Friday, March 30, 2007

Bring Chubby Back!!

I can't believe they chose mohawk over curly.
I mean I know he was lacklustre this week, but then he is a waaaaay better singer than Sanj@ya, who sang so weakly, i can't even hear what he was singing.
I know the boys are no competition to the girls, but I really didnt expect Big Chris to go before S@njaya or Phil. he didnt deserve to go yet.
I don't know what else to say except that I am really really dissapointed.
I will miss Big Chris and his humor.
I hope D@vid H@sselhoff is crying wherever he is.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There comes a time ...

There comes a time in the day, or the week, or the month, or the year,
when I get really sick of my kids.
Sick of them being so noisy. Sick of listening to their incessant and nonsensical stories told in bad grammar and constant urms and stutters. Sick of their ability to make a mess out of something I just tidied up a few minutes ago. Sick of their carelessness of handling fragile things. Sick of their inability to keep their rice on their plates and in their mouth, not on the carpet. Sick of their bickering and whining and 'reporting'. Sick of them always calling calling me to tell me what someone has done. Sick of their constant hunger and pleads for permission to eat some crisps or Snickers. Sick of having to repeat the same instructions or requests for more than 3 times, only for it to fall on deaf ears or partially deaf ears and having to repeat them yet one more time. Sick of questions on how long till it is their turn to play the PS2. Sick of complaints of how someone is bugging them by giving instructions on how to play a certain game. Sick of hearing how someone is being bossy. Sick of cooking something, laying it out on the table and getting an "I don't feel like eating" instead, when just a few minutes ago they pleaded and pleaded for something to eat. Sick of having something sucking and clinging on me all the time. Sick of washing babies' bums. Sick of smelling sour poo. Sick of having to wake up or half wake up in the middle of the night to pull up my shirt.
Sick sick sick.

sometimes one of them would come up with a real gem that makes me laugh and puts a smile on my face for the rest of the day. They are quick to say sorry and claen up. They help me out in the kitchen when I ask them to. 3 of them can even wash the dishes and do a decent job at it. They are not averse to tell me something is yummeh and please can I have some more. They know how to take care of each other. I can trust at least one of them to look after the baby when I need some alone time. Babies' bums are so smooth. A tiny hug from tiny short arms are the best kinda hugs in the world. And nothing boosts your ego as much as someone telling you they need you.
Furthermore, I am guaranteed four pairs of adoring eyes, four hearts filled with undying love, till the day I die.

It's the start of a 2 week easter holiday, by the way.
wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Easy Peasy Spaghetti Bodoh

"Spaghetti Bodoh" literally means "Stupid Spaghetti", but actually it's just my name for just plain spaghetti, with no meat nor vegetables.
I made this yesterday for the kids, coz I had nothing to put in the spaghetti. But they still loved it nevertheless. I later found out that I actually had some sausages, but it was too late, they've already eaten everything... tee hee.
Izani liked it too, especially since there are no huge chunks of anything that he'd have to chew on.
This is a very simple and basic recipe, and you could add in other ingredients (spices, meat, vegetables) to make it not so plain.
Preparation time: 8 minutes to boil pasta, less than 10 to do the rest.

Easy Peasy Spaghetti Bodoh

250grams spaghetti boiled per instruction, al-dente
half head of garlic peeled and chopped finely
half a cup of stock chicken or beef or[I] ikan bilis also can[/I]
sprinkles of herb of choice I used dried basil. U can use fresh parsley or whatever you have
grated parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Heat up the olive oil in a good-sized pan. Saute the garlic till fragrant and nutty. Add chicken stock and the dried herbs (if you're using dried ones). Let sauce boil for a minute, then toss in the spaghetti till it's well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then turn off heat. When you serve, drizzle some olive oil on, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and fresh herbs (if you're using fresh ones).

As I said, this is a very basic recipe. You can add other ingredients to change it up a bit.
While sauteing the garlic:
You can add red pepper flakes or dried chillies cut up into small pieces to make a spicy olio. Add cubed sausages, chicken or prawns or even tofu for the protein.
While adding stock:
Add some cream to make a creamy sauce. Add tomato paste or crushed tomatoes for a red sauce. Replace stock with milk, when it bubbles up, add cheese to make alfredo sauce.
While tossing in pasta:
Make it a primavera by tossing in pre-sauted vegetables. Toss in crunchy bits of ikan bilis goreng or crispy fried mortadella bits.

I think you get the idea.

Easy Peasy Spaghetti Bodoh

"Spaghetti Bodoh" literally means "Stupid Spaghetti", but actually it's just my name for just plain spaghetti, with no meat nor vegetables.
I made this yesterday for the kids, coz I had nothing to put in the spaghetti. But they still loved it nevertheless. I later found out that I actually had some sausages, but it was too late, they've already eaten everything... tee hee.
Izani liked it too, especially since there are no huge chunks of anything that he'd have to chew on.
This is a very simple and basic recipe, and you could add in other ingredients (spices, meat, vegetables) to make it not so plain.
Preparation time: 8 minutes to boil pasta, less than 10 to do the rest.

Easy Peasy Spaghetti Bodoh

250grams spaghetti boiled per instruction, al-dente
half head of garlic peeled and chopped finely
half a cup of stock chicken or beef or ikan bilis also can
sprinkles of herb of choice I used dried basil. U can use fresh parsley or whatever you have
grated parmesan
extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Heat up the olive oil in a good-sized pan. Saute the garlic till fragrant and nutty. Add chicken stock and the dried herbs (if you're using dried ones). Let sauce boil for a minute, then toss in the spaghetti till it's well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then turn off heat. When you serve, drizzle some olive oil on, sprinkle some parmesan cheese and fresh herbs (if you're using fresh ones).

As I said, this is a very basic recipe. You can add other ingredients to change it up a bit.
While sauteing the garlic:
You can add red pepper flakes or dried chillies cut up into small pieces to make a spicy olio. Add cubed sausages, chicken or prawns or even tofu for the protein.
While adding stock:
Add some cream to make a creamy sauce. Add tomato paste or crushed tomatoes for a red sauce. Replace stock with milk, when it bubbles up, add cheese to make alfredo sauce.
While tossing in pasta:
Make it a primavera by tossing in pre-sauted vegetables. Toss in crunchy bits of ikan bilis goreng or crispy fried mortadella bits.

I think you get the idea.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Statues in Jak@rta

Ind0nesia, in general, and J@karta, specifically, has many many statues. There is a statue or a monument at almost every junction of the road. I wish I had the opportunity to take the picture of every statue I saw, because all of them were beautiful and exquisitely carved. Unfortunately, most of them were seen out of the windows of a travelling car, albeit in a macet (traffic jam), still, not a good condition to take pictures.

These ones were taken at Taman Monas, short for Monuman Nasional (National Monument Park). It was new year's eve, so there were lots of people hanging around at the park waiting for the celebration and fireworks to begin, even though it wasn't for another 7 hours.
The one Ilham is 'holding' is the aforementioned National Monument. It sits right in the middle of the park, surrounded by a wide cobbled circular path. On this path you can get rides on a horse driven carriage/buggy. (As tourists, of course we got on a ride!)
Surrounding that cobblestone circle are large areas of grass where people can sit and play kites and eat kacang. There were fountains and flowers, and of course, more statues.
One of the statues is of Raden Ajeng Kartini, shown above with Anis (who is trying to imitate her). This statue was a gift from the Japanese government. I'm not sure who she was, but from the statues, it looked like she was some sorta of princess, who helped the nation when they went through a very difficult time. (Maybe diah can tell us more?)
The statue of the guy on the horse was of Fatahilah, a prince who led a revolution against the dutch. He was imprisoned for his 'crime' by the ruling Dutch.

Taken from

This is Tugu Tani, a sculpture dedicated to the farmers in J@karta, which was extraordinary. The flowing fabric, the depicted movements, the expressions on the still bronze faces were just amazing. (Sorry that the picture does not capture that). Tugu Tani is not in Taman Monas, but at one of the junctions in the center of Jakarta. A very congested junction if I may add.

Anyways, if you like looking at statues, (ehem, didi) you would love Jak@rta. If I wasnt travelling with 4 kids (and one of them whom I had to carry around all the time), I'd probably take walks around Jak@rta and just spend the day takking pictures of their many statues.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The case of the missing plant

A few days ago I bought a pot of [URL=""]Kalanchoe[/URL] to replace the dying plants I had on my window sill. The afternoon Saudi sun proved to be too hot for the plant and I started seeing scorch marks on its leaves, so I moved the plant to my patio yesterday morning.
I walked out to water it this morning and it was GONE!!!

Whoever took it must have done it between last night and this morning because Ilham said he saw that it was still there when he took out the garbage yesterday evening.

I am so pi88ed!
It cost me SR20 to buy it. SR20 may not be much to some, but it's a lot to me, especially since it came from my hard-earned allowance, money that I could've spent on .. erm .. more plants. and stuff.

I'm not gonna let this thing get me down though. I'm gonna turn this into my favour.
I'm gonna send Ilham and Ihsan out on a 'recon mission'. They are to scout the whole compound and search for the missing plant.
That's at least an hour of distraction from messing up the house and going boom boom rat tat tat on the PS2.

spring is here

Edited to add more pictures

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The prank

Last night our house was a flurry of excitement, all because of an egg.
I was preparing dinner and Taufik and the kids were in the living room reading and playing with Izani and doing stuff, when our doorbell rang.
Ihsan went to open the door, and then I heard "oops", a pause, then "Hey, who broke the egg???"
Some cheeky boys put an egg on our door handle and pressed the bell and when Ihsan opened the door it fell and broke on our floor!
This wasn't the first time someone pulled pranks on our house, so Taufik quickly went outside to chase the culprits while I called security.
The security guy came and we showed him what happened. He asked Ihsan whether he got a look at the boy, but unfortunately he didnt, coz when Ihsan heard the bell, he opened the door and didnt bother looking at who it might've been.
I told the security guy about the last prank many many months ago, they kept pressing the bell and ran away. Once I caught a glimpse of the boy, because it just so happened that I was walking by the front door when he pressed the bell and I saw him running away when I opened the door a second later. I called security the last time it happened and the pranks ceased, till last evening.

Taufik came back from his chase and told us he couldnt find anybody, but he saw a car driving around without the headlights on, so he suspects that the driver probably was looking for the pranksters as well.
Our kids kept running in and out of the house, wanting to join in the search and the solving of the mystery.
Ilham kept jumping "ooh ohh maybe they ran that way" "maybe they ran this way" "Let's go look behind that house!".
Ihsan said "I see footprints on our driveway! maybe it's theirs!" and kept peering at the shoe prints until I pointed out that the size and pattern matches his sandals' and it probably is his coz he kept running about.
"Maybe we can dust the eggshells with fingerprints!" suggested Ilham, but too late, I had cleaned up the egg. Hey I'm not gonna let a raw egg just sit in front of my door step.
"Maybe we can go to the minimarket and ask whether there were kids who bought eggs!" Ilham said, and I let him go just to satisfy his curiosity, but he came home dissapointed coz the minimarket guy said no kids came and bought eggs recently. When I concluded that they probably got the eggs out of their own fridge, Ilham suggested checking everyone's fridge for missing eggs.

"This is so much fun! It's just like CSI!" the boys proclaimed at dinner. And we proceeded to discuss about fingerprinting and how it's no use without a database. So our best option would be to be clear on what we're gonna do the next time someone rings our doorbell.
We came up with these guidelines:
1. We will look through the window to see who it is.
2. If we see someone running away, we are to take note of what they look like, especially what they're wearing.
3. If there is nobody, then we call the security and tell them someone rang our doorbell and ran away. Then the security can come and see if there's an egg on our door.

I hope the kids will remember the guidelines the next time the doorbell rings.
I am secretly excited about catching the prankster too. Taufik, on the other hand, is not so secretive about his desire to kick the prankster's ass.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

How to survive being an expatriate's wife, lesson 2

I remember the first time I witnessed a 'jewellery frenzy'. A lady from Riy@dh came with her bag of crystal jewellery and displayed them during a get-together dinner party. Looking at the hoards of ladies gathering around that table, you'd think she was giving it out for free.
I looked at them, too, of course. They were too chunky for my taste, but it doesnt hurt to look. I called Taufik over to also take a look. Manalah tahu kan.. dia mimpi pelik ke semalam... Who knows, maybe he'd lose his mind for a minute and decide to buy me something.
As expected, he didn't buy me anything. Too chunky, he said. The other ladies comforted me with words of encouragement. "maybe he'll buy you something else another time", they said.
Then a few months later, at another dinner gathering (of roughly the same folks), a Burmese lady came and showed her offerings of gold and precious stones jewellery. There was one that caught my eye, because it was not chunky and it was pretty, but the price was too expensive for me. So again, I called Taufik over to show him the piece. If he doesnt buy it, at least he would know what I like. The other ladies were abuzz when he came over. "Elisa suka yang tu, beli lah.." they coaxed him. "eheheh .. takpelah, terimakasih" was all he replied and he walked away.
I think the ladies were more dissapointed than me, because one of them even said "Kesian..." to me.
Though I was kinda miffed and embarassed that someone actualy pitied me for not getting some trinket, I took that opportunity to remind myself that having jewellery might be a priority for her, but it's not mine. And neither is it my husband's priority to buy me jewellery. For him, he would rather bank in XXk of money into my savings account than buy me shiny things.

I'm sure everyone, not just expatriates, have their own set of priorities. But when you're an expatriate, you obviously get more money than if you were not, and this could actually exagerate what your priorities are.
Some people, would rather spend a lot of money on travelling here and there and everywhere, but they don't mind driving a Chevy. Some people spend a huge portion of their money to enable them to drive X5s and SLKs, but they don't get to travel much. Some people's houses are filled with furniture and accessories and their jewellery boxes filled to the brim with all things that glitter but they don't have savings. Some people rent smaller houses so that they can send their kids to a better school. Some kids are sent to a not-so-good school, but the school has religious lessons and are just a few blocks away from their house, which means less travelling time, thus more family time.
I'm sure each one has their own pros and cons.. you can't really argue which ones are better and whether yours or theirs are right or wrong.
What you can do is you can find out what works for you. Make sure your priorities align with your husband's priorities, so that there are no conflicts during decision making and spending of hard-earned money, irregardless of how much it is.

Lesson 2: Everyone has their own set of priorities. Everyone can justify their choice of priorities. Don't compare and don't judge if other's are different than yours.

Monday, March 19, 2007

today is izani's day

Updated on Izani's development at 11 months. Go check on him.

oh by the way,
the doctor looked at izani's finger and said he didnt need stitches. She just gave me some betadine and antiseptic/antibiotic lotion and asked me to change the bandage every 24 hours. When I last changed the bandage the cut looked better.
Izani and I are still recovering from our cold and cough though.

oh, Yesterday was Mother's Day at the british school. Anis and Ihsan came home wtih Mother's Day cards. Anis also made a picture of 3 cut out flowers, each with the words I, Love, and You.
Ihsan's card contained his handprint and a poem:

Sometimes you get discouraged, because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints, on furniture and walls
But every day I'm growing - Ill be grown up some day
And all those tiny handprints, will surely fade away
So here's a little handprint, just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked, when I was very small

How lovely!!
I think I'm gonna frame that one up :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

first cut is the deepest

Izani stuck his fingers into the drainhole of the bath tub when I was bathing him yesterday afternoon. He does this all the time. he like to stick his fingers into things. He's a curious little boy.
I turned off the tap and wrapped his towel around him and gave his hand a slight tug while telling him it was time to go. He took his hand out and started crying. I thought he was just protesting about having to get out of the bath, but then I noticed that his finger, the one he had stuck into the drainhole, was dripping blood.

Oh. My. God.
*panic panic panic*
Taufik was not home, he had to send the boys to a playdate in another compound.
i was all aloooonnnneeeeee.
what to do what to do his towel was getting pink.
think think think, get it bandaged.
but get him in diapers first, in case he pees.
I rumaged through my drawers and got some round facial cotton and wrapped it around his finger, the cotton turned crimson on contact.
got him in diapers as quick as I could.
Izani cried, I don't know whether coz he didnt want to put on his diaper or because he was in pain or because he's sensing my distress when I saw that he's starting to eat the cotton.
I took the now red cotton away from his hands, he wailed louder coz now he doesnt have anything to chew on.
I wrapped a new piece of cotton and then proceeded to look for bandages, handyplast, whatever.
We were out of Burnol. dammit dammit.
Saw minyak gamat*.
will have to do.
took bloodied cotton out of izani's mouth, held him on my hips while I use my free hand to cut up some cotton bandage squares leftover from when I returned home from giving birth to this boy who now has a bleeding left index finger.
so many thoughts raced through my brain all at once.
Did i tug too hard? how big should the square be? Was it my fault? Does minyak gamat sting? I am sorry baby I am so sorry. It says "Untuk luka kecil dan senak perut" so should be okay yes? Stop chewing on the cotton!! Why oh why didnt I take his fingers out gently?
I cleaned the wound with some alcohol prep, which made Izani scream coz it stings, but I had to see the damage, and I don't want him to get an infection.
The cut is kinda bad.. the skin was stripped. it was like someone (ME!!! aaarrrggghhh!!!!!) took a knife and carved around the inside of his knuckle. But I saw no bones, and it didnt look like it needed stitches, so i was kinda relieved.
I wanted to scream, but all I could do was say sorry sorry sorrrry
By then I didnt even care that he was chewing on the cap of the minyak gamat.
I finally wrapped his finger up with minyak gamat, cotton bandages and some tape.
he chewed on the bandages while I carried him around on my shoulder.
I breastfed him till he fell asleep, then I had a good cry.
We're going to see the peadetriacian in 45 minutes.
It's probably just small cut, but to a mother, the pain she feels is deeper than the wound looks.

*minyak gamat- an ointment made from sea cucumbers, said to have healing properties.

Friday, March 16, 2007

sickly strawberry

I'm not well.
I have been having an intermittent cold all week. Izani too. So it doesnt help me, coz when he's waking up coughing or struggling with a blocked nose, I'd be waking up too, and it means I don't get the rest I need, thus making my cold worse. And now I am feeling an onset of a sore throat. Even a stack of pancakes for breakfast this morning didnt get to lift my spirits. My other kids, however, are chattering like squirells and jumping about like rabbits in the living room from the sugar in the syrup.

Izani turned 11 months yesterday.
I've got a video and pictures as usual, but mehh... I will update you guys when I'm feeling better.

I am still sulking about Sundance.
and even though I thought Brendan deserved to go for committing the cardinal sin of forgetting the words, I still think Sanjay@ is waaaay out of his league here.
Did you guys cry too when Melinda sang?

gotta go. laytur peeps.

p/s oh oh i went to the school's spring fair the other day and bought Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Cagebird Sings for 3riyals!! 3 riyalsss!! can you believe it?? I miss second hand book stores. They don't have any over here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Billy No Buzz

okeh, let's get back to our regular programming...

Today was the staging of Keystage 1's Production of Billy No Buzz.
The story was about Billy, a bumble bee who couldn't buzz, so other bees didn't want to be friends with him and neither did other insects. He ran away and met some dragonflies who befriended him and showed the other bees that Billy was just like the other bees, except for the buzzing bit. So in the end the bees accepted Billy as their friend and so did the other insects.

Isn't the stage decoration amazing??

The story was told with singing and dancing and a few dialogues in between.
It was so much fun to watch tiny little kids singing and dancing and prancing around in costumes. There were more parents on the aisles taking pictures than sitting down just watching. The songs were fun and catchy, even I was singing along, and I was happy to notice that I wasnt the only one who had been forced to listen to my kids practising the last few weeks.

Anis played the part of a butterfly and Ihsan played the part of a dragonfly.
Anis looked like she had a lot of fun dancing her part and I could see her singing her heart out when she wasn't in the middle of the stage but was in the back with the rest of the 'choir'. I saw her scanning the crowd to find me or Taufik, but I guess she didn't see me coz she didn't wave back when I waved. She was happy to see me backstage when it was all over though. (Taufik couldn't come coz he had to go to AFK, an hour's drive away)
Ihsan had 2 lines and he delivered it very well. His enunciation and expressions were clear. When he was singing, he had a straight face at first, but when he saw me, he did that usual shy grin and looked down. I was afraid that he would fumble his lines because he was aware of my presence, but I am glad he didn't. I was so proud of him!

Kudos to the DBGS KS1 teachers!! I think they did such a great job at teaching the kids, decorating the stage and making the costumes. Just like last year, all the decorations were taken from the children's art classes, the songs taught during music lessons, and this year they incorporated some maths in one of the songs (last year when they did The Tadpole, the underlying subject was science).
What a fun way to learn! :D

Monday, March 12, 2007

because i blog

oh gosh, i dont even know where to start.

okay, I admit.

I am unemployed.
But I am so by choice. It's not that i don't have qualifications. Therefore, you can't really equate my unemployment to being useless, or brainless.

I am a woman.
That I can't help. God made me this way.

But am I a liar?
I don't think so.
I write fiction, sometimes, yes. I exagerrate most of the times, yes. But then calling me a liar would be equivalent to saying all politicians are out there to do the greater good.

Am I out to promote disunity?
I would like to disagree. In fact, I would like to argue, that I am actually promoting unity, and am in fact, contributing to building a better Malaysia.

I may not be out there working for some company, but I am raising the future of Malaysia. Because I am unemployed, I am able to give my full attention to the formation of my children's minds, Malaysian citizens themselves. Because I am unemployed, I have all the time in the world to teach them to be honest, not to litter, to be polite and tolerant, to obey the laws of the land, to not grow up to be criminals and terrorists. Because I am a woman, I am able to give birth and populate the world with more humans that are honest, do not litter, polite, tolerant and obey the laws of the land. (After this, I have to make sure to teach my children to think before they speak).

Because I blog, I am keeping myself sane so that I can keep up with the trials of raising a family. I get validation for my feelings when my readers tell me I'm not the only one who goes through rough times. I get support and advice when I have doubts. I get ideas on what to feed my family. I get inspired to try new things, to explore new horizons. I have a virtual support group that consists of people from various walks of life, various beliefs, various lifestyles, various points of views from different parts of the world (from Canada to Australia, from South Dakota to South Africa). I wouldn't have had that without blogging.

All of the above are facts. Not lies.

I would also like to think that people are in turn, inspired by my writings.
That some mother in shah alam who just came home from work and is tired would remember my recipe for kid-friendly ayam masak merah and would still be able to serve a decent dinner for her husband and kids, avoiding excuses for infidelity and malnutrition. Thus, a more unified and healthy Malaysia.
That some girl who just got engaged would remember my tips for a happy marriage and go on and build a happy family, one that would further build a happy Malaysia.
That some parent travelling on PLUS highway with bored kids would suddenly be reminded of the games my kids play on roadtrips and engage in a healthy competition among themselves, keeping the driver alert, thus keeping Malaysian roads and highways safe.
That some hungry malaysian medical student in a foreign university could whip up a healthy salad for dinner and be pumped up for her next assignment and go on to graduate and save the lives of other malaysians.

Sounds like mere speculation?
oh but so was your comment, mr. minister.

If you're confused, read this, or my dad's latest post.
or just read this conversation:

elisa taufik: eh i tengah baca my dad's post nih
elisa taufik: so skarang tengah trying to find out apa tg adnan cakap
elisa taufik: :O
elisa taufik: i am appalled!!
Lollies Goddess: err sapa tu?
Lollies Goddess: jap i baca
elisa taufik: tengku adnan cakap dlm sin chew jit poh that bloggers are liars and that most bloggers are unemployed and most are women who like to promote disunity
Lollies Goddess: woits!
Lollies Goddess: sedapnya blanketkan soma orang
Lollies Goddess: eh eh eh i nak jawablah survey minah UM tu
Lollies Goddess: a student tengah buat thesis on bloggers
Lollies Goddess: no wonder soklan pelik2
Lollies Goddess: like tengah nak gauge bloggers ni anti social ke, loner ke
elisa taufik: eh which minah UM?
Lollies Goddess: entah some chinese girl
Lollies Goddess: i malas nak jawab sebenarnya
Lollies Goddess: takpalah i jawab
elisa taufik: mana u dapat survey tu?
Lollies Goddess: dia email kat i
Lollies Goddess: i was picked by random
Lollies Goddess: this is to help her thesis
Lollies Goddess: you nak?
Lollies Goddess: i tak nak jawab sebab dia pakai email yahoo
Lollies Goddess: macam ala ala tak professional gitu
Lollies Goddess: (eh student um tak ada email dot um dot com eh?)
Lollies Goddess: pastu nama dia babygurl
elisa taufik: ha ha post lah survey tu kat semua female bloggers you know so that she gets all the answers she needs. Kalau she's not legit, then padan muka mailbox dia penuh. kalau dia legit, then she'd get a better picture, no?
Lollies Goddess: betul gak tu
Lollies Goddess: out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women.
Lollies Goddess: woits again
Lollies Goddess: manaya survey tu
elisa taufik: hello, just because we're un employed, doesnt mean we dont do anything
Lollies Goddess: setau i kalau unemployed pun they are wives mothers
elisa taufik: we are MOTHERS dammit
Lollies Goddess: eh sama
elisa taufik: right
Lollies Goddess: tulah
elisa taufik: we are forming future malaysians
Lollies Goddess: apa benda cakap ni?
elisa taufik: haha
Lollies Goddess: dotters and so forth
Lollies Goddess: in fact setau i pompuan bloggers lah yang paling promote unity
elisa taufik: tulah dia
elisa taufik: eeee geramm betullll
Lollies Goddess: cerita pasal family happy happy masak masak
Lollies Goddess: cakap tak ada fakta!!
Lollies Goddess: shahrizat kata apa ya?
Lollies Goddess: sebab i rasa dia memang undermine pompuan
Lollies Goddess: isu dia, satu, pasal pompuan bloggers are liars
elisa taufik: siapa undermine? sharizat ke, tg adnan?
Lollies Goddess: dua, bloggers are liars
Lollies Goddess: shahrizat..kan dia ministry woman and all that
Lollies Goddess: dia tak nak defend ke
Lollies Goddess: and why the ministries blanket bloggers macam rebel pulak ni
elisa taufik: ha betul betul
elisa taufik: dammit
elisa taufik: dammit dammit dammit
elisa taufik: i rasa macam nak tulis
elisa taufik: tapi lapar pulak dah
Lollies Goddess: haiyaaa geram betui
Lollies Goddess: i rasa kita kena tulis
Lollies Goddess: ha ha ha
Lollies Goddess: i nak gi ambik budak
Lollies Goddess: sungguh female bloggers kita ni
elisa taufik: okay, we go save our family first, then we go save the world!!

Enterprising Indonesians

I guess I better start doing this bit by bit..

The thing that I notice most about my trip to Jakarta and Bandung is that Indonesians are very enterprising. I see people of all ages trying to sell something. It doesn't matter if what they're selling makes sense or not, or whether the business is successful or not, they will try.

The moment we reached the first traffic light in Bandung, our car was besieged by people selling maps and magazines. There were maybe 10 or 15 of them, all selling the same thing. During our shopping trip the next morning, we saw small kids and old men hauling granite mortar and pestles on their shoulders, their backs bent from the weight. My mom took pity on one young boy, perhaps only 7 or 8 years old, while we waited for my sister to buy us some tit-bits. She paid 12thousand rupiahs for a medium sized one, even though my sister's maid complained that it costs half of that at the wet market. Takpelah, sedekah (as a charity)... said my mom. I looked at the boy and imagined Ilham peddling mortar and pestles around town, and agreed with my mom.
At the traffic lights in Jakarta, there were men selling magazines and IKEA catalogs. Some traffic lights have teenagers playing their guitars and singing, and I don't know whether drivers paid them to sing or to stop. My guess is the latter, because they would stop once you paid them.
Even when parking or getting out of your parking spots, there would be men rushing to help you. "lepas lepas" (you can pass through) they'd shout. "balik lagi pak" (turn some more) they'd instruct. Before you leave, you'd slip them 1thousand rupiah. (that's like 50 cents). They are everywhere and we are thankful for them when the traffic is particularly heavy, but we pay them anyway even when there's no other car in sight.
I won't even mention the tiny tiny kids who walk and sometimes run up to your car to beg for money. I get choked up just thinking about them. (In Bandung we saw a boy about Anis's age, sitting on the road divider with his baby brother sleeping on his lap. I almost got out of the car to grab him and bring him somewhere, anywhere, just out of there.)

Some things that they offer do not make sense though. On one busy road in Jakarta, there were several signs for "Ketuk dan Cat". I soon realized that they were offering services to do bodywork. On your car. By the side of the road. With a hammer and a can of spray paint.
And the thing is, it's not just one crazy guy who's offering this service. behind him all along this road, there were at least 20 others doing the same thing. They sit on a stool while smoking a cigarette and when they see a car passing they'd stand and point at your car and motion you to park. When no one stops, they sit back down on their stool and go back to smoking a cigarette.
If you ask me, I think it's just a guise to fool their wives. They tell their wives that they're 'working' but actually they're actually just sitting around and smoking. "Alas, no one wants to do bodywork today, dear", they'd tell their wives when they go home.
tee hee.

Some business tactics are just plain annoying. In Tangkuban Perahu (where the volcano was), they practically swarmed us everywhere trying to sell knick knacks, from marble eggs to furry hats, to angklungs to necklaces to oh god knows what else. They were persistent to the point of being annoying. We actually had to rush through the visit because the fear of being harrassed by the sellers were taking away from the awe-inspiring experience of seeing a real life volcano. I understand that they're just trying to make a living, but I suggest the government teach them some tact, because if it gets too far, it could really spoil the tourism industry.

One enterprise that I am really thankful for, is the jamu sellers. Every morning this lady would come in her traditional kebaya (shapely blouse) and batik sarong (shapely long skirt) to my sister's house and serve us with kunyit assem (a herbal perparation of turmeric and tamarind juice). I think the jamu helped me get through the numerous excursions in Indonesia without feeling so tired. No wonder the Indonesian ladies are so gantang (energetic and firm) !

Mokciknab's beloved Jamu Lady

Overall, it impressed me that the Indonesian people are very hardworking and determined. They are not the kind who would lie down and wallow in depression. They're the kind of people who would pick themselves up and do something to survive, day by day.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Anis' Picnic Party

We decided to have a picnic party for Anis yesterday.
My neighbour Liza couldnt come coz she postponed her umrah trip from last week to this week. Sharlee couldnt come coz her daughter had a fever and her husband had a presentation for his bosses. So in the end it was just us and KakF&ABC's family.
I thought KakF would be bringing her whole brood, so we bought a bucket of KFC to go with the cake. It turned out that her other kids had other plans, so only her youngest daughter Awni came to Anis' party. Anis was so happy to see her classmate and best friend.
We forgot to bring a carpet, so we just sat on the grass and ate our food. After finishing all but 3 pieces of chicken (ha ha good thing!), we cut the cake and then the kids played football and ran around.

Happy Birthday to Anis!

p/s HanyFF, recognise Awni?

Friday, March 09, 2007

8 singing girls

if it were up to me, I'd bring in all the 8 girls and only 4 of the boys.
As bad as ant0nella's singing was, it was waaaay better than phil's.

who's gonna go home, it's hard to tell. I don't know whether ant0nella's 'exposure' would be to her advantage or her demise. If american voters phone in based on singing only, I say Ant0nella and Haley would go.
But if there are voters out there who vote based on what's in their pants, Ant0nella might get through to the top 12 and sabrina and gina might be in jeopardy. I wouldnt be that suprised if jardin was picked to go because I thought she was kinda lacklustre this week. But she's one sweet girl, she might make it.
If Gina goes though, I'd say what a way to go. She rawked the house!

elisa out.

The world says hello

"Good morning starshine, the world says hello!"
- Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

Announcing the birth of Syed Ahmad Aqif, second son of TDB, the one who doesn't blog.
He was delivered via C-section at around 8:30am today, the 9th of March 2007.
According to TDB, he is 3kg-something., fatter than Arif and appears to have a very large nose (don't all babies? No need to worry lah, dolly).
Mother and baby are doing fine in the maternity wing of PMC.

May you grow up to be anak yang soleh dan muslim yang berguna, insya-Allah... !

Che'Teh, Pak Teh and your cousins can't wait to see you!!

p/s nina, email us pictures when u get the chance.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

8 singing boys

i nearly fell off the sofa when ryan announced that someone was going to sing pearl jam!
then i prayed that it wasnt sanjaya.

i think sundance did a good try, but the whole performence just goes to show that you can try to sing like eddie, but no one can play like jeff, stone, mike and whoever is on drums this time 'round. (I luaghed out loud when the back-up singers did the "hoo hoo hoo" part tho.. tee hee! good try.)
I hated that simon said that jeremy wasnt a good rock song, but I would have to agree that it was not a good rock song to showcase your vocals on a show like americ@n id0l. Pearl Jam has other more melodic songs than jeremy. He could've sung black? but maybe it'd be too morbid. I think Betterman would've been better.

whatever it is, today will go down in history. The day when PearlJam infiltrated Americ@n Id0l.
yeah baby!!

on with my predictions:
i think sanjaya and phil will not make it. That was the most awful rendition of a lee ann rhimes song i have ever heard. Sanjaya is .. i dunno. A malay word for him would be lembik.

If you notice, Blake, Small Chris and Big Chris (and Sundance) stand out because they are not scared to show their personality.

elisa out.

Easy Peasy Chicken Salad

Being a lazy housewife, I have to think up easy peasy and ready in minutes lunch for myself. (Eversince Izani was born, I don't have enough time to prepare lunch for Taufik so he doesnt come home for lunch, so usually it's just me and Izani for lunch).

So here's something I made when I found out it was faster to fry up my kids' frozen chicken nuggets than to wait for meat to defrost, and after I got sick of eating variations of instant noodles.
The beauty of a salad is that you can make it with whatever ingredients you have lying around. Any fresh leafy vegetables that tastes good raw would provide a good base, then you can add up other fresh raw vegetables like carrots or celery or even herbs like basil or coriander leaves. Don't have croutons? Use nuts to provide the crunch, OR use crispy cornchips (wahh have to try with twisties next time).
Since you're making this salad yourself, you can be as versatile as you want, based on your own taste. Don't like veggies that much? use more meat. Already had sausages for breakfast? use less meat, more veggies. Dont fancy breaded chicken or processed food? Grill some fresh chicken breasts seasoned with your favourite seasoning. No chicken? Use canned tuna. Or even ikan bilis goreng. And you can use whatever dressing you like.
Here's how I made mine today:

Easy Peasy Chicken Salad

3-4 frozen breaded chicken breasts, prepared per instructions on box
quarter of a small head of iceberg lettuce, cut into bite size
half of a small carrot, shredded
one stalk celery, cut into small pieces
Ranch dressing in a bottle
a handful of raw almonds and cashews

While the chicken is cooking, cut up vegetables into a bowl. Pour dressing over and toss. When chicken is done, cut into bite sized pieces of slices and lay on the bed of vegetables. sprinkle nuts around.


Easy, no?
I used breaded chicken filets that cook in the oven for 15 minutes, so this dish took me at most, 20 minutes. The other day I had it with honey mustard drizzled on the chicken, but today i forgot.
If you don't have an oven, buy chicken filets that can be cooked on the stovetop or the microwave. The first time I made this, I used my kids' chicken nuggets and just deep fried them per instructions. tee hee. (but it was slightly oily, so I prefer the cook-in-oven kind).


p/s masakan yang bagus untuk budak2 sekolah yang baru pindah apartment. ;)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to survive being an expatriate's wife, lesson 1

The first few weeks that I was here, I was invited to another Malaysian's house. Her house was beautiful, her furniture and decorations were nice, all knick knacks looked expensive and exotic and well arranged. I came back into my almost bare, standard-furniture-provided-by-the-landlord-and-undecorated house and felt a bit dejected and intimidated.
I felt like I could never invite people over. My house doesnt have pretty things to look at, I don't even have enough plates to serve food! What will they think of me? They would think I don't know how to keep house. They must think I am darat.

It took me a while and alot of whining and back and forth talking with/to my husband, but I have finally learnt my lesson.
To survive being an expatriate's wife, you have to be very confident in yourself and what you have. If you're not, it will be very easy for you to get hurt and depressed.

Most expatriate's wives do not work, therefore their life revolves around their husband, their kids, their home and themselves. Most conversations will also revolve around this subjects. What my husband bought me, how much I spent on my last holiday, what I feed my kids, how I decorated my home, where to get the best bargains.
If you're a person with even the slightest low self esteem, you might misconstrue some conversations and feel like you're being put down.
My husband don't buy me gifts, therefore he doesnt love me as much.
My house is small and bare, therefore I am low class and am not a creative person.
My house is a mess, therefore I am an incompetent housekeeper, or I dont love my family as much as I thought.
I feed my kids junk and I am not a good cook, therefore I am a bad mom.
I don't go shopping, therefore I am boring and poor.

Oh there are many many ways that you can feel intimidated when you're chatting with an expatriate's wife, if you let it.

What I have learned is that you need to look at what you do have and be content and happy with it. You'll never keep up with the Joneses, so why bother. Be the best that *you* can be, and be happy for yourself.
If you can't afford to buy 'things' (or if you have a husband who wont buy things *cough*like me*cough*), take up a hobby and make things yourself. It might not be as pretty, but at least you can look at it and be proud of yourself.

It was a wonder why it took me so long to learn this, when it is the very thing that I have been trying to teach my kids...
tee hee!

Monday, March 05, 2007

one hundred books

I better do this before I forget.
Plus it beats commenting about it in everybody else's blog.

I just hope I can remember the 'rules':
Bold - I've read,
Italicize - I want to read,
Crossed out - won’t touch with a 10 foot pole,
cross (+) - on my book shelf,
asterisk (*) - never heard of.
underline - the movies of the books I have watched

1. + The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) - was intrigued by the online game, bought the book. Havent watched the movie.
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) - I should get a copy of the Book AND the movie lah. (hint hint : good birthday present)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) - i wont cross this out, though i'm not sure I want to read it.
5. + [B]The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)[/B]
6. + The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. + The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) Why are these books listed in the wrong order?
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) - i watched the mini-series. does it count?
9. * Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. * A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling) - pretty gruesome, no?
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) - i heard that it's not so good, but I wont mind reading it if I find it lying around somewhere.
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling) - will watch the movie when it comes out
14. * A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden) - borrowed the book from a friend. I thought the movie was not as beautiful as the book.
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. * Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King) - which one is this? Anyways, I think he writes better short stories than books.
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling) - borrowed.
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) - have to read again.
21. + The Hobbit (Tolkien) - Loved it more than LOTR.
22. + The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) - very confusing and a bit depressing, but still very intriguing. Always reminds me of Mel Gibson in Conspiracy theory.
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) - Yummy christian bale!
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) - lovely lovely book.
25. * Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) - saw snippets of the movie, looks really funny. Will probably buy it the next time I see it.
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) - not sure if I watched the movie.. i do have this image of Sir Lawrence Olivier in my head from the movie.
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) - Loved the movie!
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) - judging from the movie, I'm sure this will be a good read.
30. + Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom) - Did they make this into a movie?
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) - i thought the book was better than the movie. I only understood the movie after reading the book. btw, Sting played a villian in this movie.
32. The Notebook – (Nicholas Sparks) - I loved this movie!! Wanna read the book.
33. * Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell) - the movie was really boring, i fell asleep. I think my siblings will rub it in if I didnt read it.
35. * The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) - is this about horses by any chance? Coz I think i've read Ken Follett before.
37. * The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. * I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. * The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. + The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) - my favourite Coelho book, thus far.
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel) - wasnt this made into The 13th Warrior?
42. * The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) - From pb's comments on it, it sounds pretty interesting.
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) - i wanna see what the hype is about.
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) - saw the movie halfway
45. Bible - read bits and pieces of it. But how do you tell which bits were re-written and which were the true words of God?
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) - watched the mini series.
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) - Loved that guy. Whats his name. The guy who played Jesus Christ. Jame Cazievel or sthing
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) - i know it's on my mom's bookshelves somewhere.
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. * She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. * The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. * Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. * The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough) - mini series, starring Richard CHamberlain
59. * The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) - but I don't mind watching the movie.
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. * The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy) - i heard that this one is really long.
64. Interview With the Vampire (Anne Rice) - liked the book better than the movie.
65. * Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) - read it three times, still boggles me.
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares) - i enjoyed the movie, but I dont think i want to read it.
68. Catch–22 (Joseph Heller) - it's lying around in my mom's house somewhere
69. Les Miserables (Hugo) - this is a book? I thought it was a play?
70. * The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint–Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding) - dont want to read it.
72. + Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) - it's on my shelf. I've started reading it, but have not gone past the first chapter coz I started sewing. will want to watch if it is ever made into a movie.
73. Shogun (James Clavell) - mini series!
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje) - okay I'll read it the next time I go to my mom's house.
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. * The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. * A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. * The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) - i wanna watch the movie too!
81. * Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) - first time I heard it, it was from Onde2.. but it's quite a classic, i found out.
84. * Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen) - was an english assignment.enjoyed the book and movie.
86. * Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. * Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. * The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. * Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of a Lion (Ondaatje) - i've seen this book.. kat mana ya?
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding) - very disturbing. made me cry. loved balthazar getty in the movie.
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck) - recommended by Oprah, but never bought it.
94. * The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) - i think i like the book better than both versions of the movie.
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton) - LOVE LOVE the movie!! A must see for 80's brat pack fans.
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. * A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. * The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

wah.. according to this, i havent read that many books, eh?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tumair's Iris Field

This roadtrip was almost cancelled when we received news about a shooting incident near Madinah.
Sunflora called me to ask whether I still wanted to go, and I asked her if her husband still wanted to go. He did, so we did too. I had expected that there would be only 2 cars, but it turned out that there were other people who were unperturbed by the shooting incident (even though some of the victims were their neighbours).
We drove about one and a half hours north of Riy@dh to Tum@ir, then about another twenty minutes off-road at Tum@ir to reach the Iris Field.
The moment we got there a sandstorm started, and a herd of sheep passed by, almost trampling the tiny iris plants. Being tourists, the first thing we did was rush over to take pictures of the herd.. heh heh.
We parked right by the edge of the 'field', to wait for 1pm, when the flowers should bloom.

While we waited, we prayed for the sandstorm to die down and chowed down on food brought by the other better prepared folks. I only brought some fried meehoon that Zura and I made that morning, while other folks brought roti canai, dalca, kuey teow goreng, nasi goreng, mexican bread, chicken wings, ice cream, tit bits and teh tarik. adusss... malu seh.
After we got tired of eating delicious dishes with sand on the side (and inside), some of us started picking out our own clump of iris to monitor. At around15 past 1pm we began to see some flowers starting to bloom. I grew impatient of waiting for my clump to bloom so I started wandering around from clump to clump.
Taking pictures was quite a task coz the wind was blowing so hard and from unpredictable directions, we didnt know which way to turn to avoid getting sand in the exposed orifices of our equipments and bodies.

Satisfied, we finally left around 2 something, to head to one of the ladies' house to resume the picnic, sans sand.
Cleaning ourselves up, we found sand everywhere! My white headscarf had turned beige and even my booger was a shade of reddish-brown (the color of sand in that part of the desert).

All in all, it was a good trip. Even though the irises were small and the 'field' wasn't as big as I thought it would be, I was still amazed by the beauty and magic of God's creation. I also made new friends, yay!!!

Sunflora, please do tell Anis, Salinah, Nora and Kak Saadiah that if they are ever in Khobar, they are most welcomed to come over to my place! (You included lah of course!)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Happy 5th Birthday Anis!

I present to you, a visual chornicle of Anis:

Sunflora bought a birthday cake and a present for Anis on thursday and we had an ad-hoc party after watching the iris flowers bloom. (Thanx aunty Sunflora!!). Since we were driving back from Riy@dh on her birthday, we didnt have a formal birthday celebration. I made cupcakes for her class and she brought it to school this morning. I hope she's having fun eating cupcakes with her friends during break-time!

I'm trying to plan a picnic party next weekend, but see how first lah.