Thursday, August 31, 2006

Malaysia, Oh Tanah Air Ku...

(Malaysia, Oh my home land...)

Malaysia, Oh Tanah Air ku..
Tanah tempat tumpah darahku
Negeri elok yang aku puja ...
err errr

alamak I have forgotten the lyrics..

That is not the Malaysian National Anthem, by the way. It's just one of the numerous patriotic songs we have.

On 31st August 1957, Malaysia declared independence from England. Our independence were acquired peacefully with no blood shed. Our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, travelled to England with a bunch of other folks (dammit check your history books lah) to negotiate our independence, and he came home victorious. On this day 49 years ago, he stood in Stadium Merdeka in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, announced our independence and shouted "Merdeka!" (Independence) 3 times.
Most malaysians have seen the grainy picture of him with his (left? right?) hand shooting up straight in the air. We shout the same thing every year at the end of August.

I wonder if we shout it with the same conviction, and the same passion as our predecessors.
Or do we shout it in a drunken stupor, amidst beer smelling teenagers who half cheer, half jeer at untalented artistes prancing about on a makeshift stage, and then ooh and aaah at the fireworks display.
Are the papers printing stories that are relevant to building a proud and independant nation, or are they still recovering from Siti's matrimonial wardrobe?

I hope that 'independence' means half as much to me as it did to Tunku Abdul Rahman,
and I hope that its meaning will not be entirely lost to my kids.

Selamat Hari Merdeka, Malaysians! (wherever you may be).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cilok and Rock

I finally watched Baik Punya Cilok and Rock. (Thanx Firhad!!!)

I thought the storyline for Baik Punya Cilok was really good. I mean, it was engaging and interesting, with twists and turns that you never expected. The acting was.. okaylah.. this is a comedy kan, so a little bit of overacting is acceptable lah.
There were several moments of kelaka giller that made me laugh out loud, especially the "Korang ingat korang aje yang ada keledek??" part and the "Rosalinda" part.
I salute the technicality of the shots.. I think underwater scenes are very hard to shoot, apa lagi murky underwater scenes.. and there were lots in this movie. I wonder how they did it.. aquarium besar kah?
And I really loved the dikir barat/wayang kulit bits.
My only complain was the comedic timing that sometimes were off. Sometimes there were gaps, sometimes they overlap, that made the funny bits a little bit difficult to hear. And there were times when I felt like the actors were sharing a private joke that I did not get.
But other than that, I thought it was a highly commendable effort for Afdlin Shauki.

Rock, was a more subtle comedy. The script is more relaxed, the subject matter not so far-fetched. I felt a mixture of nostalgia and embarassment when I watched this movie about 1980's Malaysian rockers wannabe. I knew all of the songs in that movie and had once worn and knew people who once wore most of the wardrobe used in that movie. Did we really look that ridiculous?
There were funny bits, like when they stole bus seat covers to make their leather pants, and I laughed so loud that I woke Izani up when I heard that one guy read du'a makan before an interview.
The cinematography for this movie was quite good as well. The angles and shots that they chose to take were very interesting, and actually captured the feel of the kampung life.
The story was also quite poignant. I even cried towards the end... *malu*
Good job abang Mamat.


So.. I dunno. 2 good stories, good film work, but why does it not feel as good as Capote (which I just watched too) ? Do we really need million dollar budgets to make better movies? Do we really need stellar casts? Do we need controversial storylines/subject matter/scripts/scenes to be considered 'good'?

I don't know.
You tell me.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

.. and .... off they go!!

Check out Anis's socks!!!

So, we woke them up at 6am this morning. Taufik was brushing Anis's teeth when I dragged Ihsan out of bed.
Made 6 sandwiches. 6 sandwiches!!!
Cored, cut and peeled 3 apples.
Packed 3 boxes of chocolate milk and 3 boxes of strawberry milk.
Braided Anis's hair while explaining to her that she should eat one sandwich , half of the apples, and drink one milk during lunch, and leave the rest for snack time. (They have 2 breaktimes)
Then got ready to go to the bus.
Taufik took care of Izani while I went on the bus to send them to school.

I told Ilham and Ihsan to wait for me while I send Anis to her shuttle bus (she has a shuttle bus to take her from the front gate to her class, older kids have to walk), but then they just took off! *grumble2*
Luckily they allowed mothers to accompany the child on the bus today, so I went with Anis. I showed her how to get to her classroom from her bus stop (on normal days there would be teaching assistants guiding the kids). When we got to her class, the teacher noted her name and I told Anis to ask her teacher where to put her bag and hat.
The moment she hung up her hat, *zing* she headed straight to the table with puzzles.
I said "okay, I'm going now, okay?" , expecting whining and begging, perhaps some grabbing of legs or skirts..
I got nothing but an "okay, bye!!" which sounded a little too cheerful.


I went to check on Ihsan, who also gave me a cheerful "bye!!".
I peeked into Ilham's classroom, but only saw the back of his head.
Perhaps they are as sick of me as I am of them after more than 8 weeks stuck together...

*looks at clock*
Not even 2 yet.

p/s Izani is asleep, by the way. It took me 3 hours to finish my breakfast this morning. I had to sneak in bites in between cuddling and coddling and feeding and fussing.
But I'm not complaining.
*uwaaaaaaaaaaaa* I miss my other kids!!!

Sidenote to ben: *huuuuuggggggssss*

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dear Miss Manners..

Dear Miss Manners,

I had a friend and she did something nice for me, and I had wanted to repay the kindness so I ordered something special for her.
Unfortunately, before the thing I ordered for her arrived, we had some sort of an argument and she has now stopped talking to me and no longer consider me a friend.
Do I still send her my thankyou gift, or should I just give it to someone else?

help me decide,
The Severed Friend.

few and far in between

... is how my posts are going to be starting tomorrow..
I think.

I'm going to have to wake up at 6, get the kids' lunchboxes ready, then get on the bus with them to school.
When I come back and Taufik goes off to work, it'll be just Izani and me.
till 3pm, when the 3 kids come back from school.

As I said, with housework and no one else to help looking after the baby, I might not have time to be online.
I will still blog in my head of course. The question is, whether I can get a chance to type it up and post it.

But then again, who knows? Maybe I might be able to steal a few minutes here and there..

but till then, see ya.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


sometimes I wonder,
why we perceive things the way we do.
is it because of the way we see
because of what God chooses to show to us?

Countdown to freedom?

Well, in 2 more days, the school term will start.
This means that the 3 kids will be out of the house from 7:15am till 3pm.

I'm kinda glad, coz the kids will have a proper schedule again (instead of playing PS2 all day long).
The house will, hopefully, be less messy.
I can start fasting, coz I won't have to cook lunch everyday.
I could even go out shopping if I want to, lug Izani along in the baby carrier.
I can watch whatever I want, I don't have to listen to "What's the story in Balamory" and "Higglytown Heroes" and that irritating fimble giggle that gives me the fimbly feeling.

But then....
I would be short of 3 helpers.
I won't have anybody to play with Izani while I blog cook, do laundry , make my bed, etc.
I can't ask anybody to help fetch Izani's blankie/bottle/teether for me.
If he goes on his short-naps-long-wakeful-times pattern, I don't know whether I'll be able to get anything done.
Until 3pm comes, of course.. then my 3 helpers will be back, YAY!


kids. can't live with them, can't live without them.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Ki!

‘Ki’ (pronounced as 'key') is what my kids call my dad, their grandfather.
Today he is 62 years old.
If you ask me, he doesn’t look 62. He does look a little thinner than I remember him 15 years ago when he saw me off at the airport and I left for the United States to further my studies. His hair has more grey in it, but, he is still not what I imagine a 62 year old man would look like. He’s still standing straight, he still has the joie à vivre and the joie a’ écrire. (Or maybe it’s just my wishful thinking that anok beranok kustamang (the bustaman clan) has this gene that make us look and act eternally youthful? *grin*)
If you’ve visited my dad lately though, you’d notice that he’s been having a little bit of a health problem.
It took me a few days to process this news and settle on how I felt about it.
Initially, there was denial. I mean I’ve known my dad all my life. I’ve seen him get sick before, and every time, he would get well. So it was kinda hard for me to grasp the gravity of the situation, that his lungs might be irrepairably damaged. He’s my dad and dad’s are invincible, aren’t they?
Then when it finally sunk it, I felt extremely sad and helpless. I mean his my dad. I could never ever imagine him being really really really sick. I don’t know about you, but I still have this delusion that my parents are super humans. That they can fight whatever comes along and get through it. The thought that my dad is sick, and on top of it, I am not able to be there to help him, to accompany him on his doctor’s visits and give him the moral support he needs, just kills me. He had always been there for me when I grew up. He picked me up from boarding school, and sent me back numerous times. He’s the one who hugged and comforted me when I bawled my eyes out at the airport saying goodbye to mokciknab when she got a chance to study in Australia. I would like to be able to do the same for him, provide him assistance and comfort.
That’s when I came to the final resolution. I will help him anyway that I can, from afar. I can’t be there to comfort him myself, so I will pray to God to provide him all the love and comfort that he needs. I can't send him to his doctor’s visit and buy him his medicines, I sure hope that he will accept my monetary assistance, however little.

Oh man.. this is turning into a sappy sad post, when we’re supposed to be celebrating!!
Let’s try to recall what I’ve given my dad as birthday presents.
I think one year, we walked to the nearby quarry (which is now relabelled as SS24) and brought back multicolored, multishaped smooth rocks for him. I think I bought him a handkerchief once. And the requisite tie. I’ve made him cards when I was little. We’ve paid his Streamyx bill as a birthday gift once. We bought him an electronic organizer (didn’t we?). Now that I think of it, I gave him kinda crappy gifts...
This year, I am praying to God for his good health. I wish that you would to.
So go over to his blog, and wish him Happy Birthday!

Here’s what my kids made for his birthday:

Izani was asleep when we did this. It was the only way we could complete it.




Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Rolled Pavlova

Okay I don’t usually do this, I don’t usually post about a dish that was not so successful.
But I’m gonna do it anyway, because I already took the pictures, and I don’t know if and when I’ll make this again. (Actually I know I will make it again, coz it’s nagging to be perfected!! But I don’t know when)
I saw this made, on, believe it or not, Houses Behaving Badly, of all shows.
I then googled for the recipe and found many versions of it, so I took the simplest version and further simplified it.

Rolled Pavlova

4 egg whites
a pinch of salt
8 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
2 teaspoons vinegar (any white, clear kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
some sliced almonds (depends on how much you like it)
a few tablespoons of icing/caster sugar for sprinkling
250ml cream (thick or whipped)
fruits (fresh or pulped or canned. For this one, I used a blueberry pie filling from a can)

Pre-heat oven to 400deg Farenhite for electric ovens, 350deg Farenhite for gas ovens.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt till soft peaks form. Add the cornflour and vinegar, mix. Add sugar and vanilla, beat till stiff. (Jamie Oliver says that if you can hold the bowl over your head without the eggs falling on your head, then you’re done!)
Spread the egg whites evenly into a greased jelly roll tin lined with a greased parchment paper. (I lined my tin with aluminum foil, then sprayed non-stick cooking spray over the foil.). Sprinkle sliced almonds, as much as you like.
If using an electric oven, put the tin in, then immediately reduce heat to 350 deg Farenhite. For gas oven, just put the tin in. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, till the top starts to yellow.
Take the tin out, and sprinkle the top with sugar. Wait till the tin is cool enough to touch, then carefully lift and flip over the pavlova onto grease-proof paper. (What I did was, I took the whole pavlova out foil and all, put wax paper over the pavlova, put the tin upside down on the wax paper and pavlova, flip everything over, then peel off the tin foil.) Let the pavlova cool.
Spread cream over the pavlova, then spread fruits on 2/3 of the whole thing. Roll the pavlova lengthwise, starting from the edge closest to the fruits, using the waxed paper to assist you along. Makes sure the edge ends up at the bottom. Wrap whole thing with the wax paper, chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To serve, cut them up like swiss rolls. You can sprinkle more icing sugar on top and serve with a dollop of cream if you want. Else, it’s good enough as it is.

As you can see, this one didn’t turn out quite right. :@
The pavlova was a bit thin. Next time I’m going to use a slightly smaller tin so that I get a thicker pavlova. I think I also slightly burnt the bottom .. *sheepish grin*.
I can’t seem to get the ‘rolling’ right either. I always get a thick blob of fruit in the middle that oozes out when I cut the roll.. maybe next time I shouldn’t put the fruits too close to the edge.
This dessert is not as sweet as the conventional pavlova, using only 8 tablespoons of sugar compared to 250grams. Therefore, you can get away with a sweeter filling, whereas the conventional pavlova goes better with slightly sour toppings, like passionfruit pulp, strawberries, kiwis and I’ve even had it with bananas (yummy!). The first time I made the rolled pavlova, I used mango pulp, mixed with a bit of gelatine to give it a bit of ‘hold’. I think you could also get away with using jam as the filling... mmmm....
This pavlova do not have the crispy outer crust the conventional pavlova does. It ends up having more like a sponge cake kinda texture. The almonds should add a little crunchiness to the dessert. I’ve tried sprinkling coconuts, but my kids didn’t really like it.

All in all, preparation time was about 20 minutes (depending on how good you are at beating the egg whites), baking 20 minutes, then waiting for it to cool about 15 minutes, then chilling for another 30minutes to an hour. So roughly, you nead at least 2 hours of lead time to prepare this dessert for a party.


Happy trying! :D
Don’t let the monkeys steal your eggs! :laugh:


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

11 stars and the sun and the moon..

Remember the verse I said was a love charm?

Yusuf 12:4 “I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon - I saw them prostrating to me."

What a coincidence that the scientists are now debating on whether Pluto is a planet or not. And whether to include UB313 (a.k.a. Xena), Pluto's moon Charon and the 'asteroid' Ceres, as 'planets' in our galaxy as well.

It makes me wonder.
When Yusuf (Joseph, son of Jacob) said he saw 11 stars, did he include earth? (which means there should be 11 planets in this galaxy)
Or, was he standing on Earth looking at the 11 stars/planets? (which means there should be 12 planets in this galaxy).

That would be an interesting find, wouldnt it?

things that make you go hm...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

couple of tips for couples

You guys make me feel so old when you ask me for tips on keeping the marriage alive for the last 14 years.
I must make a disclaimer. I am not an expert, okay? I’m just gonna tell you our experience. Things that we did might work for some but maybe not for all. Situations and personalities differ, so pandai-pandai lah ye? (use your own judgement)

Be Genuine
Taufik and I first got to know each other when we were 19. We got married when we were barely 21. We started out as friends, so we were quite honest with each other when it comes to who we really are. We were not afraid to be our real selves with each other. In short, there were no pretentions between the two of us. We already knew what each other’s values are, what were our likes and dislikes, how we expect the other to act and such. Therefore throughout the marriage there were really no big surprises and “You are not the person I thought you were” kinda quarrels. It also helps decision-making easier, coz even if one of us were not around, one of us could easily gauge how the other would feel about certain things.

Trust and earn trust
This was something I struggled with during the early part of our marriage. I remember Taufik always complaining about my mistrust and him getting frustrated because he doesn’t know what else to do to gain my trust. But he promised me that one day, he will be the person I will trust the most. The reason for my mistrust were events that happened to me in the past that was difficult for me to get over. It also didn’t help that there were sinister people out there who liked to stoke the embers of my insecurities. But as I said, Taufik tried and worked really hard to earn my trust. Up to a point, he even made sure that he never got into a situation where he ends up with a woman alone. Like, if there were no male colleagues to go out to lunch with, he would ask someone to buy him a packed meal rather than go out with a female colleague. That way, no one can make up stories that could purposely be misconstrued into something else.
Taufik had no trust issues with me. He trusts me completely. But then, I *am* a good girl… tee hee ;)

Include and Interest
For as far as I can remember, we have included each other inside our lives outside the marriage. Taufik always brought me along to his office functions and I would drag him along to mine. That way we know each other’s office mates quite well. This helps dissipate any potential misunderstandings. Like, if I said I got a ride home from Jason, Taufik knows that Jason is not some stud, but a short, fat Chinese guy. And when Taufik tells me he bought some lunch for Maya, I know that it’s only because Maya is 8 months pregnant and crossing Jalan Ampang during lunch time could be hazardous for her and her baby.
We both take great interest in each other’s work. I found that this helps us understand each other better. When we come home and talk about how our day was, the other person actually understands what the partner is going through and I can’t help but feel very supported. My home really becomes a haven of security and calm. I know when I come home, I can just let go of all my frustrations and mentally relax. Even now that I’m not working, I still tell him what goes on in my world, like he tells me what goes on in his.

From the beginning, our relationship had always been a volatile one. It didn’t help that both of us were young and hot-headed. This marriage could’ve easily gone the other way had it not been for our commitment to stay together. We knew that bottom line, we love each other and we want to stay that way. So we could either do it the hard way (with lotsa screams and crying and hurting) or the easy way (by not screaming and crying and hurting). So, slowly as we matured, fights that used to take days to resolve, now are carried out in an adult, rational way, and with one goal in mind: to stay together.

Plan your finances
I know I complain a bit about Taufik being so stingy, but actually I am really proud to be married to such a frugal person. From the time we started making our own money, we discussed about where we saw ourselves to be financially, in 10, 20, 30 years time. We planned out what needs to be done to reach there and we worked together to stay on that path. I don’t know about you, but I think this is very important, because I read somewhere that most fights between couples are about money. With a plan, a mutual understanding and a concerted effort on how and when to save and spend, we have basically taken money out of the list of potential hazards. Being financially secure also means that you have less to worry about, and more to enjoy.

Our house is not the conventional house where the man does the fixing and the woman does the cooking. We try to do the best that we can, whenever we can. Taufik doesn’t mind helping with the cooking once in awhile, as long as it’s something he knows he can do right (like frying chicken or fish, he even made some fried meehoon once). I don’t mind sending the car to the mechanic’s (but I prefer Taufik to go because he seems to get better discounts) or changing the light bulb once in a while. And guess who is in charge of mopping the house? *points to the husband*

Be Spontaneous
For the first 6 years of our marriage, Taufik and I were often apart, due to the nature of Taufik’s work. It always killed me whenever he gets a call to board a plane and catch a helicopter ride to wherever. I always felt like there’s so much we could’ve done, but didn’t do because we thought we had more time. So we learnt to be more spontaneous. I would go off and meet Taufik wherever the nearest on-land town was and we’d go on an impromptu excursion.
Even after we had kids, sometimes we’d make a three-day weekend out of a regular weekend and drag the kids along to wherever.
Speaking of kids, they are all the more reason to be spontaneous. Romantic moments can no longer be planned. You need to grab them whenever you have the chance. I also learned not to mull over and get frustrated with ‘unfinished projects’. I just get over it and look forward to the next time. This is also a good excuse to purchase sexy underwear and wear them all the time, coz you’ll never know when you’ll need it. :laugh:

To Feed is to Love
I learned this one from Pearl Jam *grin*.
I try to cook most of my family’s meals. If I’m not cooking, then I will at least make drinks. If we’re at a restaurant or at somebody’s house, I will at the very least, serve my family some of the food/drinks. Even the smallest gesture of taking a piece of chicken and putting it on their plate speaks volumes in terms of my love towards them, I think. I believe that feeding someone brings berkat (blessings) and brings the person closer to you, so I try to do it often.
By the way, this reminds me of an incident at a wedding we attended. It was a buffet dinner and because of the limited space, ladies were invited to fill up their plates before the men. Taufik beamed so proudly when I came back with two plates of food, one for me and one for him, while the other men at our table found out in dismay that their wives came back with just one and had to go and get their own! I got brownie points that day, and I think Taufik never forgot that gesture, because whenever there's a buffet and I'm tied up for whatever reason, he would always fill up a plate for me. :)

Du’a (Pray)
Last but not least, make du’a (prayers) to God, ask for God to bless you with happiness and contentment with whatever you have.
On top of the normal du’a, I also recite this verse, after solat and whenever I am free. While I recite this I will think of my loved ones (read: Taufik lah, who else).

Yusuf 12:4 “I saw eleven stars and the sun and the moon - I saw them prostrating to me."

It is said that this verse is akin to a du’a pengasih (love charm). So far, it has worked for me! :D

I hope that these stories about how my marriage have worked so far
can help you strengthen your own relationships in some way as well.
Insya-Allah (God Willing).


Wallahu a'lam..
All that is true and good comes from Allah,
while all that is not comes from my own weaknesses.


Happy Birthday Mokciknab

I don't know whether my eldest sister needs reminding of her age, but if you ask me, I think she looks pretty hot as a XX year old mommy of 3.

When I told my kids that today is mokciknab’s birthday, they decided to make a doll for her. Well, actually Ilham did most of the picking out of faces and hair and clothes. Anis picked the shoes. Ihsan, was too busy with the PS2. Ilham thought that the doll below really looked like his maklong. I am pleading the fifth.

elouai's doll maker 3


Friday, August 18, 2006

Dear Goddess of the Magic Mop

Dear Goddess of the Magic Mop,

I have a tiled kitchen.
Even though it is my most favourite room in the house coz that is where I get to concoct all sorts of brews and whip up all sorts of delectable dishes (or so I think), keeping the floor clean is driving me crazy.
I have never been a fan of sweeping up (because of my dust-sensitive nose) , nor a fan of mopping (because of my work-sensitive lazy a**). Furthermore I hate it when the drops of water on the floor from the kitchen sink catches the dust and debris that I've been trying to get off the floor and makes it stick even more. To make matters worse, I am at that stage in my post-partum life that my lovely locks start to fall off and it gets tangled in the broom's bristles.
As I said, it's driving me crazy!!
I am hoping that you, oh Goddess of The Magic Mop, could advise me on how I could get out of this awful conundrum.

Yours sincerely,
Dreaming of Clean Floor

jawab, nazrah... jangan tak jawab....

The Lion Cub

aa chwab chuwe ababa bik chi ba ba.... !!

The sun rose brightly on the fourteenth day of the eighth month of the sixth year of the second millenium when the lioness spewed forth a little male cub weighing 3.2kilos, healthy but a little yellowed.
The rest of us inhabitants of these valleys and hills rejoice and pray that Eirfan son of Buster will grow to inherit the world.

welcome, little cub!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Easy Peasy Sambal Tumis Udang

Per Suhaila's request:

Sambal Tumis Udang with Petai

Easy Peasy Sambal Tumis Udang
500grams Large Prawns (Take off skin and head leaving the tail, and devein. Save skins and heads to make stock.)
5 stalks dried or fresh chillies
3 or 4 shallots
1 clove gralic
a handful of dried shrimps (this thickens the sauce, use more if you like)
1 cup prawn stock (boil prawn heads and skins, reduce till it makes one cup)
3 or 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
salt and sugar to taste
Petai (as much as you want, but it is optional)

Marinate cleaned prawns in either salt & pepper, or a tablespoon of tomyam paste (gives it abit of ummph), set aside in the fridge.
Ground chillies, shallots, garlic and dried shrimp till fine. Heat oil in a large saucepan, and saute the ground ingredients till it a thin layer of oil rises to the top (pecah minyak), adding a little bit of water if it gets too dry. Add prawn stock and the tomato paste. Let it simmer to your desired consistency, taste and add salt, sugar and more tomato paste if necessary.
15 minutes before serving, heat up the sauce, add in the prawns and petai (if you're using), stir to mix well. The moment all the prawns' tails turn red, immediately turn off the heat.
Serve with hot rice and Masak Lemak.


Aiyoh.. I'm making myself hungry..
lapar lah pulak..


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Do the Blog Hop

Okay here are the instructions.

1. Pick a number from 1 to 5, let’s refer to it as N
2. Go to your recent visitor list, and click on the Nth most recent visitor.
3. Read his/her blog, but do not go further than whatever you can see on the main page (clicking on Read more is okay).
4. Comment on his/her personality based on what you read. Note it down.
5. Go to his/her recent visitor list, and click on the Nth most recent visitor.
6. Lather, rinse, repeat. For as many times as you like.
7. Post results on your blog, with links to who you visited.
8. Hope that they come visit you and tell you whether your first impression of them is spot on. (or set you straight).

This is not my original creation, I found it on modblog a long long time ago and had tried it once. Just thought I’d do it again, to get to know more people on efx2.

Salehah – likes to eat! Likes durians, so definitely Malaysian. Is very concerned about health, she exercises and has a pedometer to keep her on track. Loves Korean stuff, new Zealand and Honda. Graduated in 2002 (from New Zealand?), so I’m guessing she is in her mid/late 20s? Owns a sonyericsson phone. A friend of oLaB. Seems like a pretty cheerful person :)

Dew107 – a seasoned blogger, an old friend from modblog. I’m gonna be able to tell more about her even from just reading her main page! Very contemplative, very in touch with her inner self. Reading her blog is like crawling inside her brain, which what I just love to do!! She’s a very helpful person, always finding ways to help, teach, and do something to assist someone. But sometimes I wonder, is she giving enough time for herself? ;) The Robert frost poem is very nice. From just reading the main page, you can’t really tell what her nationality is, but I know and I’m not telling. *grin*

Majnuna – I’m assuming that this name is a derivation of ‘Majnun’ of Laila&Majnun, so I’m assuming this is a he, and will use such reference henceforth. There’s a really funny conversation with jenny (mamasparks) on his shoutbox about how his name sounds like ‘marijuana’. He likes the works of Rumi a lot. He seems to like all things philosophical. It makes me wonder if this isn’t his only blog. He probably has another blog where he rants or writes down his thoughts, and this one is dedicated purely for poems, and inspirational sayings. His poems (Ghazals, he calls them) are very nicely written, with good visuals and rhythmic cadence. I like. :D

Ailoan6 – “I loan”? “I low-un”? I’m not sure how to pronounce this username. An asian girl living in the US. My first guess would be New York, but I might be wrong. Takes quite good pictures. Rides a Vespa, Eats rice, and has a dog. I also think she still lives with her mom. Doesn’t write much. Her posts are short and distinct. I think I’ll come back for more. :)

EngieViral – Jason, 24 year old, male. Born in s'pore, lived in Indonesia and now in Ozzieland. He writes, reads and even sings! There’s an audio collection if you care to listen. He’s also quite philosophical, bringing up quite interesting topics for discussion. He also give tutorials. I found the one on how to put ‘Extra Pages’ quite easy to understand even though I have no need for it at the moment. I loved the short story (Eternity in a moment) that I read. I like the way he writes. I like his sense of humor. I’ll definitely come back.

Hokay.. I think that’s enough bloghopping for today..


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

14 years

14 years ago today, I was in a small plain building that the muslim community of the University of Tulsa call a mosque. I was in a small partitioned room which the women used for prayers. My Burmese friend, Yu Yu, and her cousin, Thida, drove all the way from Urbana, Illinois to come and see me on my special day. They were the only ones who accompanied me in that room. I was wearing a purple baju kurung which a kind kakak in Champaign helped me sew from a McCall pattern I found at Dots. I even bought the materials for this dress, and another white dress, myself. With the leftover lining material, I made a simple scarf with beads on the edges.
I couldn’t hear what was said on the other side of the thin wall, but momentarily a man came to the small opening of the partition to ask me if I had agreed to Taufik’s proposal for marriage. I was then asked to sign some papers. The man left the women’s section, I heard more talking and finally a few grunts of what sounded like agreements. Then Taufik came into the partitioned area and put our wedding ring on my finger.

We were married.

We drove, for the first time as husband and wife, to the house the Malay students called Rumah Hitam, “The Black House”, because it was painted black by the owner. The house was rented out by a group of Malay boys. For months before the wedding, when we had announced our plan to some of our close friends, they had pestered us to hold the wedding celebrations there, and by the end of the Spring semester, we finally agreed. The days before the wedding was spent literally turning the house upside down and cleaning up all the books and magazines and cigarette buds in the living room , which had been used as a bedroom by a few of the guys. They pushed the sofa against the wall. The toppled a bookcase or something to make a makeshift dias. We bought a curtain from JC Penney to make a backdrop. The boys borrowed a pair of nice looking chairs and someone lent some flowers to liven up the room. The night before , while we were vacuuming and putting the finishing touches in the room, we heard them practicing songs in the basement of the house, as the smell of cooking wafted in from the kitchen.
When we arrived at the house, it was filled almost to the door by our friends in Tulsa, and also from other universities all over the united states. It being the summer holidays, they took the opportunity to drive to Oklahoma to attend our wedding. I will never forget that gesture.
The wedding, was as the melayus would say, meriah! (what would be an appropriate word in English?). The nasi minyak with ayam masak merah cooked by one of the guys (our resident chef) was excellent. After eating, I changed into my white outfit (wedding mah.. pakai lah white) and we took pictures on the dias. Seronot... macam kawin kat Malaysia....! (but I couldn’t beat my friend’s wedding in Kalamazoo. They even got to have a procession down their street to the house, with kompang (small drums) accompanying them!).
Before we ended the celebrations, the house band (read: the boys in the house who had been practicing in the basement) played a few songs, including November Rain… cewahh terasa macam Axl Rose dengan model lawa tu lah sekejap.( tapi ending dia lain yerk…?) .

14 years later, here we are, in another foreign country.
If someone were to ask me in that black house whether this was what I pictured our marriage to be, I would say no. I couldn’t even imagine what our marriage would be in the first 5 years. Because then I was a different person. A little naïve, and as I found out later in the marriage, a little distrustful of everybody, including my husband. But after going through 14 years of my life with Taufik, I could say that he is the person that I trust the most in my life. He is the one I would do anything for, just as he would do anything for me.
Throughout the 14 years, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had arguments, accusations, blames, fights... but there were also moments of joy, pure bliss, quiet contentment and enough passionate sex to spawn four kids (and more!) . tee hee.
If I had to go through another 14 years of arguments, accusations, blames and fights to enjoy another 14 years of bliss, contentment and sex with Taufik, I say: bring it on..!

Happy 14th Anniversary, sayang .


Incidently, Izani also turned 4 months today!


Monday, August 14, 2006

Easy Peasy Masak Lemak

'Masak Lemak' (pronounced: mah-suck lurr-muck) literally means cooked in cream. In this case it is coconut cream, but I guess you can try making this dish with dairy cream ..

If there's something that, to me, goes together well with rice like peanut butter and jelly goes well with bread, it would be these two yumminess:

sambal tumis udang with petai & sayur masak lemak

Somewhow the spicyness of the sambal tumis (thick sauce made of sauted onions and chillies) is a great companion to the creaminess of the masak lemak, and makes for a meal that captures your interest mouthful after mouthful.

Masak lemak is really easy to make, and it can be made using any type of vegetable. For this particular dinner, I had used kangkung (what is kangkung in english?). But you can also use spinach, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower,( I guess you can even use zuchini if you wanted), pucuk manis with keledek (sweet potatoes), and even petola. (Sorry, again, I don't know what are the english names for some of the Mal@ysian vegetables).
I am afraid this dish only goes with rice. It does not go well with noodles (though some people might put a little bit of thin glass noodles - soo hoon in it) nor pasta.
It's simplicity makes it quick to prepare, and a favourite for lazy-a** housewives like me. Since it's not spicy, children usually love it!

Easy Peasy Masak Lemak
5 small shallots
a handful of ikan bilis (asian anchovy) or dried shrimp
5-10 pepper kernels? corn? (as much as you like, baby!)

1/4 cup of coconut milk or dairy milk
salt to taste
5 fennugreek seeds (optional, but it does give the dish a bit of an aroma)

One cup of your choice of vegetables, cut roughly to same bite sizes.

In a mortar&pestle, roughly ground shallots, ikan bilis/dried shrimp and pepper.
In a pot, put ground ingredients, coconut milk, fennugreek if you're using them, and add water as much as you like (more if you like it thin, less if you like it thick). Bring to a boil, then dump in the vegetables, simmer till cooked. Add salt to taste.

When I'm using leafy vegetables, I usually turn off the heat as soon as I put them in, that way I don't over cook them. If you're using hard vegetables like petola, carrots and cauliflower, you can dump everything in the pot from the start and just wait for it to boil.
It is also important to point out that you should not cook this for too long, because the coconut milk might seperate and that is not good.

Happy trying!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lessons Learnt


There's a lesson to be learnt here.
What is it?

. I am too nice (is that bad?)
. I am too trusting.
. I am too quick to want to comment/share.
. I should learn to keep quiet. (but what about the pursuit of the truth?)

. You can't teach people to see when they dont want to see.
. Even though a person says/claim to be open-minded and non-judgemental, if they are actually close-minded and judgemental, their actions will reveal that, sooner or later.
. There are very mean people out there.

. It pays to be nice It pays to be nice It pays to be nice.

. Makan lagi best. (Eating is a better use of time)

What have you learned?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

.. and I am also sad.

because I lost a friend.
and on such a bad note, too.

I dont know whether it's the language barrier or what. Did she misunderstand my words?
I was hoping we could put the argument at rest and behind us. I thought I had given her the benefit of the doubt and conducted discussions with her with the utmost respect towards her intelligence and I spoke in the gentlest and calmest way I knew how.
Eventhough towards the end, I felt kinda hurt because I felt she had failed to see me as I am. To look beyond my dressing and see ME. To look beyond my religion and see ME. To not judge me based on what other people are doing, but on what I was doing. For that is how I would treat other people.
I was still hoping that we could continue to be adults and make amends.
but alas, I can't control what others think and how they act, can I?

Perhaps she was not meant to be a friend, after all?

give me time to get over a loss.
I'll be back on my feet.
I promise.

I am pissed

I am pissed at what is going on in Britian. I think there is truly something wrong with the Islamic community there.
The people who are allegedly trying to bomb the planes, what in the world were they thinking?
At a time when the world already thinks Muslim equals terrorist, they go out and propagate the view. How idiotic is that?
I think they missed the qur'an lessons when this verse was taught:
Fight in the Way of God those who fight you, but do not transgress. God loves not those who transgress. [Al-Qur’an 2:190]

I think the last time I checked, killing the innocent is still considered a transgression.

Where are their parents? WHy are they not taught proper Islamic values?
If they are orphans, where are the community leaders? Are they not talking to these people? Are they not guiding these folks to the right path? What could've have made these alleged terrorists become so misguided?
If they are so angry at the British government, why can't they just approach the MPs and voice their opinions? If that approach was taken and didnt work, then the government need to look into why these people have lost faith in their own government that they felt they needed to take such a drastic step.
I refuse to believe that bombing a plane is the only way they could've have captured the government's attention.

If I were their parents, I would go and slap them.
How dare they. How dare they claim to defend the religion, yet they shame the religion by not following the teachings in the Qur'an. How dare they not use the brains bestowed to them by God to find a better, more peaceful way to vent their frustrations.
If they are truly guilty for what they are accused of, then I say they deserve to be punished accordingly.

This incident made me more adamant though. I am more adamant in teaching my kids that hurting other people is wrong. I am more adamant in teaching them how to handle their anger.
I am more adamant in praying that the next muslim generation is brought up properly, to love, not hate.

What is an abaya?

Woahhhhh there.

Hm.. I guess my hedious picture sparked off a huge bonfire.
Choqchip has decided she’s scared of me, and katt (who I showed the picture for) has been suddenly quiet, probably in shock.
The picture was a joke. It was meant to shock. Why do you think I posed with the rocker sign? :rolleyes:
But I guess it was my mistake for assuming that people didn’t care what I looked like and sees and appreciate me for who I am.
Or maybe, I was just too damn ugly? heh heh

Okay first thing’s first. Let me explain.
The clothing shown in the other picture is not an abaya. This is me in an abaya --->
The thing in the other picture is called a .. hm.. what is it called? A burqa? Anyways, it’s like a veil, though my kids call it my ‘batman mask’. :laugh:
You tie it around your head and your face is covered except for your eyes. I bought it the first summer I was here, when the sun got to be too much for me. You can read the account here. It is common to see local ar@b women wear that get up. Sometimes it’s even more extreme, their veil don’t even show their eyes, they look like they’re wearing a tent over their heads. :p
Caught in a sandstorm once, I understood why they would wear clothes that way. It really works as a protection against the sun and dust. I can almost imagine their nomadic ancestors wearing the same costume. Even the men wear headscarves, and they are probably used in the same way, as a protection against the elements, just like the Tuaregs still do now.
I also found an interesting side effect when I wore that veil. People think I’m an ar@b ma’am, and not some filipino or Indonesian maid. I get treated better, and one time, after a shopkeeper found that I was not ar@b, (coz I couldn’t speak a word of Arabic) he offered me a special discount! He seemed to be so proud that a foreigner is willing to wear their traditional costume. (Note: I’m not saying that maids should be treated as lesser beings, I’m just saying that the locals tend to look down at maids :( ).
I haven’t worn the burqa in a long time.. coz this summer I haven’t been out much, and when we did go out, we waited till it was later in the afternoon when the sun is more bearable.

The abaya, is basically a long black robe. You can either wear it over your normal clothes, or if the style doesn’t have any slits in it, you can wear it on its own. The abaya is common among the local arabs, and foreigners don’t usually wear them, except for in Saudi Arabia (and maybe Iran?) where it is compulsory. I asked a guy who grew up here what was the deal with forcing people to wear abayas, and he said the ruling happened when the Saudi government decided to compete with Iran on who is the most religious. Apparently that was also when they decided that all shops must close during prayer times. *sigh* I guess that is what happens when you impose God’s laws because of pride and not because you want to submit to God. :confused:
But I’m not complaining about the abaya. I find it to be quite elegant (plus it hides all the *cough*unslightly bulges*cough* erm curves). It’s like the Islamic equivalent to the perfect black dress. It is extremely convenient. I can be in my jammies, but put on my abaya and slip on my scarf, I’m ready to go! They have many different styles too. Some can be just plain black (for the traditional abaya wearers), but I’ve seen embroidered or glittered abayas (with matching headscarves) that are very very beautiful, fit for a formal dinner. (I can sense that I have piqued famygirl’s interest now.. tee hee!). :D

I must point out though, that the all-black get-up that most traditional arab women wear are not required by Islam. The veil is actually forbidden during prayer and pilgrimage. No where in the Quran was it mentioned that women must cover themselves in black robes and veils.
In Islam, women are required to wear modestly, exposing only their face and hands, but as long as you are properly covered, you can wear whatever you want. Your clothing can be made of any material (provided it’s not see-through), and be of any color or pattern or texture. Therefore it is all up to your imagination and creativity to look beautiful but still modest.

The picture here is what I would usually wear if I were not wearing the abaya. I think I still look pretty hot, no? ;)
In other countries, Muslim women wear their traditional costumes or more modern/western clothing like long sleeved shirts with long skirts or pants or jeans, with matching scarves.
Some Muslim women do not wear headscarves, but again, it’s a personal choice. Personally, I don’t think a headscarve makes you more pious, coz all changes need to happen from within, therefore I don’t usually hold anything against my friends and family who don’t wear the headscarf, nor do I think those who do cover their hair are better than those who don’t.
If you care to, you can read on my experience with the headscarf (hijab) here.

So there it is, a brief explanation on my picture, the abaya and the muslim women's dress code.
Actually, I am suprised that I even need to give an explanation.
I usually find comfort in not seing what a writer looks like, because usually their writing reveals more about them than what their physical appearances can.
but, to each, his own.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

You're going to hate me for this..

This is in response to thecharmedone's question about how many dishes I knew how to cook.
Well, here's a compilation of some of the dishes that I've manage to cook and take pictures of in the past year.


My apologies to my readers who are fasting or are on a diet.


Easy Peasy Banana Bread

"Banana Bread” is just a glamourized name for ‘Kek Pisang’.
I got this recipe, believe it or not, from Pearl Jam’s fanzine, Deep (Volume 1, Issue 1). Who’d thunk it, that I’d get recipes from one of the most respected rock bands of the decade (well, at least by me). The recipe was not from any of the members though (it was from one of their staffs), but what the hey.
I’ve made this 3 times and it turned out good e.v.e.r.y.t.i.m.e!

Pearl Jam’s Banana Bread

1 egg
¾ cups sugar
¼ cup butter/margarine (I used a 100g stick of butter, softened)
3 very ripe bananas, mashed fine
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Beat egg in a mixing bowl, add sugar and butter, cream mixture together. Add mashed bananas and vanilla, mix well. Sift flour, soda and salt, then add into the mixing bowl. Mix well, but do not over beat. Pour/turn into a loaf pan (I used a 5”by10” loaf pan), bake for 50 minutes in a 325deg F oven. (test cake before taking out)

The first 2 times I made it, I haven't got a loaf pan yet, so I used my circular spring form pan. The first time I made it, I think I overbeat the batter, so it turned out a bit dense. It still turned out tasting really good, but a little thin and not as fluffy as if I were to make it in a loaf pan.The second time I made it, I sliced the cake into two, sandwiched cream in between and put cream frosting with colourful sprinkles on the whole cake. Do I have to spell out y.u.m.m.e.h?
I finally got myself a loaf pan, and added chopped walnuts in the one pictured above and it gave an interesting nutty, textural dimension to it.


Happy Trying!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


apologies to my english readers, this one is in malay

sepagi dok mengulangkaji pasal r.a.s.u.l. kita sbb nak jawab soklan sorg makcik ssekuk cuklat nih..
tak jawab karang.. sakit ati.. jawab karang.. cam ni lah..
tapi alhamdulillah..
actually, ada hikmah nya dia tanya soklan2 yg camtu
at least dpt lah jugak sikit2 ilmu kan?
kalau dia tak tanya, hampeh nak pi search segala.

so skrg ni dah takderk idea nak blog pasal apa.
penat woahhh...

takper, besok kita cerita pasal kek pisang!!


Monday, August 07, 2006

Love is in the air

I noticed this drawing awhile back:

I didn't think much of it. I didnt even recognize the name.

And then there was that day when Ilham had a conversation, in my place coz i was cooking, with rotidua.
She asked him whether he has a girlfriend, and suprise suprise, he said Yes!!
She asked what was his girlfriend's name, and he said "louella".

aahh... now the drawing makes sense.

Upon the urging of rotidua, Ilham wrote Louella a poem (shown in the drawing), and he looked up "How to impress girls" on the internet. Last weekend, we were at the supermarket when he asked me whether he could buy a gift for Louella.

That's it. He is now banned from chatting with Rotidua!

"Ayah, do you know I have a girlfriend?" Ilham announced during dinner last night.
"So,?" Taufik answered nonchalantly. "It's no big deal, Ilham. You have a friend, and she's a girl."
heh heh
If you ask me, I think Taufik was just trying to downplay it.
I think it's a good idea though. I mean he's only 8, for gawd's sakes.

Ilham and Louella sitting in a tree...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Questions, Answered Part 2

Zan : since you already left ur job since 2 yrs back, what's the hardest thing that you encounter in the beginning and how u overcome it? from emo perspective/financial? (which i dun think so)/other's opinion like SAHM=dormant h/wife?
which is better living in (@lkhobar) as an expat's wife, away from family & delish food OR staying here near to loved ones and friends?
Elisa: The hardest thing is the financial dependence I have on my husband. I hate not having my own money to spend. Even now, when I go shopping, I think twice, thrice, four times, before I buy anything, coz I still feel kinda guilty for spending ‘his money’. Sometimes I go with the intention to buy something, and end up not buying anything at all.
How I got over it? Well, first thing, I asked for an allowance. That way, I felt like it is my money, instead of his. Second thing, I tell myself “I deserve it!”. Hey, I’m not sitting at home goyang kaki, man.. I work my butt off cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids. I should at least deserve the same amount of pay that a maid gets, no?
“Dormant Housewife”? I think that’s an oxymoron. And I think people who think housewife=dormant are morons.
I like living in Khobar for reasons mentioned in my answer to Nonah. But yes, I do miss my family and friends. I guess that’s why I blog so much. I get to still keep in touch even though I’m physically far away. I miss the small chit chats though.
During the first few months I was here and we were without a computer, I felt like I was disappearing!! I mean, I used to be this hot shot engineer. People listened to my opinions. People called me up every 5 minutes to ask me (to do) something. I was solving issues. I was a solution provider. And suddenly there I was, no one calling up to ask anything. The only solutions I was making was a mixture of bleach and laundry detergent to clean my stove stop. But then my kids would come home from school, with all these homework and stories, and Anis comes up with a different dance every other day, and my husband asks what’s for dinner, and I started craving things unavailable here.. So I occupied myself with things at hand and became a solution provider again, but this time, the issues were closer to home, and to my heart.

Lollies : Which part of your anatomy do you like most?
Elisa: Gosh.. there’s so many (parts of my anatomy). My spleen? My brain! My brain.. I luvs me brain. I think it’s magic how the human brain works.

Butterflutter : If you are given a choice what would you like to be?
Elisa: Nanny McPhee, but with my own children, and without the ugly warts, nose and teeth. Actually, I just want that magic stick.

Roserose : Kalau tanya,nak jawab kat mana?
Elisa: jawab kat sini lah makcik…

Fara : If I relocate to the Middle East, what Malay foodstuff should I bring?
Elisa: All the spices you normally use at home. Rempah kari, korma, kuzi, serbuk kunyit, etc. Coz the ones here taste totally different. All the bouquet garnet (bunjut) from Adabi for soup. They don’t have that here. Asam keping, asam jawa, cili kering. Ikan bilis, udang kering. Some people also bring: serai, daun limau purut, daun kesum, bunga kantan, daun pandan, and freeze them. The next time I go home, I’m gonna try to smuggle some plants and try to cultivate them instead. One of the malays here have successfully cultivated a serai bush in her backyard. If you like salted fish/seafood, pack some too, coz it’s not the same over here. If you’re particular about your sauces, pack your maggis, Kimballs, habhals and tamims and lee kum kees. Keropok ikan. Belacan, if you’re into it. Kapur (if you use it) coz I’ve tried looking for it here and I don’t know what it’s called in English (or Arabic). Your favourite Instant Noodles! Coz they’re really different here. It also depends where you’re moving to, too. I hear places like Oman, has no oriental stores at all, so you have to stock up on dried mushrooms and stuff like that. Your cookbook (coz you’ll never know what you’ll suddenly crave), and a good sense of taste, so that you know what to substitute with when one of your ingredients are scarce.

Temi : i understand that u have 4 sisters, what was it like during your adolescent years?
Elisa: Well, I only grew up with 3 of them, since Mimi lives in a different house and is still trying to grow up (tee hee! Jangan marah, Mi). I also went to boarding school since I was 13, so I did most of my growing up with my schoolmates instead of my sisters.
Actually, come to think of it, I felt kinda left out when I was growing up.
My other sisters were like 'girly girls' and I was more of a tomboy. My two 'famous' sisters in particular, were more in tuned with fashion and make up and stuff, while I stuck with t-shirt and jeans and using baby powder on my face. They all went to day-schools, so basically had more freedom than I had. Mokciknab was always the one who had introduced me to places like Petaling Street and Central Market. She hung out with cool, arty folks and she still does. TDB (The one who Does not Blog) would give me make up tips and what's in and what's not, and always drags one of us to go search for the perfect skirt, or the perfect handbag or the perfect shoe. I don't usually have the patience for her, so most often than not, mokciknab would be her victim. Tulisje grew up at home while I was away at school, so I never really did get to bond with her, that was why I was quite suprised to see how well she writes when she first revealed her blog to me.
I think we’re closer now that we’re older (and less immature). I still can't stand going shopping with TDB though. tee hee.

Shariza_vz : Do you like changes? If yes, what would you change now (if given the chance), to the world, to your family, to your kids, to yourself? What do you consider your toughest change (tht you have to make)?
Elisa: I think change is good.
To the world, of course I’d like it to have less wars. I want the killings and bombings to end. To my family, I’d like us to eat healthier and be more spiritual. To my kids, I just want them to behave. Myself, I want to have more faith in God.
The toughest change I’ve had to make is, I guess, getting used to not having my own money. Read my reply to zan.

Katt : just wondering how elisa looks like as a person.
Elisa : Just for you, katt :

Thecharmedone : Berapa banyak makanan @ masakan yang kak elisa bole masak??? (How many dishes can you cook?)
Elisa: Hm.. looking at the number of culinary jam posts and the number of recipes in my recipe book, not many.

Nazrah : 1. what's the most un-goddess-ly habit do you have? 2. if you could have a mommie's day off how would u plan it. i know u r good at party planning!
Elisa: aiyohhh malulah.. okay okay, I confess.. I burp a lot and really loud. I have a lot of gas.. what can I do??

Nazrah : 2. if you could have a mommie's day off how would u plan it?
Elisa: Well it depends on the purpose of the mommie’s day out. Is it more like a reunion of long time friends (then you would want to do more catching up), or more like a group of girlfriends going out to do something together (you don’t really need to talk to each other that much, you just want to enjoy the company). Either way, there are 2 important elements for a mommie’s day out:
a. Mommies get to have fun (which by default includes eating),
b. mommies get to relax (read: not cook or clean. Walking down a 5 mile long shopping mall is tiring but okay)
If it’s the reunion type of day-out, then I would have an intimate dinner party or high tea or brunch or lunch. Just plenty of food, places to sit and time. You get the picture. If you want to re-live the boarding school days, you can also have a pajama party. You can eat instant noodles from tupperwares and have cream crackers with your mug of milo and yak yak yak all night long. For breakfast, can order pre-packed nasi lemak or make kaya toasts together. Bring along the yearbook and family albums! (Sounds good, Dory?)
If it’s the Girlfriends’ kinda day-out, you can do a meal (breakfast or lunch), then an ‘activity’ (something your husbands won’t normally do with you), then have another meal (lunch or tea) to wind down. The activities can basically be anything, a pampering at the spa, watch a foreign movie, go to a sale, attend a short seminar/course on something that would interest all of you, watch a play, attend an art exhibition or a special museum display, shop for fabrics , anything that the ladies might enjoy. You can tie it all up in a nice theme, e.g. I once went to an Iranian film screening at the Islamic Arts Centre, we later went to the middle eastern restaurant to sample the fare (you can choose to all wear salwar khameez or Arabian robes and scarves if you want). My girlfriends and I once went to a mall in our jeans and casual tops, went to catch an Indonesian teen flick, then shared a few dishes at Chilli’s for dinner and to discuss about the movie. It made us feel young again ! :laugh:
Other possible themes: Attend a classical concert, then have a nice dinner at an elegant restaurant (an excuse to dress up). Attend a hands-on class in the art of ikebana, then have sushi. Go shop for fabrics at Indian street (sample the sweets along the way) and then have banana leaf rice lunch (or have Chinese instead).

famygirl : 1. if u could offer me one advice, what would that be? 2. if more than one advice, what would they be?
Elisa: Reflecting on what’s been going on at your workplace lately, I’d say “Just do your best!”. Don’t stress out too much and think about what you’d rather be doing and the lost family time. The sacrifice is short and temporary. The hard times will pass, if you focus your efforts on resolving the issues. (Is that already more than one advice?)
Anyways, I’ll add one more. In the meantime, search your soul and find out what is something that you enjoy doing, and find the skill involved in that, and hone that skill (by reading, going to courses/seminars etc). Then when you feel that you’re brave enough, you can use that skill to build a business and quit your job! :)

Ben : What would you see yourself doing if you were Taufik and kidless?
Elisa: Knowing the person Taufik is, if I were unmarried, I would look for a wife, because he is a family oriented man. If I fail to do that, then I would probably by me a collection of BMW 5 series. :laugh:


hokay, Q&A session is officially closed!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Questions, Answered, Part 1

I decided to break up the Q&A into parts, because there were so many questions and I found my answers to be a bit long..
Here's part 1:

Marjolein : What was the first thing you cooked for Taufik, do you remember?
Elisa: hm.. I’m trying to think..I don’t think I remember. It has been 15 years ago! My earliest memory of cooking for him was making sambal ikan bilis (anchovies in spicy sauce) for nasi lemak (rice with coconut milk) when we were in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Blue: how come ur such an awesome online friend to me when islam forbids hom0s3xuality?
Elisa: Wow. Good question. Tough, but good.
Yes, Islam forbids hom0s3xuality.
The Quran also tells us not to be judgemental. Who am I, to judge whether a person have sinned or not? Who am I to say I am better than the next person? Only God can be the judge. Because only God is all knowing, he knows what went on in the past, he knows what will happen in the future. Who knows, maybe a sinner today will die a martyr the next day. Maybe a pious man today, will commit suicide the next day. Only Allah knows.
I don’t feel that it is my place to judge people based on just one thing that they do. The best I can do is see them for who they are.
Furthermore, If I had stopped looking past your physical attraction for women, I would not have seen your love for nature, poetry and the humankind, and I would have failed to see the beauty of God’s work in you.

Novo : What is your favourite thing about Taufik?
Elisa: tee hee. How many can I list down? If I could choose just one thing, I’d say how he makes me feel secure. And goooood. ;)

Marjolein: Does Islam forbid hom0s3xuality? Or is it like the Bible - where preachers deformed the original scriptures to fit in their own alleyway... ?
Elisa : Yes, it is very clearly stated in the Quran, that sod0my is strictly prohibited. Basically, any sexual acts outside the sanctity of marriage is considered a sin, irregardless of who (or in some cases, what), you’re doing it to/with. The Qur’an’s contents is still preserved in its original form till today. Deforming the words in the Qur’an is a grave sin.

futuredoc : why or how did u pick ur blog theme to be "jams"?
Elisa: when I started blogging on modblog, I chose a preset layout that was titled ‘strawberry’, designed by PB. I decided to add ‘Jam’ into it, as an ode to Pearl Jam. So it became Strawberry Jam. It finally evolved into ‘Spread The Jam’ , when I decided that the purpose of my blog would be to spread the love, for children, for food, for everything good and wholesome to my readers. When I was drawing my previous logo (the jam jar with the stickman on it), I decided to add a piece of toast, to emphasize it’s a jar of jam, instead of a jar of red stuff. That’s when I got the idea for my tag line, “toast life, spread the jam”, calling my readers to celebrate life and spread the goodness.

nonah : do you like living where you are now?
Elisa: I really like the feeling of security. I am not scared that someone would be climbing into my window to rob or rape me in the middle of the night. I am not scared that some psycho would kidnap my kids on their way home from school. I am not scared of drunk drivers (though some people here do drive like they were drunk). I am not scared of accidently eating pork. I am not scared that some floozy will seduce my husband. But I *am* scared of spending too much money. :)

Jajan : is a stranger allowed to ask question?
Elisa: Yes, shoot away.

Onde-onde : apa nak tanya ni ya? (What should I ask?)
Elisa: tanyalah apa2 pun… (Ask Anything)

Yellowcabbie : where do u get all this positive energy in you and creativity for everyone to enjoy? don't u get bored or tired? how come u so nice heh? i like ur positive energy and friendly attitude..can u give some reciper on that?
Elisa: Aiyoohhh how to answer this question??? I don’t know. Maybe it’s all the food that I eat. Maybe it’s coz I believe in “what goes around come around”, so I try to be nice to everybody so that people are nice to me back. Maybe I just like feeling happy, so I do stuff that makes me feel happy. I don’t know!!!

Uglybutadorable : What would you do if your kids throws tantrum at you?? Tantrum yg tahap daasysat.. hempas2 pintu..menjerit2... how do you act on that?
Elisa: Well, so far the worst tantrum I ever got from my kids was from Ihsan. (Zan & Famygirl has probably heard this story so many times, they are sick of it.. coz it’s the only tantrum story I have). Ihsan was 3 or 4, I was pregnant with Anis, my maid had quit, and I lived on a 4th floor apartment. I had stopped by Giant to buy groceries on my way home from work. I just picked up the kids from the nursery and had 2 boys, their bags and two bags of groceries to bring up to my unit from the ground floor car park. Ihsan decided that was when he wanted to be carried. He cried and screamed and sat on the asphalt. After trying to reason with him for what felt like an hour, I got tired and decided to just leave him. But actually, I didn’t. I hid behind a pillar to make him think I had left him, but watched to make sure nothing bad happened to him. He finally came to his senses, I went to reason with him again, we negotiated a deal and we went upstairs together.
My kids learned that tantrums are not tolerated nor entertained in my house. If we say no to something they want, they are better off negotiating for it (or asking very very nicely) than screaming for it. Good behaviour is often rewarded with ice cream or snacks they don’t often get to eat.
If I get really mad at something or somebody, I usually go away into a room to calm down. That’s what I let my kids do too. They either get left alone to simmer and cool down, or get to go to the naughty spot, where they are forced to simmer and cool down. After calming down, then we have small discussion about what happened and how it could’ve been different.
Sounds so calm and orderly, eh? Well, things don’t always go as planned, but at least we have a plan.

okay.. part 2 coming soon...

Friday, August 04, 2006

i'm not here

coz i am here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pick on me

since I asked marjolein a.k.a. choqchip a question, I have to now allow everyone to ask me a question, any question.

So go ahead, pick on me, while I pick on this:

No bake chesecake, recipe yet to be perfected

Post your questions in the comments section, or send me a PM, whichever way you wish. Tell me if you don't want your question/answer revealed publicly.
I'll answer your burning questions as best as I can, as soon as I can.

(tomorrow's the weekend over here, so don't expect to hear from me till saturday)


Once Upon A time, in Hell's Kitchen...

My name is Dale.
I’ll have you know, that I haven’t always looked like this. I used to be quite a lean hunk of meat. I guess that was why The Woman Up There was attracted to me and picked me up and brought me to Hell’s Kitchen. She promised me that she would treat me well, that she would shower me with luxuries that I could not even imagine. I was speechless with excited agreement.
But it turned out, after she left me in the cold for days on end, she had me pounded to a pulp. Then she left me sitting in this ugly bowl of an apartment.
I was devastated.
In her cruelness, there is a slight kindness though. Coz it was not long before The Woman introduced me to Miss Tatum Tater. Tatum was pounded to a pulp just like me, but before that, she had gone through worse. According to her, The Woman Up There thought she was too wild and raw, so she cut her down to size and had put her in The Fryer. Things happen to you in The Fryer. They turn the heat up so high on you that you have no choice but to change. You get soft. You get pliable. When The Woman was done with Tatum, she added salt to injury by pounding her to a pulp.

Tatum and I, we were stirred up to mix and mingle. We were forced to meld together, but I didn’t mind. It may have been a marriage of convenience, but it was still, a marriage. Tatum’s fluffy softness was what held me together through the days, and my rough exterior held her strong.
Our lives were further spiced up with a green Hispanic kid they called Chops Cilantro. Then came a thin, brown italian girl named Scalogni Affettare. Like Tatum, Scalogni too had been put through The Fryer. But instead of soft like Tatum, the heat put on her made her hard and brittle. Next came the French twins, Sel and Poivre. Poivre was slightly bigger than Sel, but The Woman took as much of him as she could handle. They were a mixed lot, but their presence in our lives made it all the more interesting. You could say that they brought their own unique flavours into our tiny bowl of life.

Then The Woman Up There did something we never expected. She came and rolled us up like tiny balls. She even pressured us to flatten our spirits. We ended up like lumps heaped together.
But the worse wasn’t over yet.
She lathered us with eggs, then put us through The Fryer.
It was my first time in The Fryer, and it was unbearable! Tatum and the kids held on tight to me, and with the cloak of eggs over us, we survived the heat together.

That was how I became what I’ve become now. The experience had made my outlook darker and uglier, but inside, I think I’ve improved. My inner self is softer now, more textured and flavoured. I no longer think ill of The Woman. I see now, that she changed me for the better and I see her with longing and love in her eyes.
I have finally become the true Dale. Burger Dale.

Bergedil, a spiced meat and potato cake, a good accompaniment for rice noodles in soup.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006


"Tank Combat" by Ilham, digital art on MSPaint

I don't know what to do.
Ilham has this obsession with war.
He has been playing this game called "Call of Duty 2" on PS2. It's an rpg, a shoot-em-up game, set during World War 2 (I think, coz there are no missiles yet, but there are tanks and planes).
And there's also Ace Combat 4 and 6 (recently bought), which is again, about war, but this time they are in fighter planes, fighting a fictional enemy in the skies.
Whenever there's a program about war weaponry on Discovery, he'd go "ooh oooh, I want to watch this!!" and he'd oggle at the tanks, the planes, the helicopters. Once, I switched to TCM and there was this old black&white war movie on and Ilham insisted on watching that.
During the school's spring fair in March, he came home lugging a second hand box of Risk. He pored through the rules, watched over the map of the world, putting his armies here, his men on horses there.. pushing them across the borders.
His class had a special assembly where parents could attend and the theme was 'When I grow up'. He chose to be a soldier, "to defend and protect the innocent". He went to school wearing his green khaki pants and his army print t-shirt. He wanted us to buy him a toy machine-gun. I declined his request.
Ilham's folder on the computer is full of his drawings depicting war. Planes shooting each other, droves of tanks rumbling down the road, a train pulling tanks and missle launchers. *shivers*
I admire his interest in learning, I admire his talent in drawing, and I admire his ambition to be a protector, but I'm starting to worry, coz he is OBSESSED.

I try to show him the realities of war. Making him watch the coverage of what is going on in Gaza and South Lebanon. That the injuries and death and devastation are very real. That when there's a war, it's not just the soldiers that are dying. Sometimes civilians die too. Sometimes children die.
And even when it's the soldiers that die, they are also somebody's son/daughter, somebody's brother/sister, somebody's husband/wife, somebody's father/mother.
I try to tell him that the effects of war does not end at the battlefield. The efffects transcends geographical location and time. People's whole lives are changed. A whole country is changed. The whole world is changed.
I don't know if I'm getting through him.

"Shattered Skies" by Ilham, digital art on MSPaint

Should I be worried? Is this just a phase?
Who or what am I raising here?


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