How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


Shanghai, Part 4 – Silk Workshop

I enjoyed another lumberjack’s breakfast. Afterward, we were treated to yet another factory tour. This one was about silk and the most enjoyable so far. Though impressed, I had no plans to shop or spend  as I didn’t need anything. I changed my mind when I examined the magnificent comforters, pillows, and other bedding. I’m sorry now I purchased only one silk pillow and a light density silk comforter. I’m puzzled I carried less money than usual when I needed it. My friend, Sue, was flush and I borrowed the difference I needed. I also picked my wallet clean down to the lint hidden there. (Yuan and Canadian money, totaling about $150 CAD). Who knew? The price was more than reasonable. Checking prices on the internet since then, I believe I did well. I’d been planning to buy new pillows in the spring anyway never dreaming I might bring home a silk one from China.

Business was brisk. No previous factory tour had ignited this much interest. One tour group at a time was welcomed in a separate room from the sales area. Once money changed hands, the purchased goods were bundled in a compact cloth and zippered bag with handles. These were black-marked with the buyer’s name. deposited on the floor of the entry room and covered half the floor space. You picked out your parcel upon departure.

Some advantages of silk fiber bedding:

  • Silk bedding is better than down
  • Half the weight of down
  • Bedbugs prefer down, not silk
  • Dust mites don’t like it
  • Mildew resistant
  • Strongest natural fiber
  • Keeps its shape / doesn’t clump
  • Fire resistant
  • hypoallergenic
  • You won’t sweat on it
  • It forms to your shape / stays springy
  • Lasts for years with proper care

Silk and Comforter Making:

The Life of a silkworm:

Lunch was at (Haioufang) The Seagull Palace Restaurant. Our group arrived too early. Seated at a table. we had to wait for the food. When it arrived, it was at once and the restaurant filled up and was soon packed.

Lunch:

Drinks as always: one glass of water, coke, sprite, or beer.

Appetizers:

  • Sausage slices (not sure about meat source)
  • Tomato slices
  • Spicy edamame beans
  • Something fish dish
  • Cubed cucumbers and sliced lotus root (crunchy, mild flavor and enjoyable)

Main:

  • Tea
  • Eggplant
  • Egg drop soup
  • Rice with eggs, beef
  • Spring rolls
  • Carrots, onions, and potatoes (stew?)
  • Panko breaded mild white fish
  • Fried and breaded lotus root
  • Cubed chicken
  • Potato and pineapple in sweet tomato sauce
  • Salad
  • French Fries
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

~ * ~

Chinese Saying:
Lazy child who lives at home and lives off his parents instead of working 
is called, 'China Little Emperor.'

~ * ~

Next On June 22, Shanghai, Part 5 – Shopping on Nanjing Road and Stories

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

~ *~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. Please bear with me. Hope to return soon. 
Thank you for reading and for your kind and continued support.
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102 Comments

Shanghai: Day 11, Part 4 – Silk Workshop

After I enjoyed another lumberjack’s breakfast, we were treated to yet another factory tour. This one was about silk and the most enjoyable so far. I was impressed. I’d had no plans to shop or spend money because I didn’t need anything. My thinking changed when I surveyed the magnificent comforters, pillows and other bedding. I’m sorry now I purchased only one silk fibre pillow and a light comforter. Why I took more money than I usually carried around I can’t begin to understand. I picked my wallet clean down to the lint to pay for my bounty (Yuan and Canadian money, totaling about $150 CAD). Who knew? The price was more than reasonable. I’ve checked prices on the internet since then and I believe we did well. I’d been planning to buy new pillows in the spring anyway, never dreaming I might bring home a silk one from China.

Business was brisk. No other factory tour had ignited this much interest so far. When we arrived, in a separate room from the sales area, packages covered half the floor space. A departing group searched through to find their purchases. Once money changed hands, the goods were bundled into a compact cloth and zippered bag with handles, and the buyer’s name affixed. You didn’t see your parcel until departure.

Some advantages of silk fiber bedding:

  • Silk bedding is better than down
  • Half the weight of down
  • Bedbugs prefer down, not silk
  • Dust mites don’t like it
  • Mildew resistant
  • Strongest natural fibre
  • Keeps its shape / doesn’t clump
  • Fire resistant
  • hypoallergenic
  • You won’t sweat on it
  • It forms to your shape / stays springy
  • Lasts for years with proper care

Silk and Comforter Making:

The Life of a silk worm:

Lunch was at (Haioufang) The Seagull Palace Restaurant. Our group arrived too early. We were given a table and had to wait for the food. As more new customers arrived, our food came and the place was soon packed.

LUNCH:

Drinks as always: one glass water, coke, sprite, or beer.

Appetizers:

  • Sausage slices (not sure about meat source)
  • Tomato slices
  • Spicy edamame beans
  • Something fish dish
  • Cubed cucumbers and sliced lotus root (crunchy, mild flavor and enjoyable)

Main:

  • Tea
  • Eggplant
  • Egg drop soup
  • Rice with eggs, beef
  • Spring rolls
  • Carrots, onions and potatoes (stew?)
  • Panko breaded mild white fish
  • Fried and breaded lotus root
  • Cubed chicken
  • Potato and pineapple in sweet tomato sauce
  • Salad
  • French Fries
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

~ * ~

Chinese Saying:

Lazy child who lives at home and lives off his parents instead of working is called, ‘China Little Emperor.’

~ * ~

Next On November 7th, Shanghai, Day 11, Part 5 – Shopping on Nanjing Road and Stories

For more related posts, click on China tab at the top of the page

© 2014 All Right Reserved TAK


103 Comments

Heaven, Hell and Purgatory

I’m slow at the gate, but eventually  I’ll jump in with both feet.

In August I threw my hands up and decided I was worth a Samsung Galaxy Ace II, a student school special no less. I’ve seen the bright and colourful icons on the new phones and felt left behind. Time to upgrade, and I did with a vengeance. The truth is my current tiny cell with a nub for an antenna wasn’t broken but I needed to keep up with new technology not hide behind the old. I have no-one to call, except in an emergency. I have a land line and it rings only on rare occasions. So what? I refused a plan with all the bells and whistles and finagled a 365-day pay-as-you-go-card. Don’t laugh. Finally I’m 21st century-ready if I’m in a spot. If I need to call anyone while away from home.

Whoosh forward four months. Christmas and New Years have come and gone. My older (almost ten year old) granddaughter has graduated from an iPod to an iPad Mini this year. The six-year-old has a tablet. What a waste of money on the one hand, but on the other I know they must keep up with the times.

Apple, iPad Mini

Apple, iPad Mini

“Babcia, everything’s so easy. All you have to do is this and then run your finger across or pretend pinch…” Happy to show me how her iPad worked, she prattled on while my eyes glazed over and my brain turned to thick dehydrated porridge. She gave me that look—that I-knew-you’re-too-too—a smirk.

“Excuse me. I need to visit the lady’s.” I moseyed down the hall, shut the door, paced, and flushed the toilet for good measure. I splashed water on my face, threw my shoulder back and marched back down the hall. By then the girls were into something else in the dining-room.

I popped open my laptop and Googled one computer store after another: Boxing Week Sales were everywhere for iPad Minis. Huh. Used to be specials might be secured on Boxing Day if the supply didn’t run out.

I raised my voice. “I need to go downstairs for another coffee. Be right back.” Nobody noticed my departure.

A new coffee as cover and my Visa card in my pocket, I raced back to my laptop. The day was Monday, December 30th, the afternoon before New Year’s Eve. Time: about 2:00 PM. My fingers raced over the keyboard before stock ran out. I hummed with excitement from head to toe. I didn’t expect my package till after New Year’s Day.

The following morning, my inbox showed confirmation of my purchase plus a tracking number. Regular ground delivery expected: December 31st. Not possible but I couldn’t help tracking all morning. At 11:31 AM the package had been delivered to my neighbourhood mailbox. How does this work? I’m impressed.

Miss. H. wore a Cheshire smile when I told her the news. “I can set it up for you.”

I had to input my e-mail address, then an alternate e-mail, then my life history. “Stop.”

Everything works except for a teeny snag. My security e-mail doesn’t like my password now and I can’t shop at the Apple store yet. I’m anxious to setup my PC Kindle books on my iPad Mini. If I must use electronic means to read e-books let me at least do it from the comfort of my Easy Boy.

Like I said. Slow at the gate but I’m moving forward–somewhat.  Halleluja!


54 Comments

Curious Meets Crazy

I hate cold coffee and am forever reheating a cup in the microwave. Why does the mug handle end up in the back even when I place it facing out, or, no matter how long it spins to reheat?

My old washing machine ate socks; I became used to losing them and expected the loss. What changed? The new machine hasn’t gobbled any—even once—in four years. What gives?

When are you officially a senior? 50? 55? 60? 65? Businesses used to offer discounts on a wide range of products and services for customers age fifty and over. Once the demographic reports on baby boomers came out, perks dwindled, an inch at a time. Too many seniors are approaching age sixty-five. Why is this information a surprise?

McDonald’s offers seniors a coffee discount—size small only. Some ‘franchises’ don’t offer any reduction at all. Others give you the same price cut whether you order a small or a large cup. Why the differences?

Why do meteors fall through the atmosphere but don’t hit anything? I’m pleased not to hear of catastrophic damages, but why is it they never hit any cities or tall buildings? Why are burned remnants always found in remote areas? How lucky are we?

Why do I always want to do something else when I’m in the middle of any particular project? Even when I’m half-way into an absorbing book, another one catches my eye; I’m impatient to get into the new one no matter how exciting the current one I’m reading.

Why is my cat driving me crazy? I threw drop-sheets on my sofa to discourage her from playing Tarzan. She found an opening no matter how I draped, tucked or arranged the sheets to drag on the floor. She discovered a new game called ‘run under the drop-sheets and hang on the sofa underneath’. Alright! W-e-e-e-e. Will my sofa last until next Monday morning and her manicure appointment?


41 Comments

If it Feels this Good, How can It be Bad?

Let me make myself clear. I didn’t want to do it but I am weak. At least I’m honest about it. Would you steal a man’s water in the desert or would you let him drink and live? Enjoy his life?

OK, so my situation isn’t the same and it has nothing to do with water. It’s the best example I can think of that might grab your attention. An ad in the newspaper yesterday just jumped out and hit me between the eyes.  It was about a book sale. So what? Don’t I already work at a bookstore? Sure, I admit it and we have a sale coming up in a couple of weeks too. But…I’ll not be able to make it to that one. Anyway, I already know what will be on sale so I can’t get all that excited about it.

I’m running out of shelf space it’s true, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Before I entered the lair of temptation, I promised I would only buy what I NEEDED and had to HAVE. None of this, ‘hmm that sure sounds good, I’ll put that on the next reading pile leaning tower of books stockpile awaiting attention.’

I bought five children’s books for my granddaughters and five books for me (5/$1.00 cheap but in mint condition). A mighty fair deal, right? Three of mine are novels; one is The Arctic Grail (The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole 1818-1909) See, deep reading by Canadian author Pierre Berton. The last one is Devil’s Knot (The True Story of the West Memphis Three) by Mara Leveritt of Little Rock. All good and only fifty cents each! How could I say no?

I’ve heard there are some who abhor hoarding. I don’t know anything about THAT and  I’m NOT one of THEM. You’d be surprised what I don’t have to run out and buy…wait for it…I already have it on my shelf.  I’ve belonged to a book club for eleven years.  What’s wrong with being prepared and on top of things? Am I wrong? I also have lots of choices when I can’t sleep at night. Not true anymore. I sleep like the dead.

I’m not admitting to anything, but maybe I have a certain—je ne sais quoi—-something in my DNA. I love running my hands over my friends books as I pass by. I like the way they smell and feel.  When I sit down to read, it’s nice knowing they’re watching me and enjoying that I am smitten by one of their own. See, it’s a two-way street. We respect each other. It’s been a long relationship and I want to give each one of my full attention. To get to know each one well. Some have been passed from hand to hand but I don’t care. Only rarely have I been known to give up a few but mostly I am loyal. And YES, I DO peruse many over again. I’m better than a boyfriend. I’m true blue.

Why isn’t there enough time to enjoy MY rapture here on earth ?


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The Impossible Dream zzzzzz

Winter is officially here but hasn’t made much of an appearance yet. Oh, it made another windblown visit last weekend, but like the wolf that tried to blow the little pig’s house down, soon lost steam. This is the time of year I find it hard to get out of bed. Mostly it’s the cold when I throw the covers off. I shiver till I find my slippers and hope they’re where they should be so my feet don’t touch the freezing wooden floor.

It wasn’t cold this morning nor have I been especially tired lately. Neither was I escaping reality because of what today is. I had coffee with a friend later on who said that it’s Valentine’s Day every day at their house. They don’t need a special day to remember.  Neither do I.

No, it was something else. I only read until midnight last night yet slept like the dead. Though I’m supposed to be retired, I set the alarm to get up a little earlier today.  I had things to do and wanted to get an early start. I punched my alarm clock half a dozen times when it howled at me, coming closer to the surface each time. But it took an hour to truly wake up. I felt Dracula’s slumber in his crypt as the sun rose.

I think it was the dream. A particularly disturbing one.

An estimate arrived from a garage I’d never been to. Something to do with the electrical system in my car needing repairs. A diagram was included. It pointed out wiring in the ceiling that had to be replaced (ceiling? hmm). It was confusing but the punch line was the cost was a mere $8000.00. Even at $800.00 the whole idea was a stretch. What kind of larceny was this? The overhead light must have some wiring up there but…

While I was mulling over these sketchy threads of surreal chicanery, enter the boyfriend. Boyfriend? Where did he come from?

“What’s the matter? You look confused,” he said.

I tried to make out his face. Who was this faceless wonder? “I got this estimate…”

“Oh yeah. Last week when I took your car out it was acting up. I asked my buddy to have a look at it.”

That’s when the first alarm went off. I punched the snooze button but already I couldn’t get back to the dream. What a way to start my day. Happy Valentine’s Day!


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The Twelve Joys of Christmas

1.

I love that horse paste the stores use to make sure no-one ever removes the price stickers off their merchandise before wrapping. Even though my nails are all wrecked now, I must be persnickety, I know. The unsightly, half-removed stickers give my gifts a new and unused appearance. I can’t WAIT to impress all my friends.

2.

We are so lucky the malls remembered to jack up the heat now that the winter season is upon us. Some days it’s even cold enough outside to freeze an already cold Popsicle. When I hit the mall entrance that blast of hot air reinforces my spirits. I’m glad you’re not so cheap that you’d consider lowering the indoor temperature by even a couple of degrees to save a buck. I don’t mind that your merchandise reflects a higher cost because of it. Maybe I’m just too self-engrossed.

3.

Keeping throngs of people super toasty while they’re shopping puts them in the Christmas spirit of giving selflessly. Jabbing me with an elbow here or there or ramming me with their shopping cart fills me with a special sensitivity towards my fellow man. I wouldn’t ever become hot under the collar or short-tempered either. I’m already feeling too warm and cuddly. It isn’t me, it’s everybody else.

4.

I look upon my fellow shoppers, who have decided to shop till they drop, with awe and inspiration. I admire them for their perseverance. They know better than anyone that their children are just being a little bratty when they scream their heads off and don’t need a nap or a break from shopping. I wish I had their unflinching resistance to distraction of any kind.

5.

Because I am filled with the spirit of the season, I couldn’t possibly mind that you are coughing and spitting on me because you only have a couple of weeks left to do your shopping. This is a time for sharing and you are doing your part. How thoughtful. You have indeed enhanced my shopping experience.

6.

How absolutely lucky I am to have been invited to so many Christmas parties. I try, but cannot attend them all, but of course you are understanding and not in the least annoyed. Why in the world would I want to host Christmas parties of my own at this time of year as well? Or just want to pace myself MY way so I can enjoy the season?

7.

What a wonderful time of year Christmas is. Of course everyone who has performed any kind of service for me this past year should expect a little something in his / her stocking. After all, I have a money tree in my backyard unlike anyone else. Silly me.

8.

I am so thoughtless. People I’ve never exchanged gifts with ought to be at the top of my list because they’ve insisted suddenly to give me a gift. However, I’m just cheap and want to stay on budget so I don’t reciprocate. Should it matter that we hardly know each other?

9.

Just because particular merchandise is advertised for sale doesn’t mean the store needs to carry more than a handful on their shelves. Once I get into the store, I’ll be more than happy to buy something else, almost anything, just because I’ve already been enticed through their doors.

10.

When my child / children buy me yet another housecoat, scarf, blouse, sweater or pair of slippers, I always smile and thank them graciously. Just because I’ve told them I am no longer interested in stuff at my age shouldn’t matter because they’ve gone to all this trouble. I couldn’t possibly be cheeky enough to suggest they think along the lines of pampering. Something that looks or sounds like SPA maybe?

11.

I have no illusions about the peace and goodwill of my fellow man. Why should I feel depressed just because I must remember to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas so as not to hurt anybody’s feelings? Whose feelings are being hurt? Maybe I too was once an immigrant but just wasn’t smart enough to insist that my rights were more important than those who came before.

12.

Last and not least, I would never catch myself impulse buying. Having found the most wonderful item for Sister Jean or Aunt Suzie never tempts me to buy one for myself as well. It may be one of a kind. It might even be a bargain.  Sure, it’s Christmas but I am determined to stay on budget no matter what. After all, I am perfect and in total control. Get out of my way!


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I Must Be Losing My MIND!

I tore my house apart this morning looking for something I’m sure I put in a safe place so I wouldn’t lose it. Well, it was safe alright. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I was reading the newspaper this morning, specifically the BOOKS section. Someone had recently mentioned a book she was sure I would enjoy but my brain mislaid the information the moment she was gone. I could not recall the book nor the author. This morning, as I was reading, the newsprint all but jumped up and splashed me in the face with the title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

Immediately, I rushed to my computer to check it out online when I remembered I had gift cards to Chapters.Indigo.ca. Lucky me, my purchase would cost me nothing. However, I searched and searched almost ready to rip my hair out as I tried to backtrack to the memory of putting away those cards.

Perhaps, I could blame the memory loss on my carpenter. You see, I’ve been under construction from Monday morning until suppertime Thursday. I had some upgrades done: bedroom carpet replaced by laminate flooring and a wider closet; in the bathroom a new countertop, light, mirror and linen closet door.

My house is still in disarray. I can’t find ANYthing. It’s not because I simply don’t remember what is where. I’ve already MOVED several things several times and can’t possibly figure out where I’ve moved them.

I go nuts when things aren’t in their rightful place. I can’t cope. No, I’m not a neat freak; I haven’t time for that. I just get discombobulated when living in upheaval.

Finally, something drove me to my computer again (which is also in a temporary location but it’s too big to lose—desk and desk top) and I started moving around a file folder, a book, a sheet of yellow paper, another book. Voila! There was the envelope with the gift cards. I was so relieved, I almost peed my pants. I had to sit down. In my shaking hands I held $100 worth of possible book purchases. No laughing matter. Not to me anyway.

After all that stress and excitement, I proceeded to load up my shopping cart online. What’s a girl do when she’s upset? That right: Go Shopping. Then I took a moment to see the tally and took a deep breath. Yikes. Seventy-six dollars already? I couldn’t possibly spend all that money at once and in one place. That would mean I’d have to be ultra conservative next time. I had to think about this a while.

And so I did. I thought about it and decided to only buy the initial book plus one more on my wish list (The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock). For now. That’s enough to get free shipping anyway. I’m feeling much more normal now.

You see, working in a used bookstore has spoiled me. If I wait long enough, I can buy any book for just $1.00. If it’s a hot new title, I might spend up to $4.50. If I wait long enough, the $35 book I’ve been waiting for will show up. Yep, I’m spoiled rotten but at least I’m not losing my mind anymore.


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Show Me the Money

What a day I’ve had at the bank today. Recently someone mentioned that at my bank there are no transaction charges on bank accounts belonging to any customer who has reached the age of sixty. The current account is then changed to a senior’s account to flag you as a ‘special’ person.

So it seems, if you speak up, good things happen. If you don’t the bank saves money. I have no idea if all banks have this policy or a similar one, but no-one seems to understand why I’ve been overlooked for so LONG (especially me). However, I believe it can always be said my age has gone unnoticed all this time cause I’m so darn good looking (for my age). Or the tellers don’t do math. Or, possibly it’s true that banks save money so long as everyone stays mum. I KNOW how magnanimous banks are, but  it could be just me. I’ve just gotten suspicious with age. Anyway, I think sixty is too young to be called a senior, isn’t it? Except for the discounts—if you ask.

I’d been in and out of my bank a lot in the past three years because I moved to a new house and then I had renovations done afterwards. To accomplish this, I eventually cleaned out my account in fits and starts. Moving larger sums of money, more than the usual day-to-day amounts, suddenly set off alarms and a bank employee scrutinized this sudden activity. I got a little ticked the first time I got the third degree, but soon realized that if an imposter was trying to clean out my bank account they’d hopefully get the same treatment, so I cooled my jets. Someone was looking out for ME for a change.  A bank. Imagine THAT. But no-one noticed my age.

The unexpected highlight of my day is that I’ll be getting back five years’ worth of transaction charges! I’m sure that won’t be to the penny—with rounding up here and there, averaging and whatnot—but I’ll be getting REAL money back. My charges have been eyeballed at around $8 per month (closer analysis to be done). Let’s count low at $6 per month x 12 months ($72) x 5 years ($360). I wonder if there’s going to be a catch to this somehow.

Another happy outcome of today’s meeting is I’m changing my Visa card to one with no yearly fees ($29) to a cash back Visa card (up to 1%, no cap) and no fees. This amount will be put into my account. I think it’ll be at the end of each year but I could be wrong. There was too much happening, too fast. Thought I was having a hot flash.

There’s a clincher though. I should charge EVERYthing on the card and then pay it off before payment is due to grow my dividend. Sounds to me like a sneaky way to encourage bad habits. Skip paying off the balance now and again and you’re stuck with  bigger payments with more interest in Visa’s pockets. The cash back interests me though so I’ll try it.

Another reward from this card is that I’ll get ‘security and extended warranty insurance’ on my purchases. I will get an additional year instead of just the one offered by the manufacturer (i.e: just as the one-year warranty of an electronic purchase is slipping away, voila, I’ll be protected for another year IF something happens). Sounds crazy but why look a gift horse in the mouth?

Lesson learned:  Now that I’m a senior, I’ll brazenly speak up and ask about what perks might be ARE available to me. Anywhere.

This appointment has been an eye opener. I’d like to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience in the U.S. or Canada or has a worthwhile tip to share.