A bird is trying to make a nest from a lose but sturdy string at my backyard. It creates a lot of mess with twigs and dried leaves strewn all over and a daily dose of bird shit on the floor of the backyard.

As much as I am an animal lover, it is no doubt annoying. But the bird needs to lay its eggs. So in the spirit of this new year, I agreed with the husband to let the process be.

Patience is never easy, especially for an Ariesian like me. But there is always a way to start somewhere. And cleaning bird shit daily from my own backyard could be a good starting point, no?

Happy New Year.

I hope 2009 would be a year with less bird shit in more ways than one. 🙂

On a brand new year

I promised myself not to be a news junkie but it is kind of tough when the first day of the new Hijrah year we woke up to the news of the Gaza attacks.

Quoted :

We have nothing against Gaza residents, but we are engaged in an all-out war against Hamas and its proxies,” Barak said on Monday

Ok. Fine. Nothing against Gaza residents but ” 323 Gazans have been killed and another 145 wounded in three consecutive days of Israeli bombardment in the heavily-populated territory “

Sengaja eh? A way of wishing a happy new year perhaps?

Putting the kettle on like Polly

Kalau kail panjang sejengkal, lautan dalam usah diduga.

Funny that of all things that crossed my mind, that peribahasa had to be the one. Just now we welcomed the new Hijrah year in the Islamic calendar and in a matter of a few days, the Gregorian calendar too will turn new. For the past few days I have been busy updating and changing calendars. In the midst of doing so, I sat down and reflected upon the past year which I had gone through. I looked back at the goals and targets I had set in December 2007 for 2008.

I was a little bit wiser at that time. Every year before then, I made unrealistic goals and targets thinking that I was that Wonder Woman ( minus the  ugly headband and knee-length boots) that I could achieve them all. The price of being loftly was of course, unattained goals/targets/resolutions and lots of frustrations. So the peribahasa was definitely right. If I have only a kail panjang sejengkal, janganlah nak eksyen terar pancing ikan kat tengah lautan. So at this time, last year I made a list of  more realistic targets and now, as I am typing this, I am quite glad that most, if not all of them were achieved.

So to prepare for this new Hijrah Year and also the coming 2009, I have taken some measures to make life in 2009 simpler and easier. Firstly, I decluttered my physical surroundings. It felt so good to get rid of all the extra clothing which I’ve kept in the wardrobe thinking that I would wear them one day but of course, that one day never came. I gave away at least 3 bagfuls of those to the cleaning ladies within a span of 3 weeks, much to their delight. All the extra handbags/bags/carriers were given to them too and I now only keep 2 handbags for myself. The wardrobe now looks bright and airy. I came across a saying ‘ It does not take much for a person to live’ on the new calendar I bought. How true! I don’t need an overflowing wardrobe full of clothes and I can still be a decently covered person. Then I attacked the kitchen, the study and whatever else there were to be attacked. All the things I reckoned I would not be using frequently I have given away. With the physical clutter out of my sight, I seriously feel the mental clutter gone too. Somehow my mind feels lighter.

Next, I made these notes. That in the new year, I will be selective. Selective of what I read especially. Reading the newspapers and online news back to back daily can be mood spoilers sometimes if not most of the time. There is a difference, I realised in being informed and being a news junkie. I still want to be informed of the current happenings of the world, but I will just be selective that the news I really read are those that do not bring too much negativity into my life. This year I learnt that I create my own happiness– not so much the environment. The world is becoming more bleak by the day but it does not mean that my life has to be doom and gloom too.

I also notice that I tend to fret when things go wrong or not according to plan. That needs to change. The English, from what I read in the English classics , when anything goes wrong would go ‘I’ll put the kettle on and make some tea..’ I need to be able to do that. Like ‘Polly puts the kettle on and we all have tea’ song. Fretting often made me more jumbled up than coming up with a good solution. Hence I agree with the English, putting the kettle on like Polly and have some tea first  may actually lead me to deal with troubled situations in a better manner than with a jumbled mind.

With that, I think I am pretty geared up for this next year of journey.

Maal Hijrah and A Happy New Year.

1429/2008 had been challenging and awesome. 1430 and 2009 will, I foresee to be a very, very colourful year. I am also wishing new President Obama to be rightfully guided and may he bring upon the change that he was voted for.

And it is free

I love it here that we can take weekend trips to waterfalls within an hour’s drive from our place. Usually we would go to Camang in Pahang, around 1.15 hr drive from our place. Or trek up a bit in Ulu Langat and look for the Pangsun river. Yesterday we were brought to a new location, in Serendah. The drive itself took us about an hour sans jam, thankfully. Then we walked up the hill a bit for about 15 min and soon, we heard sloshing of the water…  

The sound of the water was music. I could not wait to jump in.

All I wanted was to sit underneath that fall

Which I managed to, but before that I could not resist taking this shot…

Taken upon arriving. 

We sat under the waterfall for a long, long while for free hydrotheraphy spa. Our good friends, their kids and us. The surroundings provided us with natural music mostly from the birds. Fresh air was in abundance too. I felt recharged, rejuvenate and re-‘zen’. We had nasi lemak bought from the pakcik in the alley near our house. They were wrapped in daun pisang. And we laughed and joked and had fun. It was a nice weekend. As I’ve said it before, I really love it  here, in Malaysia… 🙂

Of Happiness

We tried our best to make her happy as both of us are the only family she has here. Since she is not going to be back to her hometown this season, we tried to well, at least replicate it for her here.

The night before we took her to The Curve for dinner and she found it strange. This is Christmas? She asked at the sight of the young merry-makers walking around with Santa hats and some with the neon coloured ‘devil’s tanduk’ headgear for whatever reason there is. And the partying caught her off guard too. Too noisy for Christmas, she observed with a frown. Where she came from, Christmas has always been a very quiet family affair. She also pointed out that the only ones who wear Santa hats back in her hometown are Santas themselves… sigh..

Never mind, I tried to tell her. This is what these people have the been fed the idea of what Christmas is all about, so let them be. So we had dinner and watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua. As she likes animals, we reckoned that would be a good movie to take her to.

So yesterday on the day itself we took her to Gobo Chit Chat, the restaurant at Traders Hotel. I have to say the Christmas buffet spread was fantastic and the service was excellent. Husband and I have been there for lunch before this but not the buffet. Now we certainly know that Gobo has fantastic chefs and would recommend it to anyone. She enjoyed the buffet as she got her brussel sprouts and stollen and whatever else that is familiar to her. I guess we did the right thing because she was really happy and kept saying this dish and that dish reminds her of Christmas in Europe.

After lunch we went to KLPac to watch A Christmas Carol. Honestly, I thought the acting was bad except for the Scrooge character. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The husband looked sleepy and I knew he didn’t quite enjoy it too. But she was laughing and beaming and concentrating. She declared it ‘very good and enjoyable’ and ‘not bad for an Asian production to carry Dickens’. We just tried to brush it off that we were sleepy so were not really paying attention to it.

It rained too heavily when we came out of KLPac so she decided to take us for some tea. Her treat, she declared.. So off we went to Putri Pan Pacific for their English Tea special of Earl Grey and scones. We were full and I felt like a dugong upon reaching home. But we looked at her, so happily smiling and beaming, we knew we had done the right thing.

So that was our Christmas holiday–making the mother in law happy. Though honestly Christmas is just another public holiday for me, as it has been all my life. Yesterday I was reminded that it does mean alot of things to her and it also brings alot of memories for the husband too, so for that I was glad I made the extra efforts to have her around this season.

All I want for Christmas is…

Yesterday the mother-in-law called from wherever she was asking what do I think the husband–her son would probably like for Christmas this year. She had called the husband with the same question for me on another occasion, which I guess explains the 3 new floral potted plants delivered to the house yesterday afternoon. So I got new floral potted plants to be hung ( which the husband thought was what I would want and told his mother so ) and now have to suggest what she should get for the husband–her son.

I told her I don’t know. As in really, I don’t know. I wouldn’t know what a son would want from his mother for Christmas. So I asked him. What would you like from your mother for Christmas this year. His reply was ‘ She’s my mother for goodness sake. She should know what I would want.. ‘ Now, really.  I pointed out to him that the fact she asked means she doesn’t know. ‘ Well, I don’t know what I want either’ came the final reply, which of course ain’t helping. So I told him mum,’ I don’t know… so you’d probably have to figure this out yourself this time..’

Then it occured to me. We may want this and that sometimes, or all the time, but when asked for what we really, really want from someone that means alot to us, more often than not we really don’t know what we want. I guess their presence in our life is what we really, really want and need but somehow we don’t really know how to articulate it.

On that record, the potted plants are nice. But well, what I really, really want this Christmas, cliche as it may sound is for my family and friends, wherever they ( we ) are to be really happy, doing whatever they are doing, wherever they are. Happiness has been underrated on many occasions.  We often forget that happiness keeps us healthy and positive and exude good aura for a better environment. And I am not trying to sound like a zen master or a self-help book here. 🙂

So really, I may be eyeing that Panasonic Red Lumix ( I am hinting very obviously here muakakaka ) … but if I know that my family and friends are in the state of happiness, than consider my wish granted. Because I am happy and contented. Despite all the challenges, it has been really a good year for me. Alhamdulillah.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Dulu dan sekarang

This year end has been surprisingly busy.

I thought it would be lull. But hey, super kiasu parents are not only where I came from, so it seems. The parents here have eerily morphed into the kind of parents I would rather not cross path with back home. Even though they were everywhere like some species of ‘assessment book lugging’ locusts.

I have been booked choc-a-block for the whole of November/December for English lessons and other forms of ‘remediation’ activities before the new school year.

When I was in school, I played ye-ye/batu selembat/congkak/police and thieves/jelon/paper dolls and other kinds of DIY games. Oh the exhilaration then was out of this world.

Kids these days spend their holidays with the likes of educators like me?

Takde life eh?

… and he lives on

He was almost dying some months ago. When this entry was written, we were prepared to lose him.

But he fought on then with all his life. And he lives on to look like this now…

p10101051Fat and fluffy just like his brother, Milo…

That’s our fiesty Tito. The Tito who almost died but lives on to be fat and happy…

Tis a season…

The best part about being here this time of the year is halal Christmas buffets in the hotels here.

We’ve booked to meet the mother-in-law for x’Mas lunch @ Gobo and after that, Charles Dicken’s The Christmas Carol, by who else but the good people of KL Pac.

I am so looking forward ( for the food ).