Saturday, February 28, 2009

16+9 things you didnt know about me.

PD had tagged me (a long long while ago) for 16 things, and then a few other people tagged me for 25 things. Since I lack blog fodder these past few days weeks months, I decided to do this tag.
I'm not gonna tag anyone because I think everyone but my mom have been tagged to do this, either on blogland or on facebook.

1. I am not a very good housekeeper.

2. I find using tools with long handles (read: brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners) extremely cumbersome.

3. I bribe my kids with 'stars' (convertible to spending money) to help me clean the house.

4. I only help clean my kids' rooms about once a month.

5. I am allergic to dust, so if you find me sneezing and sniffling, it probably means I did some dusting that day.

6. I would rather be down on my knees scrubbing than mopping.

7. Taufik does all the mopping around the house. My older boys do the vacuuming.

8. I bought a handheld vacuum just so that I can do spot vacuuming during the week.

9. The best time to come and visit my home is Thursday afternoons because that's when my house is the cleanest.

10. I am prone to addictive behaviour, but fortunately, not to anything illegal, mostly puzzle games (on my phone or the computer)

11. I am easily obsessed with new things, but I also lose interest as easily. I hate having incomplete things hanging over my head though, so I usually finish whatever I started, eventually.

12. When I am focused though, I can do great things. (I think lah)

13. I don't mind waiting if I have something to watch, read or do with my hands.

14. I like to travel, but I get motion sick.

15. Once, I puked on an LRT because my friend wanted to talk and kept me from looking outside. We were on our way to a meeting, so I had to stop at a mall to buy a new outfit.

16. If I can walk to anywhere, I would.

17. I love crunchy food.

18. Taufik cuts my hair.

19. I have never been to Thailand or Singapore. Or Sabah, for that matter. I hope to change that soon.

20. I have never been to a Pearl Jam concert even though they've been to venues that are about an hour's drive from where I was.

21. Once, I talked to Amy Search on the telephone. *embarassed* So, that's about the closest I ever got to meeting a rawkstar.

22. I like to sing in the shower. (but I think anyone who's lived in the dorm with me would know that).

23. My favourite songs to sing in the shower are 'Wash', 'Hikayat Penuh Ranjau' and 'Joget Kasih Sayang'.

24. I like watching cartoons, or anything animated.

25. My current favourite phrase is "You don't know what you're missin' if you aren't in the kitchin'" (Chowder).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Kite Runner

I caught this movie 45 minutes into because I was busy with something else. By the time I watched, the childhood bits were already over. It did not stop me from crying at a few scenes further on in the movie, and I was crying more than 5 minutes after the credits have rolled.

If you have not read the book yet, this story is about Amir, a boy from a well-to-do, well-respected family in Kabul, who has a lifelong bestfriend in Hassan, a servant's son. On the surface, Amir's life is all hunky dory but inside he is a little turbulant, and he is riddled with a guilt that he carries to his adulthood. Hassan, on the other hand, looks like he has a hard life, rife with tragedy, but as evident from his letter to Amir at one point, you will see that his soul is very much at peace. They seperated ways when Hassan moved away and Amir has to flee Kabul when the russians took over afghanistan, but they were destined to be reunited (in a way) later in their life.

I guess it helped that I have read the book, because I knew what was going on in Amir's mind. Taufik, who have not read the book, found the movie slow and had trouble following the conversations because he had to weave in and out between listening to english and reading the subtitles. I had to explain things to him a few times. This did not deter him from watching the movie from start to finish, and I guess he did enjoy it.

The acting were also okay. It helped that I didnt know any of the actors. :)

The cinematography is quite good too. Very nice kite scenes.
You could see the stark difference between Kabul before the russian occupation and after. There are a few violently shocking scenes though (like when someone got publicly punished for adultery). And please be aware that the story does touch on a few adult subject matter like fidelity and child abuse. So, be discreet when watching with children.

All in all, an enjoyable movie. If you liked the book, I would recommend watching this. They stayed quite true to the book, with a few omissions for brevity.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Introducing Barang-barang Bonda!

My latest project - an online 'store' where I can sell my latest discoveries in the ladies' markets in Saudi and also anything else I might be able to make in my own house.
Please do visit Barang-barang Bonda.

Note to non-bahasa malaysia readers:
Barang-barang means "things"
Bonda means "mother" , which, as you may know, is what my kids call me.

Wish me luck :)
Comments and suggestions are most most welcomed!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Riding Alone ... , Stardust and Holiday

Here are a few of the movies I caught on TV last few weeks:

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles
Happened by accident. I was flipping the channels and saw this movie just started. It piqued my interest and kept me hooked for the duration of the movie. Very interesting storyline, very interesting actors. I love watching foreign films coz they are not tainted by the tabloid, and you dont have to suspend your belief. You just watch it and enjoy it. I cried at the weirdest moments in this movie. I cannot look at a boat whistle without thinking about the father. And I so wanna watch a chinese opera before I die.

Been waiting to watch this coz I loved the book so much. Maybe coz I've read the book, I was a bit bored and impatient with the first twenty minutes when they were sorta introducing everyone. I know the ending is all a little corny and dickens-like, but the journey getting there is a lot of fun!
I love claire danes.

The Holiday
Corny corny corny, but interesting. Good light entertainment for when you're bored. My favourite bit was when Amanda (Cameorn Diaz) called out for Graham (Jude law) and he came out with wiping the tears out of his eyes. I really believed him. Good acting at that point :)
And I have always loved Jack Black. Even when he was only in his underwear in Orange COunty.

Friday, February 06, 2009


7 facts you may not know about me:
When I was 7,
1. I was in Sekolah Rendah Sultan Sulaiman Satu, Kuala Trengganu. My teacher was this really sexy chinese woman who has a thing for spaghetti straps.
2. I borrowed a classmate's textbook, then she got scolded for not having her textbook, and I just kept quiet.. :P If she is reading this, know that I am truly sorry for not telling the teacher that I was the one in the wrong.
3. I tried to steal a packet of chickadees from the canteen, and got told off.
4. I pooped in my pants while waiting to be picked up because I was too scared to go to the millipede infested girls' toilet alone.
5. One day in Bukit Kecik, we lost a ball in the shrubs that lined our fence and I went looking for it but found a python instead.
6. I cried every time 'Sealed With A Kiss' came on air.
7. I think I also borrowed some money from friends but didnt get a chance to repay them coz end of that year we moved away. I hope they halal-ed my hutang.

7 things that scare me:
1. Lightning. The first thing I do when I move into a new house is identify a spot or room that no lightning can reach.
2. Losing my faith.
3. Losing Taufik.
4. Losing my kids
5. Losing a friend.
6. Swimming where I can't see the bottom (or what's in it).
7. People who find pleasure in inflicting pain (physical, emotional or psychological) on other people.

7 songs that I like the most:
English- (I'll try not to include too much pearl jam)
1. Viva la Vida - Coldplay (i like the melody more than the lyrics though)
2. Zephyr - RHCP
3. If I Fell - The Beatles
4. Stuff And Nonsense - The Eddie Vedder and Neil Finn version
5. Best Friend - Queen
6. And So It Goes - Billy Joel ( just coz that blind guy sang this song during AI auditions.. tee hee)
7. anything by Pearl Jam (suprise suprise)

1. Hikayat Penuh Ranjau - Wings
2. Uji Rashid - Ku Ingin Selalu Di Samping Mu
3. Nilai CintaMu - Sudirman
4. SriKandi Di Sisi - Belantara
5. SriKandi Cintaku - Bloodshed
6. Sayang di Sayang - I dont know who sings this song, but the old version, not the ones sang by current artistes.
7. Anything sung, written or produced by M Nasir.

7 phrases that I say the most:
1. Dayyuummm
2. Oh Noes
3. aaaanywayyys...
4. Sorry
5. Lauk dah habis, beli ayam/daging, roti, susu and telur.
6. Khalas (as a question, a statement or an order)
7. Astaghfirullah, MasyaAllah, InsyaAllah, Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, wala-ilaha-ilallah, Allahu-akbar. (dzikr mahhh... )

7 of my precious things: (things ya, does not include people?)
1. Engagement ring
2. Wedding ring
3. Watch (It was a birthday present from Taufik)
4. The only diamond bracelet (hopefully it won't be my only one for long. tee hee)
5. The murano glass pendant I bought in Florence.
6. Passport.
7. Notebook(s) that contains all my recipes (huyooo tak makan lah kalau takde ni)

7 memorable first timers:
1. First time I saw Taufik. I still remember where & when. I can't remember what he was wearing though.
2. Taking a Greyhound, to Tulsa, Oklahoma on labour day 1991. I arrived early in the morning and the bus stop was covered in fog. I heard the rumblings of a motorcycle engine, and down the road, amongst the billowing mist, appeared Taufik on a motorcycle, just like a hero in a manga. I nearly fainted from swooning.
3. My first kiss with Taufik. Mind blowing, I tell you. Macam nak meletup jantung. (The other first tu, tak yah cerita lah kan)
4. My first snowfall. I think my american friend (her name is Jennifer Cassidy) thought I was crazy for jumping around with joy.
5. Looking at my babies. (Does that count as 4?)
6. Seeing the Ka'abah. Masya-Allah.. macam nak nangis!
7. Wukuf di Arafah. Indescribable.

I think most people have been tagged with this. So if anybody hasnt and wants to do it, go right ahead.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

somebody out there still likes Pearl Jam

I dont know if you remember, but during the previous Olympic games (not in Beijing, the one before that), I was watching the promos on TV and heard them using Spin The Black Circle as the background music.

Well i was watching MBC4 (I think it's a Lebanese station. betul tak Lollies/Nazrah?), and the promo for an arabic soap opera came on and it had this guitar thing going on and it sounded so familiar i had to wreck my brain to think what it was until I realized it was Dirty Frank.

go figure.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Ops Jalan Sakan: Digging For Desert Roses

This is the latest installation in our Mission:Travelots.

Last weekend we went digging for desert roses in Abqaiq. It is just off Highway 10 heading towards Abqaiq. After the exit labeled 'Desert Access', there will be a small road that is currently used as a detour due to highway construction. Take the first junction on your right off this detour road (follow the garbage trucks). Drive to the very end of the asphalt road, deflate your tyres before entering the sand. You have to drive off road a bit till you reach N26deg 11'30.9" E049deg 50'52.5".

You can really tell the site not only by the signs of recent digging, sand mounds and desert roses scattered on the ground (rejects from previous excavations), but also from the crackly ground, indicating a very high content of salt/minerals.

Taufik explained to us how we could tell a hole is a good site to search for desert rose. The sand should still be distinctly layered, if not, it means that someone has dug a hold there before. There should also be a layer of crystalized salt in the hole, and the salt also indicates the direction of growth. A thicker layer of cystalized salt would indicate better chances of finding a desert rose.
You really need not dig too deep to find a desert rose. The ones we found lied about 2 feet under the ground. You do have to be careful when you dig though. These crystals has petals that are very fragile and could easily break when you hit it. So once you think you found one, use a spade or even your hand to carefully extract the rock. Brush off the sand using a hand brush, then continue washing off the sand by dunking the rock into water to examine the beauty of the petals.
Mature cystals have really huge petals that could get 6-8inches wide, but immature ones look just like wrinkly rocks. The best ones are of course that has petals that grow in a circular formation and look like roses.

Digging the hole may take a bit of work, but the discovery of a desert rose is thrilling enough to make it rewarding, and actually quite addictive. You end up wanting to dig up more, to find a better one.
If you're not up to digging though, there were plenty of specimens lying around on the ground. They may have been rejected by previous excavators, but as they say, "One man's garbage is another man's treasure". You might find one that you like.

The children really enjoyed digging for desert roses. Usually the dads would start digging a hole, and the kids would then jump in to help in the search. They felt really helpful with their small spades and I'm sure the excitement of finding a desert rose is as exciting to them as to adults. I was humming the theme for Indiana Jones through out the excavation :)
Izani's favourite part was dunking the rocks into the bucket of water and brushing the sand off. I think it was more because he gets to play with water than because he liked to see what it looked like.

TIPS for digging desert roses:
1. You need a 4 wheel drive to go into the desert.
2. Have a tyre pressure gauge and a tyre pump handy. (Though a tyre pump may not be necessary, since you only release 1/3 of the air and it's still safe to drive slowly to the next gas station on asphalt).
3. Bring a big spade for major digging, but small ones for searching for desert rose once you've dug a hole. Also bring a brush to gently brush sand off the rocks.
4. Bring a bucket and a small tank of water to wash the sand off the rocks and also to wash your hands off in the end.
5. Bring a tarp to line your car boot or a box to put your rocks in. It is advisable not to stack your roses on top of each other coz they may break, so if you need to, bring rags/cloth to cushion them.
6. If you're bringing children, bring hats and extra clothes. They will get dirty!
7. The winter is warming up, but we were there from noon till after 2pm and it wasnt that hot. It was bright, but cool. I wouldnt recommend digging during the summer months, and of course when there's a sandstorm. During spring and fall, you might want to schedule your trip for really early in the morning, and never in the afternoon coz you dont want to get stuck in the desert when it starts to get dark.
8. Bring lotsa drinking water and some food if you like. We parked our car against the sun and laid our picnic mat in the shade and had our snacks there.

Note: Desert Roses are considered as national treasures and are restricted from being taken out of the country. It makes a pretty decoration/paper weight while you're living in the country though :)

Next trip on Mission:Travelots - hm... dont know yet.