Sunday, June 29, 2008

Every Stranger a Friend we have not met

We meet people daily in our lives, everywhere. Everyone we meet has some interesting story to share or experience we can learn from . I am one who loveeesssss to hear about other people's lives. Some may call this as being nosey, but I like the term being inquisitive! My son's swimming instructor(I am referring to her as M in case she does not want me to mention her on this blog) is a German lady who has been in Malaysia and married to a local and has 2 sons. So we meet briefly almost every Sunday and exchange some niceties in between the classes. Today Arjoonha had his swimming class, and in that one hour he was with her I quickly made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. Okay I am going to post this recipe later. At the end of the class it started raining, and also she did not have another class after my son's. So I invited her over for tea at my place. It was a perfect, cosy weather to have someone over for hot tea and chocolate chip cookies. I got to know quite a bit about her. Such interesting details as to how she backpacked throughout Indonesia, and ended in Malaysia accidentally and met her husband who is a town planner by accident. And 11 years later married with 2 boys. Also I got to know more about her life in Germany and some of her political views and priorities in life. And as mothers do we ended our conversation discussing about our children. Now M has become more then just my son's swimming instructor. It's amazing what a cup of tea and cookie can do on a rainy day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Typical SATURDAY: Counting my blessings!

With so many uncertainties around us, sometimes a typical weekend is a blessing indeed! Today we had a typical SATURDAY. We woke up slightly later then normal. My eldest son Arjoonha is an early riser, so by 730am we are all up. He gets excited about preparing breakfast for the family, so I try to get him involved and we usually have toast, scrambled eggs, baked beans and sausages. Then some lazing around in the pyjamas and some playing. Then Arjoonha is sent for his children's class and in that 1 hour I will prepare lunch, such as sandwiches or spaghetti. Today was chicken sandwich day. We have lunch together, then the kids are allowed to watch a cartoon, while the adults get some rest, reading time or computer time! After that we normally head to my mother's and spend the rest of the evening there. The children get to meet and play with their cousins and I get to catch up with my mum and sisters, and the husbands are normally in the background having tea, reading, napping or taking the kids to playground. We normally head back home after dinner, and children will doze off in the car and have to be carried back home. This is how we spend a typical Saturday!

Simple Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Chicken breast or fillet
Fresh grounded pepper
Lettuce cut into small pieces
Onions slices
Cucumber slices
Tomatoes slices
Cheese slices
Bread: white/whole meal, or pita bread
Tomato/Chilli Ketchup

Marinate chicken with salt pepper and honey and leave it for an hour
Then roast the chicken in an oven till all brown and tender
once chicken is cooked cut it into slices
Then pile up the bread with layers of chicken, cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, pickes, cheese and put on any dressing that the family likes. You can also toast the bread if you like. If you feel you will need more vegetables for lunch you can serve the sandwich with a bowl of salad that you family loves!
This is a simple wholesome meal with chicken and vegetables, perfect for quick lunches. This is also perfect for take away by wrapping it into cling wrap so that it will remain fresh when you are going out!

Other then chicken you can also use egg!

Friday, June 27, 2008

“Every man dies - Not every man really lives.”

Today could have easily been Friday the 13th. I came to office excited that it was a Friday and looking forward to the weekend, but then a friend of mine was very upset about something and she was really down, then I received another call with news of someone I know having ovarian cancer, and then another news that my hubands good friend is in ICU with a lung failure with a slim chance of surviving. I am a little shocked with all these news, as me or my loved ones could have been one of these people. Life is so fragile and unpredictable, and it puts us to shame that we worry about trivial things like if my butt looks big?? I wonder what will go through our mind when we are on our deathbed? Death comes unheralded, and I must remind myself of this the next time I start worrying about some trivia matters! Live life!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Come over to my place...

I remember my mother bringing me along to visit families, for reasons such as someone is not well, funerals, births, or just visiting a friend or family whom we have not met for some time. When we were younger we did not have a car, neither telephone,so we were not able to inform the family before visiting. We used to take the bus or cab for the visits. The families will welcome us happily, and will serve us tea and biscuits, or if nothing is available then they will quickly run to the shop and get us something. Nowadays with the ease of having a car and all, casual visiting is almost a forgotten art.I have heard of people who says that they were upset as they had friends just dropping in without letting them know or given a short notice. I wonder is it because we have lost the 'community'feeling and are too caught up with our busy lives, or maybe it is true that life is indeed very busy, with career, traffic jams, more demands to earn more, etc...? We felt tired after work today but had a neighbour in hospital down with dengue. So I thought to myself what my mother would have done? Sigh...I have to visit the neighbour, so we went to visit her with a copy of the Oprah magazine to cheer her up. She looked happy that we visited, and I was glad that we did. We were able to show the kids the importance of caring and visiting, although they went to bed nearer to 10pm and not 830pm!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monday Blues..House and Holiday///

Yesterday I had a serious bout of Monday blues. I really mean blues! My colleagues can vouch for this. I was feeling down for no reason,sad for no reason and my spirit was truly low. Came back home and was cheered with the faces of my boys. I was saved by the prayer session we had that night, which made me feel immediately better. The power of prayers... I felt my spirit being refreshed and gladdened. So today I am back with better spirit and goodwill. Yahoo, we are signing the S&P tomorrow to seal the purchase of the house; it is 17 days with no TV in my house. Still contemplating if I should introduce it after 21 days or drag it to another 30 days. And I am also looking forward to our holiday next month to Cameron Highlands...Okay it may not be New Zealand but a holiday nevertheless! No pictureslah today...let me see if I can get something on Cameron Higlands..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Water, water everywhere

There are no shortage of beaches and water activities in Malaysia. When I was younger I used to live in Sitiawan which is 1/2 hour from Lumut and Pangkor Island. So we do go to the beach, though thinking back we really should have gone more often. I tried to learn swimming by sneaking out of the house to join my friends at the naval base but that failed. Then later at University a friend taught me swimming. So I picked up some breast stroke, and was beginning to feel at ease in water. And I did some snorkeling back then in Pangkor and Redang and fell in love with it, and even thought of taking up Diving(haven't found the guts and company yet). So as soon as Arjoonha was old enough I decided to enrol him into swimming class. Now he can do breast stroke and back stroke and is very at ease in water. Bhaarath is such a natural. That boy must have been born under water. He can dive and put his face into the water with ease. End of last year we went for a holiday to Pangkor and went snorkeling. The guide dropped us at a point and we had 2 choices either to hike up a hill or swim around the island to reach the snorkeling spot. So out of 20 of us, 6 of us decided that we would be able to swim across. And yours truly was insane enough to do this. I really regretted this temporary insanity of mine, 10 minutes into the swim. The current was strong, waves were strong, and I was thinking this will be how I will die. The Star tabloid will carry the heading, "Stupid woman drowned due to being over confident'!. It was one hour swim and my limbs felt alien to the rest of my body. Okay...what was good was, the underwater scene. The beautiful fishes! But then I was not able to see the bottom of the sea at all and heart missed a beat... Anyway I survived and later when I was calmer I felt good for being able to do it. I made a decision then to take up some lessons to brush up on my swimming skills.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Arjoonha's Sports Day 2008-Qdees

Prize giving: Trophy and spiderman toy!

The march past

Arjoonha with Ms Chow

We were at Arjoonha's sports day today. When he was a 6 month old baby he developed a pigmentation condition which leaves small dark patches like those marks left by chicken pox all over his face and body. Whenever someone meets him for the first time they will ask about these spots. So when he first heard of sports day at 4 years old, he thought it was to celebrate the 'Spots'. He came home excitedly to tell us that there will be a 'Spots' day. Now that he is 5 and all grown up he knows better. So we were out from 8-12noon today. Bhaarath was excited to tag along and to to see his big brother sporting. It can be pretty hillarious to see antics of the 'Kiasuness' of parents these days. They tried to squeeze through to take pictures, or shout across for their kids to smile. One father who was standing beside me was calling out to his 6 year old daughter. "Rachel, Rachel, Rachel smile,smile...put your cap on properly,stand straight, smile, smile." The poor girl was looking around embarrassed with her father's antics.And then there was another mother, who kept on going to the area where parents are not allowed to wipe the sweat of her 5 year old son, continuously". I can almost imagine the boy growing up to be all nerdy and soft!. But there are also some composed and nice parents, who let their children sweat a little, or just let them be kids. I chose them to speak to and hang around with. After all this is sports day and a little sweat and dirt wouldn't kill anyone.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

House Hunting-Hunted

Remember I mentioned that I may have found a house after all. Yes it has been decided and the loan has been approved, so awaiting for the S&P to be signed and then money to be disbursed. We will be moving into our new home some time end oct, once Sheroz's year end examination. So working backwards we will need to get many things sorted out. Meeting up with the education department for transfer, changing of utilities, changes of addresses for all bills, renovation work, informing friends of move(oh yeah,we receive healthy amount of visitors to our place, whom we enjoy their company very much), furniture shopping, and much more...

IDIOT BOX Saga continues...

It has been 13 days without TV at my home. Kids were kind of restless the first 5 days or so. Slowly they are getting into a pattern or accupying themselves with other stuffs. I am seeing more toys being taken out and played with. I see them playing amongst themselves more. In the morning Arjoonha has been focusing on breakfast and all. So seems like worth the experiment. Siva and I are also sleeping earlier then usual. what do I do now, do I bring back the idiot box into our lives, or to leave it completely behind? I do believe TV in moderation and with guidance can be a great learning tool, but it's sometimes a challenge to set the limit, even for myself. I get hooked to E-News and in finding out which celebrity is divorcing, giving birth..etc. Let's give it another 20 days or so and let me enjoy the bliss of not having TV for some time! What do you think?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To Copy or Coffee

During my 2nd year university break I took up a temporary position as a secretary at Standard Chartered. I was reporting to the Sr VP of International Corporate loan, a real good looking guy. About 2 weeks into my job, he called me over and asked me for some coffee. So I eagerly went to inform the tea lady. She asked me if he requested for white or black. Being so young, I thought everyone only drank coffee with milk, so I went to my boss and asked him white or black? He looked at me really funnily, and then mentioned 'white', and added is there other colour? I smiled politely and said okay, and informed the tea lady. So she brought the coffee over and passed it to him. And he called me over and said where are the copies. And at that point I wanted to piss in my pants, literally piss, and was so embarrassed that I am sure my face was red although I am tanned! He actually asked me to make copies of the earlier document he passed to me and when I asked him white or black he was wondering what other colours can the photocopy print be in but I thought he wanted coffee!!! How I wished I just could drop dead and never have to work for him another day. But I continued to do so for almost 3 months, and he even threw me a farewell party at Chilli's when I left.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bra Story

Friday is here again! Yahoo...! I thought I will share something funny. When I was younger we lived in this Chinese New Village kind of a house. It is not fenced, has lots of places to run around and surrounded by lots of trees. One of the chores I do is to pick up the clothes from the clothing line when I returned from school. So I came home on a Friday afternoon, and picked up the clothes and then mother asked me to run an errand to Ah Kow's shop to get some sago. So I took my bicycle (we cycle everywhere those days), and cycled passed some houses, and pass the Chung Cheng Chinese primary school (it was after school hours so students were outside the school waiting for school buses), and then I reached the shop. I parked my bicycle and strutted into the shop and bought 50cents worth of sago (yes 50cents actually meant something then!). So Ah Kow gave me the stuff and I took it and swung my head (I used to wear my hair in a ponytail), and I felt something swinging across my face. And I felt the earth opening up and swallowing me alive. My mother's bra was stuck to my hair and hanging as an extension of my ponytail! I was so embarassed that I did not look anywhere. I took the bra, shove it into my pocket and cycled with a dead pan face... The sago kuih did not taste good that day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Today is the 6th day with '0' TV time in our home. Not that I have become an over responsible parent, but the astro decorder is faulty. Our first reaction was to get it fixed so we can enjoy having the kids leave us alone for a few minutes, or Siva get all glued up during CSI or House screening time, or me having the 'me' time by watching celebrity gossips! But we decided otherwise and thought this will be a brilliant time weaning kids of TV and also to see how the family functions without it. The greatest mistake I made as a parent is to let my sons have meals in front of the TV! Although I have limited the kids to 2 max 3 cartoons a day but still had tough time feeding kids without the TV on. So the last 5 days has been blissful. Instead of TV it has been replaced with books, and board games, and just doing things together. The kids are also forced to look at toys that normally they ignore and they play with each other more. Experts says kids below 2 years old should have no TV time, and above 2 no more then 1 hour. But most kids I know spend hours in front of the TV, watching adult shows that are inappropriate for their age. TV promotes too much violence, risky behaviours, sex, alcohol and drugs. So if you think your kids are watching too much you can try some of these:

1. limit the number of and kind of shows they can watch and stick to it.

2. set a good example by limiting your own tv viewing.

3. use good judgement on the kinds of show that a young child can watch (for instance too much sex in james bond, but young kids watches this freely)

4. come up with a family tv schedule and choose shows that they whole family can enjoy

5. talk to your child about what he or she sees

6. offer fun alternatives to TV ; board games, play dough, physical activities etc

Bottom line is limit your TV time...and I can say this bravely because we dont have a TV for now, and I hope for a very long time! Share with me if you have great ideas about limiting TV time.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My mother was a great exemplar to her children. I remember when I was younger, or when she was younger she used to climb the roof of the house to patch a leak, or repair the TV or radio when it's faulty, or cement a broken pavement, ...We rarely got someone to do it. So when I got my apartment I bought me a Black and Decker's Drill set! So I fixed all our window railings, shelves for the bathroom, and hung up all the pictures and frames! It was definitely cost savings, but also a good feeling that you got it done yourself. My husband though thrifty and macho in all ways for some reason does not seem to be part of this. His idea of DIY is when we purchase the DIY furnitures he fixes them (sigh...). One of our kitchen tap has been leaking. So I went to the hardware shop and the friendly guy at the shop gave me a tutorial on how to do the whole works, from cutting the pipe, the glue, the extension and then to replace it with a new tap head. Okay it may sound difficult, but actually with some guidance and also with some commonsense..Wallah we fixed it. Yes I mentioned 'We' because I forced hubby into it. And guess what in 1/2 hour it is fixed. And guess how much the plumber asked me for it? Not including the price of the materials (about RM60 in total, for the tap(this depends china, malaysia or italy made; never get china made or else you have to do it all over again in a month, the tape, the glue, the flexi rod, and some small valve), and RM80 for workmanship or he can give small discount and charge me RM60! Can you believe that? Meaning we would have spent about RM140 - RM160 for this work and we did it with only RM60, and the better part of it is we learnt how to do it and able to use the skill again.So next time you have a leak or a need for a fix, go to the friendly hardware shop and find out on how to DIY or call me and I will do it...for lesser then what the plumber will charge. With cost of living increasing these skills will come in truly handy.

Being a Friend to Earth

There is so much talk on environment and what is good and what is bad. I always wonder if all the talks, the articles will actually help, and if those at the grassroots really care or even thinks about it. I was pleasantly surprised as all the buzz and talks, and articles do help after all. I went to a small shop near where I work and the guy at the counter mentions about one should not use too many plastic bags, I went to Subway for a sandwich and the lady behind the counter mentioned that she is bringing up a suggestion the her management to switch to paper bags instead...And yesterday I went to a traditional hardware shop near where I live and when I refused a plastic bag for the things I purchased, he said all of us should reduce on plastics, and so forth. It looks like being environmentally friendly is close to everyone's heart. All this is fine but how do we do our part..We may not be carrying placards to protest but may find our own small ways.. In my family for instance we are trying to use lesser plastic bags. When we do grocery we bring as many bags as possible, when we buy our bread we refuse plastic bags, when we withdraw money on the ATM we try not to ask for receipts unless necessary, we also collect all unused things laying around our home and send them to the recycling spots, there are many around housing estates,.... Let me know if you have any good ideas and lets do our bit and be Enviromentally Friendly!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Weekend: Now you see it,now you don't

Drop spoonful of
Bhaarath with the cookies

The anticipation of the weekend is much more a joy then the actual weekend itself. There is some magic in the universe on Friday's.The sky looks bluer, people kinder and the world seems to be all bright and cheerful. No bigots and fanatics, only sane and nice people. Then Sunday comes creeping through and the world again seems like a battle ground,where one need to fight to survive. Okay...that is how it is for me anyway (also I am in thePMS timeframe). In recent times I have become a little braver in facing the sunday blues. This weekend was really a busy one. I had prayer sessions, meeting with old friends for lunch, and then spending time with mother-in-law. On Saturday afternoon Arjoonha did not have his usual children class so we made chocolate chip cookies. It turned out well. For the first 20 pieces I tried the original recipe and it turned out great, for the 2nd 20 I added in cocoa powder, and it tasted good, but the cookies were not so soft, and slightly harder.I preferred the 1st batch. This recipe is very simple and all will be good to go in less then 15mins of preparation and 10 mins of baking. Let me know how it turns out!

1 cup butter (original recipe they use shortening)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chip(original recipe german choc, I used Hersheys choc chips)

preheat oven
cream butter, sugar, until fluffy and then add in eggs, and beat well. Then stir in vaniila and all the other dry stuff and mix well till they blend.
use a spoon to make drops intoa greased baking tray.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Siva's Birthday

Our family's Birthday falls one after another. It starts with Arjoonha in April, Bhaarath and me in May and Siva in June. Today is Siva's Birthday(my husband). Getting a gift for Siva is the hardest thing to do (still thinking of what to get him). I took Siva out for dinner to this nice place, Australian Outback at Bangsar Village. It has a cosy, pleasant setting, and our kind of country music was playing. So we ordered serious stuff like lamb and beef and tucked away. I find the food to be better then Chillis! Then we talked about the house, kids, etc.. and without the kids around we can really talk. I used to feel guilty leaving the kids at home and having the 'Us' time, but now I do realise how important it is to do this. Life tends to get so busy and crowded and we forget how important it is to invest in 'Us' as a couple. So did have a good evening, and we came home to my so called adopted sister Jaci who dropped by with a cake. It was a good thing as the kids were looking forward to singing the birthday anthem for their father. Another thing, I thought this was really sweet. Siva received Birthday greetings from his mum. She said she remembers the day he was born; easy birth, healthy baby, lovely sunday morning(the amazing part is she remembers this, as she has 10 kids). Happy Birthday Siva, may you have another 40 healthy ones! Will post photos later today, my laptop is having some issues.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gun Cat or Gantt Chart

When I was at my first job at Baxter Healthcare the very first assignment I received was to manage the renovation of the cafeteria. For a fresh graduate like me to manage a 1million project was a big thing. I was very proud of it. My boss at that time (a very nice lady, Beh Gaik Kee), told me to do a Gun Cat (yes I heard it as Gun Cat and that is the first time I heard that word). I then learnt about it from a fellow colleague annd then found out it was 'Gantt Chart'. That was the beginning of my Gantt Charting days, and I have been using Gantt Charts for all the major moves in my life. When I got married I had a Gantt Chart on 'mahjong paper' across my living room to prepare for the big day; when I was pregnant with Arjoonha I had a Gantt Chart to prepare the to buy's and to do's before the baby arrives; when we moved to our current apartment I had a Gantt Chart to plan for the move, and now that I have confirmed the purchase of a house (YES, YES, we have paid the booking fee for the house), I will definitely be happily Gantt Charting away. Thanks to Gaik Kee for the first introduction to Gantt Chart! You can google to find many samples on how to do a Gantt Chart.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect : The Art of House Hunting

If practice makes perfect then I am an expert in house hunting. I have been looking for a house for almost a year now. I tried direct contact with the owner, through the tabloids, internet and agent. I have looked at places near where I live now, far away from where I live and places I never thought I may live. I have spoken to colleagues, strangers, friends and not so good friends about it. I have increased, decreased the budget. I have changed decision from single storey, one and a half storey to double storey house, and I believe I may have found ONE after all. It is not where I live now, or a single storey or the budget that I had in mind. But I believe I have found the house in which we are going to make our home. It is nestled somewhere in USJ where I believe my family will have good places to cycle, parks to run around, schools to go to and friends to visit. What I have learned in this one year of house hunting? To understand your priorities, and to listen to your gut feeling, and the most important is to pray for a best decision. Will let you know if the house buying thingy materialises....! I should know it in a day or two.