Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CHOICES

Alice is pretty easy going and doesn't often seem bothered by what is going on - she shares her toys easily and doesn't usually object if someone takes a toy that she's playing with, as long as an alternative's available she'll carry on playing happily.

To encourage independence and her language skills I've begun to offer her choices, especially at suppertime - she usually just smiles and so I eventually make a choice for her. But several times in the last 10 days or so she's actually chosen what to have for supper. The first time she chose cheese on toast (and proceeded to eat nearly 2 rounds (she only usually eats nearly 1 round!)) and the second time she chose macaroni cheese.

After her lunch today I offered her yoghurt and she told me that she wanted peaches!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A MIXTURE OF A DAY!

We started today at 3am - I slept poorly as I left the bathroom light on and so it was too light (but couldn't stand the thought of standing on a dead rodent - not that there was another) and Alice (very unusually) woke crying shortly afterwards. I brought her into bed with me where she continued to grin, flirt and be 'picklish' for another 90 minutes or so. It wasn't a pleasant surprise when the alarm went off - we were BOTH still tired!

By 9am the pest control and tree people were here.

The pest control man thought (from the photos, that weren't close up!) that it was a baby rat but found no evidence in the attics upstairs, but found mouse droppings above the kitchen (single storey). He's bated the attics and the bathroom and will come back next week to check it all.

The tree people were supposed to be here on Friday - to remove the branches that the electricity company trimmed to prevent contact with the electrical wires.

By 10am we were in A'g for soft play - it was busy when we got there and then got busier - busier than I've ever seen it before. Alice didn't seem to mind the crowds and I got to see a lot of other Mums.

We got home and I got Alice lunch, then T convinced me (it wasn't hard) that maybe I should get my ankle checked out - so I left Alice munching and made my way back into A'g to the local Ac 'n'Em. I took my book and it didn't take as long as I expected, 2 hours later they confirmed that it wasn't chipped or broken but could be as painful as this for up to 2 weeks and then take a further 6 or more to be fully healed - good news really but doesn't do anything to stop it hurting!

PEST CONTROL

It gets worse - the rodent was a rat.

Would like to be able to put my feet on the ground but somehow they won't stay there. Ugh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

JUST TO MOVE THE RODENT DOWN FURTHER!

(not that I need an excuse to post a picture of Her Gorgeousness!)

HOMESTUDY - SECOND VISIT

Over 2 hours, non stop discussion and chat, 4 cups of tea, 1 cup of coffee and 1 jaffa cake!

Things seem to be going really well - if anything is going to stop this process it will be the medical not the SW's findings.

We're meeting regularly on a Sunday lunchtime - unconventional time but strangely it works for both of us. Before we finish a meeting we discuss the topic for the next meeting and then we both have time to prepare - read up or complete paperwork.

Today we dealt with straight facts before going on to discuss the list of Special Needs that I would consider - I think that I demonstrated that I'd done a fair amount of networking, research and deliberating. It's a crucial part of the Homestudy (HS) as it will determine the children that I'm eligible to be matched with. It's hard to be realistic about what's manageable and even trickier when combined with the effect of the relative vocabulary - moderate, severe, reasonable. We will review this part again towards the end of the paperwork stage. Next time we're reviewing my biography - which should be more straightforward as I've already updated it in table form for the LONG form that SS needed to begin this application.

I was delighted this afternoon when he told me that my enthusiasm was contagious! I really hope 'Lil Sis' (and Alice) will understand just how much that they were wanted, anticipated and planned for. I am excited about this but with a reserved element (the medical may cause great debate because I 'm single) and also a touch of sadness as this is the last time that I'll be paperchasing - as time consuming and stressful as it may seem it's also the most constructive part of the paperwork process where I can actually feel involved and influence the final result (this is probably one of those situations where you have to have BTDT to fully understand!)

BUSY WEEKEND - SUNDAY

Today has been busy and eventful! I had a poor night, but Alice obliged and allowed me a lie-in! We had a slow start to the morning, when we eventually got up I gave Alice a bath, then I got her dressed before starting to get ready myself, unfortunately the leaf that I was about to remove from the bath mat was actually a DEAD RODENT.

I DON'T DO RODENTS.

EVER.

I'll never know how I managed to get out of the bathroom and get us both downstairs. I was quite calm given the circumstances (in another post I'll explain about rodents, suffice to say I can't say or type the word with my feet on the floor!) M came and moved it. By this stage all plans had been forgotten and I was doing well to still be in the house (YES - it's that bad!) I had planned to go to the supermarket and then have lunch with Alice (she normally eats earlier than I do) - but by the time that I was functioning again it was too late for all that and Alice had to have a speedy lunch in order to get her to bed before my SW arrived.

I let Alice sleep in (late night last night after a busy day playing) so didn't get her up until after SW had left. We played with the FP toys all afternoon - she loves the house and the school in particular and I'm amazed how quickly her play is changing - though she still insists on shoving the adult figures into the upturned changing table! I managed to have our (planned) lunch at her suppertime, but the beef casserole wasn't as good as it should have been, not sure why!

C came over for a craft consultation this evening and we experimented with my C*ricut machine - neither of us get enough time to do it justice. After that we had a quick game (of the game that won't be revealed until after Christmas!)

FULL WEEKEND - SATURDAY!

I was up early to go to London - to look for an outfit for a special occasion in 2 weeks time. My favourite clothes shop closed last May (just as I was going to China) so I've really been too busy to notice too much, until now! I went to an alternative shop and had no joy - they said that I wasn't in the right frame of mind (to an extent they were right), however the clothes that they offered were drab and some were even unflattering! I was told that my expectations were out of date - but the dull colours weren't inspiring and wide legged trousers don't suit me - let's now even start on the prices!

I then went to a famous underwear provider and was much more successful! It was just across the road from H*arrods - so I popped in there too, with Alice's birthday approaching I went straight to their extensive toy department - but they were out of stock so I couldn't buy her a doll's bed (though that's now in hand!)

I made it back to Paddington Station in time to catch the 3:45pm train - I should have been home for 6pm, but then we were diverted to avoid a broken down train between Bristol and the Severn Tunnel. I was home before 7 and found Alice next door (she was looked after all day before anyone worries, but M and T were sharing the care and I wasn't sure where she'd be!) She'd had a great day (finally seeing C and T - who she'd been asking about since Wednesday!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

86th COUNTRY

Jamaica!

(And nearly 38,500 readers in total, WOW)

ISSUES - RESOLVED

I can see blogspot blogs again - it wasn't just viewing mine that was a problem and I don't think that it was a problem for me I think that it was a Google issue.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ISSUES

I can't view my own blog!

Google is telling me to check my virus protection - I have and it's up to date!

If anyone has any other suggestions I'd love to know.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PRETENDING

Watching her play it was really noticeable how she's changed - pretending is now a big part of playing. When we first played with the dough I had to be on high alert to stop Alice eating it - now her play is sophisticated enough to pretend to eat it (top photo - pretending to eat cake, which was accompanied by 'Yum' and a big smile!)

The second photo is Alice pretending to sneeze - which she will do if anyone actually coughs or sneezes and sometimes randomly - she'll give big grins to anyone who plays along and 'Bless You!'s.

Finally, the third photo, a lump of dough suddenly morphed into a telephone - which she answered with 'Hello!' and then went straight onto 'Goodbye!', no conversation in the middle, but still better than the real thing - that she just listens to and smiles, but will say 'Goodbye' after I do (usually after I've hung up!)

PL*AYDOUGH PLAYTIME!

This afternoon we got the pl*aydough out - she's used it this term with M but it's been a while since we've played with it.

It's noticeable how her play has changed - she's becoming even more aware - selecting her own cutters, identifying them and beginning to use the tools too. She uses the cutters but still needs intervention to press hard enough to cut all the way through. She's developing her own ideas and directing play more and especially loves it when those around her play along to her directions - and she's so charming about it that they're usually happy to do so!!







A DARE-DEVIL AND HER GOD-FATHER!

Alice loves him because he makes her giggle and teaches her such naughtiness! I love him for some of that and giving me the opportunity to take photos of Alice (and the big China stuff of course!)





BUSY DAYS

Saturday - our local town's Food Fest, up and parked by 8:50 (a major achievement!). Got several errands completed before meeting D, D and A to browse the stalls. A fun day. Alice and A were very good, we got to see the whole thing, didn't buy much except lunch (which was overpriced and not that great, except for yummy BBQed corn on the cob). In the evening I was looking forward to the first S*tricly C*ome D*ancing of the series - I S*ky + it, luckily as I didn't manage to watch it!

Sunday - I left Alice with M next door and made it into the water for aqua aerobics - lots of new faces with hardly any friends there but the class was good, the exercise exhausting but necessary! Dashed home to feed Alice lunch and get her to bed for 1:30pm - but luckily M had already fed her! 1:30pm, Alice in bed ready for me to meet my new Social Worker (SW) T. New SW as the SW from Alice's adoption (or the process that led to her adoption) is off sick for another 8 weeks, maybe more. I was concerned about switching SWs as I got on so well with J (my original SW). Anyway the meeting with T went better than I could have hoped, I like him and I think we'll work well - there are several more meetings in the diary for Sunday lunchtimes and hope to have finished the face-to-face stuff by early November! This stage of the process is moving a lot quicker this time around (so far!)

Monday - we were due to go out for the morning, but visits and phone calls led to a last minute change of plan, instead I unearthed the bird table (Daisy used to raid the bird food - so it was put away many years ago) and my old F-P school and garage. Bird table, F-P toys and the water table all got a good cleanup before GFN arrived - he was expecting biscuits but was persuaded to stay for lunch! We had a quiet afternoon and Alice had an early supper - as M arrived just after 5pm so that I could go to work!!

(Work - after 5pm on a Monday? I was going to an outdoor pursuits centre to lend a hand for the evening. The oldest pupils go annually for a 3 night stay. I've been for the night most years - but now (with Alice home) I've compromised by going for the evening. I was an 'extra' for the evening, but only 2 of us had been with there before so I thought that I could be useful. Usually there's a chance to sit with the other staff while watching and interacting with the children - this year there was no chance to sit - I was there from 6pm to nearly 11pm and was on the go almost constantly - making beds, chatting to small groups of children, finding extra bed linen, doing the rounds of the dormitories, supervising phone calls, ringing parents, making hot drinks, all sorts - even organising a B*op-It championship! It was non-stop but it was also lovely to see the children in a different environment and to be really useful in a different way!)

Today - Alice woke earlier than I wanted (late night after work) and then we went swimming - Alice was as clingy and tearful as the past 2 weeks, but the instructor saw the giggles and silliness after the class so I think that she might be more forceful next week! This afternoon we had a quiet time at home - playing and pl*aydough!

Monday, September 22, 2008

MORE ABOUT ME!

A. Attached or single? Single
B. Best friend? Several
C. Cake or pie? Both?
D. Day of choice? Everyday with Alice
E. Essential item? Computer or mobile phone
F. Favorite color? Blue
G. Gummy bears or worms? Neither - Jelly Babies
H. Hometown? (Can you tell this is an American list? I'm not sure if Hometown is one from childhood or where I am now, so I'll choose . . . ) Abergavenny!
I. Indulgence? Chocolate, reading, sleep, blogging
J. January or July? July - it's warmer!
K. Kids? Alice and hopefully in the future Little Sis
L. Life isn’t complete without? Family
M. Marriage date? Who knows, probably 12th Never
N. Number of brothers & sisters? None
O. Oranges or apples? Both, grapes too!
P. Phobias? Rodents
Q. Quotes? (Nah!)
R. Reasons to Smile? Alice, friends, special memories, Alice
S. Season of choice? Autumn
T. Tag seven peeps! 7? No thanks, I want to keep my friends - consider yourself tagged if you want to!
U. Unknown fact about me? Not sure that there are any - you've probably guessed that I'm a WYSIWYG type of girl!
V. Vegetable? Potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower . . .
W. Worst habits? No comment and maybe worrying and procrastination!
X. X-ray or ultrasound? Huh?
Y. Your favorite food? Depends on the time of day - chocolate, cheese, crisps, fruit, bread - there's a reason I'm the shape I am!
Z. Zodiac sign? Sceptically Libra

Friday, September 19, 2008

IT'S NOT JUST ME THEN

. . . M (my neighbour who looks after Alice) was here all day today (I was at work). When I got home she said that Boo and Fuss had followed her around all day. I thought that they were even closer to me than usual . . . but then I didn't know whether my behaviour was encouraging it.

This evening they are still close and affectionate and I'm enjoying the change - it's not that they aren't usually close, I suppose D's absence allows them to get closer more easily and they're always affectionate.

I'd told a couple of people from work about D - I didn't want any fuss and I didn't want to talk or explain. Work were great. One colleague insisted on hugging without chatting, the others obviously knew but didn't enquire - it was just what I needed, the hug and the silence. One very good friend who just happens to be a colleague did ask more - she said she couldn't not and I completely understood, I said a bit and cried but it was good, I needed to off-load slightly and she was right to ask - it's how our friendship works.

Getting there slowly . . . now off to hug a dog or 2!

NO SURPRISE THERE THEN!




You Are a Champagne Woman



A true mystery, no one can quite figure you out...

That is, until you start drinking. Then you tend to let loose.

You're fun to drink with, but it definitely takes you a few drinks to loosen up.

You prefer to date a man who likes the finer things in life... like a five star dinner with that champagne.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PRESENT FOR ALICE

I've finally decided!

I've been wanting to buy Alice a play kitchen, I've done loads of research and chosen a kitchen then done a load more research and come to a different decision - I've been in this loop for a while.

Today the discount code came through for Alice's birthday for a UK toy retailer, it prompted more research and consultation with T (who has quite a different perspective on things like this prompts me to consider things in different ways).

This is similar to the kitchen that I've finally ordered from an auction website - so I didn't use the birthday discount for this after all! In the end I was swamped by options and so price was a deciding factor - using the auction site meant I've saved nearly 50% from the original version of this kitchen. It's also been chosen as it will stand flat against a wall - initially probably in the playroom but I hope that one day it'll make it into a playhouse (when we get one!)

I hope that Alice will love it - she's certainly really started to role-play with small world toys and tea-sets - Mummy better start doing more baking and simple cookery so Alice knows what to do when she finally gets it!! I'm not sure yet whether it'll be a birthday or Christmas present but I do know (from the online reviews) that T and I (no I won't even be trying on my own) need several hours to put it together!

CEEM

Ceem . . . ceem . . . ceem . . . . . . . CEEM!

Alice demanded 'Cream' this morning. She's been acting with the tube of cream on my bedside table, lotioning me up and gently rubbing it in. It seems that I didn't take the hint quickly enough - she was very relieved when I finally asked if she wanted cream!

This morning she was creamed and massaged (like I used to do in the early days, somehow it had dropped out of our routine).

Tonight she role played and demanded again, I was quicker on the uptake and offered a massage on the changing table before PJs. She was well moisturised and relaxed - but demanded 'Ceem' 4 times for her back, I asked if she liked the massage and got a quick and definite nod of her head! She had 3 back rubs and tried to insist on another but Mummy's got to draw the line somewhere!! After her massage she then pretended to do the same to my back!! I love it when gentle actions are mirrored.

It's nice to know that she enjoys it now and probably did as a little one too. I don't think that I'm going to be allowed to forget this again and I've talked through the words she needs to say to Mummy (a technique that she responds very well to).

BLOG READING IN CHINA

There seem to have been a stream of readers from China in the past few days - and more from the Far East in the last few weeks than before.

PLEASE I'd love to have comments from readers in the Far East. I'd love to know who you are - adoptive parents in China? Who knows? Please comment - I love connections with my daughter's country of birth.

THANK YOU

For all the comments and emails about Daisy - your thoughts and sympathies are very much appreciated and comforting.

I feel daft even publishing a post like this. Even though I knew that it would be tough it's hit me harder than I expected.

HOMESTUDY NO 2

My first SW visit is on Sunday.

Meanwhile I've got some paperwork to do. The Head of Adoption Team visited last Wednesday to complete some paperwork and sign forms. He left me with a form to do, 'Like last-time.' I glanced at the form while he was still here, I didn't remember it. I started completing the form during one of Alice's lunchtime naps, I definitely didn't have to do this last time - though the information was covered during the Homestudy process. Ugh, it's a long form and requires lots of detail - 1 page alone needs life and family events, education, qualifications, employment and all addresses for the whole of my childhood, the next requires the equivalent for the whole of my adult life. It's taken me several hours just to do those 2 pages (ended up being 4 A4s of word processing!)

The plan had been to start the HS but to get the checks done more immediately - enhanced CRB and medical. The medical was to be sent to the medical officer for consultation and then presented to an early Panel (before the rest of the HS), probably in November. Today I rang the GPs for an appointment to complete the medical - they can't fit it in until at least mid November and haven't even given me an exact date yet. Last time round Panel didn't have a problem with me being single or with my diabetes, but they did have a problem with those issues when combined, I did pass without issue but I think it caused a heated discussion. This time round (the Head of SS knowing what a worrier I am) I think that he wanted to remove the doubt so that (hopefully) having passed the medical part before the Panel that I attend and so reduce the stress of Panel Day.

So the news of the medical being delayed was a worry to me. I rang and spoke to the Head of the Adoption Team. He's happy to continue the process without Panel's go-ahead - I think that it was a cautious approach for obvious reasons, including reducing the stress of Panel Day for me. (Having reviewed the archives I realise that I've never documented my first experience of Panel - that will be rectified shortly.)

ADJUSTING

How are we today?

Alice - fine, didn't look for Daisy. It's not surprising, Daisy had withdrawn from us, she was wary of Alice as she moved to quickly and Daff's eyesight was iffy unless upclose.

Boo and Fuss - seem unaffected, but again Daisy wasn't really interacting. The little dogs are almost always near me if not on me and they seem more affectionate (or is it me being more receptive?) Someone peed on the blue dogbed in the dog room, probably asserting ownership as it had been D's bed.

Me - I've had a headache most of the day and this afternoon I realised my teeth were aching too as my jaw was clenched. I feel fragile. The house seems quiet, it's too quick to feed the dogs without putting out 2 scoops in the big bowl. Her's bowls been put away, her collar too. But there are some benefits - I'm not checking for accidents all the time, the dog room is less cluttered without the blue cushion bed (now there'll be space for the photocopier again) and moving dogs (like putting them to bed) is quicker and quieter (no shouting and encouraging her to bed). I hadn't realised how much I was worring about her. I know it was the right decision. I feel guilty too - I'm finding this hard whilst others are fighting cancer or facing huge challenges compared to mine, I've been through far worse too but then again she was an important part of everyday life and a link to Mum.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

KISSES

. . . what we all need on days like today (even though these were taken yesterday!)

1 - air kissing Fuss
2 - FP Mum and Dad kissing (Alice made the kissy noise)
3 - loving that Mummy kisses the FP people too!

. . . and the photo you can't see - the kiss she gave me after all the others!

OUR 2 DOGS

Boozie (Blenheim - brown and white) and Fusspot (tricoloured - black, brown and white) are both Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

This photo is from yesterday (as was the one of Daisy at the window) but it shows what these 2 are like - always there, usually comfortable, often snoozing but always where we are.

I love them and luckily Alice does too - and the feeling's mutual for the dogs. Boo's a bit cautious of Alice and occasionally takes herself away from the fun (seeking protection behind furniture) but Fusspot's braver and loves the affection, however vigorous it may be!

Now we have 2 - 12 months ago we had 4. The Cavaliers are both relatively young, Boo's nearly 6 and Fusspot's nearly 2 and a half. I hope that we have them for many years to come. I know that I'd like a bigger dog too, I've thought it through knowing that Daisy was ageing rapidly. After I've had time to adjust we'll think about a puppy in the spring, probably. (Yes Ellen - I'll be house training and potty training all at once, sound familiar?!)

MY DAISY NO MORE

The vet came out this afternoon and put Daisy to sleep.

She had very bad arthritis in her lower spine - recently her walking had become tricky, her balance was wobbly at best and her back end was always slunk down. She'd been on the maximum medication for a couple of years but recently she'd withdrawn and started to sleep a lot, she'd stopped sleeping on the sofa (too hard to get up there) but if you'd seen her in the time just before supper you'd never have known there was anything wrong. She'd also become unreliable about house training - she was an intelligent dog and this seemed so unfair.

I'd talked my decision through with T and C - who both knew my Daisy well, they could both understand why and neither raised a question about it - a sign to me that the timing was right.

The vet was coming out this afternoon - originally to review her prescription, but I'd rung the surgery this morning and warned them of my decision. The vet and head nurse arrived and we talked things through, we agreed that it was the kindest thing to do. So hard - even harder because she was Mum's dog. But it wouldn't be right to have kept her going and it wouldn't be right if days like today weren't hard.

I told Alice the simplest facts of what was going to happen at lunchtime. After her nap she said Goodbye to Daisy and then I took her next door to M's. When we came home she didn't look for her but she did say 'Daisy' at bedtime so I reminded her that she's gone now.

So now I'm sitting at my desk with cold feet - there's no Labrador to keep them warm any more. I'm blogging about this to let everyone know what's happened, I'm a bit of a wreck when Alice isn't about and I'm not ready to talk about it yet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

GAME PLAYING

Are you a game player?

I love board games, puzzles and such like.

I recently bought a birthday present for a small friend of ours, it arrived, I wrapped it up as planned and gave it away - but just looking at the box had me intrigued! So I ordered another box and C and I have been playing it regularly ever since - our 'Craft' Evenings have turned to gaming and the memory book, life book, pink blanket and planned crochet lessons have been put on hold.

As I'm writing this post I've decided not to name the game - as I keep thinking of people who could have the game as a Christmas present - but if you want to know about it and don't think you'll be a recipient then please email me and I'll share!!

Meanwhile - anyone got any good games to recommend, please leave a comment!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

SEPTEMBER'S ROUND PHOTO - 2 MORE OPTIONS!

FAV PHOTOS FROM TODAY

Look at her wicked smile, doesn't she look like a pickle?!

Such fun.


OUR MID AUTUMN MOON FESTIVAL

Yesterday we baked fairy cakes.

Today we shared lunch with friends. This afternoon (once we were alone) I talked to Alice about China, her birth family and today's festival. Then I read the story of Hou Yi and Chang E from the Moonbeams book. After supper this evening Alice had a fairy cake and I reminded her about the moon and the people in China who would be looking at it tonight and thinking of their family and Alice too.

Yes, we ate fairy cakes not moon cakes - I may try to bake them in years to come even though I've heard mixed reactions to them. But the thoughts and emotions were genuine - this is THE festival of the year that really resonates with me. I truly believe that her birth family will be thinking of Alice on this day.

MID AUTUMN MOON FESTIVAL

I aspire to be Ellen - she writes so eloquently, captures my feelings and has such good ideas!

Mid-Autumn Festival - details from here.

The joyous Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth moon, around the time of the autumn equinox(秋分). Many referred to it simply as the "Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon".

This day was also considered as a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables and grain had been harvested by this time and food was abundant. Food offerings were placed on an altar set up in the courtyard. Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, pomegranates(石榴), melons, oranges and pomelos(柚子) might be seen. Special foods for the festival included moon cakes, cooked taro(芋头)and water caltrope(菱角), a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. Some people insisted that cooked taro be included because at the time of creation, taro was the first food discovered at night in the moonlight. Of all these foods, it could not be omitted from the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The round moon cakes, measuring about three inches in diameter and one and a half inches in thickness, resembled Western fruitcakes in taste and consistency. These cakes were made with melon seeds(西瓜子), lotus seeds(莲籽), almonds(杏仁), minced meats, bean paste, orange peels and lard(猪油). A golden yolk(蛋黄) from a salted duck egg was placed at the center of each cake, and the golden brown crust was decorated with symbols of the festival. Traditionally, thirteen moon cakes were piled in a pyramid to symbolize the thirteen moons of a "complete year," that is, twelve moons plus one intercalary(闰月的) moon.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festivity for both the Han and minority nationalities. The custom of worshipping the moon can be traced back as far as the ancient Xia and Shang Dynasties (2000 B.C.-1066 B.C.). In the Zhou Dynasty(1066 B.C.-221 B.C.), people hold ceremonies to greet winter and worship the moon whenever the Mid-Autumn Festival sets in. It becomes very prevalent in the Tang Dynasty(618-907 A.D.) that people enjoy and worship the full moon. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279 A.D.), however, people send round moon cakes to their relatives as gifts in expression of their best wishes of family reunion. When it becomes dark, they look up at the full silver moon or go sightseeing on lakes to celebrate the festival. Since the Ming (1368-1644 A.D. ) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911A.D.), the custom of Mid-Autumn Festival celebration becomes unprecedented popular. Together with the celebration there appear some special customs in different parts of the country, such as burning incense(熏香), planting Mid-Autumn trees, lighting lanterns on towers and fire dragon dances. However, the custom of playing under the moon is not so popular as it used to be nowadays, but it is not less popular to enjoy the bright silver moon. Whenever the festival sets in, people will look up at the full silver moon, drinking wine to celebrate their happy life or thinking of their relatives and friends far from home, and extending all of their best wishes to them.


There is this story about the moon-cake. during the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D. 960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to the foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attached and overthrew the government. Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend and was called the Moon Cake.

For generations, moon cakes have been made with sweet fillings of nuts, mashed red beans, lotus-seed paste or Chinese dates(枣子), wrapped in a pastry. Sometimes a cooked egg yolk can be found in the middle of the rich tasting dessert. People compare moon cakes to the plum pudding and fruit cakes which are served in the English holiday seasons.

Nowadays, there are hundreds varieties of moon cakes on sale a month before the arrival of Moon Festival.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

SEPTEMBER'S ROUND PHOTO




Which would you choose? (Of course there may be others from later in the month!)

INSPIRATION!

Thanks to J - your comment this evening got me thinking again, experimenting again and succeeding!

J very kindly commented that she enjoys the round photos of Alice month by month that are down the right hand side of the blog. I like them too but lately I've been bothered that there are too many of them. I've been thinking about how to reduce them - maybe 1 per season? They were originally the first step in linking to the archives, but I didn't know how. Tonight I tried again and simple logic finally struck - it's easy to add photos down the side, to turn them into archive links you just need to add the correct link!! I've tried and I think I've succeeded - please let me know if any of the links don't work or go to the wrong pages, thanks.

NIGHT-NIGHT MUMMY!

(With a little encouragement to string the words together) Alice said it to me this evening.

Precious.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

OTHER FAV PHOTOS FROM YESTERDAY



A NEW CORNER OF THE KITCHEN

. . . and my favourite part - the art gallery!

Alice likes it too - she points to the hand prints and says, 'Hand!'