhongshan hospital
5.Fudan University attached department of pediatrics hospital
6.Fudan University attached eye otolaryngology hospital
7.Fudan University attached tumor hospital
8.Xuhui area central hospital
9.City eighth people hospital

Changning District
1.Chinese People's Liberation Army 85th hospital
2.Chinese People's Liberation Army 455th hospital
3.Changning area central hospital
4.Colleague hospital
5.Changning area brilliance cooperation of Chinese and Western medicine hospital
6.Changning area women's and children's dispensary
7.Chinese people armed police army Shanghai unit hospital

Christmas Time is here.....

Well we made it through Thanksgiving and now it looks like Santa Claus has thrown up all over Shanghai (more pictures of downtown in a week or so). Since the 1970s the Chinese Christian population has been growing significantly although it is still tightly controlled by government officials and must of course have "regulations." But hey, if they government can make money on Christmas, then Hallelujah! Thus, China has its own reason for the season. Alas.... in the Claxton houshold is full of excitement because Tracy double booked - the dogs that is. Our new friends Amy and Josh are currently in NYC until December 7th, so we said of course we'd watch Layna (the ultimate Omega Dog) figuring our next gig was starting December 9th when Maxine (Wyatt's twin sister and just as much an alpha dog) comes to visit for the rest of the year! Well, Maxine's Mom and Dad had to leave a week earlier than planned and so now we have 3 long days with 2 dogs in the household.

Its a good thing that Tracy planned ahead and had a case of wine delivered (gosh, who knew we would meet the groovy wine dude over Thanksgiving - God had the plan all lined up for us!) Since Tracy was in good "spirits," we decided we also needed a Christmas tree to bring that festive touch to our new home. Boy did Will luck out at the local store .... (a little history needed: Tracy's ideal Christmas tree is simple, yet elegant, non-blinking white lights, baby's breath and red ribbons spread evenly throughout the tree, maybe a cranberry garland... tinsel garland, pah-lease! Can I be more anal?.... Will's ideal tree: multi-color blinky lights - and if they play music even better, every single ornament he ever collected as a child - plastic, wooden, or otherwise and tinsel garland in multi-color as well - along with multicolored balls, and the train racing around the track under the tree - Needless to say last year we compromised on blue NON-blinking lights, no garland, red ribbons, and multi-colored balls and a few carefully selected childhood ornaments). This year there is no hope. They only had multi-colored blinky lights, so I said what the heck - lets go for the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree (do I need to insert a trademark symbol for saying that???). Complete with crooked star on top. We LOVE it! And Thanks Mom for throwing in the Christmas CD in the last shipment. It adds a nice touch. So from our home to yours - Happy Holidays Charlie Brown.... More festive pictures to come.....

Friday, December 01, 2006

More of Moganshan and my baby....

Originally uploaded by Tracy Claxton.
Bridge and pond just down the hill from where we stayed - beautiful!