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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye 2006, Hello 2007

2006 is coming to an end. When I look back, I realize this year has not been such a good year for me. Things happened in the office and at home, that I would rather not think about anymore. If only I could erase parts of 2006..

But I realize I can only learn from the past ad try to make year 2007 a better year for me and my family. FYI, my Chevening Scholarship application was rejected so I guess pursuing my Masters may not be in the plans for 2007. Work wise, I truly hope I can get a transfer. It’s not just the workload and such, it’s just I need to be doing something different in order to keep sane. With what has happened the past year, I don’t think I can even fake enthusiasm going back to the office.

Family wise, hubby and I have agreed to expand our litter of kittens. Maybe we’ll get a boy this time. Hehehe, it doesn’t matter, so long as he/she is healthy.

Resolutions? I don’t really believe in them, so far all resolutions I’ve made have only lasted until February. However, I do hope to take better care of myself, perhaps go to the spa every 2 months or so.

As for the kids, Dania starts school next year. Yep, my little girl is not so little anymore. I registered her at Smart Reader since it’s near our house and they provide transport. Plus, I checked out their learning syllabus and it pretty much covers the basic skills she’ll need for real school later. Also, they have Mandarin classes. I intend to sign her up for that too. Dania’s already so excited about going to school. I have yet to buy her stationary supplies, maybe today.

Dina will be starting Tumble Tots next year. I hope she’ll be able to learn how to share and socialize with kids her age. She enjoyed her trial run, even if she was rather comprehensive the first 20 minutes or so. I think since Dania has been teaching her most of the TumbleTots “moves and grooves”, she’s pretty familiar with the concept.

As for hubby, I guess he’s doing great at work. At least, better than me, but since I literally get sick at the thought of work, that’s not saying much. The important thing is, eventhough he’s super busy at times, hubby truly loves what he’s doing. The pay increase is like cherry on the top; I love it coz it has lessened my financial contribution to the family. More money for my shopping!! Hahaha, no really, the way I see, if hubby continues to excel at work, maybe…then maybe, I can truly quit and start my own business as I’ve wanted to for so long.

So, here’s hoping 2007 brings all of you much hope and happiness, may it be better than 2006.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Family Matters

I’m still deeply affected by Arwah Yus’s death. It’s been 6 days since her passing; but the memory of seeing her for the last time at the hospital is still fresh in my mind. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this is not to let work become the death of me. I’m not saying work is what killed her, but there are so many times that we all had to work, weekends and long weekdays, sacrificing time with family and friends. Arwah Azmi also indirectly died because of work reasons; because he had to work late, he forgot his bus ticket and apartment keys and had to climb the balcony to try to enter. Arwah Nuun also had the same fate; she was supposed to be on leave but had to come to work for some emergency. On her way back home, her car flipped over and she died on the spot.

I miss Arwah Yus so much. It’s like I see her everywhere. I was scrolling through my phone address book and spent 30 minutes complementing whether or not to delete her number. Somehow, having her number still stored in my phone, gave me a sense of connection with her. Crazy as it may sound, I just couldn’t delete her number, you know, just in case, she might contact me. Yeah, like I said, crazy.

Because of what had happened, the whole family went on a bonding frenzy. That Friday night, Dania had her music class concert and party. Seeing my little girl play the organ with such determination filled me with so much pride. As the whole class danced The American Kids, I watched with awe at how much my little girl had actually grown. Somehow it also scared me to think of just how much time I had left with my children. I know its not healthy dwelling on the negative but the last few days have left me rather rattled.


To take my mind off all the sad events going on, hubby took out the kids’ swimming pool the next morning and we all spent an hour or so playing with the kids and getting each other drenched. That night, hubby took me and the kids to IOI Mall. Yeah, I know, nothing all that special but the few hours we spent together was precious. We took the kids on the carousal and bought them new pants. I remember thinking, if I go tomorrow, I want the kids to know and remember that I love them so. Again, Arwah Yus was always on my mind.

We went to my parent’s house on Sunday and on Monday, everyone came for a steamboat dinner. We had friend rice, chicken, fish balls and crab cakes until we almost burst. We played cards and talked until 2 in the morning.

All the family bonding made me feel warm and fuzzy but also made me crave for more. I guess so long as there’s breath in my body, there will be more.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Gone But Not Forgotten

" Bahawasanya kami kepunyaan Allah dan bahwasanya kami akan kembali kepadaNya."

I’m sorry I’ve been away from the blogging world for so long, and also for leaving my Terengganu trip story hanging like this. I would like to continue, in fact I have several half-written posts I need to put up but for now I would like to pay tribute to a dear friend of mine, Yusrina Mohd Yusof.

Yusrina, or Yus as we would all called her, was a great friend. Funny, hardworking, caring and kind. She had just joined our division a month ago; she was supposed to take over one of my channels. As a result, we spent a lot of time at work together as I helped her ease her way into our division and its eternal mist of chaos. Despite the heavy workload, she never grumbled but took everything in stride, solving problems that I had given up on for months.

Despite spending all that time with her, I never got to really know much about her personal life. I know she was married, with a beautiful boy who had just turned 3 last Tuesday. I know this because she had asked me the price of a bicycle she was thinking of buying for her kid. I know she was the eldest in her family; I think she had like 4 or 5 younger siblings. I know her family resides in Tampin as she mentioned going back there during last raya.

What else do I know about her? Does it really matter? She’s gone; she passed away this morning around 4am.

I just met her yesterday. I can still remember our last conversation, talking about work as usual. I remember our last YM chat. I remember her asking about finding a makcik urut since she complained of feeling tired and full of wind lately. Was I supposed to know that was a sign of things to come? She had complained of wind for nearly a year it seems, always brushing it off as nothing serious.

Oh my god, how I miss her so. This all seems like just a dream, that maybe I’ll just wake up in my bed and I can go warn her, make her go for a check-up. I feel so helpless. Maybe I could have helped her more with her work, maybe I could have seen the signs of stress getting to her. The thing is she looked so healthy, only 27. There were no signs, no indication of what was to happen.

Dearest Yus, I pray your spirit is with those who are loved by Allah. I pray that you did not suffer when you left us. I pray that you loving husband and son get all the help and strength to get though this tragedy. We will all miss you and will always think of you. I just wish we had more time to spend with each other, more good times for us to remember. Dearest Yus, I hope I was a good friend to you as you were a great friend to me.

Ya Allah, ko ampunkanlah segala dosa hambaMu Yusrina. Selamatkan dia dari segala seksaan kubur. Sesungguhnya ajal dan mati itu datangnya dariMu. Kepada Kau kami berserah, kepada Kau kami meminta. Golongkanlah hambaMu dalam golongan orang-orang yang beriman. Amin.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What Happened Before the Incident

It’s amazing how things can happen in a split second and change your life forever. I'm having a tough time talking about the incident; in fact I'm still pretty traumatised. I'm still having visions; sometimes they come at night when I'm lying in bed, trying to sleep. Sometimes they don;t even wait until night time to haunt me.

To tell you what happened over the weekend, I have to start from the very beginning. Or rather from last Thursday. After taking Tuesday and Wednesday off, I decided to come to work on Thursday. I decided to fast also, seeing how I still owed 6 more days. The fact that I had forgotten to eat dinner the night before and also had overslept, thus had not taken anything for sahur, I was tired to say the least when I got home. During the drive back, I started shaking and my eyes started to well up. Great, I was getting a fever. Thank god I had Friday off until Tuesday, since I had planned with my parents to go to Terengganu for my cousin’s, Aishah, wedding.

Thursday night saw hubby and me sick in bed, both with the fever. It must have been the weather, what with all the rain lately. By Friday morning I was feeling a bit better, but still sore. That’s how I get when I’m sick; I don’t get sick that often but when I do, I feel like I got hit with a freight train.

I spend the whole Friday morning in bed; I even had breakfast in bed, thanks to my maid, Nisa. I finally crawled to the bathroom at around noon to bathe. After prayers, I had lunch (or a snack, seeing how I couldn’t eat more than half a slice of bread) and spent the rest of the day with the kids. Hubby came home at around 6.30pm and I reminded him about an open house invitation we had received from one of my colleague. As much as we both didn’t feel like venturing out, as we were both still not feeling 100% ok, we headed out with the kids after Maghrib.

The initial plan was still in play; since only Dania and I were following my parents to Terengganu, we were to spend the night over at their house. Hubby couldn’t take leave on Monday; furthermore my MIL was in town. However, after coming back from my colleague’s open house, Dania vomited so hubby and I decided that we would all just stay at home and recuperate. I called up my mom to let her know that we wouldn’t be following her to Terengganu after all. I was pretty bummed out coz I had been looking forward to the trip plus I owed it to my cousin to be there. Her father had been one of the witnesses at my wedding so I felt a certain amount of obligation. However hubby argued that making the trip while being sick the whole way wouldn’t do anyone any good, so case closed. Or so I thought.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling surprisingly refreshed. Either it was the heavy dosage of medication that had knocked me out the night before or it was just God’s way with miracles finally giving me a break. I called up my mom and was relieved to find out that my parents had not yet started their journey to Terengganu. After having a quick discussion with hubby, I called back my mom with good news; Dania and I were going to Terengganu after all.

Our trip to Terengganu follows; long and uninteresting. What happened the following day was anything but that.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What Doesn't Break You, Makes You Stronger

Wow. We sure had fun with my last post, didn’t we? To all the Anonymous, thanx ye all for your comments. Very uplifting. Do come again will ya? Next time, sign your name so I may thank you personally.

Yeah, we could go on about this is my blog, and how I have to write about whatever I want, whatever I feel; however childish it may seem to some people but enough of that. I decided not to delete the post or any of the comments because I feel its one of my most honest post yet. I don’t often write so sincerely so to those who “terasa pedas kerana termakan cili”, it wasn’t my intention to cause such an alarm. I just needed an outlet to pour out my feelings.

Do I hate my officemates? About this? No way; this is too trivial a matter for me to hold such a grudge. I’ll get over it in time.

I took EL on Tuesday and Wednesday partly because of this, but mostly because Dina was suffering through a major bout of constipation. Poor girl, we had to administer 2 tubes of that gel stuff into her buttocks to soften her stool. Even then, it took her ½ hour and buckets of tears for her to pass motion.

Staying at home was fun, even if it was to supervise my baby’s butt and her passing huge bricks of poo. Sigh, do I still have to go to work?

Monday, November 20, 2006

It’s My Party and I’ll Sulk If I Want To

I did an open house last Saturday and only 5 people from my office came. 5 People!! I invited 50 and cooked for 100 (to include spouse, kids, maid, etc). Even my boss didn’t come. I think this speaks volumes about how much I’m appreciated here. Granted the weather wasn’t so good in the afternoon, but those who made it were determined enough. Further more, the invitation stated the open house was until 9pm.

What’s worse is coming into the office on Monday and having everyone say thank you for the invitation but sorry I couldn’t come because cat died/kids were sick/got another wedding/tahlil/open house to go to. Whatever. If I have to hear one more excuse, I’ll just scream inside.

Ok, this is the first and the last time I do an open house. Next time, I’ll just invite the 5 that came last Saturday and do a small makan-makan

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Raya Story and Photos...soon

Sorry guys. Been too busy for words. This is what happens when you take more than a week off for work. The amount of cow dung on my table was horrendous, to say the least. Not to mention the number of emails that flooded my inbox.

I have loads of raya stories and photos to share but it will have to wait until the weekend. Until then, stay safe everyone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'll Take A Big Cup of Confidence To Go Please

After making up my mind yesterday about what I intend to do next in my life, I felt slightly better. That was until I researched the amount of work I had to do just to apply and qualify for the scholarship.

I need to do the following:

Write a letter to my former lecturer or university counselor for a Letter of Reference
This may prove tricky coz it’s been 6 years since I graduated from Vanderbilt. I can hardly remember what my guidance counselor looks like what more his name. I can bet you he would have no idea who I am if I were to request for a Letter of Reference out of the blue. Furthermore, when I was still studying there, my guidance counselor had a series of serious heart attacks. Truth be told, I hardly think he’s still teaching. A slight afterthought thinks he might have passed on, but I’m not one to speculate such a tragic matter. I could ask for a Letter of Reference from that dude who campaigned for my employer to send students to the University in the first place. I think he’s still with Vanderbilt. I hope he remembers me enough to write something positive. Damn, I knew I should have sent a few checks to the Alumni for good face!!

Write a letter to my General Manager for a Letter of Reference
Seeing how my GM has only been here for a month, I think it would be best to ask for the letter from my former GM. She and I are on a first name basis; at least she knows me well enough to call me by my nickname here. Problem is, she’s probably super busy or already has left for her Raya holidays. Knowing here, she likes to take loooonng holidays, so it might be a while before she’s back in the office. To be on the safe side, maybe I could ask for a Letter of Reference from my immediate boss. All the websites I’ve researched have advised to inset a template of such Letter of Reference so that the referrer has some idea on what to write. I don’t know, that sounds rather tacky to me. Like I’m asking them to toot my horn for me or something.

Figure out what course I want to take.
At first, I thought this would be easy, just apply to do an MBA. Then I found out that thousands of people apply for MBAs and the competition is fierce!! Best bet would be to apply for a course that not many people would consider, like Engineering (yawn!!!). But then I found out that you have to select your course carefully because once you’ve been selected for the scholarship, you’re pretty much stuck with the course you wrote down. It’s possible to change Universities but not possible to change courses. I guess they have quotas for the number of people that qualify for the scholarship for different types of courses.

Figure out which Universities I’m interested in applying to.
Again, this has proven to be quite a daunting task. Did you know there are thousands of really good Universities in the UK? This includes Scotland and Ireland of course, which all of a sudden sounds like such romantic places to be. Anyway, my reliable sources have told me to just apply to as many Universities as possible but make sure I put down at least one good (high ranked, well-known) University as my top choice. Obvious choices would be Oxford and Cambridge but even the name of those Universities make my stomach rumble in fear.

Confidence Along, confidence!!!

Then of course, if I get short listed for the interview, there’s the interview itself. I’ve never done so well at interviews; I tend to ramble of lots of non-essential information, just to fill up the void of silence. Most often when I look back on my previous interviewing experiences, I cringed inwardly like how someone would do so if Jack Nicholson tried to steal a kiss. I must remember to keep my answers nice and short. Do not volunteer information unless requested to. DO NOT TRY TO BE FUNNY. Unless of course the interviewer tells a joke, then maybe I could reciprocate with a better one. Hahaha…DO NOT TRY TO UPSTAGE THE INTERVIEWER.

Most importantly, DO NOT FIDGET AROUND AND PLAY WITH MY NIPPLE WHEN I GET NERVOUS.

Say it with me: Confidence Along, confidence!!!


I really should get back to my research. I hope to send in my requests for Letters of References by this week. Hopefully the more I research this matter, the less my boobie will itch in the future.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Time for a Change?

I’m at a point of my life where I feel I need to make a change. Work wise, that is. I’ve tried to apply for different positions but I guess unless I get someone else to take my place, I’m pretty much stuck where I am until eternity.

I’ve been complementing my next move. The way I see it, I have several options, all with their pros and cons.

1. I could quit and get a job elsewhere.
Pros: New challenges. Hopefully better income. Better job satisfaction.
Cons: I’ll have a huge debt to pay to my current employee. Most probably I’ll need to buy another car if the job is somewhere other than where I work currently.

2. I could take study leave and do my Masters.
Pros: A change of pace. I’ll be at home more with the kids. Mom and Dad have been bugging me to do my Masters since forever so maybe this would make them happy. A Masters would make me more eligible for a manager’s post and perhaps more valuable.
Cons: Lost of income for at least a year. I’ll still be bonded. Plans for a baby next year might have to be postponed.

I’ve been thinking about option 2. I even printed out the Chevening Scholarship Application form. What are the chances I might get it? From what I’ve heard, the competition for the scholarship is pretty tough. Only 30 people selected every year. They pay for everything but they don’t give any family allowances. If I get to do my Masters in the UK, I may have to go alone. I think I can survive a year without hubby and the kids. What am I thinking…I wouldn’t last a week, what more a year.

So what to do?

My original plans for 2007 were to get pregnant, hopefully get a better position in the company and buy a new car. Going to the UK for my Masters would totally chance all this.

I’m going to take a leap of faith. I’m going to apply for the scholarship.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cookies, Letters and Numbers

Ramadhan is almost over. According to calculations, we have 1, 2, 3….10 more days to go until Raya. I promised my mom that I would make some Raya cookies this year seeing how I have a great, big, freaking oven already. I googled some simple recipes because I’m an analytical freak and I just know that if I put in 220 grams of butter instead of 200 grams, I might as well just pour in 200 grams of cement also coz the cookies just won’t be right.

My mom told me to make “only cookies that will be eaten”. I have a very vague idea of what she means but to be on the safe side, I googled up every cookie recipe that had chocolate in it. Coz everybody loves chocolate. Right now I have White Choclate Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Cookies,…and Honey Cornflakes.

As I’m searching for the recipes, I’m also teaching Dania to write her ABCs. She already knows most of the alphabets but she’s having difficulties with the S. I must admit it is a pretty hard letter to master; no straight lines, all curvy, going left to right then left again, up and down. I also have a question about W, why is it called Double U, when actually it’s a Double V?
After the alphabet, it’s on to the numbers. I never thought writing numbers would be such a tough job for a 4 year old. I see her getting frustrated on number 8, so I teach her the easy method; a circle on top of another circle.

“Oooo, like a snowman!!”

Ahhh, numbers and letters through the eyes of a 4 year old.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Accomplishments so far...

I was bloghopping and I came across this blog that had this list of things that are considered adventurous or life changing. I loved it, so I decided to “steal” it and do my own list. The ones in bold are the things that I have done.

*Taken from Whereabouts101

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins (Miami vacation)
03. Climbed a mountain (I think I have, during some teambuilding thingy)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula (yeah, it was someone’s pet)
07. Taken a candlelit bath
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it (I say it to hubby and my girls everyday)
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris (best place ever!!)
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise (the day hubby asked me to go steady. I’ll always remember.)
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (and survived the crush afterwards)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars (solo camping)
20. Changed a baby’s diaper (yeah, of course)
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon (birthday present for hubby)
22. Watched a meteor shower (with my roommates at University)
23. Gotten tipsy on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (during a lecture. Someone farted…loud!!)27. Had a food fight (with hubby)
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight (with University friends. I won!!)
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (during exams)
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (I pretended I was British. Fooled quite a lot of people)
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer (this was hubby’s doing)
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends (tq guys, you know who you are)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (during a basketball match and during a Sixpence Non The Richer concert)
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip (with hubby, and some friends during Uni days)
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving (best experience ever!!)
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love (yeah..was heartbroken for 2 whole years)
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs (not that I have that many)
57. Pretended to be a superhero (catwoman, of course)
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day (with hubby when we first got married)
60. *edited* (Sure, I edit things all the time. Oh wait, that's not what was originally there?)
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class (Taekwando)
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days (Fasting..)
77. Made cookies from scratch (I can bake chocolate and nestum cookies)
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (a henna tattoo)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage (won 2nd place for a singing competition)
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. *edited*
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house (and an apartment too)
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship (The Bahamas)
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (2 and counting…)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking (everyday going home from work)
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart (I believe Karma has already given me what I deserved for this.)
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone (broke my jaw and my arm, not at the same time fortunately)
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse (ok, so the horse was going like 2mph, but still I rode it)
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi (me no likey)
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach (then stomped on it and smashed it into a million pieces)
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions (I see no reason in going)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language (my mom’s late neighbor. She only spoke Cantonese. But we had some nice conversations with each other.)
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream (everytime I look and my 2 girls)
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (my mom’s car. Cost me my entire first paycheck)
150. Saved someone’s life

I was on The Amazing Race

I dreamt I was on the Amazing race with hubby last night. I always get weird dreams when I’m in an emotional state or feeling just really tired. Last night, I was both. Hubby and I had a slight tiff the day before and we hadn’t made up by the time I went to bed. I woke up feeling groggy and disoriented. 70% of me screamed, just f**k work and sleep in today. 30% of me, the dominant side, actually dragged myself to the bathroom to get ready for work. Now I’m here, staring at the computer, with a whole list of THINGS TO DO written down in my organizer, and in totally no mood to do any of them. As I skim down the list, I make a mental note of whether the tasks are urgent enough for me to do now, or just important that I could procrastinate and do them tomorrow; just important..just important, not that important, to be ignored…

Hmmm.

To add to that, the freaking aircon in the office has gone crazy again, you would think it was the Antarctic here. My fingers feel like they’re going to fall off, I can hardly type. Add that to my already groggy state of mind, what kind of an environment is that to get any work done, right? Riiiighhtt…

Plus of course (I’m really into a make-all-the-excuses-kind-of-mood, aren’t I?) I’m having a very heavy flow today so there’s a certain ickiness feeling all over.

Anyway, back to the Amazing Race. Or rather my dream of being in TAR.

You know what? Forget it. I’m not in a storytelling kind of mood. What I really want to do is just lie down and take a nap. God, why am I so tired nowadays?

Oklah, let me just tell you parts of the dream I still remember. I remember the take off point being the park in front of my University back in Nashville.
I remember thinking it weird we were on the American version of TAR instead of the Asian version.
I remember one of the detours had us having to take liquor so it wasn’t really a hard choice for hubby and I to decide which detour we wanted to take.
I remember being good friends with the old couple (too bad this season doesn’t have any) and talking about our children and their grandchildren at ever pit stop we had.
I remember sending postcards to the girls back home at every country we went to.
I remember hubby and I won the race (and the million dollars!!!).
I remember when Phil asked me how I felt, I look at hubby’s face and said, “When we decided to join the race, we joined for the experience. For the chance of a lifetime to travel across the world and see different cultures. The money was just cherry on the top. We will definitely remember this experience as one of the best things that has happened in our life and we feel so much richer for being able to make such good friends along the way.”

Goodness, I couldn’t have sounded better if Jerry Bruckheimer has scripted it himself.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Our Long Weekend

It’s lunchtime, so eventhough I have tons to do, I’m taking a few minutes breather to update my blog. Sorry I didn’t update during the weekend; we had a long one. Selangor had Tuesday off for Nuzul Quran so hubby and I took Monday off, giving us a 4-day weekend. We didn’t do much, just spent the time over at my parents’ house. Home cooking tastes so much better when you eat in a big group. On Saturday we all went to my Wan’s house in Keramat. My aunt and her family from Melaka also came up so it was a joyous occasion. My Wan went crazy with the menu; grilled fish, sambal sotong, chicken rending, lemang, and so much more. Everyone stuffed himself or herself and there was still so much leftover!! We all stayed at my Wan’s house until midnight or so, heading to the dining table 2-3 times to stuff ourselves again and again. Alhamdullillah, we managed to finish everything, right down to the last piece of lengkong (jelly)!!

I was supposed to take pictures but the sight of all the food made me forget. Maybe next time.

I have a nice ad I would like to share with everyone down here. I haven’t seen it in the newspapers yet but just thought since it is Ramadan and Raya is nearly upon us, maybe everyone can take a few minutes to understand the message portrayed.


Petronas always does the best ads for the festive seasons. Can’t wait to see their TV ad.

*If you can't see the fine print at the bottom, it says "When is the right time to ask for forgiveness? Once a year? During festive seasons? Or while we still can? Petronas wishes all Malaysians a Selamat Hari Raya filled with love, joy and forgiveness."

Happy fasting everyone!! Only 2 more weeks to go. Masya’allah, so quickly does time fly by.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Birthday Note to Dina Yasmin – 2 Years Old

My Dearest Dina,

My, how time flies! My little one is 2 years old today. As I read back my birthday note to you last year, I realized just how much you’ve grown within a year. Not only physically, though you are much taller than your sister when she was you age, but emotionally and intellectually. Sometimes when we have a disagreement, I feel like I’m talking to 5 year old instead, what with your serious demeanor and all.
I read again the part where we almost didn’t have you in our lives and the blessed feeling overwhelms me so much that it brings tears to my eyes. What would our lives be without you? I never want to find out. You are my ray of sunshine early in the morning when you wake me up for work. The way you pat me softly on my arm and caress my cheek is such a wonderful way to start the day. You are my glass of cool water when I come home from a tiring day. When you hear the autogate being open, you immediately run to the door with shouts of joy and arms wide open, “Ibu, ibu, abah, abah!” What parent wouldn’t want to come home to such an adorable welcoming.

You are so much more independent now. I guess that helps seeing how you still can’t talk in proper sentences. Your grandma and grandpa have expressed concern for your lack of vocabulary but I know, you just want to take your time. It’s not that you can’t talk; you just don’t feel like it yet. But I know you know what people are talking about and it’s interesting to see how you’ve worked out a system to get people to understand you. If you can’t say it, show it! If you want cookies, you’ll say “ibu, meh” and pull me to the kitchen. You’ll take out your bowl and point to the cookie jar. “nak, puweess”. Many a times I just give you the cookie, as an incentive for being so resourceful.


My beloved Bubbles,

There are so many things I want to write about you here. I want to write about your love for music and about how you love to sing. You’ll sing during bath time, during lunch, during reading time, even during bedtime. Most of the time it’s Twinkle Twinkle or Rock a Bye Baby but sometimes you’ll even sing a few lines from the High School Musical TV show. It’s come to a point where even your grandma has noticed, “Menyanyi je lah budak kecik ni.” But I love it; I love the way you sway your body to the song. I love the way you sometimes act out the song, in all seriousness. I love the way you sometimes get me to join in and then we laugh at each other for being so silly.

Dearest Dina. There isn’t a day when I don’t think about you. Whenever I have to go outstation, I look forward to your calls and to hearing your voice calling me and telling me about your day. I love that you like to snuggle up to me as we watch TV together and that you always ask permission to lie in my lap as you drink your milk. I love the way you dance, doing your Pocoyo dance with such cuteness it just kills me inside. I love playing Hide-n-Seek with you eventhough you always hide in the same place. I love the way you laugh and play with your sister; the smiles it brings me to hear your shrieks and giggles fill the house.

I love you so much Dina Yasmin, in a way I never thought would be possible to love anyone. You are my life, my reason for being here. I thank Allah for bringing you into my life and for allowing me to be your mother. You have brought nothing but joy and happiness and for that I am eternally grateful.
Happy 2nd birthday, my Beautiful.

Love, ibu

Monday, October 02, 2006

Breaking Fast at Singgahsana Hotel

Last night we all murah rezeki. Hehehe, ayah got an invitation from one of is vendors (masa keje dulu ah) to break fast at the Singgahsana Hotel. Every year ayah would get invites for the whole family. The food at Singgahsana Hotel is very nice, so memang every year we await for this occasion. This time, everyone got to go except for Kamarul, who was staying at my Mak Ngah’s house, so Angah brought his girlfriend along instead. At first I wanted to bring Dina along too, but thinking about how the dinner usually ends late (ayah likes to go for the terawih prayers), I just brought Dania with us.

Dania had a great time; she remembered the hotel from last year. “Oh, ibu..ni hotel yang Kak Long dulu jumpa Adam AF tu yer?” Yeah, last year we had our share of celebrities. Rabbani was the entertaining nasyid group last year but for this year we had Mirwana and Brothers.


We arrived at the hotel at around 6.45pm. Just nice, since breaking fast was at around 7.10pm. Hubby, ayah, angah and alang went around getting food, while ibu and I just sat there at the table. We both had air wuduk for Maghrib prayers so we didn’t want to risk accidentally bumping into anyone. After breaking fast, ibu and I went to the surau for prayers first while the men proceeded with eating. The surau prepared was nice and spacious; a nice change from last year when only a small room was allocated for.


After prayers, ibu and I decided to check out the food. There was so much to choose from. Ibu, as predicted, headed for the Mee stall while I made my way o the back of the hall for some rice. Buka memang tak puas kalau tak makan nasi. There was a long line for the prawns and lamb slices so I decided to head back to the table first. Hubby was already on his 2nd plate, hahaha…tapi memang makanan dia sedap!! Dania, as always, was itching to go play with the many kids there (most of them were orphans from the Hulu Kelang Orphanage Homes), so she ate the bare minimum (one spoon of mee and 3 slices of jelly) and then asked me for permission to go play. There was no arguing with her so I let her go play. Most of the kids were sitting on the steps of the stage, listening to the nasyid groups sing and entertain the crowd. Dania quickly found an empty space on the steps and proceeded chatting with her new found friends.


The nasyid groups were very good; Dania was even selected for an impromptu interview session with one of the Brothers. Tanya adik nama sapa, berapa umur, puasa ke tidak. I was talking to a colleague of mine at the time when I heard my little girls’ voice over the sound system; Dania Jazmin, 4 tahun, TAK!!
Hahaha…the nasyid fellow asked her to recite the doa for fasting and she went hehehehe. OKlah, next year I’ll train her how to fast. At least explain to her why we have to fast, and get her to fast half-days first.

After stuffing ourselves with all sorts, we headed back to my parents’ place at about 10pm. Dina was still up but sleepy, so we headed back home immediately.

Thank you Tegas Tepat Sdn. Bhd., next year don’t forget to invite us again.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bad Parenting..and How You Can Make A Dfference.

This picture was taken on my way home from the office, I can’t really remember when. I took it because I wanted to write a post on responsible parenting and though I could use this as an example.

You see the mother right? She has her helmet on, and I suppose the dad does too. But what about the little kid? Not only does he not have a helmet on, he’s been carried in a very dangerous way. Now I know not everyone can afford to buy cars, and sometimes those who do have cars, don’t buy child seats for their kids. Maybe this is the case. However, the parents still could have taken a few precaution steps for the kid, just in case old daddy-o accidentally hit a pothole or a wet patch in the road.

First, the kid should be wearing a helmet. No buts about it. How much does a child helmet cost anyway? Probably not as much as your kid’s life, right? This should be a no-brainer, no matter how far or how near you’re taking the kid. Accidents can happen within 20 meters of your own home. How sad would you be if something was to happen and your kid could have survived head injuries, only if he or she were wearing a helmet?

Secondly, if the kid is below two years old, or small enough, strap him/her to your body using a baby carrier or even a sarong would do. This would prevent the kid from squirming too much and would also help you have a better grip on the child. Look again at the picture; all it takes is a small pebble in the road and dad could have lost control. You think mom would be able to hold on to her child? Most probably the kid would be thrown from his mother’s arms onto the pavement or god forbid, into traffic.

We as parents, we always want our kids to be safe. We tell them, don’t climb trees or you’ll fall and break your legs. We tell them, don’t play in the roads or you’ll get hit by a car. But when it comes to situations like these, situation where we can make a choice, we choose to put our kid’s life in danger. Why is that? Do we really have to see a kid’s brain splattered all over the road on the 8 o’clock news before we take precautionary steps? Why are we such a society that takes passive action, bak kata orang “Sudah terketuk, baru terngadah”?

This is just one example of bad parenting. There are more below. Remember, I’m not dissing on the parents but more on their actions.

Another example would be taking young children to a fancy restaurant. Now I’m all for family gatherings and family meals and what not. We do it all the time. However, if you take your child to a fancy restaurant, please be prepared with a course of action if the kid decides to scream his/her head of during dinner. This is out of respect for the other customers; no one wants to spend RM150 or more having dinner with Junior screaming in their ear. Bring a bottle or some toys for the kid to distract them from boring dinner talk. If everything else fails, LEAVE! Do not let your kids scream and throw cutlery at people or run around the restaurant like a shrieking banshee. Believe me, I’ve seen it happen. I’m appalled at parents who would allow their kids to act that way. My kids are no angels, and there have been times when hubby and I have had to leave the restaurant because of the kids acting up. But they are kids!!! We are the adults, the ones who have the power to make a choice in these situations. Usually when this happen (thank god, not that often) we just ask the server to wrap our food while one of us takes the kids outside for a cooling down session. Again, it all boils down to respect for others.

Another great example would be taking young children to the movies. This is another thing I don’t understand; kids already have very short attention spans, you expect them to sit down quietly to watch a 2 hour movie?!! I don’t care if it is The Care Bears Movie Special or Barbie and Ken Get Married Again. For starters, the cinema is cold and dark. Most kids hate places that are cold and dark. The surround sound is loud. I mean even I have trouble dealing with the loudness. So unless your kids are used to ear shattering sounds, chances are he/she won’t like the loud dialogues and music. I’ve seen parents who bring babies to the movies. Goodness, now you know the baby isn’t going to understand what going on anyway and the cold and loud sounds are only going to upset her. It’s understandable if she starts screaming her head off, but you as the parents should again, respect others and take the baby outside. Do not proceed to sit there and try to hush the baby up. Going to the movies has become such a harrowing experience already, what with the people in front of you being too tall, or the people next to you eating snacks none stop loudly or the people behind you, kicking your seat every 2 minutes. To add a screaming baby would just be too much. Hubby and I took Dania to her first movie when she was almost 4; we went to watch Narnia. Even then, we were prepared to leave the cinema if things got too much for her. We bought tickets for the last row, nearest to the exit. We bought popcorn for her and we brought her jacket, just in case it got cold. Fortunately for us, Dania enjoyed the movie but we were prepared to just forgo the entire thing if she hadn’t.

I could go on and on about bad parenting but its 6.30am and I haven’t done my Subuh prayers yet. I just hope whoever is reading this would next time take a minute to think about how their parenting may affect their kids and others around them. Till next time, take care.

Updates Since Last Time..

Dear readers,

Yes, I know I promised to update more. And it’s been more than a week since my last update. I’ll try to write a bit everyday, about all the mundane stuff that goes on in my life to keep you guys happy. Kay? Hehehehe..

It’s the 6th day of Ramadan so I guess it’s still not too late to wish all Muslims “Selamat Berpuasa” and may Allah bless you always. So far fasting has been rather uneventful for me, other than a few chest pains I’ve been feeling lately. I think it’s heartburn but since I’ve never had heartburn before, I can’t really tell. It comes and goes and it feels like there’s a hurricane going on in my chest. There first time I got it, it hurt quite a bit but fortunately it didn’t last all that long. I’ve been drinking a lot of milk, just in case.

Updates on the kids; Dania has been taking piano classes over at the Yamaha school in Subang Parade. She’s been going for 3 months now and she still hasn’t memorized all the placements of the notes. I guess I’m partly to blame for not practicing with her or going over her homework with her more often. I must make a point to go over the notes with her everyday, for at least 20 minutes. I can’t expect her to remember everything if she only opens her book for an hour a week during class.

Dina; well, she’ll be two next week. How time flies!! Her vocabulary has improved a bit; you can make out what she’s saying if she says the words one at a time. However if she speaks in full sentences, all I hear is baby gibberish. Her favorite words are “up”, “down”, “please”, thank you”, “velkomm (welcome)”, “ibu”, “babah”, “kakak” and “kakong (kak long)”.

Hubby; he’s doing fine. Oya, we had our 5th anniversary early this month but I had to work so we didn’t get to celebrate. We took the kids out for dinner over at Cozy Corner but hubby promised to take me for a hotel weekend getaway. Our date is still postponed because of the fasting month (cannot naughty-naughty, hah!!!) so it might be a while. But that’s ok. We didn’t get anything for each other coz we already ran out for ideas. Easy to say, we have given each other everything we need. Hah, that’s just talk for “I’m too lazy to think and shop for him anymore”.

Other than that, things are pretty much still the same. Work is still the same except the company is undergoing some major changes. I’m still waiting to see how that will affect me personally. Hubby got the promotion he was hoping for so that’s a big plus. We get to park the car in the basement now!! Hahahaha..

So, it’s Friday night and it’s started to rain outside. It’s going to be a cold night tonight, better go warm up hubby. Hehehehe…till tomorrow. Take care everyone.

Ps: I tried uploading some pictures of the kids, because Syikin requested them but blogger won't let me. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've Been Gone Too Long, I Can't Think of A Witty Title

Aaaaannnddd….I’m back!!

Has it been that long? 3 months plus already. What have I been up too? Work…more work…a quick holiday…more work…launches…work…teambuilding…loads more work…you get the picture. In fact I was so fed up from work, I couldn’t bear the site of my beloved Dell laptop at home coz the site of the Internet and all that comes with it made me want to puke.

But here I am again, my friends and I’m back in the blogging world. Not to worry, just in case something causes me to gag, I have my trusty Tuesday Night Vomit Bucket right beside me.

DID YOU CHECK OUT LAST NIGHTS’ SEASON PREMIER OF THE AMAZING RACE?!!

Sorry, was I screaming? Must be, coz it was soo damn exciting. I had it circled in red pen in my diary - “AMAZING RACE, 8.30PM – BATHE EARLY!!” I just lurve the Amazing Race coz it’s so unpredictable. Unlike some reality shows that run out of steam by the 2nd or 3rd installment (The Apprentice, Survivor,…yawnnn), the Amazing Race never runs out of surprises.

And boy, did it deliver last night!! I was excited to see all the contestants; I think the producers did a great job at picking out a variety of couples. Of course, I was rooting for Sa’eed and Bilal coz it would have been really interesting seeing them negotiate their way around the world, and also maybe have other cultures learn a bit more about the real Islam. Alas, that was not to be as the Muslim brothers were eliminated out at the first leg over. It wasn’t even the first pit stop!!! What a bummer. I was expecting for them to have to go through some kind of challenge or maybe even have their bags taken away from them, but not being eliminated. And the looks on the rest of the contestants; no one could believe what was happening. I bet the Chinese brothers did a huge ”Praise to Buddha” ritual for keeping them in the race.

Wouldn’t it be great if the producers did another twist and brought back Sa’eed and Bilal back later in the race? I doubt they would but still it would be great if they did.

I was also kind of bummed out when the Indian married couple, Vipul and Arti were eliminated. Too bad they were really bad with navigations. Being the first Indian American couple on the Amazing Race, it would have been interesting to see them work together. Two interesting couples, already gone within the first leg of the race. Sigh!!

I still have no opinions about the other contestants. The disabled couple, Peter and Sarah, looks tough despite their handicap and I’m very sure Sarah’s leg (or lack of) will come very handy in getting sympathy from the public and (most important) from taxi drivers.
The father-daughter team also looks quite interesting but so far the gay issue hasn’t really caused much drama yet. Speaking of gays, of course, we have our gay couple on the race; Tom and Terry. Yawn, sorry to be frank but gay couples are rather predictable. However, it is funny to hear them bitch and talk about the other contestants and also hilarious to see the way they celebrate their victories.

Of course, we have our “pretty” couples. This time we have three; cheerleaders, models and beauty queens. Seriously, is this Project Runway or the Amazing Race? I would trade Bilal and Sa’eed and Vipul and Arti for the bimbos anytime. But it’s still too early for me to diss on anyone yet, so we’ll see in future legs how those pretty lasses will hold up in the race.

All in all, I think this season is going to be the best one yet. I can’t wait to see the places the team are going to travel too; must jot them down in my travel diary for future references. Hey, a gal can dream, can’t she?

Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup 2006 - What A Month It Has Been!!

What a World Cup it has been!! As we all already know, the Italians are the Champions, beating France 6-4 on penalties. I hated the fact that the match had to be determined on penalty kicks because it just brings down the excitement to a low level. But that's how championships go sometimes.

The game was extremely nail-biting. Too many incidences where there should have been a goal but was denied because the angle was a little bit off, or the goalkeeper was just too good (Buffon!!). Too many fouls, dives and instances where each team pushed the other to the limit. There was a moment where Italy could have won it 2-1 if not for one of the strikers been caught off-side just 6 inches.




But the image that would probably stay in everybody’s mind would be that of Zidane head butting Matterazi in the chest, prompting the referee to give him a red card. It was a sight that not even the Italians could cheer to, seeing the Great Legend taking off his captain’s band and walk slowly off the pitch, pass the World Cup trophy that he would never get to raise again, even if France had won the match. I was silenced and baffled by the act of violence shown by Zidane; so unlike him. Speculation says that Matterazi called Zidane a racial slur. Maybe he did, even so Zidane should have kept his cool. It’s such a pity that his professional career had to come to an end on such a sour note.




All in all, the World Cup has been a joyous occasion. I can’t wait for 2010, World Cup in Africa.

**Picture taken courtesy of JOHN MACDOUGALL / Getty Images.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Guess The Color Purple Doesn't Really Do It For Them

Yesterday we took the kids to Jaya Jusco Equine Park to see Barney and his friends. The kids love watching Barney and even though they don’t memorize all the songs, they do love singing the “I Love You” song. God, I used to hate that song with ALL MY SOUL but somehow when my kids sing it, it’s like hearing birds sing on a sunny Sunday morning.


The appearance was scheduled at 7pm, hubby and I headed back from the office on time. After freshening up and getting the kids ready, we drove over to the mall at around 6.30pm. Being a new mall, there weren’t many shops open yet. We walked a bit then decided to head to the concourse area for the show.

There were already many kids and their parents there. The personnel there announced that only kids were allowed up front while parents had to sit at the back. I brought the girls to the front and told them that I would be waiting for them at the back. As I turned and walked to the back, I felt someone tugging on my jeans. Hahahaa, I guess watching Barney from the back with the girls would also be ok.

The show was entertaining enough. There were loads of songs sung and the kids who decided to participate and join along were plenty.
My girls weren’t among them.
As you can see, they’re more of the passive type. Dina spent most of the time wondering about, starring at the other kids. Like Taiko tak, the picture? Dania concentrated on the show from the back. Only towards the end did they start going to the front and start dancing along.

Dania lined up to take pictures with Barney but at the last minute she freaked out, so I took pictures of other peoples’ kids. Ah bein! I guess she was a bit nervous seeing Barney being so big. Usually he’s just a small purple blob on the TV.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Random Notes in the Wee Morning Hours

Thanks to the abundance of mosquitoes in my room, I’m up blogging at 3.50am. Seriously, I was up for 30 minutes and within that time, I killed 9 mosquitoes, 6 of them were full with blood. Urghh!!

Thank god the World Cup is on. Italy vs. Germany. The game has been very exhilarating so far. Both teams have made fantastic tries for goal, the best so far from Germany; just inches away above the top beam. It’s half time right now, so I have 15 minutes until the excitement begins again.

Good God!! Why is the commentator from TV1 speaking like such a robot? Giller formal!! Loosen up man, its football!!

Wah!! Haji Zainal Abidin is in Dortmund watching the game right now. What I wouldn’t give to be where he is right now.

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I have 10 minutes left. I think I’ll jot down a few advice notes for friends and readers who might like to visit Bali.

TRANSPORT

Airport Taxi: Prices are usually fixed, but you can try to negotiate for better rates. You can tip the driver. Remind him not to drive too fast.

Bemo: Local basic transportation. If you want a taste of the local life, the bemo is the way to go. Cheap but crowded and noisy. Not to mention sometimes smelly. You’ll most probably be charged 5 to 10 times the local’s rate. Try to negotiate the price to 50%.

Bicycles: Cycling can be a cheap and enjoyable way to get around. Not sure about the rental. Remember, you DO NOT have the right of way. This is a very different driving environment than US or Europe.

Driving: Some people like to rent cars and drive themselves to tourist sites. Not advisable as road signs are a rare sight. You’ll probably get lost and spend too much time trying to get directions. Best to rent a car with a driver. Depending on the driver, you can pay him according to distance or pay him by the hour. Motorcycles are for those with an immortality pact with God!!!

Taxis: Make sure the driver resets the meter before you start off. You may negotiate on the price beforehand. Remember, if you want the driver to wait for you while you go shopping or have a meal, negotiate on a flat rate as the meter will be kept running.

HEALTH CARE

Bali Belly: Anyone not accustomed to the difference in cleanliness and bacteria in Bali should check out the “looks” of the restaurant carefully before sitting down. However, even the clean looking places can give you a problem. Sometimes Bali Belly is something you can’t avoid. If you do have a health problem, there are many pharmacies (called Apotik) that can provide you with medicine or help.

Drugs: Indonesia has very strict laws when it comes to drugs. If found in your procession, you may be facing prison or the gallows. Be careful, sometimes people selling drugs do not may not be who they appear to be.

Malaria: Bali is considered Malaria free but dengue fever is still a problem. Guard against mosquitoes and bring insect repellant.

Medical: Instead of calling for an ambulance, get a taxi instead. There are several western standard clinics in the Kuta area: BIMC (Bali International Medical Center) 761263 and SOS Medika (International SOS Clinic) 755768. Ask your hotel if you need help.

Tattoos: Temporary tattoos maybe harmful as many use a chemical textile dye that is not for human use. Henna tattoos are problem free. Chemical tattoos are very black while henna tattoos are not so black.

Water: Unless you want to be vomiting every hour or so, DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER!! Drink only bottled water and bottled drinks. Most ice is considered safe.

MISCELLANEOUS

Attending Ceremonies: Remember, these are very serious occasions and should be treated as such. Always wear a sarong and a sash, or at the very least cover you body when attending the ceremonies. Do not walk in front of people praying. Never sit higher than the priest. Women are not allowed to enter a temple during menstruation, same goes for anyone with a bleeding wound.

Culture: Try not to step on the offerings in the street. Yes, they will be everywhere so be aware. Walk around them. Do not beep your horn when you come to a religious procession. Be patience and wait.

Leaving: Reconfirm your flight at least 72 hours prior to flying. Airport Departure Tax is Rp. 100,000 for international flights (per person) and Rp. 20,000 for domestic flights, so don’t finish all your cash shopping. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.

Moneychangers: There are two kinds of money changers: one that charges commission and one that doesn’t. The ones charging commission usually give a higher rate but the commission is taken off the total. We feel it is best to deal with the no commission charging moneychangers. Loom for a sign that says NO COMMISSION. Always count your money before you leave the place. Bring your own calculator if you can, sometimes the ones used at the places are “fixed”.

Petty Crime: Bali is relatively safe. However use your hotel safe if you have one. If not, carry all your valuables in a front pouch. On the street, you’re mostly safe but you should beware of people stealing stuff from your hotel room.

Shopping: Always bargain the price, starting at 50% or more. Department store prices are fixed, though.

Street and Beach Vendors: DO NOT LOOK! DO NOT ASK HOW MUCH. If you look or ask, you’ll be followed for miles. If they approach you, just say firmly you’re not interested. Some may be persistent, stand you ground.

The Beach: Surf and under currents are very dangerous along the Kuta Beach. Swim between flags only. Do not leave your belongings unattended on the beach.

Tipping: There’s no hard rule on tipping in Bali. However a minimum of Rp. 2,000 per person for a meal is much appreciated. Some hotels and restaurants already add on service charge amounting to 21% on top of the bill, so best check your bill before you add on any extra tips.

Tours: Many agents offer a variety of tours with guides, including a half-day trip or daylong tours including lunch and visits to shops, temples and performances. Try to skip the shops; the prices will be jacked up way high.

Walking: Be sure to look and listen while you cross the road. Crosswalks are pretty lines on the road with no actual meaning. Motorbikes never stop; they will weave around you so be careful if you’re crossing in a large group.

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The match is back on. 79th minute and still no goal. Some substitutes have been made by both team and some fabulous tries have also happened. I predict the game will go to a penalty shoot out, how boring.

Ballack is going to take a free kick in front of the goal. Alamak!! Too high!!!

Yawwwnnnnn…..I’m gonna be totally dead at work later on.

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Edited: OH MY GOD!!!! Italy just scored at the 118th minute!! Fabio Grosso just scored a beautiful goal.

OH MY GOD!!! Italy just scored again!! Allesandro Del Piero!! 120th minute!!! Italy is through to the finals!!!! Germany is in tears.

Oh my God!! I'm screaming and laughing all alone in the living room. For some bizzare reason, tears are running down my face. What a climax!!! Marvelous game!!!

I have 1 hour of sleep before I have to wake up and get ready for work. I'm too pumped up, there's no way I'm gonna sleep. Damn World Cup.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Coz I Know You All Can't Get Enough Of Me...

This is a rare occasion; I’m home, alone. The kids are at the playground with Nisa and hubby is at a meeting in KL. I figure I have at least 30 minutes of peace and quiet. I could;

a) take an early, extra long shower and belt out Kelly Clarkson songs at the top of my voice.
b) Sit on the couch in my underwear and watch Seinfeld reruns.
c) Surf for porn.
d) Blog

I would do (a) but I doubt my neighbors will approve. (b) sounds too tiresome, having to take off all my clothes by myself. Hah!! (c) doesn’t sound good, only because I’m afraid that I might download a virus instead. Therefore, I vote for (d), even though I haven’t got much to write about. I could tell you about my weekend; 2 weddings and no funeral. Hahaha, lame one, I know. But I didn’t take any pictures at the ceremonies and what good is a blog entry about a wedding if there are no pictures.

So, what to write? What else when I’m lazy but need to update my blog. Memes!!!

This one I stole..errrr, borrowed, from Mr. Fabulous.

Sixty-Two Question Meme

1. How old do you wish you were?
You know, I can’t remember a time when I was truly, truly happy. There was always something worrying or bugging me; when younger, my brothers, exams, peer pressure; getting older, the opposite sex, peer pressure, exams, dire financial state; now I’m working it’s the kids, the house, work, my boss from hell, etc. So I guess there isn’t an age I would rather be than what I am now. Which is 30, by the way.

2. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
Hmm..I think I was at home. I didn’t hear about the planes until the next day. I spent hours watching the news after that.

3. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Depends on whether I was freaking hungry or thirsty at the time. Most likely I would give it a violent kick, but not so violent that I would hurt myself.

4. Do you consider yourself kind?
Yes. Most of the time. Are you gonna challenge me on this?

5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be?
Had to? I guess it would be something cool like a dragon or a scorpion. Maybe on my biceps. Hahaha, like I even have biceps.

6. If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be?
Chinese. Because it would help me understand what all the Chinese hawkers are talking about in front of me.

7. Do you know your neighbors?
Not intimately. When I get home, I just wanna unwind with hubby and the kids. We usually go out for family outings during the weekends. Hardly any time to socialize with the neighbors. But I do buy them stuff when I go for vacations, some small souvenir.

8. What do you consider a vacation?
Any day not spent at the office. Which would include days I’m sick and lying in bed, recuperating. What does that say about my job?

9. Do you follow your horoscope?
No.

10. Would you move for the person you loved?
Yeah, of course. I can’t imagine being far away from hubby for too long.

11. Are you touchy feely?
Only with selected people. Most of the times I hate the hug-and-kiss-cheek routine. Especially with people I hardly meet or don’t care about.

12. Do you believe that opposites attract?
I’m living proof. But after time, hubby and I have learned to accept our differences and appreciate them.

13. Dream job?
Becoming a well-known and respected wedding planner. Insya’allah…

14. Favorite channels?
AXN. Star World. Disney-playhouse channel. Hah!!

15. Favorite place to go on a weekend?
Lately, I love going to my parents’ new house. But anywhere with hubby and the kids is a good place to be.

16. Showers or Bath?
We don’t have a bath tub at home, so mostly showers. However I like to take baths when I stay at a hotel.

17. Do you paint your nails?
No. But I won’t judge you if you do.

18. Do you trust people easily?
No. My job requires me to be wary of people, especially those who come with proposals that promise the sky and the moon. I’ve even perfected a cynical smile, used during such meetings.

19. What are your phobias?
Dogs. Rats. Anything bad happening to my family.

20. Do you want kids?
Are you kidding me? If I didn’t suffer from chronic morning sickness, I would be pregnant right now.

21. Do you keep a handwritten journal?
Used to. Now I find blogging more fulfilling.

22. Where would you rather be right now?
I’m at home with the kids and hubby (they came back early!!). So I guess I love being where I am right now.

23. What makes you feel warm and safe?
A hug and kiss from my kids and hubby. People saying really nice things about me, behind my back.

24. Heavy or light sleep?
Depends on whether I’m really tired or not. So heavy, most of the time.

25. Are you paranoid?
Huh? No. Maybe. Depends. Am I being tested on this question?

26. Are you impatient?
Yes, if I need something done right now and the outcome affects me. No, if someone else’s butt is at stake. Hahahaha..

27. Who can you relate to?
No one. I am my own person.

28. How do you feel about interracial couples?
I believe in love. I believe love can conquer many obstacles. Being of different races, that so small of an obstacle.

29. Have you been burned by love?
Yes. Do I regret it? No.

30. What’s your life motto?
Just as Earl believes, Karma works. Do upon others as you would like others to do to you.

31. What's your main ringtone on your mobile?
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole.

32. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping.

33. Who was your last text message from?
Hubby.

34. Whose bed did you sleep in last night?
Do you need to ask? Unless I’m on holiday or working during the weekends, it’s my own.

35. What color shirt are you wearing?
I don’t wear shirts.

36. Most recent movie you watched?
In the theatre? Can’t remember, Narnia maybe. DVD? Nanny McPhee. Don’t snicker!! It’s a fun movie. Plus I luurrrvveee Colin Firth.

37. Name five things you have on you at all times?
My necklace. My earrings. My handphone (unless it’s charging). My sense of humor. My sexy vibe.

38. What color are your bed sheets?
Either green, blue, white or cream.

39. How much cash do you have on you right now?
RM2.++. Hubby used my money to renew his driver’s license.

40. What is your favorite part of chicken?
The thigh. Probably explains why mine is as big as an elephants’.

41. What's your favorite town/city
It’s a toss between New York and Paris. Brisbane was nice too.

42. I can’t wait till...
I’m released from my scholarship bond. I’m financially independent. I have my own wedding planner business.

43. Who got you to join MySpace?
MySpace is eeevviillll!!

44. What did you have for dinner last night?
Rice. Chicken. Some vege. Mangoes. Yummm.

45. How tall are you barefoot?
153cm.

46. Have you ever smoked crack?
Nope. But I’ve acted like I have.

47. Do you own a gun?
No. I don’t believe in guns.

48. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Depends on what time I wake up. A cup of milo, if it’s early enough. If I wake up late, then it’s straight to tea.

49. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Men are gullible. It doesn’t take much. You tell them they look handsome and you’ll have them eating out of your hand.

50. Do you have A.D.D.?
Can you have minor ADD? I can write an email, reply to an email, chat, write an approval paper, listen to music and have a telephone conversation all at the same time. I call it “multitasking”.

51. What time did you wake up today?
7.30am. What time did I get out of bed? 7.55am.

52. Current worry?
Work. Certain people.

53. Current hate?
Work. Certain people

54. Favorite place to be?
Anywhere with my family.

55. Where would you like to travel?
Russia. China. Exotic places.

56. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs?
I can’t plan that far ahead. But I do hope to be more financially secure and have more kids.

57. Last thing you ate?
Rice. Chicken. Chocolate.

58. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Depends on my mood. And whether I’m in a hurry or not. Nowadays its either Kelly or Pussycat Dolls. Hah!!

59. Last person that made you laugh?
Hubby.

60. Worst injury you've ever had?
When I was 8, I was skipping (why do little girls like to skip?) while throwing and catching a coin in the air. I slipped and fell chin first on hard concrete. Split my chin open. I remember loads of blood. I had to get 6 stitches. Thank god I hadn’t bit my tongue.

61. Does someone have a crush on you?
Not that I know of.

62. What is your favorite candy?
Any dark chocolate. The darker, the better.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Repeat After Me....It's All Gooooodd

I received some good news today. I finally got my new job grade, which of course translated into more money. Not much, just RM200 more but oklah. It didn’t come as a surprise to me; actually I had been waiting for it for over a year.

I know I should feel thankful, but for some reason I feel slightly bitter. When I got the news and confirmation letter, I had to listen to a lecture from a certain person, on how it was hard for him/her to fight for my new grade, how he/her had gotten in a argument with the CFO about it, how the CEO was pressuring him for rewarding staff who failed to deliver.

Failed to deliver??!! I beg your pardon!! You’re saying for the past 3 years, I’ve been sitting on my ass doing nothing? That I haven’t been heaving myself to numerous meetings, putting up with partners’ kerenah mak nenek, hauling myself to events, missing out on time with my family….macam-macamlah!!

Urghhhh. Seriously, if it wasn’t for this bloody ½ million bond on top of my head, I would just blow this joint. Having a boss from hell really dampers my mood at work. There are times I dread waking up, especially on Monday, knowing that I have to survive 5 long days until the weekend.

Because of this, I’ve decided to try and make my time at work more enjoyable. I’ve joined the aerobics classes, which is great coz it gives me an outlet to let off steam. I’ve signed up for the bowling tournament. I take my lunch time seriously and refuse to answer any phone calls while I’m eating.

Tomorrow’s Thursday. Just one more day until the weekend.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Langkawi Trip

Sigh. My blog has been abandoned for so long, I’ve lost the touch to write. I have many stories and pictures to share. My Bali trip Day 3 and 4 entries are half written but I’ve chosen not to continue coz details are a bit hazy. Maybe if I’m out of ideas, I’ll write more on my Bali trip and share some interesting facts about the place and the people.

Last week was a short one for me in the office. I took leave from Tuesday until Friday for our family much-postponed trip to Langkawi. We all spent Tuesday night at my parents’ place as we intended to leave for Kuala Perlis early the next day. We left home around 8.30am, a groundbreaking record as previous plans for “leaving early” for previous family trips meant “anytime before 12 noon.” This usually meant 11.59am.

The road trip up north took us around 6 hours. Fortunately the girls were complete angels, hardly complaining at all. Once we arrived at the Jetty, we parked our car at the covered parking lot. Charges were RM8 per day per car (we had 2 cars) so that added up to RM64. Our only concern was that we had to give our car keys to the attendant, which turned out to be untrue. We booked tickets (8 adults and 1 child; Dina got on for free) for the 3pm ferry so while waiting we negotiated with a Mr. Rosli for a rental car and an Island Hopping outing. We wanted a Toyota Estima or similar but all they had was a Serena, so we took that. Ayah negotiated the price to RM90 per day so we got a great deal. We decided to book the Island hopping at RM35 per person (regular price is RM45) and put down the time as “open”.


The ferry ride to Langkawi Island was extremely exciting for the girls. I feared that they might get seasick but they were thrilled by how fast the ferry was going and commented on every little thing they saw on the way.
We reached the island around 3.45pm and called the guy who was holding our MPV. We found out that the previous renter was still holding the Serena so we had to use their Mitsubishi Space Wagon. It was a tight fit coz everybody had their own bags, plus we brought Dina’s stroller and bottle carrier, but we managed to squeeze everybody and everything in. Luckily everybody in my family is quite slim, heheheehe.

It was a 20-minute drive from the jetty to our hostel. It had started to rain so while unloading all the bags, we all got a little wet. We were given the two units on the far end of the grounds so we had to make a dash across the volleyball court to get to them. The units were OK, but needed some maintenance. Paint was seen peeling off in some of the rooms, while in my unit, the dryer was not working. The hot water wasn’t working in Nisa’s room, or in my brothers’ room. However, the rent was cheap (RM660 for 2 units for 3 nights; each units had 2 rooms) so we didn’t complain much.

Since we had had a long journey, not much was done during the first night. We went out at around 8.30 for some dinner. After driving around, we decided to eat at a nice looking restaurant called Rasa.
BAD MISTAKE!! The food was terrible and overpriced. We ordered white rice with steamed fish, mixed tomyam, kangkung with fried belacan, lala cooked in soy sauce and chicken percik. The serving was supposed to be for 4 people but when it came, it looked enough for just one. My youngest brother alone devoured the chicken percik; it cost us RM15. Most of the lala dish was the empty shells; even those that had some flesh in them were minuscule. The tomyam was actually watered down ketchup, it was that bad. The fried mee we ordered was too salty and the drinks were too sweet. We ended up paying around RM140 for a very bad dinner. I just had to add in a picture of the place; you have been warned. If you eat here, be prepared to eat bad food for exorbitant prices!!


It rained slightly the following morning but by 9am, the rain had let up. We decided to go out for some breakfast before going for our Island hopping outing.
I called up the lady at the jetty (it was right behind our hostel) to let her know we were coming at around 10am. Fortunately we were a large group, so we didn’t have to share out boat with anyone else. Although Dania was excited by the boat ride, Dina was a little freaked out at first. The strong wind and the sound of the engine made her a little anxious but after a while she relaxed and started pointing to all the fishing boats we passed by.

Our first stop was at the Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden). Legend has it, the pregnant maiden used to be a princess from the heavens. On one of her trips to earth, she met and fell in love with a local fisherman. Because of their differences, their relationship was doomed a failure but somehow, the princess found herself pregnant with the fisherman’s child. The princess’s family forbade her to return to the heavens, so the princess had to stay on earth. The fisherman also married another woman so the princess was left heartbroken. As she lay down to weep, her body turned to stone and her tears formed the lake. Legend goes on to say, barren women who drink from the lake will become pregnant within a year or so.


We spent an hour or so at the lake, enjoying the sights and playing with the semilang fishes reared there. The fishes were so tame, if you put your feet in the water, they would come up and nibble your feet. It felt ticklish at first but after a while it felt like hundred of tiny suctions giving your feet a massage. Very nice!! Beware of the monkeys though, especially if you’re carrying plastic bags as the monkeys assume you have food on you. Dina was fascinated with the monkeys and tried to make friends with them. We had to hold her tight for fear the monkeys would accidentally bite her.


After that, we headed back to the boat. Our guide took us next to Pulau Singa (Lion Island). Of course, there weren’t any real lions but there were eagles. Hundreds of them. We watched them fly over us as our guide threw chicken skins in the air. It was a wonderful sight.


After spending 30 minutes just gazing at the eagles, we headed to Pulau Beras Basah. Loosely translated it means Island of the Wet Rice, whatever that might mean. Again, the name didn’t reveal much of what the island had to offer but the kids had a blast just playing and swimming in the ocean. Alang and hubby tried parasailing, pictures as below. It looked like fun but the cost was quite expensive (RM80 per person) that I decided to forgo my chance. Maybe next time.

After 4 hours of island hopping, we decided to head back to the hostel. Everyone felt rather sticky from the seawater so we all decided to freshen up before heading out for lunch. We had lunch in Kuah, the main town. After filling up, we walked around the town looking at the shops. We bought a few souvenirs and checked out the prices for chocolate. We shopped till we dropped (literally). Ibu was raring to shop some more but the rest of us had had enough. Ayah was ready to just sit on the sidewalk and wait for us to finish spending everything we had.

As luck would have it, our hostel experienced a blackout at around 10pm. Great!! It got rather hot and stuffy so we opened all the windows and doors, trying to get the sea breeze to cool us down. We got attacked by mosquitoes so it was a great relief when the electricity came back two hours later.

The next day, everyone woke up late. We headed out for brunch at around 11am. We headed back to Kuah then drove to the place where they had the cable car. We had to stop for directions twice (need better signage!!) and another time for the guys to perform Friday prayers.


When we arrived at Macincang Mountain, it has just stopped raining. Mist was surrounding the top of the mountain, giving it a mystical view. After buying tickets (RM15 for adults, RM10 for children 3 and above), we took 2 cable cars up. The ride took about 20 minutes but my mom’s maid felt like it took forever. Being terrified of heights, her knuckles were white by the time we reached the top of the mountain.


The view was astounding. The temperature was just cool enough to walk around without a jacket. Ayah even bought ice cream to enjoy while taking in the view. At the topmost place, the height was about 705 meters above sea level so you could see most of the bay and the surrounding islands. Beautiful pictures as below.

We headed next to Underwater World. We arrived at around 5pm and were told that the aquarium closes at 6pm. However we were assured that once we had tickets, we could spend as much time as we wanted to inside.
Ticket prices were a bit steep (RM28 per adult, RM18 for children 3 and above) but we had already put this as part of our itinerary so we decided to head on in.
It wasn’t a waste. Dania had a blast, often shouting “Ibu, look at what I found.”, while pointing at the many fishes and other aquatic animals exhibited there. The highlight was a giant tank housing large marine species such as sharks, stingrays, groupers and green turtles, with a 15-metre tunnel for visitors to walk through and enjoy a spectacular view of the exhibits. We took in a movie on whales and sharks at the 3D theatre, much to the kids delight. After taking tons of pictures, we left the aquarium at around 7pm. We had a late night dinner at one of the warongs nearby, thank god the food was delicious. We played cards until 1am and then retired for the night.

The day we headed back to KL, it rained heavily. We had decided to do some last minute shopping so everyone had to dash from the car to the shops to avoid getting wet. I bought a bunch of kitchenware, including that thing that has the bowl for soup in the middle and six smaller bowls around it. I have no idea what you call that. I bought one for my mother-in-law. Hehehehe, you gotta score points wherever necessary.

The ferry ride back to Kuala Perlis was chaotic coz we had to take the same trip as a tour company. I was counting the minutes until we reached the jetty. Once there, we called up the guys from the covered parking lot and hauled ass back home. We had dinner at the Sungai Juru R&R. We reached my parents’ home at around 12am. Poor ayah had a golf tournament the next day. I have no idea how he fared on the green.


All in all, our Langkawi trip was a great vacation. Despite a few hiccups, we all had fun and really enjoyed ourselves.

Next trip, Beijing?!! Ahhhh…where am I going to find the money for this?

Friday, June 09, 2006

International Islamic Fair at PWTC

I haven't much time to update anything coz I'm heading off to Ipoh for an event in Ipoh in like 30 minutes (God, I hate my job!!). Just a quick note on an event in PWTC this weekend.

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International Islamic Fair adalah antara usaha pertama dan ulung dalam memartabatkan produk dan servis Islam melalaui pamerannya dan melalui konferens yang diadakan dengan tujuan untuk menyentuh isu-isu yang berlegar di kalangan umat Islam semasa dan juga konsert yang diadakan untuk tujuan amal mengumpul dana untuk membekalkan tafsir Al-Quran kepada hotel-hotel.

Namun begitu, tinggal beberapa hari lagi untuk program berlangsung, jualan tiket untuk konsert, konferens amatlah sedikit sekali. Tidak sampai 10% tiket yang telah terjual. Begitu juga dengan pameran percuma yang diadakan. Masih ramai belum tahu kewujudan IIF ini.

Dalam usaha untuk meyakinkan exhibitioner untuk membuka booth pameran, kami menjanjikan kehadiran lebih dari 50 000 - 70 000 akan hadir. Namun dalam keadaan begini, kami kurang yakin untuk mendapat 10 000 pengunjung pun.

Apa yang merisaukan kami, sekiranya program ini tidak mendapat sambutan, tidak ramai pihak yang berminat untuk menyertai program sebegini pada masa yang akan datang, sekaligus ruang untuk memasarkan produk dan servis Islam, serta platform untuk mengumpul dana dan konferensi untuk membincangkan isu isu Islam, tidak lagi dapat dijalankan.

Oleh itu, bantulah kami untuk menyebarkan maklumat mengenai program ini, sama ada melalui e-mail, yahoogroup, sms, bulletin frenster, blog dsbnya.

Tarikh : 9 - 11 Jun 2006 (Jumaat- Ahad)

Tempat : PWTC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Masa : 10 pagi - 8 malam setiap hari.

Kemasukan : Pameran adalah percuma, konsert dan konferens adalah berbayar.

Jasa anda dalam menyebarkan maklumat hanya Allah yang mampu balasnya.

Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila hubungi Azmil di 012-226 7769.
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