Thursday, December 27, 2007

First Trimester

Two days left to cherish the first trimester with Little C. Alhamdulillah, Little C is progressing well despite his Mommy's hectic schedule this December. There were the mother-daughter bonding weeks, the Aidiladha get-togethers, and Christmas celebrations which brought both the Mommy and Little C here and there spanning hundreds of kilometers.

The travelling, albeit fun, was taxing on the Mommy's physical being. Upon reaching home, she lost appetite for the healthy six meals per day. When her appetite returned, she craved for sushi. Yet, after merely eating six minute kanimaki, she had to suffer a severe headache, which was followed by equally severe vomiting. Bleurgh, she knows.

At 2:00 p.m. today, the severe headache would not subside. The equally severe vomiting was still there. She had to drive to Perodua Service Centre nearby with one hand massaging the head. On the way back home, she dropped by Pizza San Francisco, thinking her appetite would be back once she was served with black pepper fish with rice and steamed vegetable. Wrong.

Realising that the combination of severe headache with equally severe vomiting and worsening appetite was bad for Little C, she drove to the clinic. Only to meet with a minor accident on the way back home. Fortunately, the damage was limited to the right signal light with an inch of scratch on the body. The mommy and Litte C are fine. Thank God.

On another occasion, the Mommy's nightie has been replaced by her husband's long-sleeved thick polo t-shirt because it was the only garment that could simultaneously stop the shiver and comfort her to sleep. She has been experiencing cold at bedtime, aye. That had induced a sleepless night which was spent rather appreciatively as she could spend quite moments with Little C. She also thought that it was time Little C's Daddy extend the WiFi modem so that she could surf the Internet from the comfort of the bed during more sleepless nights to come.

Because of the last-minute first trimester complications mentioned, the Mommy was deemed inefficient at prosecuting house chores. The Daddy was very understanding. He helped with the laundry. Now, they wished they could get a certain younger brother's help to get the house spot clean.

The Mommy is tired and hungry. The kitchen is out of reach because it wreaks of cats' smell which she is allergic to at the moment. Oh, it would be exceedingly nice if she could get her hands on a crispy Karipap Pusing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nasi Kerabu Please

I am back.

I was here and there, with loved ones.
We had tremendous fun.

Salam Aidiladha and Merry Christmas to all of you.
A belated wish, but better late than never, eh.

To Kamal, Happy First Encounter Anniversary again.

Friday, December 14, 2007

High Impact Minor Projects

I have prepared the necessary items. An 8B Staedtler, a sharpener with a waste case, an eraser, an A4 sketch book, and a set of photos featuring the models. Despite missing the favoured 8B Faber Castell, the show must go on. Here am I commencing a new project aptly named 'The Attempt to Restore His Thwarted Jawline and Normalise Her Extended Limb'. For the previous two drawing projects, which were executed after two years of hiatus, I pretended that I was influenced by Picasso. Indeed, I drew for the therapeutic effect. Thwarted jawline and extended limb amused me.

I have also started to read The Book Thief,  which has not been read past page 11, out of 584 pages, since it was picked from Times bookshelf five months ago. I must, must not be a Bookanivore in the bookstores. Yet, even while typing the previous sentence, I was thinking of getting my hands on My Point... And I Do Have One, more of Dilbert, as well as Calvin and Hobbes collections. This week, I am reading The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book to Little C during bedtime. The fella would appreciate Calvin's out-of-this-world musings.

Other minor projects pending:
+ Sewing, with priority on kurung.
+ Cooking a complete serving for each meal of the day for Kamal and I.
+ Planning a mini holiday just for the two of us during the second trimester.
+ Casting for a modelling job.

Of course, I am kidding about the last statement. Heh.

Chums, have a great weekend. I know mine will be great because Kamal has promised a Nasi Kerabu breakfast at Hatinie tomorrow to kickstart our weekend date. Great!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Who is Who

For something to remember us by, I answered the following questions on who is who in our relationship:

Who eats more?

If it is Nasi Berlauk complete with Budu, he eats more.

As for yours truly, if it is Nasi Berlauk with hot condiment of any sorts, I will eat more definitely.

Who said "I love you" first?

He expressed the exclusive phrase first through a text message. It was a surprise after a series of unrelated text messages.

Now, although the message has been ingrained in our system, we would say the magical "I love you" as often as we could.

Who is the morning person?

Me, although I am an early bird only on weekdays and particularly on working days.

By the way, there is a classic between us:

It was early 2005. We were not married yet, but he agreed to board the jungle train to Tanah Merah together with my parents and my elder brother's family for a gathering. The coach was full with the members of Chez Chembong as well as The Extended Chez Chembong.

Kamal's bunk was across mine. We chatted with each other throughout the evening. It was past midnight when we eventually retired. Me being me, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. the next day. I continued to have a chat, this time around, with my mother, in her bunk. My father was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps, he was in the gents'.

When my father appeared at the end of the coach, he realised that most of our family members were asleep, yet the train was expected to reach Tanah Merah at approximately 7:00 a.m. With his loud voice, he cheekily said, "bangun, bangun, bangun!" The highest impact actually fell on Kamal as my father was standing right beside the former's bunk.

Kamal woke up, drew the curtains apart, and searched for me. He laughed before saying, "your father is a drill sergeant!"

Honey, I hope you are not scarred for life.

Who sings better?

We have a great time guffawing out loud at each other's singing attempts. Not out of tune, but not even worthy of karaoke either.

We enjoy singing to familiar tunes in the car though. So, a tie here.

Who is older?

He is older, but he is young at heart.

What 12-year gap?

Who is smarter?
Both of us are blessed with equally smart brains, thank you.

Whose temper is worse?

Being a Cancer, I tend to be crabby.

Alhamdulillah, being married to a very patient man has re-moulded me into a calmer person, who would only be frustrated at something really worth to be frustrated at. Heh.

Who does the laundry?

I do the laundry, but he helps whenever possible, particularly with the hanging part.

Oh, he is a pro now.

Who does the dishes?

I prefer that we do our own dishes.

Simply because it would be a good example for our child(ren).

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?

It used to be him.

I took over the reign since an accidental manoeuvre during a vigourous sleep which caused me to realise how comfortable that side is. I think Kamal does not mind about it just because I am pregnant.

Whose feet are bigger?

His, by half an inch.

If I buy a thicker pair of socks, I could fit into his sports shoes. Aye, I have Titanic feet.

Whose hair is longer?

Mine.

By half an inch.

Who is better with the computer?

He is better with the computer because his job scope requires him to be great at it.

I am catching up with his Photoshop skills, where I started from zilch. I need more tutoring with a number of desktop applications in order to be most relevant at work.

We are equally great at typing though.

Do you have pets?

Informally, yes.

There are six adorable kittens in our compound, whose mother moved them here just because we do not have curious toddlers, who would be amused with the cuddly beings only to squeeze them, thinking the kittens' squealing was out of delight. That was what exactly our neighbours' children did upon encountering the newborn kittens within their compound.

Who pays the bills?

We have agreed to accordingly split the bills between us.

So far, the system stays that way.

Who cooks dinner?

I would cook now and then.

Nonetheless, most of the times, it would be the cooks at nearby eating outlets.

Who drives when you are together?

He does.

I would volunteer to drive if I am the one who wants to go to the destination or whenever he is tired during the journey back to Kelantan.

Who pays when you go out to dinner?

At times, he did. Some other times, I did.

There were times we went Dutch.

Who is the most stubborn?

He could be adamant with something he strongly believes in even though I have insisted that I knew I was right.

So, go figure.

Who is the first one to admit he or she is wrong?

It depends on the obvious answer.

If I realised that I was wrong, I would not mind letting my ego down and apologise. Vice versa.

Whose family do you see more?

My family is nearer, so we see my family more.

We would try to go back to Ketereh at least once a month, the most. Quarterly, the least. Sometimes, my parents-in-law would come to Klang Valley or Rembau.

Hey, wait. My family is also his and his family is also mine. Therefore, really, there is no difference.

Who named your pet?

Both of us did.

We now call our informal pets, The Kittens.

Who kissed who first?

Sorry. We do not kiss and tell.

Heh.

Who asked who out first?

One Tuesday, he asked whether I would be free for a quick lunch date the next day. I had to accompany my mother to an appointment with her oncologist at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia though. My father had a work commitment then.

However, my father's boss let him off the hook at the last minute. Nonetheless, I tagged them along. I only told them about Kamal's invitation while my mother was waiting for her turn to see the doctor. My father said he had the intention to treat us in Suria KLCC by the way, where the declined date was to take place.

I immediately sent an a text message to Kamal, asking whether he was still free for lunch. He asked me whether I liked Japanese cuisine. I asked him whether 1:00 o'clock was fine. Eventually, we promised to meet in front of Elle after explaining to each other what we were wearing, as he has only seen me once and I was clad in a scarf then. I haven't met him. We proceeded to Nippon Tei and the rest was history.

As a conclusion, technically, I asked him out first. Do you think so, Kamal?

Who is more sensitive?

It is only natural for a Cancer to be more sensitive.

In another sense though, he is quite sensitive to my needs although there is always room for improvement. The same goes to me.

Who is taller?

He is.

I could be taller than him if I put on certain shoes.

Who has more friends?

Subjective, I must say.

In the end, his friends are mine and my friends are his.

Who is the more romantic of the two?

I am the hopeless romantic, which does not entitle me to be a more romantic of the two.

He has surprised me in many occasions. Up until now, the Public Management Diploma graduation surprise is the most memorable. But then again, that does not make him a romantic person although he tries. It is the effort that counts, eh.

Who wears the pants in the relationship?

Kamal.

He is not a conventional husband, who expects a wife to perform fixed duties though. I have a say in each decision, be it major or minor. How I respect him for being a husband who loves unconditionally.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Inspired by a Seven-Year-Old

I feel like writing but writing feels like ____________ (fill in the blank with one word).

Who says you have to be grammatically correct?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Old and New

I woke up with a worse flu as compared to yesterday. Kamal would say, "what a way to start an entry after days of silence." Nevertheless, worse is the word for the flu. I must be thankful though as my coughing has been reduced to a mere sore throat. Thanks to the medications that confined me to the bed. I am back in the office, but not for long.

Throughout my absence here, changes took place elsewhere. Must be the hormones. Let's see what has changed since Little C appeared:
  • I never had any issue with Roti Canai dipped in sugared dhal whenever I was in Kelantan. To me, just do as the Romans, or in this case, the Kelantanese, do. However, now, I would struggle to finish Nasi Lemak with rather sweet Sambal Tumis. Just do not put sugar in food that is not supposed to be sweet. Surprisingly, I am no longer tempted to have a piece of yogurt cheese cake whenever I pass by Secret Recipe.
  • Nowadays, I am picky about food and beverage. Yes. It is so not me.
  • I used to go to bed at midnight, the earliest. Retiring at 3:00 a.m. was never a problem, either. As long as I was doing my favourite activities like surfing the Internet while watching television or watching television while surfing the Internet. Now, if Kamal needs a company while doing his work, he would need to put the WiFi modem upstairs. I demand to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. except on days that Grey's Anatomy and Boston Legal are on air.
  • Only to fidget in the bed, wide awake, while Kamal sleeps like a log.
  • Speaking about fidgeting, I blame it on the hot, hot night. It is not the weather. It is just me. My skin is not friendly to air-conditioner, yet, back in my parents' place, I would set the air conditioner temperature at 16 degrees Celcius, which is extremely cold for someone who used to prefer the fan in the bedroom.
Those changes apart, I am still the Chech most of you know. I still love to write. I still love to read. I still love travelling. I still love photography. I still love art. I still doodle. I still this and I still that.

To Kamal, I still love to talk and most importantly, I still do the laundry. Heh.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Jungle Train Extravaganza

It was October 1, 2005. The jungle train that Kamal and I boarded was nearing Tanah Merah.

After I woke up, I crawled into Kamal's bunk. We chatted. Realising that I was only half-awake despite the lip gloss, Kamal brought out his camera and started to snap away ala magazine shoot. Yes, he was mocking me.

I managed to snatch the camera from his hands. His turn to be mocked. Of course, he was just humouring me.

Note to ourselves: we must, must board the jungle train again.

Once Upon a Fantastic Time

Kamal's old, old notebook crashed yonks ago. The files there were successfully transfered to a new hard disk. Nevertheless, due to a technical problem, the files could not be opened.

Then, miracle took place. Eventually, Kamal and I had access to the files in the hard disk. We found photos from a barbecue session that Noreez and Nurul co-organised in 2005.

Also present were Cikun & Hasnul, Moqq & Milla, Zin, and upon request by his fans, Tukangtaip. Others from the MCKK8286 forum could not make it. My first time meeting them, but they have surely made the experience seemed like a decade a friendship.

CK & F, Rose & Jalud, and Noreez were very thoughtful. They got a sumptuous cake and a golf t-shirt for Kamal's birthday. CK and Noreez also gave me a lovely bracelet with my name on it as a memento from Singapore.

Then, there was the pretty beaded bracelet for me from Raudz, Noreez's sister, who owned an online jewelery business. Back at home, Kamal and I enjoyed the posh Royce chocolates, courtesy of CK & F. We surely can't thank these incredible people enough.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Vintage Kebaya Pendek

Vintage kebaya pendek with chain brooches. Kamariah Baharin's collection. I love those.

First and foremost, Kamal and I would like to thank our friends, relatives, and even strangers, who spent their precious time to drop congratulatory messages for Little C, either on our online social spaces or over the telephone. I told Little C about the well wishes and he, which is a general pronoun, responsed by advising me to eat this and that in the name of celebration. Thus the vintage kebaya pendek which offers flexible size accordingly because it does not have any buttons and the front flaps could be folded to suit one's figure. Chain vintage brooches add the chic factor, so I love to think. Oh, I feel very pregnant.

I feel so pregnant that I had to cancel being a master of ceremonies for my colleagues' wedding at the very last minute. Dear bride and groom, I am exceedingly sorry. I feel nauseous, but Alhamdulillah, there is, so far, zero need to vomit. Such predicament, however, has confined me to the chair and forced me to replace high heels with flat. Aye, I am that dizzy.

At night, I would let the bathroom light switched on because of the frequent needs to make local calls. Another reason for doing so was the coughing that would wake me up every hour through the night, which eventually inspired me to read magazines on the bedside table with the light available, trying not to wake Kamal up. I know that God was actually granting me more exclusive hours for even more exclusive experiences with Little C.

I did not get to enjoy such unique moments during the previous, very brief pregnancy. But then again, God is The Greatest. He perfectly knows what is best for us.

During one of the nights that I was awake, my mother's words, upon hearing that I am healthily pregnant, rang in my mind. "You know that with age comes the luxury of being able to stay up at night all by yourself. Such time is always spent praying for my children. For you and Kamal, I never failed to pray that both of you will be granted the joy of parenthood." I cried, partly because of the hormones, but mostly because I realised it was my mother's ceaseless prayers that contributed to this priceless rizqi.

I remember how my maternal grandmother once asked me,"do you still love me despite my sickness and the troubles you have to endure because of it?" I kept on kneading my fingers on her forehead, massaging away the headache. I admit I was mentally haggard. "Of course I love you no matter what." I said, after looking into her somehow longing eyes, that sparkled as she absorbed my assurance. Two days later, she passed away. What is left are a number of lovely vintage kebaya pendek, of which she said would fit me most perfectly.

And then, there is the bequeathed value that one should celebrate life to the fullest. Cherish each second, be it the discovery of a new life or a restless sleepless night. Write a note of appreciation for all the inspirations and prayers. Keep opening doors of moments with the key of happiness, as though one is living for another 1001 years. Pray for the best in life, not only for oneself, but also for others.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Little C in a Sac

Little C finally made a grand appearance after more than two years. Two years which seemed just like yesterday. It has been five and a half weeks now. In two weeks, we shall hear tiny heart beats.

Another 31 weeks, we will be greeting the fella to this world. So much excitement going on. So many little things to look forward to. Hopefully, we would be able to chronicle every precious moment here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kemaman

To be a traveller, one must try the local delicacies. Being in Kemaman for an assignment in merely three days, my friends and I tweaked our way through the hectic schedule to at least visit one of the famous eateries in the district.

We ended up with more than one visit. Among my friends and I, we had Sotong Celup Tepung, Satar, Keropok Lekor, Otak-otak, Nasi Berlauk dalam Boko, Air Kelapa Laut, and Air Batu Campur with infinity of buah kabung at Warung Aziz Satar; Roti Canai with Kuah Kari as well as Kuah Dhal at a no-name stall by a junction; Nasi Air, Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng, Pulut Kuning, and Milo Ais Tabur at a stall by the river; as well as Kopi O Ais, Roti Bakar, and Nasi Dagang at Hai Peng.

Yes, I am no longer a Hai Peng virgin. Special thanks to my friends for turning what would be just another working weekend to something syok. Vocabulary of the week, by the way, is 'boko'.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ole-Ole Bali

My colleagues and I shared a cake from Indonesia after lunch, thanks to a boss' recent visit to Jakarta. The unique taste of the cake reminded me of an exotic dinner date with Kamal early November. We recommend Ole-Ole Bali to you.

Being in the cosy ambience was a welcoming scene to our then haggard minds. Experiencing the delicate cuisine was something indescribable though. The only thing that was as sumptuous was my mother-in-law's nasi kerabu, which I had the opportunity to savour during my parents-in-law's recent Klang Valley visit.

Later, I shall blog about the food and beverage in Kemaman. Oh, I love every thing about the district. Ole.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Clarisse

I saw John Lennon's CD on Starbucks counter. How wrong was I to think that a dose of chocolate banana pie would ease the longing for his songs. Clarisse arranged a quick date with me before we went back to our respective offices and I pestered her to buy the CD for me as an advanced Christmas gift.

She bought me a tall mocha praline frappucino instead, assuring that the caffeine would sober up my longing . Little did she know that caffeine, to me, intensifies desires. Or, did she actually know?

I particularly love Imagine. Yes, you may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one. Speaking of which, I have not given up hope of being forgiven. For all my wrong doings, which I thought were right but were deemed wrong by others. For the series of blunt confessions, particularly in this blog. For being ignorant. For other reasons.

A Muslim is encouraged to ask for forgiveness and forgive others each day of his life. I believe that such acts of humbleness are practised in other religions, too. Simply because we would benefit in many ways by asking for forgiveness and by forgiving.

Ego melts, true-self emerges. A reminder to myself. Clarisse definitely knows that caffeine does wonder to my senses.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Subliminal

I say, and you think?
October 2007, Week 247.

Inaugural. Event.Pledge. Love.
String. Quartet.
Trot. Thoughts.
Fitness. Center.
Cinder. Cinderella.
Edge. Reason.
31. August 1957.
Blue. Kurung klasik.
Leather. Sofa.

According to http://subliminal.lunanina.com/, where the above was derived:

Free association is described as a "psychonanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to give free rein to his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring its content." Over time, this technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can then work through to gain a better sense of self.

I definitely have a repressed thought about item number five. I must bring exercise attire and swimming suit to the week-long meeting. I think, I do.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Open Houses

Kak Gee's.
It was like an open house for the whole Bahagian Perancangan dan Penyelidikan. Lovely.

The Minister's.
Bit and I went together, by ministry bus. We were thinking of Eden's lasagna.

My parents'.
I busied myself in the kitchen. Hilarious.

Uncle Amran and Aunty Khamsiah's.
The venue reminded my siblings and I of our old neighbourhood, where we grew up in Number 21. Uncle Amran and Aunty Khamsiah are great cooks, by the way.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Eighth Wonder

Fried noodle à la Chech.

My descendants, who inherit my brothers' talent in the kitchen, would split their sides by merely glancing at the photo of the fried noodle. They might change their family name so it could never be traced to me, The Braggadocio, who was exceedingly proud of her fried noodle from scratch that she blogged about it. Twice.

Hey, Chech can cook.

That dream

For the sixth time within two years, I dreamt of the need to respect an obligatory request that I marry a stranger and leave the love of my life, Kamal.

No matter how perfect the stranger was, I would long for Kamal. I begged to see him for the last time. If it was denied, I would plan an escape. Even after the solemnisation was over. Anything to lay my eyes on him, to feel him.

I remember how relieved I was to be in his arms and how extremely protective he became when I eventually escaped the obligation. I cried and cried, ceaselessly praying we would not be apart again, ever. I would still cry when I woke up. If we were not embracing each other, I would whisper "I love you, I love you, I love you" until he woke up and embraced me.

God, I love him.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Art of Campak-mencampak: Fried Noodle

Four things I would love to learn, from scratch:

1. French, again.
2. Mandarin.
3. Sewing.
4. Cooking.

Number four is the most exhilarating because it is the least enticing. I have always preferred book than bain-marie and painting brush than pastry brush. I took advantage of my mother's liberal approach when it came to kitchen education. I prayed without fail for a husband who does not only cook, but love to cook.

Kamal would prepare iced sarsaparilla on a hot evening, but that is it. Heh.

Then, one day, our friends came over to complete a paperwork. I prepared my signature dish, spaghetti bolognese. Only Kamal loved it. My mother advised me to prepare something that endears to pure Malay taste buds. Something like fried noodle for a start.

I was on medical leave today. By late afternoon, I felt fresher. Less pain, less gas. I decided to celebrate the beauty of life by heeding my mother's advice. I called Kamal to inform the menu for dinner,"fried noodle a la Chech".

I recalled the ingredients used in the practicum in Ketereh. My sister-in-law's voice clearly reverberated in the recipe section of my mind. Blend this and this first, put these and those into the frying pan, and voila, everybody will beg for a second helping.

Truly, it was an art of campak-mencampak. "I might lack the experience, but I am creative", I convinced myself. I put a sunny side up on top of the noodle, for the sake of colours. More colours with cherry tomatoes. They made up for the lack of ingredients, too. I only used the items available in the fridge.

You may have laughed your head off by now at my excitement, but I must say that I was ecstatic Kamal actually finished the big portion served to him. He might have been famished though. Oh, apart from being creative, I am an optimistic. He loved the fried noodle that he asked for a second helping although not immediately after.

I have another packet of noodle for yet another trial.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Aidilfitri 1428H: Chez Chembong

To gather the members of Chez Chembong, for group photos, is a herculean task. Not even during Aidilfitri, as some would be at their respective in-laws' places. This time around though, all of us made the effort to be in Kampung Berkat despite our different schedules. Along's family could only make it at 10:00 p.m., so there were photos sans him, Kak Nani, and Haikal. Angah's children, meanwhile, were very cheeky. Nevertheless, it was a sweet albeit short gathering. Too bad The Serdang Clan decided to come back to kampung at the last minute or else we would have a merrier family photo.

The next day (which was on Saturday), all of us scurried off to our respective destinations. Ayah, Mak, Kamal, and I made a day-trip to Kuala Berang, Terengganu, to attend Wan Helmi and Yanti's wedding. Sweet couple, they are. It was also really nice meeting you again, Iina.

Along's family made their way back to Rawang while Angah's family hurried to Pulau Gadong. Cimi accompanied Cajib to Seremban Specialist Hospital for a check-up as he had been experiencing stomach pain. He ended up being operated and warded there for appendicitis.

Like the rainbow that Kamal and I beheld on the last day of Ramadhan, this year's Aidilfitri has been colourful so far. We are loving it. Alhamdulillah.
Joke of the month:

Chech: I could  really be frank with you.
Camus: And, I could really be Kamal with you.
Chech: I am so going to document your collection of jokes.


Syawal 2, 1428H

The second day was spent at my eldest sister-in-law's place in Bunut Satut. I loved the Sate and Ketupat with Kuah Kacang. Perfect for a picnic by the paddy field.

Kamal and I were in Kelantan until the fifth of Syawal. Quality time with The Ketereh Clan, including Kamal's cousins. The hospitality.

We tagged along Kamal's brother-in-law on the way back to Rembau. The road was so congested that we only stopped for lunch at 5:30 p.m. All in all, I miss the journey because I got to listen to Mister Sandman again and again and again.

Syawal 1, 1428H

Instead of Bukit Mas, Kelantan, our family spent the first of Syawal in Chini, Pahang. Ayah Soh would love to revive an old, abandoned mosque in the former. We managed to clean the mosque in time for Ramadhan while simultaneously working hand in hand to build a house where all of us could gather.

Kamal and I actually spent the first of Syawal in three states: Pahang, where we performed the Solat Aidilfitri; Terengganu, where we stopped by the beach; and Kelantan, where The Ketereh Clan gathered for family photo. It was indeed a lovely Aidilfitri. Oh, the food, particularly Mok's Nasi Dagang, the journey along the East Coast beaches, and the merry gathering of relatives as well as family friends.

The Last Day of Ramadhan 1428H

It was the last day of Ramadhan when Kamal and I joined The Kuala Lumpur Gu's convoy to Chini, where we would spend the first of Syawal. A pit stop at McDonald's drive-thru for sahur and we were set to go.

We reached Chini at 11:30 a.m. Kamal and I tried our hands at home improvement, took a walk down Sungai Pahang, drove to Tasik Chini, and on the way back, actually dipped into Sungai Pahang. It rained as we were about to go back home for iftar. We thought that the rainbow promised a great Aidilfitri. That evening, we dated in our car while watching children having fun around the candle row even after they ran out of fireworks.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Aidilfitri 1428H

An Aidilfitri postcard. From Camus and Chech.

(As with a number of photos in Chech: Eccentric, there was also technical problem with this.
To be rectified soon, I hope).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Aidilfitri Mode

Aidilfitri mood has seeped into my system despite the deadlines at work. It must be:

The pile of Aidilfitri cards in my pigeon hole,

which triggered the mood to listen to Aidilfitri songs, thanks to the free CD given away by PLUS;

the colourful decoration in our division;

the reason Miss Erra gave me to buy a brand new traditional apparel;

and last but not least, the increasing number of empty cubicles.

I would love to write more, but I have to meet the deadlines.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Memori Payung Perang

Now, the home has more of our personal touches. The rest would follow little by little. From time to time.

There were more boxes than we anticipated. By the time all the boxes in the utility room were emptied, the belongings sorted, and the owners refreshed, it was time for iftar. Which meant my cooking mission had to be postponed.

Today, Kamal and I each had different tasks to attend to. Therefore, no cooking either. We agreed to explore the Pasar Ramadhan nearby considering there was time to kill as compared to the after office rush hour.

Oh, there might be less people because of the dark sky. We shared an umbrella. Approaching the end of the stretch, the drizzle gave way to a downpour.

By the time Kamal got his Nasi Kerabu and I settled for Bubur Lambuk with Popia Basah for both of us, we were drenched from head to toe. We might as well put away the umbrella and enjoy each raindrop. While walking to the car, I sang Memori Daun Pisang, replacing 'daun pisang' with 'payung perang' in the name of the light brown umbrella we were sharing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Beautiful Mother

I am listening to Saloma's Pandang Kasih. My mother could croon as beautifully, her voice rich and melodious. None of her children inherits such gift. Even when she speaks, she sings.

At times, like a moment ago, I phoned her just to listen to the voice. I would let her speak, rarely intervening.

The time would unwind to a Quran perusing lesson circa 1988. I was a seven-year-old who shed tears listening to her mother's beautiful voice embracing the tajwid. Yes, her voice is that beautiful.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Life in Slow Motion

The Bolshoi Ballet Theatre Orchestra of Tashkent's interpretation of P.Ramlee's masterpieces keep my focus intact on various papers today despite the time moving in slow motion. Today, I shall declare, is surreally calm. Alhamdulillah.

The search for furniture yesterday was a success because Kamal and I managed to secure a bargain. Not at the newly opened furniture outlet though. The price there was exorbitant. We resorted to the outlet in Seksyen 7, where there were two sub-outlets, displaying high-end and low-end pieces respectively, with the latter comprised of stock clearance.

Initially, we fell head over heels with a room divider cum book rack displayed at the high-end sub-outlet. Everything was perfect. The design, the size, and the colour. Except for the price. Such price could fetch more pieces at the low-end sub-outlet, we thought. To the low-end sub-outlet we went.

After much deliberation due to limited choices, we agreed on an eccentric television rack that could double up as a bench, a book rack that could accommodate my magazines and our books, and a basic shoe cabinet, all of the perfect design, size, and colour. At the last minute, we decided that white could wait. All three at a lesser price tag, too. We used the extra from our allocation to purchase a carpet with retro feel to it.

No new Aidilfitri apparel for me this year as I have decided that the remaining of my salary, after settling the debts and saving in Amanah Saham Bumiputera, would go to furniture. Something that Kamal and I could share. Unless there is a great bargain in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman next Wednesday evening when I join my chums for a sightseeing. That is another story.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Season to Clean

I feel like spring-cleaning the three-month old house this weekend. Spring-cleaning not a la Chech et Camus, but a la Anthea Turner, The Perfect Housewife. Kamal agrees.

The mission commences this evening. I will clear the laundry basket, send the dry cleaning items to the laundry shop, and sweep the floor. All of which I have neglected due to a three-day meeting in Kuala Lumpur, followed by a weekend with the members of Chez Chembong.

Kamal even proposed the idea to scour for an IKEA white range look-alike in a newly opened furniture outlet nearby our place. The mission will be in full swing starting Saturday morning. To answer Kamal's possible question: 11:59 a.m. is not considered morning; it is almost noon.

We would need a gardener's help to cut the grass. In our excitement playing badminton back in my village, we have forgotten to borrow one of my parents' grass shears. They have more than one of each gardening tool so that all my brothers could be involved in gotong-royong.

With Kamal not having to cut the grass, he could help me unpack the boxes covering every inch of the utility room's floor, and then sort out which to be kept and which to be given or thrown away. It would be the second time we sort our belongings after doing so while packing, so we probably need less garbage bags.

Of which reminds me about things to get for the mission, aside from the white racks:

1. Garbage bags.
2. Driller, thus screws.
3. (To be added by Kamal.)
4. (To be added by Kamal.)
5. (To be added by Kamal.)
6. Our will.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Kampung Berkat

Any weekend spent in Kampung Berkat, Chembong would always be magical. Particularly now, when I am no longer the permanent resident there. Here are the magical moments:

+
My brothers, Kamal, and I were pampered with my mother's cooking. Simply the best in the world, which could only be challenged by mother-in-law. For Sunday's iftar, the whole family was treated to Mak's special chicken rice recipe that Kamal said was the best chicken rice, period. When I suggested the more kitchen-savvy Angah and Cilan to learn the recipe, Cimi and Cajib simultaneously asked, "why don't you?" to which everybody laughed. Mak actually prepared extra food for us to take home for sahur. I forgot to bring back the steamed bananas though.

+
I have declared Friday evening or Saturday morning, or both, to be the day(s) I cook from scratch. I could sniff a steamer and an oven to be in my kitchen soon.

+
Kamal and I are now hooked to badminton, thanks to the old rackets that Cilan left home. We had to buy the shuttlecocks in Rembau town though. Note to ourselves: invest in good badminton set if we want the shuttlecock to survive the first game. If only the backlane in Seksyen 9, Bandar Baru Bangi, was wide enough to accommodate a proper badminton court, I would volunteer to paint the lines like my siblings did when we were in Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras. How we enjoyed those badminton matches, with galah panjang now and then, with our neighbours.

+
I got to talk to Cimi about the e-mails I exchanged with a particular person. My younger brother said, "poyonya." Heh. Exactly. This secret is between Kamal, Cimi, and I.

+
Kamal and I got to savour a complete meal for sahur, thanks to the food Mak packed for us. At our own place, we always prefer sandwiches or protein drink concoction. Unless, there are visitors at home. I think I am missing the sahur we had in Rembau and Ketereh, where the early morning affairs were often vibrant with the parents, the siblings, the siblings-in-law, the nephews, and the nieces' presence. Just imagine what iftar would be like.

+
I was inspired to commence a documentation project for my family. I pray Mak would be better by then. She seemed extremely tired, but she insisted to do everything for us. The project apart, I asked her whether she would be interested to watch P.Ramlee The Musical. She was eager to go, but Ayah would set the date.

+
I found a photo of my mother in Danau Toba. She was in her early 20's. I really loved the photo that I decided to use it as my bookmark. When I opened a book, I would first see her gentle smile. When I read, I did so audibly as though I was sharing with her those stories of life.

+
I also found my French book between stacks of wedding gifts, which needed to be brought to Bandar Baru Bangi. Now, I need to find the other books. Ainul has inspired me to take French lessons again.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Happy Birthday

I would love to get you one of these, all of which are your obsession:

Harry Potter series
Ritter Sport
Ixus 950IS

What? You have all those already?

Then, I will give you a shout: 


Happy birthday, Fique!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What is Meditative to You?

It is meditative to be in control.

Kamal and I burnt the midnight oil yesterday to watch a documentary on Ram Bahadur Bomjon's meditation. It is not the fact that he was his composed self sans any food, beverage, and movement that amazes us. It is his ability to be in control.

In Islam, the concept of meditation is practised as tafakur, during which the mind and soul are immersed in a contemplation, maintaning an open focus that eventually unfolds one's true nature.

One also meditates just by being conscious, just by being good.

Fourteen Years Since

Celebrating fourteen years of camaraderie at an iftar.

Monday, September 24, 2007

So.

So, after a two-year ban, blogger.com is again accessible in the ministry's main building. It might threaten friendship, particularly between avid bloggers, as we spend more time to blog now, but it could be the perfect meal-replacement at lunch hour, eh. Not.

So, I deleted my previous entry. All because of the word 'bleak'. It made no sense. Writing about the deleted entry makes no sense. Tomorrow, I shall go to work way earlier than today and I shall write here whether or not the formal surrounding could inspire me to write what I am supposed to write for an office publication. Hold on. How does the intention make sense with the deleted entry?

So, I will miss a Thursday with Anis and Haris because of the need to attend a translation workshop from Wednesday until Friday. Thank God, I have the weekend to spend with my family. By the way, we in the ministry were shocked to learn about a fellow colleague's passing. When he retired early this year, he cheerfully shared with us his retirement plan, which was to tend to his orchards. He exuded vibrance. Oh, show your loved ones that you care, chums. Appreciate their existence and particularly their company.

So, I had iftar alone tonight because Kamal was busy preparing for a training session tomorrow. I knew I would have the best of time no matter what. I found the handbag I wanted, at a great discount, too. I found an empty table for one in a packed restaurant. I found chicken cordon bleu. Then, when Kamal reached home, I found a yellow stain on his shirt caused by curry. Cute.

So, I look forward to meeting my chums for iftar tomorrow. In the e-mails we exchanged regarding the plan, one of them joked about the word 'paper'. Me, I kept on asking the same question, not realising I have asked exactly that particular question in the previous mail. My goodness, I was that absorbed in my office task. Chums keep me grounded.

So, I bought a special oil that Lola might be interested in. Ahem. No worry. Those who were concerned with my remark on baby oil in your friendster do not read my blog.

Life, so interesting.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Truth: The Truth

Iftar at California Pizza Kitchen, Suria KLCC. September 22, 2007. Another book to consume: Story-Walllah, a compilation of short fiction edited by Shyam Selvadurai.

After reading the introduction of Story-Wallah, I concluded among others that writing is an art of being truthful. Not only to one's experience, but also to one's surrounding. The little writer in me adores Iris Murdoch's approach to truth in her writings. She created it, believed it, and convinced others to believe it, too. Until her life became what she wrote.

Nevertheless, my point is not a call to hypocricy. Simply a way to write. In contrast with creating truth in writing, being truthful is about being your-true-self. You might experience pain, frustration, sadness, or anger, but you might not realise that the one experiencing the negativity is your physical shell. The truth is, your-true-self is not affected. Your-true-self remains divine.

Perpetual beauty is truth in all its glory. Being your-true-self. Mean it when you smile. Mean it when you kiss. Mean it when you love. Because when you mean it the way it should be, the smile is sweeter, the kiss more engaging, the love more passionate. I am writing this as a prayer that I would stay truthful in the most pleasant manner.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mother, Daughter

Just lying down with my mother, sharing stories, smelling of orchid. I long for more such moments.

I feel for Nurin Jazlin's mother.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Escapade

I was away in Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi, for an office assignment. Three days of fine food and ace efficiency. Late nights, too. So, when the meeting was adjourned by 11:00 a.m. on Friday and everybody was allowed a half-day rest, I tagged Kamal along to MidValley as he needed to go to IT World. Me, I window-shopped. My new wish list has the Nine West new range in it.

I sacrificed the joy of having that handbag with a birthday present for my mother. Worth it. Kamal shared with me this mantra: I have everything that I want and I want everything that I have.

For that, and particularly for his birthday, which is a day after my mother's, I treated him with a dinner at Piccolo Mondo. Both of us loved their Pansotti Stuffed with Seafood in Spinach Cream Sauce. The Arabbiatta was good, too. Dessert was Knocked Up, a refreshing romantic comedy.

Happy, happy birthday to the Virgos in my life:

Mas, August 23.
Mak, September 6.
Kamal, September 7.
Angah, September 11.

Have a great weekend everybody. As great as ours would be. The pre-weekend escapade was a good start, eh.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Love

I love what I am doing.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hot Soup 'n' Bun

It was drizzling and both C&C reached home tired and famished.
Afterall, it was a manic Monday at work.
Once home though, it became a magical Monday,
celebrated at Hot Soup 'n' Bun,
our favourite stop for a simple yet divine dinner.


Camus's favourite consists of vermicelli in hot beef soup and chilled carrot 'o'.
Chech's varies.
Today, she savoured twist vegetable soup and barley drink, both hot.

C&C continue to have a magical Monday with the exciting array of television programmes.
Love, love, love the Rasa Sayang Hey promotion.
Oh, don't we secretly love Monday?

France 98

While scouring my old room in Rembau for a tote, I found a precious sketch book. Precious because my sketches during France 98 were inside the book. Bebeto Carlos was my favourite player then. Technically, I have forgotten why.

I sketched him and his fellow Brazilian teammates between games during Majlis Sukan Sekolah Kuala Lumpur Chess Open in Sekolah Menengah Cheras. I remember bumping into classmates from primary school, Marini, Faizal, Intan, and Fajriyah then. Oh, yes, Seri Puteri teams won a number of medals.

Other sketches were done in between homework and revision for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia. Had I used the time consumed by sketching for studying, I would be one of the best students in my school, my mother believed. Heh.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Onezerofivers are Two

In memory of two years in the administrative and diplomatic service.
Towards more productive years in the service.

Happy Second Anniversary, fellow Onezerofivers.

The Document: Pelan Strategik Pengajian Tinggi Negara

Just one word to describe how grateful we are for the successful launching of Pelan Strategik Pengajian Tinggi Negara and Pelan Tindakan Pengajian Tinggi 2007-2010. Alhamdulillah. By we, I mean everybody who has spent sleepless days and sacrificed their weekends for what I have previously referred to as The Document. This is it.

There were challenges and glitches in the process of completing the document. The same went for the preparation of the launch. Nevertheless, we choose to celebrate the 99.9 percent achievement rather than focusing on the 1 percent challenges and glitches.

Of course, we would analyse the weaknesses and improve them for the next process, namely the implementation. Therefore, constructive responses are welcome. For the support we received on the day of launching, thank you.

I am not representing the team. What I write here are merely my personal opinions. Which also came deep from my heart.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fireworks

When in doubt, watch fireworks from Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

As You Like It

Eventually, a Saturday of Kamal, Badminton World Federation Championships, and Ratatouille. Never mind that I am on standby mode for a task at the moment. Never mind that Sunday is the new Monday, as I need to go to the office later for yet another task.

When there is finally a Saturday for me to relax, I do not bother about the nitty gritty of house cleaning. Instead, I made over myself, thanks to Marie Claire online. All while enjoying my company.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cumi and Cuki

As soon as I opened the kitchen door, four pairs of beautiful eyes greeted me. Why, the cat and its kittens stayed. I first saw them last evening. Must be the cosy outdoor kitchen. It seems like Kamal and I would buy cat food the next time we do grocery shopping.

Oh, I miss Cumi and Cuki, The Chembong Clan's first and last resident cats. Both had white fur and blue eyes. My then little brothers chose the name Cumi and Cuki so that they will be a part of the members of Chez  Chembong who were in the house: Chechah, Cimi, Cajib, and Cilan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I, Them

Insomniac moment. I cherish it with Everybody Loves Raymond and a blog entry. My only hope is an ability to stay alert during a meeting at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow.

Due to the hectic schedule at work, I would only be updating once a week. The next time Nadzrul visits this page, he would not be able to comment "your blog update rate is amazing".

My Independence Day falls on August 27. Before the date, I will be a slave to The Document. Last Friday, knowing that I needed to work the whole of Sunday, Kamal and I had a cosy date at The Curve. Time to satisfy my sweet tooth as well. How I craved for a Wondermilk Cuppacake at The Apartment.

I soothed the sweet tooth first and foremost, which left me too full to have a proper dinner. 1901 sandwiches for us then. Later, that light dinner left a space for snacks in the cinema. Disturbia was a pleasant romantic thriller. Perfect with our new snack combo of cold green tea and crispy seaweed.

Saturday morning was for family friends in Kuala Lumpur. The afternoon was spent in Jusco Seremban 2 in search of a cappuccino cheese cake and a birthday present for my father. I ended up buying an advanced birthday present for Kamal, too.

One of my nephews was back in Rembau with his parents, my eldest brother and his wife. I succeeded to persuade a younger brother to be back home right after his evening class. I failed with another elder brother. He had 2000 pieces of traditional desserts to prepare. Another younger brother was still in Paris. The youngest brother you cooked dinner. I love the sight of Kamal in kain pelikat.


Before Kamal and I made our way back to Bandar Baru Bangi, my father offered to swap cars. The Kelisa goes back to my mother, as she rarely drives nowadays, while I drive the MyVi and continue paying for it. I told Kamal, I would not ask for anything else after this. Yes, I am easy to please. Still, my dream car is the Peugeot 407.


This morning, the Minister hosted Kenduri Durian at the assembly ground. I was out of mint supply, which reminds me that I must replenish it soon. The question is when. I look forward to post August 27.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I Love My Weekend

In the past three days, the blog was suppressed by work and fatigue. In between work and fatigue, I chilled out with beautiful people. I particularly love my weekend.

Kamal and I were in Kelantan to be with our family. Such gathering has always been precious to us that bidding farewell was dreaded. The jungle train turned the otherwise melancholic moment into a romance. Excerpts of my weekend:

+
Ayue is going to tie the knot with her beau within two weeks. Fique and I gave her a memento to think us by. We met over lunch at Manhattan Fish Market. I did not bring the gift then just because I thought it would be really nice to have another date during dinner, which of course is an excuse to my senile moments that Friday. So, I fetched Ayue and Fique. Off we went to Bangi Chicken House. More laughter. Ayue, we hope you and your fiance would be more in love with our little gift.

+
While waiting for a delayed submission from the ministry vendor in Shah Alam, Kamal and I ventured into art galleries in SACC Mall. We marvelled at those masterpieces by the local artistes. The owner of the last gallery we visited is an artiste himself. Enthralled by his passion for art, being art enthusiasts ourselves, Kamal and I bought a simple abstract painted by him, whom we know as Muhsain. Too bad two of the water series have been sold. Must be the affordable price. An original artwork from a local artiste as a start. It may inspire us to commence our painting project.

+
At half past noon, Kamal fetched me at the meeting venue, where matters of The Document were discussed. We joined Rose and KC for lunch with CK, F, and Y at Alexis. Good food, great company. CK even gave a memento to me, a vintage Sachs handbag from her collection. I love it. Amiable friends they are.

+
For a weekend treat, Kamal and I shared a tall glass of milk and spoonfuls of warm brownies as well as sugar free moist chocolate cake. I have been indulging for the whole week indeed. Which I appreciate. Life is meant to be interesting. Next week, I look forward to having a car-pool date with Kamal.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Notes of Discussion

Notes of Discussion.

Ministry of Higher Education,
2007.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Holiday

I long for a holiday. With Kamal.

Monday, July 23, 2007

+ve

After a week of celebrating life with food glorious food, Kamal and I sweated out the excess calories in the fitness center, and voila, we glow.


Work Hard, Play Hard

I am completing an office assignment. Tomorrow, I will be out of office again. Another assignment.

I choose not to be chauffered by the office chauffer. Just because I would love to enjoy my classical music. Moreover, I love the thrill of driving on my own to a foreign destination, for the first time.
During lunch hour, I went out of this building to refuel my car and energy. For the latter, I sat in a cafe for half an hour with my book and a cup of coffee with raw sugar. The coffee was bitter, perfect for the book mood.

I am addicted to coffee. Perhaps, I should get a mocha and continue reading. Not the fiction, but the assignment.

Work hard, play hard, only to work harder.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

19 Again

The date with Mas and Tiqa at Shroom last Friday rekindled the memory when we last met two and a half years ago. Then, Kamal and I had our first date at Nippon Tei. Mas and Tiqa joined me in Suria KLCC later for dinner, with details of our life as dessert.

We were a bunch of fresh graduates, who were thrilled with what life had to offer How we laughed and laughed as we enjoyed each other's company. We are none the better now, still thrilled with life. The laughter never ceased. What may change is the way we value our friendship, now that we are occupied with more commitments.

Tiqa made me talk about married life and married life alone because Mas refused to give the details of her romance. We ended up finishing the pizza Tiqa ordered. Typical us. We did exchange the latest news about our coursemates back in university, too. Also discussed was an escapade plan for the school holiday. Apparently, we missed our sidekicks and wished they were with us so that there would be more news to share and more escapades to plan.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A True Tale

The Prince Charming swept The Charming Princess away in his gold carrier and presented her with a bouquet of breathtaking flowers.

The Prince Charming and The Charming Princess then live happily ever after.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bigger Than Life

Meanwhile, my close chums at work modified a birthday poem for me. I love it. Each word.

It is dear Chech’s birthday,
Twenty six years young,
The cake candles are lit,
The birthday song is sung.

Dearest Chech, haven’t known you long,
But already know you well,
We are crazy about you and Kamal,
But I guess that you can tell.

But lately, our dear Chech,
Seems on a new, bold cause,
Becoming a regular gym rat,
Exercising without pause.

Dear Chech, so wonderful,
To have you as a pal,
You are a great, stupendous friend and wife,
An extraordinary gal.

Great friend, great buddy always,
Please accept our hugs and kisses,
For lots of joy throughout your life,
You have our greatest wishes.

From Fique & Ayue.

I also would love to thank other chums for the wishes. I love them. Each thought.

Surprise!

A surprise birthday celebration was thrown for Intan and I by our division colleagues. Cheers to the us. Cheers to them.

The celebration took place in a boss' room, where Intan was handling the contribution of a book by the division. To coax me to the room without raising any curiosity, a colleague asked for my favour to assist her with a paper, at her place, which was nearer to the room where the other birthday girl worked in.

A detour puzzled me. Then, I saw the books, the crowd, and lastly, the cake. On it was written 'Happy birthday Intan and Aishah'. Both Intan and I were touched.

Simple the celebration might be, but it was a very nice surprise. Happy birthday to Intan. Happy birthday to me. The song was sung.

For Myself

The Book Thief.

Happy Birthday, Sayang.

Mwahs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lat and I

Introducing Lat, one of my close chums in Seri Puteri. Together with Azmah, they raided my locker in Raja Udang at 4:00 a.m. just to surprise me with a birthday present. Raja Udang was in Block A. Lat's dorm was in Block C, across a field. Too bad I was a morning person then. Yes, I caught them in the act, but I pretended to sleep. Heh. We were always playing pranks with each other indeed.

Lat B.J. More like it. She coached me in Mathematics at 3 Usaha, aside from Tini and Ima as my other coaches. From a constant C because I did not prefer the subject, I got A towards Penilaian Menengah Rendah. To the delight of a certain strict teacher, who roared at those with 89 percent and below, my mark was always above 90 for each exercise she gave a month before the examination.

Then, Lat and I chose Art as one of Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia elective subjects, partly to reduce the burden of being in the Pure Science stream, and mostly to maximise our creativity. She is talented and I am glad she stays true to her enthusiasm. Now, Lat is an architect.

I missed our days painting mural merely to skip formal dinner. The days we and the rest of the Art students took banner orders through Cikgu Hadi for the money and a chance to skip evening preparation class because the banners had to be done in the air-conditioned recreation room.

I missed her. I got the opportunity to be in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. I thought of her. We met. We contemplated which food would be great for dinner. We actually sat at a table for half an hour just talking without ordering anything.

We shared the ups and downs of our love life, we updated each other with friends' happenings, we talked about working for the government, and we basically talked about everything under the sky. Afterward, we window-shopped. We concluded that we must see more of each other. More chums to join us next time, please.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Berikan Aku Diari, Ku Tulis Setiap Hari

Chech always nags me for not blogging.
:) And, I love her for it.

And, I love this song, too. It was just playing on the radio, which reminded me of how much I love her.
Benar dikau ku cinta
Setiap detik ku puja
Kau sering perhatiku
Sambil belai rambutmu
Tak ingin aku lupa
Kenangan yang tercipta
Berikan aku diari
Ku tulis setiap hari

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Adopt Love, Give Love

Kamal and I had a talk this morning. The topic has cropped up previously, but I had a dream that inspired me to think deeply about what Kamal had suggested. We are considering adoption.

No, we are not losing hope to have our own children because we believe in destiny. Every thing happens at the right moment. Our life is in fact so blissful that we would love to share it. We are certain of our decision, but we prefer to take a step at a time. The first step is to find a baby to adopt.

We have yet to tell both sets of parents. If we are destined to have a child of our lineage, then he or she will have an elder brother or sister. Of course, the decision depends much on our parents' opinions. All the best.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I am Happy

I particularly enjoyed today because:

+ Eventually, I was able to manage my low motivation at work.
+ To celebrate my positivity, Kamal prepared our favourite watermelon juice.
+ Tuesday means Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives.
+ Last but not least, I am energetic again.


Take a Break, Take a Meme

I was tagged by Kak Anne. The meme was started by Idham.

The rule:
If you are tagged, you need to write an entry related to the meme. At the end of your entry, you just need to tag as many persons as you like. You will then leave a comment in their blogs to let them know they have been tagged. Then, please copy and paste this rule in your entry.

The meme is about completing at least seventeen out of the following twenty seven sentences.

A person is only as good as he gets.
Friendship is always precious.
To love is to give, unconditionally.
Money makes me thankful.
I miss Anis, Haris, and Haikal. 
My way of saying I care is by going to the gym with him.
I try to spread love and happiness through this blog.
Pick the flowers when you feel like surprising your loved ones.
To love someone is to let him be himself.
Beauty is me.
When I was thirteen, what I remember the most was the happy time in Seri Puteri.
When I was twenty one, I remember the happy time in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
I am most happy when I am with Kamal.
Nothing makes me happier than being with Kamal.
If I can change one thing, I will change nothing.
If smiles were gems, then I would dazzle.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could travel the world whenever we want to.
If you want to wear a skirt then you have to shave your legs.
Money is not everything but then again, everything is money nowadays.
The most touching moments I have experienced is the day I married Kamal.
I smile when I think of my beautiful life.
When I am happy, I become a chatterbox.
If only I don't have to cook, then I could spend the time to read more.
The best thing I did yesterday was driving voluntarily so that Kamal could sleep in.
If I ever write a book, I will give it this title, Being Your-True-Self.
One thing I must do before I die is to travel here and there.
Doing this meme, I feel like writing another blog entry.

I am tagging anybody who feels that work is stressful at the moment, thus a need to take five.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Limp Biscuit

Biskut lemau, masuk angin :)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

070707

Try to sip freshly brewed coffee with a bite of dark praline chocolate.

Cherish how the chocolate melts with the warmth of coffee,
inducing bittersweet explosion, which quickly seeps into the senses.

Kiss afterwards.


Friday, July 06, 2007

Pit Stop

So much to tell, so little time.

In Seremban, I shall update.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

:,)

I am nursing a broken heart.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Durian Dream Ditebuk Tupai

I have not called my mother for two days. I miss her, but simultaneously, I actually dread to call her. If I do, I might break her heart.

On Monday, right after reaching home from an appointment with the oncologist, she called me. She was her cheerful self. Our conversation towards the end:

"Kak Lang balik kampung nanti?"
"Balik."

Then, I warned her not to prepare Bubur Kacang Hijau Durian. The dessert would sabotage my healthy diet. Ahem. To which my mother replied:

"Oh, Ayah and I have a better plan than Bubur Kacang Hijau Durian. We are going to hold a fruit feast."

According to her, Ayah Soh and his family from Chini, The Kuantan Chapter, The Kuala Lumpur Chapter, and The Melaka Chapter would be around.

I had an appointment with the gynaecologist that day, so, I also had all the time in the world to daydream about the fruit feast and all the relatives I will meet. My father's mini orchard has been fruitful this year. 30 durians in one weekend, all in great condition. Then, there were rambutans and mangosteens. Not to forget, dragon fruits. To have all those amidst conversations and laughters would be ideal.

Yesterday, I came to office earlier to check on my in tray as I took a two-day leave last Thursday and Friday, followed by a medical leave by my gynaecologist on Monday. Upon entering my cubicle, I was greeted with stacks of documents on my table. I read the shortest of them all first, a memo. It ruined my first day at work for the week. There will be a workshop this weekend. There goes the fruit feast. There goes my parents' hope to have all the children together in Rembau again.

Luckily, the workshop will be held in Royal Adelphi Hotel, Seremban, which is only 20 minutes away from my parents' place. However, I need to persuade my brothers to stay in Rembau until Sunday evening, as the last activity ends at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

She Who Lives

When I first took Clomid for the unexplained infertility treatment, my weight increased. According to my gynaecologist, only a small percent of women on Clomid experienced weight gain. Most would suffer from mood issues, hot flashes, visual symptoms, insomnia, nausea, and vomitting.

All this while, I could bear with the weight gain but recently, I had mood issues. The ever calm Kamal volunteers to be my private masseur. The offer came as soon as I realised how immature my reaction was towards the series of unfortunate events.

My realisation of the immaturity was also triggered by a dubious scheme. Rumours they were. No matter how steely one is, rumours might be true. So a thought crossed one's mind.

Nevertheless, I am Aishah, She Who Lives. Alhamdulillah, I am living a great life. I am loving others no matter what.

Relove

I am dying to see my family. I am not merely missing the parents and the siblings. I long to be with them. Even Kamal's presence failed to soothe the longing.

When the longing creeps, it is best to get back to myself. A personal space where I could be alone. As the longing creeps when I am down. It would weave itself into a cocoon that protects me from being hurt. So protective, I would be inclined to think that the only unpretentious people are my family members. That is scary, I know, because reclusiveness is not me.

I am calmest when I am alone. The longing will be gone. The protectiveness, too. Nevertheless, being alone only allows me to properly breathe. It has not inspired me to love. How do I love again?

Please do not preach to me about love though. I am not as faithful as I thought I was.
Please let me think loudly albeit how wrong it could be.
It is crucial for you to know that I might not be as faithful, but I have not lost my faith.
More importantly, please do not judge me for I need support, not judgment.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Jungle Train

There is something sensual about the jungle train cabin.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I am Kelantanese

Another similarity between Kamal and I is our love for Kelantan.

We love the relaxed pace of life, the amiable dialect, the easy access to heavenly East Coast islands, the sumptuous food, as well as the colourful names they adopt, and the list rolls on.

Although my father is a Kelantanese, my paternal grandfather decided to reside in Kerayong, Pahang, where he was last posted to as a Police Officer. Kelantan was only introduced to my siblings to visit a spiritual teacher, who is also my grandfather's close friend. I was five years old.

When my mother retired by option and my father received a better job offer in Seremban, my family moved to Rembau from Cheras. Life became less hectic, presenting an opportunity for my parents to connect with the Kelantanese family, whom I now refer to as The East Coast Chapter. We went back to Kelantan as often as once a month. There, we were never short of invitations for a sleepover.

After a while, because of our frequent visits to Kelantan, my father decided to build a house on a lot bequeathed to a particular community by my grandfather's best friend. The house provides more reasons to visit the state, where we are embraced by the warmth of The East Coast Chapter. Aidilfitri and Aidiladha are celebrated here every year since my maternal grandmother passed away.

There are other gatherings, namely congregational Maghrib and Isya' prayer, zikrs, talks, meetings, and get-togethers. Nevertheless, we would love to be in Kelantan with no reason at all. Just to be there with our loved ones. Like what Kamal and I are doing now. It is simply spiritually uplifting.

I am indeed a Kelantanese.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Street Rembrandt

Inspiration derived from Street Rembrandt, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

I long to sketch in the pad again.
I long to commence the canvas project.
I long to shop for oil paint and brushes.
I long to find that watercolour which I have lost in 1999.
I long to sit by my niece and transfer her wild imagination onto a paper.
I long to visit art galleries.
I long to exchange techniques with Art 98 and The Best Art Teacher.


Wind Orchestra

Although I have not registered as a Seri Puteri alumnus, there is the desire to witness my former school's glory. Seri Puteri was not in the top three nevertheless in the Wind Orchestra Finale, Sekolah Berasrama Penuh, held four hours ago in Plenary Hall, Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Instead, Kamal's former school won third place. Congratulations to the participating schools though. Amusing talents.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Decisions

A month after the six-month Public Management Diploma course, I received a letter of re-assignment from my former division to the Parliament Unit in my current division. Previously, a batchmate, A, was the ministry's co-ordinator in the Parliament, but she was re-assigned to INTAN. Nevertheless, another batchmate, B, who has been in the same division as the A, took over the latter's place right after the course. As soon as I moved to the the current division, the boss in charge of the Parliament Unit decided to continue the arrangement, while I co-ordinate answers and data in the office. I only had a taste of being the co-ordinator for Parliamentary duty when B was not around.

When a new male officer arrived, he was deemed more suitable to be the co-ordinator due to certain obstacles faced by women officers. B and I were back in office. The three of us were fine with the latest arrangement.

Meanwhile, Kamal and I decided to consult a gynaecologist to have a child. We were diagnosed with unexplained infertility as both were normal yet unable to conceive. Therefore, both of us needed to undergo a few processes to aid conception.

Then, for the next parliamentary session, the top officers decided to re-structure the division according to the post assigned by Public Service Department of Malaysia to each individual. That meant, I had to be the permanent co-ordinator in the Parliament. Crisis arose.

I discussed my predicament with my immediate boss. At that moment, I was undergoing treatments, thus a need for flexible hours now and then to visit my gynaecologist in Bangi, as well as Ampang, when the treatments involved a number of machines. If I were to work in the Parliament, I would have to answer to the ministry's Secretary of Parliament, Deputy Minister, and Minister. Oh, I would not have fixed office hours as the session could end as late as 12:00 a.m, which would be announced on the day itself. Not that I am not used to working late, but it was less demanding for the late hours had early notice and I could arrange my treatment schedules around that.

As there was no other way out, I opted for the last resort. I applied to be re-assigned to another division, with the top officers' consent. The application was sent to the Human Resource Division a day before the new top-most officer came.

While waiting for the result of my application, I was allowed to continue with the tasks in the current division. We worked day and night for The Document. Eventually, last two weeks, my re-assignment was made official. I were to go to my former division.

Nevertheless, the new top-most officer has started to like the team working for The Document. He could see everybody's potential. Upon hearing that I would be re-assigned to a different division, he discussed with my immediate boss about alternatives to keep me where I am. They came up with a decision.

Three days ago, the top-most officer met me to discuss his offer. It would be a loss to the team if I were to go. I told him that it would be a loss for me, too, because I have learned much in this division. However, I had to go because being in the Parliament would hinder my treatments.

Then, the offer: he would create a post for me, according to the re-structuring proposal, in the office, as the division does a number of ad-hoc tasks and is in need of an officer who knows his or her way around them. That would cancel the arrangement made when he was still not around. Two days for me to think it over.

After a further discussion with my immediate boss, I accepted. All because of these:

1. The main reason for the re-assignment application was due to the non-existent post for me in the office. I was expected to be only in the Parliament. The most senior deputy then, who was responsible of the division until the new top-most officer came, did not have the right to decide on a new post aside from the proposal for re-structuring as decided by the ministry.

2. The top-most officer himself would like me to stay there. So does my immediate boss, now that a post has been created for me, albeit unofficially.

3. If I were to go, I would only be able to do so when the new officers come early July. Consequently, my decision to stay does not affect the other division as it will get a new officer anyway.

4. Re-structuring of the ministry will commence mid or end of July. That means the post created for me will be official within a month.

I would love to thank the top-most officer and my immediate boss for the opportunity to stay. How eager I am to learn more from them and the rest of the team. Challenges are there, but they make my life interesting. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My Everything

"The song reminds me of you."
So he texted.

You are a falling star, you are the get away car
You are the line in the sand when I go too far
You are the swimming pool, on an August day
And, you are the perfect thing to say


And you play it coy, but it is kinda cute
Ah, when you smile at me, you know exactly what you do
Baby, do not pretend, that you do not know it is true
Because you can see it when I look at you


And, in this crazy life
And, through these crazy times
It is you, it is you
You make me sing
You are every line, you are every word
You are everything


You are a carousel, you are a wishing well
And, you light me up, when you ring my bell
You are a mystery, you are from outer space
You are every minute of my every day


And, I can't believe, that I am your man

And, I get to kiss you, baby, just because I can
Whatever comes our way, we will see it through
And you know what our love can do




Kamal, you are a love text when work is getting impossible.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Connect

I have been guilty for being an excusaholic. Work, work, work. Because of that, I neglect to connect. Today, I know what I have missed.

My mother rang me twice in the morning as she could talk more now that she coughs less. My friend since primary school days called from England to share a personal thought. My younger brother left another message in my mailbox. I called him immediately.

Anis, my three-year old niece, urged her grandmother to dial my number. As soon as she heard my voice, she uttered those magic words. "Sha rindu Mak Lang."

There were more. Among them was the invitation to be part of a chum's big day. There was also a chat with another chum.

Now, I shall connect with my inner-self, with Hamzah Dolmat's Joget Sport Kelab Johore in mind. By the way, it was a surprise card from Kamal that made my day the most. Oh, the joy of connecting.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Two

Celebrating two years of marital bliss.
Happy Second Anniversary, Kamal.

Winks

Saturday, June 16.

My mother was not in the pink of health, but she insisted that I spend the weekend with Kamal. We deserve to be alone though because all three weekends since we moved to our place were occupied with gatherings, if not works. Little did we know my mother had a hidden agenda. She did not want us to be back in Rembau because there was an audition for a new programme on TV3, Casa Impian.

That Saturday, Kamal and I snapped photos of a space we thought was worth a makeover. After breakfast, we sped to Alamanda to print the photos. Afterward, we sped to Sri Pentas, Bandar Utama for the audition. There, I met a fellow coursemate. She told me that my husband and I had acted right by not going there in the morning or else we would need to queue. By being late, we could sit down right after the registration.

We were the 159th interviewees. My kiasuism told me to stay in Sri Pentas until our turn even though Kamal preferred to kill time in Ikea. My kiasuism had indeed given us Juara Lagu overload as it was the only programme aired in the waiting room. Juara Lagu 1986 until 2007. We had fabulous time with our lame jokes nonetheless. Well, all the waiting and no playing would make Kamal and Aishah a dull pair.

At 8:30 p.m., our number was called. The pair before us would like to revamp their bridal boutique. How could a mere living room match the brouhaha of a bridal boutique, eh. Again, Kamal and I held to the feel-good factor. Just enjoy the now. When we were asked to introduce ourselves, the interviewer remarked: "Fuh! Macam host." Ha.

The interview lasted for a good five minutes, including the part where I requested to add something not asked. I mentioned that being selected would be a great present for my mother as it was her idea that we participated in the programme. Both of us felt so.

After the interview, we decided to catch a movie in Cathay Cineplex. Prior to that, we had scrumptious dinner at Marche. My oh my, Shrek 3 was hilarious, but I spoiled the fun by announcing to Kamal my intention to retire early. Boo. Blame the process recommended by my gynaecologist. Heh. The silver lining is, Kamal was able to catch Formula 1 qualifying round.

The next day was our anniversary, which was quietly yet meaningfully spent at home.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Perseverance

Our real blessings often appear to us
in the shapes of pains, losses and disappointments;
but let us have patience,
and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.

Joseph Addison

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Say No to 3G

3G. I would be categorised under 'gebu'.

Gym again tonight.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A

Another appointment with the gynaecologist.
A lunch with The Ketereh Clan.
A girly outing.
A dinner with our loved ones.
A day with Haikal.
A chat with our parents.

A proper entry, I will write :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Under One Roof


Kamal and I were happy to receive the parents, the siblings, and the extended families at our place that weekend.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fun!

Question of the day and for the days since the telephone line from our rented place was rerouted to our home is "when can Kamal and I use the Wi-Fi in the comfort of our bed?"

Both wireless Internet services in the office have been exceedingly slow that I had to wait for an hour for my page to appear. The main Internet provider has blocked blogger. There goes my lunch-hour entertainment.

Something to cheer me up: I am wearing a new apparel. My first kurung Riau. Simple and classic. Shah Alam, where I found this piece, is a kurung haven.

I am going to the district again, from tomorrow until Sunday. Same hotel. I pray we could finish editing The Document soon. All I want now is a decent date with my husband. Kamal, let's bring our sports attire and go to the gym after my afternoon discussion.

Regret, I have one. Having to be away from home means I can't prepare for my family-in-law's visit this weekend. Then, I am uncertain whether  I could be excused from the discussion on Saturday, the day they will go to Bandar Baru Bangi from my brother-in-law's place.

The consolation: As Kamal will be with me in Shah Alam, he will be able to fetch my parents-in-law first as their bus stops there. I will be with them in spirit.

The nature of work in the division requires the staff to work without time concept. What 5:30 p.m.? What Ugly Betty? What weekend?

Yesterday, the officers reached home at 12:30 a.m. after a meeting with the Minister regarding The Document. It was not our first time. We have lost count, actually.

Fortunately, the team knows how to have fun. Therefore, have fun, particularly when you could reach blogger.com even in the most challenging manner. Heh.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Here, There, Everywhere

A personal history was created. I drove from Putrajaya to Shah Alam on my own. No map, no aid from Kamal, and no lost episode, too.

So, I was in Shah Alam recently. To be more exact, I was in Concorde Shah Alam since Thursday until Saturday. My colleague and I took turns behind the editor's laptop from 8:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m., while the superior officers redefined The Document.

A dilemma ensued. My family friend would hold his wedding in Ipoh that Sunday. I spent the evening before the trip to Shah Alam ironing office attires, trying not to sulk about working on a weekend, while my family, including Kamal, have a great time at the gathering. As soon as I finished my house chore, Kamal received a call that forced him to cancel the trip as the cabinets would be installed that Sunday. Eventually, both of us sulked because we would be left with commitments, while our family have a great time at the gathering.

We must have wanted to join our family so much that God sympathised with us. On Saturday, the kitchen contractor asked Kamal whether they could complete the cabinet installment that day. Meanwhile, my most superior officer decided to adjourn the workshop earlier due to an ad-hoc task back at the office. My colleagues and I closed The Document at 1:00 a.m. Which meant, Kamal and I could be with our family on Sunday. Alhamdulillah.

The joy of being with the loved ones superceded the fatigue. I chatted with my mother about a plan and Kamal discovered a new thing about me. I also learned to like a lady who was insensitive to others' feeling, including mine. Not to forget, the Ayam Tandoori served during the wedding was superb. Nevertheless, the most unforgettable, I must conclude, was a particular Rojak Buah my father bought in Tapah R&R.

Next weekend, my parents-in-law will be in Bandar Baru Bangi. So will a sister-in-law's family. The other siblings-in-law and their families were in our place the previous weekend. Oh, I might have to ask for my mother's assistance to prepare the dishes. I just know how to prepare fried rice.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Shorts

Concorde Shah Alam. Since Thursday. Until tomorrow. The spontaneity. Until the connection at home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Do

I miss Kamal, terribly.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cheese Chums

Ayue, Fique and I. Three variations of cheese cake. More cheese cakes to share in the future.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Album

My mental images.

In our pyjamas, with hot milk in hands, my mother and I were at our most comfortable in the main hall. It was 7:30 a.m. The neighbourhood was quiet. Perfect for the conversation topic, spiritual journey. I had tears welled up in my eyes listening to her wisdom.

My mother and I were having brunch, which I bought from a restaurant nearby. She had Soto Nasi and I had Asam Laksa. Once in a while, we dipped the spoon in each other's bowl, placed on a box, which functioned as a temporary dining table. We chatted in the midst of noises from the kitchen renovation. Most of the time, we laughed at our attempts to beat the noises. It was 11:00 a.m. when we started having brunch.

In the living room again. It was 12:30 p.m. The noises from the kitchen were gone as the workers rested. We talked about everything under the sky, like two inseparable best chums we used to be.

My mother and I with that box which functioned as a temporary dining table again. It was 4:30 p.m. She had a hunger pang and coaxed me into having Mi Kari, another favourite from the nearby restaurant. She shared her recipes. Mainly the ones that she thought suitable to be served during housewarming. She also shared tips on how to manage the household during hectic period. She is a superwoman.

Beautiful images, eh.