Archives for August 2009

Rani Crystal Krembs, the F.D. (Family Dog)

This Saturday, August 29, was a very special Saturday.  We brought Rani Crystal Krembs, the F.D. (Family Dog) home today!  Please enjoy our moment with us.  It’s so exciting.  Here she is…

Our new family pic!

Our new family pic!

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So many cute puppies to choose from, but we really love Rani!

So many cute puppies to choose from, but we really love Rani!

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SO SWEET!

SO SWEET!

This is Rani's throne.  (Rani means "queen" in Hindi.)  Puppies sleep a lot!

This is Rani's throne. (Rani means "queen" in Hindi.) Puppies sleep a lot!

She licked her bowl clean!

She licked her bowl clean!

You all know Gigi--the Dog Whisperer. She's shed some tears already.  She wants to be with Rani ALWAYS, and doesn't realize that Rani might need some puppy space and rest.

You all know Gigi--the Dog Whisperer. She has shed some tears already. She wants to be with Rani ALWAYS, and doesn't realize that Rani might need some puppy space and rest.

Ahhhh, all hope and friendship has been restored!

Ahhhh, all hope and friendship has been restored!

Asleep again! Fifteen minutes up, fifteen minutes asleep!  Good night, says Rani!

Asleep again! Fifteen minutes up, fifteen minutes asleep! Good night, says Rani!

Saturdays in Beijing–798 with Our Good Friends

This last Saturday we went to the art zone in Beijing called 798. (To read about 798 and the Beijing Biennale visit the Dear Librarian’s post on the What is a “biennale?.)  It’s this huge area blocked off with main streets and alleyways filled with galleries, shops, and cafes.  We didn’t realize its vastness until we saw a map of the area, and we’d covered only 1/5 of the space.  It’s a fantastic spot in Beijing–definitely one that will receive frequent visits.  Here’s a snapshot of our time at 798 with Debbie, Jane, Phil, and Leo:

Saturdays in Beijing–Tian’anmen Square and Qianmen Dajie

The second Saturday here we were determined to go check out Tian’anmen Square. We were dropped off outside the Forbidden City–that will take a whole Saturday on its own at another time. The little meandering garden with creek was a quaint walk into the square.

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Upon arrival to the square, you see this massive old building that must be the entrance to the Forbidden City. One thing that stood out was this man’s picture:

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Mao Zedong

Here Kevin and the Kiddos are in the HUGE square.

Here Kevin and the Kiddos are in the HUGE square.


When locals ask to photo our kiddos, I jump in instead!

When locals ask to photo our kiddos, I jump in instead!

After crossing the huge square, we meandered down these charming, newly renovated alley ways. Then magically we appeared on Qianmen Dajie–one of the neatest pedestrian shopping walkways I’ve seen. Plus, all the goodies are there like a beautiful Zara and fashion heaven, H&M!

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This man likes Qianmen Dajie as much as I do!

This man likes Qianmen Dajie as much as I do!

Saturdays in Beijing–Catching Up with Old Friends

Since the Saturday we arrived on August 1st, we’ve been doing something special on each Saturday thereafter. This day offers the perfect time to escape and seek adventure in our new home–Beijing, China.

On the first Saturday, we met up with friends made while teaching in Caracas, Venezuela: Debbie Diaz and Jane Farrelly and Phil Clark with their little one Leo (Leo was born one week after Maria “Gigi” Louise.) We met for dumplings at this beautiful park that is actually 700+ years old! It was so pretty, and the kids had fun wondering around.

From left to right you can see Leo, Gigi, Phil, Kevin, Vincent, Jane, Ann, and Debbie.

From left to right you can see Leo, Gigi, Phil, Kevin, Vincent, Jane, Ann, and Debbie.

Our favorite new meal: Chinese dumplings!

Our favorite new meal: Chinese dumplings!

Kevin with his hot plate....

Kevin with his hot plate....

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Vincent and Leo

Vincent and Leo

Jane and Annie

Jane and Annie

After a wonderful lunch on this ancient lake, we then went to another lake to test out the electric boats.  I was on the fastest one with the V-Man!

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Debbie and Jane just cruisin' around....

Debbie and Jane just cruisin' around....

Gigi at the wheel!

Gigi at the wheel!

After our excursion on this second lake, we went to the famous The Village at Sanlitun.  It’s been highlighted for it’s contemporary architecture and savvy shops.  It was pretty cool, and the “fake” market was right across the street.  Gigi was able to jump into the fountain since it was so easy to get her a spare (or two) outfit.

Here's Gigi in front of one of The Village buildings.

Here's Gigi in front of one of The Village buildings.

Gigi had a blast in the fountain.

Gigi had a blast in the fountain.

And it was H-O-T!

And it was H-O-T!

These last few photos are random shots taken from the morning, but they were interesting enough to want to add them to this post.  We started this Saturday out by visiting a HUGE market called the Dirt Market where people arrive and place their wares to sell right on the ground.  There are stalls too.  Oh, and guess where going back to this next Saturday?  The Dirt Market!

This is just one covered area....

This is just one covered area....

This is a sample of the parking.  The cars get elevated.  It seemed bizarre!

This is a sample of the parking. The cars get elevated. It seemed bizarre!

Pay attention: these are all the things you are not allowed to do in the park!

Pay attention: these are all the things you are not allowed to do in the park!

So, that was our first Saturday here.  We’ve had two more that I’ll be posting shortly.  We definitely are enjoying our Saturdays; in fact the next one is only four days away!

Cutest School Girl EVER!

Check out this cutie putie pie! She’s one cute school girl!
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New Bikes

Vincent was such a sport.  He rode a too-small, florescent pink bike all summer.  He knew he was waiting for the big moment in Beijing when he would get his New Bike.  We went the second day here to the Giant store near by.  He went with a racer blue bike and Gigi got a pink one with tassels on the handle bars.

By the second day on the bike, Vincent was quite comfortable.  As I was sitting on our little porch, Vincent went whizzing by shouting, “Watch Mommy!”

He was going so fast, the photographer couldn't catch a shot of him.

He was going so fast, the photographer couldn’t catch a shot of him.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to witness his upcoming move because of the tree in the way, but I was able to hear it.  All of a sudden there was a double ka-boom, ka-boom-boom-boom!  Then with about 2 seconds to follow the crash, we heard the very loud scream to follow.  Both Kevin and I went racing to find Vincent tangled on top of a manhole with bits of his face scattered about.  He had a doozie of a fall!

We took him in and tried to get him cleaned up.  His face wasn’t all that got the brunt of his wheelie attempt over the manhole.  His right middle finger was also quite mucked up.  After the initial scare of his fall, Vincent still wouldn’t settle down.  Every ten seconds or so he’d yell out in agony.  It was at this time that we considered a visit to the hospital.  But as all parents know, with the mention of the “h” word, he was all of a sudden able to bend his finger.  Luckily we didn’t have to take him in, and hopefully, just hopefully, Vincent was able to gain some caution when it comes to the wheelie attempts.

The next day, he was out at it again back on the saddle!  (You can see the marks on his face--it's not dirt.)

The next day, he was out at it again back in the saddle! (You can see the marks on his face–it’s not dirt.)

Here's Gigi on her little pink number sans training wheels!

Here’s Gigi on her little pink number sans training wheels!

Rani, Our New Pup

We’ve known since last December that we would get a dog upon arrival in Beijing. There have been a couple of options: we could go with one of the local pet stores or go to a pound. We never made it to the pound after our local vet Peter invited us to his dog farm. There were seven little female golden retrievers to chose from among a litter of nine. We kept narrowing it down and finally when it was down to two, we went with the darker little Rani in the pictures below. She’s very, very sweet. She’s calm and loving and did perk up a bit. We’ll get to bring her home–MAYBE–in two weeks. She just turned a month today. We have a feeling she might end up looking like her mommy.

Of course, up first, the Great Wall of China!

Because I have so much to post with our new move to Beijing, China, I went with the easiest first: our visit to the Great Wall. Considering that we will probably see this monumental site many times, I’m pretty pleased with the entire visit. The ride was easy and also very beautiful. The destination includes a friendly market which is always nice for the shopper in all of us. Rather than worry about hiking up–which you could of course–there is a nifty gondola ride that takes you up. Upon arrival to the top, it’s amazing. The Wall itself is mammoth. And we only saw a small sector of it. I didn’t realize it would be so mountainous up there. Don’t be fooled by the grayness in the pictures–it wasn’t smog but real fog and quite humid at that. Ultimately–after a sufficient wonder around–the best part is the toboggan ride down. Vincent landed at the bottom and said, “I could do that 100 times!” So see; it doesn’t matter how many times we go. We’ll all be happy to visit this majestic site.