Sunday, August 30, 2009

video train a rollin'

Hey y'all. An up and down weekend here in Shanghai. The adults got DOWN on Saturday at Zapata's dance club, then the kids threw UP on Sunday. Desi went to skool, but Emmy stayed home today. He's fine, just trying to contain the germs.

Briefly, a plea to loyal readers: go to and please subscribe to sarahpearlz
(just search for her channel, and then click the yellow button)

That way, when a new video goes up, you'll be notified. I won't need to write a new post every time I upload video. And there will be a lot coming, now that camera is fixed and skool internet is accessing youtube easily again.

That is all. Hope your world is a nice place today

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a new apartment tour

here is the updated apartment tour. low-res, but on the plus side, you can watch it on your iPhone. (just for you, EB)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Superdad at the Park

No Need to Tell Them to Make Silly Faces

Dude - Where's My Hot Dog

S and Nolan - So Cute

E and Arlo Having a Moment

D Reading to the GPS

4 Scary Bears

E and D and G at Beavers Game

Pearmine Family

when it rains, it pours

Hope you're enjoying the new photos. Big Shanghai shout-out to my dad, the "shadow Gary," who has been posting pics for me. We've gone inter-continental, folks!

So here's some summer highlights. Many of our loyal blog readers (you know who you are) were involved in these activities, so let's reminisce, why don't we?

In no particular order, fun memories of summer '09:

* meeting new babies Arlo, Carter, Chloe and Nolan. (FYI--no one names their kids Mike or Jenny anymore.)

* playing spades with Mark and EB. now that I look thru my photos, it appears we seem to have a "no photos of adults" rule in effect when we're at the Ferdigs. so imagine, if you will, EB and Gary sitting across from one another, not table-talking like Mark and Sarah always do, then winning the last few games of the summer and riding off into the sunset as World Champs. smells like...victory.

* 4 words: Powell's City of Books

* visits with family on both sides. several Volzes in attendance, including the Shadow Blogger (see above). Grandma Milo, always a hoot. (to borrow 1 of her words)

* 2 weeks at the beach, with good friends and beer and chowder and WOW there are a lot of really big people in America. It really hit us at Mo's Chowder House (go figure). No offense America, but it looks like Texas ain't the only place where everything's bigger.

* eating burritos, and any other Mexican food we could get our hands on. the semi-permanent taco truck on 50th/Division is good. If you haven't made a run for that border yet you should. also, the Mexican restaurant in Pacific City, which we must have driven past many times without so much as a glance, was EXACTLY the kind of food I miss most. do yourself a favor, por favor, and sample their flavor.

* clownin' with Nawwal. and I mean that literally.

* riding Tri-Met. On one of my round trips, I actually paid again instead of using my transfer. "Twas but a small token of affection for the system that dragged my tired butt back and forth for 8 years.

* almost-daily trips to Sellwood Park to slide the slides, ride the barf-a-rama or play Monster. That's when I chase the kids around the play structure. I'm a very slow monster, more of a zombie, really. Still haven't caught Desi.

* Nice clean air and people stopping at red lights were wonderful. But I have to say we got annoyed when cars stopped for pedestrians who aren't at a real crosswalk and who, by all rights, should have to stand there and wait. There's the awkward attempt to make eye contact thru a windshield, and all the arm-waving like "YOU go" "No YOU go", and the nervous first couple steps off the curb. Meanwhile, precious seconds have slipped away FOREVER. Maybe I've been in a big city too long, but it's just easier if we all assume that cars only stop when they HAVE TO, aka at red things. How 'bout it, Portland?

* sorry 'bout that. must...focus...on...highlights

* Movies in the Park: Madagascar 2 at Brentwood Park. Opening act was middle-school break dancers, and they gave lessons to little kids (like ours). Beautiful night, no bugs, snuck in a couple beers, pic-a-nic dinner. so many great things about PDX all in one.

* so many great restaurants, we each gained like 10 pounds.

* Trader Joe's hummus, Goodwill's Ralph Lauren cargo shorts (I'm wearing right now) for 7 bucks

* our cool rental house in Sellwood. might just get that place again next year. after our 2-week RV adventure across the West, that is. MUCH more on that later.

This paltry list omits a lot of fun. I hope guest blogger Sarah adds anything major I forgot when she steps up to the plate this weekend. I'll be off at Day 3 of baseball tryouts (coaching JV this year). Then the big school welcome back BBQ.

and keep checking back for more photos...better Nate than Lever, I always heard

Thursday, August 20, 2009

After Eight Years...

A Clown and Her Best Customers

Summer Friends

SY 09-10: Off and running

Well, school has started up again for all 4 of us and so far, so good. Emmett is now a Grasshopper, and 13/14 of his classmates are girls. Expecting several arranged marriage proposals before year's end. He seems quite excited to be back at school after all our travels. Still unclear on what "Portland" or "China" means, though. Yesterday he was asking where the Ferdigs are. I said they are in Portland, and he asked "Are WE in Portland?" Then last night he was asking about Vicki, a girl who lived across the street last year, who has since moved back to Germany with her mom. But the rest of the family is still here. ?!?! Emmy struggled to get that whole concept.

D was excited and a little anxious to start first grade. His teacher is a lovely woman from New Zealand, so we're hoping he picks up some Kiwi-isms (e.g. they pronounce "pasta" to rhyme with "canasta"). He knows a couple classmates from last year, and one of them has a little brother in Emmy's class. It's a VERY small world out here in the Western expat outpost that is far-west Shanghai.

There's something about our kid starting "FIRST GRADE" that hit us harder than kindergarten. It could be the adverbs. On those rare occasions when Desi isn't saying "butt" or "fart" or both, it's an "apparently" or "actually." Last night at dinner, Sarah looked at Des and said it might make her cry, looking at what a big kid he's become. He dismissed such concern by reminding her, "Ya still got yer lil' baby Emmers." (note: Emmers then denied being a baby. He said he is a big kid)

As for me, I am teaching 4 World History classes and an ESOL study hall. All the kids seem nice and bright. And my biggest class has only 18! Gotta love that. My schedule is quite lopsided--my "A" days are 4 classes straight through, my "B" days I only teach 1 of 4 periods. Must...use....plan time...wisely! Baseball tryouts began yesterday, saw 38 boys come out in the POURING rain. I'm assisting JV this year, and looking fwd. to a lot of hard work and teaching the rules of the game to some fairly green players.

Sarah is off and running at work, liking Year 2, knowing the ropes much better. I'll ask her to guest-post this weekend.

Next post should be photo-riffic. I'm sending some to my dad to post for me, beyond the clutches of the Great Firewall of China. Maybe after the big 60th anniversary celebrations in October are over, our internet access will improve. Til then, don't expect much of us on facebook.

And happy 50th to Hawaii! If we're not gonna give it back to the Hawaiians, then we should celebrate stealing it fair and square!

party on party people....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

10 years!

Happy Anniversary to us. 10 years ago today, we got married. So far, so great. We are heading downtown tomorrow night to celebrate. For now, we are at work, kids start next week. I am trying to upload photos from the last few days in Portland, so bear with me...

Friday, August 7, 2009

please stand by

Quick note to anyone trying to contact us via facebook: Facebook is not working for us here now. That might change soon, as the blog wasn't working yesterday but did display today. There's really no rhyme or reason to it. Gmail is working great, as is skype (sarahpearlz). So stay in touch, especially as we don't work 'til Tuesday and there's not much outside play for us tomorrow (typhoon). Stay cool where you are...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"We're there, dudes"

don't remember which movie that quote is from, but it's true all the same. we are back in Shanghai, after the easiest flight ever. Desi slept for 9.5 of the 12 hours, Emmett 6. Not so much for mom and dad, but we're hangin' in. Apartment got painted, looks sweet. Will soon film another apartment tour and put it on youtube.

So I have to brag a bit. I packed our bags, United's limit is 50 lbs. per bag. All 8 were at least 47, and only 2 were over by 1.5 pounds. (After some shifting of movie candy and kids' calcium, all was well.) A big shout-out to Kelly for loaning us her bathroom scale. In addition, we had 4 carry-ons (the legal limit) and 6 personal items (2 over the limit), not counting my chicken Caesar. So I gate-checked the 2 heaviest carry-ons, for no charge, and our friendly driver Jordan (no relation to the basketball player) helped us load the van once we got thru the "health check" and customs. BTW, they've relaxed a bit about the whole swine flu thing--all we did was fill out a form and check "No" I don't have a fever and I didn't hang out with any feverish types. No more forehead laser scan on the plane, like we heard about happening back in June.

From the Shameless Fishing Dept., my birthday *tomorrow* might involve a massage, maybe a trip to the Shanghai Museum (can you believe I didn't go once all last year? no you cannot!), and whatever other fun I have the energy for. Prolly buy me a good imported beer or 2.

I have some sweet photos ready (beach, Safeco Field Mariners game, kids with their friends) but I am typing this thru, which gets text around the Great Firewall of China but not images. So I'll go into work Monday and maybe get some pics to y'all that way. Feel free to request them via email. (mention this ad when you write for a FREE bonus pic).