Monday, September 29, 2008

Thank you

I would like to say "Thank You" to our Representatives for being courageous and not voting for the "Gazillion" dollar bail out. It feels good to have been heard. Now, keep the courage up and take the time to thoughtfully put together legislation that will help, not just a band-aid.
Now a big "tsk, tsk" to the media for the 72 point headlines proclaiming the end of the world. All the panic just causes more bedlam. Let us all be thoughtful in our actions, not just reacting to the stimuli at hand.
What am I doing to keep the financial panic at bay? Loving my husband and son, petting and walking my dogs, sewing Christmas presents, laundry, going to work (as long as I have a job!). On the job front, one of our suppliers has declared Chapter 11. Our customers are not ordering. I am going in each day, as I have for the past 8.5 years, doing my best. That is all I can do. Well, I also hope and pray for the best to come.
Lets keep doing our best.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Serious times

My employer announced today that our operations are going from 5 days a week down to 4. Departmental layoffs will come next week. I have been through this situation before. Not fun. I wasn't in management then so I did not have to make tough decisions. I may have to now.

Our elected officials are at least thinking more instead of reacting to our naked emperor and Chicken Little. It is possible they might find a solution that can stabilize the market with less pain. I am glad there seem to be some cooler heads involved in the thinking. Maybe our phone calls and emails have been heard.

In light of the seriousness of the times we are in, here is a quote to ponder:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes
me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned,
an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the
country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices
of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the
Republic destroyed.”

letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The previous message....

Heehee! Somehow my sweet honey got into my blog and posted his politico message of the day!
Okay, I confess, I am quite liberal and democratic in my views. I am not ashamed of it either. The actions of recent days by our elected officials has ticked me off. I am as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more! I called Washington and told my Senators and Congressman that I do not support the bailout. Do they care what I think?
Um, no.
So, I am going to fire them. Guess what: Elizabeth Dole, Richard Burr, and Patrick Mc Henry? You work for me, I pay your salary. And you are doing a lousy job.

Remember to vote. Pay attention. They are supposed to work for us.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

41 Days til?

After 7 years of the Bush Presidency, the named should be changed to the US in crisis. He has allowed us to move from one scene to another and never tried to get in front of what is happening. Now it is a $700 billion bailout and if we don't act immediately we will have a meltdown. I for one am fed up with the theatrics.

Then Sen McCain runs about shouting the sky is falling, I must get to Washington. Nevermind that he hasn't been there since April, he must stop what he is doing and cancel the debate and make a trip to Wahsington. How long can this go on? Please not four more years. Enough is enough!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Authentic Chinese Food

This photo shows a delightful treat offered at the old Shanghai market: Squid on a Stick. As I understand it, these are fresh squid, impaled on a skewer, then grilled to your satisfaction; to be eaten as you stroll about the market. One of the more exotic offerings I saw while in China. No, I did not partake of the Squid-on-a-stick, but I could see the attractiveness of such. I tried to eat the most authentic and local fare I could find. And for the time I was in China, I did not suffer any digestive issues at all. I have dealt with indigestion, an over-active gall-bladder (?), gastro-esophageal reflux and diverticulitis. I have always tried to eat as healthy as possible; salads, grilled-not-fried meats, fruits. But over there, I threw caution to the wind. I ate a boiled egg, bacon and croissant every morning; the local lunch and dinner. And not stomach distress at all. The only thing I can surmise is that the meals I ate were prepared from fresh, not preserved items. The meats were local, not factory-farmed. The preservatives, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers used here to feed us have some less than desirable side-effects. I am trying to figure out how to eat here, in the richest country on earth, so that I do not suffer all the ills as before. No more high-fructose corn syrup. As for what I can eat, well, no squid on a stick, but the rest is a journey to be discovered.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bittersweet homecoming

Our sweet Sophie passed away last Friday. She was born approximately 5/1997. She came into our home in July of 1998. She had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart in April this year. We will miss her and her sweetness for ever.
On the previous Monday, a different little brown dog showed up on our doorstep. I happen to believe this was no coincidence. We have named her "Pepper".

The vet said by her teeth she is around 5 months old, so I set her birthday as April 7, same as my hubby's. She is as small and the same blond as Sophie. She is very sweet and meek. We are getting to know her and I think she is going to be a great addition to our family.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another amazing day

Another amazing day spent in Shanghai. Leo met me at 9:30 this morning, in the rain from Typhoon Sinlaku. We went to the West Nanjing Road shopping area and then on to the Buddhist Temple. These are 3 of the 18 Buddhas I saw there. The 18 Buddhas are apparently like Buddhist apostles as they were actually human and achieved enlightenment and became Buddhas. This was a very special experience. Leo and I bought incense. He bought his and prayed for his family. I prayed for my family too! I was surrounded by Buddhists practising their faith, monks chanting and the smell of the incense burning. It has a special experience.
I begin my trek home tomorrow, flying from Shanghai to Seoul at 9pm; sleeping in the transit hotel in the Inchon Airport, then boarding the plane for the long flight to Atlanta at 10am Tuesday (Asia time). While I have really enjoyed my visit, had my eyes opened and my heart filled with love for new friends and respect for the Chinese people; I am ready to be home, with my husband! This is the longest we have been apart since we were married almost 25 years ago. And I really miss him!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shanghai Saturday

I just love the English Translations!

And no, I did not try the dumpling stuffed with the ovary and digestive glands of a CRAD!

Throw out any preconcieved notions, the Chinese people are very friendly and have a hilarious sense of humor!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

News from NingBo, night 3

From last night:

There are times in life that reality seems to have changed its essence. This trip is one of those times. Last night, my Chinese friends Grace and Raymond, took me to a new Vietnamese restaurant here in NingBo. We enjoyed a fabulous Vietnamese meal and I taught them how to drink Corona with lime. The Corona bottle was even printed in Chinese! I am in China, eating Veitnamese, drinking Mexican, learning Mandarin!

Then today, I rode back to town from our office with all of our employees. Say what you may, all the Chinese companies here provide bus and van rides from drop-off points in the residential areas. Yup, they all carpool. Anyway, here I am in a van, the only non-Chinese for miles around. It was so real, so truly real. We all really are more alike than different. From the extreme business like atmosphere of the office, to joking, laughing and chatting in the van. Although I could not understand any of the words, I believe the conversations were common to us all: what we were having for dinner, what we were looking forward to this weekend, etc. While I really am as far away from home as I have ever been, I feel as close the the essence of humanity as I ever have.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NingBo Nights

I really do not know what to say, except that I feel so very lucky and blessed to be on this great adventure! I have met so many wonderful, friendly people.
I got into Shanghai Monday night on time. One of our VPs met me at customs along with our driver Yng (pronounced EEng). Today, I gave him his English name: Henry. He likes that. Everyone here has such a wonderful sense of humor. They are very interested in how I live, just as I am interested in how they live.
In Shanghai, on Tuesday, we went to a market in the morning. We then met with a China division of one of our customers in the US. After that, Yng drove me the 2.5 hours from Shanghai to NingBo. We were on a toll road most of the way. We actually experienced a flat tire that Yng changed in under 10 minutes! Now let me put this in perspective, Yng speaks very little English; he can say "Okay" and "See you tomorrow" and that's it. So here I was, halfway around the world, on the side of a very busy Chinese highway, the ONLY "white" person around for miles. Yes, we got some stares! I have been stared at quite a bit! Well, we continued on toward NingBo. Before crossing the longest bridge in the world, 36 km over water, we stopped so I could use the toilet. Yep, major cultural difference, but I was game and made it work!
Then into NingBo and the Howard Johnson's. Now this is not a HoJo like in the US. This is a major 5-star luxury hotel and they booked me into a freaking suite! this is the absolute, nicest hotel room I have ever been in. I have a butler! They had a sign to greet me upon check-in "Welcome Ms Kelly Wood". The entire staff greets me by name! Amazing. NingBo is a large city by our standards, between 7 and 8 million, like NYC (Shanghai is 25 million). And the staff here knows my name! I had dinner last night with Grace Wang and Raymond Lai from our office here. They are absolute jewels! We went to visit on of the mills we deal with today. We (Grace, Raymond, Henry (Yng) and Jane from the mill) ate at a traditional NingBo restaurant. Grace and Jane made all the selections. Everything is served family style and we all eat out of the same bowls. We had rice cakes, which are like a dumpling, bamboo, a local green which reminded me of collards, fried pumpkin (DEE-licious), fish that looked like flounder, but tasted a little stronger, a type of local mussel, and these huge beans. We also drank Corn juice with our meal! We went to the 2 public showrooms of the mill and saw some of the local flavor. It is very clean and safe here. NingBo is at the confluence of 3 rivers and has lots of outdoor markets and restaurants.

NingBo is very clean, there are trees planted everywhere, around every factory building. The workers in every business where some sort of uniform for their company. The populace is very hard-working. But contrary to what I had thought, they work 5-6 days a week, for normal 8 hour shifts. The retail areas operate from 10am to 7 or 8pm. Most NingBo people eat lunch around 11 am and dinner as early as 4:30pm. The people I have seen on the streets are dressed in every conceivable way: from fashionable to uniforms to t-shirts and wife-beaters.
This is a great experience!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This sure aint Caldwell County

Took the above photo today on the way from Shanghai to Ningbo.
Here's what I have learned today:
Everything is bigger in China!
They feed me well
I am treated like a freaking rock star here!
Most can speak a lot more English than I can speak Chinese!
The Chinese people are excellent hosts and really show appreciation
The Chinese people are quick to laugh

Okay confession time:
Those of you that know me know that I do not camp for 1 major reason: porcelain toilets, or the lack thereof. Well, today, I did something I did knot think I could do, yes, I used a Chinese public toilet. Men do not understand this squeamishness on my part. They can pee on a tree and its okay. Well, for the uninitiated, most public toilets here are essentially porcelain holes in the ground. The position to assume is a squat. I was desperate. We were about to cross the World's Longest Bridge (seriously) so I did not want to get halfway over and have to go. Well, when in Rome...
I did my business. It is a porcelain hole, but it looks rather like a urinal laid on its back. And yes, you do flush it.

Ningbo, the adventure continues. And I may be failing for the Chinese people and their delightful laughs!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Greetings from Shanghai!

Nie Hao! I survived the 19 hour flight, 2 connections, across the international date line and my luggage made it here at the same time!
It is 7:20am here, Tuesday morning. So will begin my Asian adventure.
Basics: Flew over from Greensboro to Atlanta on Delta. Then Korea Air from Atlanta to Seoul. Then Seoul to Shanghai. Let me tell you, Korea Air is a freakin 5 star in my book. They understand what customer service is! I was awakened at one point by the smell of freshly baking chocolate chip cookies! Great food, the fed me 3 meals and countless snacks. So far all the Chinese I have met have been freindly and helpful. I really do not anticipate otherwise. I hope to be able to upload some photos once I get my power converter!

Monday, September 1, 2008


It has been a very strange week. Work slow, sewing fast, man-cub sad, then happy. Nice long weekend, but now, preparing for CHINA!
I take a sewing class last Monday night (the Origami Jacket). Ended up unsewing quite a bit! But with remedial help from the instructors, I was able to figure out what I did wrong. Once I had the pieces laid out correctly, I sewed it together in about 15 minutes.
Man-cub has been jerked around by the coaching staff. He has been persona-non-grata since showing up (in TERRIFIC shape) for camp. Didn't get many reps in practices. Totally ignored by the new coaching staff. They got their clocks cleaned Saturday night and have (since 6:30 this AM) named him scout team player of the week and moved him to starting at center! Not too smart in the planning and personnel managment.
And now, I have to start planning what to pack for my trek to Shanghai in 6 days.