Posted by: thelocaldialect | November 13, 2009


I finished up my last class yesterday and am officially on maternity leave, although I still have some loose ends to tie up with my school, mostly concerning my maternity package. This was a tricky situation since obviously my contract, like most foreign teacher contracts, did not include anything about maternity coverage. They were sort of playing it by ear, as was I. When I had my son 2 years ago I was still running my own school in Kunming, and as director, had a lot of control over the situation. Needless to say, I don’t call the shots here in Beijing! However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what the school has offered me. While it certainly doesn’t compare with the maternity packages that you’d get in Europe, or even in America, it is certainly better than nothing.

The biggest nice surprise is that my school will pay for my hospital fees, which will help a lot. As I’d mentioned before, fees here in Beijing are a lot higher than they were in Kunming. I’ll be giving birth at a top Chinese public hospital, and so we won’t be facing massive fees of an expat hospital or a private hospital, but the place still isn’t cheap. Knowing the school will be helping out is a big relief.

Otherwise, I am glad to finally be able to take it easy. The weather has gotten colder here and we’ve had 3 good snows already and it isn’t even halfway through November, so staying inside as much as possible is looking quite attractive. I still have about 2 and a half more weeks before my due date, but I’m not holding my breath for this baby to come soon. My son was 12 days past due, so if the first baby sets the precedent, this baby won’t be here till December. My parents and younger brother will be arriving in mid-December though, so I am hoping that by the time they get here the baby will have been here for a week or so at least, because I don’t want to spend their entire visit in Chinese confinement (zuo yuezi). Actually I have talked with my husband about possibly not doing the confinement this time, because what with my parents visit and all I just don’t feel like it will be all that realistic. He seemed much more open to the idea this time around. Last time I actually sort of enjoyed the month of seclusion, but having done it once, I don’t feel a huge need to do it again.

In any event, by this time next month we’ll definitely be a family of four rather than a family of three, and that is pretty exciting in and of itself. Let the countdown begin!

Posted by: thelocaldialect | October 30, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday my son turned two years old!

It is hard to believe that two years ago today I was in the hospital with a brand new baby. He was so tiny, and today he’s a full fledged toddler, heading right for kid-ville.

Sometimes I get a little bit teary-eyed thinking about how fast he’s grown up. I imagine that if I’m sentimental already when he’s only 2, it is going to be absolutely heart-breaking when he’s 20. I don’t know how parents of teenagers deal with it! Luckily we have many more years before that becomes a reality, but the time does go by fast.

Baby #2 (sex still unknown) is due to make an appearance in about a month or so, so of course we’ll be able to experience babyhood anew, but it is bittersweet nonetheless watching my first baby grow so quickly.

We had a good birthday celebration, a low key dinner at home and presents. I baked a cake, from a box, but a cake nonetheless. Next year we’ll probably start doing proper birthday parties, but seeing as how Dylan himself still isn’t really fully aware of the significance of birthdays, and we don’t really know any other little kids to invite at this point, family birthday dinners work fine for us at this point.

The birthday loot
Happy Birthday Dylan!

Posted by: thelocaldialect | September 26, 2009


Next week we’ll celebrate China’s big 60th birthday party, which means a vacation, this time an epic 8 day vacation is just around the corner. This year National Day happens to coincide with Mid Autumn festival, and mooncakes are once again appearing in stores. I’m sure next week we’ll be given mooncakes at work so we haven’t bought any yet, and although I’ve been tempted by the Hagen Daaz ice cream mooncakes, they’re a bit too expensive for our relatively frugal tastes.

National Day is going to be a huge event in Beijing this year, with celebrations to rival the Olympics even. China is pulling no stops, especially with the planned parade to show off China’s military. Last week fighter jets flew over Beijing for the first time ever and my students, especially the boys, could not contain their excitement and rushed over to the windows in the middle of the lesson to get a peek at the action. My husband and I had, at the beginning of the year, naiively assumed that we would be able to go and watch the parade, but it has become increasingly apparent that no parade watching will be happening for us. The whole area around the parade will be closed off to traffic, pedestrian and otherwise. I don’t know who exactly will get invites to view the ceremonies, but it won’t be us. Despite being in Beijing, we’ll be watching it on TV like everyone else!

We are staying in Beijing this holiday though. While 8 days off in a row would otherwise be a perfect time to get out and do some traveling, this time we’re just going to sit tight. Baby #2 is due in late Nov./early Dec. so this will be our last holiday with only one child, but I think Wang Yao and I are both too exhausted to muster up much enthusiasm for a trip, not to mention, we need to watch our finances to prepare for the upcoming, rather expensive birth of Kid Two. October will also mean Kid One’s second birthday! I can’t believe our little guy is already almost two. We don’t have any big birthday plans, since we don’t have family here and Dylan is still pretty oblivious to the whole birthday thing to be honest.

With my son’s birthday also comes the inevitable arrival of cooler weather to Beijing. While October should be a pleasant month, not too hot and not too cool, the deep cold starts to set in quickly, and by the time Kid Two is born in December it should be well freezing, although the coldest months are January and February (last year our only snow happened in February, after Spring Festival. My parents and my little brother will be coming to China sometime around December 15th and I’m caught between hoping that it is unseasonably warm so that we might get out a bit, and sadistically hoping my Southern family gets to experience the delights of a Beijing winter!

On that note, I wish everyone out there in China-land (those who have managed to find a way to read wordpress anyhow) a happy National Day, and Happy Mid-Autumn Festival and many mooncakes to anyone, in China or not, who happens to enjoy those things.

Posted by: thelocaldialect | August 31, 2009

I’m back!

My poor, neglected blog is well overdue for an update. Again.

But I have a good excuse this time. We were away in Yunnan for several weeks at the end of July, visiting old friends and family. Most of you reading this blog probably already know that my husband’s family back home consists of his two older brothers, their wives, and their kids. There are some assorted cousins and aunts and uncles and such, but as for immediate family, the brothers are it. My husband has lost a lot of interest in visiting home since his dad died back in 2007, but I’ve been trying to push for at least annual trips back, since these are the only relatives our son has in China, and I’d like to maintain the connection.

Probably the closest to my husband is our nephew, who just graduated from college. My husband is 12 years younger than his oldest brother, and 12 years older than his oldest brother’s kid, our nephew Wang Chong Jun. Chong Jun is a good kid — he’s the first in the family to finish college and has a steady girlfriend who he plans to marry. When we went to visit, Chong Jun hadn’t found a job yet and we invited him to Beijing to help us out in December when Baby #2 arrives, but we found out last week that Chong Jun was hired as a PE teacher at a middle school in Yunnan near Mengzi, where he went to college, and also near where his girlfriend will be working as an English teacher. This is good news for Chong Jun, although we were hoping he’d be able to come to Beijing. We had also briefly entertained the idea of having Chong Jun’s younger sister, Cui Yu, come up and work as a nanny for us, but Cui Yu’s mom, my sister in law, laughed that idea out of consideration, saying that Cui Yu can’t even do her own laundry and she’d end up being just one more kid for us to take care of. Hmm, no thanks!

In any case, it was good seeing the family and Dylan’s cousins adored him, as he adored being the center of attention. It was also good to see Kunming again and reconnect with the few remaining old friends back in town. While in Yunnan we took the opportunity to travel around a bit, and went to Zhongdian and Lijiang. In Lijiang we met up with my husband’s friend Zhang Quan, who was a member of the now defunct band Ye Haizi, and who has a little girl just about Dylan’s age. The two kids really hit it off and it was so fun seeing Dylan finally click with another toddler. Most of the kids we’ve run into who are around Dylan’s age are much more reserved than he is, and his energy seems to frighten them, but this girl was unphased and the two had a ball.

Pretty much as soon as we returned from Yunnan we started our house hunt and finally got settled into a new apartment next week. The new apartment is bigger than the old one by about 30sqm or so, with an extra bedroom, as well as more space in the other two bedrooms. It is also nicely renovated, with dark hardwood floors and trim, a newly redone kitchen, and fresh paint on the walls. It is a huge step up from our last apartment, and we are really glad to be in a place that is more comfortable. The old apartment was really starting to get to me — there were cracks in the walls, the tile was dirty, and there were bugs that we could never get rid of (because of the cracks in the walls). The old apartment was last renovated in 1996, whereas this apartment was redone only about 2 years ago, so the difference is really noticeable.

And well, the busy-ness continues. I taught a session of Summer classes last week and our regular classes begin again on the 3rd. I’ll be glad to see my students again, and my 11th graders will now be 12th graders and preparing for SATs and APs. The school has put me on the dreaded “oral English” duty this year, which I’m not too pleased about having taught literature, AP English, and reading last semester, but there’s been a change in administration this year and the new boss is of the traditional “foreign teachers can only teach speaking” mindset that really bugs. I won’t go into it too much here, but after 7 years teaching, 2 of which were spent running my own school, I think I’m more qualified than I’m being given credit for. But oh well. The school says that the all oral English schedule is for my convenience, because it will be “easy” and I need an “easy” schedule since I’m pregnant and can’t go exerting myself.

Speaking of pregnancy, #2 is well and good and growing on target. I had a bit of a scare with my last ultrasound when the technician wrote down the wrong measurement for the baby’s head. When I brought the US results to the doctor, her eyes about burst out of her skull and she started asking me if anyone had said anything to me about genetic defects or abnormalities. Um, no? So she called up the US technician and luckily they had my results still stored on the computer and as it turns out the woman had made a mistake and recorded the wrong number, which made the baby’s head look like it was measuring at 29 weeks when I was only 23 weeks. I was freaking out there for the 5 minutes that she kept me waiting, but after that I found it kind of funny. This is what we’re paying the big money for! And speaking of that, we did finally decide to go with the more expensive public hospital, because as it turns out, foreigners in Beijing don’t really have a choice. Either you go to a really expensive (without insurance) expat private hospital, or you go to the best public hospital. The other local hospitals are not allowed to deliver your baby! So we had a choice of three hospitals pretty much, and decided to go with the one we’d been to before. Ah well. If ever there is a #3, we’ll just say forget it and go back to Kunming.

Posted by: thelocaldialect | July 12, 2009

Sticker Shock

Beijing is expensive. It is not as expensive as say, New York or London (although if you wanted to, you could certainly make it so), but it is definitely more expensive than second tier Chinese cities like Kunming, and probably rivals smaller American towns for certain expenses.

The expense doesn’t bother me most of the time, afterall, my salary is higher here, and although I spend more due to the fact that certain things — like English language books — are more available, I do save more than I did in Kunming. However, the prices of some things occasionally manage to surprise me — like when we spent 500RMB taking my mom and dad out for Mexican food, or how getting my son immunizations routinely costs about 200RMB (and immunizations are FREE for Chinese kids!). However, the cake was not just taken but snatched straight from my hands when I went to the OBGYN yesterday.

I suppose it serves me right for choosing a private hospital for baby #2, on the recommendation of some other online moms. Beijing has a plethora of hospital options and I’d already ruled out expat staples like Beijing United Family Hospital and Peking Union as too expensive. Beijing United lists their price for the birth alone as 50,000RMB, but they’re an international hospital with foreign doctors and most, if not all of their patients are using overseas insurance policie provided by their cushy expat packages. That kind of hospital is clearly out of my budget, but I chose a good private Chinese hospital, one that offered water births and was open to allowing my husband in the room. It seemed like a good compromise. I’d been twice already before yesterday’s appointment, and each time had set me back a couple hundred RMB. Expensive, compared to Kunming, where my routine checkups would run about 20RMB apiece, but not unheard of.

But then yesterday I showed up, on an empty stomach because I’d been told I needed to do some sort of blood test requiring no food be in my body, where they’d screen for all sorts of diseases. I obligingly sent my husband off to pay while I had my blood pressure taken. He comes back about 5 minutes later and says he doesn’t have enough money. That can’t be right, I think. We’ve just hit the bank, we have at least 1000RMB on us. The test costs more than 1000RMB? Indeed it does, 1200RMB to be exact, for a blood test.

To put things into perspective, in Kunming it cost 1300RMB to give birth to my son, and that included a private room and this “kit” the hospital makes all parents buy that includes a baby blanket and pillow and some other stuff. I think my husband half expected me to insist on going through with the test, so I could see his relief when I just told the doctors straight out no, no way could we afford to spend 1200RMB on a blood test. That it was ridiculous, no way was I going to pay the same amount on one blood test that I spent having a child. The doctors tried to convince me that every hospital in Beijing was like this. That’s just the difference between Beijing and Kunming, they said. Well, I said to my husband, if that’s the case I guess we’ll have no choice but to go back to Kunming to have our second!

I would have expected something like this from an international hospital catering to expats or overseas returnees. That’s why I didn’t choose such a hospital. This was a Chinese hospital, no foreign doctors, hell, no English speaking Chinese doctors even — although they seemed to have treated some foreigners before, it was clearly aimed at a Chinese market. Anyhow, I guess no fancy hospital with waterbirths for me, it’ll have to be a full on Chinese hospital again for #2, because we just can’t afford those sorts of prices. 1300RMB for a blood test is scary, not because I can’t afford it, but because it means the cost of the birth (which you never know exactly ahead of time, but with some digging you can usually get a ballpark figure), which they had estimated at about 10,000RMB, would probably end up being more like 20-30,000 given the hidden costs, etc. So tomorrow we’re going to check out some Beijing maternity hospitals which, according to Chinese people on the internet, are more in line with what we spent in Kunming and have good reputations just the same. Wish me luck!

In other, related news, we purchased tickets to Kunming for July 16th, and will stay in Yunnan until August 1st or so. We had originally planned on Thailand, but that plan was stopped by red-tape involving my son’s passport, then we planned on Xinjiang, but we all know what happened there … so Yunnan it is. My husband has never visited Lugu Lake so that’s the plan, after a short visit with in-laws and friends in and around Kunming. I got myself a new camera, bit the bullet and got a used DSLR, so I’m looking forward to taking it on a real test drive somewhere with nice scenery (and really bummed that place won’t be Xinjiang, but oh well). I’ll be sure to post pictures when I return!

Posted by: thelocaldialect | June 12, 2009


I’m long overdue for a proper update, so here goes.

As much as it pains me to write this out (and thus make it real), we’ve decided to stay in Beijing for another six months to a year. If this decision had been mine and mine alone, we’d have been back on the first plane to Kunming about a year ago, and up until very recenly, the plan was to go back after my contract with the high school ended in June. But starting a few months ago my husband started making noises about staying in Beijing. He had his reasons — the biggest one seemed to be an absolute dread of moving cross country again (and I will admit, the first time was a massive massive hassle. Imagine moving from South Carolina to San Francisco, that sort of headache), but there were also sound financial reasons too.

The undeniable fact is that I make a lot more money here than I could possibly make in Yunnan. And while I’m willing to take a pay cut and move back there, it would be nice to move with a bit more savings. Considering that we’re expecting baby #2 in December, savings are pretty important. Moving would eat up most of what we had, and I would not be able to get a real job in Kunming until at least next Spring, which would leave us reliant on whatever myself and my husband could scrape together through freelancing. So facing the logic, I agreed to ask my principal for an extension on my contract.

The process of getting my contract extended was really drawn out and we were in a sort of limbo for weeks until a few days ago. The school obviously had reservations about re-hiring a pregnant woman, but ultimately I was saved, I think, by the fact that there is a sort of changing of the guard going on at my school and the principal had my back. What clinched the decision for me was being told that I’d be paid over Summer holiday, which was a tremendous relief, because even assuming I could extend my contract, I’d been very stressed out about what a Summer in Beijing without income would do to our savings, which isn’t to say they’d have been depleted completely, but a nice chunk would have gone to rent alone.

So anyhow, we’re staying in Beijing, as much as I am not a fan of Beijing. We do plan on moving to a new apartment, since this one is starting to feel a bit small, not to mention the fact that it is an older apartment (not charmingly old, just old) and that comes with its own issues. With Summer income we should also be able to take a trip somewhere without touching our savings, and I am really pulling for another trip to the beach, perhaps Thailand if I can convince my husband, as well as a visit to Kunming so that my son can see his uncles, aunts, and cousins. So I’m trying to look on the bright side of things. The good thing is that I do like my job, the hours are good, the pay is good, and I’m rather attached to my students at this point. Finding a good job in China is not easy — there are a lot of mediocre jobs, but not a whole lot of jobs that you can really say are great. Which isn’t to say my job is perfect, because it isn’t, but overall I don’t have a whole lot to complain about. I’ll also be able to have our baby in Beijing, which means more options for the birth and hopefully my husband will be able to be present this time. Beijing has other perks too, easy access to Western food, and English language books whenever I want them. The downside means we’ll be spending another year away from friends and away from the only family that my son has in China, living in the big bad city, far removed from any semblance of natural beauty.

Anyhow, it is what it is, and I’m trying to remain positive. Right now we’re placing a definite limit on Beijing and will not be here any longer than another year (but watch me say that again next year, heh), by which time we should be in a better position to move. It really took me awhile to accept the fact that staying here was the best decision for our family, even if it isn’t really what I want in my heart to do. But hey, that’s part of what being a family is all about, it isn’t just about me and what I want anymore, is it? And that’s probably good, because left to their own devices my wants are often far from practical, and in fact tend towards wildly irresponsible. So Beijing it is, and although I don’t have to exactly like it, I’m going to deal with it. We have our whole lives left to live in Kunming, the fun has only just started.

Posted by: thelocaldialect | June 1, 2009

Thwarted again!

Just a quick note to all of my readers to say I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, but unfortunately, wordpress is blocked again, so I’m having trouble accessing my blog without a proxy. I’m planning on getting my own domain through wordpress though, so that should help with things. Blogspot is now also blocked, after being accessible for well over a year, so maybe it has something to do with China’s big birthday coming up. I’d certainly like to not have to deal with internet censorship and find a blog host that will never be blocked, but that doesn’t seem incredibly likely at this point so I’ll probably have to opt for the personal domain.

If anyone is interested in reading more of what I write (I’m so humble, right?), I have two weekly columns at in the Expat Corner and China Explorer section. Since eChinacities is obviously not blocked, this is actually the only way I can write for a China audience.

I will try and make a fuller update soon!

Posted by: thelocaldialect | May 5, 2009

Golden Week to Golden Day

May 1st was Friday, a holiday known as May Day, or International Labor Day, an occasion which, in China, has always meant a week’s vacation, at least until now. Recently China has stepped up her efforts to celebrate more traditional, Chinese holidays, which means that this year instead of our big “Golden Week” of vacation, we have three smaller, three day weekend type holidays. The first of these was Qing Ming, the traditional tomb sweeping festival, the second May Day, and the third, several weeks from now, will be Duan Wu, the Dragon Boat festival. While I can appreciate the gesture, it seems to be too little too late at this point. In the cities most people don’t celebrate Qing Ming festival, especially since their ancestor’s gravesites are usually somewhere in the countryside, often far, far away. My husband’s parents are buried back in Yunnan and we’re in Beijing, so of course there was no grave sweeping for us. Qing Ming consisted of taking an extra few minutes at dinnertime to make an offering to his parents’ pictures, lighting some incense, and saying a few words for them. Celebrating it was important for my husband, but it hardly necessitated a day off of work. The other traditional festival, Duan Wu, or Dragon Boat Festival, is much more important in some parts of China than in others, but in modern times the main feature of this celebration is eating a special meal.

Most people I have talked to would rather, in all honesty, have their week of vacation back. China is apparently re-thinking this strategy as well, since cutting out the May Golden Week also means cutting out a lot of spending. The two Chinese Golden Weeks (the other is in October, and remains intact) were originally instituted in order to stimulate the economy, to encourage people to take to the road, to travel, and to spend money. Nothing gets people burning through their Maos faster than a week outside the office, away from home, eating out, taking trains and planes and busses, paying for overpriced souveniers, and living out of hotels. The government has started to realize that for 3 day weekends most people simply stay at home, since there really isn’t enough time to do anything important. My students also grumbled about the lack of a Golden Week, seeing as they’re at a boarding school, and a week’s vacation gives them a much needed opportunity to visit home. I’ve heard talk about reinstating the May Golden Week next year, but this is all rumor at this point.

So which is more important? Stimulating the economy, giving students a nice, long break (especially since come June, exam season starts and the students will be pulling massive all nighters with hardly enough time to breathe), or honoring the traditional holidays which, while today may only be celebrated in the most cursory of ways, still deserve recognition as being part of China’s cultural heritage? I don’t really know the answer. Selfishly, I want my Golden Week, but I admire China for bringing back the old holidays, especially since as few as 30 years ago the country seemed hell-bent on destroying them.

What public holidays does your country give? Traditional festivals, or modern holidays, or a mixture of both?

Posted by: thelocaldialect | March 29, 2009

Feeding the (internet) Addiction

Internet shopping was never something that occured to me in China until I moved to Beijing. Back in the States I had a brief run-in with e-bay somewhere in the late 90s after I graduated from high school and due to a soul-sucking job at a call center, had more disposable income than any 18 year old has business having. If I remember correctly, I spent much more money than I should have buying Japanese kimonos, which is kind of odd looking back, because what did I think I was going to do with those kimonos, living in Texas? My younger brother and I also tried to set ourselves up as internet con-artists entrepreneurs, selling “dirt from Britney Spears’ back yard” complete with a certificate of authenticity (remember, this was 1998). Unfortunately, we didn’t have any takers. Our affair with internet shopping lasted until I went off to college, and my brother even bought a car on e-bay, which didn’t turn out nearly as awful as it could have. Eventually I sort of forgot about e-bay and internet shopping, although I used amazon to purchase books in college, like any normal person would do.

And then I moved to China, had no access to credit cards, and figured it was probably just as well that such sites as e-bay and amazon had no interest in my Chinese bank cards, since shopping on American sites using your Chinese paycheck could probably lead to financial ruin. But then I discovered taobao, which, when I got internet banking with my new Beijing bank card, was suddenly available to me. After one trial run I was hooked. For an expat with a working knowledge of Chinese, or barring that, rudimentary deductive reasoning skills, taobao is like a gift from heaven. It started off innocently enough, with baby clothes. Buying baby clothes in China is not as fun as it sounds, and in Beijing I have always hated how aggresively I have to bargain to get a good deal at the sort of outlet stores that sell the factory reject stuff I love. Taobao was great for this, and suddenly my son was looking pretty smooth in his 30RMB Gymboree outfits, which I had purchased without having to even raise my voice.


I soon discovered that if there are goods to be had in the world, they can be found on taobao. English language books, which previously required a hefty trek out to the big English language bookstore in Chaoyang, could now be purchased, both new and secondhand, on taobao. Current American magazines, stuff like Newsweek or People or Parenting, I could stock up on each month. Even food — comfort food like Macaroni and cheese or Mexican salsa — were only a click away. I even got ambitious with my taobao purchases, buying a pair of shoes, a walker for my son, and finally, a new computer. And while a lot of people are, perhaps rightfully, wary of shopping on the internet, I can truly say that I’ve never been ripped off, and that everything I’ve purchased has come in basically the condition it was promised. I have never had reason to give a bad review to any seller.

I’m grateful for this, because the sellers are often brutal in response to people who give a “poor” or even a “fair,” often “outing” them publicly by posting their home phone number and address and advising other sellers to never do business with these idiots who would dare express their displeasure over an internet transaction gone wrong. Sometimes, just for kicks, I’ll check out the seller reviews and deliberately click on the “poor” reviews just for the drama of it all. These people are worse than parenting boards, and that’s saying a lot. While I don’t really begrudge people the right to complain if they think they’ve been ripped off, a lot of buyers on taobao do seem to have unrealistic expectations about what they’re going to be getting for their 50RMB. And some people are just plain stupid. I’d be legitimately cheesed off if I was a seller and I got a “fair” with the accompanying comment saying “great seller, I’d shop here next time!”

Suffice to say, online shopping has become a major vice of mine, but one that has made living in a country like China a lot more manageable. One of my main complaints previously was being cut off from things like good books and salsa con queso, and now that complaint is no longer valid. Now if only the internet could deliver say, my little brother directly to my doorstep, I’d probably be happy to stay here forever.

Posted by: thelocaldialect | March 21, 2009

Cracks in the Firewall

About 2 weeks after I moved my blog to wordpress, China started blocking it (all blogs ending in that is). Ironically, I’d moved my blog over to wordpress because blogger was, at the time, blocked in China. As soon as I moved, blogger was unblocked and wordpress was the new forbidden blog host. I thought about moving back to blogger but figured with the fickleness of China’s Great Firewall, there wasn’t much point, and plus, I liked wordpress better anyhow. That was more than a year ago — maybe even closer to 2 — and now China has finally seen the light and unblocked wordpress, which means I can finally access my own blog without a proxy, as can others within China!

This, obviously, will make blogging much more convenient. There have been many times when I’d like to say something but I just couldn’t be bothered to find a working proxy and the tediousness of having to post around massive ads (because free proxies are only free due to the miracle of advertising), time-outs, and the problems with loggin in that always came with using one. How nice it will be to blog unfettered by such annoyances!

Unfortunately, although it seems like I should make a long, important post to mark the event, I haven’t got a whole lot to say today and its dinnertime, so the blogging will have to wait. The beauty is that while before I wouldn’t have even gone to the trouble of logging into the blog without saying something worth saying, no I can babble randomly whenever I want. Ah, freedom!

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