2 days to go…

Turns out DH isn’t back til Tuesday 😦 For the Blueberry Watch, still no Blueberry so that’s good news, though she is more and more insistent in her movements so I think she’s getting ready to greet the big ol’ world.

Nothing much to report – working on the Knit Love Club stuff, getting the KLC yearbook ready for print, indulging in a little retail therapy. I ordered a pair of cashmere skeins from Ravenwood in the US, and some goats milk soap (in the hope they will be nice to my complaining skin). Got them the other day, and the cashmere is absolutely gorgeous. I’m not sure what to make with them – a scarf, a shawl…400 metres of fingering weight…will have to consider carefully.

Also got a lovely surprise in the post from my friend M – the cutest I love London tin which was a perfect little tonic for homesickness! A cute little toy for the Blueberry, and lots of Green & Black’s chocolate. YUM!

I’m getting a little fed up with being preggers – the itching is making me crazy and not being able to really sleep well sucks. I spend a fair amount of time in the bathtub – seems to be the only place that soothes the itching. Things have been relatively quiet, though my mom treated me to a pregnancy massage the other day which was really quite lovely. They had a special pregnancy pillow with holes for your boobs and belly. It was surprisingly comfortable. Given my internal furnace, I found it so hot that I one point I had to prop myself up and lean over to get some air. My therapist looked positively alarmed but I assured her I was just trying to cool down. I’d definitely go back for more… but will ask for the room to be cooler and no heated eye pillow!

Yesterday we were drawn out to the big lawn between all the apartment buildings by drummers – they had a pair of lions for an acrobatic lion dance, and a big ol’ dragon to welcome the year of the dragon.

I took a couple videos of the dances – pretty impressive acrobatics for the lions!

The whole city is decorated for the New Year. The IFC mall had set up a pagoda disply.

Orange bushes are everywhere – they are supposed to bring luck.

This is in front of our apartment block.

These funky little plant things bring fertility and closeness of family (they are called “five generations living together”)

We also took the monkeys to the park on Saturday, where we met with Meimei’s brethren.  This chap is named Tarquin, another Lamma Island retriever (my name for Meimei’s breed) – he is 28 kilos!  You can see how big he is compared to Deuce.

He seemded to quite like Meimei, though you can see here Meimei is none to pleased with the attention.

Tarquin is a gentle soul, and has a gorgeous coat and bushy tail. Meimei is definitely getting glossier and growing a thicker coat. I hope her tail gets nice and bushy like Tarquin’s.  Really gorgeous dog.

Meimei did manage to make some friends she didn’t run from – Spicy the pug and Daisy the Shih-Tzu. I think because they were a little more sedate it was easier for her to get comfortable with them.

At home the two monkeys now have their new favourite places. For Meimei, it’s the corner of the sofa where she spends her nights.  She is always super pleased with herself when she clambers up there.

Deuce on the other hand has taken to sleeping in Meimei’s bed – all cozied up inside like a little hobbit.  So funny.

Lastly – a little video for Meimei’s peanut gallery: a little video I took the other morning of Meimei and Deuce relaxed and playing.

2 down 5 to go

My mom arrived on Monday night, and we’ve been hanging out over the Chinese New Year holiday. She’s been cooking and I’ve been keeping my legs crossed. So far so good – 5 days to go till hubby comes home. Hong Kong has been chilly – about 10 degrees out. Thankfully I’ve figured out how to turn the heaters on (well, the ac units that also act as heaters) so the flat is warm. I broke out my shearling coat today as I needed it! I really didn’t expect it to feel so chilly.

The furballs are continuing to make me laugh – Meimei is now taller and longer than Deuce, though she still acts the baby. Her favourite thing now is to bite Deuce’s knees (hind legs) to ‘entice’ him to play with her. She can now clamber onto the sofa, but is still a little too scared to jump off so she tends to stay up there then bark and whine when she wants down!

Blueberry seems to be enjoying her last weeks in the womb – and spends most of her time stretching it seems and squishing my internal organs. It feels very … odd. And uncomfortable when she does it. I seem to have 9th month insomnia – though am tired when I go to bed I lay awake. My friend B used to say I was borderline narcoleptic when it came time to sleep at night since I almost never have any problem drifting off to sleep… well, no longer. I can feel the hamsters in my head spinning in their wheels, hyperactive but somehow totally directionless. Plus am quite itchy still so between that, the hamsters, and the inevitable hourly visits to the loo, sleep is something that evades me til the wee hours. I guess it’s practice for the coming months!

Legs crossed and counting

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Hubby left last night on business (with a few days layover in London, the lucky sod), and my OBY is also currently on holiday too. Which means that I need to keep my legs crossed until they are both back next Monday. A 7 day count down of ‘not yet Blueberry!’. So far so good! Then after the 7 day count it’ll probably be, ‘c’mon Blueberry!’ It was a little touch and go whether we would have a bunny Blueberry or dragon Blueberry – but as of today, looks like she’ll be a little Dragon. Roar! Maybe we should name her Saphira, haha.

Feeling rather homesick again today – but I suspect it’s just that I feel a little like I’m rattling around a big empty cage. What I’d really like to do today is hop in my battered but dependable hatchback, head up to Kensington Gardens, watch the monkeys play and greet other doggies, pit stop at the Ottolenghi off Kensington Church Street and pick up a latte and a feta spinach and pine nut muffin and maybe something for dinner. Hook up with some friends later in the day and indulge in a cinnamon chocolate bar at Rococo Chocolate on King’s Road. I think I’d try to fit in a chicken shwarma from Ranoush Juice too. Hubby will have to do it on my behalf so I can enjoy vicariously. Sigh. No point moping. I have a ton of stuff on my to-do list so I better get cracking!

Last but not least, had some great news last night – a huge congrats to my cousins G & H and a big welcome to their new baby boy Nathanial!

Enter the Dragon

Monday marks the start of the Year of Dragon. My mom arrives on Monday, and will be armed with niangao (a traditional chinese new year cake). Since the ones here are cantonese style and don’t taste the same as the Taiwanese ones, I made a special request of my mom to bring some from home. We’ve got dumplings we can eat too so we’re all set.

We’ve had a thorough spring clean so we’re ready to face the new year. Our old Gaggia was on its last legs, so we needed to get a replacement. Lately I’ve been finding that, much as I love to pull a great shot, the time it takes, and the noise the steam wand makes when frothing milk, I just can’t be asked with all the faff.  I figure with baby coming too the simpler, faster and quieter, the better. My mom and friend M both have Nespresso machines, and are both quite happy with them. The choice of different espresso pods is pretty impressive, the fact that there is virtually no mess, and Nespresso has a super easy recycling system for the 100% aluminum pods made it an easy choice. I was tempted by the limited edition Shanghai Tang dragon Nespresso machine, but decided against it as it didn’t include the milk frother and larger base and in person, it didn’t look as good as in the photos. So instead, I brought home this baby in a bright dragon red, with a lovely matching red laquer box to home all the pods (it does have a cool dragon on it).

We have a couple sets of Illy Collection cappuccino and espresso cups which we I love but found them too fancy to use with the gaggia, but for some reason, I really love using them with the nespresso machine.  At the shop, I tried out a bunch of different espressos- some with the most amazing crema (Arpeggio and the limited edition Kazaar had amazing guinness like crema).  The lighter coffees, unsurprisingly, were very nice as lungos but not so much as espresso shots.

The coolest thing is the frother – it makes the most perfect microfoam (literally like a smooth sheen on the surface, you can’t even make out any bubbles!) and best of all, takes about 10 seconds to froth and is so quiet you have too look at it to tell if it’s working.  So easy. In fact, everything about the machine is just super easy.  So happy!  Lest you worry that I’m taking in too much caffeine, I bought a bunch of decaf pods so I’m all set (and the lady at the Nespresso shot made sure to tell me to only sip a little from each shot, since I tried like 8 of them).

Another Chinese New Year tradition is to wear new clothes. Since I’m about to pop, there is little point in buying new clothes at this stage. So instead, I bought some new tools for work, and really indulged. I got a set of Signature circulars. These are like Aston Martins of the needle world and really are lovely to behold, and a pleasure to use.   I got them in the post today, and ripped them open just before we headed out for lunch so I could cast-on a swatch.  Sadly they don’t do the smaller sized needles (for socks) but they have from 3.25mm upwards so I got a set from 3.25mm to 5mm.  Hopefully they will have 2.25, 2.5 and 2.75mm soon as those are ones I am most excited to get my little mitts on.

They are colour coded by size, and have the size of the needle etched into them.  No need to run around trying to find my needle gauge while clutching a handful of needles trying to find the right size!  I took a pair of 4.5mm circs (also in red – all very Dragon-esque) and started a swatch of a merino/cashmere yarn I’m test driving.  Loving the needles, and the yarn so far, but the real test is how well the yarn stands up to some abuse.

Happy Hound

Meimei is coming along in leaps and bounds. She finally went onto the balcony and no longer seems frightened of it.

She’s sort of getting the hang of doing her ‘business’ outside – and she seems to really enjoy her walks now. I took her out yesterday and I didn’t have to carry her at all – she walked past the gates and guards and was okay with it all whereas just a week ago she was so frightened by them she kept trying to back away.

Today we went to the local park again – doesn’t she look happy as a clam?

Tomorrow we’ve got a trainer coming to visit to help us with a few niggling things we’d like to sort out with Deuce (being all territorial and aggressive when he’s on the lead), and Meimei (like her penchant for nibbling on toes!).

And just a random discovery at our local supermarket – I was looking for chrysathemum tea, and came across these two boxes of Mariages Freres – a high end tea not normally seen in a supermarket, and which I hadn’t seen at our local before. I guess it’s worth always checking things out – you never know what you’ll find from week to week!

Dragon/Worm

We had one of those weekends where we didn’t do much, but it still felt like a lot happened. First an old dear friend came to visit. Such a treat – I haven’t seen Cam for well over a decade, and he’s just the same as ever. It’s nice to know in a sea of change that there are always some constants.  In between napping (me) and dog walking, we caught up and planned for the next trip when both Cam and my friend Alice will be coming to visit. Yay!

On Sunday afternoon we went to Whiskers’n’Paws for their puppy adoption party so that Meimei could get a chance to play with some fellow puppies and also so Deuce could get a long overdue grooming.

There were puppies and doglets of all sizes, running around and playing.

Meimei however, found this all a bit much, and spent her time either running away from any puppy wanting to play with her, or hiding between my legs.

There was another black fluffy puppy that looked like the same sort of mix as Meimei, just a slightly butcher version (a little boy, when I looked properly).  You can see his ears in the photo, and another puppy’s tail.  Meimei just hid under me or David.  Not quite what I thought would happen but I guess socialising with just one dog isn’t the same as with a bunch of others.  My mom had a saying for this kind of behaviour – roughly translated it’s “A little dragon at home, outside a sniffly little bug”.  Basically Meimei is a rough and tumble little girl at home – tormenting Deuce and running around like a crazy thing, but outside, she’s a timid little thing. Hopefully as we take her out more and more she’ll get used to other dogs and people.

 

Deuce of course hated being groomed – I think he takes it as a personal insult if anyone tries to remove debris or gunk from his person.  He did come out looking very clean and tidy with a dapper little tartan kerchief.  LOL he looks, as usual, most unimpressed.

We also took the two to our local park on both Saturday and Sunday. 

Sunday was incredibly foggy – looking out our window the past few days, it’s been impossible to differentiate the water from the sky. It’s all a whitish blur. You can see how low the clouds are hanging.

This ‘Work in Progress’ sign is rather curious -not sure what exactly they are doing, or not doing to the expanse of grass.

Meimei seemed to really enjoy her time in the park, despite a small incident with a curious French Bulldog who chased her when she ran away in fright since he thought she was playing with him. There is a patch of dirt in the big grassy area that Deuce loves to roll around in. He very rarely rolls around in stuff, but this patch seemed to be his siren song. He got well and truly icky rolling around in the dirt (this was before his grooming so we weren’t too bothered by it) and was quite pleased with himself.

Here are the two monkeys playing fetch with DH – well, Meimei playing fetch until Deuce joins them and they play run-after-it-but-make-papa-go-pick-it-up which is classic Deuce.

Blueberry I think has started to drop and I can feel her in my pelvic area. So now I am truly waddling as walking normally has become rather uncomfortable. Three more weeks to go…

Escapades and Tales

Wednesday night DH and I went to a dinner hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club for Tim Luard, the author of recently published Escape from Hong Kong. The RHKYC is one of the few yacht clubs – maybe the only one? – that has a rowing division (remember the Round the Island Race DH was in? The clubhouse on Middle Island is part of the RHKYC), which is how we came to know about the dinner.

I wish I’d taken some photos of the clubhouse – quite swanky, but I guess that’s to be expected of a yacht club. We had dinner in the Gun Room (love the military reference) then moved to the Compass Room to listen to Tim Luard’s talk. Tim Luard used to be the Beijing correspondent for the BBC, and spent the last four years researching his book, including many hours logged at the British Library (B I bet you’d recognise him!). The book is about a daring Christmas day escape of more than sixty Chinese and British intelligence and marine personnel from Hong Kong, on the same day that the British surrendered Hong Kong to the Japanese. Author Luard is the son-in-law of one of the members of the escape party, and started down the path for this book when he came across his father-in-law’s diary account of the escape.

Fascinating talk with slides of maps from the 40s, including Telegraph Bay – where DH & I currently live.

I also picked up a book called Hong Kong Stories, a collection of short stories written by local authors. One of the short stories was written by Dani, a girl in the Hong Kong knitting group I’ve been popping along to. Am looking forward to getting stuck into the anthology.

Since I tend to get up at too-early-o’clock, I like to bake in the mornings. Today I made my favourite banana bread recipe (from the New York Cookbook).

So time for breakfast before heading off to Whiskers’n’Paw’s puppy adoption party – don’t worry we aren’t adopting another puppy, but taking Meimei along so she can play with other furballs her age. We took her to the park for the first time yesterday – she loved it! Will take her again today and hopefully get some vids to show you.