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.


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…


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, 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.