Travel – Canton Tower

After the trip to the zoo Rose, Jack and I got on the subway to go back to the Canton Tower for a tour. It was around 515 p.m. when we got there and the sky was still light, but dusk was close at hand!

First stop was the 107th floor of the tower. This is 428 meters/1404 feet from the ground! The viewing area gives you a complete view of the city. The view up the Pearl River is amazing. The scariest, most amazing part of this floor was the “sky walk” that jutted out from the building. It had a glass floor and was heart-stopping, to say the least! My heart was POUNDING in my chest as I inched my way out to the end of the platform, clinging like a scared kitten to the hand rails… as did everyone else we saw… LOL

Then we went to the roof of the building to ride the “ferris wheel”. Which actually runs around the rim of the building on this little itty bitty track… yes, I was seeing how much adrenaline I actually could pump through my body in one evening 😀 It is an amazing 15 minute slow crawl around the entire building, with unobstructed views in a bubble. Again, at first we clung to the rails and each other, then loosened up when we realized we weren’t going to plunge to our deaths 🙂

It was a fun day… the zoo AND Canton Tower AND Hunan Home for dinner with awesome people… I’m going to miss Guangzhou!

canton tower, guangzhou

The Pearl River

canton tower, guangzhou

Beautiful view, even though it was a bit smoggy, I could see for miles.

canton tower, guangzhou

Canton tower, guangzhou

Glass bottomed floor of the “sky walk”.

canton tower, guangzhou, ferris wheel, bubble

Jack and Rose… still clinging to the sides.

canton tower, guangzhou, bubble, ferris wheel

Me and Rose

canton tower, guangzhou

Canton tower, guangzhou, ferris wheel, bubble

The sun began setting as we were on the “ferris wheel”.

canton tower, guangzhou, pearl river

Beautiful view at night!

canton tower, guangzhou

And from the base, looking up… the colors change every 5 seconds.









Travel – Guangzhou Zoo & Safari Park

Last week Rose and Jack invited me out for a touristy day. We started out at the zoo, visited the Canton Tower and ended with another amazing dinner at Hunan Home! This post will be about the zoo… In pictures 🙂 Let’s call it Lions and Tigers and Moon Bears, OH MY!!! I was very pleasantly surprised by the happiness and apparent good health of the animals. The other thing I loved was that it was, for the most part, a no boundaries park, where as, besides a hidden moat, you were very close to the animals.









The little girl in front of us made her daddy wear this hat 🙂

I got to feed this tiger. He was rubbing up against the cage trying to get me to get closer… Um, no! This was before the tiger show.



Yes, even the panda is smirking about my sweat stain… Lol



This meerkat came over to chat with me… Too cute!

I hope you enjoyed the tour 🙂

What is your favorite animal park?


Dukan – Consolidation Day 108

Monday was Consolidation Day 108 🙂

Today’s Weight: 146
Goal Weight: 155
Still lovin’ that 🙂

Back to work in Hangzhou. Kind of a frustrating day. Went to the bank to make a deposit and they wouldn’t let me because I didn’t have my passport… to make a deposit… sigh. Then I went to the post office to ship off the last 4 boxes to the States and the guy went through all my stuff to make sure it was packed well enough to not break anything and DROPS the package with my Chinese china!!!! Breathe IN, Breathe OUT… I flew off the handle… I couldn’t help it… I am not perfect, I threw a tantrum. They quickly finished me up, I apologized a million times to my driver, Jerry, who is the most patient person in the world (besides Kitty)… he smoothed things over and got me the hell out of there before, well before I got into trouble!

My granddaughter Sadie represents the 3rd generation of epic tantrum throwers 🙂
My daughter Jenni, however, was the Queen of them!

Then back to work where I managed to upset the apple cart by providing a not so glowing audit about hand washing that had the doctors doing better than the nurses. I was on a roll!

Went home and had me some dinner and felt better 🙂 I also am tutoring a Chinese midwife in Medical English and passing the NCLEX-RN exam. So we worked on that last night.

Sunday I got in a 5K run in under 40 minutes after not running for 9 days due to my bout of food poisoning, but I pushed myself and did it… which makes me feel so good 🙂 I then went up to my flat and did 30 minutes of stretching, yoga and exercise bands. I have SO much energy when I’m done running… it’s amazing!

I also got a few pictures from Rose, my personal assistant in Guangzhou from my multiple stays there this past 5 months. Here’s a couple I want to share:

Water birth training in April 2012. Guangzhou.

Grand Opening of the Water Delivery Center in Guangzhou Elizabeth Women’s Hospital – April 2012

I’ve been saying that I haven’t felt like I accomplished much in the past year. Maybe I set my expectations too high for myself… I’m a perfectionist. But when I look at these pictures I do realize that I’ve accomplished quite a bit. The hospitals keep referring to me as their International Water Birth Expert… and I’ve come to realize, I really am! I mean who better to be called that than someone who has delivered hundreds of babies in the water (all over the world, including on 4 continents!) and has taught water birth all over the world? The 5 hospitals here in China that I’ve done the water birth trainings in have collectively performed over 100 water births in the past year! I am proud of their accomplishments and that the midwives and doctors at these 5 hospitals have accepted water birth as a “normal” way for women to deliver their babies. And delighted for the women and babies who have experienced this amazing way of birthing!

Breakfast: 2 slices of bacon and 2 tea eggs
Snack: FF Greek yogurt with Splenda and flaxseed meal
Lunch: 3 ham slices with 3 slices of Pepper Jack cheddar… Mmmm!!
Dinner: Stir-fry pork with onions and asparagus (cooked in coconut oil).
Snack: Beef jerky… eeek that out a couple little pieces at a time to make it stretch (thanks, Suzanne for bringing me the 3 bags!!) ** Kira… Titters LOVES jerky!

I hope everyone is having a great week! I have 23 days until I fly home… for good… or for now… LOL
What type of exercise or movement did you do on Monday??



Travel – Making Molehills out of Mountains

Well, it’s been a crazy week! I’ve had food poisoning since Sunday night. Not fun. I have 10 minutes to type a quick post before heading to the airport for my flight to Hangzhou…

Sometimes your train is delayed so that you meet really cool people like Franci. She’s German, has a masters in psychology and is an art lover. At 27, she’s bright, traveled and a wonderful debater!

This morning, while packing up my room, I realized I didn’t want to waste some of the food. Not being allowed to use my cooker, I threw together 4 eggs, leftover sausage, Parmesan chunks and a wee bit of mozzarella. This is the result…


I microwaved the eggs for 1.5 minutes, then added the meat and cheeses for another 1.5 minutes. Yum!

Not sure my tummy will be happy about it, but a girl’s gotta eat!

Hope everyone is having a fantabulous week!


Travel – Typhoon Haiku

So yet another tropical system is mucking up my travels! I was suppose to fly to Guangzhou this morning, but I ended up walking to work dressed like this…


In this…


And why would my crazy self walk to work in that? Because last September I promised myself I would walk to work every single day for a year. I have honored that! I have walked to work on beautiful days, freezing days, snowing days and 7 weeks of raining and near freezing days, scorching heat and now typhoon (aka hurricane). It is .98 miles to work, it takes between 12-15 minutes depending on my mood, the weather and traffic. I even walked there 36 hours after my lipo, now that was just stupid, lol, but I did it 🙂

I wrote this out this morning, while lounging in bed, listening to the wind howling and the rain coming down through my open bedroom window…

A Haiku for Typhoon Haikui

As the wind does blow
I watch a leaf settle down
Then blown away gone

Flight rebooked for tomorrow 🙂

Running, blog stats and random stuff

I’ve had a pretty exciting week from a personal perspective. I set two personal records running in the past 3 days. The first was my fastest run at 8:26 avg. min/km or 13:34 avg. min/mile. This is a full 1 minute per mile LESS than before I had my surgery in May! The second was that I ran more miles in July than any previous month! Below is my RunKeeper stats…

The brick color is walking, the green is running and the purple is hiking.

I’ve either walked, ran or hiked 544 kilometers since March. That’s 338 miles 🙂 Woot!

Another awesome thing that happened this week is that at some point I reached 50,000 hits on my blog! And I’ve logged nearly 3500 comments! It makes me so happy that so many people have stopped by. I started regularly writing this blog in August to share my journey with family and friends and it has become so much more and that makes my heart swell with happiness!

And that leads to the awesomest things that have happened this week. Actually it happened today… 4 people that I personally know, all of us on 4 different continents, contacted me today (yesterday for some of you) to tell me they are starting the Dukan because they want to be healthier and they’ve seen my success. All 4 have read my blog and I only knew that one of them was. I wish all 4 of you luck!!! I know you will succeed because I know all of you put your mind to something and accomplish it! 4 amazing women… starting on this journey… Good luck and remember that I’m here if you need anything!

I’ll finish by saying that August brings in the last month of summer. It also signals that I have 51 days left in China. I can’t believe I’ve been here nearly a year already! I get one more trip to Guangzhou where I get to hang with my Int’l crew down there, Rose, Jenny, Liza and Dianna. And get to mentor a friend from the Middle East, Aisha! And then back to Hangzhou to finish out my contract… I’m going to miss my ViviMokaLaka so much! She’s the one that brought me here in the first place. I’m going to try to take as many photos as possible in the next 7 weeks.

But I miss home and my kids and my grandkids and my mom and my family and my friends and the beautiful sunrise over the Roosevelt Bridge first thing in the morning. And there’s no place like home. I’ve had a fun 4 years living abroad 🙂 But on to new projects and fixing up my AirStream!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!


Travel – Hunań Dinner

So, I’m working in Guangzhou for 2 weeks and my personal assistant asks me the other day if I like spicy food. I say yes…. In China spicy = burn holes in your mouth. This I learned last night! 😀

Last night Rose and her boyfriend Jack took me to Hunań Home Restaurant for dinner. I immediately knew it was going to be spicy simply by coughing the minute we walked into the restaurant because of the pepper in the air… Whew boy!

Hunań cuisine is also known as Xiang cuisine, in Chinese 湘菜. Xiang cuisine is known for its liberal use of hot chilis, shallots and garlic. And boy did we have a lot of all of those! It is also known for changing the menu to suit the season. In the summer they start you out with cold dishes that have the hottest chilis and then milder dishes towards the end. Hot Pot is served more in the winter.

We were served a very “earthy” tea. Grown in Hunan.

My dinner companions Rose & Jack…


And food in the order it was brought out… Spiciest first!

Spicy Black Fungi (aka mushrooms). These were AMAZING and HOT… Spicy, spicy hot. Those little teeny red peppers in there… Whew!


Next up, Spicy Shrimps… Yes, with an ‘s’. They were nearly as spicy as the fungi and had their skin still on, but I got used to the crunchiness 🙂


And then the cauliflower. Spicy, but not too HOT. These were yummy!! Notice the whole garlic cloves… Mmmmm Mmmmm Good!


After that the short ribs arrived, covered in rice. They were steamed… OH MY, NOM, NOM!!! I shooed the rice off…


And to finish the meal off, Fried Pumpkin 😀 Very naughty, lol. BUT… They used rice flour, not wheat flour, so no tummy troubles… YAY!!


After dinner we took a 4 km stroll along the waterfront, in the rain. It was a beautiful night with boats and ferries floating down the river.

This is me and Rose.


And Rose and Jack… Who really is a delightful guy… He just doesn’t smile for pictures 🙂


It was such an honor to share dinner with them. Jack is the first boyfriend I’ve met here in China. It’s usually just the girls who go out. I had a fabulous time getting to know Rose even more and meeting her boyfriend, who is perfect for her 😀


Water Birth in China

Just attended the first water birth at the hospital in Guangzhou. First baby for this couple.

I love when I can see birth workers grow and learn to trust birth and it’s process. This lady only had two internal exams, one on admission this morning and another in the afternoon around 4 pm. She was 5 cms and transferred to the water birth room.

At 5 pm she was singing the loudest, sweetest birth song and holding onto me for dear life. One of the midwives wanted to check her, I said no, let’s watch what happens and 23 minutes later her sweet baby slipped gently into my hands and up to her chest. She and her husband cocooned with the baby and there wasn’t a peep out of anyone in the room. I think they were all stunned 🙂

Days like this I love my vocation. Funny thing, as I was changing into scrubs I had a fleeting thought that I was too old for this… Now I’m going out to run! LOL


Travel – Stuck at the Airport… Writin’ A Blog

Well, I’m sitting at the Guangzhou, China airport waiting on a delayed flight with a migraine, yippee! So I thought, what the heck… Write your blog 🙂

Weight, up 200 grams from the other day. Did 2 pure protein days in a row, hoping for the best tomorrow.

Taught classes to moms & dads to be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Also taught staff development classes those 3 days.

Then an early morning train to Hong Kong on Friday morning. Busy day, I specifically went to see Troy the travel guy, to book tickets for my mom to go to North Carolina and me to go home for 2 weeks in June. I got my tickets, didn’t get my mom’s (mom I’ll Skype ya tomorrow!).

I also got some shopping in on Friday and Saturday. I also did the 90 minute KYA Ashtanga yoga class with Miranda at Yoga Mālā. I did a few modified poses due to the inability to bend the left knee more than 90 degrees without pain, but only a few… It was an awesome class.

Saturday morning up at the crack of dawn and lounged in bed. Then went out for a run…. A LONG RUN!


Did you know that 6.54 miles is over 10.5 kms? I ran 75% of this… I ran the first 5.42 kms without stopping, then I speed walked and then I did a 5 minute stretch and meditation and then ran a bit more, then when I got into traffic I just speed walked… Too hard to run on the crowded sidewalks.
According to RunKeeper the elevation I climbed was 2300+ feet!

Here are pics from some of my run… The first 2+ kms were UPHILL on the street…


I even recorded some of it… You can see that here: Sandi street running in Hong Kong

Then I found Bowen Road which is a 4 km path specifically for pedestrians!



And this is what bliss looks like after figuring out you’ve done gone more than 10kms!


I also treated myself to a foot massage both days… I deserve it 🙂


So, that’s my update… THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO VOTED FOR CELESTE IN THE LAST COUPLE DAYS AND A HUMONGOUS THANKS TO THOSE BLOGGERS WHO REPOSTED IT. My family thanks you with our WHOLE heart! You can vote daily until May 13. I will be putting a little box on the right side of my blog, once I’m back home and have my lap top 🙂


Dukan – Day 236 Epic Fail day

Wednesday started out as a PP day.

Daily weight GAIN: 0.7 lb/0.3 kg
Total weight loss: 85.8 lb/39.91 kg

Oh, where to start… I’m probably being WAY harder on myself than I should!

Breakfast in my room: 2 boiled eggs
Lunch: A beautiful bowl of chicken and veggies, lovely presentation, but maybe 1 ounce of thinly sliced chicken, which being a PP day meant all I could have…


Those slivery, garlic looking things are from the lotus plant. I only ate the chicken.

I then taught a 90 minute child birth Ed class and a 60 minute staff development class. This pic is from the staff development class. The little old bitty with the word ‘LOVE’ over her head wouldn’t shut her pie hole , errr, wouldn’t let me get a word in edge wise when talking about water birth… I asked her, “exactly how many water births have YOU conducted” she said, “none and I will never”. I said, “that’s, OK because the patients prefer midwives to do their deliveries”… She didn’t speak another word 😀
I can always tell by body language who is there to learn… The midwives took pics of every slide and 2 of them recorded it. They asked questions for nearly 40 minutes afterwards!


I want to give a shout out to my amazing daughter, Tiffany LeAnn and her hubby, Joey. I use their very intimate pictures from Jose’s birth (with their permission) in my presentations. The 2nd PowerPoint I use is just pics from their birth with the song “I Can Only Imagine” playing. They may not know the words, but the music does its wonder and brings tears to most people’s eyes. Joey and Tiffany… You are contributing tremendously in educating the women and midwives of China in normal birth and water birth… Thank you SO much for allowing me to teach through your experience!

And then my epic fail… OK, epic is an exaggeration… LOL, but it felt epic! We went for Arabic food. Just being in the restaurant made me miss Abu Dhabi… I swear sometimes I miss Abu Dhabi more than home in the States! I’m actually tearing up as I write this… Anyway, the place is run by 2 Arabs a Lebanese guy and a Syrian guy and it was DAMN GOOD ARABIC FOOD!!! My intent was to only eat the Mixed Grill and extra Chicken Shish Taouk, but also had the Lamb Kofta smothered in a sesame sauce and fattoush and hummus. Too much food, but no wheat or sugar… BUT, the Tabbouleh was to DIE FOR… Seems innocuous, but their is bulgur in Tabbouleh. And Bulgur is a wheat product and wheat is like friggin’ HEROIN to me. Not to mention it makes my tummy bloat and hurt and causes lower GI stuff!
Here’s a pic of the dinner… It was glorious, alhamdilallah! Notice the star of the show is the heroin Tabbouleh.


So, I’m feeling groovy, happy, speaking Arabic with Mohammed our waiter, getting winks from the Syrian co-owner who sends over a heavenly tea pot of yummy mint tea, when it happens… He sends over THE DESSERT PLATE… Nope, not gonna do it, not gonna rmrmrmmaamrm… Sigh, sorry, had chocolate in my mouth… What was I saying?!? EPIC FAIL… And MOONDAY Continue reading