Friday, December 23, 2011

Ash 5 mths


posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Testing

I'm testing this app called Bloggeroid and attempting to post this from my phone. Teknologi masa kini, hebat kan?

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

To Do

Do you do to do lists?  I, for one, love lists. Any sort of list.  I like the act of writing actually.  I have also dabbled into doing lists on my phone, on the computer, in this blog... the satisfaction level is just not the same though, compared to writing the list by hand and then crossing out or putting a neat tick mark beside those that have been completed.

Why do we need lists?  Well, it keeps us organized. It helps you remember the things you need to do, what you want to buy, which bills to pay, whose birthday is when, ideas and thoughts to remember and so on.  Personally, I do need help when it comes to being organized.  Yes, if you glimpsed into my drawers or my house, you will find things aren't always where they are supposed to be.  I need to put reminders on my phone where I put certain documents (my car registration for example, since I only need to get it out once a year).  I always have the intention of filing all the bills together in one file..but haven't got it quite sorted out.  That's more a case of procrastination actually.

Getting back to being organized.  I read a blog today, of this lady, a stay at home mom who organizes her day's tasks into 4 categories.

Things to do
Things to cook
Things to buy
Things to pay

I think the categories are self explanatory, ya?  She swears by her list of four and says it makes her life so much more organized.  And she uses an old fashioned diary to document it all.  She prepares her list at least two days in advance so that she knows what to expect on the day and will be ready for it.  Fuhh.. just like an office manager or someone with a full time job!  Well actually, being a stay at home mom IS a full time job!

For me, I always only pile everything under 'things to do' and under there will be what to buy, what to cook, what to pay, etc. Maybe chunking it down to four or more categories would be helpful.

I recently downloaded an Android application for my phone.  It's called Astrid Tasks.  My good friend Vic aka Gaman of sabahan.com recommended it.  It's cool and hilarious! Haha.. well, as the name imply.. you use it to list down all your to dos.  They even divide it into categories such as home, work, personal, etc, and you can create your own categories.  You can set reminders and what's hilarious is that when the task is due or when you schedule your reminder.. it will come up on the phone with a funny sentence such as 'If only you did this earlier, you can go out to play..' or 'Go on tiger! You can do this!' Heee... it certainly puts the fun into doing up the lists.  Oh, the app also has a snooze button and if you choose to hit this button, it's going to periodically and continuously buzz and remind you of the task - which can be pretty irritating! Haha..

Did you know that you can also do lists in the form of MindMaps?  Yes, lovely, colourful, picturesque mindmaps.  They can be sorted chronologically according to level of important-ness, in a clockwise or counterclockwise manner based on your preference.  For examples on mindmaps, google Buzan or MindMap or Mindwerx.

Well, whichever way you choose to do up your lists, it certainly is a good way to keep track of things, yes?  How do you do yours?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

It's December!

Nah! This is the time to celebrate this year's accomplishments, to review what you have done and for some, to pretend you never made that new year's resolution at the start of this year.. For me, it's when I usually go, "What?? Where did the time go? This year has gone in a flash!' It really has... I started the year with a big belly and now, unless there's some miracle potion or exercise that can zap away the belly fat, I'll be ending the year with (still) a pretty sizeable midriff too!

December is a sweet sweet month though..not only will yours truly be celebrating her *ahemm* 30-ish+ birthday, Ashraf will be 5 months and then there's the merry, merry celebrations as well, enough to put everyone in a jolly good mood.  I've still got a lot to do, to settle off.  Some things to start over and some new sights to behold.  I need to end this year with a lighter shoulder and with a good ol bang!

I hope you have a good December too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Treat Yourself

As a full time work at home mom, having time for yourself is such a luxury. On the average day, I would say that the only time that I really have for myself, by myself is when I take a shower.  And most of the time.. it's a hurried shower, mind you!  Get the basics done, in and out in a swoosh.  The direct Malay translation would be bathing like goats. Haa! Other than that, is when the kids are already asleep.  By which, most of the time, I would already be tired and ready to call it a day as well.  When is a mom to get some R&R?  A facial, a massage, retail therapy? A manicure for my rough hands and plain nails?  A spa pedicure for my tired, achy, scaly feet? All of the above please!

I'm personally not a nail polish person but I do love a good manicure and pedicure.  Many a times I have thought about giving myself this treat and many a times I talked myself out of it citing that surely I can cut my own nails?  Hence the lackluster state of my hand and toenails now!  So anyone thinking of a birthday or Christmas present to give me, there you go. Go on, treat this momma! Heeee...

If you are into beautifying your nails and hands and feet, google Julep to find out more.  There is also a program called julep maven that allows anyone interested to sign up and be able to sample all the latest products and trends in nail products today just like all the beauty editors do.

Alhamdulillah

It has been 4 months and almost two weeks that Ashraf Zane came into our lives and he has been an absolute delight.  From his smiles and coos to pouty lips, he's gorgeous.  Spoken like a true dotting mom, kan?  Well, it's true.  And I have really been mommying him for the past 4 months.  I can proudly say that I am the sole primary caregiver of the little tyke.  It has been challenging at times but mostly I find myself thinking, how can any mom ever go out and work and let somebody else take care of their baby and miss out on all the lovely surprises, the bonding, the developments each day?  Is it a sacrifice indeed and I truly admire those mommies who so easily balance both work and family life.

Alhamdulillah that I have been able to breastfeed Ashraf and still continuing despite there (still) being some naysayers that insist it isn't enough.  My baby is 7.9kg at 4 months, healthy and happy and how can they still think that it is not enough?

Alhamdulillah for being able to make choices that I have made.  For the guidance I have received, the support that is so generously given.

So many things to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating. Much love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stay in Touch

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TracFone for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Technology, particularly telecommunications technology, has come such a long way.  Back then, I remember, we used to have to ready our stash of coins, line up and wait our turn to use the public phones.  Then the phone card was invented, that made things a bit easier.  I used to hog our home line for hours and hours talking to my then darling other half.  Then I'd have to pretend to act nonchalant whenever the phone bill came.  These days though, many kids actually have their own mobile phones.  How easy they have got it and how times have changed!

There are certainly pros and cons when it comes to letting your child have their own mobile phones.  It's good for safety purposes and is a good way to keep track of their whereabouts.  On the other hand, it can encourage materialism and you can find that they are on their phones 24/7 and running out of credit faster than you can say running out of credit!

If you are looking for a low cost phone for your kids so that you can easily stay in touch with them, TracFone is an option to look into.  There are no contracts, no credit checks, no activation of cancellation fees, no surprises!  With great nationwide coverage and a choice of brand name phones and smart phones, TracFone offers the least expensive way to own and use a cell phone in the U.S. and for making international calls too.  To find out about the Senior Value special package offered by TracFone, check out the video below.  To learn more about their other monthly packages available and to Get into Everywhereness, check out TracFone today!

 

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Double Duty

It's definitely a challenge to have more than one kid to care and look after, as I have now experienced for the past two months.  With a baby crying in your arms and the kakak suddenly asking for this and that, wanting your attention too.. it does demand a triple dose of patience and practice.  How do all those mommies do it? You know who you are... you, with 4, 5 or more kids in tow. Ni baru dua, saya sudah tunggang terbalik.  I was never a good multi-tasker.  In the heat of situations, when you can't handle it all at once.. there you have to turn away the kakak and tell her you'll be with her later... which of course takes ages and by that time she doesn't want to show you what she wanted to anymore.  Sigh.  I hope she understands.  That mommy has to take care of the little one first.  Because he's just a baby.  And kakak is already quite grown up and most of the time able to do things on her own already.  When baby was just born, I noticed the kakak sometimes sitting quietly on her own, staring into the distance.  I wondered if she was sad.  Or feeling left out.  Or if the change was all too much for her.  She was our centre of attention for the past 5+ years.. and now suddenly there's someone else.  I hope she knows (always) that mommy loves her sooo much and always will.  (Even as she's becoming naughtier by the day). And that mommy will always have enough love to share for the both of you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Can't Live without your Phone?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Straight Talk for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Almost everyone owns a mobile phone these days.  A friend proudly proclaimed a few years back that he did not own a mobile phone.. I'm pretty sure that he has now succumbed! For some people, even forgetting to bring their mobile phone when they go out is a traumatizing event! Happened to me a few times. I kept thinking, 'Oh no! There must be a few missed calls and dozens of text messages on the phone' I got back, checked my phone and guess what.. No missed calls, nada text messages! Hah... we've just gotten so used to having the thing with us that we can't even function without it.

And why not? The mobile phone today is not just used to Call a friend.  The technology now is great.  It's brilliant.  It's awesome.  Smart phones have internet capability, voice and video recording, camera, music and video player, Bluetooth, you name it!  All this also means that most of us are spending a profound amount on our mobile phone bills each month.  Telco companies come up with so many different plans that it's sometimes too complicated and complex to consider and compare which is the best. 

For friends and readers in the USA, consider Straight Talk.  With Straight Talk, you can cut your phone bill in half.  There is no contract required, no credit check and no surprises in the bill.  There's great nationwide coverage and choice of quality mobile phones.  Check out the All You Need Plan that meets the needs of heavy phone users.  The unlimited monthly service includes calls, text, picture messaging and web usage. 411 calls are free and there is no activation, reactivation or termination fee.    There is even an International Long Distance service and the re-conditioned phones at low, low prices which are great for young users.  Everything you need is available from Straight Talk.  Check out this Hook, line and sinker testimonial to find out more.

Imagine what you could do with the money saved from your phone bill.. I sure can, it will be frequent shopping trips for sure!

 

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Oh To Be Young Again..

It's that time of year again... when once high school brats turn into young adults and enter the realm of university life.  And its at this time of year that I always reminisce and have flashbacks of what was my own time in that era.  More than often I wish I could go back to that time again.  Be young. Be free. Be still full of fresh hope and wonder and dreams.  Indeed, if I did have in my possession a certain time-turner like that of Hermione's, I would go back and change a thing or two or more about my past.  Actually, everything about my uni time was perfect.  Loughborough was great, Southampton was beautiful, Manchester was glorious.  What I'd want to change really, would be myself.  I'd want to be more confident, more outgoing and outspoken, more adventurous and bold.  I'd make different decisions, befriend different people, go more places.  Too late now, you say?  Well, I may not be able to go back in time (besides, you know what they say in all those movies, you tamper with the past, something horribly horrible will happen in your future!) but I can certainly do what I can now.  To be a better person, to learn and live more, to be those things I want to be.

So.. all the best to you young-ens who are entering university life this year.  My cousin Ash (who is currently in UIA) and cousin in law Hanis, who is about to fly to the land of kilts and bagpipes.  Bestnya kamu!!! (Jeles..jeless!!) Take the good of what you can from my meandering above.  And above all, enjoy and embrace your 3 or 4 year experience in uni whilst you can.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Green Living

How green are you?  Not envy green, not alien green.. care for the environment green.  It's all the rage these days.  It's not easy though - green living.  When I think about living green, I think about renewable energy resources like solar power and wind turbines.  Energy efficient appliances, that sort of thing.  All of which may sound very complicated and costly.  Well, there are easier things that we all can do - recycling, car pooling, turning off electrical switches when appliances are not in use, reusable bags, that sort of thing.  

Here are 7 small steps that we can also do/think of in our strive to living green.   Most of them are more applicable to women though. 


1.  Breastfeeding
2.  Cloth Diapering
3.  Babywearing
4.  Using cloth sanitary pads
5.  Using cloth wipes instead of tissues
6. Using reusable shopping bags (make sure you have one or two or more stashed in your handbag or car all the time)
7.  Choosing organic or safer products
8. Making your own enzymes or compost
9.  Reusing old stuffs, making them into something new (like sewing your old clothes into bags, etc..)


Do you have any others you care to share? 


For more ideas and a look into some eco friendly products, mostly organic and environmentally conscious, check out Ethical Ocean.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another C

I have to come to terms with it - I am blessed to have gotten pregnant twice, to have had relatively smooth and trouble free pregnancies (with no morning sickness at all), to have incubated two beautiful and healthy babies and to have complications free deliveries and after birth recoveries.  I was not meant though..to deliver the babies vaginally.  Yes, my second.. Ashraf, was also delivered via emergency C-section.  The emergency being that, I did not originally opt to have the C-section and it was only prepared once our decision was made late that day.

Ashraf's original estimated due date was on the 8th July.  I was hoping if he decided to make his entrance on the 7th, that date is very nice also.. 7/7/11 :) But the 7th and the 8th came and went and still no sign of baby wanting to come out.  As per last time with Yasmin, doc said we'd wait for one week and then if nothing happened, we'd have to decide between going for induction or C-sec.

I did not want either option.  I knew that contractions and labour pains were stronger with induction and as the doctor pointed out, if it didn't work then we'd have to resort to the C-sec operation anyway.  I did not want the C-sec because I knew that the pain and recovery after were higher.  And besides, even though it's become the norm where some mothers opt to have it... it's still a major surgery bah!  There's also the fact that if your first and second deliveries are via c-section, your future third has to be done via c-section as well. (Is it a fact? I haven't researched and read about it yet..) Doc also mentioned (in passing, like it was no big deal..) that some mothers would opt to be 'ikat' after the third c-section.  Very good reasons for me to not want to have it!  I was determined that I could deliver 'normally' and determined to use all the options and alternatives I could to induce delivery naturally.

I walked a lot.  The weekend before we even went to Gaya Street market on Sunday morning, we parked near Tong Hing and walked the entire market from end to end.  I did squats. And kegels. Pelvic tilts, cat/cow poses and hip opener exercises.  I read up about accupressure and accupressure points to induce labour.  Pressed and massage those points until it was quite sore.  I did visualisation exercises - seeing and believing my cervics opening on its own.  I drank and bathed air akar fatimah/selusuh which mom-in-law brought back from Mekah, which is said to help smoothen labour.  I drank coconut juice - nyamannn sekali! (This drink which usually gave me migraines, alhamdulillah..tidak pula migrain this time).  Recite doa Nabi Yunus as much as I remember.  Recite my personal doa hoping for the best.

Alas, the one week came and went by.  No signs. Baby was too comfy in the womb :) A friend smsed me saying that doctors are all to quick to recommend induction and c-sections, the baby is still developing and preparing for the birth and will come out when the time is right.  I believed her so.  But who am I to go against the doctor's expert and experienced advice?

And so, on the 14th, it was decided for me to go in to be induced.  I was still wishing and hoping for the best.  I could still deliver normally after being induced. I could. I could. I could?  Induced (pumped up with drugs!) at around 9am, lay in the bed and wait.  Well, a lot of other things happened before and in between but I'll spare you the details! Once the two hours laying down period was over, I got up and walked around the room, did my squats, etc.  Minum air akar fatimah. Periodic contractions started but still bearable for me to move around.  Doc said he'd be back in the afternoon to check on me.  He came back at around 4pm!  And I was so hoping for some good (opening) news!

Very much disappointed though when he told me that my cervics still hadn't opened at all.  At all?  Are you kidding me - I thought? He laid down our options. We could do another round of induction but chances it will work were not high.  And we'd have to wait again.  Prolonging the labour.  The other only option was the c-section. *Sigh*  Hubby and I discussed it through.. though I never like to say there was no other choice - it was exactly the predicament we were in.  There was no other choice then and there.  A stroke of dejavu hit.  It was the same scenario with Yasmin's birth 5+ years ago.  So, long story short.. c-section it was.

At 6.05pm our little baby boy was born.

Later, a group of mommies told me.. it doesn't matter how baby was born, what matters is that I did what I could and that I safely delivered the baby and to now enjoy every precious moment with him.  True. *Heartwarmed*

I remember thinking, I would not want to go through it again - the freezing cold operation theatre ( I was shivering like mad), the fear of something going wrong, the pain after.  But then again... looking at the darling little boy, who knows.. I could endure one more time probably..  

xoxo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet Ashraf


Hi everyone. My name is Ashraf Zane bin Rizwan. For now, I love snuggling up with mommy and sleeping.. Soon, I'll be running around and causing a riot in the house along with my big sis, Yasmin (who calls me Sheen or sometimes Adam..my name is Ash la, kakak!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Then...



Now...

Happy Father's Day to my roomate and bud..
what a long way we've come...


and many more to follow, please. InsyaAllah...xoxo

Before and After

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.
Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.
Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.  I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom.
~Author Unknown


And getting ready to do it all..all over again. Hopefully this time around with much more insight and wisdom, patience and understanding and double the bucket full of love. <3

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture



Makes me smile and cry every time!  So many wonderful messages.
The part about 'Just Things' at around 6.40 minutes..

Just Things

I was at my parent's yesterday and as we got ready to head out to do some shopping, I grabbed my handbag from the side table without realising that the strap had gotten hold of a vase of ornamental glass flowers on the table.  And before I knew it, the whole thing came crashing onto the floor and glass shattered everywhere.  It was like I was watching it in slow motion but unable to do anything.  Mom was naturally upset.  The vase and a few flowers escaped unscathed but the majority of the lot broke into pieces.  Dad immediately went to pick up the broom and rubbish collector, beckoning mom to move and beware of the pieces of glass.  Mom, upset yelled out, 'Biarlah kaki saya luka! (Just let my feet get cut!)'

What could I say.  I mostly felt bad because I didn't really feel bad about the whole thing.  I always told mom she had too many things around the house.  Too much clutter.  There were two vases of flowers on that particular side table.  Mom likes to buy stuff.  Stuff she doesn't really need or already has.  She likes collecting it all.  And really, it was an accident.  I didn't mean for it to happen.  Mom continued to mumble how she wouldn't be able to find those sort of flowers again.

I kept thinking and saying to her, it's just things.  And I kept thinking of that last lecture by Randy Pausch, where he spoke about things being just things and how people were more important.  Of course, it's easy for me to say and of course,  I would probably be more upset if that something were to happen to my own stuff.  I try to tell Yasmin this, every time she starts demanding for new toys (even a day after she'd just gotten new ones).  I say, it's just a thing. You don't need so many things.  But no, she says.  She needs it.  What if it finishes and we can't find anymore?  I want to tell her to not be too materialistic.  (I blame the internet - youtube and amazon!).

It's not that I think those flowers of mom's weren't significant for her.  Nor do I think that we shouldn't take care of the things that we have.  I don't go around breaking and losing things on purpose.  We get so upset when we lose or damage these things because we paid money for them in the first place.  That was their value.  In the end, in one month, one year's time...are those things really going to matter?  Mom has a lot of things that I think she doesn't even remember she has.  Of course, I do have a lot of things that have sentimental and significant meaning to me.  Some toys even from when I was a teeny kid.  And it's great being able to pass them on to Yasmin now... for long enough before she gets distracted by something else.

But I still think there's just too many things around.  (Remember Wall-E?) If it were up to me, I'd send the bunch for recycling, throw them away or to someone who might want them.  It's just things.  I'd rather have less of it all...but more meaningful things.

PS..Sorry mom..

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Money Matters

Hands up, who wants to make more money? ME, ME, ME! Chances are you answered yes too, right?  What can we do, money makes the world go round and as much as I (used to want to) believe that money doesn't buy happiness, it does buy and pay for a lot of the things you actually need to live.  Have you ever heard of this quote - Despite the high cost of living, it remains a popular choice. Yes, the alternative to living is not such a pleasant one you would want to hope for!

And so we work.  9 to 5.  We find other ways of making money.  Business opportunities here and there.  Investments.  Anything that can make us that little bit more to support and sustain our daily living or even elevate it so we can afford some little luxuries once in a while.

The general consensus is that you need money to make money in the first place.  Financial literacy has become a big area of interest these days. Famous gurus such as Robert Kiyosaki are preaching to us that we need to know more about our finances and take charge, get out of the race rat or be trapped there until you retire.  Graduating college and finding a good job is no longer enough these days.

There are a lot of things that one can do actually.  The starting point would be to educate ourselves about what we can do and learn from those people who have made it.  It is not just about making money and getting rich, it is about gaining your financial freedom and thereafter freedom to do anything and everything else you want to do.   For me, it would be an awesome feeling to wake up each morning not having to worry about the bills to pay and being able to decide whatever I want to do and actually do it!  You?  Click on the link above for more ideas on what you can do. Here's to: More Money, No More Bills, Freedom and Blissful Living!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Panasss...

OMG...it's sooooo hot these days, I don't want to go outside for fear that I might melt!
Have any cooling tips to share?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Clock


....that has boggled my mind since I saw it.  Hubby forwarded it to me and it came from sis-in-law, Ann and originally posted on the mentioned website.

Now I can't say I was excellent in math but this has been semi-bothering me that I can't figure out the equations! Hahaa... the only thing I could pride myself on was remembering what 3! is.. hahaa... and the punca kuasa tiga one, were all I knew! 2^(-1) is 1/2? What is mod7?? And the 5 2 matrix?? Arghh some people just have waaay too much time on their hands!  If you know..tell me!

Come What MAY

Kotobian Tadau Tagazo Do Kaamatan!
Hurrah...it's an extra long weekend here in Sabah.  Coupled with the school holidays and another public holiday on the 4th. Woohooo...May has come and gone in a flash.  In fact, *alarm bells!!* almost half of the year has swooshed by!  And what have I got to show for it?  Hmm... not enough I have to say...Most of the days, I have been floating by in my own bubble, trying not to think too much, staying in (from the too unbearable heat) as much as I can, lazing around, chauffeuring my little one who is growing up much too fast, drinking too much tea and carbonated drinks than I should and ending up going to the loo a hundred times a day...

All my time filler shows have ended their run in time for summer - House (hmm..not the vicodine again! We wants more Chase!), Grey's (the only good thing was Henry), Celebrity Apprentice (I did like John Rich!) and guess what...for the first time since season3, I did not watch the American Idol finale!

*Sigh* The clock is ticking, I know too well... (speaking of clocks...oh, I'll put in the next post)

Here's the sweet thing about this month...I received this..

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You've Got Mail...Or Have You?

Did the postman stop by your place today?  Anything interesting in your mailbox?  Remember those days when you used to receive written letters, birthday and greeting cards in the mail?  Do you still do?  Well, the internet and mobile communication has certainly changed this.  All I receive in my mailbox these days are bills, catalogues, promotional flyers and offers on everything from insurance and travel right down to solicitations for donations from people and companies I've never even heard of.

Most of the time, when I sign up for services or memberships or buy select items, I would always remember not to tick the Send me promotional offers and updates from affiliate companies or such box.  But one way or another, these unsolicited mails still magically find their way to my mailbox.   And most of the time, what happens is.. one glance and in it goes to the rubbish bin or recycling collection box.  Imagine how much that would accumulate to within one month or one year.  What a waste of paper, yeah?  

Is there any solution to get rid of this unwanted mail?  Sure there is.  Well, for one, when filling in any application forms, always remember to let them know No thanks, please!  I don't want any of your catalogues or offers!   Better still, don't sign up for anything at all.  Too extreme?  Well, OK..here's a real solution for you.  Check this out.. here's one way you can clear your junk mail blues, reduce clutter, save paper and get only real mail you want in your mailbox.  

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Life and Life

I was surprised and saddened by some news from a dear friend the other day.  A former colleague from the office had passed away.  Although I hadn't seen him since I left, he was definitely a character that one would remember and mourn the loss of.  He was jovial, funny, very helpful, inquisitive, enterprising, sometimes silly, sometimes irritating for his antics.  But he was the life of the office.  Any staff or (former) student would surely know and remember him.  Reading the outpouring of grief on facebook made me even sadder.  I cried for the thought of his family and his little kids.  I know he wasn't wealthy but he was a generous man.  And I hope he will be rewarded in eternal peace for this.

And as these sad thoughts lingered in my mind that morning, I came across another message posting on facebook.  Another (former) colleague had just had his first newborn.  Ah, the circle of life.  One's sad passing, a joyous beginning for another.  Such is life.  Whilst death is a reminder that all in life is not permanent, the birth of another reminds you that life is also full of miracles, hope and wonder.  That of which we should always (remember to) be grateful for.

Alfatihah Allahyarham Awg Latif.  May you rest in peace.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Labour Day


Happy Rest Day for all you working people! And those who might be going into labour today...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

An Ocean of Time..

We had a deelicious dinner the other night, at Ocean Seafood here in KK.  Dinner was courtesy of my ever so generous parents to treat some guests we had from overseas.  The guests being our long lost friends from way back when - Uncle Malek and family.  Uncle and dad did their masters together in the US, specifically Pittsburgh PA, waaay way back in 1983-84.  Yes, when I was still a teeny tiny tot.  But then the connection continues, as I pursued my degree in Southampton UK, uncle's daughter - affectionately known to us as Kak Lang was also in Southampton doing her medic degree! I landed in Southampton in 1995 and was there til 98.  Can't remember when Kak Lang graduated.  But now, years years later...we were of course reconnected via - you guessed it! - Facebook!  Kak Lang's hubby has been in KK for the past 6 months and also unbeknownst to us, her brother (who was a mere 2 months olds when we arrived in the US) has also been working in KK/Kudat as a doctor for the past 3 years!  Kak Lang works as a GP in Dubai and is looking to transfer here in KK to be with her hubs.  And so, that is how the dinner at Ocean Seafood came about! Phewww.... long story kan..jejak kasih.


The food at Ocean was goood!  I don't have pictures though...too hungry and greedy and gobbled up the lot. Heeee... I had been craving for some sweet and sour fish for some time.  You know the best part..near the fish belly area - yang sungguh lembut dan lemak itu...yum yum! Heeee...

It was a nice dinner and nice catching up.  I guess if she does move here then we'd have more chance to catch up again.  It was rather funny seeing the parents, exchanging handphone numbers - squinting through their glasses, typing in the numbers with their plump (hee) fingers, trying to remember their own phone numbers...keeekeee... kan zaman dulu-dulu main tulih kat kertas ajo...haahaa...how times have changed.  And all the while, the little kiddies were playing with the iPad (not ours..uhuk) And yet Kak Lang said my dad hadn't changed one bit, looks wise.  She's probably right. He ain't really one to go with the trends..heehee..

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Time Banking

Ever heard of time banking?  I tried google-ing it but only found information about opening bank accounts!

I heard of time banking for the first time today from fellow mommy Sandra. Sandra suggested this as an option to get children to do their homework or housework or chores, etc.  How it works is that you make an agreement with your child that he/she will do or finish the work in a certain amount of time.  If they manage to do so, then they get a credit of a certain amount of time to do what they want.  For example, if they can finish their homework in 30 minutes then they get 10 minutes of computer games time.  It sounds like a good idea, especially knowing how challenging homework time can be for Yasmin.

She's getting better though, our little Yasmin.  She used to get many 'incomplete!' remarks in her homework last year but this year it's gone down and we have managed to get her (sometimes pleadingly, coaxingly) to finish her homework.  But it's also mostly because now she has a fear that the teacher will scold her if she doesn't finish it.  That's not so good, kan?  I mean, I don't want her to do it just because of fear.  I want her to have fun in the learning and doing process.  So yeah, this time banking idea seems like a good one to try out.

Sandra also suggests that you keep check of their time 'account'.  For example, let it accumulate... they can only claim their 'time' when they have reached a minimum 30 minutes available in their accounts. :) Heee...  She says it is also a good way to teach them math at the same time.  How many minutes do they put in and how many have they claimed.   You can even create the time account book for them to keep record.  Another thumbs up idea!

For your info, Sandra home schools her daughter so I know she has a lot of experience and know how with these ideas to try for your kids.  Give it a try mommies! (Daddies too...)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday at the Park

Found a great way to spend Sunday morning! This morning we went to Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru.  Bestnya pergi pagi-pagi! Not as many people as there were on our first visit, which was in the evening, because we wanted to check out the musical fountain.  In fact, we practically had the place to ourselves.  There were just a few families there with their kids, playing at the playground.  It's better than bringing the kid to shopping malls or the indoor playground at Suria!  Here you only need to pay RM1 for parking inside.  The weather was nice too today - hot at times but mainly overcast and with light winds.  And we got a chance to walk around the pond and get some sweat out...weehee!

First stop - the kiddies playground..


The musical fountain pond... Musical fountain only at night though.. Not bad the musical fountain, terasa macam bukan di KK.. 

 

Free drinking water provided (L), the walking path surrounding the pond (R),  there's another path for joggers on the outer edge of the park.

Wah...looks huge eh?


 Jeng jeng jeng...the other PLAYGROUND

  Ada swings! Weeeeeeeeee....

 Because the park is managed by a water treatment company, so the playground is designed like a water treatment plant... good idea!

 Do not disturb! Kid is busy..

I liked these...they should have more of these around the city

The place is still new and so I do hope that the management takes care of it well and the facilities.  We really should have more parks like this in KK.  Want to go again next weekend.. Mau ikut? Mariii...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living with Gratitude

I saw this post entitled Living with Gratitude by Randy Gage and it reminded me of this story I heard from my cousin a few weeks ago.

Cousin had brought her kid(s) to the local government hospital for a check up and whilst waiting for their turn, she went to the hospital canteen to grab a bite to eat.  She ordered a plate of fried noodles and it cost her RM4.50 - which was reasonable, she thought.  Then she sat at this table next to a family of 4 or 5.  They too had ordered the same plate of fried noodles.  But they were sharing the one plate amongst them.  Cousin then overheard them talking.  They were trying to figure out if they had enough money left for their bus fare back to their kampung.

I didn't realise this story affected me so much until I retold it to my husband and I ended up wiping off some tears.  How petty and silly do our own little problems seem when you hear that there are people who are going through that kind of situation.  Some people are buying designers goods, handbags and purses that cost thousands at a time and yet there are people who can't afford one meal.  How sad is that.  And whilst we are merrily enjoying our days here, people in Japan and Christchurch are dealing with such unimaginable loss.  How can we not be grateful?

What are you grateful for today?

The King's Speech

I've watched it!! And not in 2013 as I predicted..heeeee...What can I say, Colin Firth...my dear Mr Darcy, you righteously stammered (cursed and sang) your way to a great performance deserving of that Oscar!  What is more wonderous, I feel, is that we get to have this glimpse of this person (no doubt he was the King), his life and his flaws and what he did to overcome them.  Do you think any royals or politicians in Malaysia would allow such a portrayal of their family members?  Nooo.... here it is all about upholding their 'perfectness'.  And who would have thought that if King George's (Colin Firth's character) brother hadn't given up the throne... we wouldn't have Queen Elizabeth nor Charles and William in line for the throne today.

Anyways, if you are one of those people who stammer, you can try what King George did...curse or sing your way through it!  The only other help I can suggest is....join Toastmasters!

The King's SpeechBertie and Elizabeth: The Reluctant Royals - The Story of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth60 Minutes - The King's Speech (February 20, 2011)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Equilibrium

...was one of the first English scientific term that I came across when I started my A-Levels.  At the time, when our SPM and secondary school math and science studies was still in Malay language, I kept wondering - Apakah bendanya equilibrium ni?  Soon after, I learnt that it meant keseimbangan or simply, balance.  It was a term I came to be very well acquainted with in the years after, during my university years and later on whilst teaching.  Such a simple but underrated concept. The backbone to all of engineering and science studies and one may say, all of life itself.  It is a word I have come to love.  For its profound meaning and the way it sounds both strong and tender at the same time.

At a recent conference I attended, the speaker was talking about the psychology of stress and benefits of exercise and meditation and she mentioned:

'For everything in life, there is always equilibrium..'

Loved that.

I'm still searching/striving for my equilibrium.  You?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Doctor, I Need a Diagnosis..

Had my doctor's appointment last week.  Alhamdulillah, the blood test that I did in the previous visit came back with all normal results. (I'm a B positive, by the way).  I consider this doctor to be good because when he took my blood sample from the vein near my elbow joint, he only did it once.  I only felt a slight pinch.  And he told me after that it might swell a bit, but it didn't.  I've heard stories of how some docs and nurses really do a bad job when taking blood.. so thankfully, mine was all good.  The doc is good.

Blood pressure is normal.  No sugar or protein traces in the urine.  Weight is going up though..*gebu is in, gebu is in...* My other symptoms include back and hip pain, occasional heartburn, frequent visits to the toilet to pee pee, difficulty to sleep, a bit of swelling in my hands/fingers - I've had to take off my rings.

Want to play House and diagnose me based on the above symptoms?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Idol Talk

So the season has cometh.  American Idol is upon us again, pulling heartstrings and causing late dinners in households all around.  This time, with a table of new judges and what they claim to be the best group of talent..ever.  I think they said that last year as well.  Who cares though when we can have Ryan and his cheeky/cheesy smile on our tubes two nights a week and the occassional goof or moments of shine from Steven Tyler.  Alas, the weeknights have meaning again!

So far, the new judges seem to be doing well.  And so we say, 'Simon who??' And who were those other two ladies?? I like that this new panel is more animated, singing and grooving along with the contestants at times.  Where Kara made it look like she was showing off, J Lo and Steven Tyler make it look fun and like they are rooting for the contestants. Sometimes they seem to be too generous with their comments though.

American Idol has also lowered their age limit for auditioners this year - 15 year olds can now apply.  This is something I don't really agree on.  Sure, maybe they can sing but I also believe that contestants need to have a level of maturity to handle the pressure, to give good performances and have the required showmanship to be an idol.  My exhibit A - being.. the ever so sweet David Archuleta, runner up from season 7.  Whilst Archie has the chops vocally, I can't help feeling that he would've been so much better if he had waited maybe 3 or 4 years later to audition and take part in the show.  He maybe possibly could have won.  Surprisingly, many of those 15, 16 year olds did make it through this year's initial rounds - some, if not most, whilst being accompanied (and somewhat irritatingly cheered on) by their mums.  We'll see how far they go.

As a tribute, I thought I'd run down a list of my favourite Idols thus far with special mentions/moments as well.  Here goes:

Favourite Idols (so far):

No. 3
Kris Allen - Kris was the underdog of Season 8, competing in the finals with the Glambert Adam Lambert - sorry, not a fan, don't like the shrieking!  A lot of people thought Adam was a sure fire winner which made Kris' win soooo much more sweeter.  I liked him ever since he sang Man in The Mirror in the Top 24 round.  I like that he plays piano and guitar.  He's one of those singer/songwriter types. Loved, loved, loved his rendition of Falling Slowly.  And so far, I like his songs post-Idol as well.  Like this one.. (oh, love Pat Monahan of Train as well!)



No. 2
Daughtry - The most successful non Idol winner so far.  I love his tone of voice, it's so smooth and easy to listen to.  And I love that he is doing the type of music that really suits him.  Unlike a previous Idol rocker Bo Bice, Daughtry is the real thing.  He was destined not to win!



No. 1 - my favourite Idol
David Archuleta - Heeee....I know, I know. I said it above, he's just a kid.  But I can't help to love his tone of voice.  Sangat sedaps di dengar.  He had me at Imagine :) I think that performance of Imagine has to be the most stand out performance in Idol ever - so far.  Still now, I can listen to it over and over again and never get bored.  And I love listening to the judges comments as well.  His voice is distinctive and unlike so many other young singers out there.  And for this reason I think he will fare very well and have a long, long career as a singer.  Let's see how he shapes up (looks and maturity wise) in a few years times.



Special mentions

1.  I was a fan of Taylor Hicks during the season he competed, just because...he was different and quirky in his own way.  But sadly....where is he now??  His winning ballad Do I Make You Proud still gives me lumps in my throat when I hear it though... simply because, I do wonder... do I? Do I make you proud??

2.  One of my favourite performances on Idol has to be the Falling Slowly duet by Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox on season 9.  Beautiful and haunting song, two powerful and soulful voices.

3.  Carrie Underwood - I still love her story.  The fact that she was this simple farm girl from a small, small town and look at her now!  Undoubtedly the most successful winner so far with a great career ahead.  I love her current single Temporary Home and I made the mistake of watching the video on Youtube the other day...cos...it made me cry! Uwaahhhh....

So that's it, that's my Idol report for now.  Let's see how this season's contestants do...
(Afee, Thia Megia reminds me of you!)  (Sorry) I do not like Scotty's low low voice.  James Durbin is a bit like Adam Lambert.  I'm inclined towards Paul McDonald and Lauren Alaina at the moment - heeee...I like the quirky ones! Have fun watching, Idol fans and may your 'chicken' win!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Explore. Dream. Discover

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain 


Quote of the day. Love!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Reader and The Storyteller

I watched the movie The Reader recently.  (Yes, I've only watched this 2009 Oscar nominated movie now - so expect me to be watching The King's Speech, Black Swan, etc. circa 2013)  The movie stars Kate Winslet (Oscar nominated and well deserved so) and tells the story of a prison guard who is sentenced to life imprisonment for her role in the death of more than 300 people in a jewish prison camp.  The reader - as the title goes - is about this young boy who has an affair with Winslet's character and whilst doing so, reads to her.  Books, stories, plays.  The movie contains a lot of scenes unsuitable for the young-ens and err... those who have some sort of allergy to love scenes -  unless of course, if it has gone through the heavy screening and censoring of our local movie authorities.  I do not always go for these heavy movies but I was intrigued and found it highly watchable and much deservant of the accolades it received.

I later asked hubby if he has watched it and when he said no, I took it upon myself to relay the storyline to him.  I like doing this.  Of course, I would only do so if he implies or does not seem to have the intention of watching the movie himself.  So I can go all out, reveal spoilers, endings and all.  I used to do this when I was in school as well.  I loved telling my friends and dorm mates about movies or shows I watched during the holidays or when I was home for the weekend.  I remember telling my dorm mates about Pretty Woman.  After our SPM exams were over, we did that thing where we passed around autograph books for friends to write in. (Y'all remember that?? That's so 90s, isn't it?? Or do school kids still do this now?)  Anyway, one dorm mate wrote in my autograph book - I will miss your stories. Heee... I was a storyteller even back then. *Smile* I really need to be telling my own stories though.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Picture of the Month


Like!
At Razz & Adlina's wedding reception in Pacific Sutera, November 2010.
Photo by George Yong of Jofanna Bridal

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Is..


You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... "  


"My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine."  


~ Yvaine to Tristan (the mouse) in Stardust (2007) 


14th February is just another day.  Don't wait for this date to tell that someone that you love them. Tell them any day and every day! xoxo

New Blog

I've registered a new blog on wordpress but I'm still tinkering about with the theme and learning/trying to get used to the dashboard settings, having been so used to blogger's dashboard.  Wordpress does offer a few features that I like that I think (I'm not sure) blogger doesn't have.  Or should I just stick to blogger? Hee...I'm just too lazy to go to the help page and read the faqs on setting up on wordpress. So it's just trial and error for now - isn't everything?

What's the new blog about?  Currently, the idea to write about the 3Ms we learnt in school - Menulis, Membaca dan Mengomel!   hehe...i.e. Writing, Reading and Speaking! All of which I am quite passionate about. Also slightly inspired by a recent re-viewing of the movie Julie & Julia, which I love.  Yes, I want to be the next Julie Powell!  But no posts yet and I won't tell you the url yet, until I sort out the theme and actually start writing something.  But since I'm quite easy and transparent, you probably maybe can guess the url pun..haha..

On another note, if you are thinking of starting a new blog.. you may want to consider registering one on www.sabahblog.com The site offers free and paid blog hosting just like Blogger and Wordpress, with multiple choice of themes and add ons available.  The site was designed and developed by my old friend Victor, also known (in the blogging/online world) as Gaman.  He is based in Sabah and as the call sign implies, is a true and true Sabahan.  So, if you want to support a local talented web developer and entrepreneur - register on sabahblog.com and lets your friends know about it! Oh yes, I've registered another blog on his site as well..heee tamak kan :) Check it out and spread the word ya!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quote of The Day

well, yesterday actually....
"Aren't we all drug users? It just depends on what our drug of choice is..." Linachu 
referring to (defending) how my current favourite song is Bruno Mars' Just The Way You Are (swooooon) and how it was in the newspapers recently that he was apprehended or summoned on drug possession charges.. I still love the song!

Alone Time

It occurred to me that the only real alone time that I have nowadays is when I am in the bathroom.  The rest of the time I am surrounded by the family, the little munchkin or people I meet for work.  Even during bedtime, well.. ideally there are a lot of things that I would like to do then... read, write, surf, watch movies or my shows.  But a lot of the time I myself succumb to what we all call..sleep!  And so, really.. the only real alone time, like I said is in the bathroom.

Yesterday, I gave myself a henna (inai) toenail paint job before taking my morning shower.  Later in the day, I bought some body scrub, a little indulgence for the bathtime.  Tonight, I plan to give myself a foot spa before showering - peppermint foot soak, watermelon foot scrub and later followed by simple massage using some old foot lotion I found.  A little bit of simple pleasure.

Before, I used to relish times when I went for - exercise class or a facial or body treatments - because really, those are just times when you can be alone and relax.  It's been a while since I've had the chance to do any of those.  So I guess, it has to just be in the bathroom for now.

Speaking of henna (inai), I used the modern type - the ones you squeeze right out of the tube.  I remember those days when we used to have to make the mixtures ourselves using the henna leaves or powder.  And we would try mixing it with a variety of things like lime juice or tamarind juice or tea leaves - in order to get the most vibrant orange colour.  Nowadays, it's all been pre-mixed...



Monday, February 07, 2011

Blogging is Good

Did you hear about the blogger being sued by a local restaurant because of his comments (on his blog) re: said restaurant? Hmm... So there goes our freedom of speech or in this case, freedom to write.  Anything you say and write can be used against you in a court of law.  I think, we Malaysians, particularly are quite bad at accepting criticism.  Most people automatically think it is a form of attack, whereby it could actually be used to better ourselves, our conditions or what we do.

So I guess, be careful what you write.  Who knows which sourpuss is reading it somewhere and taking it (too) seriously.  I guess if you were to write your comments, be sparring and considerate in your use of words.  A blogger friend said that if a restaurant or other establishment gave really bad service she would rather not write about them at all and not give them that acknowledgement at all.  Guess she has a point.

Some say that if the restaurant wins in their case, it's going to be like a landmark case that is going to affect bloggers all around.  Haiishh...

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I Like It Hot

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red.  All opinions are 100% mine.

My food, that is.  Whatever the food, whatever the time of day, meals just do not seem complete if they are not accompanied by the appropriate condiments.  And my favourite - the hot and spicy ones!  Chili sauce, chili with soy sauce, sambal belacan.  For foods like pizza and pasta, I prefer TABASCO® Original Red.  The tabasco goes especially superbly these tomato based dishes. Sometimes I also like it with soups, fried noodles or fried rice.  Oh, it's also good for breakfast dishes like sausages and scrambled eggs!  It is so much more than hot - there's something about that spicy, sour and tangy taste that really adds an extra kick to the dishes and brings out the best in each bite.  Just a dash is enough to feel the zing.  Too much and you might find yourself with watery eyes and a runny nose!

Do you remember the tv show Roswell sometime back?  Those aliens were to addicted to tabasco.  They added it to everything they ate.  Even desserts!  Now that's one I haven't tried out yet.

If you are a sports freak and you need to have your snacks to watch the big games, do check out the Game-Day Party Menu and Pizza Perfected sites for more simple ideas and recipes to try.  With football season and the Super Bowl around the corner,  these sites will give you ideas to add on to your game day traditions.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, February 04, 2011

Of Marriage

I copied this off Ninie Ahmad's blog because I thought it was so beautiful and it reminded me of how it feels being in love.


"Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…
Because of this understanding
The possibilities are limitless."
by Mari Nichols-Haining 

This is a bit late but nevertheless, 
Congratulations to the newlyweds...

(A picture of a picture of) Razz & Adlina

Rozhan & Sara

Nana & Razin

And to Ninie and her Mr P.

May you always be in love, always be able to talk to each other and always have something to laugh about together til the very end.