Thursday, December 22, 2005

BITS AND PIECES BEFORE THE YEAR ENDS

What's with women drivers??
It was rather late at night. Was driving back from work. Feeling all tired and weary. Just wanting to hit the sack. It's a straight road, parallel with the beach. I was flooring the gas with a reasonable, legal speed, minding my own way. Suddenly there was this Kembara, coming out from a small road and entering the main road I was on, slowly. I saw it from the corner of my eye. Well, I thought, 'you'd better keep to the side of the road, or else!' But I was wrong! The Kembara chose to come in straight into the middle of the main road, right smack in front of me! My brain, it's peripheral impulses and reflexes acted all at once! Half of my mind wanted to just overtake it and squeeze in between it and an oncoming car. The other half got control and my right foot slammed on the brakes to the fullest! SCREEEEECH!

Oh no! Don't let that speeding Kancil (a speeding Kancil spells disaster!) behind which was following so close , lose control! In my mind, (I was talking to myself at that instant) 'I'm going to hit this Kembara. Definitely 'kena hentam' this time'. And I was already picturing my car being hit, the badly distorted dented bonnet with broken headlights, in that split instant. Notice how our brain can do complex thinking in the spur of a heightened moment. No hope, I thought! At the same time, I managed to work on my angst and was blaring the horn continuously and irritatingly , it felt like eternity! Alhamdulillah, the Kancil at the back acted fast, swerved to its left and overtook me and the @#$%^%$# Kembara in one go. And I? I was so nerve-wrecked and pissed off, I just couldn't overtake the @#$^%$ Kembara anymore and just followed behind till I reached my turning. It was a lady-driver. Should I be surprised? What's worst was, she looked unperturbed by the whole incident! Driving ahead like she's done no one wrong. She didn't even make an effort to speed up after hearing my blaring horn. These sort of drivers shouldn't be allowed on the road and their license be revoked. They are the types who drive leisurely, almost dreamy sort of way, entering into main roads without bothering to stop at junctions. So was I sinful for cursing her all the way till I reach home??? You tell me! But of course, you'll tell me, the most important thing is that I am safe and no accident really occured, alhamdulillah. But still, I tell you..blah.blah..blah...

Nicotine-induced clouded minds.
At the clinic.The name on the PC screen belongs to a male patient. Pressed for his number. In came a man, his wife and a child. Told him to sit on the patient's chair. He refused. He took the chair in front and directed the wife, instead to sit next to me. So who's the patient I asked? Blank face. No answer. I asked again. The wife spoke. 'Actually we came because he wants to stop smoking and wants advice plus treatment.' she said. 'Oh ok' I said. After asking for important points like how many sticks per day and duration, he said 'it's actually for the both of us'. What? I looked at the wife. Studied her face. 'Wah, this lady also smoke one?' Didn't know that kampung ladies wearing tudung also smoke nowadays! Have I been so detached from the real-world (read: too attached to the blog-world eh?) to not notice this trend? Looked at the man, then looked at the wife. I was bewildered, needles to say. The man was still wearing that blank, uneasy face. So the wife offered to ease my mental anguish (was probably obvious). "It's my son who needs this treatment badly. He's 16. He wants out but doesn't want to come himself". Aiyah! Should have told me from the beginning and safe me from this agony!! The man must have thought that I'd pick up the phone and dial for the police or what??Argghhh! Patients!


Lengthy Phone Chats Are Not For Me
If you want to talk to me on the phone, please make it sweet and short. I hate long phone conversations. They're not for me. This time-consuming thingy usually leave me numb in my arms for holding the receiver for too long, ear-lobes warm and red with temporary partial hearing loss in the overly used ear. These are calls made by certain people, so I have to oblige and make myself sound enthusiastic eventhough I might have some other pressing matters to attend to or my already tired brain almost entering slumber zone. Once, this friend called. When a person calls, we can't end the conversation thus I had to wait for her to say her goodbyes, lest I'd be considered rude, isn't it? She kept on talking and I kept on being enthusiastic and interested, eventhough my mind is half-asleep! It went on till she mentioned something interesting and I got perked up and started asking questions. Then suddenly she cut me off, saying, "oh my hubby asks me to stop as I might get my asthmatic attack again!" Sheesh! It's not the first time I got that from her. Once before, she called me (I never initiate the calls!) and yakked , yakked till one point she said she had to stop cause the hubby has just arrived home from work. Masyallah! So what does she think? How about my hubby whom I have been neglecting for an hour or so because I have to entertain her on the phone? What signal is she sending? So its ok for me to ignore my hubby but it's not for her??

What New Year Resolution?
I am never a person who'd list things to do for each coming year. Never a person with hard, solid, yearly resolutions! That's what I am. I prefer to keep things simple and easy. I live by the day. I'll plan and do things when the need arises. No hard and rigid rules. I am a very flexible person. So no new year resolution again this year. I just pray to Allah swt that the coming year will be better for all of us, more khusyuk in our ibadah, stronger in our conviction for Islam and of course constant blessings from Him! Ameen! Take care, eyeryone!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE


Never dwell on a dream we had the previous night, I was told. For lay-men like us with 'a not so high makam', dreams are only visions in our sleep provoked by the day's events, entwined with the satan's evil-doings. But I had a very strange dream last night. In fact it was rather interesting as I have never had such an almost logical one before. Most of the time, my dreams are absurd, incomprehensible sequences of events, one after another, that even if I piece them together when I am conscious, they don't make tangible sense!


Ok, now let me recall what exactly did I dream last night. Oh gosh, I think I have lost some of the fragmented visions already! That's another problem I face nowadays with my dreams. I seemed not able to recall most of it and the next day I am being left with just a diluted, fuzzy and convoluted story-line! Well, in a nut-shell, in this particular dream, I was driving alone to a certain destination, rather far. What? Travel alone? Never in my life! Half-through the dream or the destination, (whatever!), I suddenly found myself in another place, out of my destination. Well, that's not weird when you're in a dream, you say. But it's suppposed to be, in this dream. Apparently, whislt driving, I ?met with an accident (not sure, but I just made this conclusion in the dream) and had amnesia (yes folks, I had amnesia in my dream!).

After the accident, I had allegedly, staggered on foot and went out of destination, hundreds of kilometers away (I think so, but distant and time are so irrelevant in a dream, anyway!). When I regained my memory back I became frantic! Started making calls and finally was rescued from the ordeal and was brought back home. In between the confusing dream, there were interesting scenes which I can't vividly recall but my good neurons tell me there were. Now don't go and make your own dream interpretations for me, ok? I don't believe in them unless you are Prophet Yusof, :)



Before I got married, I had frequent dreams of being chased by snakes. Yucks! The fact that I loathe them, made it worse! There were small ones and there were also big python-like ones. Well, we all know what the Malay interpretations of these dreams are. I don't believe much in it either, but funnily, after getting married, these dreams stopped altogether! Coincidence?

I used to have these recurrent dreams of climbing a tall but narrow building almost like a tower and as I ascend, the structure starts to taper at the base rendering it unstable. Never really knew the significance of those dreams. And what about dreams of being chased by demons and evil people etc? No matter how exasperating the chase would be, those hounders never succeed to catch me even though the chasing felt like a slow-motion scene! And in those dreams too, I would transform into a slick fugitive who is so good in hiding and evading chasing rouges.



I am sure everyone has had dreams where the characters in the dream would conveniently interchange from one to another just to suit the occasion. If only we can make that happen in real life! That'll be something! Like when we have the unfortunate luck of getting a notoriously known lecturer who has the divine notion that he/she was put in this world on the sole purpose to fail their students! Or going for blind dates and ending up with someone so distasteful. Then like in a dream, we could conveniently switch them with others!

There were times too (though not frequent) when I get dreams that would strongly evoke my inner emotions and the surreal feelings would continue to linger on when I am consicous. These are the sort of dreams that might make an impact on your daily activities. So if someone who comes to work looking all perky and bright or all gloomy and quiet, then perhaps the night before, an emotional dream they have acquired.

Is it true that sometimes, if you dreamt of someone , that someone would also have dreamt about you simultaneously the same night? However it would be too embarassing to find out if this theory is true as usually the dream is so ridiculous to begin with!



The worst dream, they say, is to dream of someone who is already dead. The Malays say that if in your dream, the dead talks to you and you talk back or you chose to follow them, then it means that ...(alamat tak lama lagi la tu!).....or if you dreamt of a broken tooth or needle, it means someone is dying....what gross superstitions! These dreams would usually make you worry unnecessarily for days on end!

Some people would attempt to continue the same (good ones that is!) dream after having being rudely awaken. Apparently some do succeed! And some people even claimed to have a dream within a dream . Can this be true? But the best part about dreams especially bad ones, is the ability to wake up and finding you are safe and sound after all! Phew! Nothing beats the sheer relief of finding yourself snug and safe in your bed after having pumped maximum adrenaline trying to escape a ghastly ghost!

Do we dream in black and white or in color? Nobody can say for sure. Are dreams important? Do they have any significance in our psychological realm? Has anyone claimed that they've never dreamt throughout their whole life? (like my FIL who claims that he had never before in his entire life experience headache and never knew how it felt to have a splitting headache! Lucky you, FIL!)

Do you have good dream-stories to share with us?

The best way to avoid weird, mind-boggling dreams, is to recite:
1) Al-fatehah once
2) Ayat Qursi once

3) Al Kafirun
4)Al-ikhlas once
5) Al-falaq once
6) An-nas once

7) Subhanallah 33 x
8) Alhamdulillah 33 x
9) Allahu-akbar 33 x
imediately before we hit slumber-land, insyallah.....sweet dreams everyone!

p.s. This is to inform everyone that Boogey is going for Hajj on the 30th. He is going to handle 150 jemaah altogether insyallah. May Allah swt makes it easy for you overthere and that everything will run smoothly as planned. Also, may none of your jemaah give you headache, :))

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

ADA APA PADA KUCING?

I am borrowing Anedra's topic of a recent entry: ADA APA PADA LELAKI BOTAK? Since I have no affinity towards these apparently sexy testosterone-laden beings , I have chosen cats instead, as I perceive that many people can't fathom why some people like me adore these feline creatures so much. Just like Anedra, who goes ga-ga over bald men, my heart just melts each time I see a cat, whatever its pedigree, colour or size. I can't really explain but a cat's presence just lures my attention, be it just for a few seconds. It's as though I have a connection with them and the feeling of empathy for them is so great!

My love for cats began since I was young. I'd feed stray cats at the back of my house, giving them whatever left-overs we had from lunch or dinner. Mak would nag me off, fearing the cats would make our house their permanent abode. Not wanting to defy mak, I didn't pursue this 'love' intensely, only doing my good samaritan act when mak was not around to grumble her dislike.

My interest in cats rekindled back after I got married as my late MIL was also an avid cat lover and had at one time took care about 7-8 cats of long-haired species. One of them was a family legend named Kitty, which had many percularities in traits and behavior. But of course, Boogey and iKelah are the better experts on Kitty's colorful past thus I shall not dwell on her further.

For many years when iFos and Aliah were small, they would pester us to adopt cats (Sarah initially had qualms being around cats but look at her now!) However due to many reasons of health and sanitation, we adamantly refused. Till one day, when a stray cat came and we hadn't the heart to turn her away. She came as a kitten and lived with us till she produced 2 litters of kittens. One day she simply disappeared and never came back. We were not that cat-savvy then and we didn't make an effort to give her a name. We just called her 'Mak Kucing' as she was the mother to all the kittens. All her kittens didn't survive except one which grew into a big chubby one. We called him/her 'Debab' .We weren't sure of her/his sex as she/he showed contradicting characteristics. It had genitalia of a male but we were shocked when it breastfed its own siblings when 'Mak Kucing' disappeared! Blimey!


Mayo and Pooty frolicking

Later, after Debab died of mysterious circumstances, we were cat-free for quite sometime till iKelah saw a cute and playful orangey semi-persian kitten for sale in a pet-shop (actually it was a kedai jual ikan-aquarium). That marked the day 'Mayo' came into our lives. From a very playful, cheeky lovable long-haired kitten, Mayo grew into a beautiful orangey semi-persian with a not-so-peeky face. In fact, Mayo does resemble Garfield in several aspects, her indifference especially :). When she was at her peak, she had a beautiful 'mane' around her neck, which according to the vet is a trait belonging to the Maine-coons (another cat species). So we concluded that Mayo is actually a cross-breed of Persian and Maine-coon. Being Persian, explains her indifference. She never establish eye-contact with us, no matter how hard we tried. She always put on a face that says " don't mind me".

Being half Maine-coon means that she also inherits some of its traits. One of it is being a dare-devil with careless attitude, fearless of heights and sitting on precarious spots. She loves climbing out of the bedroom window (risking fall) and laze on the air-con compressor, watching with great interest at the birds flying above but with no urge whatsoever to attack them!



Later we bought Pooty, an all-white Turkish Angora. Whilst Mayo displays an extremely indifference attitude, Pooty is a very loving cat that exudes warmth and friendliness. It is a true lap-cat. It loved being cradled on our laps and would purr with sheer contentment. Pooty would look into our eyes knowingly and I could swear that he could read our minds. At our old house, due to space constraint and fear of them getting astrayed, we caged them up, only setting them free into the house at intervals. Stray cats would come to woo Mayo and poor Pooty would observe with great distaste (literally!). He would 'jeling' and turn his face just to show his detest. Once my maid shoo-ed a wooing stray and Pooty let out an almost sniggering giggle! Fancy that!

Pooty is such a clumsy lad and would always dirty his pure white coat, leaving stubborn black stains, making it impossible for us to clean even with vigorous scrubbing. Mayo is the complete opposite and would lick herself clean all over with repetitive nodding movements (its amazing that she's never tired of doing this). So one day, on the vet's advice, we had him clean-shaved leaving just a small tuft at the end of his tail (just to let him know that it's his tail and not to bite it!) Anedra would have drooled looking at this bald sphinx-like cat! Sadly it was only few weeks later that he disappeared never to come back.

One night, a stormy one, unknown to us, Pooty left the house for good. We searched for him all over the village, on foot and by car. We left notices with pictures of him all over. But to no avail. According to the people here, in this village, no long-haired cats should be let loose lest it'll be nabbed. Now it has been 7 months since he was probably stolen and we still miss him sorely. Our hearts wrench each time his image comes to mind and questions like: are you eating well Pooty? Have your coat grown back as beautiful as before? Are you still alive? would play in our minds. We will forever miss you Pooty!

My children have inherited my empathy for cats and have, in fact, outdone me! iFos and Aliah would cry each time our cats die. They would show their dislike if someone mistreats any cats. Once we stopped at an R & R for prayers. After exiting the toilet I saw Aliah, red in the face with tears, at the surau entrance. Apparently a cat was splashed with cold water for wanting to enter the surau as it smelled food from within. Aliah was furiously guarding the cat, delaying her prayers, preventing it from entering again lest it'll get a second dose of shower!

Mayo has given birth twice and now she's pregnant again. And one of her offspring has also given birth to 4 kittens. I have lost track on their numbers! My plan: to make Mayo pregnant one last time with Nikko (another Maine-coon, a male stud, belonging to the vet) and then tie her tubes! At least insyallah this time, she'll give birth to long-haired offsprings like her, unlike those before, as she had gone for illegal mating all this while! Since the kucing kampung here, almost all, have kinked tails, so her offsprings' tails so far are not beautiful as hers! (kontot and patah!)

So that is the story of my feline friends who are almost human and very dear to my heart. Ada apa pada kucing? Lots, I daresay! Miaow!

Friday, December 09, 2005

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNAISE WITH A TWIST

We have a guest since last Tuesday, Muhammad's friend, a senior. Both of them had spent three days with an ENT specialist, tagging at her clinic and OT. So today, to honour our guest, I have decided to cook dinner and chose Spaghetti Bolognaise, which is also Muhammad's all-time favorite.

What I am about to show may be detrimental to all the Italian Chefs around as I have improvised the recipe quite a bit, adapting it according to the whims of my taste-buds! So to those who are staunch traditional recipes 'sticklers' , you should exit here! :p

Ingredients prepared: grated carrot, finely diced celery, chopped onions, chopped garlic, minced meat, home-made chilli boh (the detrimental ingredient, hehe), tomato puree 1 can and sauce, chillie sauce, bay -leaves, oregano, chopped parsley

Method: Sautee the onions and garlic in canola/olive oil till brown. Fry in the chillie boh. This adds spice and gives better Asian flavor to the sauce, rather than having just a plain and bland tomato tasting gravy. Add in tomato puree and wait till it gurgles. Then pour in your minced meat which looked kinda weired in the picture. Stir and blend the meat into the tomato mixture till you're sure that the meat has absorbed all the flavors and are well-cooked. Add in the chopped celery and grated carrot. Besides giving flavor, these ingredients lend the crunchiness to the gravy. Sprinkle in the oregano but not too much as its distinctiveness will outdo the Asian tang we desire here. Place in the bay leaves, another herb so much proclaimed by the Italians.

To satisfy my seasoned taste-buds, I'd add in chillie and tomato sauce in amounts that vary according to time, place , weather and also hormonal challenges! A tip I learned from Chef Wan: when cooking a sour dish, add in sugar in liberal amounts to neutralize the acidity. I may be biased towards this coz I am a sucker to sweetness, having been accustomed to sweet-savory food since small.

When buying spaghetti, I'd look for the thinnest possible so it will turn out just nice and ala dante. Empty the packet of spaghetti into a deep pot of boiling water. Once cooked, drop a blob of margerine. Drain.

Serve spaghetti with a generous serving of the gravy garnished with parsley and parmesan cheese. Bon appetit!



Monday, December 05, 2005

My 'Not So Happening' Weekend ......


........As Compared To Nurelhuda's

Went to Lembah Beringin last Saturday to fetch my son, Muhammad (wrote about him here) at KYUEM college, who has just started his 6 weeks hols. It was Parents' Day and we had quite a time meeting his teachers. To begin with, it was unlike the normal Parents' day we usually attended before . This is a college where almost a third of its educators are British including the headmaster himself, Mr Richard Small. Thus, many of the college's rules and regulations, style and emphasis are so English in nature but perhaps entwined with bits of Malaysian hues, here and there.

To start with, the report book was very impressive, the layout, that is. The results, I'll deal with later, :). Each particular subject was given a full page, where the subject teacher would give their sincere remarks with regards to the student's performance throughout the semester, their attitude and enthusiasm. All the teachers were stationed in the hall behind their desks with their names exhibited to ease the parents finding them.

Firstly , we saw his Maths teacher, a young Malay lady, whom I immediately, took a liking to. She was frank and seemed sincere to help Muhammad gain good results in his coming exams. She spoke with a graceful lilt and there was a slight hint of British accent too.

Next, we met his Chemistry teacher who is probably a Pakistani Brit (forgot to ask Muhammad). A youngish gentleman who was so polite and very pleasing in demeanor. He gave positive remarks and apparently believed that Muhammad has no problem to prove his best in the coming exams, insyallah.

His Biology teacher is helluva guy! A down-to-earth Malay man who stressed on being transparent. Since Muhammad did well in Biology, this teacher focused more on Muhammad's attitude and it's negativity. He was concerned on a certain aspect and we dealt with it seriously in front of Muhammad! And for that, I thanked him.

Lastly we sat with the English teacher who suggested that he started writing daily, making his own journal, to improve his writing. We had encouraged him to start his own blog but apparently this teacher is against it. She said that most of these blogs were written in a 'merapu' sort of manner and prefered that he sticks to the conventional method. To me, it doesn't matter what mode he choses to write. As long as he writes proper English, the outcome would be the same, insyallah.

The college is always generous in providing food for its visitors. We were served buffet-styled. No. There were no macaroons, bagles, or buns . None of those English treats. We had the usual Malaysian spread of Mee Hoon, rendang ayam, kuih lapis and biscuits. The HM and some of the teachers were seen mingling amongst parents, making small talks. Some of the British teachers were bulging in the waists, I see. Hope they don't blame it on the local food! Another Biology teacher ( A Dutch, I was told) had donned dark-shades throughout. Apparently his trademark. (only to be scorned by his students: macam orang buta je!) But he looked so much like Keannu Reeves in the Matrix to me, :).

One more thing that I need to mention is the hostel. The hostel here is quite unique. The students live in chalets which consist of 4 small rooms , a small common room and an attached bath. And guess what? All these chalets are air-conned in the common room! These are difinitely luxury to me!

After spending overnight at my parents' in Ampang (had a nice time chatting with mak), we headed for the PC Fair the next morning. I decided not to bore myself and instead ambled along with mak and bapak at KLCC, :). Since it was the last day of the fair, it was a mad rush and 'shoving' was the act of the day! And apparently the price of everything was sinfully cheap, leaving ikelah drooling badly! My sister, TK, got herself a branded wireless optic mouse for her laptop which according to iKelah was a steal, at RM 130. My dad was flabbergasted when he found out the price. "Mouse apa nih sampai 130 ringgit? Bapak boleh dapat seringgit jek!" Ye lah, bapak! heheh

At the PC Fair. Some booths were displayed ala McD! Fancy!

So that was my weekend. Btw, since my last entry on food drew quite a number of comments, I have decided to make food-entries a norm. But time and energy is so precious to me nowadays, thus I can't promise much...but Has' kitchen is so beautiful that I am tempted to just make my next cooking-entry straight from her kitchen! Big, fat hope huh?

p.s. Nurelhuda was away for a week but look what agendas she has occupied herself with! Masyallah! Queen of the House is going crockery shopping this December.Hiyoshi has a new entry on his debate thingy. Pang5 just came back from a Singapore trip. Kenakelayan extended her holidays and is now back in Dungun. iFos has decided to tell everyone that she's alive by reproducing 'this' entry. Bergen is off somewhere after sending off his Aunt Su. Crimsonskye and Ayumi has made a sub-fellow-blogger meet without us! boo hoo! Halela is getting ready for Hajj. Finally, iKelah has a fairly recent entry on snatch-thief and its severe repercussions.

Till later, take care, wassalam!

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