2012 Retrospective

At the end of every year, I like to do a retrospective of the previous year’s events. It reminds me to always be thankful for the ups in life and to remind me how lucky I am to have such wonderful friends and family.

2012, as you know, was a biggie for us.  Our little family got an inc1 in the form of a gorgeous little Blueberry.

January brought my long lost friend Cam back into the fold, we moved from bunnies to dragons and from Gaggia to Nespresso and haven’t look back since.  My mom came to stay and wait for the baby to pop out, and I seriously could not wait to finally have baby out of me (the itching was driving me nuts).

February was a waiting game filled with all manner of lotions and potions for the itching. My mom and Meimei totally bonded, and I was GINORMOUS.  Baby was 10 days late when I finally was induced and watched Bones while waiting to dilate enough for baby to come out. Which never happened as I ended up having an emergency c-section. No matter, baby came out nice and healthy! Both my mom and dad were there for the birth, and when they left I have to admit I felt really really wobbly.  Despite being a pretty independent person (I left home at 18 and travelled all over, with nary a whisper of homesickness), when my mom left I felt suddenly incredibly and overwhelmingly anxious.  Thankfully hubby took an extra week off and it made all the difference.

In March hubby and I finally announced baby’s official name. We started to find our rhythm with the three little monkeys, helped enormously by our littlest monkey’s penchant for sleeping like a snug little bug in a rug. I took baby for a walk up the Peak. She slept in her little moby wrap pretty much the whole way up.

Photo: Walked up to the Peak and back this morning. Feeling very virtuous!

In April hubby’s folks came to visit, and baby had her very first Easter and saw her very first pandas. We celebrated with brunch at the historic Verandah restaurant in Repulse Bay. I even had some champagne! Amandine slept in a corner pretty much the entire time.  Our helper Daisy joined our household and has enriched our lives.

May brought my dear friend Alice over to Hong Kong, where we drove around mostly to IFC, a mall with AC.  It was HOT. But Alice was on her way to Thailand where it was to get even hotter! She and Cam came back to HK where they picked me up for my first ‘solo’ trip with baby.  Amandine and I hoofed it to Taipei for a few days to hang out with Cam & Kevin, and see the sights with Alice.  We went to the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, ate lots of Taiwanese beef noodle soup (my absolute favourite noodle soup), and enjoyed the Taipei weather – a gloriously pleasant and sunny spring.

In June my little one started to swim which was the cutest thing ever.  Amandine started her first round the world trip, first stop Calgary, Banff & Lake Louise.  My dear friend Carole came to see us and my mom (the star that she is) drove us all over. I think secretly she was also afraid I had forgotten how to drive! lol.

I got to see and spend time with my friends Alice, Thea and even a short visit with Alicja! Oh man, I really miss those huge prairie skies.

In July the round the world trip continued on to England, where we went to the Isle of Wight and Amandine met her great grandma for the very first time.  David biked the Etape de Tour race in the Pyrenees so we spent a few days in the St Emilion and Pau area before heading back to London for some much needed and missed time with old friends and my little goddaughter who, now 6, is no longer a wee little thing. She’s a proper little girl!  I finally got to try the River Cafe – a fool I was for eschewing it for so many years.  Ah well.  Little Amandine got to meet a whole bunch of her aunties – Tricia, Ali, Tina, Lucy, Arianna, Joy, Sandy (all the way from Sweden!!), Mel, Judith, Jen, Dee, Ling, Chantelle – at one of my old haunts in London – Wahaca (scene of many a great meal always in great company). She even got to meet Tricia’s boys Alastair & Robbie for a few cuddles. 🙂

August was another round of flights – hubby had a last minute kind of surprise sabbatical (at least 3 years overdue!) so we headed back to Canada to enjoy the summer.  First we hit Vancouver, where we saw killer whales, otters, bald eagles, seals, and lots of gorgeous pacific northwest scenery, as well as my cousins Betty & Frank.  We cycled round Stanley Park and wandered around Granville Island fantasising about living in that idyllic place.  More time in Cowtown enjoying those blue blue skies, followed by a trip to Tronno to see Melissa and Luke and their bump and the lovely Cookie A (we tried to see Laura Chau but just missed her by a few hours! I bought yarn at Lettuce Knits as consolation). Toronto surprised me by how fun and cute it and neighbourly it was – inner city but Canadian style – that is, clean, well tended and friendly. Oh and the food was amazing too.  We rounded off the month off with a short visit to Tokyo where we sweated (for it was HOT HOT HOT there) at the Imperial Palace gardens, ate sushi at 6 in the morning at the famous Tsukiji fish market and channelled Lost in Translation by staying at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo.  What an absolutely gorgeous hotel.  Sigh.

September Amandine started swimming lessons and I began to get a little more plugged into HK life, joining a FB group for moms in my area.  Amandine also began going to playgroups, including one called PEKIP which is basically a naked baby playgroup. Thankfully they get to wear diapers in HK, though the purist classes back in Germany keep it naked. I’m glad they are a little more practical here, as chasing a weeing or pooping baby trying to clean up after them doesn’t sound like much fun to me!

Our furry middle child Meimei turned 1 – and has grown into an absolutely gorgeous dog. She loves to torment Deuce, normally ‘tickling’ Deuce by nipping his legs as he tries to kick her off while making funny little squeaking sounds.  Crazy kids.

In October my little man turned 6. My third child, the furless monkey, sprouted her first teeth.

I bought a sewing machine – because I decided I wanted to make Amandine a Hallowe’en costume – a little Princess Leia. Found a Singer store and lugged home a machine which thankfully is made for dummies. Perfect for me! Completely automated everything. I only need to aim the fabric and step on the pedal. Bliss.

November saw us flying off again for a wedding and family reunion.  Amandine and I went to Calgary first where baby saw her first snowfall, then to Merida in Mexico for Romain and Marie’s fairytale nuptials.   We went back to Calgary to rendez vous with my parents and uncle and aunt then flew to Miami Maui for a family reunion.  Miami Maui was absolute heaven. Loved the coffee, the food, the vibe and the beauty of the place. I so want to go back. Seeing all my cousins and their kids (many for the first time) was just incredible. Spending time with them hanging out: priceless.

Back in HK for December, a short trip to Phuket so hubby could get some sun (he had to miss Miami Maui due to work). Baby met and pet her first elephant in Phuket. I think we all fell in love with Lucky the elephant while there.  Then we flew out again to Ctown to spend Christmas.

We rang in the new year with Melissa, Luke and their new little one Henry.  A perfect end to an incredible year. We started with old friends, and ended with old friends, and in between made alot of new ones.

2012 Round-up

This year’s amazing revelation:  Pregnancy brain is real. My brain is like molasses and I often forget what I’m.. wait, what?

Most favourite part of the year: Summer in Calgary. Hot, but dry with blue blue skies.

Hottest vacation: Haha I live in Hong Kong where it is hot hot hot hotter hotter hot for the best part of the year, though I did feel August in Tokyo was almost unbearable.

Best restaurant this year: Hmm, my most memorable meals this year aren’t quite in restaurants. My friend Romain’s brunch after his wedding had freshly made tortillas for tacos. These tortillas were made by a group of women sitting by the kitchen working away around a little table, with a small grill over a small fire to toast the tortillas. They  shaped them entirely by hand. The piping hot tortillas were brought to the kitchen where the cooks would serve them up with various fillings – seafood, salsa, potatoes, I don’t even remember what the fillings were but they were completely and utterly delicious.


I also loved this little hole in the wall place in Taipei where we had bowls of beef noodles in a gorgeous savoury rich and moreish beef broth.  Yum!

My best week this year: Let’s say best day – 18 Feb 2012 when little Amandine came into the world.

Most exciting game this year: London Summer Olympics. What an incredible show.

Longest walk this year: Probably my hike up the Peak post baby.

Best events of the year:  Miami Maui reunion, Merida nuptials, and eating sushi at the crack of dawn.

Most amount of time spent on the water this year: Snorkeling trip to Molokini Crater in Maui.

Most amount of time spent this year living without any females: None! Meimei balanced the sexes in our household last October, and now with Amandine we ladies outnumber the guys by one!

Cultural event of the year:  Wow, this year has been pretty bereft of cultural (as in theatre, museums etc). Spent the day at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. That was pretty cool.  I think the next closest thing is probably Les Miserables the movie! I don’t think seeing Cesar Milan in Calgary counts.

Best stupid movie: The Campaign

This year’s most monotonous job: business accounts. ergh.

Saddest events this year: Being away from the pups since we travelled so much this year, and when my folks left the week after baby was born.

Shock of the year: Not being afraid of my sewing machine. And actually sewing a costume that had all the holes and arms in the right places!

Most hopeful action this year:  pledging £4 in hope others will do the same to campaign to end the war on women and stop abusive violent men from being in charge of making laws that are meant to protect women.

Most beautiful sight: Sorry to be a stereotype, but I think my little one is completely gorgeous. My heart melts every time I look at her.

Biggest surprise of this year: My birthday gift – a beautiful watch from hubby. Engraved with my name.

Greatest technological improvement: Haha hubby finally got an ipad and ipod touch. So he is no longer an apple ignoramus (thank the Lord).


All Change

The Spring issue of Sockupied is out! I have been waiting for this one for what seems like AGES because in it, I am the featured designer! Woot!! I was interviewed way back in September last year (seems like FOREVER ago). I also have a sock pattern in it using the same stranding technique as De Stijl, this one is called Deuce after my darling pug.  I’m mightly excited and pleased about it but as there have been some major changes around Socktopus HQ in the last couple months  some of the information is out of date.

First – there is no Knit Love Club for 2013.  More on this below.

Second – Sokkusu will no longer be available from Socktopus. Don’t worry – you will still be able to get your Sokkusu fix later this year (probably summer ish). The yarn business has been hived off and is being taken under my partner (not employee, as indicated in the article!) Ai-Ling Lee’s capable wings – though now she will be flying solo with Sokkusu as we have decided to part ways.  I had been planning to move the dye studio to Hong Kong but, when taking a long hard look at things, it just didn’t make sense. Particularly not the shipping of Sokkusu-O undyed from Europe to Hong Kong so I could dye it, only to have it shipped back to Europe. Ling has been doing a stellar job so it made sense for Ling to spread her wings and see what she could do with Sokkusu, under her own brand. The yarn will still be called Sokkusu, just under a new mama brand helmed by Ling. Ling hasn’t yet settled on a name for her new venture, but as soon as she has I will let you all know. I wish her every success – and for those of you who have been privileged to fondle her colourways over the last year and half, you know she is going to rock! 😀

Third – there will be no more Knit Nations for the foreseeable future…. unless there is a move back to London. It is simply too difficult to organise from this end of the world.  However… if there are those of you out there who want to take on the mantle of Knit Nation, do get in touch.

I am still designing, though at a much slower pace so that I can enjoy my little one who is turning one in just 12 days time (?!? how on earth that happened so fast I will never know). For the first time in years, I am not at the computer every single day for hours at a time.  And for the first time in 5 years, I no longer bring my laptop with me when I travel.  I always had to bring my laptop because I always had deadlines, designs, etc and had to work even when on holiday.  So I am looking forward to no longer having to lug it around, though it has now been replaced by the ipad (better than drugs when trying to induce a calm stupor in child on plane!).

As for future Knit Love Club’s – I have decided to take a break from designing for the Knit Love Club  for now and enjoy my daughter while she is still wee and not yet at school.  There are possibilities – maybe Ling might be game to do a club with me next year, maybe she might want to go another direction.  I just don’t know at this stage. However, what I do know is that it will be a colourful adventure, whatever  path Ling chooses to go down.

For now, I have a couple designs in the works for 2013, both mystery designs.  The first is  a mystery sock coming up in June for the Sock Knitter’s Anonymous group on Ravelry. The second is a long overdue Socktopus Mystery Shawl Knitalong (SMSKAL) for later this summer (also  available on Ravelry).  It goes without saying I will be using Ling’s Sokkusu for both! I cannot wait to see what colourways she will dream up for me. Cloud 9 all the way.  I hope you will join me on these mystery design adventures!

Next up, my annual retrospective for 2012.