Monthly Archives: December 2007

Sweater Dress


So, I decided to try to find a sweater dress to go with my new boots. These dresses are quite the new style and, when shopping for them, I found I have a problem with the sweater dress. I just don’t understand the style. I tried a bunch on and they were all either too long (sweater tent) or too short (sweater, period). So I ended up getting what actually looks like a summer dress. Oh, well. Pictures to come! Of boots and dresses.

There are pictures of Jesse and I celebrating Christmas over there:
on our Flickr page.
We had fun, but we missed you, too.

Momm and Daddy come in a few days! Hooray! There’s no bed for them yet! Boo!


Merry Christmas!


What a wonderful day! We had a delicious time yesterday. We managed to spend the whole day unwrapping gifts (you have to play with each one before moving on to the next) and cooking and eating and talking on the phone. We had apple pie and bacon for breakfast – probably the best breakfast combo ever; and roasted chicken, stuffing, and broccoli/cauliflower gratin for dinner. And a lot of chocolate in between. We shared a bottle of champagne and some grand marnier and got a little goofy and talked about how fantastic life is (Jesse: “I wish I could marry you again”). I gave Jesse (among many things) a fancy stovetop bialetti coffee maker and an 8 edition set of books with all the writings (in traditional characters) of the pre-Tang Dynasty Chinese philosophers (mostly from the Warring States period, his particular interest). Jesse not only got me some lovely and much appreciated gifts (books, people! 4 new books!)(and the 1st 5 seasons of Alias!), but he also always writes the sweetest little notes on them. Here’s one:

Dear Amy Kate,
Well, I have been visiting you for many years now, and you have always been a good girl. I don’t want to shake your confidence in the North Pole, but you will no doubt notice a decline in the overall quality of our gift wrapping and I feel you deserve an explanation. You see, due to rising oil prices, the weakness of the dollar and increased sea levels around the North Pole we have had to cut elf pay, resulting in a several month long elf strike. I have had to pull some strings to keep this out of the news – don’t want the little ones catching wind of this – but you are an adult and have a right to know. Besides, I had to steal some of your wrapping paper. To make a long story short, the whole ordeal has just been a nightmare. We’ve had to hire……gnomes…
Merry Christmas,
Kris Kringle

Very cute, no? He carried the theme into a scavenger hunt later in the day, which led me to a gorgeous new pair of boots! I will upload many Christmas pictures, including ones of my stocking-making project, onto flickr soon.

You know how people say that they fall more in love with their sweethearts with every passing year (and sometimes it can be too sticky-sweet and annoying?)? It’s true, though. I am always ever more in love with my husband. My life is sticky-sweet and I love it.

Merry Christmas, much love to all! Family and friends, I miss and love you all so much!

Not Toasty


Shanghai is famous (at least among the expat population) for being freakin hot and miserable over the summer and bone-chillingly cold and miserable over the winter. This means I have nearly endless (and boring) writing material about the weather. All that to say, folks! It’s cold outside! It’s been down to about 4 degrees C at night and up to, maybe, 9 C during the day. Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense to any of you back home, but it doesn’t to me, either. Jesse always computes it in his head for me. He’s not here, so you all get is the TV’s version of the weather. The real problem with this cold (which is not so cold, I know) is the same issue we had up north in Japan in winter. Houses aren’t insulated or provided with sufficient air-warming devices. Our “heater” is actually our air-conditioner, and unfortunately for it, when the weather reaches it’s typical extremes both in summer and winter, this device fails to either cool or warm up the apartment. It’s just too “breezy” in here. I can feel the air wafting in even 8 inches away from each window. Where all the pipes – be they water, fan, or AC related – exit the apartment, there are large holes in the house around them, like the workers misjudged the width of the pipe by 3 times. On the gustier days, there is literally a breeze through the apartment. So, anyway, it’s cold!

On a positive note regarding the coldness, Jesse and I have been spending more time in at night, with me cooking, rather than eating street food, so our bowels have been a little less disturbed (only a little less, though. I believe I will not be regular until we’ve been back home for a few months). Especially fortunate is the wintery, bone-padding food I’ve been making, which is adding to our bulk to keep us a bit warmer at night. Seriously, I made Alfredo sauce last night! I’m hoping all summer it will be too hot to cook or eat, so we can lose this weight. I really need to stop making dessert. In the month since we bought the (glorified toaster) oven, I’ve been industrially proving to Jesse just what I CAN do with a little butter, flour and more butter. My latest best-dinner-ever was Chicken Chili Verde and beer bread. All made with random interesting substitutes that are possible to find in China – no poblano peppers or tomatillos here. The beer bread was awesome and easy. Very yeasty and dense and I used dark brown sugar, so it was extra tasty.

I could talk about all the decadent dishes I’ve made over the past few weeks, but that’s probably only exciting for me. I have updates to make on my 52 books list but haven’t gotten around to it. I am currently reading Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld and can’t put it down, so I think I’ll go back to the book!

Rainy Day


I laughed out loud twice while reading Dooce* this morning and think I may be feeling better. My first outburst came concurrently with a sip of coffee almost spit out, as she wrote of her husband, when hearing their daughter’s singing along to “The Little Mermaid”, asked if that was their girl in the living room or somebody fondling a llama. I do recommend you check up on Dooce and Leta (Erin).

Today is dripping and chilly and I love it. I told Jesse this morning how I am always comforted by a rainy day and he supposed it might be that it reminds me of Portland. I think, though, that I have always loved a rainy day. The sound of rain, the smell of it, and the possibility of staying in making bread make the rain special. Whether we’re here in Shanghai where the winter is the driest time of year, or in Portland where it gets old after the 100th day of rain, I do like a rainy day. When I was living in the ground floor half of a duplex in Portland, I found I missed never being able to hear the rain on the roof. I’d wake up, go about my “getting ready for work” business and sometimes not know til opening the door that it was rainy. So I put a metal garbage can lid outside my bedroom window where the gutter dripped down and from then on could hear a steady plink!, plunk! when it was raining.

There are little birds just outside my window! They’re hopping here and there and making light little chirpy hello’s to each other. Sigh…small little happinesses.

* I think I fixed that link to Dooce. It’s the stooopid firewall in China that makes me use this other website to post to wordpress and then sticks it’s address in places it doesn’t belong. But it makes me angry and I’m going to stop.



Oh Dear, I haven’t written in quite awhile. I just don’t feel so hot. Mom always said, “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Really good advice. I’ve extended it to, “If you don’t have something positive to say…”. I just didn’t want to pick up the (proverbial) pen and record grumpy, cranky complaints about my negative body image, lack of female companionship, missing family, etc…. So that’s the end of it. I’ve been feeling a little sad.

Christmas is coming and we’ve put up a few little decorations and opened days on our advent calendar. If anybody has a few mp3’s of christmas music they’d like to email me, we’d love to add it to the attempted festive feeling. I tried to go shopping for gifts for Jesse today but forgot to take money with me. The use of credit cards is pretty spotty. I did find some things that I’d like to go back another day and get.

See? Jeez. If I’m feeling “blarghy”, my writing is dull as dirt. I think I’ll actually go do the dishes. I’ll turn on a This American Life to keep me company.