Lucky Ducks

I’m in Santa Monica and The OC, enjoying time with friends and hanging with The Circus at Disneyland. What can I say. The Circus and I are a bunch of lucky ducks. Be back soon…

Gratitude Post #19: School Supplies

Happiness is a brand new box of crayons.
Or a new notebook.
When I think about the children in Afghanistan or Africa who don’t have access to and can’t afford simple school supplies like pencils, I feel extraordinarily grateful that I can walk into any store and purchase a new box of crayons for less than two quarters.

Just some food for thought, as we prepare for the new school year.

Gratitude Post #16: Sandwich Cutters

This post oozes with gratitude potential, from Star Wars to Williams-Sonoma. Where do I even begin? By the way, you can own these for half price at williams-sonoma.com
I can see the potential turn off of these in China, where children are neither finicky nor playful with food. But, what’s an occasional wasted crust? Make bread crumbs, thicken soups and sauces, feed them to the chickens. I’ve just given you three options so you won’t feel guilty about wasted crusts and the starving children in China. (Although, I’ve seen plenty of roly polys in the city. Just saying.)

A Millenium Falcon ham sandwich blasting a Tie Fighter made me smile. And it made The Circus’ day. PS, who often opts for hunger strikes, chowed down. Thank you, fun food creations.

Gratitude Post #15: AAA

Have you ever been rescued by AAA? I have.
On a 90-plus degree Saturday, my mom and I stopped by the storage unit to get The Hubs’ car. The battery was dead. Thankfully, my mom has a AAA membership. Wiley showed up within an hour and gave our car a jump. Turns out the emergency break was locked on the back tire and the car also needed a new battery.
AAA carries batteries, gas and other stuff. Check out the back of the truck.
Wiley was fantastic. Two hours of labor under a hot sun and he was a cheerful gentleman, friendly and knowledgeable. He chatted with us about batteries, brakes and Volvos and he thought I was as old as his 25-year-old daughter. That made my day.

Practicing for the next Shanghai Auto Show…NOT. I had just returned from a friend’s family sealing at Draper Temple. Black lace is really hot in 98 degrees. Thank you Wiley and AAA for rescuing us.

And thanks, Mom, for the membership and for taking my picture. I hope The Hubs enjoys it and his car. He owes us…maybe some chocolate dessert.

Gratitude Post #14: Craft Stores

On the hunt for art supplies last month, I schlepped PS and our bags over the river to Puxi’s Fuzhou Lu where every shop sells the exact same thing, at varying prices. For ribbon and gift wrap, I took another three hour endeavor over to Puxi to the Junkateria and endured the dirty (think loogies), the crowds and obnoxious bargaining. I have yet to brave the Fabric Market, which requires a good half day and no kids.
Enter JoAnn’s…
I walked in and heard Heavenly choirs singing. Not really, but you know what I mean. Bolts of fabric, aisles of colored papers, stickers, art supplies, doodads, gizmos, literally every craft bell and whistle one can dream of. It was Craft Heaven.

Whether it’s Michael’s, JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby, there’s nothing like having access to every craft item under the sun, under one roof. With no loogies on the floor.
Cue Heavenly choirs.

Gratitude Post #13: Tomatillos

Tomatillos. A husk tomato that’s not actually a “tomato.”

If you’ve never tried a Mexican green sauce, you don’t know what you’re missing. Consider this post a homage to the melting pot of America, with our diversity in cultures and ethnicities, showcased in the everyday foods we consume. I’ve scoured many grocery stores and markets in China and yet I find the same varieties of veg wherever I turn. The same cukes, eggplants (Asian variety only, of course), corn, tomatoes, peppers and leafy greens. It’s a bit disheartening for a girl who likes to cook.

Consider googling a mole verde or green sauce…
And creating some ethnic deliciousness.

And appreciate the fact that you can pick up Japanese eggplants, plum or heirloom tomatoes or tomatillos at your local grocery store or farmers market. Lucky ducks.

Gratitude Post #12: Sweets That Taste Sweet

Mmmmm…
See this? It tastes as good as you’d imagine. A melding of tastes and textures, sweetly (thank you, pun) playing in your mouth. From the sweet and syrupy chocolate, to the dense, moist chocolately brownie (courtesy of my sister), with the rich whipped cream melting into the vanilla bean ice cream. All deliciously sweetened. Mmmmm…

In my experience, most Asians have an aversion to sweets. Dinner courses traditionally end with fruit, such as a nice plate of sliced oranges. It’s enough to make my sweet tooth cry.

Forget the obesity and diabetes factor as you consider enjoying a sweet that actually tastes sweet. In moderation, of course. But enjoy it, nonetheless. I certainly will.

Happy Fourth of July

Dear United States of America, Happy Independence Day!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

-The Star-Spangled Banner (fourth stanza), by Francis Scott Key