Friday, November 27, 2009

A Wish to Explore the Northern Capital

I had just finished reading Jan Wong’s “Beijing Confidential – Lost and Found in The Forbidden City” recently. The truth is that I had started reading bits and pieces of the book last year when it was first released in the bookshops. When I saw it sitting on the display shelf at the City Library recently, I borrowed it right away so I could read it from cover to cover in the comfort of my pigeon hole without having to worry about overstaying my welcome at any one of three bookshops I frequent quite regularly in the CBD.

This is the third book written by Jan Wong that I have read and I have enjoyed it so much so that I feel like it is timely to visit China again. This urge is also further fuelled by an article entitled “Five Things the US Can Learn from China” that I read in the latest copy of Time Magazine on the weekend. Sure the country is known to the West for its human rights abuses and sure there may be a few things they do in life that do not sit well even with me, but still there are other aspects of China that are highly appealing to me and I would really like to experience them with M. In the book, Jan Wong mentioned the rapid progress happening in Beijing and despite being in China on and off in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s plus a trip there with her family in 2003, she was having trouble getting around because the city has changed so much. This got me wondering how I would fare in Nanjing now. LOL.

Going there is also a good opportunity for M to speak Mandarin. My mum insists that his Mandarin is going nowhere because he just doesn’t have the opportunity to use the language here in Melbourne. It is considered by some to be rude to not speak English in public. Even if we don’t go right now, making plans to go could kick-start his interest again. I am all for M to start practising privately within the walls of our pigeon hole. I can see that I am getting sidetracked but there is just so much stuff to blog about. This is meant to be a post about a book I have read… I am about to write about a ‘you’re must be dreaming’ type job offer but I will leave that to the next post.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Olivia - Piggy with Personality (MYER Christmas Windows 09)

One day in 2001, a little girl asked me to read a new picture book someone bought her. The book was Olivia by Ian Falconer. Just like that little girl, I fell instantly in love with this charming piggy who always wears red – my favourite colour. Ever since then I have been reading the Olivia books to every little Vegemite at work and so far, I have not met any parents who are against the stories. My mum did warn me however that the characters (pigs) in this picture book may not go down well among some people and that I should exercise caution. Oh well, even Olivia can’t possibly pleases everyone.

The following are photos M took when we went to view the MYER Christmas Windows for a second time. M actually wanted me to go and snap photos of the arrival of Santa at the Christmas Parade last Saturday but I flatly refused because I know full well what I am very likely to be subjected to if I rock up at such events. My whole day would have undoubtedly been ruined had I gone that day. We are going back to view the windows again soon to snap more photos and footages. The best time to go is early in the morning or early in the evening - around the time when the shops in the Mall are closing for the day.

The journey began with Olivia heading home with her family after a last minute shopping trip. She is not in the photo because she wasn't carried by her parents and she was dawdling like many Kindergarteners after an outing. LOL

Olivia's Dad put up the Christmas Tree while...

Olivia fed the baby blue berries until he puked!

Then Olivia got entangled with the Christmas lights and her mum helped out by turning the lights on. LOL.

Oh Wow, Olivia did a good job setting up for dinner. Look at that beautiful centrepiece. It's kinda familiar though...

Oh NO! The top of the Christmas Tree had been chopped down to form the beautiful centrepiece on the table!

Always eager to help, Olivia was next asked if she would like to help set the fire. In reply, she asked if her Dad would like to get Santa cooked! LOL

Before bed, Olivia left a few cookies and a glass of milk out for Santa but who do you think had them all before Santa's arrival

Wrapping paper went everywhere as the little piglets excitedly uncover their pressies under the Christmas Tree.

She painted a self-portrait for her parents.

Olivia tested her new set of skis.

Why did she need such a big snowball?

They rolled up big snowballs to make a Snowman of course! Olivia is very good at building sandcastles so Snowman building shouldn't be a problem for this talented piggy.

Busy Busy

This blog has been neglected a bit. The last post was like more than a week ago! I have been busy sewing and planning to clean up the apartment in preparation for Christmas. There are a few things I want to blog about but I will probably have to wait till this time next week. We are going to move things to the storage unit again and from there we will bring home our Christmas tree and decorations. For a change of scenery, we have decided to place the tree somewhere different this year. We are hoping that we can have Sunday free so that we can go to a big shopping centre to get our mascot's Christmas outfit. Yes, he 'won' the audition again to be featured on this year's Christmas Cards. LOL.

I recently mentioned my wish to blog about some sensitive issues I have been experiencing. Well, I have made up my mind that I will go ahead with that but they are unlikely to be ready before Christmas. I need time to write and then think and then edit before I post them. It is not easy for me to write on somedays when my English is not working properly. LOL

Monday, November 9, 2009

Went To See R2 On Saturday

M and I went to Scienceworks on Saturday. It was the second last day of the exhibition called "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination". It was a hot day and it is still hot in Melbourne right now. I thought we were meant to be subjected to a short hot spell late in Spring to prepare us for what to come in Summer but this feels more like a heatwave with no end! The following are some photos we took on the day.

I wanted one of these when I was little and I also wanted Obi Wan Kenobi to be my teacher. LOL

Oh look at R2! Isn't he just gorgeous? M took this photo and neglected to also include R2's feet.

When I was little, I used to worry that Wampa might die of starvation.

Dwellings in Chewie's homeland is based on the kind of Jungles I grew up in. Check out the workmanship. May be being taunted for living on trees is not so bad after all.

I used to think that the Sandman and Sandwoman costumes were likely to be inspired by the attire worn by people living in deserts and I was right.

In my opinion, being chased by one of these would be like being chased by Shuey (Michael Schumacher) on the road. LOL

My brother would have enjoyed every bit of this exhibition. He is such a big fan that he had converted the spare bedroom into a personal museum packed full of Star Wars goodies.

M had fun making an R2 lookalike move.

When it was my turn, R2 went for a Bumpy Ride!

Other than R2D2, seeing Yoda is the other reason why I came along. He looks a little like someone I knew except that she didn't have green skin and hair growing out of her ears.

It would have been so nice if the glass cases were made of one sheet of glass on each side. The joint between two sheets made it hard to take a photo properly.

We were lucky that the exhibition was extended to the 8th of November!

I like how they dolled up the building to look like Darth Vader's head. It would be nice if it comes with sound effects as well. LOL
Other than the heat, the outing had been fun. I was a little worried when I saw the number of children lining up with their parents to purchase tickets but except for one, the parents were largely well behaved on the day. Children do not bother me. Some parents do.
Our next outing is to the Melbourne Zoo. We are not sure whether to go before Christmas or after. It will be very hot in January. I also wish to go before Dokkoon gives birth because I want to see what a pregnant elephant looks like. Is she giving birth this year or will it be the end of next year? She has been pregnant for a while now.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Bit of Self Improvement, An Observation & A Timely Change

M was away the night before Melbourne Cup last year. Even though our Guinea Pig died in May 08, I remember I was still struggling to cope and was particularly bad on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I was so grief stricken that I had forgotten that our building tends to become very lively on days like the Melbourne Cup Day. People would start partying from the evening before the actual day. Thank goodness for those party animals because without them I would have spent most of the time crying or feeling sad until M came home. This year M was away again for Melbourne Cup Day but I coped alright by keeping myself busy with sewing and watching foreign movies, including a bit of a French one that was way too weird for me. Recovering from the lost of my precious friend is surely a slow process for me. I did shed a tear or two before heading to bed but that had nothing to do with my Guinea Pig even though I miss him still. The issue bugging me is something I wish to blog about this month but am not sure yet.

Here is an observation. On the eve of Melbourne Cup day this year, I was able to hear may be two or three parties going on in the building and it was all quiet just after midnight. I thought that may be people were heading to bed for a good night sleep before the big day. On Melbourne Cup day, the place was peaceful like on Christmas Day! No parties at all. The only noise came from an excited little tot in the pool with her parents and grandpa. The two security officers hired for crowd control purposes were visually bored to bits. LOL. I am not saying that we have rowdy party animals all the time but there were no parties at all. LOL. It was weird. And by 10:30 – 11:00 pm, most people had gone to bed! Where did all the energy go?

M has a new work schedule finally. Although his working hours are slightly longer, the new schedule will work out better for us. The new schedule is to commence in the middle of the month and I have between now and then to work out a new menu and its shopping lists because our shopping days have to change to suit his schedule as well. He has also put his hand up for three grocery shopping trips per fortnight. Although I find his enthusiasm a bit bizarre, I am just going to enjoy and see how long it lasts. Of course I hope that it will last at least till the middle of Autumn. Doing three grocery shopping trips per fortnight with M means that I only have to do one top-up trip on my own or none at all during that period. Wow. I really like that.