1st Half - 2019

First half of 2019 has just been completed. I thought it is good to look back and review the last six months - good, bad & the ugly.
If I think of my favorite single day or the single event of the first half, it was not just one single day or an event, but a few. On Wednesday the June 5th, Stephanie was informed that, she was awarded a Scholarship to pursue her MSc in Psychology. In less than two weeks, she got through her Bachelor's degree in Psychology with a First Class Honors, immediately after that news, she got the conformation of acceptance to continue studies to pursue MSc in Social & Applied Psychology. In my own professional font, In the same week on Thursday June 20th, I was informed of my job role in the new org structure 1 There you go, the month of June brought the family a much happiness. That doesn't mean to say I haven't had challenges, in particular with my health, in which ultimately that I had to undergo a minor surgery in the last week of the month. During the month, I also had the opportunity for a date with Stephanie in a little bit of shopping at IKAE, followed by quick snack in the cafeteria. All in all a good June indeed.

In terms of my own simple creativity side, though it was not a big deal, for the first time, I managed to built a couple of shortcuts on iOS, that would hopefully help me to do work competency related entires in Day One on the go.
As for the most impactful decision, that I've made during last six months, I believe, it has been sorting out my health challenges and improving physical & psychological wellbeing comes top.
In terms of finances, both Mrs & I have been able to manage well, that allowed us to put food on the table & pay bills. Towards the later part of the 1st half, with daughter was being awarded with the scholarship, it was a much welcome relief for both of us for future financial planning.

As for my personal & professional development, even though it was by force, I managed to complete at least half a dozen of on-line courses of which some of the learning was applied for driving actions in the day job. That doesn't mean to say that I haven't had times of frustrations for not being able practice & apply some of the management theories which I've been reading in HBR though. Personally, I have been developing my listening skills too over the last six months and I'm very pleased about it. In my mind, I think that has been the hardest lesson I learned over past six months. Towards the end of June, when I was off-sick at home, I've also slowly developed a new hobby, passion or habit or whatever you want to call it - writing daily Morning Pages and a Journal 2

In closing, the one thing I am gratefulfor this past six months is, being employed in one of the world's reputable organization & the value, trust & confidence people I have on me. If I can also give another, it is definitely my wife & the daughter for being super supportive to me in coping up with some of the life's challenges over last six months. I'm most grateful!

Personal goals for the next half of the year..hmm..there is one I can think of right now and that is to complete 12 weeks guided course of "The Artist's Way" in the workbook by Juila Cameron and perhaps put the learning into practice consistently next 12 weeks. More about that later.

I have to say, writing this post was a spur of the moment thought that came to mind while I was trying to get some sleep, but could not. Thank you for reading! it is past 1.00 am and I must try & get some sleep.

  1. Due to restructure that has been going since July 2018

  2. I use Apps on my iPad to achieve that

Neem Tree...

When we first offered the company accommodation about two decades ago, we were given the opportunity to view a few houses rented by the company. We viewed about 3 available houses which located in the same compound. Finally, we selected the current house we live in. We have been since year 2000. As all the houses in the compound are in the same lay out and design, the decision to choose this one was mainly because of the neem tree that is in the front yard. As you will see in the link, neem tree is known for wide variety of good things, mainly when it comes to health & well being. This was one of the key criteria Monica & I considered in choosing the house.

This neem tree, over the years has been a good friend of mine. This has been the place I go to first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee & a cigarette in my hand. It has been under the neem tree, I prayed to the lord, taken time to think through about the good & bad things I go through life. It has also been the place that I’ve been fantasizing. There have also been memories coming to my head - both pleasant and unpleasant. No matter what time of the day or even what season of weather, I’ve always enjoyed standing under the neem tree 1

More the tree grows, I have been the happiest. It not only gave me a place to wind down and relax, but also plenty of shade & coolness during the hot summer months. Of course on the other hand as the tree grows, it roots could have damaged the tiled floor on the pathway to the main entrance. This is what Mrs has always been worrying and commenting. So every now and then she wanted the Gardner to trim the tree and it was just been done during last couple of days. Though I wasn’t very pleased about it, in the end I agreed, hoping the tree will continue to grow & nourish, no matter what.

Neem Tree last week

Neem Tree today

  1. I’m considering installing a chair/bench fixed to wall to sit

Too much connected.. Are we...?

I’m here seated in the couch downstairs at home, when I got a message from the daughter who is in her room upstairs asking

Anyone be available to drop me at the train station at 4, because I’m meeting my friends.

I responded

Okay, I will.

Soon after that, I was thinking to myself, why in the world, she could not have asked me in person. I’ve been seeing her almost the whole day at home, she did not utter a word. Was it because, she felt brave to ask in a message rather than face to face in person, assuming that I’d refuse her request? Was it because she was lazy to walk downstairs or even to scream from upstairs to ask it? Was it because she felt that her phone was in easy reach and it was more comfortable to type in a bunch of text?

I thought to myself, what a strange world we live in. Being in a connected world is absolutely fine if the intention is to build & foster relationships and to share ideas & thoughts collaboratively. It isn’t good, if that takes away most important human touch by being able to communicate face to face and express ourselves.

I’m just saying!

Keep Writing...

There have been a couple of recent posts that has been of much interest to me about writing and in particular blog posting The most recent two that stands out are, our own 's Something to Write About and the other is from Ron Chester's Write About What's interests you. Then there was this one from my niece - Rebecca, to which answered the question, posed by on 10C, here. , in his reply to , highlights an important point, that writing allows people to think and put those into words backed by context.
I believe there are a some good take-aways from all three articles. What stands out for me particularly are 's point about the context 1 and other is putting thinking into words. I also like Ron's humble approach in his writing, whenever he has something that interests him to say.
To and Ron, please keep writing & I always look forward to read yours. And also to @booksbyrebecca, continue writing, no matter what. Here is note to myself Write Better!

  1. Which I have to admit, lots of my blog posts lacks


Yesterday was an important life event for daughter, that she was inducted as a Eucharistic Minister in the parish church. Understandably, Mother was quite pleased that, after serving in same role her self for last three years; she managed to encourage daughter to agree to serve. That's said, daughter would be available to serve only during her visits to the church whenever she fly down for her vacations.

As expected, mother has taken a few photos during the induction ceremony and posted in the family group chat for everybody to see. Rather than let them get buried, as it's usually the case with most of the photos taken from her iPhone, I decided to post at least the most important one here.

Stephanie EM induction

Missing Notebook

I've taken a day off from work today, though I was awake by 0600 this morning. Family is still asleep and here I am sitting down in the couch. I was flipping through Notes app on my MacBook, when I came across a link I had saved in Notes. The title of the post is When life get tough. I can't remember how and where I came across it; but there are some good takeaways from it. Among a few others, this one stood out for me right now when I'm contemplating about my note taking tools.

Take notes. Don't believe you are capable of remembering every thought you will ever have. Write! It! Down! Notebook, apps, doesn't matter. Write it down for fuck's sake.

I've always in the habit of taking notes and have always enjoyed it and found valuable in helping to remember things - important things. When I was a Boy Scout, I've always ensured entires and notes in my Logbook was clearly written, neat and up to date. I briefly mentioned about it in a blogpost I wrote a few months back. Even after I started using iDevices about a decade ago, I continued taking down notes using pen & paper. I still keep 2-3 dozens of notebooks filled with handwritten notes and once in a while I keep going back to them. They are mostly work related notes from meeting notes, quick thoughts & ideas to notes made during business travel assignments overseas. Reading some of those old notes bring me memories I will always cherish, in particular about my career in the fascinating world of aviation. In early to mid 2000(s), though I owned a couple of hand-held devices like Palm, HP iPAQ, imate with stylus support for digital note taking, it never attracted me. I continued with pen & paper and I liked it. Then came 1st Gen iPad Pro with Apple Pencil support and I got my hands on with it no sooner it was available in retail. It did not take long to die down my pen & paper note taking habit; instead I gradually got used to taking notes in iPad with Apple Pencil and it worked well for me, until recently when I purchased iPad Pro 2018 with new Apple Pencil. Daughter had already requested for me to give my 1st Gen iPad Pro to her and I did, when she arrived here for her Spring vacation in early April. With that, my interest of digital note taking slowly faded away, even though I had set up my shiny new iPad Pro, with supposedly improved Pencil. At the same time a close business associate of mine had given me a paper notebook in Memo taking format. Naturally, I kind of switched back to pen & paper. I started to bring the notebook along with me to meetings in the day job. I begun to jot down thoughts and ideas that came to mind. It seemed to work well. However, that did not last long until I realized last week that I do not have my notebook with me. I searched in my EDC bag, my desk in the day job and even a couple of meeting rooms that I had been to last week. Now it has almost been a week, I still haven't found it. Not that I had sensitive contents written down in my notebook; but there were a few important quick notes and ideas that I had written down for future reference. In hindsight, I should've digitized those notes by scanning or capturing images. Should I keep hoping that I'd find the notebook back? Should I continue pen & paper note taking in a new notebook and scan my notes, or should I go back to handwritten note taking on iPad….

Happy Good Friday

In this afternoon’s Good Friday mass, the priest wish the congregation ”Happy Good Friday”. Not sure though, he went on to explain it in detail. But, because of the Daily scripture passages I receive from one of our friends in SL, I get the idea.

Good Friday is good because we know how the story ends.
Jesus Christ stretched out His arms & gave all that He had to give at Calvary.
He emptied Himself to pay the price for our sin & His blood washed over our debt & set us free.
Without the Crucifixion, there is no resurrection.
Without the sacrifice of Christ, there is no salvation.
Therefore, when we confess with our mouths that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
“For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God & it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved….”(Rom 10:10‬)

Good Friday is good and happy, because Jesus Christ gave himself and paid the price for all it’s peoples’ sins, so that we were let free!

This Good Friday was good & happy for me personally too, because after many moons, I joined the family to attend the mass in the church. Wife had decided to leave home at 3.00pm, two hours before the scheduled mass at 5.00pm, so that we would be able to get to church through the usual traffic congestion that one would expect on a day like this.

As expected there was heavy, slow moving traffic starting from the exit from the highway all the way to location of the church. We managed to find some parking about 200 meters away from the church and walked. The entire journey took almost about two hours and I felt, it was good that we started from home early. As a result, perhaps for the 1st time in a long time, we got to sit inside the Main Church Hall for a Good Friday mass. Stephanie and myself were seated in the 4th or 5th row. 1 It was speciality feature in this afternoon’s mass that the choir was made up from our prayer group. They performed brilliantly, I have to say. The entire mass took about just an hour or so, after which we drove back home. Drive back home wasn’t bad as on the way up as there was much less traffic and constantly moving. Mrs had packed some boiled corns and we had that in the car on the way back as everyone was a bit hungry.

All in all though it was a long afternoon, quite unusually, I was very receptive and patient to the entire process without any complaints whatsoever.!

  1. Mrs served as a Eucharist Minister

Fellowship Picnic

Our friends in the church prayer group do not miss to organize an overnight picnic every year. Intention of overnight picnic has always been bonding amongst people 1 and bringing the group close as a family, which believed to be the very essence of the group centered around love and community.

Usually the venue has always been a nearby state outside Dubai. This year too, the traditional annual picnic was held on March 22nd & 23rd at a farmhouse in the mountain range of off-Hatta. Except a nearby another farmhouse or two and mountains, there wasn't any other property around the visinity.
. A great hideout away from usual hassle & bassle. The farmhouse was full of vegetation and a few animals.


road in front of farmhouse

It was about an hour drive the picnic venue and we arrived there around 11 in the morning. As usual the lunch was traditional biryani that was ordered from a popular supplier in Dubai. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and the desert. After the lunch there were some outdoor games, which gave people to get to know each other and bonding. I particularly liked the game that gave people opportunity to tell the names of other people.

The most prominent event of the 1st afternoon was tug-of-war between men & ladies, which was much fun. With a few strong ladies being present in the ladies department, though there was an expectation that the ladies will win the game of 3, in the end, mens' squad won tug-of-war.

tug-of-war-ladies team

tug-of-war-mens team

some strong women

Later in the afternoon, people spent time to their own liking. Toddlers had a dip in the pool, while the grown-up kids, joined by their dads played football in the backyard. Some people just hung around the farmhouse garden. I had joined the group who wanted to go visit another nearby farmhouse.
Later in the afternoon, there was a lively session of praise & worship. followed by lovely BBQ. There was also sing song session late into the mid-night.

walk to nearby farmhouse

The following day a few ladies in the group prepared the breakfast. The highlight was Gerad & Ruby's (vada)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vada_(food] everybody enjoyed. After the breakfast, people participated in the stations of the cross and it was held in the trekking site behind the farmhouse.

stations of the cross

mrs and me

Later in the morning, people had the opportunity to take part in a few other outdoor games, before the lunch. Soon after the lunch, Mrs decided that we leave back to Dubai, as there were another couple who were leaving, so that we could follow them, as neither Mrs nor myself weren't sure how to drive back to Dubai.
All in all, it was a great picnic, which I enjoyed so very much!

  1. especially the newcomers

Just use it!

Every time when Jason come up with either a new feature 1 or any enhancements, I get so excited. And very impatient till I get an opportunity to try the new features out. This is, sometimes difficult to do during the day job. So, I impatiently wait till I get back home. Then, I'm still not satisfied until I try the features on all of my devices. After all that, I get curious - to make out how all these features come together and magically work seamlessly. When Jason publish posts about those features, I read them and try to understand. Sometimes, they are straight forward and simple. Other times, no; they are too technical and I don't understand a bit. I read them over and over agin. Oh, no; I still don't get it. I give up. Now I'm thinking, why in the world I'm so ver much curious about this stuff , I don't have to. Here, there is a wonderful product & service available for me to express my self. It's easy to use and no nonsense. All what I have to do is to just use & enjoy the moment!

  1. Edit, unique way of geo tagging

Compassion or lack of it...

BIL was leaving for Canada tonight and the plan was to Mrs & I go to the airport to drop him off because his luggage would not fit in my tiny car. We had already loaded the luggage into Mrs car, no sooner she got back from the church. BIL and I had a quick alcoholic beverage with dinner and got dressed up, when Mrs suddenly said she would just drop him/us off the airport and come back and she wouldn’t want to park the car in the parking garage & stay till the BIL’s airport check-in formalities completed. She gave, that she was feeling feverish as the reason. She also said, I shouldn’t have a drink, of which I replied, if she would’ve told that she would not want to drive in the beginning, I wouldn’t have had a drink with the BIL. I was hurt and wasn’t happy at all of her behavior. I unloaded the luggage from her car and managed to re-load them in mine. I decided that I drive BIL and his luggage to the airport without depending on anyone and I did at last. Where is the so called compassion…?