Lilypie - First Birthday

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Gift for Myself


Keke... since no one is buying me any Christmas gift... I bought myself one during PC fair! ^_^

Samsung 320GB USB 2.0 2.5-inch portable external hard drive in wine red. Love the size and the color! Also available in: Snow White, Piano Black and Choc Brown.

Price: RM205 with 3 years warranty. Leather pouch.

And tonight, I would be home alone on Christmas Eve if not for Lee Yee, who invited me to her ex-colleague's BBQ Christmas Party tonight! Hurriedly went to Jusco to buy the gift exchange yesterday after work. Yay! Happy~

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

[Scottsdale] Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Week 5 (Dec 18th, Thursday)
Scottsdale Railroad Park

一直很喜欢我拍的这两张照片。
我们乘着小火车在轨道上疾驰前进,犹如穿越时光隧道。
道道光芒五彩缤纷;照映在家人脸上的表情是欢愉兴奋的。

就像生活。
抓起相机回头望,我看见的是绚丽斑斓的色彩。一时缅怀不及,不舍放下那段美好的时光。
突然有种轻舟已过万重山的感觉。
把注意点看清楚,他的表情告诉我,前面的风景更好看!
原是如此,人生有多少个十年!
我要好好把握眼前的一切,sit back and enjoy the ride。


Today, we went to Scottsdale to visit the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Holiday lights start from 11th Dec till 2nd Jan, excluding Dec. 24th, 25th and 31st. The park is open from 6.30 - 9.00pm.

Scottsdale is not far from Chandler using the highway and is kinda like a high-class town where the rich people live. The town is famous for jewelery shopping.

What to see in the park?
1. Take a train ride through more than 100,000 holiday lights turning the Railroad Park into a winter wonderland! Just like we did in the two photos above, but we took the cart ride instead of the train ride. More exhilarating!
2. Walk through the interior of a real train, a museum of sorts with displays inside. And catch Santa sitting inside!


3. Take photos with cartoon characters and hug them tight cos it's soooo cold! Elmo, Cookie Monster, Cat in the Hat, Shrek, Winnie the Pooh and others!
4. See the tree lighting ceremony.

5. Do fun, silly family stuff.

6. Take a ride on the carousel...

7. And last but not least, see the magnificent toy train sets on display as the toy trains rumble through hills and valleys.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

踏出

今天踏出了第二步,代表人生的一个转捩点。
踏出之前,心里忐忑不安,很多顾虑,很多问号。
踏出了之后,心境平和,竟有 60% 是欢乐,另外40% 是对未来存有的种种不确定性。
告诉自己,要一步一步向前走,要勇敢,不要往后看。
未来的日子到底会是怎么样?没有人可以告诉我。
希望前方是光明的。我带着积极的心情期待。

只想好好的纪录一下今天的心情。

还有,今天早上各网站上都看见这新闻:
http://www.edn.com/article/CA6712594.html
看着自己有份做的产品上市了,还有个大大的图样,心情很是感动。

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Play - The Nutcracker (video)

video

Tchaikovsky's "Waltz of the flowers" ballet routine in Act III - Kingdom of Sweets

My favourite Nutcracker piece is the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" which Macy's used for its Christmas ad campaign last year (and also by many other advertisers...). Sometimes I really wish I have the talent to play piano so that I can play all these really charming classical pieces to myself... wish that I can have a piano in my new house. ^_^

Really love, love, love "The Nutcracker" because it is so magical! And the brave Nutcracker which turned into a prince and defended the girl from the evil King Rat... such a hero... *swoon*. And so many sweets and colorful stuff in the Kingdom of Sweets!

Also bought a row of Nutcracker stamps from Chandler post office with 4 different nutcracker designs on it! ♥♥♥

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Christmas Play - The Nutcracker

Week 3
Day 16 (Dec 5th, Friday)
At Chandler

While we were in the United States, he brought me out for a formal date one day, which I thought was pretty cool, given the amount of US teen dramas I grew up on. We went to see a ballet performance called The Nutcracker, a very popular Christmas play. The play was at 7.30pm, at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

Before going for the ballet, he brought me to South Mountain, Phoenix, which is about a 40-mins drive away from Chandler. We drove all the way up to Dobbin's Lookout at 2,330 feet, just in time to catch the sunset. South Mountain is gazetted as a National Park and rangers check whether there is any alcohol in the car. All the way up are never ending views of the local cactus - saguaro.

This huge compass overlooking the city of Phoenix was presented by Mr. Nathan Straus from New York in 1960.

Orange glow of sunset
Happily and lovey-dovey together ^_^ I even put on a bit of purple shimmer eyeshadow, purposely for our date

Sat at this lookout hut watching as the sun disappeared and the curtain of dusk fell, with the half-moon high up in the clear sky

The Nutcracker, proudly presented by Ballet Etudes, a dance academy in Phoenix. Can book the ticket online and pickup later at Fry's. Only $8 per pax, I think!

Hanging out in the lobby before the play commenced. Bought a cute nutcracker for myself as a souvenir, cost me USD8! And then a few days later I saw an exact same one at Walgreens selling for only half the price...

The story of The Nutcracker is about a magical event that happens during Christmas, where toys come alive in the middle of the night. The main character, a little girl named Clara, wakes up at night to find that her toy, a nutcracker, given to her by her magician godfather has come alive, leading a regiment of toy soldiers to fight the evil rats in the kitchen, which have grown to be very huge. While the brave Nutcracker Prince is fighting the Rat King, Clara saves the Nutcracker and he invites her through a snow land ruled by the Snow Queen and her King and then to the Kingdom of Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. A festival of colorful dances is presented to Clara and the Nutcracker. At the end of it all, Clara awakes from her dream to find that the Nutcracker is just a doll.

Act I - Clara getting a Nutcracker Doll during her house Christmas party

Act II - The magical Snow Land. Snow Queen and King dancing

Act III - In the Kingdom of Sweets with many different dancers from all over the world

The music and ballet dance was simply beautiful, I loved it so much. It was a real treat for me as I have always wanted to watch The Nutcracker. Another dream come true in the US!

After the event, the Chandler Center for the Arts

And after the ballet, we went for a walk in downtown Chandler, which is kinda like the town center.

Tumbleweed Christmas tree, which is not lighted yet because it is only Dec 5. This tree is really special because it is made out of tumbleweed, which you usually see in cartoons where there is a dry tumbleweed ball rolling across the barren desert land. They have a special tree lighting ceremony and performances here each year.

Santa's House, where little children take photos with Santa Claus here. Also not lighted up yet. In fact, downtown Chandler is reaaaally quiet at night with only a few bars open for business. Not very happening. People would usually go to Tempe or Phoenix for the more happening nightlife.

The beautiful San Marcos hotel at night with the lit-up trees and the very romantic fountain in the courtyard. It was simply lovely to take a quiet stroll through this part of the hotel.

More lit-up trees...

Friday, December 18, 2009

[San Diego] Christmas Lights!

Yay!! One more week left till Christmas... can't wait! I can't believe that one year ago, we were spending Christmas in the USA, truly a childhood dream come true. :-) This year Leo has taken one week off to stayback at Melaka; I haven't decided whether to travel down on Christmas Eve so that we can spend Christmas together... Just wondering, next year, where shall I be? Will I be spending Christmas alone then? Just thoughts...

Shall try to post at least one Christmassy experience that happened last year per day, countdown till next week!

Week 4

Day 23 (Dec 12th, Friday)
Day 1 in San Diego - Christmas Lights at Knob Hill

After our romantic and life-altering moment (read: A Love Story) at Point Loma, we left behind the big moon on the hill and followed our GPS to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood. Can't really remember whether this is Knob Hill, but it definitely is one of the largest and most grandest residential lights-on-display in San Diego.

Parked our car by the roadside and started oohing-and-aahing from the first house on the street to the last house. Can you imagine that these are all just normal houses decorated by the families living in it to become like a fairyland? Christmas light nettings thrown over trees, bushes, and front-porches and swirled around tree trunks. The night was as bright as day. And Christmas music was blasting across the whole street from the speakers! So fun!!

Hey Mr. Snowman. Their houses are not a gated community, everybody was free to walk up to the porch and to the backyard to see the Christmas displays. However it wasn't like an open-house, nobody opened their doors to let people in. The Christmas lights was not even a competition, just something that they do every year. Pure fun and cooperation by all the neighbors to deck up their street with some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer. ^_^

Santa's workshop. One of the beautiful window displays.

Somebody's front door.

On the roof! MC stands for Merry Christmas. And I love the gingerbread family at the front yard.

Another lovely window display with a spinning merry-go-round.

Big let-it-snow snow globe... but of course, I don't think it ever snows in San Diego. Too south.

Oops... Santa Claus is stuck!

Aaahh... I think Santa loves this more... time-off from Christmas in a tropical place.

Mickey!!

One of the more elegant and grand houses in the neighborhood.

Again, horse-and-carriage display on the roof.

A glimpse of the whole street. But of course, you can only do this kind of grand light displays in the US where it seldom rains. Imagine if someone did this in Malaysia... electrocuted in no time... :-S

And last but not least, the most important thing about Christmas - the Nativity scene.

I'm so lucky to have been there during Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

爱在台北 (第四天) - 平溪线

10月21日(星期六)
平溪线的小镇 - 菁桐,十分

经过 KampungBoyCityGal 的大力推荐,我们今天一早从台北旅馆 check-out,往平溪线去。
从台北车站乘搭莒光号火车到瑞芳车站,再改搭平溪线火车,路经十分,菁桐为最终一站。
莒光号火车快捷,平溪线火车缓慢,单在平溪线火车上,就已经耗时四十五分钟了,一直在车上坐着,沉闷之中有点累。

菁桐

菁桐看些什么?就是看其古老仿日式木造车站,据说建于1929年,全台湾拆剩这几站了。
来到菁桐,就像踏入时光隧道重返古时候的时光,很有古早的味道。
只可惜 Leonard 和我都是城市人,比较爱看台北 101 那样现代化的东西,回到过去,反而感到格格不入,不懂欣赏。
再加上当天阳光曝晒,天气炎热又干燥,弄得我有点脾气暴躁。
午餐时间,火车离开菁桐最后一站,要等整整一个小时才再到回来,我们真的是... stuck in time...

菁桐古老木造月台一览

脾气暴躁,也是因为肚子饿惹起的。
看介绍册子上说菁桐杨家鸡卷很著名,就打包了一盒,然后随便进了一间餐馆吃午饭。
点了两碗鲁肉饭和一碗味噌汤,鲁肉饭不错,但味噌汤不烫不热,喝起来味道差极了。杨家鸡卷味道也不怎么样,槟城的鲁肉卷好吃多了。

吃饱后,就去菁桐老街玩一些古老的玩意儿,在竹筒上面写下我们的愿望,然后随便往哪里挂都可以。
菁桐老街上,处处可见许愿竹筒,小木屋上面有,月台上有,枯树上有,铁路上也有... 刹是奇观。
我们贪婪地在一个竹筒上拼命写,有什么就写什么,最好全部愿望都能实现啦... 用绳索将竹筒绑紧,不管风吹雨打,直到永远。
再买了一个天灯挂饰,拿来挂车。
然后,可以放心地在没有火车的铁路上拍照,跑跳,吃东西,玩乐... 不用怕会被火车撞死。






十分

火车来了,我们听火车上的当地人说一定要到十分走一趟,那里的景色较菁桐漂亮,心想到菁桐没什么东西看,既然顺路回瑞芳,那就在十分停下看看。
台湾旅游局善于包装,把十分的古老味包装得十分 sweet,十分幸福。
一个其实平平无奇的地方,都可以成为一个当地人,日本游客,国外游客都趋之若势的地点,真厉害。
我不禁心想,马来西亚其实也有很多怀旧风味的地方,若下一番心思,一定也可以将之发扬光大。

十分玩什么?
1。放天灯/孔明灯。十分称作天灯之故乡,随处可见完整售卖的漂亮粉色天灯,写上愿望,就可以点火,放上天空去。也有一些制作天灯的小班,有兴趣可以参与呢。我们没有放,因为我以前在 MMU 新春嘉年华连续放了两年,而且当时后时间不是很多,还要赶到九份去。而且我觉得,天灯还是要晚上放比较好看。
2。眼镜蛇洞。但是那里的人跟我们说那是私人地方,已经封起来,所以去不得。
3。静安吊桥。但是听说吊桥已断裂,所以没有去。
4。台湾煤矿博物馆。没什么时间,而且票价比较贵,所以没去参观。
5。十分老街。
6。在铁路上吃东西。

结果,我们只是做了第五和第六样,在十分老街上游走,还有坐在铁路旁吃了一个马英九吃过的大饼。在这里的铁路上吃东西比在菁桐那里危险,因为这里不是最终站,随时都会有两边的火车隆隆而来,比较容易被撞死。

看得见天空上的天灯吗?

到了下午三点,火车终于出现了,最高兴的是 Leonard,他竟然拍手了...