Friday, 31 July 2009

My DSLR Dream

Recently, I'm itching for a DSLR. Again.

I'd been eyeing a Nikon D200 for quite some time ever since I knew that Studio Loft is using this camera to take pictures.

However, after loaning it from a colleague, I found that it's very heavy to carry around and I foresee I wouldn't bring it outdoor if I take my kids out.

I've been reading up the discussions in ClubSnap and other review websites about D200. The general opinion is that D300 is a better camera. So that makes me itch for a D300, although I still mind the weight and bulk.

Then some people say that Nikon D90 is a good buy and gives similar image quality as D300, and performs even better at higher ISO. And it's about 200g lighter than the D hundreds.

Then I'm also exploring the option of a Canon, 50D to be exact, since I've always used Canon digis, and its plus point is it's lighter than a Nikon's hundred series.

Then, I read the forum that the new Nikon D300s is out, and D300's price should slide, or D300s is a better buy if its price is as rumoured ($2085).

Sigh! They don't look very different, do they? But price wise, they do. And I really don't want to regret not buying the other after paying a bomb for one.

Decisions decisions ...

Or rather, indecisions ...

I wish someone could help me on this. It's agonising trying to decide over something you don't have an inkling about.

Busy and Tired

I've been quite busy, to the extent of not chatting online for one week, or more than that.

Coco has fallen ill, to H1N1, I highly suspect, and so did the Apex doctor.

She first developed a high fever of 38.2 degree celsius at 2.30am on the Thursday before last. So she skipped school that day and I went to work hoping that it would come down by the time I knocked off. When it didn't, I took her to the 'quack' at Sembawang MRT since it was 4.30pm and no other clinics was open. It happened to be a Thursday and unfortunately, my mother's and my most trusted Apex clinic is closed on Thursday night. And as a true blue quack clinic, the doc gave her two days MC and diagnosed it as a throat-infection-induced fever, without prescribing her any antibiotics.

2 days on, she still had high fever (39.6). So I took her to the 2nd doctor at Silver Cross (Marsiling) since it's a PPC (Pandemic Preparedness Clinic) and the two regular docs there are aware of her asthmatic condition, and asthmatic people are supposed to belong to the 'high-risk group' according to the quack.

Much to my dismay, it was not the regular docs on duty. It was some doc I hadn't seen before. He asked us some questions, including if the 1st doc gave her any antibiotics. And funny enough, this doc also didn't prescribe any antibiotics after we told him that the 1st one didn't give any.

And he said that there wasn't any need to do a H1N1 test since there wasn't any point in doing it anymore as 48 hours had passed and medication for H1N1 wouldn't work on her anymore.

Okay, fine. I waited for him to say more, but he said there's nothing else. So I took her out and decided that since there wasn't even an MC given, I probably didn't need to pay. So we left.

When we got home, William said that the clinic called and said that I left without paying $26.50 for consultation. I thought it ridiculous to charge me an expensive consultation fee when nothing is given, not even an MC when her temperature was 39.2 during her visit and it was a Saturday night already. As a doctor, you mean you think that she would recover by Monday morning given such a high temperature?

We continued to give her the same lame medicines that didn't work a bit. Her temperature continued to soar. It went up to 40.3 on Sunday. On Monday, I took her to our trusted Apex doctor. There, he gave her 'stronger' fever medicine and 'stronger' antibiotics. The doctor said that she ought to have been given antibiotics 'much earlier'. Damn the quacks! Yes, make that two!

After 24 hours, the fever was just about gone, like what the doctor had predicted.

However, up till now, Coco is still coughing and vomitting.

So worrying. I'm calling the doc tomorrow to ask him what to do.

Besides Coco's illness, I'm also busy preparing a child for a storytelling competition. And the other teacher-in-charge tries to keep us till 4.30pm or 5pm whenever she can. It's still her working hours but it's almost or just about ten straight hours for the kid and me. And we're just so tired. Besides, alot of time is spent on grousing over the father, and discussing things that could be talked about at other times. I find that alot of time is spent unproductively, and I just don't fancy that. If I want to work, I make sure every minute is focused on that piece of work. And being single, I don't think she understand how I feel. As it is, she finds the father of the girl difficult, uncooperative and troublesome when he expresses displeasure at her being taken out of classes or staying back for hours for practices.

I'm quite miffed at the fact that she goes around telling other teachers about how difficult the father is and how quick she reported the girl entering the Semi Round to the bosses. I know what these people are thinking but I'm just not one of them.

Actually, William is also down with ILI (Influenza Like Illness) and was given 7 days of MC.

But as you can tell, I'm not too bothered about it for obvious reasons.

At one point, when he told me that he felt pain and tightening the chest, I even asked him,"Didn't you say that you wanted to die, many times? It would be good that you die over it."

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Two happy news

I've been receiving glad tidings lately.

First is my brother's run-in with his employment agency.

He was asked to pay the agency $1000 as he wished to back out from the contract after just one week.

He actually smsed me to borrow $1600 so that he could quit his job immediately - $600 in lieu of 2 weeks' notice for immediate resignation and $1000 for breaching the contract.

I decided to look through his contract and enquired from MOM on whether it's a valid and fair contract. It actually just happened last week.

I called up MOM and went down personally to MOM to enquire about the particular clause on having to pay $1000 as 'part of the training cost' if he terminated the contract and they gave the same answer that he needed to follow the contract. However, I had my doubts that these counter staff may not have the adequate legal and employment terms knowledge to give me sufficient advice and I refused to leave it at that.

I went online to make an e-appointment for a 30-minute consultation about the contract. However, after several threats from the agency to add on interest to the $1000 and pressuring my brother to pay up immediately on last Friday, the lady agent called again yesterday to tell my brother that the agency decided not to recover $1000 from him.


Actually, I wasn't very optimistic about the situation and was exploring the possibility of negotiating for a lower compensation rate since my brother did sign the contract. We were relieved that eventually, the agency gave in and decided not to pursue the matter. Probably we brought in MOM and they didn't want to complicate matters, or perhaps they have other matters that infringe on labour laws that they didn't want MOM to find out.

My innocent and ignorant brother! He was so afraid to get too involved in the matter just to find out for himself, to his great disappointment, that he still needed to pay after all the trouble he's been through.

I wanted to show him that no matter what we do, we need to try different routes and not wait there till we die.

I wanted him to learn that nothing is impossible, even if it's written in black and white that he had to do something.

I wanted him to know that if you're too kind, people in the working world will not be nice to you. They will bully you, and take advantage of you as and when they can.

I wanted him to learn to stand up for himself and not let others lead him by the nose.

I wanted him to realise that there's a way out in the most difficult situation.

I wanted him to learn flexibility, resilience and perseverance, even if it takes alot of trouble to complete a task. And I wanted him to know that these attributes do pay off.

Even while we waited for the outcome over the weekend, I shared with him my story of how I stood up for myself and refused to be bullied by a bitch ... in fact, two bitches, while I was in NIE.

I told him no matter what, we should try. If it doesn't work out, we'll pay. If it works out, he gets to save $1000. Not that I don't have or don't want to lend him the money, but I don't want him to give up so readily, easily.

I'm so glad all's well ends well.

The other piece of news that makes me so happy is the kid that I co-trained with another teacher for a storytelling competition made into the Semi Final!

It's the first time I trained anyone for a storytelling competition. And she got in!

I've committed a lot of time on her, and put in alot of effort to edit her story, do up her props, coordinated with her parents, teachers and the organiser.

I'm so glad it paid off.

However, the Semi Final is just 2 weeks away and I doubt she can make it into the Final since she's primarily a Mandarin-speaking kid with nil support at home. Her parents are non-English speakers. And as it is, we took months to train her. With just 2 weeks, I doubt we can perform miracles.

But I'm already very satisfied that she made it into the Semi Final. :)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Baby and Me

Come to think of it, I've only taken 3 pathetic pics with my baby. Mainly because I hate to see the fat me in pictures.

When in the hospital

When she was going on to 7th month

Just taken yesterday, 9th month of her.

NDP Preview 09

We went to the National Day Parade Preview on 4th July.

I'm not keen on the event, but Coco loves it - she's been to NDP Previews at least 3 times I think. And I do want to be involved in what she likes, and so off we went.

The only things that were good about the whole thing were the fireworks and the drinks in the goody bags, for me that is. Of course it's not boring. Quite enjoyable for a bore like me in fact.

Vanessa Lopez as one of the emcees From where we were sitting on the Float ... the IR in construction
The usual - National Anthem
I was more keen on taking a pic of Coco and me ...

The ever-changing stage

The big-ball-rolling-down-the-audience Ritual

Fireworks start ...

The last burst of fireworks fading in the sky

After the Show, we headed to Marina Square in search of our dinner. My mother was so hungry she settled for the first thing she saw, Secret Recipe.

My third sister ordered an Irish Lamb Stew, and it was heavenly. The lamb was tender, not chewy or hard like most lambs are. The whipped potato isn't fantastic though. But for the sake of the lamb, I will definitely go for this dish if I ever visit Secret Recipe again. And I have a feeling that I will.

Coco's Fish and Chips

My mother's Tom Yam Noodles. Quite awful, according to her, and my sister seconded it.

My Mushroom Cream Soup. Well, what do you expect for a woman who's on diet, except for a few pinches of the lamb?

And the little girl went home, tired but happy - a cliche line overly used by primary school students.

She looked like she was leaning on the man's shoulder, but she wasn't, really. We just thought it looked funny and clicked on it.

Review on Coach Items, Baby's Competition Status & A Visit to the Great Gramps

It's been quite some weeks huh. I meant to blog frequently, but alas, I have been busy with work, Baby and Coco.

On the Coach bags, I got them. Very happy with the wristlet. Very convenient, but abit large I thought for something that's meant to be on the wrist, as suggested by its very name.

Kinda disappointed with the bag though. The strap is very short. I'm not sure it's for hand-carry or shoulder-carry, but I prefer shoulder-carrying bags, so the bag isn't quite perfect for me.

So far, I've been using the wristlet on a constant basis and it's very handy. Can put most of my things ie. handphone, tissue, my small thai purse, keys, lipstick and cards. Of course I make sure it won't rain on the day I use it.

As for Baby's photos I sent for the pettiskirt competition, she got the 3rd prize - a petti top. The online shop owners probably felt that my baby needs a top since she's topless in the pics.

She is on their gallery too!

But the prize was taken by her big sister since Baby doesn't know anything about the competition or what she'd won and her sister wanted a petti top.


I visited his grandparents with Baby and Coco last Monday evening.

They were delighted to hold Baby. The grandmother said that she looked like William when William was a baby. I was worried when I heard that, but tried not to show.

The visit turned out to be a complaining session on their grandson. And as usual, I uncovered more 'William lies' from them and they from me. It's abit incredible but I'm totally stoic. I don't even feel hurt that he's been lying through his teeth. Or perhaps I already know he is a habitual and compulsive liar and I'm totally used to it.

I took a few pics of them with Baby. I think they were pleasantly surprised to know that I brought along a camera.

They are each in their 90s and 80s. The grandmother fractured her hips but decided not to go for an op to insert some steel into her hips as she feels she's already so old and there's no need for that.

I've blown the first two pics up to S8R and framed them up.

I just hope I can give them to these loving great grandparents real soon.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Baby at 8.5 month

I borrowed a Nikon D200 from a colleague to take these pictures.

Very cute of her in the pettiskirt, and the huge flower headbands of course.
I took the pics just last night to do a last minute entering of a pettiskirt competition actually.