Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
We have decided that going to the park on Saturdays will be a weekly thing because my eldest needs to practice cycling his bicycle (still with training wheels) and we'll also have a picnic there to spend more quality family time outdoors. Last weekend I made some nasi ayam and brought it in the picnic basket and had our dinner at the park at around 6pm (sun sets at 8pm+ nowadays) after which Mr S, the boys and I kicked some football. And then we went for a nice walk around the park and went back home tired but happy.
We had a wonderful time, alhamdulillah.
Also the boot sales have started again now and we like to go (actually, the kids hate it and Mrs S is indifferent - I'm the only one who really looves it) to look around for good and interesting stuffs. I like to look for toys, books and kids' clothes in these boot sales. The boot sales are normally on Sundays so that basically makes our weekends 'full'.
In order to do the above we need to do our grocery shopping beforehand and we've decided that ordering online (Tesco's) is best. We've done this many times before but only when we've got other unavoidable plans for the weekend but now I think it is a permanent thing. Believe me, it is very, very de-stressing to get all your shopping delivered to your door instead of going to the supermarket, braving the trolley traffic jams and all the queueing. I totally recommend it if such a service is available to my readers!
Just some more pics taken last weekend at the park and a boot sale using my Sony Ericsson K800i hp:
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Here it is..
The satelite pic is so very clear and I noticed that there were some fires as well in the area (black patch in small pic, inset) - that's the 'normal' open air burning in the area (awful, I know!) - so I am pretty sure that it was a hot day there at the time the satelite took those pics and there were not too many clouds, hence why the pic is so clear.
My mum's house is the one that is not exactly facing the road as my arwah ayah had the house built facing the kiblat. There is a little tarred road that leads to the house from the main road and I can also see so very clearly the four overgrown pine trees in the front garden that my arwah ayah had had planted when the house was first built more than 20 years ago.
Felt a pain in my chest as I was looking at the picture. How I miss home!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I am soooooo not into this tagging thing!
But since I have been tagged by both flowerin and Dilla and I am really a good sport (I am!), I will honour this tag as I will any other tags that is slapped upon me in the future, God help me. But it's supposed to be for fun, right?
Saying that, thank you ladies, for having thought of tagging me.
Layer One: On the Outside
Name: Halwafy. Not my real name obviously. Have been called several other nick names and the one that stuck (Until now! Some girls from school still call me this, believe or not!) during school was Snabby.
Birthdate: 8th of January, 1976.
Current status: I am happily married with 2 little boys.
Eye color: Dark brown
Hair Color: Black, although not really, really black - if you know what I mean. Oh yes, with a few stray greys.
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Layer Two: On the Inside
My heritage: Minangkabau. Not too distant actually, my paternal grandfather rowed a boat across the Straits of Malacca. Maternal grandparents hail from Jasin, Melaka. But their ancestors actually hail from Negeri Sembilan and had a 'suku' - which is a Minang thing. So I am really a Minang from both sides of the family.
My fears: Something bad happening to my family. I am a worrier!
My Weaknesses: Not ambitious - what to do? But support and encourage Mr S to be!
My perfect pizza: Dominoes - can't remember which one. Been ages since I had them!
Layer Three: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
My thoughts first thing when I wake up: Alamak, ada subuh lagi tak?
My bedtime: I sleep late. Almost never earlier than midnight.
My most missed memory: I had a wonderful time in Morrisson's Academy, Crieff, Scotland, doing my Scottish Highers. The best time I ever had!
Layer Four: My picks
Pepsi or Coke: Coke
Mc Donald's or Burger King: Mc Donald's - never understood why people liked the latter.
Single or Group Dates: Single - then again, never tried the group ones.
Adidas or Nike: Nike
Tea or Nestea: Tea - I am a tea addict. I drink it a few times a day, very hot, with 1 sugar and 2.5 coffee creamer.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate
Cappucino or Coffee: Err..Latte?
Layer Five: Do I
Smoke: Never and don't want to. Can't stand the smell!
Curse: Don't like to but yes, sometimes I do, unfortunately. e.g. Bloody hell or damn!
Take a shower: Of course!
Have a crush: Yes. Jake Gyllenhaal is just so comel....
Think I've Been In love: Yes. Mr S won my heart a few years ago and still owns it!
Go to school: Not at the moment, no.
Want to get married: Done.
Believe in myself: No, not really but taram saja..
Think I'm a health freak: No but would like to be one, at least more health conscious but am procrastinating.
Layer Six: In the past month
Drank alcohol: Nope.
Gone to the mall: Ada la, although God knows the London ones are nowhere as good as the ones in KL imo!
Been on stage: Err..nope. Don't really like to 'show off' myself.
Eaten Sushi: Not in a long time but I used to eat this very frequently when I was back home.
Dyed your hair: Nope. But used to bleach brown streaks after straightening. Can do this myself!
Layer Seven: Have I ever
Played a stripping game: Nope! It's cold ma...
Changed who I am to fit in: No, not really. Don't know how to and don't really care to.
Layer Eight: Age
I am hoping to be married: Done at 24 years old.
Layer Nine: What was I doing
1 min ago: Watched final episode of O.C. Resumed completing this tag in between the commercial breaks.
1 hour ago: Clear up my room. Fold clothes. Munch on an apple. You choose.
4.5 hours ago: Played with the boys.
1 month ago: Nothing worth mentioning, I think.
1 year ago: Probably cleaning up this house after just moving in.
Layer Ten: Finish The Sentence
I love: my 'boys' to bits. Can't get enough of them sometimes!
I feel: wonderful when people love my cooking.
I hate: the word 'hate'. It is a strong word and when I think about it, I don't really hate. I just get extremely annoyed or irritated. I try not to hate.
I hide: my annoyance most of the time because I hate confrontations.
I need: to go upstairs and get Mr S to come downstairs with me and go to the kitchen for some supper! I'm hungry!
Layer Eleven: Tag 5 people
Okay, people. This one is easy! Buat jo lah..
Ayu --> Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
Nik Farizah --> Mintak tolong ye :) Jangan nyesal baca blog nih!;)
Afif --> Here's one back at ya! ;)
Along --> Can ah??
Mrs Acey --> Lepas exam buat ye? :)
Monday, April 23, 2007
She just could not do it. She has tried and tried and tried and she was a brilliant student at school and her undergraduate course too but whilst handling 3 little kids and a husband who is also doing his PhD., it was just too much for her little shoulders.
I don't blame her.
It is not easy to study when you have kids. Period.
But it is worse when you're living in London where the living costs (especially the rent) are high and the money your sponsors give you is only really enough for single people or couples without children. It's not easy when your spouse is also doing his PhD and as a wife, somehow, just somehow, you end up doing most of the work at home on top of your own PhD. And don't forget, as a wife and mum to your kids, you are always, always emotionally engaged with your children's ups and downs when your husband, being a man, can simply 'disengage' and block anything and everything and just get on with his work.
I myself did plan to pursue something here - to also take the opportunity to gain something whilst in London. But my mother wisely said 'tak payahlah...sorang-sorang lah belajar. Dua-dua orang nak kejar itu, kejar ini..macammana?'
Wise words indeed, I think. And many of my friends here who are doing their PhD seem to think so too.
I know 4 married people here who are doing their PhDs and many, many times they have been at the verge of giving up everything and just fly back home.
You see, for most of them, their allowance will only just cover their rent here in London. For food, the children, the car and recreation they have to get money from somewhere else. And thus, one of them will have to find some work. And that is not very easy if you don't have the right qualification to your name. And because of the fact that due to the EU agreement, employers are to give priority to the people from within the EU, it gets even more difficult to get 'proper' jobs like what they used to have back home.
But once the non-studying spouse gets a job, who will take care of the baby when he/she goes to work to earn money for the family? Childcare is VERY expensive here. In the end, that job falls upon the shoulders of the one who is really supposed to be studying and working away at the library - but instead is at home trying to type a report on the PC while screaming at the children to be quiet so that he/she can concentrate.
But who said life is easy?
Still, I wonder why the universities in Malaysia send their lecturers here to London with such a pittance for one family to live by. Don't they realise the rent here is sky high (minimum average is around £700)? Don't they realise that because of the lack of funds, their sponsored student's performance will suffer and in the end it may well be pointless, anyway?
The summary to a discussion amongst friends yesterday, all married with children and studying for a better future for themselves and their family was; "If the PhD. is to be achieved, BOTH husband and wife cannot study at the same time. There is no other way about it - one of us (obviously the one who's NOT studying) will have to be worse off after all this. There has to be a BIG career sacrifice and he or she has to be resigned to the fact. Otherwise, not just the studying spouse's performance at the university and the stay-at-home spouse's working career will suffer - the marriage will also take a beating."
After all, if the stay-at-home spouse bears a grudge and keeps on harping about how BECAUSE of the other, he/she has lost out on this and that in her career, what else is bound to happen?
And all the above plus the necessity of the 'tightening of one's belt', of course. (And I mean that in a general way, not just when it comes to food.)
Because for most of the students here who come with their families, life is, indeed, NOT easy.
I hope for their sakes' and mine too that it will all be worth it.
Friday, April 20, 2007
And inside it was this:
And inside that was this:
It is the ultimate avid romance reader's dream, I think. To get an early reading copy of her favourite author's book, complete with the author's signature inside!
This book was won in a draw - I registered in the Mary Balogh Yahoogroups a long time ago where fans of the author and the author herself discuss her books and other books in the genre and she was giving away some early copies of her book, titled The Web Of Love.
It is not really a new book actually, it is a republication of an old book that is out of print and not easy to find. Her old books are highly sought after by her fans and in fact I once made bids for her old books on ebay only to win at a whopping 21 USD for a book that was old with lots of creases! So you can imagine my happiness at getting this one for free!
You know, I used to scoff at people who read romance. And I only started really reading romances about 2 years ago too, when my husband and I were apart for 1 year because he had to work in the UK and I had to wait awhile before joining him.
It wasn't a pleasant experience for a mother of two like me to go through such a thing. It was, to me, a taste of single motherhood and it was then that I had understood the hardships and problems of raising children single-handedly. But even then, I was not really alone, unlike the many, many single mothers of the world. I had my maid, my in-laws, and my family to help me through each day (and I am very thankful for them) and also I had the books.
I read romances not because of the sex scenes, mind! As I have mentioned before (a few times, in this blog, in fact), my reading romances has always been for the happy endings, and I think many other readers also share this with me. I think I was feeling depressed at that time and a little lonely too and the books without fail, gave me a happy ending to look forward to everyday.
(Sorry folks, this is where the rambling starts - feel free to skip to the end..)
But you know, reading romance novels then also had a deeper impact on me.
Due to reading romances, I realised that my long term courtship with my husband - we were going out 6 years before we were married - has made me indifferent to his actions. I didn't make an effort to 'read' him any more - I didn't even notice the things he did for me and even if I did, I simply brushed them off as 'nothing'. And to add to this, he has always been a subtle kind of man and a man of little words.
And I feel, this was how the romance novels helped me. With the actual man being one 13 hour flight away, I learnt to be more sensitive to his expressions and actions which I have recalled back and committed to memory. You may know how each and every emotion is described and explained in these novels; like why the hero held his breath. And why he paused in his sentence. And why he looked away. Every little action is explained with emotions and something deeper, inside. (Tedious and it can be annoying, I know, but combined with some very good writing, it can make very good reading, in my opinion.)
It may sound funny but it made me realise and understand a lot about my hubby and my relationship with him - which I have been blind to all these years. It made me had a long think about things and most importantly, it made me appreciate Mr S more.
Example: I used to be very selebet when I am at home. My ideal uniform at home is my pajama bottoms and a loose shirt all day long. And I had only 2 or three favourite T-shirts, thus I would wear these again and again until they were quite in tatters and still I refused to wear something else.
But now I dress up when I am at home - for Mr S, of course. Nothing too fancy - simple clothes but those that don't make me look like a sack of potatoes - 'tighter' and curvier and more pleasing to the eyes because what man doesn't like his woman to look good?
That is one of the ways I show my appreciation to Mr S - all thanks to reading this genre. But I admit that it had to have that period of being apart thrown into the mix as well (pathetic, I know), when I had all the time in the world to think about ways to please Mr S...
My word, have I or have I digressed into deep territory in this entry?
(And this is where my rambling ends, as it should..)
Mrs Balogh is loved by her readers not really for her plots but for her writing style and the depth of emotions in her writings. I love her style best, and the writing styles of Suzanne Enoch and Loretta Chase as well. These are my favourite romance writers in the whole world and I am in the process of collecting their novels. Thus, you can imagine how happy I was at receiving the book FOC yesterday.
Thank you, Mary. I will treasure the book forever!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
None of us got a seat except for my youngest who was comfortably sitting in his stroller from the start and this doesn't count! Everyone who didn't trust themselves not to sway and tumble tried to grab hold of the yellow coloured beams available inside the train. We were standing next to the doors, Mr S was standing beside me and my eldest was standing right in front of me, holding on to the stroller and the beam next to it while the underground train sped to the next station.
I was looking at the beam of hands in front of me when I saw Mr S's fingernails. They were long and albeit they looked clean, were haphazardly cut - typical of Mr S's nails, I thought - he doesn't know how to clip his nails in a smooth and rounded line. They were really quite, quite appalling.
And so I couldn't resist.
I gave his hand that was holding the beam a little slap and shouted above the din;
"Eii... Panjangnya kuku!"
(We always speak Malay when we go out - obviously so that other people won't understand what we're saying. This poses a little bit of a problem however, because my youngest doesn't really understand the language or at least, he acts like he doesn't understand - so we always need to revert back to English whilst speaking to him. Anyway, back to the story..)
And then he looked at me, his eyes dancing, "Tu bukan tangan aku lah!"
And there was another pair of eyes also looking at me - to whom the hand I just slapped belonged to!
Just then, the train slowed down to stop at a station and I quickly looked away, my face hot, and moved around to give way to other people who were leaving or coming in.
Mr S stifled his laugh until we reached our station which was the next one and then he burst out laughing, to my utmost annoyance.
"That's something you should write in your blog!" he said, laughing.
So here it is..
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Saw the news on TV last week but somehow it didn't click for Mr S and I that the murder actually happened very, very near our area.
Until we saw the scene (in the pic right) on Sunday, while waiting for my friends, the 'muslim mums' and their families to go together in a convoy for a barbecue.
The boy was 14 years old and he was stabbed straight in the heart by another boy, 1 year younger than him. There was also another boy, age 15, in critical condition in hospital. I think there was a gang fight or something like that.
One of the muslim mums heard loud noises on that fateful night right after she finished her maghrib prayers and looked out her window. She saw the boy, who was tall (and could easily be mistaken as a man) lying a few doors away from his mother's house - his mother was wailing and screaming in anguish beside him.
It was a heart wrenching scene, I bet. But the boy was already dead at the time. He had staggered home after being stabbed but did not make it to his door...
This is the 3rd lethal stabbing and 7th murder of under age boys (under 16) due to gang wars etc. since January here in London. And the recent one happened so very near our home that it has caused both Mr S and I to worry.
Many thoughts crossed my mind after finding out about this incident. My first thought was; "Kesian, orang-orang kulit hitam ni...their youths' moral is deteriorating every day. What are they doing about it? It is to the point that most people equate these youths to violence and aggression..."
And then; "That boy should have been at home, it was already dark then (Maghrib) and I remember when I was around that age, we all had to come home before Maghrib..14 years old is still very young no matter how 'big' one's size is!"
And then, I imagined my own sons in that situation and I shuddered.
I pray for the safety of my family in this dangerous world that we live in..
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
"Dah, dah..pergi naik atas, mama nak kemas ni sikit and then I'll go up to solat.."
"Okay mom, I'm going to take my wudhu' in the toilet!" (That was Abang)
"I want to take my Oodoo too!" (That was the little one)
"It's WOO-dhu', not OOdoo!"(Abang again, correcting his little brother..)
5 minutes later, Mama was still finishing 'a little bit of this' and 'a little bit of that' downstairs. Suddenly the Little One came down to ask a question..
"Mama, where is your solat outfit?"
"Solat outfit?? Oh...It's upstairs lah.." (Didn't even bother to correct because essentially, he was not wrong..)
"Are you going to wear your solat outfit when you want to solat?"
"Of course, sayang..now, go upstairs, please.."
10 mins later - upstairs, finally..
"Mama...I need my solat carpet to pray!" (The Little One again, as usual.. )
"Solat carpet???!!" (Laugh..)
It's not that I don't speak Malay at home, you know.
My children just refuse to learn and speak the language! And they (especially the little one) create their own terms (which are completely correct and logical, by the way!) for words that are more difficult to say like telekung and sejadah etc....
*Sigh* Macam-macam budak-budak ni...
Note: the Pic above was taken by the boys themselves using the timer on my digicam.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things that you didn't do than the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines,
sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore, Dream and Discover.
Mark Twain, attributed.
She had asked me whether I was in a 'serious' relationship.
And when I truthfully answered 'yes' (I can never lie to my mother, you see), she said, " Are you sure you want to be in a serious relationship? There are so many things that you can do in this world before you want to 'settle down'.."
And in all the glory of a young woman blinded by love and her naivety in the ways of the world, I answered, "Of course, I'm sure. I can always do things together with him. That's not a problem..."
And my mother just kept quiet when I answered her so confidently. But even if she did try to persuade me, I doubt that anyone in this world could make the young and hot blooded that I was ever listen to reason anyway...
But what IF she did try to talk me out of any of my decisions and what IF she succeeded? Would I have turned my sails to another direction and caught the racing winds and sailed to a completely different destination?
Funny how this conversation is etched in my mind so clearly now, like it happened yesterday.
No...not me. Just that this conversation means so much more to me now than it had then, definitely.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Actually, I remembered about two weeks before the actual date but somehow it escaped my mind on the actual date.
March 27, 2006 was the date this blog was born.
Walking down memory lane, I feel that much has happened since I first blogged. My topics have evolved and my writing style, I feel, has changed to one that is less formal and more relaxed. My readership has also increased - much to my amazement and of course, pleasure.
If I do not update this blog daily, please do not lose thy faith in me for I am only a humble housewife, thus, I have not many stories to tell. But tell them I will once I have them sorted out in my brain which is unfortunately rusty and needs a lot of oiling.
Thank you, thank you my dear readers, whoever you are for reading this domesticated blog of mine.
Peace be with you and God bless.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Mr S is a little unusual in that sense - whatever HE wants to have (usually a gadget or something digital like a camera, camcorder, laptop etc.) that is NOT really a necessity, if he has the extra money, he will purchase and give it to ME. Why? So that he will not feel any guilt over the purchase.
You see, a 'present' for me is always fair justification in his digital convoluted mind and he can enjoy all the gadgets if he terms or categorise them this way. Otherwise, he will just NOT enjoy having the gadget - no doubt because of his guilt at purchasing expensive stuff that is not really necessary.
But IT'S OK if it's a present for his wife, even though I don't really care to have the thing. He will be the first one happily scrutinising and 'godek-godek' as he calls it and I'll be the one looking on from the side with one raised eye-brow.
I was very happy with my nearly 2 year old Nokia N70. But now, he is using this (because his old Nokia is nearly dead anyway) and I am 'forced' to use this new one: A Sony Ericsson K800i, bought just for me so that I 'don't have to carry around my digital camera anymore' for I tend to do that for blogging purposes...
Hey, I'm a homemaker and a 'professional' blogger, remember? Heh heh..
Anyway, suffice to say, although I didn't like this phone in the beginning, due to the speaker that looks like an 'old radio' and the annoying 'joystick' plus the fact that Mr S forgot to transfer my MP3s from the previous phone to this one (irrelevant, I know), I have to say the 3.2Megapixel Cybershot camera (remember, this is Sony camera technology) of the phone is just great. You can see from the pics I took at Valentines Park and all the pictures henceforth.
And yes, I have been using the pics in my blog. And yes, the pics are good. And yes, it is damn convenient. So, yes. I now love my new phone and thank you, my darling Mr S, for getting this new phone for me!
If you're like me, busy with my kids and always finding the need to have a camera around to capture a moment in digital form but you can't be bothered to carry around your bulky camera all the time, well, I recommend this hp to you.
Next, Mr S is waiting for a phone that can take good digital pics AND better quality video (than the ones in the market plus MORE memory) so that Mr S doesn't have to carry around his camcorder everytime we go on trips - a reliable 3 in 1 phone, camera and camcorder.
Then, perhaps, I'm going to get another 'present' from Mr S.
More pics using the K800i hp camera:
Friday, April 06, 2007
This is because I am really a person who loves to travel for pleasure but have not had the chance to do so but for a handful of European countries that I had the opportunity to visit (France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland) during my university years and also the most recent one, about two years ago, Spain. (I also went to Mekah and Medan but that was ages ago..).
A host of places keep appearing in my head after I realised that I was tagged. Places like..
New York: Because I would love to go to the capitalist's centre where you can get anything you want if you have the dough to back you up.
China: The beautiful, beautiful scenery that you can get in that country!
'Middle Earth': Hey, don't you want to go where Aragon fought all those Orcs and where Frodo and Samwise had all that adventure?
Australia: Well, all the politicians in Malaysia seem to find the place a good place to go, so maybe I should also give it a try?
And then there's Egypt, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Italy, Turkey etc. etc. etc.
And the list goes on and on..
So which one should I blog about for this tag?
*** Place your 2 -3 paragraph of where you want to go here***I have always had this not so secret dream to sail my own boat (although I know NOTHING at all about sailing, at the moment!) and after thinking about it for some time, I think I would love to sail this dream boat or luxurious yatch (if you like) of mine to ALASKA.
If you don't know where Alaska is, it is here, circled in red:
It is the 49th state of the United States of America and it borders Canada and otherwise is surrounded by the ocean. Tourists normally go there via cruises or planes.
I would love to visit the many National Parks in Alaska to experience for myself the many, many things Alaska has to offer in terms of wildlife and its natural phenomenons. Hey, who wouldn't want to see the whales leaping from the cold waters? The Northern Lights at night? And the glaciers? After all, Geography was a favourite subject of mine at school and I did get a 'Best Student' cert for it at one time too. So who can blame me for wanting to go and see all these glacial valleys and the geological features that I learnt and memorized from those books? I would love to see for myself the arêtes and nunataks and crevasses and cirques and morraines and all the other terms that I once memorized for my exams from just looking at the drawings in the old textbooks.
Come to think of it, why on earth did we learn all that stuff? But I honestly, really, truly did love every moment of learning about them glaciers.
I would also love to see the Tundra wildlife with my own eyes; the bears, sea lions, seals, wolves, the birds and foxes that can easily be spotted in their untouched natural habitat in these Alaskan parks.
And take lots and lots of pictures, of course. And then comeback and blog all about my trip...
(Sigh.. with so much longing that I am almost already there..)
He he. I truly, truly love nature, I do.
Saying that, I truly loathe the idea of going 'back to basics'. As in, I cannot in all honesty detach myself from 'civilisation' - from a clean toilet, hot water and hot food without wanting to actually hurt someone. Thus, sailing in 'my yatch' or instead, going to Alaska in a luxury cruise would be the perfect thing for me.
Mr S has already called me crazy because my dream holiday includes extreme temperatures and he hates cruises anyway because he just hates the idea of being 'idle' for such a long time on a boat... So I guess I would have to take someone else with me on this trip of mine...
Mr S suggested that I bring the kids and leave him to his sports channel...sabor je lah..
Proposition : Where do you want to go Next, OUTSIDE OF YOUR COUNTRY, for tourism, work, study, whatever.
Requirements: Find some info about the place, itenary etc, pics if possible so you get MORE Traffic coming in, and maybe some people can find somewhere to go to. Excludes your NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR, i.e. Singapore, Malaysia,Brunei, a country that borders yours.You must register for MyBloglog so we can blogwalk ah…..get it?
Quantity : FIVE PEOPLE.
Tag Mode : Chain Link. 15 of them.
You leave 15 people and their DEEP LINK of their Blog Name and TAGGED POST and hit out for five more. So it will look like
**Add in the blog you get the tags from and tagged post.**
I am going to TAG these PEOPLE who always go walk about :Ayu
And err..YOU...that's right..YOU...
Tag ni I TAK PAKSA tau..taknak buat takpe...just something you can do when you don't have any other things to blog about..