Thanksgiving Day

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I had a wonderful Thanksgiving day. Laura and I went for a walk around her new neighborhood which was fun and it was good to get some exercise. Matt came over early to watch his Cowboys play which really made him happy since they won.

Then the cooking started which doesn’t seem like work when you have help. Matt made a waldorf  salad and cooked up some cabbage.

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The turkey turned out wonderful along with the mashed potatoes. Trish and Tom made a delicious pumpkin cake along with pumpkin chocolate

chip cookies.

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Jonathan brought some rolls and the meal was complete.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family,

Laura has this cute little turkey light to add to the celebration.

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I went for a walk at City Creek Canyon which was beautiful with the snow covered ground.

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A nice view of the Capital.

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Wonderful for me to remember the Olympics where Matt and I volunteered at back in 2002.

CIMG2283It felt great to walk in the cool crisp air and was quite a work out as the path had lots of hills. It gave me time to think of all the wonderful things that I am thankful for this year.  It goes with out saying that I am thankful for my dear husband who is cooking up a turkey over in China  to share with all his Chinese friends.  I felt that I needed to be here with my kids for the holiday so Mark will join us for Christmas. I am thankful that Laura has a beautiful home for us to share the holiday in.  She already set up food assignments so the day should not be too crazy for all of us. After living in China the last few months I am sooooooooooooo thankful for a warm house. I love to be able to walk around with out carrying a blanket and hot water bottles. It makes me really appreciate all  the simple things in life, drinking water from the sink, doing a couple loads of laundry in an hour, watching TV without it freezing every 10 minutes, drinking real milk.  And how can I forget Cheese Puffs….Just to name a few things.

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Bills, mail, magazines

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Yesterday I spent 4 hours going threw all these piles of mail. This is after Laura has already looked at the mail every couple weeks. So many catalogs for the Christmas season .

The girls and I are going to do some baking for Thanksgiving tomorrow when they get home from work.

This morning I am going to go for a walk at City Creek Canyon which is a 10 walk from Laura’s house. I have wanted to do this ever since she bought the house. Will show some pictures tomorrow.

I made it back to Utah

   suitcaseYesterday  I made it back to Utah with no problems. This was the first trip home out of 5 to come straight here which felt great. It feels so good to be home where everything is familiar and it is warm in Laura’s home. Laura picked me up and all the kids came over for some delicous Mexican food. Now, I have to unpack and do laundry, yuck. It snowed last night so it looks beautiful outside.

Santa nails

Yesterday I had my nails done by Ruby at her new shop. A very cute little shop so hopefully she will keep busy. I told her I wanted a decoration on one nail and this is what she did.

Santa (good)

I just love my little Santa.

Last night Mark and I went out for a walk and we discovered a new shopping mall with some familiar stores and a movie theater. I should have a fun day today.

Christmas in Beijing

Today I went for a walk and was pleasantly surprised to see all the Christmas decorations since China really doesn’t celebrate Christmas. All these trees are just sitting out on the sidewalk.  Obviously lots of western influence when it comes to the holidays.

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The reindeer have fur

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I think I need the pink one

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They look so nice all decorated

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Love the gold one

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Even Starbucks celebrates Christmas

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Last post from Changzhi for awhile

Today Mark and I are flying to Beijing as Mark has meetings for the next 4 days and then I fly back to Utah on the 22nd.  I have to all get all my clothes packed since I won’t be coming back to Changzhi before I leave for home. (Not looking forward to the task of packing).

A group of us went out for dinner on Saturday night at an “ecological” restaurant in town. The environment was beautiful with all the plants being real and the temperature inside was great.

Peter (fellow Canadian), Simon, Mark, Joan, Xueer, Wendy (Simon’s wife)

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The crabs looked good although we didn’t get any.

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Xueer and Joan

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Joe, Joan, Mark (trying to be funny)

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I did buy a couple Christmas decorations to keep Mark company until he comes home for the holiday. I can hardly wait to get home and decorate the house. Got an early start on  my Christmas songs as I played them all day yesterday ( didn’t have my kids saying that I should wait until after Thanksgiving).

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To all my Chinese friends stay tuned as I will post pictures of Thanksgiving in America, and Christmas.

New bikes

Since everyone in China (or almost everyone) rides a bike here, Mark and I thought we would join the majority and get a bike. This was last week when it was still 70 outside. Mark ordered his bike so it came in a couple days ago when the streets were covered with snow and ice so we were unable (or not brave enough to ride on ice)  to ride them home.

I got a Giant which is a made in China.

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Add in store

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Mark’s bike is the black one directly behind them.

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Yes, I got a helmet. Don’t worry mom, it has a red light on the back that flashes on and off.

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The unfortunate part of living in an apartment is storage, so now the bikes are parked in the guest bedroom.

bikes 003Yes, the hot water heat in the floor  has been turned and it feels absolutely wonderful :)

My two new friends

Life was so much better for me last night after I went to the store and picked up two more items to add to my survival kit. A hot water bottle and an electric blanket. The hot water bottle was easy to pick from the huge selection, while there weren’t many choices for the electric blanket. I was thinking what color, do I want dual controls… but the store only had 2 left. We found out that they only make a small size that would fit on close to half a queen size bed. It is more like a huge heating pad and really not that soft ,but beggars cannot be choosers, so we grabbed two and left. They were only $6.00 each.  It helped to warm up the bed which was great.

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The heat comes on today :) :)

The other night Xueer fixed hot pot for us which was delicious. I got my separate little pot as the big pot was spicy hot.

Basically she cut up lots of vegetables: mushrooms,  lotus root, cabbage, lettuce, sea weed, tofu, tofu noodles, sweet potatoes which I have recently taken a liking too. They are a cross between our potatoes and sweet potatoes but  they are closer to white in color and have more of a potato texture.  Little booths on the street cook them and people just walk around eating them like a piece of a fruit. We purchased very thinly sliced beef which cooked up really fast in the pot of boiling soup broth.

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thinly sliced beef

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my little hot pot

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A great meal for a cold winter day.

Surviving in a FREEZING apartment

I am managing to stay warm in our freezing apartment. China turns on the hot water heat that runs threw the floor on the 15th so now we have a small heat pump that just can’t keep up with below freezing weather.  It is registering in the 50’s so very very cold. I have set out a few things to show how I am surviving.

survival kit 002My very warm blanket that I carry with me everywhere, and my faithful hoodie that actually covers my head at night. Many many layers of clothes (at least 4 or5),and delicious hot chocolate.  But the best is the bottles that I fill with hot water to warm up the bed at night. I actually have them under my feet now as I am writing and they are keeping me very comfortable. Mark just laughs. Supposedly when the heat is turned on it will be almost to hot in here, I am just waiting to see.

Yesterday I took my usual morning walk and took a few pictures of the winter weather. They actually closed the airport for two days.

The sun was trying to come out.

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the cart needed some help

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This was so dang cute that you can see everyone was looking. Most people sit on these little stools, so this dad attached the stool to a piece of wood and made it into a sled.  The little boy was wearing plastic bags on his feet.

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Enlarged for a better view. Loved his hood with the ears and the scarf.

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Everyone removes the snow

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Snow on my inside kitchen window.

snow on windowIt usually takes a few days to get the system running correctly which will just be in time for me to leave for home. I am going to sit in front of my fireplace at home  for days and just crank up the heat.