Sunday, April 28, 2013

The darling buds of (almost) May

Spring isn't a clearly defined season here since everything stays in bloom all year round but buds are always welcome, all the same. This is the flowering tree downstairs, the one with the leaves just outside our living room window.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Neighbourhood watch

The family on the ground floor have taken in a few semi-feral cats and kittens. That is, they set down food, water and a cat bed on the corridor outside their flat. Of late, they've taken the cat bed indoors, and now the cats are free to wander in and out of their flat.

What the cats don't realise is that the invitation isn't extended to every house. Just a few days ago, I saw a ginger unceremoniously booted out by their next door neighbour. Now, he's tied mesh netting to his gate to block the cats from getting in.

So what's an adventurous cat to do? It climbs up the stairs one floor. Our front door is always shut so that the dogs don't become a nuisance and bark every time someone walks past. But most people here leave their front doors open (though the gates are usually closed) for better ventilation.

So Mr Cat strolls into the flat across the landing, leaps up on the sofa and makes himself at home. The wide-eyed five-year-old ran to the kitchen to report to his mother, "Cat watching TV!" to her bewilderment. The two-year-old thought it was a stuffed toy with batteries included and tried to scoop it up. Mum however, would have none of it.

So now our dogs have been seconded to cat sentry duty. Our front door is propped open, and they're encouraged to bark loudly at anyone who walks past, especially if the passer-by is feline.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

New guy

We have a "new" vet. He's been in the practice more than 10 years and leads the team of vets, but I last saw him two dogs ago. When Queeni developed a string of medical issues, the practice owner and senior vet took us over, and we saw him exclusively. Now, he's retired to tend his fruit trees and relax with his koi (and I'm pretty sure we paid for all that), he handed us back to the next most senior guy. He won't even do referral consultations anymore, he won't start what he can't follow up. We said goodbye to him sorrowfully last year, and made an appointment with the highly recommended "new" one for Queeni's vaccination today.

We're going to get along with the "new" vet just fine. HRH didn't growl at him, and that's the benchmark. Previously, the senior vet was the only one she didn't try to bite; he had a Doolittle way about him, one of the junior vets said to us.

New guy is nice and chatty, which is what you'd want. Not someone who pokes a needle in and "see you next year". He looked at the dynamics between Queeni and Rupert, and told us how about his two dogs, one smart and one not really -- "some dogs, you know they're not altogether there", looking at Rupert. Sweetest dog ever, just without the smarts. Yup, he's got Rupert down pat and won Queeni over.

We're all going to get along.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday breakfast

Again, nowhere near morning. Coffee and toast is all I can manage before I crawl in to work.

(MGW, you're turning me into a food diarist.)

Sunday dinner

We did a full fledged Sunday roast last week (which drove the dogs crazy as the chicken was roasting) so we thought we'd do an easy-peasy hamburger today. Not your greasy spoon fast food though, this one came with roast vegetables -- and yes, that's broccoli on the plate. A healthy burger!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Breakfast at tea time

This post is for MGW in KCMO. This is a picture of the chwee kuay that I wrote about a while back. It really isn't much to look at, it's quite simple fare really. The brown bits are the salted preserved radish. It adds flavour to what would otherwise be tasteless rice flour cakes.

This unassuming chwee kuay is comfort food to me. It brings me back to my childhood. When I was very young, my mother would buy some back from the market on Saturday mornings after she had done her weekly food shopping. Years later, when I was a teenager, we moved, and the market where she then did her shopping had a McDonald's next to it. Saturday breakfasts then became burgers and milkshakes. Funny thing is, a Big Mac will never bring me back to childhood breakfasts the way chwee kuay does.

Now, it is the husband who buys home the chwee kuay after he's gone for a morning power walk. I'm still being spoilt.  :)

And then I had a slice of toast after the chwee kuay. That's definitely breakfasty.

Saturday night

11pm and we were lugging groceries home when we ran into a young man from the next block who used to come by to play with our dogs, and has a couple of his own. He and his mates were catching the last train downtown, "we're going to go drinking", he laughed, running up to catch up with his friends after pausing to chat with us for a bit.

That would have been us heading downtown at this time on a Saturday night a few years ago. Tonight, we put away the groceries, walked the dogs, and went to bed. We're old, old, old.

Well, OK, I could say I went to bed with Jeremy Clarkson. Although technically, I was reading in bed a book by Jeremy Clarkson.