PhotoBookGirl Giveaway

Ok, this giveaway was so good I had to start blogging again so I could get an extra 3 entries!

I just used MyPublisher to print a photo book of our first family photos, and it turned out so well that I decided ONLY to use MyPublisher from now on. So when I read that PhotoBookGirl was giving away $600 to spend at MyPublisher I just had to enter!

Even if you don’t enter the giveaway, check out It is a great site with amazing tips and even a photo book wizard to help you decide which of the hundreds of companies to use for your book.

Featured in Small Style!

So, I was just linking up with Morgan for Small Style, as usual, and I discovered that last month when we did the first ever Dual Small Style post, Morgan featured our babies on her blog.

I’m not sure how I missed it before, but it’s pretty cool that someone else appreciates our super cute babies!!  :-)

Check out her post here. 

Lack of blogging….

I try to blog frequently.  I do.  However life seems to get in the way….

Jackson’s first time in the ocean!  He wasn’t too impressed.  I think the water was a bit too cold for him.  (Photo by Erica)

Last week we were in Japan, visiting Stella and her mommy Erica. We did all kinds of baby-friendly fun things.  See the highlights here.  Really, click on this link!  Erica’s photos are awesome.  Maybe someday I will post some of mine.





Here are a couple photos of Jackson when he was still in the hospital – just a couple days old!

Something you don’t see in China….

This house is being moved. They just pick it up, put it on a truck, and take it to the new location. The highways are usually empty so there isn’t much of a problem with blocking the road.

Bulldozing a kitty?

Spotted outside of the gift shop in the Pearl TV Tower. Poor kitty.

Did you know you can receive all my posts via email?

I know a lot of people don’t have time to come visit my blog regularly.  If you don’t use an RSS reader, you can subscribe to my blog via email.

If you want to receive an email whenever I post something new, just click here and enter in your email address.  Then, check your email for a confirmation email.  You’ll need to click on a link and verify that it really was you that requested to be subscribed.

Tomorrow I’m posting my favorite photo from my Kunming trip!

Fancy cars

Today we were having mojito outside at Cantina Agave when a couple cars that were parked on the sidewalk needed to leave. First a Lamborgini, then a Ferrari, very slowly backed out, inch by inch, through the outdoor seating area.

New iPhones!!!

This weekend Jon bought iPhones for both of us. Wow, talk about life-changing technology! The amount of apps available is amazing. I actually did this whole post from my phone and can access my full blog, including things like comment moderation from my phone. Awesome.

Aomen Lu – 52 Weeks, 52 Steets Project

My 52 Weeks, 52 Steets project really got derailed when I spent 7 weeks out of the country!  I’m trying to pick it up again though.  I actually took Aomen Lu in January before I went to Australia.

Strawberry Fields

The workers live here. We wondered if they own the land, or if they are just working and someone else gets most of the profit. Our group must have bought at least $100 worth of strawberries, so probably a really good day for them.

Weighing a basket – the weight is 500 grams (1 jin.)

Food Photography

My friend Bonnie started her own business here, doing custom baking for other expats. I volunteered to shoot her goodies for her brochure. I got to take home samples of each of her offerings… YUMMY!

Women’s Day – March 7

China celebrates International Women’s Day. If it falls on a work day, all of the women get half of the day off. This year, it was Sunday, so we all got to choose a gift instead. The choices: a soybean milk maker (like a soybean juicer), blender, sheets, pot, or gift basket with shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

Last year, all of the women went to the hospital to get their annual checkup. (I got my hair cut that morning instead.) I think I prefer the gift!

Canvas prints

Last week at the photo mall, we printed a couple photos on canvas. It cost 120 RMB ($17) for a 30 x 40 inch print. It actually cost more to get it stretched across a custom-made frame.

I took this photo near the Minor farm outside of Nisland.

about 80%…

I think I have about everything back in my blog. Whoo-hoo! I am so thankful I could finally access my old FTP site at work (on US internet) to get all of the photos from my blog. The guys at my host just can’t figure out that if their server is blocked in China, I just can’t get on it. No matter what.

I also uploaded the missing food chart from a couple posts ago. Check it out if you are interested in the cost of living Western-style here.

Tomorrow…. a real post.


My blog is still blocked in China.  I also can’t get on my server at work.  What a pain!

I am working on a solution and hopefully will just move servers.  My website and blog address will remain the same.

Soon…  I will be posting more! (I hope!)

Christmas Cookies

I made a bunch of Christmas cookies with glaze for my friends and co-workers. I think they were a hit. I used this recipe from the Reisch cookbook.

Dawn til Dusk

Photojojo has an article today about taking photos of a city from Dawn until Dusk. It’s a pretty interesting concept.

I think in Shanghai you could do it all 24 hours – something is always happening. It would make a good coffee table book. Any other photographers willing to try this sometime? WoAi, Swiss James, Dingle…. I think all of you are photographers!

Back to blogging

It’s been a month since I updated, and two months since I actually wrote anything substantial. I will make an attempt to get back into it a little bit. Please do keep coming back…

My friend/co-worker Steve who is moving to China said his mom checks my blog daily. Hi, Steve’s mom! I see my counter is still going up so I guess some people are still interested. Steve said that my blog was a reason some of his friends and relatives had a realistic view of what Shanghai is like. That was pretty much my purpose in blogging – to share some of my experiences with everyone back home.

The bad news is that my blog is blocked in China again. What a bummer. I hosted it on my own domain ( instead of because blogspot used to be blocked. The only thing that I can think of is that I said “p r a y e r service” in a post about Jared. I can’t think of any other reason that the internet censors of China would find my blog suddenly a threat to the Chinese people. My whole domain is blocked so no one can get to either.

American Food

One of the best things about being home is the FOOD! Jon said, “Even the bottled water here taste’s better.” (I agree.) Things I have really enjoyed so far:

  • A thick steak grilled to medium-rare over a charcoal grill, along with corn on the cob (thanks Dave!)
  • Mussels, crab, and calamari at The Fransiscan in Fishermans Wharf
  • Blue Moon beer (enjoyed in the sun at a restaurant overlooking the harbor in San Francisco)
  • Broccoli cheese soup in a breadbowl at Quiznos
  • A turkey-swiss with ranch croissant at a local coffee shop
  • Chicken strips with ranch & BBQ sauce, a baked potato with cream cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Indian taco (that was Jon’s)
  • Wheatables (crackers)
  • Milk! (non-tainted)

Fun with Airport Codes

Sept 26 – PVG to SFO
Sept 28 – SFO to DEN to RAP
Oct 5 – Drive East
Oct 13 – BKX
Oct 17 – FSD to LAS
Oct 19 – LAS to SFO to PVG

See many of you in the USA soon!

the Grocery Store

These are all photos that Esther took. We stopped by our local grocery store for a peek at some differences in Western and Eastern cuisine. She has been living in Thailand for 10 months, working as a tour guide, so I didn’t think these things would surprise her but they did.

This is from a male pig. Enough said.

Chicken feet

Not the pet store…. frogs. (yep, alive.)

Soft-shelled turtles – I’ve had them before.

A fish no one will pick – they need to be alive and well. It is very important to pick out the freshest and best animal, which is why the meat counter is so interesting to me.

None of the meat counters have glass in them. You can slap, pinch and poke each piece of meat before picking one. Then the next person slaps, pinches and poke each one too. The process is repeated all day (remember most public toilets do not have soap or hot water.) This is why we don’t buy meat at the local stores. (Probably, cooking the meat would kill any germs. Our western ideas of how meat should be treated still prevents us from purchasing it though.)

Durian – the famous fruit that is supposed to be wonderful if you can get past the awful smell! Most hotels even ban it. I haven’t had it.

The Blarney Stone

Friday night Jon Settingsgard and Steve Gokie and I went to the Blarney Stone for supper and some drinks. Jon came later after he got back from Hong Kong. At 1:30 AM they rang the bell for last call. Soon after than, a large group of girls came in. A couple had on Canada shirts and
all of them had Olympic passes. The soccer events are held in Shanghai.

A quick Google search on my cell phone brought up the headline “Canada falls to US in women’s soccer.” The team was there to drown their sorrows or else celebrate just being at the Olympics. They certainly livened up the bar!

Jon, Jon and Steve

Jon hanging out – don’t you love his new glasses?

They put on some great American music… I miss this!!

Me and Christine Sinclair, the team captain. We think she looks bit like our friend Jen Connors, but not in this photo.

Jon then bought a bottle of vodka for them. They were pretty excited, but got his name wrong. :-)

Needless to say, the bar stayed hopping long, long after closing time. One of their coaches told us that this was the first time in over a year the girls even drank.

Happy 4th of July!!

Well, it’s the 4th and all of our friends back home are probably grilling, drinking and playing lawn games. *sigh* Wish I was there too!!

Dan and Wendy came over tonight and somehow we started talking about Schoolhouse Rock. (YouTube has about everything you can imagine on it, so we jumped on to show them some clips.) It just so happens that each of the things we played were pretty patrotic.

Enjoy the trip down memory lane!

and one of the most popular ones…. Conjunction Junction!

Grilled over disabilities?

Yes, the literal translation is correct. None of my Chinese friends were able to figure it out either (a Korean word, I think).

If I negotiate, can I have the daughter and father too? Once again, the literal translation is correct as far as anyone could tell.

Cowboy food

When the SDSU group was here, this was one of the snacks served. Cowboy food is good for the SDSU group, I guess!
Cowboy food is a literal translation. Yvonne explained that it meant something like “on-the-road food”. My interpretation would be “trail mix.” It was sunflower seeds roasted with a sweet coating.

X-Games Asia

The X-Games were in Shanghai and we went to check it out. It was a pretty small crowd – the schools gave out hundreds of tickets to students. It was a little funny watching little old Asian ladies walking arm in arm, huddling under their umbrellas – just not the typical X-Game crowd as I imagine it!
It was the first REALLY sunny and hot day of the summer, I think. We both got a little burned, but not bad at all. Our chiropracter (who told us about it) and his wife were working there and they shared their sunscreen with us. Whew.

Chinese people are very concerned about letting any sun on their skin!
(Ok, she may be going to extremes though.)

Office set up

Yesterday Jon and I went to Best Buy to finally get a monitor for our home computer. The screen on our Vaio doesn’t go to a large enough resolution for me to easily use Photoshop, so I’d been using my work computer a lot. We got a 22-inch widescreen ViewSonic monitor, which is just perfect. So our office is finally getting used! We also got a free Best Buy China mug (is there any way to tell if it’s been painted with lead paint?)


A month or two after we moved here, we finally got around to buying something for our walls.

About 2 weeks ago, we got around to getting them framed.

Now, we finally have them up!

It is really nice to have something on the bare white walls.


Christianne sent me three books a few weeks ago, after I mentioned how much I miss reading English on a daily basis. She is an avid reader too and also works at Dak. We actually worked together at DCS (Dakota Communication Solutions) as supervisors before it went under. She left for Dak about a month before I did.

Last week I read Salem Falls and this weekend I read Water for Elephants. Both were really good. I love reading. Yes, I read a book over the weekend. Yes, the whole thing.

Next week it will be Nineteen Minutes, another book by Jodi Picoult. I read “My Sister’s Keeper” by her a while ago and love her writing style.

I used to be in a book club in Brookings. It was a small group of women who worked at Dak. We spent a lot of time discussing things other than the book, but it definitely was a highlight of the month to get together.


Post History


Go back to top