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.

Jeni’s & FOAM

Look what came in the post today from my very tasteful sister-in-law and brother-in-law! Thanks S&E!!!

You’ll remember my enthused gushing about Columbus and Jeni’s ice cream – now I can try my hand at recreating the incredible salty caramel ice cream or the goat’s cheese and sour cherry ice cream from Jeni’s.  LOL now to get my hands on an ice cream machine….. and once I do – who’s game for coming over to help me eat it up?

One of my new year’s resolutions was to finish up the 12 WIPs I had languishing at the end of 2011.  A couple years ago a friend and I set ourselves a challenge to finish a WIP every month – one FO (finished object) A Month – hence FOAM.  We decided to resurrect the challenge with a group of friends and so far so good! I’ve got on FO for January under my belt (it’s super secret squirrelly knitting so no photos for a couple weeks) but plan for at least a few more.  And since I haven’t posted any knitting pics yet for Jan, here’s a new little project – this time in pink (not for me, but a gift). The yarn is A Verb For Keeping Warm Metamorphosis – a mixture of merino and silk – in the colourway Sugar Jets from Cookie A’s 2011 Sock Club.  Not my colour but it will make a lovely gift.

I had my OBY appointment this morning – I’ve discovered a trick to the whole waiting malarkey. Show up at least 30 minutes early. Apparently they have a number of patients that are allocated a certain time slot – if you show up early then you get seen first. Today I was 20 minutes early and was seen only 15 minutes after my allotted time.  I think if I’d been there 30 minutes early I would have been seen bang on time. As it was the whole thing only took me 1 hour and 20 minutes instead of the usual 4. So far all is good with Blueberry – estimated weight is 2.5kg (5lbs 8oz).  My OBY keeps commenting that her size is average, and tacking on ‘good for natural delivery’.  She’s in the right position, head down body to the side.  Now just to make sure the little one stays put until after the 30th January – since my doctor will be heading off for Chinese New Year vacation come the 20th of January…. as will almost all the doctors at the hospital. Fingers (and legs!) well and truly crossed.

My other two fur babies are getting more and more comfy and relaxed around each other.  This is them the other night on the sofa, just chillaxin’.

And lest you think Deuce doesn’t snuggle with papa – he does too.  Since the great belly protrusion means my lap is no longer very comfy for him he’s been cozying up to DH.  Off to see the Hollywood version of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Can’t wait! Daniel Craig is so much closer to the Mikael Blomkvist in my mind’s eye.


First Antenatal Class – YEURGH!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. How about a video?

DH and I went to our first antenatal class last night. Where we were shown a video of a home birth. I have not a thousand words to describe the video. Just one. Yeurgh! Though I did have 10 going through my head while watching it – “Is it too late to get off this ride now?”

I’m a pretty calm person under normal circumstances. I can deal with most situations without getting hysterical. I’ve got a high tolerance for stress.  When needs must, I can manage with lack of sleep too, though I know it makes me pretty crabby.  When something has to get done, we all have incredible reserves that enable us to manage it.  I have great confidence in my reserves – they have never failed me before. But … but…. watching that video… I fear my reserves may just be for getting things on a long list ticked – actions, putting things in motion – kind of like being a puppet master.  Pulling on a number of different strings at one time to achieve an end result.  I’m good at that kind of stuff.  Stress & pressure stuff.  But where things are in motion and it’s about the stamina and determination to withstand the winds and hold out, the patience and the will to wait and reign in an action ….  that, I’m afraid, is not my strong suit.  I also dislike pain.  So an elective c-section is out.  The thought of slicing through my muscles – muscles I’ll need to, well, move and function – is most unappealing.  I want to opt for gas and air since an epidural can prolong the first stage of  labour. Not being able to feel means no pain but also means less effective pushing/stretching of the cervix and hence a longer first stage of labour.

Still, planning is one thing, and what happens at the time can be something totally different.  Best to have a plan, and a BAFO (best and final offer).. or in this case, the bottom line – which is to have a healthy baby and mom however the doctor gets there.

So the whole very informative video has definitely freaked me out. Next class we get to see a hospital birth.  Blechblechblech.  At least the babies look quite small. Not quite a football – more like a softball.  That’s a small(er) (dis)comfort.  Three more delightful classes to go.

Meimei is totally in love with DH.  She very rarely snuggles against me (sometimes, when she is sleepy, or feeling a little small, she’ll come to me for a little snuggle), but she is always following hubby around, and wanting attention from him.  The other night we had her up on the sofa and she fell asleep against DH’s leg.  She looks pretty cozy.

Deuce on the other hand, always wants snuggles from me.  If he could, I am sure he would live in my lap 24/7 (at least, when he’s not sleeping on the toy box, his current location as I write).  He’s a mama’s boy through and through. Meimei is clearly a daddy’s girl.  Go figure! I wonder how it will be for Blueberry?

Growth Spurts

In the space of 10 weeks, Meimei has gone from wee little fluff pup:

To a proper doglet with ears, snout and wee little vampire teeth:

She now looks more like a proper dog, and her fluffy ears stick out like she has big fluffy pigtails.  She is incredibly curious about baths, especially bubble baths and tries to eat the bubbles.  I wonder whether she’ll be a water dog and enjoy swimming?  That would be nice as there are some good beaches over on Lamma where dogs can play.

She’s growing beautifully – from a little ragamuffin with bowed legs into something long and sleek.

She now has straight long limbs and an elegant gait (when she isn’t running around like crazy and trying to attack our toes). The fur on her back quarter where she’d been shaved has all grown back in – you can’t even see where anymore. The tip of her tail where it had been bald (after an inch of her tail had fallen off from injuries) is also now covered in shiny black fur. And the way she gallops around the flat you’d never know she had those horrific paw injuries.   She’s a happy girl, and full of life.  Do you remember how truly teeny she was when we first got her?

She’s now almost Deuce’s height, and of course at 3 months, she still has some growing to do.  It’s hard to say how big she will get since she’s a mixed breed, but my guess is she’ll be a smallish medium size dog – like a smallish border collie.

We’ve settled into a routine, where Deuce keeps us up at night with his lip smacking, ear scratching, head butting (cause he wants under the covers) and big huffy sighs when he doesn’t get his way, and Meimei is our very own rooster barking us awake at 7 am on the dot every day.  It’s quite a treat when the two of them settle down for a nap which usually happens once they’ve had their crazy play after they’ve eaten. They look so cozy curled up in their beds.

Thankfully Meimei has no territorial issues and is quite okay with Deuce taking away her play things – after all there is a basket full of toys for them to play with.  Deuce, maybe because he’s been an ‘only child’ for so long, doesn’t share quite so well… as you can see here perching dragon like on what he considers his hoard of treasures!  And he makes these awful shrill shrieks when Meimei tries to play with him and he gets all possessive over a particularly high value toy in his clutches (usually squirrelly or the bigger of the two antler bones).  My silly little man.

And as for Blueberry – she’s been growing too!  This was at 23 weeks, just before heading over to HK.

And now at 34 weeks 5 days:

I’m feeling pretty awkward – like all those pregnant women in the movies who do a weird pelvic thrust and backwards push up to get up and off sofas.  And I’m definitely waddling – I can feel and see the world tipping side to side as I walk.  Otherwise though all is good, and thankfully no swelling! The only irritations are being very itchy over the bump (sudocreme and aveeno help alot), having to pee like every 5 minutes (quite inconvenient if I want to leave the house!) and of course, Blueberry taking up room that normally is allocated to some pretty important organs, like my lungs and stomach. So breathing is sometimes a chore and I go from being almost pukey full to absolutely starving in a space of a heartbeat. I can’t quite believe Blueberry is going to get bigger, but we still have 5 weeks more growing to do. Eek!

Delusional Holiday Knitting

My two furballs are actually playing together!! It started earlier this week – and they are really started to have a good time. Here’s a little vid I captured this morning – you get to glimpse my awesome Life is Good pjs. Playtime sort of ended when hubby decided to wipe Meimei’s butt as he thought she sat in her pee (**rolls eyes**).

DH is now officially on holiday until after the New Year – so this morning we took Deuce down to the park for a little run around. He’s now snoozing away after coming home and playing with Meimei some more. So sweet!

I decided, at the last minute, to knit DH a jumper for Christmas. Of course, the yarn had to be from the Woolen Rabbit in the US who only dyes to order, who also happened to be undergoing back surgery on the 16th of December…. but when I sent my crazy email asking if Kim could dye the yarn and send it express to Hong Kong, Kim didn’t balk. She dyed up my yarn in 2 days and posted it to me the day of her surgery. What incredible service – and beautiful yarn and colourway to boot! I got it two days later and cast-on.

This was progress as at the 20th December – about 2″ worth of ribbing.

And today midday 9.5″ of jumper.

This is the knitting schedule:
22 Dec (today): Finish body (7″ inches more) & split for arms. Knit arm
23 Dec: Finish first arm, knit other arm.
24 Dec: Finish other arm. Join to arms to body, knit neck. Finish & Block.

I’m not entirely sure how realistic this schedule is; in fact, I fear it may be plain delusional; but what’s a holiday gift knit if it doesn’t have an edge of insanity to it? So I plan on doing all our activities today while knitting – took Deuce out for a walk and knit the whole while, later we’ve got to head out to the pet shop and get some dog food for Deuce so I’ll be shopping and knitting. Ooh boy, I like to live life on the edge. 😉

Doesn’t Meimei look sweet and innocent here? This was taken right after she was finished being a little terror running around and pulling anything she could reach off the coffee table and chairs and hiding with her treasures (tissues, toilet roll, my knitting!!!) under the sofa so I couldn’t reach her. She is a clever little imp. When she rolls around on her back looking so cute, who can stay mad?

32 weeks 4 days

Lesley the sweetheart very kindly asked me to redraw a name for the Socktopus book prize – since she’s a muggle and her partner already has the book. The new winner is dear Eirwen!

My belly has taken on a life of its own (literally) and is now a great protrusion from my body. It’s amazing how much it has grown over the short span of a couple weeks. DH took a photo of the bump this morning – it’s funny how you don’t really see yourself properly until you see a photo of yourself! It really isn’t the same as looking in the mirror. I look like I have a basketball shoved up my shirt.

Breathing is getting harder – I’m often short of breath, and the amount of water I now consume is pretty crazy. I even have dreams I am drinking water but still thirsty. The cool thing is that I haven’t had to buy too many maternity clothes – most of my tshirts will fit over the bump, and my two pairs of maternity jeans are definitely being put to use. The only complaints I have are mild to intense itching on my sides, and getting lightheaded when I bend over – otherwise am happy to report am feeling fine, and can still comfortable sit on the floor!

The past weeks I’ve been organising the volunteer’s Christmas party for Hong Kong Dog Rescue, but since it is a fairly informal affair it really was just getting the food and drinks sorted for the party which took place last night. It was really lovely to meet all the people that keep the wheels of HKDR running, though I have to admit I was knackered as I hadn’t slept well the night before.  Still was good fun and so nice to see all those happy faces!

On Wednesday I went to my first Hong Kong knit night – and met fellow knitters! There is a secret santa next Wednesday so I’m looking forward to that too.

It’s been a bit weird living in a vacuum – being here without the benefit of a structured social environment like school or work means the opportunity for meeting people is mostly 2 degrees apart – that is friends of friends, so it was doubly nice to finally have the time and opportunity to get out and meet people with similar interests like at knit night and at the HKDR party.

DH went to a 1920s fancy dress party this week – and had a cracker of a costume. He managed to pull it together at the last minute by buying a pair of herring bone trousers and vest from H&M, pairing it with some rowing socks and his uni bow tie.  Pretty Great Gasby, no? He’s just missing a walking stick and fedora!

I picked up a wee Christmas tree this week as well – only 3 feet tall, small but perfect for living on top of the cabinet. I figured  it was much safer to have the tree out of reach of furry little imps.

I also got it into my head to knit a big cozy throw to match our sofa.  I was member to a couple yarn & pattern clubs this year, one of them being my friend Anne’s Fall in Full Colour club.  The second last yarn installment was a worsted weight yarn from Briar Rose in a gorgeous autumnal colourway (Fourth of July, but not sure what the colourway is called) which just sang to me.  I managed, through trading with others in the club, to get my paws on 5 hefty skeins of the colourway (over 2000 yards worth!).  Once my very last pattern for the Knit Love Club 2011 year was sent out, I wound a skein and cast-on as reward.  I had to play around with a few stitch patterns to find something that worked with the colourway (it has really short colour repeats) and finally settling on a comfortingly mindless and easy herringbone stitch.  I have 362 sts on the needles, which, at 6 sts per inch gives me a width of 5 feet. I’d like the throw to be at least 5 feet long…. and the row gauge is 6 rows per inch.  The photo below has 8 rows – so just over an inch.  I think this is going to be a long term project… I’ll be pleased if I finish it before the end of 2012.  Am really loving how it is coming out, it will be soft, squishy, and warm!

And for Meimei’s international peanut gallery, this is a recent video of her being a little rascal.  Poor Deuce!