November 26, 2014

my heart breaks a little when I hear your name.

This morning, I woke up earlier than normal. I didn't plan on it but after the final susu request from Luqman for the night (circa 4.30 a.m.), I just couldn't get back to sleep, so I decided to do some reading. 

When I was taking a breather, I turned to face one of the walls in the bedroom. And I saw a small bag, which carries one of the things I've always loved (which I still very much love) sitting pretty on the shelves. And if you haven't already guessed, that bag contains Theodore. 

I'm not sure how many times Theodore has been mentioned in this blog, but I know it's ALOT (he even has as label of his own here and even then, I've missed some posts). In fact, in my younger years, I always talked about how much I missed Theodore each time I accidentally left him at home or had no choice but not to let him tag along with me to wherever I was going. I talked about Theodore like he was a real person, like a baby, like a best friend. 

However, after having a real baby of my own (which I don't at all regret by the way), I found it increasingly difficult to pay any attention to Theodore at all. It just wasn't possible to carry a 14 kilo baby while also lugging around a DSLR everywhere, no matter how ideal the thought of that situation is. 


I have thought about selling him off before, but I just couldn't bring myself to part with him because he had become such a huge part of me, even when I no longer use him as often as I used to or as often as I'd like. He's one of those things which has made a mark in so many important areas of my life like my relationship and financial independence, for instance...

Plus, there were times when he came in handy, although I've got to admit that the most recent photos I took with Theodore have remained in it, due to it's lack of mobility or rather the lack of space in my bag (as you-know-who has conveniently taken over our lives for good, hehe).

So, with all my reluctance to let it go yet not exactly having enough time and energy to put it to good use, Theodore has been sitting idly on the shelves, where he doesn't belong.  

A few months back, my sister wanted my opinion on which camera she should consider buying in view of her growing projects and without a moment of hesitation, I offered her mine

For free.

(yes, isn't she lucky?)

I'm thinking, if I had to give it away/sell it off, it better be passed on to good, loving hands, right?

And I can't think of anyone better than my sister.

And just in case you're wondering why I had to post this... it's just to make things final in writing, so that I don't look back on my decision. Also, I had to get rid of that niggling feeling of sadness each time I think of how underutilised Theodore is (though I know that it's not for long now!) and of how hard I worked to get it. 

For now, I know that this is the best decision for everyone. 

And if Theodore could talk, I bet he is jumping with joy right now, because who wouldn't want to be jet-setting off to different places with Adik on her archi-adventures?

There. I said it.

Now, I can pass Theodore on in peace. I think

Ehehe. 

November 20, 2014

ikan bakar, ikan goreng.

Secara amnya, ikan adalah antara sumber makanan yang paling berkhasiat untuk dimakan. Akan tetapi, khasiat ikan dan kiraan kalori berubah-ubah bergantung kepada cara ia dimasak dan disediakan. 

Jadi, kalau lunch tadi kita dua-dua makan ikan tapi aku makin gemuk dan kau makin slim, berkemungkinan besar kau makan ikan bakar (80 kalori) dan aku makan ikan goreng (111 kalori).

Aku mungkin tanya kau, kenapa kau kurus padahal kita makan benda yang sama. Tapi aku malas nak ambil tahu kiraan ikan goreng dan bila aku dah tahu pun, aku cakap, "hek elek, beza 30 kalori je pun!"

Padahal, kalau nak bakar 111 kalori tadi, aku kena jogging 13 minit (lebih kurang 1 batu atau 1.6 k.m). 

Bila aku dah tahu macam-macam kebaikan pasal ikan bakar, aku tetap nak cuba tegakkan juga fakta bahawa ikan goreng yang aku suka tu lah yang paling baik. 

Antaranya, bila kita goreng ikan, semua tulang, sisip, sisik sekalipun jadi rangup, maka tak perlu kita susah-susah nak kuis ikan tu cari tulang bila nak makan. 

Lagi satu, bila kita boleh makan semua bahagian, dah tentu tak ada pembaziran, kan?

Tak cukup dengan itu, aku cuba burukkan ikan bakar pula- 

Sudahlah lambat nak masak, kos penyediaan tinggi pula; kena balut dengan daun pisang lah, sediakan air asam lah. Lepas tu nak makan kena sibuk kuis-kuis tulang. Kalau sedap tak apa jugak! Dan lagi satu, ikan bakar mahal, okay! Ikan goreng aku berapa sen je, tapi kau? Lunch tadi kau kena bayar berapa?

Sedang sibuk aku kutuk ikan bakar kau, tiba-tiba aku berhenti. 

Kau pun heran, jadi kau mendongak nak pandang aku (tadi kau tunduk je dan aku suka hati sebab rasa macam raja di dunia). Nasib baik kau baik hati pandang kat aku sebab rupanya, ada tulang ikan tersekat kat tekak. Iye, aku yang makan ikan goreng tadi ni punya tekak. 

Kau pun bagi aku air walaupun tadi, aku tak berhenti memekak-mekak. 

Hakikatnya, ikan memang elok untuk kita tapi hakikatnya juga, sesiapa yang makan ikan memang akan ada kemungkinan tercekik tulang. 

Kau goreng ke, kau bakar ke, blend buat laksa johor (330 kalori) ke, kau tetap akan tercekik kalau tak hati-hati bila nak makan.

Dan kalau kau betul-betul pandai, kau akan tahu yang post ini bukan semata-mata pasal ikan dan kalori dalam makanan. 



November 19, 2014

how my manicure was ruined.

The last time I did my nails was before I got engaged. Yes, sila percaya. After all, I am a very simple person who needs very little or close to no maintenance and I still feel beautiful (ewah). Whether or not I am still beautiful is of course, a different subjective matter altogether. However, this time last week, I wanted only ONE THING as a treat for myself after receiving my confirmation letter (Alhamdulillah!), which is... if you haven't already guessed it, a manicure-pedicure session. 

So, I went to The Nail Parlour to get my nails done and it was 2 days before my husband noticed. Eheh. And that's the story of how I got my manicure done.

I cook dinner almost daily so at the end of the week, I'm really clueless as to what else I should make. Sometimes, I make whatever I feel like eating on that day, sometimes I try out simple experiments and last weekend, I just asked my husband what he wanted. 

And you know what he said? 

Ayam kurma. 

Period. 

I.WAS.SPEECHLESS. 

When people ask me how I manage to cook almost daily, I just smile and tell them that I just do. Today, I'm feeling generous so I'll let you in on a "secret", which is... I just do. Hehe. Okay, I'm joking. I manage because I plan my meals around things like grilled salmon, grilled chicken salad, one pot pastas and other easy peasy one pot meals like stir fried beef with snap peas, for example. These meals need very little effort, use very little oil and they cook real fast. 

And everyone is happy (and healthy).

Our traditional Malaysian cuisines like curry, kurma, ayam masak merah and the likes are without a doubt, delicious and are the truest forms of one pot meals in my opinion, but they take soooo much effort and time and the amount of oil and fat used, gahh!! Plus at the end of the day, I'm not too sure if anybody is too happy about being served with dinner at 9.30 p.m., (banyak betul alasan aku) so I steer clear of these dishes especially on weekdays. 

But on weekends, I have no excuse not to cook it, right? Especially since my husband asked for it?

So, I defrosted some chicken, set aside the ingredients and searched for a simple recipe on the net because frankly, this meal has never really made it to our dining table before... (bahahahah silalah gelakkan saya sebab nak buat kurma pun kena tengok recipe!).

We had late lunch that day. I remember because we were starving and eating like piranhas. So, that night, when I asked my husband whether he still wanted his kurma ayam, he said no and requested something else. Since I had defrosted all the ingredients, I went ahead to prepare the kurma anyway and fixed another simple dinner for the boys. However, I did let them have a little taste of the kurma gravy that night sebab lauk tak berkuah and for that, this is what I get in my inbox the next day- 


So on Monday, both boys walloped the kurma like nobody's business!

And yesterday, knowing well enough that I surely made more than just one batch of kurma (click here if you don't already know of my overcooking habits!), my husband requested for kurma AGAIN and ate plate after plate of rice while si kenit also finished up his meal with much gusto! They may have just been really, really hungry, but aaah, who cares!

After spending so much money and 75 minutes of my life on the whole mani-pedi treatment last week, that's the story of how my manicure was ruined. 

TOTALLY worth it, if you asked me. 



November 17, 2014

motherhood 101: his love is unconditional, so unconditional.

... for now at least. 

A while ago, we bought Luqman the magnetic drawing board in our bid to fill in his time especially during longer journeys and mealtimes out of home. At the time (when we bought it), he was in that crazy scribbling stage where he would scribble everything (walls, cupboards, floors included, yes floors!) and I went crazy trying to scrub everything off with sponges and colgate. 

So, the magnetic drawing board was a saviour, that's for sure. 

Eventually though, he got bored of it and chucked it into his toy box. 

He's been learning alot of things in school (bless his teachers!) and one of the things that has constantly been on the curricular is the Alphabet class. Sometimes, they play with flashcards or worksheets, but there are days when they switch the Phonics Song on the TV so the kids could have some fun. 

Recently, Luqman regained interest in the drawing board... but he was no longer interested in drawing or scribbling on it. Rather... he's more obsessed in testing our drawing skills, especially on those days where he's just heard the Phonics Song.

"A is for Apple (he pronounces it as EPOL), Mama." 

And he shoves the the drawing board under my nose and makes me hold the magnetic pen and DEMANDS that I draw an Apple for him, which I do. After all, how difficult can it be to draw an apple, right? (I wasn't really joking when I said I couldn't draw). Plus, with me being slightly tech averse where he is concerned, I knew that me drawing for him is better than me switching on the Phonics Song on my phone for him to watch. 

Then, when I present the picture of the Apple to him, he shrieks with happiness, which is all good. Problem is... that's not where it stops.

Even on days when we don't have the drawing board, he LOVESSSS to make US draw on any piece of paper we can find. After "A for Apple" comes...
"B for Ball, Mama." - Hah, easy, so I draw a ball!
"C for Cat, Mama." - OK... although my husband say it looks more like a mouse!
"D for Dog, Mama." - Err.. okay for you, I tried...
"E for Elephant, Mama." (at this point, I'm already a little stumped)
"F for Fish, Mama." - Oh, this I am an expert!
"G for Giraffe, Mama." - And I TRIED...

And he said, "OH WOW MAMA! G FOR CAWAN, MAMA! CAWAN!"


At the time when this happened, we were having dinner outside and he was speaking very loudly and saying "Mama" after EVERY.SINGLE.SENTENCE, so there really was no way for me to pretend that I'm just a very, very untalented aunt of his or something (his Che Su is actually extremely talented by the way!) and I just felt like hiding under the table from embarrassment.

Sheesh.

Thing is, when it was daddy's turn to draw and he wanted to show Luqman his version of a "Cat", which didn't look like a mouse, but also didn't look like mine... my boy stops daddy and says,

"BUKAN! BUKAN! BUKAN CAT NI BUKAN. Mama, C for "Cat", Mama."

And he turns to me for the drawing of a "Cat". And I beam with pride because somewhere out there, someone (although he's my son), thinks I'm Picaso or something.

I know that it's only because his love for me (at the moment at least) is unconditional because I really am the last person on earth you should look for to draw anything even if your life depended on it!

 But while it's still "now", I'm going to bask in all this glory.

His love is unbreakable, it's unmistakable.

November 15, 2014

I wish that I could draw.

In fact, I wish that I could do a million other things.

I've been feeling this way for a while now, especially since I started religiously exploring other peoples' pictures on their Instagram account but on Thursday, after I watched a short video of another lady with her son, I felt weirdly insecure.

Somehow, I just felt like I wasn't enough. Inadequate as mother, unattractive as a person in general. And as much as I was aware of how highly inappropriate it was for me to feel that way just because of a complete stranger, it didn't make me feel any better about myself.

In fact, if anything, it made me feel worse.

After work, I went back home to my boys, who greeted me with the most dazzling smiles, with Luqman busily telling me what colour his clothes were and what he did at school that day.

We decided to have dinner outside since I had to collect my phone at the office (accidentally left it on my desk). And since Luqman has been talking about "Epsi (KFC)" quite a bit after one of the birthday parties in school, we decided to give him a treat.

I queued like everybody else. There was probably another 3 people before me who were lucky enough to get their meals the moment they ordered but as my turn approached, I heard the customer at the other counter being told that it would be about 10 minutes before the chicken would be ready and be delivered to their table. I almost wanted to get out of line but glanced at my kid who looked so hopeful so I stayed. 

Nak dijadikan kisah, rezeki Maha Suci Allah, when I ordered, the chicken was just pulled out fresh from the oven, so I didn't have to wait another second to be served and my chicken was in all its yummylicious hot perfection.

I brought our coveted tray to the table and put it down in front of my boys.


Luqman got up from his seat and got soooo excited over the chicken saying all kinds of thing like,

"Wow, Mama, banyaknya!"

"Mama, sedapnya wow Mama Espsi, Mama."

"Bishmillahiwahmaniwahim Awahumabawiknana Bimazazaknana Wakiazabana, amin."

And right there and then, his reaction to that simple meal that I almost always take for granted, put me to great, great shame

If anything, on that Thursday night, I wish that I could be more grateful.

Little beings like Luqman sure do come into our lives for a good reason. 

So, thank You for that. 


November 12, 2014

Learn.

"Bacalah dengan (menyebut) nama Tuhan-mu yang Menciptakan,
Dia telah Menciptakan manusia dari segumpal darah.
Bacalah, dan Tuhan-mulah Yang Maha Mulia.
Yang Mengajar (manusia) dengan pena.
Dia Mengajarkan manusia apa yang tidak diketahuinya.
Sekali-kali tidak! Sungguh, manusia itu benar-benar melampaui batas,
apabila melihat dirinya serba cukup.
Sungguh, hanya kepada Tuhan-mulah tempat kembali(mu)..."

Al-'Alaq (ayat 1-7)


Each time I think of my short stint as the "Senior Partner" during LLB, I am tickled by the memories of how poyo I used to be and how disillusioned I was about what the working life would be like and how I thought that everything back then was the ideal way of how things should be...

Fast forward 6 years later though... here I am, still working the same job as it has been for almost 6 years (with better position and better pay, Alhamdulillah), grateful as ever for all the experiences that that very short stint prepared me for. I'm also grateful as ever that I took advantage of that whole year to learn all that I could learn, which among others include - how to think on my feet.

As the "Senior Partner" back then, I was expected to know everything and I mean EVERYTHING. I remember during one of the "viva" sessions for Solicitor's Accounts, Mdm. Aziah asked us all a question (I can hardly recall what it was now) and all of my firm mates looked in my direction expectantly, knowing that I would somehow or rather answer that question on the firm's behalf. I remember feeling a blush creep up my neck at that moment, and feeling sick to the stomach because I was so scared that I would let them down. Eventually though, I (of course, flips hair (masa tu)) figured out the answer and I swear I heard them heave a sigh of relief when Mdm. Aziah said we got it right.

At this juncture, you're all probably asking, "Dude, WHAT IS YOUR POINT?!" so I'm going to cut to the chase.

My point is that during my working life so far, I have also been thrown into situations where I was required to think on my feet. While some people fret and make a big fuss out of it, I try not let it show too much (although hati berdebar-debar) and most importantly I try not to kelentong my way out of it.

I admit that at some point in my career, I too have used the kelentong method to wriggle my way out of a tight spot, but I have come to realise that it not only makes me look stupid (and like a big fat liar), it also encourages me to be stupid. And that's the last thing I want because Allah gave me perfectly good brains.


I have come to accept the fact although sometimes other people will inadvertently ask you things that they thought you knew, it's okay to tell them that you don't. Having said that though, there really is no harm in finding out the answers to their queries. After all, if someone gave you something so perfect, you've got to show your appreciation right? In this case, if you don't put your brain to good use, don't you think that you're being ungrateful to Allah for granting it to you?

I think we should never, at any point in our lives think that we know it all.


Because clearly, we don't. 


And knowing that fact, I do think that we should pay heed to the ayat I have cited above.


Read. And don't refuse to learn.


After all, it's a lifelong process that needs to go on and on and on.


Plus, no one likes a big fat liar, that's for sure.




November 10, 2014

run strong.

Last week is what I would call a really, really long week. Really.

It was so bad that by the end of that working week, I couldn't remember what my husband wore earlier on Monday and kept on wondering if I was ironing the same clothes that we both had worn that Monday or Tuesday or whether that was something we wore the week before...

To top that up, I had "working mother issues" with my son, who seemed to sense that his hours with me after school had been cut short (duh, of course he realised, his daddy picked him up almost daily), which led him to refuse sleep and to start acting up unnecessarily.

And then, it rained every single day, which made my laundry chores a 100 times more difficult and it most definitely made training impossible. 

Yes, training. 


So, I joined my second Fun Run last Saturday morning, which was held in conjunction with the Court of Appeal's 20th Anniversary. I only had 2 aims for this time around, which is to - (i) run non-stop; and (ii) beat my own record. By Friday, due to the non-stop rain and long hours at work, I was pretty sure that my lack of training (only managed to "train" on the stairs everyday) would leave me disappointed at the end of the day. I even considered calling in sick on Saturday just to escape the embarrassment that would ensue.

However, one of my bosses told us that he would sponsor our race kit so there was definitely no way out. And most definitely, the pressure was threefold with him sponsoring my race kit because now, I had to worry about not disappointing him as well! 

So, when Saturday came, I prayed hard that I wouldn't faint during the run and just decided to have fun, as the name suggest...

That day, I discovered that - 

(i) despite being a sprinter for the most of my life, I was able to run 5.28 km non-stop;

(ii) my breathing technique played a pivotal role in making sure that I wasn't overly tired throughout the entire run;

(iii) I can run on just 4 pieces of cream crackers for breakfast, as long as I didn't drink anything cold that morning (and the 2 weeks preceding the run);

(iv) high protein meals really helped with stamina, however, carbs are important too. You just have to switch the portion for the 2;

(v) having short term goals for each run helps; and

(vi) although camaraderie is important in sports, you've got to know your own limits - don't fret if you're left behind or have no choice but to leave others behind.

Alhamdulillah, I managed to reach both my goals, which is to run non-stop, which lead me to break my own record (managed to finish the run in 39 minutes). Also managed to get Top 10 position, which is a bonus for me.

Wonderful things sure do happen when you put your mind to it, eh? 

Me with my running buddies. Possibly the only decent photo for that day.