Monday, December 26, 2016

Greatly honoured.

Most honoured-02640Dear Matt and Mar,

Today, your mother was greatly honoured to be a part of the host congregation for our Great late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which happened to be on Christmas day. There will be another post about all the events leading up to today, so many important things were on the card today, and it turned out brilliantly :-)

Like most of the Kingdom’s subjects, the passing of our Great late King had hit your mother rather hard, so today was super important and meant so much to her.

This photo was taken after a very, very long day, especially for your mother, but you could feel that your mother was contented.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Going the wrong way.

Dear Matt and Mar,

Now that you two are on Christmas holiday, meant I can leave for work much earlier (not having to drive you two to school), but who on earth would want to do that? Haa haa haa haa haa.

IMG_20161220_084500So instead of jumping on the MRT (undergrounds) and heading East each morning, instead I would head West for a couple of stops and get off at Sam Yan Station, to visit Wat Hua Lumpong (Temple). Today is my third day in a row, and I think I am going to do it everyday from now on (if I can), well until you two go back to school.

It isn’t particularly a long visit, around thirty minutes or so, just a serene way to start off the day, don’t really know how else to describe it, lol, before heading back and getting onto the MRT and this time heading the ‘right’ way to the office... boo hoo hoo, haa haa haa.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Too far away :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Haa haa haa haa, because I’d vowed not to make the same mistake as when Mar had her singing event, then not having my main camera in hand was ever so difficult, so when it was time for the end of year Christmas concert, where Matt was a participating, I took the whole kit.

IMG_20161215_150843Knowing the environment that  you are going to be in helps ever so much in taking better photos, and I knew the main auditorium well, well enough to know where to sit and what lens to have in hand. Obviously the 70 - 200 f4 on the A7 and the wider 16mm (24mm effective) on the Nex 5.

On the main stage itself, there were easily at least 100+ students, all bright eyed and ready to sing their heart out. At first I’d thought it was going to be difficult to find Matt in that crowd, but it really wasn’t, lol.

Matt was next to his best friend, Sofia, who is probably the tallest one in her year, so it literally took 3 seconds to pick the two of them out in a sea of students. Unfortunately the two of them were at the very back of the stage, if you two were anywhere further back you would have been in the Chao Phraya river, lol, and now I was at least a good 7 - 8 metres too far back... haa haa haa.

Managed to capture a few good shots, but I was too far away to make it interesting, haa haa haa, will be better next year :-)




Christmas Concert 2016-02577

A few sections stood out in my mind, the 12 days of (Thai) Christmas was brilliant, the acapela song was fantastic, but the most fun of all was the ‘Frozen’ section. As I was sitting away from our group, auntie Tip, auntie Ward, your mother and Mar were all here, I’d thought that Mar would have been over joyed to hear the Frozen songs sung live on stage, and it was beautiful.

When I’d came out after the concert, what did I see? Mar fast asleep, apparently she had slept just a moment before the ‘Frozen’ piece, lol.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Quick fix :-)

Prepping-02586IMG_20161218_122915Dear Matt and Mar,

Time to stock up again, I am now stable at –10 Kgs, and to be honest doing quite well, mostly thanks to your mother, lol. During the past 3 months I don’t remember having any cravings, and certainly no binging, I think it does help living in a country where really vivid spices help to compensate for the need to consume bulk and bulk of fantastic starch, haa haa haa, oh, I have pieces of bread here and there… how can I not, your mother is making bread herself.

These bags that you see, are my quick fix (your mother’s idea) of mostly green vegetables (from Broccoli, Cauliflower, to the trusted Celery and many more), on the other side are the fruits (anything from Blueberries, Strawberries, Apples and so on), and only very recently, your mother had added herbs to the mix, I think this batch had a few cuts of Ginger in it.

The bags will then be frozen, when needed one bag would be emptied into the blender (no ice needed), and anything else that was around (banana, other vegs that were getting on a bit) would be thrown in. So each batch would usually make around a pint of smoothie, shared between whoever was around… haa haa haa.

Papa got a brand new toy :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

By now you should know that your father is a bit of a ‘one thing’ man, a pair of trainers, a pair of work shoes, single colour jeans (black), a watch for work, and an old beat up watch for the weekend, the only thing I have several of, are pens, don’t really know why, and we don’t write that much anymore, haa haa haa.

Now the watch, oh, I have nice watches in my time (Breitling and so on), but none of them hit the spot, until I’d discovered Casio, haa haa haa haa haa, much to your grandparents dismay. It is the Swiss Army knife of watches, why have a boring dual functions equipment (if you have date and day, then the watch becomes a 4 functions equipment, Time, Stopwatch (just use the second hands), Day and Date).

Actually may I add another function, ‘decoration’, haa haa haa, there are some gorgeous designs out there, but it literally costs more than a house, lol. So for the longest time I wore a Casio ProTrek, it was perfect, affordable enough for my very clumsy wrist, runs on sunlight, waterproof, compass, altimeter, barometer, it even let me know what mood your mother is in at any time of the day, haa haa haa (oh I wish).

Then when that watch became too beat up for work (together with your grandmother’s continuous comments) it became my weekend watch and another classier ProTrek took its place, haa haa haa.

But now even the beat up weekend watch is becoming too beaten up (so I was told), haa haa haa, so my weekday watch became my weekend watch, meaning a new opening for the weekday watch... being boring me, my first and only choice was Casio.

It must have been destiny, just as I was looking around, Samsung launched the Gear S3, never ever thought I would have a smartwatch, who would need a phone watch? Haa haa haa, apparently I did, that is the second most used function on my watch (the first being using it to tell time, lol). I’ve found myself talking through the watch more times than I would like to admit, and of course looking absolutely ridiculous whilst talking, but it just came naturally, people called, I would look at the watch and pick up the call with a flick of a finger, the voice quality was good enough even for a business discussion, it is great.

Page 001Not mentioning all the fidgety things you can do with it, this thing is just super, super fun. The first thing I did during the very easy setup phase was to turn off everything, the vibrate, most of the sound, the step counter, the heart beat monitor, turned down the brightness and even turned off the gesture wakeup.

Now after about a week, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a normal watch, imagine in a few years when it runs on solar power, and becoming properly waterproof at deeper depth, please just add a compass then it would be just perfect, haa haa haa, I am just having far too much fun.

Of course one of the main concern was the battery life, I mean for me if it lasts more than a day all should be fine, lol. Of course since this is the 3rd iteration, the battery supposed to last over 2 days (under reasonable use), and for me, I guess I am super duper reasonable, because I barely use 15% of the battery each day.

Yesterday from Aliexpress came the screen protection for the watch, super fidgety to put on though, lol, and all I am waiting for now is the new strap, the watch uses the normal 22mm strap, so virtually all straps with 22mm will fit. The strap that came with the watch was black, and after looking around on the web the white one looks rather dashy, haa haa haa, and as always it will look ridiculous on me, well it is too late now, haa haa haa.

This is how we shop (without your mother) lol

IMG_20161217_150819Dear Mat and Mar,

It is super difficult to be walking around the supermarket with a peace of mind, with 2 very curious children in tow, haa haa haa, and you two have refused to sit in the normal trolley, but on one of these, although looking so much more uncomfortable, you two wouldn’t have it any other way, haa haa haa.

Getting funny looks from other shoppers have become the norm in my life, haa haa haa, and the staff doesn’t seem to be bothered, and at the end of the day we were not harming nor bothering anyone, apart from bouts of laughter, haa haa haa.

Of course if your mother was with us, it would have been a totally different picture (literally), haa haa haa.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Finally a picture of me I like :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Finally, finally and finally, your mother took a photo of me that I didn't have to put it through twenty layers of filters that would have been cranked up to the maximum, and then having my finger hovering over the 'send' button while going back and forth in my mind whether to post it or not, haa haa haa.

This one didn't even spent two seconds on Snapseed, lol. So where were we going, actually where we were returning from should have been the question :-)

It was a very lazy Saturday (if it was up to me everyday would be 'lazy', lol), as usual you two were up before the sun awoke and then decided that your mother and I should also be up too, that alone made the rest of Saturday a 'lazy' day, your mother and I almost stretched it to a 'lazy' week but the nine to five got in the way, haa haa haa.

So instead of cooking breakfast at home, we took brekkie at D&D, and once again we ordered far too much! The multi layered pancake, stuffed with several strips of bacon between the layers, interlaced with jam (that we'd opted out), and hiding in between one of the layer was a fried egg, then on top of it all sat another beautifully cooked fried egg.

Too full-1482039373165

That dish alone was for Mar, which was a mistake, in my mind all the components came separately, you know pancakes, strips of bacon, syrup, eggs and so on, separated on a plate, rather than being stacked up higher than mount Fuji, haa haa haa, and Mar didn't even come close to finishing... oh well, there went my diet.

So the photo was of us walking back, and me working out how much calories I had consumed, and then I was sad... haa haa haa, in one meal I had already consumed my day’s quota of calories, haa haa haa.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Double long weekend :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

We had double long weekend this month, when I said we, I’d meant your mother and I, however you two still had school though, haa haa haa. Your mother and I had different plans, I had to visit my parents as it has been a while, and your mother wanted to try cooking a few new recipes, haa haa haa.

Your mother is getting rather good at making bread now, for her latest tinkering she’d added milk to the dough and it was fantastic! However having all that gorgeous bread, beautifully laying around is literally killing me (and my diet), in the past ‘stairs’ was by far my biggest enemy... now I have just added ‘bread’ to the list, lol.

It is always enjoyable to pick you up from school (when we have the chance), to see your bright smile when you see us will never get old.

Your mother ended up scratching here itch, it started off with making tofu from scratch, then it was Thai spicy fermented pork and at the end of the day a beautifully, perfectly baked loaf of mouthwatering bread.

Wat Phra Piren-093100

As for me, it was fantastic to have spent most of the day with my parents, managed to teach your grandfather to print directly from his phone onto a Samsung’s printer (yes, they do make printer too). Found time to pay homage to both Wat Phrapiren (picture taken with Huawei M8 Panorama) and at home, ate too well (haa haa haa), bought a present for you two, you two are going to love it and it isn’t really a toy... lol (can’t wait to see your faces on Christmas Day).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Mar loves to sing :-)

IMG_20161214_081811Dear Matt and Mar,

I would be so lost without today’s messaging apps, and there are plenty out there, at this moment in Thailand the most popular one is Line. Why would I be lost? Just a quick example, parents of each one of your class came together and created a Line Group, and in this ‘group chat’ parents would put up reminder for important events and things to prepare for each of your class, and without this we would have missed out on quite a bit :-)

I’d only found out through your mother that EY2 was having a mini carol singing concert this morning, and I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to make it (important meeting at 10:00). It all turned out to be well in the end (I am now typing this on a boat heading towards BTS), the concert started at 08:15 but I couldn't bring main camera just too many bags, so relying on phone camera was a bit of a stretch.

Mar sang beautifully, all of EY2 did brilliantly! I just hope that some other parents took one good photo of Mar and again would share on Line app :-)

My most favourite song “I am working in Santa’s workshop, all day long...” this song is stuck in my head, but after searching online, I still have no idea the name of the song, lol.

Your mother (and many others) were a bit miffed when one of the parent, with slightly less manner than a retarded chimpanzee decided to push in and physically manhandled other parents, and put her huge behind in front of your mother’s face, haa haa haa.

I would love to have a photo of Mar all smiling and singing, but not at the expense of being an arse, haa haa haa. Luckily, through pooling of resources, the parents of Mar’s class managed to share all the photos, and there were several good ones of you :-) Next time I am bringing my main cam no matter how many bags I was carrying, haa haa haa, love you.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Just a few more inches :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

A bit of a relaxing Sunday, I was totally in one of my lethargic mode, Mar was asking to join her usual cooking class (again) so Matt and I was going to occupy ourselves by going to watch a film, but the timing was all wrong, so instead we went for a walk about. The plan was to find a coffee shop and zonk out for an hour or two, well that was the plan, lol.

IMG_20161211_143949Of course along the way we were distracted... although probably I’ll never have a chance to put together another PC (well, for the foreseeable future), it doesn’t stop me from being drawn into PC components shops, lol.

Matt was having a great time in one of these shop today, but he’ll need to grow a few more inches before making a somewhat of a spectacle of himself, haa haa haa.

We’ve even tried me working the paddles and Matt did the steering, the result was even more ridicules, haa haa haa.

Too tiring for a Saturday, lol.

Dear Matt and Mar,

Instead of the usual Saturday morning’s routine, we’d decided (well, your mother had decided, lol) to do something different, morning golf was cancelled, and instead of having breakfast at home we were all rushed out of the door to Lumpinee park for some light (well, it wasn’t very light after all, lol) breakfast, and then cycling along the ‘green mile’.

PhotoGrid_1481337243889This time we didn’t make it all the way to the other park, just a couple of hundred metres shy of the end, as it was getting late and the sun was quickly rising, it was really time to head back.

Great fun though, but really too tiring for me for a Saturday morning, haa haa haa. By the way, the ‘Green mile’ isn’t flat! Full of 2 or 3 flights of steep stairs dotted across the mile, haa haa haa, carrying your bikes up and down was enough to skip my ‘legs’ and ‘pull’ day, lol.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A game is afoot…

mdeDear Matt and Mar,

All I know about chess is how each piece moves and a general understanding for the rules of the game, but apart from that, I have as much chess skill as a fish knows how to climb a tree. In short you and I are probably at the same brilliant level, haa haa haa.

So recently we have been playing ‘Snail’ chess, simply one or two moves per day (we use this small plastic figurine of a lady in a pink dress to indicate whose move it was), at the beginning it was working out great, until we noticed that some pieces were moving on its own... then we discovered that whilst Matt and I were away, Mar had been moving some of the pieces, based on a throw of a dice... haa haa haa.

So over this weekend Matt and I decided to take the match quite seriously, well as serious as one could (which wasn’t very, haa haa haa). We did sit down, with no TV in the background, no music playing, just Matt and I trying our hardest not to make jokes at the other person’s mistakes, and oh boy, there were tons of mistakes, lol.

Just a little over an hour we played 2 full games, going back and forth on both sides why each move was made, it was great fun can’t wait until the next match tonight.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Thrashed by everyone, lol

Dear Matt and Mar,

I was so confident, I mean, I was really, really confident, haa haa haa haa haa. For some strange reasons for the past couple of weeks Matt had been wanting to go bowling, lol. So with an afternoon free, we all headed for some fun time, as it turned out, it wasn’t that much fun for me, lol.

001Your mother was on fire! Matt was striking at will, even Mar, she was cleaning all split pins like on sales current collection Chanel handbags.

Then there was me, how can a grown ‘ars#’ man knock down less pins in a full game, than a five year old girl pushing a bowling ball down a chrome plated home made ramp? Haa haa haa haa haa, nonetheless, it was a great fun afternoon. After the second game it was obvious that both of you have had enough, I on the other hand, have had enough since the fifth frame of the first game, lol.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The glorious walk :-)

davDear Matt and Mar,

Just wanted to share a view from my ‘third’ walk every morning on the way to work. ‘First’ walk is from home to the BTS, ‘second’ from BTS to the MRT, and ‘Third’ from MRT to the office, a total of around 1.5 Kms.

To be frank (not Steve, haa haa haa) the picture doesn’t do any justice, as the homage to our beloved late King Rama 9, TRUE had literally covered most of its building with his image, and it is glorious.

So instead of the mundane trudge to work surround by lifeless glass and concrete monoliths, this is what I see before turning right over the small bridge before arriving at the office, believe it or not, it does make a difference for the better, much better :-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Not a hope in h… :-)

IMG_20161205_091707Dear Matt and Mar,

On a lazy Monday afternoon (public holiday, late King’s BD), Matt was putting final touches on his Amazing India group project, so Mar and I was left to our own devices, and she had been itching to play cards with me all morning, however the problem was, apart from ‘snap’ she doesn’t know anything else... and so it began, let's make it up as we go along kind of a game.

At its core, the game was super simple, split the cards into two piles (obviously one for her and one for me), at the same time we would draw one card each from our respected pile and whoever had the higher card, wins.

Of course, like playing anything against the most cunning five year old, there was no hope in h… I was ever going to win.

IMG_20161205_091049It all began with, how the cards were divided into mine and her pile, one by one, Mar would be looking at each card, if it was below six that card was neatly put onto my pile and if it was six or higher it went into Mar’s pile.

Finally the game begun, and surprise, surprise Mar won every hand, haa haa haa, amazingly I’d refused to play it again haa haa haa.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Father’s day 2016

BlurredDear Matt and Mar,

Not the most joyful of Father’s day this year, for all the years I can remember, Father’s day in Thailand is also the day of the birth of our late beloved King, speaking from a commoner point of view I don’t even know if Father’s day date will have to change for the in coming 2017?

I am never much of a person for cards (greeting, congrats, and etc.), but the card you gave me this morning was pretty special :-) and to be very honest, I don’t often treasure things, let alone a card, but this one will be a permanent feature on my desk until the end of time, haa haa haa.

So to say ‘I like it’, is just a tad of an understatement, haa haa haa, thank you very much, lol.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Double milestones lol

IMG_20161128_130725Dear Matt and Mar,

It must be obvious to you two that the common theme for some of the past few posts since August had been about health, loosing weight and lifting. This is my run of the mill lunch at the moment, food have never been and will never be anything big in my life, unfortunately or fortunately everything is simply delicious, haa haa haa haa, perhaps that was why my waist was 33 inches at the age of 10, lol.

This time round, the starting position was around 77 Kgs (170 Lbs), as of yesterday at around 4 am when I’d arrived home (from overseas) it was 67.xx Kgs (about 148 Lbs), hitting the first big milestone was satisfying (keeping it off is another matter though, haa haa haa).

As for the finishing line? No idea, instead of the Kgs, this time I am going to go for % of Body fat, and to be honest, I don’t think lower double digit would be possible for me, aiming for mid double digit would be a more realistic goal.

Another milestone (hated this one, lol), is the 5+ mins plank, this nightly routine is literally a pain in the… stomach (haa haa haa, you can stop rolling your eyes now, lol). They say it gets easier… erm… not for me, haa haa haa. Hitting the 5 mins point was far, far, Shangri-La far in my mind when I followed your mother to do the plank many weeks ago.

While we are talking about something I don’t quite like doing… drinking ACV… wow, it doesn’t help with me always trying to keep things simple, so 30 ml mixed with cold water is how I take it. Of course one could add honey and a pile of other stuff to make it more palatable, lol. Now lets see if a few months down the road, will I write a post about how it all came back and beyond, I can see the post’s title right now… ‘All came back and then some, I am 150 Kgs’, haa haa haa.

Sending it home, haa haa haa

Dear Matt and Mar,

Last Thursday I was off again, a three and a half hour flight was going to take me somewhere out East (and a little North, lol). Only seven days earlier I was also at the same airport, but that time was heading West (but not too far), and a few weeks before that I was also here going to another place.

001 BetaI must have been in some trance that morning, the routine I was in, was to get ready for the 9 to 5 instead of being in the ‘flight’ mode. So my pocket knife was carefully slipped into my jeans pocket without a second thought.

After checking in at the airport, I was searching for my little fountain pen that lives in my jeans watch pocket, but instead I’d reached a little too far and to my surprise found my little knife, I told you I was totally zoned out, lol.

But what to do? First thought, put it into the loaded luggage, but I didn’t have any loaded luggage. Throw it away, the cost of the knife was literally insignificant, but that would in a way submit to my carelessness (with a handful of stupidity thrown into the mix, lol), so there was no way I was going to throw it away. Next thought was to give it away to one of many guards walking around, but I’d quickly shy away from that idea.

I was stumped for a sec, then without a second thought asked the lady at the check in counter if there was a post office near by, totally expecting her to say, are you crazy why would there be a post office in the middle of Thailand’s main International Airport.

Then she pointed me to the furthest corner of the check-in floor, lol. Oh man, I had never expected there to be a post office at the airport let alone on the check-in floor, and it was super busy too! Including the envelope, it was 49 THB, haa haa haa.

The silly thing was, the day after I was back in BKK I was surprised to see someone had sent me a package… haa haa haa.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gorgeous Yangon :-)

IMG_20161125_091034Dear Matt & Mar,

I was off again at the end of last work week, a couple of days back in Yangon, but instead of exploring and drawing up strategies and tactics for operator’s distribution channels, this time things could not have been more different. I was on a ‘bakery’ survey, haa haa haa haa, criossants, au pain,  viennoiserie, pastry, bread and etc. was my target, haa haa haa.

I am going to leave work out of this post, otherwise virtually all of it will have to be censored, haa haa haa. My colleague and I woke up early on our last day, to make time to visit Shwedagon, as this was her first visit to Yangon and not knowing if she would ever be back, visiting Shwedagon was a must, even for half an hour.

I think this was my third time here, it could have been my millionth and I would still remain in awe of this amazing place, can’t wait to be back here again with you two and your mother.

The photos came straight from Huawei Mate 8 (with slight push on the colour front, lol), amazing what those tiny cell camera can do now, lol.






IMG_20161125_090802IMG_20161125_085335

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mar’s Sports Day 2016

Dear Matt and Mar,

Mar’s sports day started pretty much as soon as we had dropped her off at school, 5 stations of endless fun, haa haa haa.

Page 1

Luckily both your mother and I were able to attend for the full two hours, not that Mar needed any more cheering, lol. In a blink of an eye, all children had gone through all the exercises.

Mar was superb! Every exercise was done with a laugh and a smile, can't imagine you doing all that smiling during a 10K run though, lol.

Page 3

Both Matt and Mar had excellent Sports day this year, I can not wait for you to start in a proper competitive environment, being a good loser, a gracious winner, learning about winning and losing in a fair and sometimes unfair game will add another layer of life... haa haa haa, tears will be shed, but more fun will be had by all, lol.

Page 2

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Eden Project: looking like a pro, lol.

Dear Matt and Mar,

Sunday is just about to close, had a fun supper with my parents, and now we are back at home, your mother is very busy setting up the plant nursery and you two have been in dream land for quite a while now, lol. Today started off on the wrong foot, well, my mood was a bit funny this morning, I was frustrated with something, still don’t know what it was… but I know one thing, it won’t happen again (perhaps too much protein in my diet, lol).

Instead of driving to the popular Chatuchak Market, I had decided to use the MRT instead, well, it could be a bit of a pain trying to find a parking space, but that wasn’t the main reason for not driving. MRT just gives you a different experience, instead of being cocooned in a nice air con van, you get to see a lot of life and dynamic of people when you are not in the van.

Planting projectIt was obvious we had got off on the wrong station, the station we got off was called ‘Chatuchak Park’ station, well with a name like that, it wasn’t really my fault, I had thought it was the Chatuchak Market, haa haa haa. Admittedly the walk from the station to the market took less than 5 mins, but if we had got off at the next station, ‘Kampangphet’ station, we would have literally come up right in the market, lol.

Walking around the market was super fun, but our objective was not fulfilled, we just could not find the ‘Gardening’ section at all, then we were informed that the gardening section only comes on Wednesday and Thursday… haa haa haa, but we did manage to find a shop out side the market that sold some gardening equipment, after which we were told to ‘Or.Tor.Gor’ market, talking about hitting the bullseye, it had everything!

All we have to do now is to wait… haa haa haa.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mar is Five :-)

Mar is Five-02238Dear Matt and Mar,

Here comes the cliche (lol)... ‘OMG, can’t believe that you are Five already, where has all the time gone’ spoken in the most dramatic voice possible.

For several days running up to this day, Mar kept asking for ‘Elsa Cake with Rainbow inside?’, haa haa haa. Of course your mother managed to deliver beyond Mar’s expectation :-) I am so sorry baby for I could not be at your school this year, so your mother and aunt did all of the work.

1478688216314Your mother and I were ever so pleased that we had managed (through help) find a cake that was free of dairy, gluten and egg for one of Mar’s close friend, I remembered last year feeling ever so guilty to be handing out pieces of cake while this beautiful little girl was stuck with a piece of (still delicious) fruit, well we got it right this year.

Mar was of course over the moon with her cake, we had kept it small this time, at the end of the day even a whole class, you don’t eat that much, haa haa haa. I can not post any pictures of you with your friends (not having permission from their parents), lol.

In the evening, I’d managed to get another cake just for a small family celebration, more like a tradition for us, lol. Really can not believe how fast time has flown by :-) Love you both so much.

Eden Project: moving forward

Dear Matt and Mar,

A bit pretentious calling it "Eden Project" really, haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa haa, we are looking at the most, 15 plants of mostly salad, lol. It is getting to be quite a fun little project though, I think we should have planted tomatoes, well one step at a time.

IMG_20161112_082220Tomorrow we are going to take a trip Jatuchak market, definitely the most famous weekend market in Thailand, selling everything from puppies to a fashionable pairs of jeans, lol. We are hunting for more earth, and more equipment for the main planting.

From the lack of experience, the nursery was just a bunch of seeds thrown onto a small and shallow patch of earth, much to shallow I think.

The nursery she had set up was a bit of a Macgyver’s job, hopefully we can get a proper nursery equipment tomorrow, and make some necessary adjustment.

By the way, the last time your mother had attempted to plant something, it ‘all’ didn’t quite make it, lol. Not a single tomato survived long enough to make on to any , lol.

I am taking this opportunity to really prepare myself for the Zombie apocalypse, when (and not if) that day arrives, I am going to be super useful for whatever humanity and civilisation that was left, lol.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Matt’s Sports Day 2016

Dear Matt and Mar,

Both your mother and I felt quite bad this year for neither of us could make it to Matt’s Sports Day, but you were lucky that your aunt was there (as always) to cheer you on. Knowing Matt, without us, doesn’t mean he had less fun, in fact quite the opposite, haa haa haa.

Page Matt's SD 16Your aunt and other parents managed to capture some great photos of you, for which I am forever grateful. But from our conversations leading up to the sports day, the most important thing to you was the ‘tug of war’, all the events were pale in comparison to this, and you were over the moon that your house had won the event.

When we managed to catch up at the end of the day, it was obvious that you had a great time (again), lol. I promise you that next year, I’ll do all I can to join your sports day, my 70 - 200 is getting very rusty, haa haa haa.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mother’s project (again :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Your mother has a new project, a few weeks ago your mother bought a blender, and she had been blending everything in sight, haa haa haa.

New project-02232Started off with mostly fruits, but right now with the diet, she'd been blending mostly vegetables. To safe time all the vegs and fruits are prep. and stored in portion sized freezer bags ready for an evening quick blend lol.

And so as always with your mother, she had decided to take it a step further, with this healthy eating bug we have right now she'd decided to grow her own organic vegetables, haa haa haa haa haa haa haa.

New project-02225You have no ideas how many projects like this I have seen in our 16 years together, we have enough equipment to literally open a full blown restaurant, lol. We are still using soap she had created over 12 years ago, and somewhere in the store room are all the tools needed to start a small jewelry business, lol. 

But this one will require something new, that is different to all of her past projects, ‘patience’, the seeds are now being germinated in a small tub, and it will take 3 to 4 days before any progress can be seen. I am quite looking forward to this myself too.

The only fear that I have is actually Mar, haa haa haa. She will (this is not even a maybe) be watering the plant, lots and lots and lots of water... to the point of killing everything, haa haa haa haa haa haa. I shall be vigilant... always... :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Forgot again :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

Since the beginning of this academic year, we had enrolled Matt with various YouTime (after school) activities, 4 out of 5 days a week to be exact.

Matt’s timetable splits into 10 days chunks, spreading over 2 weeks, so for each day sometimes Matt would need his PE kit, Thai books or swimming kit and so on. Well, every Tuesday Matt’s YouTime is ‘Twist Kids’ (exercising through fun and games, mostly aerobic), and for that he would need his PE Kit, but most of the time (and mostly my fault) Matt would find himself attending Twist Kids only with his socks and school uniform, lol.

Last Tuesday was the final straw, of course it was a Tuesday when Matt and I rolled up to the school, just as when we were about to leave the car and walk to Matt’s class, suddenly Matt looked at me and asked if we had brought his PE KIt :-)

With both hands tied behind my back with unbreakable lasso borrowed from Wonder Woman herself, I’d then asked Matt if he could do Twist Kids without his PE Kit today, and promised that I shan’t forget it again, ‘Of course Papa, sometimes other people forget their PE Kit too, but I just forgot it the most’, haa haa haa, now that was when I went to work, spent a few minuted to derive a new time table for Matt, but this time it has a ‘Don’t forget’ columns, simply what extra stuff Matt would need for that day! Now let us see if this will help, haa haa haa haa haa.


So now, in the early morning, even through my morning eyes (lol, this is where there is a disconnection between my eyes and my brain, lol) all I have to do is locate the 'day', then run my finger to the 'don't forget' columns... done... haa haa haa, and so far so good for the past few weeks you have turned up to school with all the correct stuff so far... :-) fingers cross.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Ten years already?

bmdDear Matt and Mar,

At the end of October it was your mother and I, ten years anniversary, lol. Wow that had crept up quickly and rather quietly too, lol. Your mother was super busy, and I was busy with overseas guests, so the original plan of taking a day off to spend together went out the window as soon as when we had the idea, lol.

After scratching my head a little, and for once it was me who came up with the idea (well not really, one of my friend at work did planted the idea, lol.), and a minute later a table was booked at El Gaucho (Argentinian Steakhouse), much to your mother’s delight... hooo raaayy, I did something right :-) haa haa haa.

Certainly one of the more popular places for consuming murdered cattles, we are well aware of how cruel intensive farming is, cruel to the earth and even more cruel to the other living beings that we put on our plates. My permitted meat list shrinks every year, how on earth have we strayed onto this depressing topic? Some premium farmers do treat their livestock with much more humane actions, but at the end of the day, in the words of ‘The Smiths’, “Meat is Murder”.

Matt and Mar have started to ask about the food on their plate, and certainly Matt has expressed more than once, his wish to only eat his salad and vegetables. The only explanation we could come up, and to persuade you two to eat, was that all died of natural death, sorry.

Let's get back on track, lol, this may be our tenth year anniversary, but your mother and I had known each other way beyond that, lol, when you are curious how we’d met just give me a shout ok :-) and I am sure yours mother’s version will be very different to mine, lol. Here is to another 100 years :-) Love you Mama.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

On the Verge of Obsession

Dear Matt and Mar,

It was probably about a couple of weeks later after the chimney had stopped that I began to start lifting weights, started really slow though, slower than a snail with a limp. It all began with your mother's dumbbells (2Kg each), shortly followed by 8Kg each, then went online and bought 10Kg, combined with the 8Kg set, creating a Frankenstein 12Kg.

mdeIt was unavoidable that I'd begun to read and watch various articles about health, the biggest bombshell was exercise has little effect on weight (although excellent for health) but what one eats play a huge role, so by osmosis I'd found myself going on a diet without having any intention in the first place.

I am writing this about a month and a half in on the diet, last night I'd watch a documentary on extreme dieting, and both subjects found themselves being absolutely fixated by food and hunger, and funny enough that hit a huge chord with me, lol.


Twelve years ago I had tried Atkins, and it was great. So that was my starting point, restricting carb. 12 years ago it was simple with a single focus, no carb, no sugar, little fruits and no exercise whatsoever. But now being a little wiser, decided to be a little extreme too, haa haa haa haa haa haa haa.

Breakfast remains the same but with less (virtually no, lol) rice, lunch and supper now consists of 97% salads or vegetables with a dash of meat (usually cold cuts or tuna) and a couple of eggs to my my sanity in tact, lol.

So food is now my current obsession, not to seek out the best nor the most delicious dish, but quite the opposite, haa haa haa, trying to find the combination of food where I can eat as little as possible while feeling full for 6 hours, haa haa haa.

Instead of just putting anything one fancies into the shopping basket, now having to read each label totally slows down my shopping lap time, haa haa haa, and with the amount of salad I am eating you might as well call me fluffy from now on. My lowest point was googling the nutritious value of cherry tomatoes, just in fear it might have too much carb, lol.

Being hungry seems to be a normal part of living now, at the beginning being hungry between meal was difficult, then one discovered almonds, remarkably only a few nuts and a couple of glasses of water suppresses the hunger really well. Another big change is the amount of water I have been drinking, before it would have been amazing if I had drunk 700 ml of water in a day, oh I know that is terrible. But now I am hitting 3 litres per day, hoo raaayyy.

So, why I am writing on this very cliché topic, well today I found myself feeling terribly guilty and quite unfulfilled for not feeling hungry. I wanted to feel hungry, I needed to feel hungry. This is not a good place to be, lol, well, the plan was to keep this up until the end of this year anyway, not long now, lol.

Sticking to the diet seems easier than 12 years ago, to be honest once I had befriended hunger, saying no to some food group was simple, if there were no other options I’d just cuddled up to my friend and felt even more wonderful (haa haa haa haa haa, that can not be healthy).

Must be my age or something, because killing the chimney was also unintentional and relatively simple, and now this. Of course the next question would be how to keep it off once the New Year arrives and the diet ends. To be very honest now, I don't think it will end, I'll keep on this tight path for as long as I can.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Krabi Day 4: What a great day


Dear Matt and Mar,

1. Tough start :-)

Where to start, today will turn out to be an amazing rollercoaster of a day! As soon as I woke up, and with a skip and a funny hop, then drew opened the curtains, and found myself staring at a piercing bright blue sky, ‘hooo Raaayyy’, the boat trip is going to be amazing.

This morning was glorious, we took breakfast in the sunshine, you two ate really well and we were making good time for a 09:00 start. Then I went to the loo, how can the sky went from sunshine to thunderous sky in a matter of 15 minutes!

The signs were not encouraging, the wind was strong, even the sun had on a thick anorak and a big woolly hat,  the rain was relentless, by that point I had resigned and was only worried about one thing, how to get the money back, haa haa haa.

The next mile stone was at 10:00, the trip was supposed to take around 4 hours, so if we’d left at 10:00 we can be back by 14:00, plenty of time to pack, check out and drive to the airport. So 10:00 came, the sky opened a little and the Sun took a peek. There was no turning back, the organiser said it was a go, but we had to be driven to a nearby pier rather than getting on the boat at the beach behind the hotel.

Page 0012. Let the fun begin, lol.

There were 2 speed boats leaving that day, the other group was 10 Australians which your mother suspect were from the ‘Leisure’ industry (don’t even look at me for any explanation), and they took more beer with them than ten 7/11s had in stock. By this time I was a bit miffed, the weather was still shit#y, and the car was late in picking us up, the clock was ticking...

Finally the car arrived, and took us only a few minutes to a very nearby local harbour, where we saw this speed boat in waiting, and we were told to get in it, ‘Great’, but then we were told to get out, as it was for the Australians... ‘What’... lol.

So the beer loaded boat shot off, leaving us behind, in the rain with no boat in sight, a long few minutes went, your mother could feel that I was getting a little agitated, so she picked up the phone to call the organiser just then our car returned with our provisions (food and so on) together with our guide, things were looking up.

It was obvious that they had forgotten us, and no boat was booked, but they took care of that quickly enough, so after the provisions were loaded, we were off, if we had boarded the boat on the beach, the trip would have taken 15 minutes, but now it will take 30 minutes to Hong Islands.

The speed boat was super fun, bumping over waves after waves, then suddenly we were told to move from the bow to the stern and be under roof, the bump got much bigger to the point that the captain put on his really battered red helmet, haa haa haa haa haa, I have not seen you two and your mother laughed so hard. All in all the boat crew consisted of 2, the captain and his first mate and then there was 1 hotel staff who took fantastic care of us (Khun Ake).

3. First stop :-)

I don’t remember all the names of the beaches nor the lagoon we had visited, lol, sorry, so let's just call the first beach we visited ‘first beach’, haa haa haa. Right, the first beach was glorious, the wind had died down, and the sun was out! The beach was clean and there weren’t too many people, best of all were all the fishes, swimming freely with no care in the world.

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Ake had everything to make us more than comfortable, now I understood why it took so long to prepare and load all the provisions onto the boat, lol. On the first beach, after we’d chosen where to sit, suddenly Ake produced a huge floor mat, endless supply of drinks, masks & fins, towels and a kitchen sink (not really). Of course once everything was set up, I’d decided to move (sorry), so everyone pitched in and moved to a much better spot.

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Ake said there was a clown fish about 15 metres from the beach, so Matt and Mar all jacketed up (I don’t think that is a real word, lol), led by Ake into the sea. I was foolish for not taking the mask and snorkel but instead decided to use my tiny goggles. The sea was not at its clearest, but, oh man, there were hundreds of fish! The small goggles were very restrictive, so I gave up and went back to pick up the mask and snorkel, and wow, it was like the whole sea opened up, fantastic.

Day 4 Krabi 2016 A7-

Mar got bored with the sea pretty quickly, it was much more fun to play with the waves and sand, lol. Matt was like a little merman, but after a very long while, even with the jacket he was totally worn out. When you two had enough (with some coercing, lol) it was time to move, I think it was almost noon when we found ourselves back on the boat, just as well the weather was closing in once more.

Hong Islands4. Sanctuary in the lagoon :-)

Here is a photo of Hong Island, see that lagoon to the top left? Luckily we went there before we went to another beach for lunch, and I haven’t been that scared for a very long while. Ake consulted the captain whether if we had time to visit the lagoon or go straight to another beach for lunch, the captain took a look at sky and suggested we went to the lagoon first.

Just as we entered into the lagoon, the rain began, very lightly at first and to tell the truth it was quite refreshing, then the wind picked up, it was like being in a horror film. In a matter of minutes, it went from sunshine and calm sea, to a full blown typhoon with intoxicating dark clouds, the captain said it was the ‘head’ of the storm and it won’t last long. I didn’t believe him (and he was right).

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Even being in the lagoon, the captain and his first mate had a good fight to keep the boat steady against the maddening winds and waves, two anchors were dropped (bow and stern). Matt and Mar were wrapped up with all the towels we had, and beneath that their rain jacket and hat. I still thought that was not enough. It was frightening, the winds kept getting stronger and stronger, the rain was whipping all of us, left, right even sideways, haa haa haa, all of us were soaked... the captain once again put on his red helmet, haa haa haa, despite everything, we all can’t help but laugh.

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We could see outside the lagoon, and the boats out there had also anchored down, but they were in much, much worse position than us.

The water in the lagoon was amazingly only (my) waist high, after the wind and rain died down a little the first mate suggested we should jump out into the lagoon, ‘are you crazy?’ I thought, of course at that time I didn’t know it was rather shallow, lol. Matt without a thought, was literally in the lagoon even before the first mate finished his sentence, haa haa haa haa.

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The water was warm, we were surrounded 360 degrees by beautiful cliffs, it was wonderful. Matt decided to make a VDO, don’t forget to ask me to show it to you, lol.

5. Finally, lets do lunch.

When it was safe we headed out to another beach for lunch, it was probably close to 13:30 by then. So to the ‘second beach’ we arrived, haa haa haa, still have no idea on the name. I was expecting to take our simple lunch on the boat, but I could not have been more wrong.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lunch was taken on the beach with the cliff as our roof, we had white table cloth, proper chairs, proper food (albeit a tad cold, haa haa haa), proper glasses, salads, a full range of beverages and so on, it was rather grand to say the least, and topped up with a full large tray of all kind of fruits. We didn’t gorge ourselves, quite the opposite we ate quite little, you two just wanted to play.

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We could have stayed for longer, but it was almost 15:00, and there was so much more to do. We made the decision to go back, luckily the sky opened up meaning the captain could now take us right up the beach just behind the hotel, it was perfect. We said our goodbyes to the team, tears falling freely, hugs after hugs, vicious hand shakings, haa haa haa, not really.

6. Packing at the speed of light.

Once back in our room, I have never packed so fast, of course we still had to fill up and return the rental car, our flight was supposed to depart at around 19:20, and time wise it was looking tight. Matt was brilliant in finding a petrol station virtually next to the airport.

After all the semi-rush, the plan was delayed by almost an hour, haa haa haa, and what a strange airport. We had to checked in our luggage in at Terminal Two, which was the international terminal, however, we had to board the plane from Terminal One... haa haa haa.

7. See you again Krabi, you were fantastic.

As we were about to land, Matt decided to fall asleep, Mar of course were fast asleep as soon we had taken off, haa haa haa. I was scratching my head a little wondering how to manage all the bags, a huge luggage and 2 sleeping children, lol. There was no other choice I had to wake up Matt, and it was real sporty of him not to lose his temper but instead was more than willing to carry the bags, thank you.

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With our own eyes, Matt and I saw how a luggage was destroyed coming down the conveyer belt A small luggage was brought to the oval conveyer belt through another escalator coming from underground. At the peak of the bag escalator, all bags drop on a very steep metal incline onto the oval conveyor belt to then be picked up by the travelers.

Well the only thing stopping all the bags flying off the oval conveyer belt was Chuck Norris thick metal wall. So that poor small luggage came down the incline as fast as a meteor, and the first part to hit the Norris wall was one of its wheel, which promptly flew off like a bullet ricocheting off a metal wall. All the people nearby just looked at each other, not a sound was uttered, Matt and I looked at each other in disbelief, our attention now focused on picking up our huge luggage before it hit the Norris wall, haa haa haa.

It was lucky we had decided to leave the car at the airport’s carpark, imagine having to find a taxi at that time and with all the bags and luggage and Mar fast asleep, haa haa haa. It was hard to belief that earlier on the same day, all of us were swimming among the fishes, haa haa haa, it was a brilliant short holiday, thank you Mama.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Krabi Day 3: Eventually a Wonderful day :-)

Dear Matt and Mar,

What a Disappointment :-).

All the finger crossing didn’t work, haa haa haa, the sky was as grey as Spitting Image’s John Major, and it was leaking rather heavily too. Instead of leaving at 09:00, it was moved to 10:00, just as well our brekkie was running rather long, lol.

10:00 came and gone, and our feet were still firmly on the ground, haa, not long after the organiser called to postpone the trip to tomorrow, the only problem was we were to depart home tomorrow. But the flight was in the evening, so our last chance was to hope for a clear sky tomorrow morning.
 
To the Emerald Pool we go :-).

Now that our plan had been thrown out of the window, what to do? Luckily you two wanted to visit Kid’s club (again), well that kept you busy for about an hour, then your mother came to the rescue once again :-). At first I was a bit apprehensive because your mother was suggesting we visit Emerald Pool, and that was almost an hour drive away and more importantly it was near lunch time. However, I came round rather quickly, so off we went. Along the way we drove past some other attractions, the hot spring and the Fossil Shell Beach, but our focus was strong, drove on we did.

In a jiffy our car was neatly parked, and off we went, of course being single minded to the matter of self destruction, I headed towards the few restaurants I saw, found the best one and ordered quickly. Only to find out a moment later that just around the corner there were a billion more places that we could have chosen, note to self ‘survey the ground first’, oh I do keep forgetting my ninja training, haa haa haa.

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To actually get to the pool, we had to walk along the small concrete platform cutting and winding, literally through the jungle like ribbon being thrown across a room, your mother and Matt surged on ahead, leaving the princess and I to leisurely stroll, taking photos and singing songs... haa haa haa.

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By the time Mar and I arrived at the pool, I can see Mar getting super excited, the green pool was enticing, the floor was super slippery so each step was taken with more care than handling the finest china. But where was Matt and your mother? The pool itself wasn’t big and after walking around it a few times with no sign of your mother, I was beginning to sweat, lol, with no other option Mar and I headed back to the roofed structured meeting area, where with relief I saw your mother and Matt (all changed for a swim) walking toward us.

Your mother drew the short straw, and had to sacrifice herself from all the fun and sat by the bags, all the things she does for all of us :-).

You two were over the moon that we were going for a swim in the emerald pool, the amount of people there was perfect, if there were more, it would have been too crowded, if there were less, then I would have been too scared to jump into the pool (been watching too many horror films lately).

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It was like swimming in a irregular shaped pool, with yucky sand and mud for floor, the green but somewhat clean, cool water was refreshing. The endless stream of new water from the mountain was the key, the best part were the fishes and the most slippery algae covered rock ledges around the entire pool, that was super fun and almost impossible to get out (much to your amusement), lol, you two had to physically pull me out more than once, lol.

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After a quick wash, which I suspect, was probably the same water from the pool, lol, was super cold. By now you two were as clean as a brand new nappy, so off we went to the next stop, we just weren't sure where that was yet, lol.
 
A little too hot, lol.

There were a couple of hot springs dotted long our drive back, so we'd just picked a road sign and followed it, but it didn't turn out what I had expected.

In the past, hot springs were basically a natural fountain flowing into a pool of super hot water, surrounded by trees and general nature. There would be eggs sellers paddling eggs for you to boil in the hot spring via a long stick with a basket at the end, there would be egg shells and rubbish everywhere and the most memorable thing of all was the strong stinky Sulphur smell that hung heavily in the air, as a child I never knew if that was from all the eggs or the fountain, lol.

The hot spring we were about to enter was literally a resort, how time had changed, instead of nature, we were greeted with a small entrance fee and a beautifully paved walkway accompanied on both sides with beautiful flowers and even some spattered sculpture, it was cleaner than our living room, lol.

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Inside this huge grounds were several small size swimming pool (all not exactly the same size, and some were under roof), some were filled to the brim and some were filled only to one’s ankles of hot spring water. In short it was like a small resort, several people were already there enjoying the hot water in their t-shirt, shorts and some in swimming gear (how hygienic that was). Of course Matt wanted to jump in regardless, haa haa haa, for me the water was far too hot, there were various warning signs of not spending more than 10 minutes in the pool. There was no way we were going to let Matt jump into any of the pool, after some serious negotiations, you three spent some time wading in the hot water, and that was already uncomfortable enough, lol.

Time was passing fast, but there was always time for ice-cream, lol, and off we went again to the fossil shell beach. But unfortunately whilst we were driving to that beach the sun was getting really sleepy and your mother found out that the beach was already closed, haa haa haa, just as well.

Supper time :-)

Without anything else on the card, so off to supper we went :-) to another famous restaurant in the town ‘Poo Dum’ (‘Crab Black’ being the direct translation), a more traditional restaurant, with great food and fantastic staff, so another fantastic supper now behind us, lol. Then walking just around the corner, was a roti shop… wow… your mother never could resist a good roti soaked in super sweet condensed milk. You two should have seen your faces at the first taste of roti and condensed milk… utterly blissful, lol. Please remember this though, sugar is bad, terrible, it will destroy your life, treat it as a drug, avoid it as much as you can.

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Driving home took around 25 minutes, Mar was out literally by the fifth minute, lol. It turned out to be an absolutely fantastic day, can’t wait until tomorrow for the speed boat trip and the journey home.