Will & Tracy

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

WWOD (What Would OSHA Do?)

Living in a big city, the random noises and sirens is an every day phenomenon and most of the time something to just ignore or it will drive you insane. So this is exactly what I did when I got home on Thursday and sirens were blaring. It was only after my friend Sarah called to ask how to get to my house because Jiangsu lu was closed off all the way up to the intersection where my apartment was that I decided to looked out the window. I realized, hmmm, there is half a giant crane hanging off the side of the ~20 story “office building in progress” that we have been watching for the last 7 months.

I have always wondered how they get those giant cranes up and down off the top of those buildings and now I have witnessed one way to do it – albeit – not the safest way. It took about 24 hours and another huge crane from the ground as well as a brave soul to use a cutting torch to slowly cut what was hanging off the side of the building into pieces so it could be lowered down “safely” this time. I did not see any carnage thank goodness and I thank God that I didn’t actually see it fall. In doing a quick poll of friends of ours, the scary thing is – none of us were surprised that this happened – in fact, we were more surprised that it doesn’t happen more often. We’re so jaded.

BTW – If any of you are considering office space in Shanghai, I think I might know of a place that just *dropped* their rates. ;) I mean why not trust the guys that make less than a dollar an hour, have no education, hand mix their cement for each floor and let a crane fall from atop of a 20 story building. And no, I really don't want to know it was probably the same group of guys that built our apartment complex 3 years ago.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wardrobe Malfunction

Spring has sprung in Shanghai - but the Chinese don't realize it just yet and are still wearing sweaters and coats on top of sweaters when it is 74 degrees outside. If Shanghai was always like this, we'd have 40 million in this city, not just 22 million. So I do have to give this woman a little bit of credit since she was one of the precious few people I saw wearing a short sleeve shirt. But that is where her fashion sense ended. And, gasp, the women also seem to be busting out the anklet hose once again so I'm sure there will be more fashion pictures on the way - that is if I can figure out a way to be discreet about it and not get caught. But hey, if they are going to stare and take pictures of me, I figure, I can have a little fun too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Its so hard to say goodbye to yesterday…

So for those who have not heard, I finally interviewed and accepted an official J-O-B with World Link (www.worldlink-shanghai.com) and they conned me into starting on Monday – they said I don’t need an official work visa to start – I’m thinking – hmmm – should I contact the Chinese authorities about that one? Probably not if I want to stay in China

As you know I like to ponder a lot in these blogs... so as I do, I start to hum that old familiar 4 part harmony of Boyz II Men as I say goodbye to yesterday and the magical Tai Tai lifestyle. Chapter 1 “I’m born: welcome to your Shanghai life of leisure” comes to a screeching halt. I’m thinking chapter 2 will be titled: “The Wonder Years” – as in: I *wonder* what the HELL I’m doing giving up my life of leisure to work with pregnant ladies all over again. God always has a plan and I’m wondering what is up his sleeve. You know how God can be – shifty – but in a good way I suppose. (whew, no bolts of lightening on that one).

Even after telling the general manager I was only willing to work 3 days a week and his nursing staff sucks, he was still willing to hire me and pay me a full time salary. Why I ask? Because he said he knows the type of person I am and that I would probably be checking my email from home *and* that I needed a day at home for “continuing education” related work. And I thought I was a good BS'er...The sad thing is, he is probably right. I’m such an ESFJ sucker.

So this is it, my last week and I think my lunches are booked and I’m getting my hair done on Thursday. That leaves me with needing an afternoon massage, a mani and pedi...well, okay I confess, I had a pedicure last week, but another couldn't hurt, right?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Back to the Future....

Well that was an interesting trip back to China. We made it back safely, but I learned an important lesson – double check your seat number to make sure you are not in the middle seat of the middles section of 5 across on a 777 airplane. Well, that – and if you are, make sure you can’t see your husband hob knobbing with the upper crust in business class while you sit and listen to the cacophony of Chinese speakers that think coughing up a lung right next to you is normal behavior. Reality struck real quick that I was heading “home” ….to China. I think I did a pretty good job of holding back my tears as we took off (there were still a few), but it was a long flight and my right butt cheek is still a little numb this morning.

I wondered if it was a good idea for me to even go back since I feel a slump coming on, but my wonderful husband is here and that makes all the difference. Besides, I was spoiled back in the US during my trip and my work out schedule took a beating. I felt so loved and it was nice that my friends and family still remembered us. However, it is time to get back to work on my web page and my abs as well as taking some time out for that 2 hour pedicure with the Tai Tai lunch included – it is all coming back – sliding back in to the life of leisure may not be as difficult as I imagined…

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Surreal World - Austin Stardate: 60661.8

Okay, so I was trying to be cutsie and thought I would put "Stardate : 12345" but then I thought, hey, maybe I should look up stardate. Does it exist or did they make it up each day on the show. Why am I not surprised that it is in fact a calculation - well that is if you use "The Next Generation" standard format. Are you kidding me?? If you want to calculate future dates and learn the history of the *stardate* calculation, please see: http://trekguide.com/Stardates.htm#Today

Sorry, that was a big digression, but whether I'm on the Starship Enterprise, in The Twilight Zone or just in La La Land, it sure feels weird to be in Austin. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure its just me. Some questions I have pondered: Was I really in China for the last 7 months? Did Will's favorite vegetarian restaurant "Mother's" really burn down because some homeless dude was cooking a steak out back? Did I really say "Yeah, we're headed back *home* to China on Thursday?"

It was one thing to "visit" my parents, sister, nieces, but just being back in Austin and not going back to our SCHOOL BUS yellow house sure makes me sad. And who forgot to tell me about "The Domain"? We have had a great time seeing lots of friends and NEW BABIES!! Who knew there was something in the water in Austin, at least it is better than mercury or lead. We have visited some of our favorite restaurants - El Chiles, Z'Tejas, CM Cafe, Ararats and I even stopped by work to see some of the gang. How priceless is it to watch everyone around you working their butts off and still have time to ask how you are doing and "Hey, say something in Chinese..." My reply is: Well, you know its tough living in a foreign country. I can't really work and I have a maid come 3x a week for $50/month and my best chinese line is telling her to go buy me groceries and fold my underwear.

Alas - it is almost time to bid farewell again to this fair city - we'll most likely see you again sometime around stardate: 61061.5. Live long and prosper folks!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Baillie Girls

We are having a good time in Arvada, CO with the Baillie girls. Here are some of the over 200 pics I have taken so far. Thank you Will, Dad and Chris for always giving me tips on tricks on how to take pictures - most importantly - take A LOT and you'll end up with a precious few good ones. Boy has it been busy changing diapers, rushing to the potty chair, changing my shirt from Lilly spit up and taking the dogs out. Needless to say - I've had to get over my jet lag quickly. Its been nice visiting with my sister and having Grandma and Grandpa here to watch the kids so Kelly and I can escape in the mornings to get a latte and chai. Thank you Target, Last Call Neiman Marcus and Saks Off 5th for supplying me with a pretty good start on my spring and summer wardrobe collection. :) (Hanna: 3.5, Madeyln 2, Lilly 8 months)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Immigration officer: "What do you do for a living ma'am?"

Well, I survived the 13.5 hour Shanghai to Chicago flight in coach with no hint of DVTs (I was good and did my foot exercises) and after an hour delay at good ole O'Hare airport, I made it to Denver around midnight... all to have the immigration guy ask what I was doing over in China and me having to say: My husband works for Dell and I'm a....housewife. Geesh, I couldn't even tell him I clean the house or cook dinner on a regular basis. What no kids to take care of either?? ...and you have a maid? What kind of housewife am I - not even a very good one. Now I almost went into my spiel about - I'm trying to start a new business service and do you want to see my business cards on a "pseudo-company" I have not registered or paying taxes on?? I figured I'd end up in a much longer line and given a new outfit - a pantsuit with stripes - and then they would give me the real job of picking up trash along some highway - so I sucked it up and said I'm in China - along for the ride ya know.

Can I say that jet lag from the other side of the world sucks. I don't care how good that ambien/benadryl cocktail sounded. Alas, my weiner dogs remembered me and have helped me out by snuggling up next to me at night, and uh, mid-morning and mid-afternoon. :) Although during my precious waking hours, I have done a decent job of stocking up while I'm here. I think in 3 days I have cleared out Target and the outlet malls in Denver and have already purchased 6 pairs of shoes (glad my husband doesn't read this blog too often)... I guess that means I really shouldn't try to extend my trip so I can head back "home" for work to pay for this stuff.

I can't believe how big my nieces have gotten - can't wait for the return trip in August to see them all again and then the other two in Flagstaff!!! They grow up so fast!

Shout out a couple days early, but who knows how the internet connection will be in the Baillie househould - Happy Birthday Ann on Wednesday! I already reminded Will to not forget to call you. :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Homeward Bound

I know, I know – don’t everyone get excited at once. I will be making 2 appearances on this press junket, but no book signings this time around. Okay, so the real story is that last Friday Will said he needed to go to the US on business and didn’t think he would get a resounding yes from all his official/unofficial bosses, but he did and so he is hopping on a plane this morning to Austin. He will spend the next two grueling weeks at Dell HQ, you know, meeting with Michael and all. In the meantime, I whined a little bit and found a cheap (relatively speaking) ticket to go as well (although not until tomorrow). Then my family made it easy – since my niece Maddy is having birthday #2, Grandma and Grandpa are driving out to Colorado to see her. So I am doing a detour to Denver for a week and then heading down to Austin for a short 5 days L visit to see as many people as possible. Come one, come all…. Not sure where I’ll be exactly - except for planned stops at Target and Nordstrom’s to check out their size 8 ½ shoe collections. And I’m betting Will and I will have a table at Ararats at some point that week.

Hope to see many of you soon! Can't wait to see you Happy Scrappy and Wyatt!!

Every which way but LUCE!

Okay, so I try to be professional and also let everyone out there know what I’ve been doing lately. I hesitated giving you all the link to my website because I’m nervous and don’t want you all to laugh. All of my insecurities laid out on the table and what does my cousin do?? *She* (that narrows it down to 3 cousins) takes those insecurities and *squish*, just like grape (I knew I'd be able to throw a Mr. Miyagi quote in sooner or later) . I hate to call attention to her juvenile ways since 1. she’s older than me (notice I didn’t include wiser, doh!) 2. there will be copycat offenders out there 3. Those copycat offenders will most likely come from the same side of the family because they *love* me that much.

Instead, however, I am going to take the high road and address my cousin’s question she sent through on my work website in this public forum:

No Carie, you cannot get pregnant just from sitting on a toilet seat.

No charge, but thanks for the chuckle I had this morning. If you are still not convinced, here are my top 3 favorite answers I found on the web.....

1. Only if you leave the seat up.
2. Only on Tuesdays, in Canada, in the afternoon with the sun setting and the wind blowing from the north, otherwise it would be nearly impossible.
3. Can you define "toilet seat"? Perhaps you have been misled, as to what is a toilet seat. See image above. If it doesn't look like that, it's a penis.