Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Adieu 2014

Here we are at the end of another year. 2014 has been a year of ups and downs for me. I'm thankful for the good things and grateful to God for strength when I encountered life's storms. 

Looking forward to better things in the coming year. Am going to church with hubby and kids to spend the last few hours of the year. This year our pastor has scheduled an all night prayer meeting. What better way to end the year and welcome the new year than to be in the presence of God, committing all that's important to us into His loving hands.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Things That Bring Some Cheer

Lately the weather has been wet and gloomy on most days, perfect for curling up on the sofa with a nice hot drink and something to munch. Since I can't do that very often, I've found some things to bring some cheer when the day is long and tiring...

McDonald's was selling these cute little plush toys. The kids today may not appreciate them but the Mr Men and Little Miss books were one of my favourites in my childhood. So I just had to get them. Too bad I didn't manage to collect the whole set. They just bring a smile whenever I look at them.

I had a collection of almost all the books in the series. When I went back to my mum's house to look for them so that I could pass them on to my kids, my mum told me she had given them all away! :(

I was at the pasar malam one evening and look what I assemble-it-yourself little piano! The retail price at the malls is RM35.90 but I got it for RM14, not the original version but not any less adorable. It's now on display on top of my upright piano. Maybe I'll be able to buy a grand piano some day. Love it to bits!

A piping hot bowl of curry laksa on a cold and wet morning. Some friends brought us to this coffee shop called Red Leaf at Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur. Best laksa I've tasted so far. Thumbs up!

And of course, some colourful chewy candy that I picked up from the Aeon supermarket. A bit of sugar rush when I'm a little low on energy. We all need a little pick-me-up now and then :) 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Not Again!

Just when I thought life was going to be back to the usual ho-hum routine after all the fun activitities during the school holiday break, I got involved in another 2 car accidents....yes, two.

The first was on a Tuesday and hubby was out of town, so my son took the opportunity to borrow my car since I could use hubby's car instead. I was driving alone and had stopped at the traffic lights when it turned red and was the first car in line. When the lights turned green and it was my turn to go, the motorcyclist ahead of me couldn't get his bike started and so I had to wait  for him to get going before I could move along. Suddenly I heard a thud and felt the impact of a car knocking into the rear of hubby's car. Having experienced an accident at the traffic lights just 2 months back, I was rather annoyed at the prospect of having to deal with another careless motorist. 

I put on a scowl and got down from the car to inspect the damage. The driver in the car behind me was a lady and she looked quite apologetic. To my surprise and relief, knowing how hubby really treasures his car, there was no dent at all on his car...not even a scratch! So all was well and with a glad heart I continued my journey.

The next day, things got more interesting in a complicated way. My story is a long one so do bear with me.

I was on my way to the Wednesday prayer meeting in church with my kids in my car, and my son was driving as I felt a little tired after a long day of activities. As we entered the basement carpark, a car suddenly appeared from a lane on the left and rammed right into the passenger side door where I was seated. The driver was a lady and she didn't even step on her brakes when she saw my car coming, neither did she step on the brakes even when her car had hit mine!

I got down and inspected the damage. Then I stomped over to the other car.
The damage to the panel above
the front tyre and car door
The other lady didn't offer a word of apology but instead took a look at the dent on the front bumper of her Honda CRV and instead asked me to fix back a plastic piece that had fallen off. This time I was furious.

I demanded for her IC and she handed it over together with her driving licence. I took photos of them. Then I asked for compensation and she said that I should just claim compensation from my own insurance. I told her that I would certainly claim compensation, but from HER insurance company, and got her phone number. She said she had to rush off to work and so we left it at that as I was also late for church meeting.

My friends in church advised me to lodge a police report, so when I reached home I gave the lady a call just to let her know that she would also need to lodge a police report. Then she tells me that she has changed her mind and that we should settle the matter amicably. She said she would call me the next morning to discuss the matter.

Early the next day, I took my car to the workshop to get an estimate on the cost of repairs. The figure came up to over a thousand Ringgit. The lady called again at 10am and this time she apologized but said that she could only compensate me RM300. Of course I refused since the accident was clearly not my son's fault as we had the right of way in the carpark. Then she said she would check with her cousin sister because the car belonged to her. Later, a man called me, claiming to be a friend of the lady driver, and said that he had advised her that she should bear the cost of repairs and that he would recommend a mechanic to repair my car. We were to meet at a mamak shop near the church at 2pm. I also asked hubby to call this man to discuss the matter.

This is where the story takes a turn. 

I arrive at the mamak shop at 2pm with my son. Instead of taking me straight to the workshop as he had earlier promised, he asked me to park my car and sit down to discuss matters. The mechanic was there together with the lady driver, and I smelt something fishy. They tell me that they would not replace my car door with a new one, although hubby had told me that this man had already agreed to. This man is one slick character trying to impress me with lots of stories. Anyway, after some negotiation I followed him to a car workshop somewhere along Jalan Loke Yew. When I arrived, immediately I realised why he had wanted to sit down and discuss first, and made sure I agreed to have my car repaired at his recommended workshop. It was a simple shed kind of workshop, not even a proper shoplot that I was accustomed to. Then the mechanic does not issue me any invoice and I was really hesitant to hand over my car. All I had was his business card. My son even wonders if this workshop is legal.

To cut a long story short, I decided to trust the mechanic. I definitely did not trust that smooth-talking man. The mechanic seemed like an honest guy and he asked me to take photos of his workshop to show my husband. Later I found on the internet that this workshop has its own Facebook page with photos and 'likes', so it seemed like a legitimate business after all. In 4 days' time I collected my car. The repairs were thoroughly inspected by hubby and seemed good except for some very minor rough spots which were not really noticeable unless a person inspects it very closely. Cost of repairs borne by the other party: RM900
It's not perfect but you wouldn't be able
to tell where the damage was unless you knew
I'm just glad to get my car back after the ordeal. Hopefully everything will be back to the usual ho-hum routine after all this. Drive safe, everyone!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I Had 5 Kids For A Week

Last week had been a busy but fun-filled week as we played host to 3 young men from our branch church in Miri. For 2 of them, it's their first time travelling to Peninsula Malaysia so we brought them to as many places as we could fit into each day. It was also school holidays and semester break for my kids.

The guys arrived on Sunday. On Monday we took them to Colmar Tropicale Resort and then up to Genting Highlands. It was their first experience riding the cable car. And for the first time in many years there was no queue for the cable car ride even though it was school holidays last week, mainly due to the extensive ongoing renovations done to the outdoor theme park. Only the video arcade machines and kiddy rides are operating at the moment, much to our disappointment, as my kids had wanted to ride the indoor roller-coaster and the bumper cars.
At one point on our way down, the winds
got so strong that the cable cars were
halted for around 10 minutes, which made the
ride even more exciting in a scary way.
On Tuesday we had a farewell lunch with our church youth group at Restaurant Thai Fish Farm along Jalan Hulu Langat for one of the youths who was going overseas to further her studies. Then it was off to eCurve to take part in 'The Pirate Ship', a problem-solving game at the Escape Room. We were locked in a room and given clues on how to escape, but need to do it within 45 minutes. This time we managed to clock the fastest time of 29mins 50secs and was named champion for the day :)
The weary bunch after using too much
brain-power, haha.
We also did some shopping at Berjaya Times Square, and one of the guys was quite amazed at the crowd of people there and commented that he had never seen so many people in one place before. 
The 7 of us near the musical stairs at Berjaya Times Square
On Wednesday, we made a trip to KLCC to photograph the twin towers. They had been very excited about seeing the twin towers and at first we were a little worried as there had been bad haze in the city just the day before. But when we reached KLCC, it was clear skies and the guys took lots and lots of photos.
On Thursday, we made our way to Malacca for our church camp at Seri Costa Hotel. It was really good to take time away from our daily routines to just immerse ourselves in spiritual matters such as prayer and listening to God's Word taught from the Bible. Of course it was also a time of deepening friendships as we spent 3 days having meals together and taking wefies (selfies of a group of people) and generally just having lots of fun and laughter.
On Friday afternoon
we had a group walk-about in Malacca town,
enjoying the sights and sounds, as well as
the food, at Jonker Street.
This is a photo of a few of us ladies in our hats

and camp T-shirts. 
We headed back to KL on Saturday after lunch, then it was off to KLIA for our guests to catch their flight home to MIri. 

It was really fun experiencing what it would feel like to have 5 kids! Everywhere we went, we had to have a head count to make sure everyone was in the car before we headed off to the next destination. Can't leave anyone behind, right? It was also rather funny the way people assumed that we were a family and then whisper behind our backs or give us strange stares when we begin speaking to each other in the Malay language, as some of us were fair and a few had darker skin.

When Monday came, the house was absolutely quiet when hubby went off to work, CoolGuy started his semester and SweetTeen went to school. Yes...Monday Blues kicked in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting Our Wires Crossed

Hubby had some free time on one of the weekends, and he decided to do some re-wiring behind our TV set for all our various gadgets...the DVD player, home theater system, XBox console, etc.

I was busy in the kitchen and when I walked past the dining table where he was seated, this is what I saw:

The precision of an engineer in
mapping out his course of action-
the red lines are wires connecting
the individual gadgets
 This is how I would probably do my wiring, much to the horror of my hubby (which is why I never get the opportunity to handle wires in our home, haha!)

The precision of a creative individual...

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

4 Days In Miri

During the Hari Raya holidays end of last month, hubby and I plus another lady from our church conducted a short seminar in one of our branch churches in Miri, Sarawak. Brought my kids, Miss SweetTeen and Mr. CoolGuy along, since they've never been to East Malaysia. They were a bit apprehensive at first, not knowing what to expect, but I reassured them that we were going to a city and not to the inlands.

We took the AirAsia flight from KLIA2, the newer part of our Kuala Lumpur International Airport. No wonder we were told to check in 3 hours earlier, as the queues were long because of the holiday season and there's quite a lot of walking to do from the check-in point right up to the boarding gate.

When we landed, the Pastor's children were waiting at the airport to fetch us to the apartment where we would be staying. We spent Sunday morning in church and then spent a few hours at their largest mall, Bintang Megamall, at the request of my city kids. We didn't plan to explore nature on this trip because of time constrains...perhaps we'll do that the next time we come.

The next day, we taught at the day-long seminar in a church  which comprises of mainly Iban folks. It was quite a challenge for us to teach in Bahasa Malaysia as it's not a language that we use daily. We really appreciated the fact that each of the ladies in the church had painstakingly prepared a traditional dish for us for lunch. 

Umai - preserved sliced fish 
Shoots of the palm oil plant cooked in coconut milk gravy
Pork cooked in bamboo
In the evening, my children spent some time with the youths in the church while we adults tried to explore a bit of Miri on our own...until we realised that getting a taxi in Miri is a costly affair. It was RM30 for a one way trip to anywhere in town. 

We looked up the internet and thought that we would have a look at Merdeka Mall. The taxi driver was a friendly guy and gave us a short history lesson on Miri. We found this supermarket in the mall that stocked quite a lot of imported biscuits and seasoning at a low price. 

These are usually twice the price in KL
The next day, the Pastor's daughter took us to try the famous Sarawak kolok mee and Sarawak laksa.
kolok mee

Visited the market, Tamu Muhibbah, in the middle of town.

Various kinds of Sarawak rice 
Local mango the size of a small coconut
Pisang tanduk at RM10 a piece
Durian isu - with flesh the colour of egg yolk
and tastes milky sweet.
Went up to the highest point in Miri called Canada Hill, where the first oil well called the 'Grand Old Lady' is located. 
Grand Old Lady oil well
View of the city on a hazy day...

Then it was off to the airport to catch a flight home.
Glad to reach home safely. Remembering those
who have boarded a plane and never arrived at
their destination.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Things Happen

It has been a painful month for many people in our nation as well as around the world with the shooting down of our Malaysian Airlines MH17 as well as the Taiwanese and Algerian plane crashes all happening within a week.

I also know of a passing of a wonderful young man, someone whom I didn't know personally, but he had been to our church to conduct free guitar lessons for some of our youths. He had been Leukaemia-free for a few months before experiencing a relapse. He left behind a young wife and a 3 year old daughter.

Some things are beyond our control and we can only pray for peace and comfort for those who are grieving over the loss of their loved ones.

What I've learnt is that life on earth is not always a pleasant journey. Just as rain falls on the good and the bad without discrimination, we are glad when things go well but bad things sometimes happen to good people as well and vice versa. The way we respond to these situations is what makes the difference. We can either retaliate in anger or respond with grace.

A few days ago, a 14 year old motorcyclist riding without a license was speeding on his father's motorbike and crashed into my car behind the passenger-side door as I waiting at the traffic lights. Thankfully he only had minor cuts and bruises. His bike was badly damaged and a part of his bike had cut right through my car tyre causing a puncture. A portion of my back bumper was also dented. My car is only 10 months old.
Damaged tyre rim and a large cut on the left
Of course I was furious at first. But causing a scene (with or without a steering lock...some of you would understand what I mean. *wink*) would not bring about much good result, other than getting my face posted all over Facebook! Hubby had told me earlier over the phone that he was coming home early that day, and guess who was just passing by when I was standing by the side of the road talking to the injured motorcyclist! I was glad to have hubby around as I wasn't sure what to do. The motorcyclist looked quite frightened when I asked for his father's phone number.

The next thing I knew, the 14 year old kid's older brother also passed by on the same road on his way home from work and stopped to see what was going on. Firstly he gave his kid brother a good scolding and then he came over to offer compensation. They aren't very well-to-do people and at one point we just wanted to drop the whole matter and let them off the hook since the damage to my car wasn't too great. But the other guy gave his phone number and said he would compensate us.

We got the repairs done the next day amounting to around RM250 and hubby contacted the kid's brother to ask for half the amount. I'm glad the matter got settled in a calm manner. Sometimes being level-headed and showing a bit of kindness to someone else is just the antidote to selfishness and revenge in this imperfect world that we live in.

Friday, July 11, 2014

22 Years Already?

My wedding was 22 years ago but I still remember every detail as if it had just happened yesterday. This year hubby and I had a simple celebration. 

Hubby took the day off a few days ago when we both had less on our daily schedule. Had a quick breakfast of hotcakes at McD's and then headed to Mid Valley mall to catch the latest Tom Cruise movie, "Edge Of Tomorrow". We haven't gone to the cinema on our own for a very long time as we usually have our kids with us. 

Then it was off to lunch at Tony Roma's. Hubby had his beef ribs while I ordered chicken. I had planned to have dessert but we were too full after the meal.

Headed for home after a bit of shopping and then took the kids out for dinner. Hubby wanted to buy a matching pair of watches for the both of us and after going from shop to shop we finally settled on a simple design.
Looked up the internet to find out how
to pose for this shot.
Our kids were making faces while we
switched hands and poses
again and again to get the best shot, haha.

I like this quote I read a few days ago:

"Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favourite."

Looking forward to many more anniversaries to come :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

4 Senses and 1 Non-sense

For as long as I can remember, I have  banished the words "I can't" from my vocabulary. My motto in life has always been "I can and I will". Growing up with 2 brothers  has made me resolve never to be pushed aside and be told that I couldn't do what boys could do, just because I was a girl.

However, as age catches up with me, I find that there are some things that I find harder to do. Objects I could lift without any problems a few years back now feels rather heavy and my back would complain.

A few weeks back I caught what I thought was just a common stomach virus, but it turned out much worse than that. It started with bouts of diarrhea and throwing up, but when I couldn't get out of bed because the room would spin and there was constant ringing in my ears causing my hearing to diminish that I began to worry a little. Thankfully, the doctor at a clinic nearby had the good sense to refer me to the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist right away. 

At the ENT doctor's clinic, I was told to get a hearing test done. My usually optimistic ENT doctor who would usually say, "Don't worry, lah. I'll prescribe some medicine and you'll be fine in no time." took one look at the results of my hearing test and looked a bit worried after I described all my symptoms. A virus had attacked the nerves in my ears and affected my sense of balance as well as my ability to hear certain frequencies of sound. On top of that, I had totally lost my sense of smell. So he gave me a high dose of steroids to try and help me regain my hearing and sense of smell.

To cut a long story short, after 2 weeks of constant medication I have regained about 95% of my hearing although I have a constant high pitch buzzing in my ears that I have since learnt to ignore. I can drive around again as things don't seem to spin in circles around my head anymore. In short, life has gone back to as normal as it can be after some damaged nerves in my ears. 
However, the nerves in my nose are still not functioning. Of course I can't do a lot of things in life but this is a major "I CAN'T" for me..."I can't smell" :(

To some people it doesn't seem like a bad thing to have 4 senses out of 5. I am grateful that I can still taste, though. But I derive a lot of pleasure out of baking, and for someone who can tell how many more minutes before my cupcakes are done in the oven just based on smell alone, it is quite distressing not to be able to smell. Looking at the bright side, at least bad odours don't bother me anymore.

My doctor tells me that he can't do much about that. It might come back or it might not. But I'm really glad I still have my hearing and being a person very much involved in music, I would choose my hearing over my sense of smell. 

Being thankful for little things helps. Life goes on.