Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Minus 2, and okay with it :)

Salams, and 'Hi' y'all!

Remember on 20th April 2010 - I set a target for myself here?

Well, even though I have not managed to shed 4kgs by 30 June (today) as I had set out to do, I am still pleased to report that I have managed to get rid of 2kgs, and I am happy :)

Considering that I had to forget about spending 2-3 times a week at the gym, or going on the treadmill and cross/trainer daily at home after Anis the Bibik decided to quit, I think I have done rather well. 2kg loss - that's more than I had ever lost in the last 3 years. The most dramatic weightloss was 4kg over 3 months back in 2006. So, syukur alhamdulillah for the current feat :)

I will continue with whatever I have managed to do in the last 3 months in terms of trying to lose weight, and hopefully, I will meet the 'Minus-4' target eventually, insya Allah.

It's Minus-2 target now - by Merdeka Day :)

Come. Join me (again) ;)

Another 2kgs. That's definitely achievable!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jalan-Jalan Cari Makan, and Down Memory Lane...

The last time we went for a family holiday was in November last year (I think?) Even then, I wouldn't really call it a "holiday" as such, as it was only a 3D2N break in Genting, and we were there to tag Ayah who had a meeting there. We only spent time as a family when Ayah had fulfilled whatever obligations he had during the meeting. Even then, the second night we were there, Ayah had to turun bukit as he had a prior commitment in KL, and he only re-joined us the next morning. Like most of our "tag-along" breaks, all accommodation and meals at the hotel were taken care by Ayah's sponsors. So, we only had to foot the bills for all the fun stuff at the Theme Park :)

The school holidays which had just passed was no different, as yet again we went for another tag-along break with Ayah. This time to Penang. Ayah was one of four speakers at a Cardio Meeting held at Ho*id*y Inn, Batu Feringghi, and he was given a couple of duties for Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and again, all expenses for our stay at the hotel were sponsored by the organizers.

(Hehehe...So, by now you all have surely got it - we only go for a holiday when we don't have to pay for it! Hahaha! Cheap-skate, huh? ;))

Anyway, we decided to start our trip up to Penang on Friday morning and break our journey in Taiping - spending the night at my Brother Jame's place before continuing our drive to Batu Feringghi on Saturday morning.

It was somewhat a different experience this time around as we brought along Zaidy to drive us, and as we were in no rush, we managed to take a few "Jalan-jalan Cari Makan" (JJCM)and "Down Memory Lane" (DML) breaks along the way. It was a leisurely drive, and Ayah managed to get some sleep during the journey (which was just as well as he only had a 2 1/2 hours sleep the night before - NOT because he was watching a World Cup match, but rather because he had to attend to an emergency until 5:30 in the morning).

Suffice to say, the trip brought a lot of memories, and not to mention a few kilos back! Dang...Whatever kilos I had managed to shed in the last couple of months, I gained back half of them over the four days break :(

Anyway, just to summarize our JJCM and DML trip, the first stop we made on our way to Taiping on Friday, was at the Sg. Buloh R&R for our breakfast (where I had a bowl of Meehoon Soto - calorie counter started its duty then). The next stop was at the Tapah R&R to buy some fruits as buah tangan for my brother and family - the normal Jambu Air, Jambu Batu and Mangoes with the Serbuk Asam Boi and Kuah Rojak. We then proceeded to Kuala Kangsar as Ayah wanted to bring and show the kids his alma mater. We spent a good 45 minutes just walking around the school compound and taking pictures, after which we had lunch at the Sungei Perak Resort (where I had a plate of Char Kuey Teow pulak. "Kachiiiinnnggg!!" screamed the calorie counter!) The next stop was the Masjid Ubudiah Bukit Chandan, and I must say that we were very impressed with how the exterior of the Masjid was being maintained. It was simply beautiful.

We left Kuala Kangsar at around 3:45p.m, and ended up taking the jalan lama up north instead of the North-South Highway when Zaidy missed a turn - which was in fact a blessing in disguise as we ended up in Bukit Gantang. And of course, when you're in Bukit Gantang, it would be a sin NOT to indulge yourselves in their famous durian, right? And that was what we did. We just stopped by a durian stall along the jalan lama, and had the most delicious durians beramai-ramai. I think I probably had 7-8 pieces of durians at one sitting (calorie counter on over-drive!) I swear I could have taken in more durians, but the plateful of Char Kuey Teow which I just had barely 2 hours before that just didn't leave much space for me to do that! :( Silap strategy wehhh...

We reached Taiping Town just after 5:00p.m, and went around the beautiful Lake Gardens, and I decided to show the kids my primary school - Treacher Methodist Girls School. Tak mau kalah... Ayah dah tunjuk sekolah dia, Mommy pun kena tunjuk sekolah Mommy...Hehehe! I have to say that we were REALLY impressed with how clean the whole school was. Kudos to the teachers and pupils of TMGS! One thing I realized - the things that seemed huge around the school when I was schooling there seemed so much smaller last weekend. So many things have changed, but having said that, I was still overwhelmed with the familiarities and memories the visit to the school had brought back to me.

We later brought the kids to visit my Uncle Yang who was staying at my Arwah grandparents' house in Kamunting, and yet again, memories of how I had spent my days at my Atok and Atah's house when I was a child flooded in. I remembered playing hide and seek around the kampung, and I remembered how my siblings and cousins used to hide in our Atok's neighbours' houses. We were free to roam the kampung, and we were welcome to hide in all the houses there, tak kira mana ceruk rumah. We were known as "Cucu Tuan Haji Ismail" - the Tok Mudin Moden :)

After Kamunting, we made our way to Assam Kumbang to show the kids the two houses I lived in before I left for boarding school in JB. The house in Rodger Place (government quarters) where I spent the first 5 years of my life is still there and I must say is quite well-maintained, compared to the house in Jalan Sekolah Arab which we rented from 1974 to 1982. I could feel a heavy tug on my heart when I saw how the latter was pretty much abandoned and rundown, and I suddenly realized that my eyes were welling up with tears looking at the house which was once known among the orang kampung as the "Rumah Putih Jalan Sekolah Arab". It was not the only house which was abandoned there. A number of other houses which my childhood friends used to live in and which I used to frequent were also in similar conditions, if not worse. It was just so sad.

I left Assam Kumbang with a heavy heart, and we made our way to the Taiping Railway Station where my Brother Jame was to meet us. He and his family had just moved to a new house and I was not familiar with the new area. Jame met us outside the Railway Station - another place which brought a lot of memories back to me as that was where I used to bid farewell to my Mommy and Abah and shed buckets of tears everytime I had to go back to JB on the Keretapi Mel at the end of every school holiday in the 80's. I must say, the Railway Station didn't seem to have changed that much, even after 25 years since my last train ride from there. It was as if time stood still there.

We had a late tea of Satay Basree and Popiah Basah Cashier Market at Jame's place. It was sweet of Jame to remember my favourite - Satay Perut and Limpa/Paru, and I dare not reveal how many sticks of that sinful stuff ended in my tummy that day!! (calorie counter kerja kuat!) As if that was not enough, we had a late dinner and yours truly had Rice with Daging Merah and Telur Bungkus that night. Tak hengat dunia...

Breakfast the next morning was the customary Nasi Lemak and Roti Chanai (and I just couldn't be bothered with my diet dah at this point. Hehehe!) We only left Taiping at 11:00a.m.

The journey to Penang took us slightly more than 2 hours, as we were not that familiar with the roads. We checked-in at the hotel just after 1:00p.m and were given two rooms - the girls got one room all to themselves, while our Boy Chiman had to settle with sharing a room with his Ayah and Mommy :) We had lunch just before 2:00p.m and yours truly had a plate of Mee Goreng Mamak (the damage has been done anyway, kan? Might as well...LOL!).

The time after lunch was spent making myself busy unpacking stuff and making the rooms homely while waiting for Ayah to come back from his meeting. But, by 4:15p.m when there was no sign of Ayah coming back to the room, the kids and I decided to go down to the beach first. The kids went horse-riding before starting their sandcastle-building project, which later transformed into a dam-building effort, but which ended up as deep hole-digging venture between Hasya and Hilman and a few new friends they made on the beach.

Ayah managed to get away from his meeting and joined us at 5:30p.m. and what better way to welcome him to the beach than by getting him to watch Hanna go para-sailing! (I tell you...I know for certain that she definitely does not follow her Mommy. I would have peed in my pants even before I were to take off with the parachute!) So, that was fun. For Hanna. But, not for her Mommy who literally stopped breathing a few times watching her daughter floating/gliding so high up in the air! Lomah lutut den...

We had a poolside BBQ and Buffet Dinner at the hotel (which meant I basically walloped whatever I fancied at the buffet station) after which we decided to go for supper at Hard Rock Cafe. Malang nasib kami, as we didn't make any reservations, we couldn't get in. That place was filled to the brim. (A note to self - next trip to Penang, have to make sure I make reservations first). We made up for the disappointment by shopping sakan at the Hard Rock Shop, and later jalan-jalan at the night gerai along the main road leading to the hotel.

Sunday morning - after a breakfast of Teochew Porridge, Fried Meehoon, Scrambled Eggs and sausages (some in big and some in small portions...Hehehe!), the girls accompanied Hilman who wanted to go for a swim in the pool while their Mommy started to pack everybody's stuff back in the room. A good 2 hours were spent at the pool before the kids came up to have their shower and help me with the final packing.

By 12:30p.m everything was ready, and while waiting for Ayah to come back from his meeting, the kids and I had a few rounds of table tennis (which I'm sure did not help much in burning the newly-gained calories in me...) Ayah finally joined us for a couple of games at about 1:00p.m before we proceeded to have lunch at the Terrace Cafe. No need to tell lah what I had for lunch...too sinful :) Suffice to say there was Lamb Korma somewhere in it ;)

We checked out at 2:00p.m and started our journey back to KL. Again - a slow drive down as we were not in a rush. We made two stops on the way. The first stop was at Kuala Sepetang, just outside Taiping - for the famous Mee Udang Mak Jah just before 5:00p.m. I had the Mee Udang Special (with loads of udang and 2-3 Udang Besar thrown in) and we all agreed that the prawns were the freshest we've ever tasted. I have to say that the taste of the Mee Udang was not really out of this world, but, the fresh big prawns were definitely worthed the detour to Kuala Sepetang :)

We left Gerai Mak Jah just before 6:00p.m and continued our journey back to KL, making one last stop in Tapah to get some fruits and petais for my Mommy and MIL.

We reached my MIL's house just after 9:00p.m, syukur alhamdulillah...

Kesian the kids - had to go to school the next day, but, luckily they had prepared all their uniforms and schoolbags for Monday before we left for Penang, and I think they went to sleep as soon as their heads touched the pillow that night.

And with all the mix and match of food going through my esophogus over the four days, you would have thought that I would end up with a tummy upset, right?

Syukur alhamdulillah - nope.

But, the next day, I got this text from Zaidy -

"Salam, puan. Hari ini saya MC boleh? Sakit perut".

So, there goes my leave for Monday as I had to be on supir duty the whole day. His perut is not as durable as my perut it seems :)

Hmmmm...Maybe that's God's way of helping me to shed the excess kilos I gained over the weekend, kan? ;)

* Click here for some photos ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something new and something old for the holidays :)

It's Friday today. Exactly one week of the school holidays has come and gone, and it doesn't really feel like a holiday. Well, for me at least.

The past one week has kept me busy with work at the office and organizing and managing stuff relating to Ayah's practice/business (filing this and filing that, paying this and paying that, etc.) But, most of all, I've been busy shifting things and stuff to my MIL's new house.

Yes, after more than 6 years, her house is finally ready, syukur alhamdulillah...

She had planned to hold a Khenduri Do'a Selamat, Tahlil and Majlis Kesyukuran sempena her moving to the new place on her 70th Birthday on Sunday, 6th June 2010, starting with Solat Maghrib, followed by Tahlil, Solat Isya' and Dinner. So, the few days leading to that date, everybody was busy cleaning the house, moving stuff and making the rooms in the new house homely for the Khenduri.

The night before the Khenduri, the five of us - Ayah, the kids and I decided to "test" sleeping at the house. We were the first 5 people to do so as my MIL is quite a conservative when it comes to all these, whereby she only wanted to start sleeping there after the Khenduri Do'a Selamat disempurnakan. Syukur alhamdulillah, everybody slept soundly and peacefully that night. Even though it was a strange feeling waking up at the new place the next morning with just the five of us in the house, I could see that the kids were all excited about their Wan's new abode.

The Khenduri went well, albeit an initial hitch when there was a blackout while we were performing Solat Maghrib. Thanks to a friend - Ir Jo* of TNB who was one of our guests that night, we managed to get back the supply just before 8:00p.m.

It was a bit chaotic later on when the caterer only provided us with 3 (VERY SLOW!) waiters/waitress to attend to nearly 200 guests (when my MIL had requested for at least 8!), So, most of orang rumah had to also turun padang to speed everything up. Very stressful indeed, especially for my MIL, but, syukur alhamdulillah, the whole thing went okay.

The last guests left just before midnight, and after we cleaned up the house, and had our food, we finally went to bed close to 2:00a.m - the first night Ayah's family slept together under one roof in the new house (except for Along and his family who had to be in Perth). It was, I'm sure a very meaningful night for my MIL...

We have been sleeping there ever since the Khenduri, with me only going back to Sri D'sara every other day to wash the clothes in the morning before going to the office, as the washing machine from the old house was only sent to the new house yesterday. I also need to replenish the hamsters' and terrapin's food and water every other day. And of course, while I'm in Sri D'sara, I also take the opportunity to pack some of our stuff from Sri D'sara and send to the new house.

Those who knew our living arrangement before this would know that we had two sets of nearly all of our daily necessities - one set in our own house in Sri D'sara, and another set in Mak's house in PJ. This was because the PJ house was basically the kids' transit point after school, whereby they would be there until I fetched them to bring home to Sri D'sara after work everyday.

The PJ house is still there, and still being used by my MIL. So, a set of our daily necessities and clothes are still there. My MIL still goes back there everyday to hold meetings with her staff from the office, and I think she will continue with this arrangement indefinitely. The kids still have their Mengaji Class there, and as the house is nearer to all their tuition/piano/chess classes compared to the new place, it is still very much our transit point at the moment. So, basically, when we say "Wan's house" to the kids, we now have to specify WHICH house we're actually referring to :)

So, my job for the past one week has been to build up another set of all our daily necessities at the new house - Baju "Rumah", Baju "Jalan", Baju Tidur, Baju "Kecik", Beddings, Towels, Toiletries, decors, soft furnishings, etc. And doing just that has kept me pretty busy outside of my working hours in the last 5 days or so.

As if having two sets of necessities before this wasn't stressful enough, I now have to make sure that all three sets are complete everytime we plan to stay at either one of the houses! Hehehe...

The kids don't seem to mind not going anywhere this school holidays, as I think they find discovering all nooks and corners around their Wan's new house is an adventure in itself. Many times I just couldn't find where they were in the house exactly - Hilman and Hasya, especially!

We had not made any plans to go anywhere this holiday as Hanna's having her PMR this year, and she has tuitions nearly every other day the whole of the cuti. But, we pity the kids, so, Ayah and I decided that we should tag along with him for his meeting in Penang next week. And insya Allah, we'll break our journey in Taiping - my hometown. Yeay!! :)

I'm really looking forward to that trip as the last time we were back in Taiping with the kids was probably 8 years ago! Hanna was 6, Hasya was 3 and Hilman was only 2 years old then, and I don't think they remember much of that trip, especially the two younger ones.

My second brother - Jame and his family are still in Taiping, as are a number of my uncles, aunties and cousins. As my Abah and Mommy are staying in KL now, we rarely go back to Taiping nowadays, as everytime there's a long holiday, my Brother Jame would come down to KL instead.

I plan to bring and show the kids the house and the kampung where I grew up in - where I lived with their Jaddi and Jaddati before going to boarding school, to their arwah Moyang's house (which is now occupied by an uncle) and to my old primary school which is located within the beautiful Taiping Lake Gardens area. And insya Allah, if time permits, we'll probably go on the Night Safari at the Zoo :)

This school holidays might not be an extravagant one for the kids, but, in a way, I hope that this will be one of the most special ones for them, insya Allah. On one hand, they're going through the new experience of staying at their paternal grandma's new house... and on the other hand, they'll also be tracing and discovering the old treasures and memories (mine, that is! :)) at their maternal grandma's kampung...

Nothing can be cooler than that, I think ;)