My Rectilinear Life


Dalian, China
December 11
US expat living in China. Another 40-something woman experiencing mid-life crisis, only this time in China, with dumplings.


Overworkedtiredandnumb's Links

JANUARY 24, 2014 7:06PM

Today, for no reason

This blog has always been about Mama. From the first post, to now, the theme is this: if your mother loves you, it will propel you forward in life in ways that no one, no one, no one, can explain.

Recently I was reading something about this theme. Something by that… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 4:46PM

Job Hunting

Dear Recruiter for Temp Staffing Firm,

As we discussed this morning, I did not notice before you pointed it out to me that you had changed dates on my resume.  The resume you sent to the hiring manager said I had… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 16, 2011 4:40PM

Home Again

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I’m a big fan of cognitive behavioral therapy, the main premise of which is perhaps, to some, not very encouraging; namely, that “sometimes I think stupid things.”  Stupid is a strong word, but the idea is that you… Read full post »

APRIL 20, 2011 11:41PM

What does it mean?!


The Chengdu Chairman

In Chengdu (Sichuan Province, southern China), there is a public square overlooked to the west by an enormous statue of Mao Zedong, one of those statues of Mao saluting his people.  Is he showing them  fatherly warmth?  Grandfatherly wisdom? Stern he/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 16, 2011 5:54AM

Reality Check (India, part 4)

This is the story of my trip to India with my husband, Jimmy, and my daughters, Eleanor (8) and Hazel (4).  Days 1 and 2 are described here, Day 3 here, and Day 4 here.

Tuesday, Day 5 -

Today is reality day.  And the reality of India is poverty.  Mile… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 13, 2011 5:41AM

Tiger, Tiger (India, part 3)

Days 1 and 2 are here.  Day 3 is here.

Monday, Day 4 -

Today is jeep safari day.  When Jimmy put in the long hours planning our trip to India, he thought that the kids might like some time away from museums, palaces, forts, and temples.  And so the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 11, 2011 3:55AM

Ridin' That (Turns Out to Be) Midnight Train (India, part 2)

Days 1 and 2 in India are covered here.

Sunday, Day 3 -

Today is train day.  This will be our only train ride in India.  Mainly for the experience, not the convenience, or at least we think. Wisely, Jimmy has arranged for a guide to take us to the… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 10, 2011 2:24AM

A passage to, uh, India


When I was in my early teens (1979ish) I was one of the first generation of post-Beatle Beatlemaniacs. I loved every Beatles song there was.  But, I suppose like many others, I failed to connect to the post-Beatles Beatles, as individual artists.  Paul with his sappy love songs. Plea… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 9, 2011 4:34PM

A Dream

Last night for only the second time I can remember, I awoke from a dream laughing. (The first time was the memorable "Fat Metal Babies with Slinkies" dream of 1999.  But that's a different tale.) Most of my dreams involve high levels of stress, not laughter.  I am trying to pack… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2011 4:42AM

Learn the Language

Today I met two friends at Starbucks.  We each did exactly the same thing: assume.  I assumed that someone else would be able to give me a lift home.  So did both my friends.  We all live in a protected bubble: we have a car and driver to take us where… Read full post »

JANUARY 5, 2011 3:35AM

When My Morning Comes Around

When my mornin' comes around, no one else will be there,
So I won't have to worry about what I'm supposed to say,
And I alone will know that I climbed that great big mountain,
And that's all that will matter when my mornin' comes around.

When my mornin' comes around, I will look backRead full post »

DECEMBER 31, 2010 10:10AM

2010: The Year in Quotes

"I'm full. But I want some cheese." - Hazel, aged 4.

"McDonald's is crappy in America, imagine what it's like in China!" - Eleanor, aged 7, when invited to dine at McDonald's with friends in China.

"If I'm going to be uncomfortable, they're going to be uncomfortable, too. I'm going through… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2010 3:11AM

The Immigration Bunny

I called Jimmy last Thursday at his office to confirm that our third trip to the local administrative offices to renew our Chinese visas, residence and work permits would be coming off without a hitch that afternoon.  The first two trips had been annoyingly futile because the "system" was down.&… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 10, 2010 4:06PM

Google Translate, 一半半


Hazel came home yesterday with a newsletter from her preschool that featured a little blurb about her.  I was able to recognize about 90% of the characters used, but the actual translation was a bit laborious.  What really shocked me was that Google Translate did a half-decen… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 10, 2010 12:56AM

Motherhood, a photo essay

I'm not fond of having my photo taken, particularly post-partum, but this photo is simply a classic.  Stare, if you will, into the face of utter ambiguity.  I call this photo, "I'm happy?"  The mouth grudgingly forms a smile and the eyes are begging the photographer to go away.  A… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 3, 2010 1:33AM

Special Friend: Clay

I've decided to write about my very special friends, to honor them.  If you find that you do not appear in this series, don't take it the wrong way.  It probably means that you are my "special" friend. Live with it. And count yourself lucky not to appear… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 26, 2010 7:33AM

US-Chinese Relations: Slowly Warming Up

Saturday was a beautiful day in Dalian, China, where I live. The sky was clear, there was a chill in the air, and the intensely cold wind that will hammer us for the next five months had not yet arrived. (It arrived today.) Nonetheless my family only grudgingly started our day.… Read full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2010 9:03PM

Good Job, Bad Job, Any Job, Please

There is no more empowering experience than to have a job that you just don't give a shit about.  Such was the case during my career in IT at a national environmental health research facility in Research Triangle Park, NC. It was not that I didn't take pride in doing my… Read full post »

OCTOBER 22, 2010 5:51AM

Ideas That Shake My World

The comedian Rich Hall (remember sniglets?) coined the term ignosecond to describe that instant, as the car door you just locked and pushed is closing, when you realize that your keys are still in your car. I’ve stolen his idea and changed it a bit.  While ignoseconds are the moments when… Read full post »

Hazel's preschool teachers recently asked me to bring in a chair cushion for her. Huh?  I guess in China you provide your own chair cushion. Isn't that what my 300 big ones are for? That's right, bitches, I get full time preschool, with meals, for $300 a month. Eat your hearts… Read full post »

OCTOBER 19, 2010 1:17PM

Special Friend: Brandon

In my whole life, I've only collapsed at the feet of one man, grabbing his legs and screaming, "I don't know how I'll live without you!"  It wasn't my husband.  My husband was standing next to me asking, "Who gave her a fifth margarita?" The thought of losing Brandon (and, yes,… Read full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2010 8:53PM

Special Friend: Jane

I've decided to write about my very special friends, to honor them.  If you find that you do not appear in this series, don't take it the wrong way.  It probably means that you are my "special" friend. Live with it. And count yourself lucky not to appear on these pages.… Read full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2010 10:10PM

A Visit to Hong Kong

We just came off 12 days in Hong Kong pursuing a solution to Hazel’s frequent bladder infections. The final plan was to wait and see. And retest in 3 months. Oh well, we are armed with a lot more data now. Her right kidney does not drain as quickly as it… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 7:10PM

Pork Pastries 不好吃!

Who knew that a pork product could be made that I wouldn’t like?  Such is the case with a product known around our house as “meat hair.” The actual name, in English, is pork floss.  In Chinese it is zhu rou song song. (Argh, I can't get Chinese characters in myRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 3:07AM

Rock, Paper, What?



These are my “to do” lists.  These are my feeble attempt to control the uncontrollable: life.  Every day my Lists and I play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Read full post »