Sunday, 31 May 2009

Guess, how hard is it to withdraw £500?

On the 28th May, days before we left to Rome, my husband was trying to withdraw some ££ to be exchanged to Euro. So there he walk to the town centre with my son, and found the first ATM machine available.

Without any suspicion or whatsoever he used that to take 400 GBP, knowing that our credit limit is 500 GBP. But the machine throw an error and leave him with no receipt or any means of proof.
Again without suspicion, he tried a different machine, this time he was trying to take another 400 GBP, but the machine complained that he had passed his daily credit limit. Soon he figure out that he can only take 100 GBP (which come out okay, thank you) because the previous faulty ATM has flagged that he took the first 400GBP!

My husband obviously freaked out that he just lost 400 GBP.

So the next thing, he was on the phone calling me.

I was in the office when the whole thing happen.
So, I took the initiative to call the bank helpline since my husband were in a crowded place and very difficult to make a long call.

The phone on the other side rang... I spoke to the operator... bla bla bla.... get transfered to other departement... answering machine, press one... yada....yada, and then another waiting tone, and then I was asked my address and card number, and there is a waiting tone again... at the end of it, finally an operator who can helped me!

So she said "Mrs so and so.... I apologise for this kind of incident. Fortunately, this case is normal and your money usually will be refunded in 24 hour. And should it is not refunded within a day, we will request a investigation of the case which can take as long as 6 weeks."

And she asked why I wanted to take such a large sum of money, and I said I were to travel to Europe in 2 days time. And she was offering to buy the currency online, it will still be delivered on time if I place the order within 20 minutes (it was 11.40 a.m, any order before 12 o'clock mid-day will be delivered the next working day), which is a great idea.

"Click" so I hang up the phone.

Right, so she reassure me anything will be fine.
But, wait a minute, I still need to get some Euro!
But we have no cash at all, how to get Euro then?

I talk to my husband again (on the phone), and we decided to try to buy currency online. FYI, you can buy currency online with you debit/credit car and delivered to your door the next working day as long as your order arrive before 12 midday the day before.

So, with the intention of buying those Euro from my bank, I log on to my bank internet banking and try to find the link whereby I can purchase those currency. After about 10 minute entering all necessary info, bang... the website stuck when it try to get my address.

Apparently, my postcode wasn't recognise.
Great.

Knowing I only have another 15-20 minutes to make the purchase, frantically I tried to buy from another website. Oh yes, Tesco. Just like Walmart in States, or Mustafa in Singapore, they sell anything..... except for gun and ammunition (which Walmart sells!).
So I back to ground zero and start entering all the info again.

Guess what, on the last page, I hit the submit button.

And here it goes : "We are sorry, but we are unable to proceed with your purchase. Please contact our helpline number quoting reference .

By this moment I already wanted to give up.
I have about 15 more minute to 12 mid-day, so without any undue hesitation I let my reflex dial the number.

No one appear to pick up the phone for the first 3-4 minute. That time I was thinking thismust be the longest 3 minute in my life.
And suddenly I heard the ringtone is changed to some classical song... and in 1-2 minutes it change to automatic answering machine like : "if you want.... bla bla... press one". And then followed by a long winded advertisement try to sell something I don't need.

Finally, 5 minute before 12, I found myself talking to a real person! Gosh, it feels like forever. She had no record of my transaction, so I end up have to read up all the info on the phone.
At the end of the phone call, I just make sure, that I will receive the money on Friday before 1 p.m. She said YES!

And I suddenly feel all my muscle relaxed, my hand stop trembling and my brain stop aching, I am so relieved! I think that's the best and most relieving answer I heard all day!

Moral of the story : "never delay what you can do today, that's include taking some cash".

Saturday, 30 May 2009

I am off!

I wanted to officially said a "temporary" goodbye to all of my blog reader (thank you for being so faithful following this blog!).
I will take a break from blogging as I am going for my 2 weeks break.
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However, I do some scheduled entry from my pictures backlog (and lot's of drama to tell few days before our departure, I don't know why things go wrong on the day before you need to go).

I am going to miss everyone, especially those that I stalked almost at every entry!
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But I'll be back soon. Wish me the best weather ever in Italy and Greece, and I promise you some nice travel coverage!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Love of My Life

I can't exactly remember when both my and my husband start to pick up photography as a hobby. In 2001, while we were still living in Singapore, we bought a Canon 300 SLR camera as our travel camera.
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But being a film camera, experiment can be expensive. Satisfied with what we have, in 2003, we bought the digital version of it. It was only 500 SGD (150-200 GBP) complete with 70-300mm lens as out first non-standard lens.

And here is the story.
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Both me and my husband never think photography as serious business or put any kind of effort to study some techniques. I always find it easier to ask the expert rather than reading books/magazine (Oh well, probably I was just lazy).
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We hardly took any pictures while we were in Singapore. I mean, we often went back home to Indonesia, so we find there is no need to keep any pictorial documentary of any kind except it is a special occassion like graduation or birthday. And.... honestly, bringing SLRs was kind of hassle, it was so humongous and it's kind of heavy to hanging around your neck.
Often for months our camera just sit in the wardrobe waiting for another holiday or special occassion to arrive.
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And it happened!

3.5 years ago, we moved to UK, and therefore this blog was born. It was originally meant for my parents, families and friends to be in touch with updates. I guess it has serve more purpose that I thought it would because if not because of this blog, I would never meet loads of wife, christian, photoghraper, mum, whom share the same interest, vision and passion.

And then, my camera's adventure begin.
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I was slow to realise that taking pictures has become a habit. However, yesterday I was defragmenting my computer and realise "how much" space has been eaten up by archive of uneditted pictures.
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Like a grown up with a stack of childhood photographs, I was engrossed looking at tons of pictures in my computer.
I just realise all these has captured the love of my life. The things I loved the most, the things that very dear to my heart.
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I saw my wedding pictures (boy, I was so slim back then! Hey, did I ever fit on that dress?)
I saw my pregnancy pictures.
I saw Josiah when he was just few months old (Now he is able to walk, not only that, he was keen to taking on some photography lesson!)
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It's really hard to express what you have in mind looking at some of your old pictures. Many people told me that pictures spoke a thousand words.
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Yes, it is certainly do.

p.s: I am off to Rome tomorrow!!! Don't worry, I've scheduled some post to keep everyone entertained. See you in 2 weeks time :-)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

A new kitchen

Nope, I am not getting a new kitchen. This beautiful red and black kitchen set is belongs to my son. (I purposely picked the colour to match my kitchen colour scheme, so now we cook side by side!!).
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It's been a while since I've been eye-ing a kitchen set for my son. Most of the time we were together, I was cooking while he played few meters away from me with his toys. I knew he often watched me in curiosity, but since all the plates is so easy to break, all the knifes are sharp (of course), hob and oven are obviously hot, so he is left playing with my saucepan and soup spoon. He is a child whom easy to pleased, he never complained of just having saucepan and spoon to play, but I bet my neighbour will! (banging the saucepan = cooking, that's what he thinks anyway).
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So I grab this babe for a bit over 30 GBP in ebay, which is really cute. It has loads of feature like the stove make "frying" sound when you put a pot on it, the oven has a timer that can goes "bling", it even comes with chef hat and aprons. The kitchen has a basin, a kitchen rack and cabinet. It even have a fake canned soup, bake bean, plastic fish, egg hotdog and bread. Everthing complete with plates, spoon, coffee maker, cups, mugs, knife, fork and spoon. Worse still, it even have the bits that I, the real cook in the house, don't have!! Yeap, a mixed and blender (this can really spins!), now he made me jealous.
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My son was absolutely thrilled to have his own kitchen, he showed me that he wore his mittens before retriving item from his oven (and he even wore an apron too!). From now.... he can officially start to cook with me.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Thai pork skewer

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I've been wanting to post this long ago. This is one of the dish that I made the recipe on my own. It's pretty simple and quick to made.

Ingredients :
500 gr pork meat (mince)
4 stick of lemon grass
100 gr flour
2 onion, diced
3 big red chilli, diced
1 lime, squeeze
2 eggs
2 tea spoon of sesame oil
4 tea spoon of sweet soy sauce (I use ABC)
shallot, garlic, nutmeg, salt and sugar

mixed all the ingredients (except for lemon grass) and leave it for 15 min.
Cut the lemon grass to 10cm long, this will be the stick. Then pat approx 3 spoon full of mixture and shape it around the lemon grass just like the picture. Glaze the tray with oil, and put it for 25 minute on the oven (210 degree).

Serve it with warm rice.

Stoke Goldington Steam Rally (Part 2)

Probably by now you've guessed for whom this event is tailored for.
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Yes, it's for MEN!
Little man and big man to no exception.
There is racer bike, helicopter ride, vintaga car display, royal airforce craft, traction engine ride, tank, dozen of tractor, boys scout recruitment, model railway and all sort of manly indulgence.
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So do you agree with me on this?
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Monday, 25 May 2009

Dream

We do a little of lazy wandering over the weekend. It's hot and windy in Britain during this time of the year. The weather is so good, I feel like I was dreaming.
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And then we saw it, a pasture of flowers. The road was empty, almost no car pass by. You can hear the sound of birds on the winds.
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No work to worry about.
No household duty to think about.
This feels like a brain massage.
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In my dream, even dendalion looks soooo.... beautiful!
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And look at my little photographer...
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Right, this is not a dream. Because in my dream, my 2.5 yo son can handle camera like a pro. If you look carefuly, he is peeking through a tripod, not a camera!
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Saturday, 23 May 2009

Stoke Goldington Steam Rally (Part 1)

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Finally, I finished editing our pictures from 3 weeks ago at the steam rally. This is not our first time here, as we did came to the exact same festival last year. Unfortunately, the weather is not as warm as it was last year. In fact, it was pretty cloudy and windy!
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I was playing with the Lomo effect to make the picture look vintage. Below is my favorite car, isn't it elegant?
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And then I saw a vintage mini, with loads of minis on the top of it's dash board.
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Not sure what kind of brand all these cars are. But they certainly have a great logo!
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And this is the main attraction! The vintage traction engine. There are around 30 of them making a line on the center field.

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This traction engine really deserve my symphaty....
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So, what else is there on steam rally?
Mmm... there is boys scout recruitment whereby you can try several marching band instrument...
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Or, if you are more adventurous you can stroke one of these babe.
A siberian husky....
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Or probably a european owl?
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Oh, seem like she enjoy being cuddled sooo much...
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Or, you can do what this grandpa do.... reading in his vintage car.


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To be continued....

Friday, 22 May 2009

Like Daddy, like Son

3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."


I watched as a mischievous 3-year-old tried to get some attention from the stranger talking to his daddy. He stood between them, throwing his smile up to this new and interesting fellow while lightly kicking his leg. He didn’t have a bad attitude, just bad manners.

He wanted to show the stranger his rocks. The boy’s father was obviously irritated by his son’s behavior, but he only gave the boy a stern look that said, “I see what you are doing, and I am not happy.”

It had no effect.

The child turned his grinning face back toward the stranger and increased his attention-getting kicks. The father became increasingly irritated until he lost his pretense at paying attention to the conversation. He turned his full attention to the boy and said, “Stop it!”

But Little Mr. Grin kept grinning and kicking, waving his rocks around. As the boy continued his kicking, the father’s agitation grew until it was obvious he was about to erupt into parental spasms. Above a normal tone, the father said, “Stop it. Go away!”
The little fellow stopped grinning and matched his dad’s angry look. Then, with a forced smile, he turned back to lightly kicking the stranger.
The father then grabbed the kicker’s arm and sternly said, “Would you just go to your mother?”

Angry father and angry son exchanged angry stares for what seemed like a long time. Then while keeping his eyes locked on his father’s, the rebel gently but very determinedly gave the stranger one more tiny kick—symbolic, no doubt.
The little bull was challenging the big bull to a battle of the wills. The father was finally forced to deal the last hand. He jerked the boy up and carried him out of the room to give him a spanking. This kind of spanking will never work beyond the moment. The only satisfaction the father will get is the immediate release of his tension.

Why did this happen?
What could have been done to avert the moment?
What makes a child have this spirit of rebellion or desire to dominate?
What would you have done?

The father’s first mistake was that he had never done any effective training—of either himself or the the child. His actions showed that he didn’t even understand training. The father created the escalating situation by his early reluctance to interrupt the social scene with decisive action. He allowed his son to come to rebellion in increments, going from foolishness to stubbornness to self-will to defiance and finally to all-out angry rebellion.
The child didn’t start out angry or rebellious. The father created it in the child through his progressive, ineffectual displays of irritation. Early on, what the father thought was self-restraint is what brought both of them to lack of restraint.

So how could the father have turned this into an effective training session rather than a war? At the first indication the boy was out of line, and before either one of them was irritated, Father could have ceased any pretense at conversation and said to his son, “I need to talk to Mr. Jones undisturbed for a minute, so go sit down over there until I call you.”
By continuing to stare at his son with unwavering but calm determination, the pressure of the father’s presence would have provoked the son to obey.
When the son complied, Father could say, “That is a good boy; we will be finished in just a minute, and then you can show Mr. Jones your rocks,” The boy needed simple, decisive instructions given in a kind but commanding way.

Later, when the guest left the house, the father could have taken his boy by the hand and, walking around the yard, explained how he should act even when he is happy to have a visitor come to the house. It could have been a good time for the father to teach his little soon-to-be man how to exercise restraint, and it would have tied strings.

If you would tell me that early and decisive action on your part would not have moved your son to obedience, you are confessing that you have consistently been inconsistent so as to have trained your son to maintain perpetual rebellion and to resort to war at the slightest provocation. If you will become immediate and consistent, acting before you are angry, acting with calmness and even a smile, you will forestall the child’s road to rebellion.

Over time, many occasions like this will cut the strings of fellowship and cause the child to remain in a perpetually offended mood. Children and parents will come to not like the other and neither can explain why. These same children can go visiting with a relative and be well behaved and very pleasant, but at home the child seems to have this undercurrent of bitterness that pervades everything.

Parents need to see their children as empty vessels that need filling up or as untaught soldiers that need instruction.
They should always be asking, “Do you know what that word means?” or “Why do you think that happened?”

Parents should take an extra few minutes to include their small children in the adult conversation. When the child shows an interest, or if you think you can provoke an interest, ask him, “Do you understand what he said about the airplane and the engine turbine?”

This will cause the child to feel like the parent really likes him, and it stimulates the child to think about what is going on around him. He will develop emotionally and mentally much faster and more completely than a child left to himself.

The best parents see every occasion as a time to train. It takes less time, and certainly less emotional strain, to stop that few seconds and offer positive instruction to your children.

Taken from NO GREATER JOY

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Love me because I am beautiful

Few weeks ago, I get to know Fifi.

She is friendly and talkative, not only that, she looks really smart in her multi colour blue, green, orange overcoat.

Fifi is a blue and yellow macaw, a subdivision of parrots. These birds are intelligent and social, so for someone who can provide for their needs, they make good and loving companion parrot. Blue-and-yellow Macaws bond very closely to their owners.

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And then I saw Thira, whom not as talkative as Fifi, but she was an excellent "pole dancer". Thira is a scarlet macaw. She can live up to 175 years, although, a more typical lifespan is 200 to 500 years!!!

Both Fifi and Thira came from Brazil and were injured when they were found. Their current carrer said that many parrots like Fifi and Thira wander around neighbourhood because their habitat was destroyed.

There had been decreasing in numbers of parrots in the wild due to a combination of factors, particularly hunting, poaching, and the destruction of habitat through deforestation. Further, the spraying of pesticides by companies cultivating and selling bananas for export played a significant role in decreasing Scarlet Macaw populations.

(Below, Thira wearing her harness, just like pet dog!).
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Scarlet Macaws are popular, but are a high maintenance pet; they are expensive to purchase, adopt, or maintain, they are demanding, and they are extremely loud and noisy cage birds. They are prized for their beautiful plumage and considered very affectionate with their owners.

This parrot trainer said, if your pet parrot bite you, you shouldn't shout at it because that will distress the parrot. All you need to do is to "give them your back" and she'll understand that is a punishment of being naughty.

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They thrive on,and need frequent, regular interaction. They should be removed from their cages for long periods to socialize and be slowly socialized with others to retain a friendly disposition towards people; they need time to get to know strangers. They will naturally be extremely vocal and should not be discouraged from this behavior but should be given limits overall.

Birds that do not receive enough attention often display behaviors of over-preening, self-mutilation, depression, and extreme rage/aggression. They even can do a suicide attempt if left in distress. Some parrots do well when relocated to a new home. Others pine for the former owner, become ill, and die.

Unfortunately for Thira and Fifi, their injuries made them never fit to compete in Brazilian wilderness anymore.

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However, both of them certainly find someone to love.

At the end of the show, her trainer put on a message to the audience that we can donate to help a parrot like Fifi and Thira from to return in the wild... or get a good loving home.

"Love me because I am beautiful"
click here to donate.



p.s : Just when you think you want a parrot for a pet. Some parrot breeds live to be thirty, forty, or fifty years old. You should be prepared to give the parrot a lifetime of love. This is not a temporary pet. It is a companion. Do the math. If you are thirty years old when you take a parrot into your life, you may have it until your own death. Unlike dogs and cats that live ten to fifteen years, a parrot is a “forever” pet. Be sure you want that responsibility.