Sunday, May 31, 2009

Facing Her Giants

Susan Boyle came SECOND in Britain's Got Talent 2009

After being plagued by the media, critics and the public, Susan Boyle nearly packed her bags and quit the competition. Luckily for her, she decided to stay on.

She lost to the dance troupe "Diversity" for the 100,000 pound (around RM550,000) prize money and the opportunity to sing in front of the Queen of England.

The result announcement & performance by Diversity

Nonetheless, Susan Boyle still walks out a winner from the competition with Broadway, recording and special appearances contracts (including to sing with Donny Osborne) waiting for her. Heck, they're even making a Simpson cartoon episode where Homer Simpson joins Springfield's Got Talent. In his intro to Simon Cowell, he says: "My name is Homer Simpson, I’m 39 years old and, well, I’ve never been kissed. My dream is to be a great singer like Susan Boyle."

The biggest prize I would say that she got out of this competition is not her new fame and fortune. I think its beyond that. It's her being one step higher than a lot of us in that she dared to face her giants.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Being Judgmental

Being human, it's very easy for us to be judgmental. I admit it, there have been times I judged people by their appearance, how they carried themselves etc.

There is a certain lady from a Scottish village who is creating waves around the world. She joined Britain's Got Talent and gave a big wake up call to everyone NOT to judge a book by its cover.

Susan Boyle's life had been hard being born into this world with complications which later led to her suffering from a learning disability.

Singing, she said, was always "a good way of hiding behind that and boosting my confidence."

Let's be honest again, she's not great when it comes to looks. But she put it all behind her and now, she's in the FINALS of Britain's Got Talent.

Since her first appearance on the show, there has been over 100 million hits on her performance shown on Youtube.

For a time following her mother’s death in 2007, Boyle gave up on singing, but soon decided to make one last grasp for stardom. "Britain's Got Talent was something my mum had wanted me to do," she said. "I wanted to prove to people that I could do it."

Well, she certainly did that. Susan is truly an inspiration. Here's a short clip of her debut into Britain's Got Talent taken from Youtube:

And the latest, the Semi Finals performance on Sat 23rd May 2009:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

So says the Doc

Coming back from our honeymoon, I made an appointment with my doctor.

He's a nice chap who always greet his patients with a smile and make sure his patients are comfortable when walking out his clinic.

As usual, he greets me with: "Hi Angeline, long time no see. So, what can I do for you today?"

Me: "I think I'm pregnant!"

Doctor: "You got married recently?"

Me: "Yes, about a month ago."

Doctor: "Let's do a scan."

After a few moments of looking at what look like a small balloon in my belly area.

Doctor: "Oh yes, that's your baby there. Tiny! Let's get a urine sample from you to double check."

After few minutes.

Doctor: "You're definitely pregnant."

Then came the talk about my medical history, medications, supplements and what to expect in the coming months. There was so much my doctor was telling me, but my mind wondered off momentarily. I started to think:
  1. When is this baby due?
  2. I'm going to get fat. After all the work to lose weight prior to the wedding?!
  3. I wonder how much weight I'll gain?
  4. When do I need to start buying baby stuff?
  5. Who shall I tell?
  6. When should I tell?
  7. Is our baby ok in there?
  8. Should I continue with my medication?
  9. Am I going to continue vomiting for long?
  10. When am I going going to stop vomiting?
  11. Haaaaaa! Stretchmarks?!!!
  12. Can I still go swimming?
  13. My high heels. Is it good byes already?
  14. I just bought skinny jeans. Oh no!
  15. What can't I eat?
  16. I'm not having twins am I?!
  17. Boy or Girl?
Doctor cuts my thoughts: "So, I'll see you in two weeks time."

Me: "OK, thanks."

Two weeks later:
Poppy's first picture at 9 weeks, 2 days. Due date: 21st Nov 2009

Nothing much to see for now. Just a big head on the right and round bum on the left. Somewhere near the head, Poppy's heart beating.

Poppy's barely an inch in size as of 1 month ago. Oh yeah, we've temporarily named our baby Poppy because at the time we found he/she existed when we were in England, he/she was the size of a poppy seed. Plus I was eating poppy seed bun just before knowing about our Poppy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Making Baby No 1

They say that one of the first signs of pregnancy is morning sickness.

We left for our honeymoon two weeks after our wedding. On the flight from KL - London, I vomited. My first thought at the time was, "This airline food is terrible."

Upon arrival in London, I was cranky. My thought at the time, "I'm just so tired from the journey."

Then there was the regular stops to the toilet, if not to puke, to pee. "Hmmm, this stupid London weather is really getting to me. First, I eat like there's no tomorrow that I over do it. Then, it's so cold that I need to pee so many times even though I haven't been drinking much."

Fast forward a few days. "Hang on. When is my period due?" I brushed my next thought aside for as long as I could which unfortunately was only a few hours. I had to tell Fred. His remark was, "You want to get the test from the pharmacy?"

The first test we bought was from Boots in Bath. As I proceeded to the cashier, I could hear a couple of secondary school girls behind me in line, talking about me and "the test". I remember when I was their age, I would have done the same!

We did the test and the result was:Hmmmm, we were still not sure. After all, there's still a 0.01% chance that the result is not right.

So we decided to get another test set, when we arrive in Oxford. This time we bought Clearblue Digital. The result:
Pregnant 2-3 weeks

Were we happy with the result? Oh yes. We have been planning for a baby but didn't expect to have one so soon. We figured maybe I'll get pregnant in 4 or 5 months time. Not now!

Ok, so I may be 99.99% pregnant. Better get it confirmed from my doctor once back in KK.

Meanwhile, I just had to put up with the vomiting and toilet stops for the rest of the honeymoon.

Honeymoon Day 9 - 15

My my my! I've been missing in action from bloggers world for more than 2 months! I didn't go on strike, I just wasn't up to it.

In summary honeymoon days 9 - 15 were spent in Cambridge, back to London to return our rental then crossed the English channel to Paris.

It was great and yes, we did take lots and lots of pictures in the slides below:

We left Oxford after breakfast at our B & B at Newton's place and headed to Cambridge. When we arrived in town it was still quite early so we decided to drive around for a while before checking in at our next B & B at The Barn in Littlebury.

With the help of our GPS we managed to find the city centre and a parking place. Like Oxford, Cambridge is very limited when it comes to driving in the town centre so we had to look for the closest multilevel parking area. That we did and we just walked around town.

After getting ourselves orientated, we headed for King's College and entered into their famed Chapel. It was truly amazing. There's even the very old organ (HUGE) presented to the university by King Henry VIII when he was married to Anne Boleyn before he had her head chopped off. So that means that the organ was presented to the university between 1533 and 1536.

The next day, we explored Cambridge a bit more and visited Trinity College - the largest college of The University of Cambridge. Among the famous occupants of this college was Sir Isaac Newton. Much of our time in Trinity College was spent inside the Wren Library as it housed great historical artifacts I would say - the little notebook that Sir Isaac Newton wrote his expenses, A. A. Milne's manuscripts of one of my favourite cartoons: Winnie-the-Pooh and many many more. It was also fun to identify who are the geeks doing research in the library during this time as the university was on their Easter break. Oh yes, there were nerds around the library and campus grounds!

After our "educational" tour, we left the campus grounds and headed to explore the town - markets, toilet stops, malls, shops.

Soon it was time to leave Cambridge and head back to our B & B.

But, not before making a quick stop to the War Museum!

Haaaa.... home sweet home (well temporary home away from home!). We stayed at the Barn B & B, owned by Diana Duke. She's 85 years old, owns and runs this B & B which originally was a barn and converted into delightful rooms complete with en-suite, and kitchen. Her son runs a construction business that converts old barns into homes, and this B & B is a really good showcase of his work. Diana is really a good host and it was wonderful to be able to talk to her about her life, her travels and family during our breakfast. We had our last dinner in England in Clavering. To be exact, The Criketers - owned and run by Jamie Oliver's parents. That's right, the childhood home of the Naked Chef! Dinner was superb, the service excellent and I even bought a signed copy of Jamie's latest book "The Ministry of Food" for 25 pounds. What an excellent souvenir.

Time flies so fast and before we realise it, it was time to leave England and head to Paris on the Eurostar. We left Littlebury around 10am, arrived in London at 11.30am. Got lost in London and spent the next hour and a half looking for the darn Avis rental station. Needless to say we missed our 2pm departure on the Eurostar!

We had bought our tickets earlier online (cheaper) and prayed hard that we can get a refund and buy another couple of tickets on the next available time.

From Avis rental station Fred asked for a taxi. Half an hour later, a brand new Mercedes pulls up into the parking lot to take us to the train station. The trip from Avis to the train station is another story. Never.... never.... NEVER in my life have I witnessed a man sooooo in looooooove:

Our driver (from some middle eastern country) was talking on his cellphone to his girlfriend (also from the same middle eastern country) from the moment we got into the car until we were a few meters away from the station. Amongst the lovey dovey talk were [by the way the .... were spoken in their own middle eastern language]:
  1. you wait for me.... please... come on, please, say you will...
  2. i miss you..... i love you... yes?!.... awwwww, please.....
  3. you wait?!..... promise?!.....please.....i promise you know....
  4. oh, you promise.......ok, i see you later
  5. you hang up first...i love you...[kiss, kiss, kiss], you first..... bye [kiss, kiss, kiss]...
Excuse me, who's on the honeymoon here?! Oh come on. This was total infatuation overdose! Fred gave him a twenty quid tip (that's like RM100) so the driver can take his ladyfriend out for a drink or a meal someplace!

Leaving our live daytime soap opera behind us, we stepped into the station and quickly looked for the ticketing office. We were so lucky that our tickets could be replaced with new ones at no extra charge, and there were seats left on the next train. Our prayers were answered! Since we had about an hour and a half before departure, we decided to have a late lunch inside the station. Lunch was simple but so darn expensive! Well, you gotta eat.

The following slideshow is just a collection of photos taken for the remainder of our honeymoon. The pictures are self explanatory, but if you want more.... check out our honeymoon scrapbook available in our living room soon!