In Which I Bore You with Mindless Drivel about Dishes

Somehow, this week has been crazy. Jared got sick (for three whole days! poor thing was miserable), we got a “holiday” for New Year’s Day, which really meant that the cruel and unusual method of “let’s see how much of your weekend we can take away from you” was strongly played with makeup classes on Sunday, and then it was back to the usual of procrastinating on doing dishes because SOMEONE was convinced that bringing cookies to her classes was a good idea. Well, it was. But cookie-making also involves dish-making, and dish-making involves dish-doing, and dish-doing involves putting away those dishes, and yeah. I haven’t even gotten past the dish-making part, so I’m inwardly shuddering whenever I walk into my kitchen and see all the remnants of the shallots in the sink along with whatever’s left of the cookies.

So, obviously that means it’s time for a blog post, so all you who are like “just do the dishes as soon as you make them and then you won’t have any problem” can totally say that in your head as you don’t understand why I a) don’t like doing dishes and b) don’t follow the wonderful advice that you just gave me. But there’s just something about making cookies before an 8:00 a.m. class that robs me of the will to dish (what, you don’t think that’s a verb? Don’t know what you’re talking about). And then you get back, and the cookie dough has hardened on the pan. So, of course, you just leave it.

Anyways, I’m starting to run on just like my little brother Seth (sorry Seth), so I’ll stop with the drivel and present you with pictures of a sunrise, courtesy of my 8:00 a.m. class. It’s funny how when the days start getting longer the sunrise starts getting later at the same time. Oh, and yes, the sun rises in China just like it does in America. I think it’s even the same sun!

It’s not much of a sunrise. . .


But at least I got the camera straight in this one!

Now excuse me while I go heat up some water for my dishes. There’s no time like the present, right?




Only in China

So I know you all are dying to hear more of what China is really like. Well, I’m here with the scoop.

China is a great place to live. Not only are there five gazillion people everywhere all the time, but there are some things about China that you just won’t find anywhere else.

1. Trees in the middle of the road.

It doesn’t even align with the other trees. It’s just….there! (note the garbage bicycles in the background).
Same tree. Definitely in the road.

I don’t know what this country’s obsession is with trees, but they have them everywhere. In parking lots, sidewalks, the middle of the road. . .

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the parking space?

They’re all like, “Ooh, wonderful tree! Who cares if I nearly cream my car just getting into the parking lot?!” (And don’t ask about getting out–let’s just say I’m thankful I don’t have a car here.)

Trees in parking lot.
A little close for comfort, in my opinion. 

2. Funny little garbage bicycles.

They’re not very practical when it’s windy, either.

These trike thingies with a bed on the back still look funny to me every time I see them. Surely it must be more efficient to get rid of garbage in huge trucks than on teeny bicycles? But no–bicycles are the way to go. Plus, you can stack them like crazy to fit even more stuff on!DSC_0172

3. Parking on the sidewalks

These people are using both options–sidewalk and middle of the road. In the right of the picture is the edge of a truck–also parked in the middle of the road.

When your parking lots are full of trees, where else are you supposed to park? Well, the sidewalk is a good place to start.

Yes, that is a sidewalk too.

If you can’t find an empty space in the parking lot, just find your closest sidewalk. If that’s been taken, well, the middle of the road is probably your next best option. Just let the pedestrians and bikers figure out how to get around you. It’s their problem, not yours.


This person couldn’t decide whether the sidewalk or the middle of the road was best, so they settled on a compromise.

4. Random junky areas.

Right in front of our building.

Cats are celebrities here. There’s one who is always sitting outside when we go by on our way to the swimming pool. He usually has a few Chinese girls petting him and leaving offerings. He’s almost like the mascot cat.

This junky-ness also happens to be a cat shelter maintained by one of the neighbors. In the summer, the cats bask on top of it in the warmth of the sun. In winter, they disappear. I assume they’re slumbering within the depths (what, you say I shouldn’t use pretentious words when I tell my students not to? Hooey.) or waiting for their next meal to be brought to them by their lady-in-waiting. I think there may be around twenty cats that use this shelter regularly.

I think it’s all just trash, piled up to make a house. 

I hope you enjoyed my little tour through three blocks of China. That’s right–all these pictures were taken within three blocks of each other, on a university campus, no less. It’s even scarier out in the real world!

Until next time!

The Dangers of Dishes

I own one of the world’s worst superpowers. And by “worst” I don’t mean that it’s ineffectual,  like it only takes care of half the bad guys at a time. No, this superpower is one that doesn’t solve problems–it makes them. Dishes, to be exact.  I’m extremely good at making dirty dishes. Put me in the kitchen with some food to cook,  and I’ll have it covered in dishes before you can say “Don’t forget the baking powder!” I can make more dishes that practically anyone else I know–except for my mother. She has me beaten by a long shot. (Sorry mom, but it probably has something to do with having around 5 times more people in the house to cook for than I do.) It must be something hereditary.

Sadly, this superpower is not accompanied by actually wanting to WASH said dishes, especially when our apartment (still unheated for now) has only cold water and no dishwasher in the kitchen. I’m just as happy not getting my hands frozen and greasy in icy tap water, thank-you-very-much. Add that to our limited (around two square feet–that’s a generous estimate) counter space, and you find me getting very creative with new ways to stack dishes.

Don’t worry–these are all clean. It’s the best way to dry them, I’ve found.

So it’s probably a good thing for my sanity that I only possess a few dishes to get dirty as it forces me to wash them more than once a week (not that I would ever go that long without doing dishes–I’m far too holy for that. But don’t ask about the laundry.).

Now, before you start hyperventilating and thinking what a sad life my poor husband leads to be married to a woman who keeps their apartment looking like a pigsty (yes, mud and smells and all!), let me say that even I have some standards of living. Our floors are clean, our bed is made, and yes, even the piles of papers get graded eventually and returned to their respective students. Clutter doesn’t exist (unless you count piles of papers).  It’s just, when there are more exciting things to do like play the violin or write blog posts or even catch up on my long-neglected email inbox (if I haven’t written you back, it’s nothing personal, I promise!), the reward for doing my stack of dishes looks low in comparison.

I suppose it’s time to face it–as much as I was warned, when I was younger and going to all sorts of music lessons every week, of the messiness inherent in the musical personality, I am that person. Apparently it’s because musicians are so highly organized in their brains that they don’t need to be organized elsewhere–I always know exactly where everything is, so it’s a waste of time to label it neatly or spend time putting it back, right? Except, as happened twice this week, when something falls out of my purse and gets lost in the couch cushions. Then I tend to worry about whether I’m organized enough or if my brain is falling to pieces. But I digress.

I saw this video on Facebook today and was intensely gratified that science seems to be coming to the same conclusions that I came to long ago: musicians really are wonderful. Especially if they’re me.

I may not clean like I should (instant dish-doing? Yes please!), but I guess I have enough musician-related good points that they should offset my one superpower. What do you think? Should having a well-organized brain make you more or less organized in real life? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice my violin–because I’ve already done the dishes.