Saturday, January 29, 2011

Andrew Celebrates

My youngest grandchild Andrew turned one 2 days ago and he was aware of the attention he got, unlike the day when his parents celebrated his full moon 11 months ago at a restaurant. Mama got him a birthday cake which we cut at home as he fell asleep in the restaurant. On hand to help him blow his first candle was sister Grace aka Ling. Grace made sure this time she sang her birthday song to little tee tee (little brother) whom she loves a lot. Here are some pictures to remember the occasion.











Friday, January 28, 2011

GPS Makes Life Easy



Ever since my eyes developed astigmatism several years ago, changing corrective lenses and eye exercises as well as taking nutritional eye supplements failed to restore 20/20 vision and accurate focus of distant objects, especially road signs. Added to my inherent poor sense of orientation in unfamiliar places, getting lost has become more probable. Of greater concern is the higher risk of accidents in moments of distractions and looking for solutions. So I have been avoiding going strange places or using new routes in recent years. The fact that I am basically unadventurous also means I am a safe traveler.

Yet the need to be in more control always bug me. I have at times turn down invitations to dinners in unfamiliar places or in busy locations because of my fear of getting lost getting there and returning home. However I realized the quality of my social life can be improved if I embrace the technology of GPS navigators which become my extended guide. These devices have been in use for many years but it was only in the last year or two that prices have come down and ease of use improved tremendously. I decided to buy one and selected the Garmin Nuvi 1460 that I bought at a popular online portal for RM685 with a set of local and oversea maps. The same unit cost as much as RM850 in consumer electronic stores. The day the courier man rang my doorbell was one I was looking forward to excitedly. I quickly unpacked the box and was introduced to a world of guided navigation.

The GN 1460 has a 5" screen which is large enough for my use. In fact it is slightly larger than nearby models at 4.3" although slightly thicker. It is very easy to use and I was able to test it within 30 minutes of setting it up and was tracked by navigational satellites overhead in just a minute after it powered up. You can learn more how this system works HERE. There are 24 'eyes' in the skies that continuously triangulated my position against the map that displays my whereabout. I am amazed how this works, although at times feeling violated that I am being 'watched'!

Using the GPS takes a little getting use to but once I learn to trust it I'm worried I cannot do without it when I venture beyond my safe zones. Today I use it to take me to a restaurant in Subang for a lunch meeting with ex-schoolmates. I had never been near that locality so without a GPS would mean I have to rely on directional maps. It was a breeze using the Garmin and I found the restaurant easily after pre-setting the destination in my favorite locations folder. However, coming back the GPS took me home via a very different route. I was helpless but knowing that the satellites are tracking me to my home destination I was assured that I would not get lost. I did not fight my Garmin but let it tell me which exit to take until I am on familiar roads to drive home.

Suddenly my driving world is now less myopic and more varied now that me and my Garmin are becoming bosom buddies. If you are like me, consider a GPS. It can be used even when going for a walk outdoor in new surroundings, trekking or camping. Like a compass it helps you stay connected to your home base. Or when you want to self-drive in another country, get its map and load it in your GPS and drive like a local!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tomorrow Begins Today

I'm not a fan of Shania but listen to her occasionally. I like her easy style and her model look. Sometime I think God is unfair, He gives to some good look and good voice and Shania is one of them. I like Faith Hill's singing too and will post one of my favorite song by her later. For now, I like Shania's positive outlook in her song, From This Moment On. Well, today is the 18th day of the new year. I hope from this moment on we all begin to look at people, life, things with vigor and enthusiasm, and hope for better things to come. Shania sure looks pretty in a bridal gown.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I Want to Sit on My Yeo Yeo

Whenever the chance arises, Ling would ask if we can bring her to the shopping mall near her home to sit on the yeo yeo. Ling enjoys the ride as she is adventurous and love to rock her body sideway as high as she can. I think rather than trying to define what yeo yeo is you should watch the video clip below.



The cost per ride is RM1 or 2 x 50sen coins which we used to insert directly into the coin slot on the side of the machine. Lately the operator had changed to the token system so I don't have to keep a supply of 50sen coins. Nevertheless, every time Ling sees the 'big' coins in my car she would subtly remind me that they are for her yeo yeo... which translated from Hokkien as 'rocker' or 'baby cradle'.

The Unnesting Experience

Leaving the nest is always eventful. It can be a sign of freedom for some but for others painful confrontation of change. Both my granddaughter Ling and I had this feeling of separation today that is for her good. Her security level was tested when parents (and grandparents) were asked to stay outside the class area and wait outside if we want to. Ling did not like it one bit and cried but soon accepted that I can't be by her side always. Although I assured her I would be waiting outside she was not focussed or participating in the activities. Hopefully she will soon adapt and feel happy to see us leave each morning after dropping her off. Here's a videoclip of Ling on her second day in kindie. Teacher See introduced each newcomer and this was Ling's turn and she was excited. The video clip isn't very sharp as I was using my cellphone.



I was privilege to record this as I was 'assigned' the duty to bring her to the centre as her mother was indisposed. I stayed the entire 3 hours and observed her. Here are some pictures taken yesterday and this morning. Notice the boy in the second last picture? He seemed to be everywhere! Holding hand! He even brought toys for Ling to play! The blue kid she was smiling to, he is younger than Ling at 3 years old. Head teacher Adeline is the one holding up the white board. She appear very competent, and authoritative!



















Monday, January 03, 2011

Ling's First Day in Nursery

Ling was all excited about going to school since her 3rd birthday last September. During the November school holiday her mother took her to a few kindergartens in our neighborhood to check out the curricula and facilities. The choice goes to Tadika Era Suria some 3km from our house. Two weeks earlier I brought her to choose the uniform and this morning her mother dressed her up and papa drove her and mommy to the kindy. Being day 1 for a first timer, the kindy encourages one parent to stay through to help the child adapt. Ling took along her purple sling school bag, her pink water bottle which was a Christmas present from auntie Maria and sat in the car booster seat I bought her last week.

During the orientation week, the class which starts at 8.30am will end an hour earlier at 11.30am. My future role will be to drive her back after school. Today at 11am I went there with my wife to fetch her and mommy who reported that Ling was a little sticky in the first hour but became more comfortable with the other kids later on. This is the Ling we know, a little slow in befriending other kids but once the ice breaks she will be a happy-go-lucky little girl whom we believe will be very popular with both classmates and teachers. When we arrived Ling was happily wearing back her sandles and before leaving insisted on visiting the playground. Hopefully in the coming day or so she will be able to withstand the 4 hours in the nursery unsupervised.









Saturday, January 01, 2011

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

It was a memorable transition, two days with events worth recalling.

On December 31 my son-in-law offered to clear up the creeping bushes that threaten to strangulate the lamp post outside my house. The electricity company promised to send its maintenance crew but did not show up, we got impatient and decided to do the job ourselves. Together with our maid the three of us sawed, pruned and cleared the little jungle that grew because my neighbor was 'evicted' by the bank for non-settlement of the loan. That was over 6 months ago and the house compound was in dire need of a makeover. Fortunately we had a high perimeter wall that separated our property. The job was not without casualties. We stepped on thorny twigs and bled and received numerous cuts on our hands and legs. What I need to do later is to poison the stumps to prevent them from regrowing.









Today is New Year. Last night we decided to celebrate a successful year with wine. We thank God for all the rich blessings. Today we decided to spend the day doing what we seldom do: VISIT THE ZOO!

As wryly remarked by my daughter we only visit the zoo on 3 landmark occasions: when we first bring our young children there for exposure, when they bring their children there for exposures and we as grandparents tagged along, and maybe when we make our last visit in wheelchairs !

Hopefully it will not happen this way but that we will visit the zoo as often as time and opportunity permits. So today we did it for the sake of Ling who has never been to a physical zoo before, and Ling will be in nursery next week so need to be able to share experiences her peers may probably have received, so she will not feel left out.

After a nice breakfast we bundled two strollers for Ling and baby brother Andrew and off we went to Zoo Negara, over an hour drive from Seremban. As seniors my wife and I enjoyed privileged discounts. The pictures below tell their own story.












































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