Monday, February 25, 2008


Tooth loss has been a common event at our house lately. It was bound to happen sooner or later but it was still exciting to have two kids each loss a tooth on the same night. Last Friday, both Adam and Tori lost teeth within minutes of each other. There was a competitive element to the whole thing. Adam pulled his very loose bottom tooth out (his second) to much applause and excitement. Tori then asked me to wiggle her absurdly loose front tooth (her sixth) and then pulled it out herself. In retrospect, we are perhaps lucky that Royce was in a time-out during this tooth event and thus not motivated to get in on the action too.

There were a few complications related to the double tooth loss. For one, we have an embroidered pillow case (from my mom and my childhood) that has a little pocket for the tooth. Adam kindly gave use of the pillow case to Tori, as he deemed the pillowcase somewhat girly in the end. The second complication was the tooth fairy herself. Everyone was worried that she would only come to one kid and not know about the other. To cover this, Tori wrote a letter to the tooth fairy explaining the situation and asking the tooth fairy not to forget her brother. And as Adam can’t quite write much yet, Tori wrote the same letter to be put under his pillow. The tooth fairy did deliver money to all but at this pace some downward calculations in pay will soon be implemented

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hong Kong Marathon: Go Phil

In a flurry of activity prior to turning 40, both Phil and I have signed up for a number of semi-crazy events. Phil was on deck last week with the Hong Kong Marathon, which he completed not in record time but without walking. The Hong Kong Marathon received a lot of bad press last year with top runners getting ill due to severe air pollution. That was not the case this year but it does set the scene. This was a very urban, concrete and gritty race. Phil started on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor, ran out to Lantau Island over various bridges and then back to Hong Kong through one of the big tunnels. He finished up in Central, running on roads that were partially closed to traffic.

This marathon was definitely the family man’s marathon. Phil got most of his long runs in during the work week, mainly forgoing his carpool and running into the office. On the weekend of the race, the whole family except Phil came down with the flu. Somehow we were healthy for a 12 hour stretch during which we went downtown to watch Phil cross the finish line.

On the way to the finish line, I finally got the kids used to the idea that Dad was not going to win the entire race. That was a hard one for them to swallow. As we waited at the finish line, the kids were shocked to see some runners in various stages of extreme fatigue limping in across the finish line before Phil. But everyone rallied when Phil came around the corner. The kids quickly climbed over the barriers separating the crowd from the racers and joined him for the final hundred yards. After finishing Adam quickly ate all the free food Phil would have received. Tori pulled me aside and confided that she slowed down her running pace so Dad could keep up at the very end. It was definitely a family man marathon; no personal record, no food, and no respect but a battle won in the war against turning 40.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cold in Hong Kong?

This past week, the cold weather reports out of China have been horrible. Newspapers are filled with photos of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers stranded at southern train stations as they try to head north for the Chinese New Year holidays. We read today of people without heat or water for close to two weeks now in the northern provinces of China. Seeing China turn its focus to daily survival reminds Phil and I very much, on a whole host of levels, of winter and life in Eastern Europe.

While China's cold weather is sad, Hong Kong’s cold weather is not. Temperatures have been low in Hong Kong but hardly more than cool. I saw a weatherman on CNN last week who summed it up well. He reminded viewers that while the temperatures in Hong Kong were only around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Farenheit), Hong Kong residents are just not used to that type of cold weather. I have to admit this is true. It is confusing to be swimming outside and applying sunscreen one week and then digging through your storage for a sweatshirt the next.

Apparently last week’s cold weather was the coldest on record and worse weather is yet to come. The Hong Kong Observatory has issued a severe cold warning for the past 10 days now. The warning is issued when temperatures in Central are below 10 degrees Celsius. The warning includes directions to dress warmly and more importantly to check heaters in one’s homes. Many Hong Kong apartments, built for warm weather, don’t even have heaters of any kind and ad hoc measures, such as open flames, can be dangerous. We ourselves have a couple of space heaters out and about and the kids love putting their pajamas on the heaters to warm them up before bedtime. Adam actually noted the warmth of his bedroom and did what he usually does in that situation. He turned on the air conditioning.

As we headed into Chinese New Year (starting February 7th this year), my kids are resisting putting coats over their Chinese costumes and such. At a recent New Year’s party, it was cold enough for the kids to take off their short sleeve silk costumes and actually put on sweaters and coats (coats we have from our Maryland days). If the cold weather persists, we may even have to start wearing socks with our Crocs!