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Together Again

11 Dec

As one would know, coming home from the US would take over two days, and with one day having never occurred in your life when you cross the International Date Line. And depending on the flight’s origin, time and connections, it may take even longer.

M1 actually left campus on the evening of 7 December after the last exam paper. She had a ten-hour layover at LAX before the long journey began the next day. Throughout the day, I was tracking the flight path on Flightaware.com.

Everything was on track and it was reassuring. I could even carve up a Citizen to while away the time. But coming into the last stretch of the flight, the aircraft approaching HKIA went off track. It looked like a time-wasting ten minutes diversion. Maybe CX 885 was early and there’s no landing rights, nothing major. It was scheduled to arrive after 14 hours 39 minutes but in the end, it was captured at 15 hours, still an hour ahead.

This then gave the layover an additional hour to two and a half hours before the final leg to KLIA. Unlike a previous trip, she had only a 50-minute layover and she had to run the length of the airport to the gates before they closed for boarding! Nothing of that sort this time. Phew.

The flight arrived ten minutes early at 12.27am on 10 December but knowing her, she’d be the last one out. Sure enough one hour later, she strolled out from the Departure Hall. And in a blink of an eye, another year has gone by, my firstborn is back and the family unit is complete again.

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As Its Name Implied

4 Dec

I don’t know why I thought eating in Rawang was the itinerary when clearly the highway, being called Rawang Bypass, would not lead us to the town. Looks like I did my research and got it all wrong. I could have been too excited at the prospect of savouring new food to realize the implication of the name.

As its name implied, we bypassed Rawang when we did the day road trip on Friday. Our scenic and leisurely-paced drive led us to a lot of places except Rawang but it was fun!

We made several stops – at a hill slope village with a Chinese temple showcasing a karma cycle mural on its hillside wall; savoured a simple noodle lunch in another town; saw a man-made dam and appreciated the vast volume of water surrounded by the mountains; and a winding ascending drive to Fraser’s Hill for a second lunch amidst lovely weather and a very tranquil surrounding without the crowd.

I’m glad we bypassed Rawang. It was lovely especially driving to Fraser’s Hill with towering trees to admire along the way and cool weather to appreciate because of the elevation. Such a welcome change in weather, we had the windows down all the way and turned off the air-con in the car. Indeed sheer driving pleasure.

And the walk around the quaint little town enjoying the foliage and green surrounding, breathing in the fresh air, made this impromptu stop very enjoyable.

I am sure we will be back to discover more and poor Rawang will be bypassed again.

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Bored to Tears

1 Dec

The year-end school holidays has just started and M2 is bored to tears staying at home. She claims that there’s nothing to do. So for that, I insisted that she should continue to do her revision daily because next year is an important exam year for her. Make use of the time at home rather than idle away doing nothing.

I don’t remember facing the same predicament when I was 16 because I had my tree to climb, the garden to play in and lovely weather to be outdoors during the dinosaur years. Unfortunately in this era, the tree in the garden is not worthy to be climbed, the garden is soggy and it’s been raining constantly. I guess I cannot fault her for complaining.

Well, thank goodness today is yet another public holiday so she’s getting a break. We are taking a short day trip to discover a new town using the new elevated highway that was officially opened just two days ago. And of course, road trips that we take usually include food and discovery of more food! Hopefully this will quell the boredom.

Oh my waistline is all I can say…

Boys, Girls and Couples’ Trip

5 Oct

Earlier this year, hubby and his high school friends went on their Boys’ Trip and such nostalgia they had. Every year or every other year, these guys – all grown men would make the effort to get together for this. What’s amazing is that we are talking about at least nine of them, not just a handful! With busy schedules and all working professionals, they somehow managed. Such is their bond.

I always have the impression for such trips, they would behave like youngsters, unbefitting of their age and having a good time. After all, boys will be boys and men can be boys too.

But seriously, all they do is just reminisced about their good old days besides catching up with each other and having a good time. Throw in a couple of golf games, alcohol and good food, what more could they ask for? This annual affair certainly refreshes them and gives another meaning to the saying, growing old together.

There was a time when my high school girlfriends and I would do the same as well with our annual Girls’ Trip. But sadly, over the years, everyone thinks they are too busy and cannot commit to this annual affair. Sigh…

There was one year, the six of us did make the extra effort when we hit the big four. Ok, I admit… I am not Forever 38 like what my two girls think. We booked a villa in Seminyak, Bali, and it came complete with a private pool, butler and chauffeur. What a really wonderful time we had. Imagine jumping into the pool at midnight without a worry and having fits of giggles.

The villa experience stuck in my mind that several years later, I proposed the villa stay idea to our group of friends and before we knew it, a Couples’ Trip materialized! There were four married couples and a single girlfriend and we had one heckuva time. Ahh… such precious memories.

I must say trips, golf games inclusive or not and whether with good friends, group friends or spouses are good for the heart and soul as well as the friendship/relationship. With this being said, I hope my group of high school girlfriends can find the time to commit to a Girls’ Trip soon for old friendship’s sake.

A Tribute – The Great Wall of China, Part 2

8 Sep

Wanderlust Owl is ready to join the real Wanderlust person. This special carving comes complete in a casing with pebbles and a lookout cliff to represent the real Wanderer of the Great Wall of China, who will embark on his next month long expedition soon.

All the best to the real Wanderer! You are certainly an inspiration to all with your determination, courage, focus and spirit.

We Love Sandra Boynton!

4 Aug

Sandra Boynton is my all time favorite illustrator and author for children’s book. I discovered her books while working in New York City back in the early 90s, after graduating from college. I am proud to say I have quite a sizeable collection of her titles.

My collection were read by M1 and M2 in their early years, and even me occasionally these days when the mood hits.

When M1 was a toddler, I taught her to read ‘But Not the Hippopotamus’. The child was amazing. She could recite the whole book with full of zest and expression without a glance at the pages. The only thing she struggled with was the long word ‘hippopotamus’ which came out as ‘neh-neh-neh-tamus’.

When M2 was 19 months’ old, she had her exposure to Sandra Boynton too. Multi-tasking at such an early age, she’s engrossed with ‘Barney’ on the TV while attempting to read ‘Doggies’ at the same time. You have to turn up the volume, ignore Barney and listen to her carefully.

Adorable is all I can say. Sigh… why do they grow up so fast?

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A Tribute – The Great Wall of China

27 Jul

The carving efforts have improved with time and dedication. This most recent piece is a tribute to hubby’s uncle, a man with a great passion and unusual life mission which is to walk the Great Wall of China.

This little 31mm Wanderlust Owl comes complete with a cap, a backpack and hiking pole, just like the man who has traversed the Great Wall in a spate of several years since 2009. He would continue on each year from where he left off on the previous journey to pursue the improbable dream and fulfill his mission with amazing courage.

You can read all about his adventure in details on his website: http://ooithin.wixsite.com/count1million

Hats off to you for this courageous and determined effort! You deserve the Wanderlust Owl.

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Blame It On the Rain

27 Jun

The weekend getaway was good despite the late start. We played a round of golf and sadly, my tennis elbow suffered a setback. But I didn’t care. We had a good time because the golf course wasn’t crowded. When rain came down unexpectedly with five holes to go, we didn’t care. 

We felt at ease and no hurry in the world. So we patiently waited it out. And when the downpour dwindled to a slight drizzle, we continued the remaining holes because there was no siren. By the end of the round, both of us were drenched. Blame it on the rain.

During the stay with hubby’s parents, it was all about eating and sleeping. This is all we do whenever we visit. My bathroom scale hates me every time after such trips.

By Monday, it was time to leave and we started our journey late, at 1.45pm. The initial stretch was not too bad. The paddy fields are always a sight to appreciate as we zoomed along the highway. The rich bright green creates a sense of peace.

Traffic wasn’t as heavy as we feared, however things took a turn for the worse when the rain came down. And it rained all the way home, complete with thunder and lightning. What a light show it was! Horrendous conditions to drive if you asked me. We arrived home after almost eight hours on the road. Blame it on the rain. 

But rain or holiday-makers traffic aside, we got home safely and it was indeed a good getaway.

Twelve Hours Later

26 Jun

Last week, we intended to leave town on Friday morning but there was a hitch. A big hitch. I had mention we will arrive when we arrive but little did I know it would be 12 hours later that we began our journey…

It all started from that last minute publication design project that I was working on. The original deadline of Monday set by the client was not met (not because of me but them). Then it got pushed to Wednesday but the client still could not finalize the editorial. What happened thereafter was just a designer’s nightmare. It’s been a long time since I have been subjected to such a situation.

After being informed that Wednesday night’s handover to me was good to be worked on, a Friday deadline was given and it couldn’t budge. Not even an inch. So I basically had only a day (Thursday) to work on the new stuff. One day to redesign what I had done earlier because there’s so much more information! The design ended up being revamped and expanded from the initial 60-pager to 80-pages. My team helped wherever possible.

And as if the situation wasn’t stressful enough, things were still under edits that Friday morning and more new materials to include came after the redesign was done! Can you believe it? Leaving town that morning was not an option because I don’t think I can leave with a peace of mind if this wasn’t completed properly. Thank goodness we were driving instead of flying.

To cut a long story short, after a flurry of phone calls on Friday morning, the client came over, at 3.00pm and not earlier unfortunately. They sat with me and together, we finalized all the details of the publication. It was 6.00pm when we eventually completed the task in hand. What a day Friday turned out to be!

Twelve hours later (9.00pm) from our intended time of departure, we started our journey. Traffic was heavy at certain stretches but thankfully not bumper to bumper due to the holiday break and took the usual time because of the distance. It was 2.40am when we finally arrived at the grandparents’ home up north.

Today we head back home and hopefully traffic will be kind. All in all, it was a good break despite the unexpected circumstances to the start of it.

Off We Go Again

23 Jun

It’s a long weekend ahead because of the Hari Raya holidays and we are off to hubby’s hometown to see the grandparents. We anticipate a long drive ahead, similar to during Chinese New Year when city folks go back to their respective hometowns. Oh well, part and parcel of the festivities and long holidays…

We will get there when we get there. Just drive safe and no hurry, safe travels to all!