Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So many things to do!

It's less than a week before I make the journey to the holy land. I have been very busy at home and work, also getting myself ready for the trip.

I haven't packed yet for the trip, and there are few more things that I need to do and buy. When I look at the things that in my list to bring, WOW,  it is a long list. Well, I have to make sure that my supply for a month stays is enough.

My friends who have made the journey last years have been giving me a lot of tips and I'm very grateful for that. The common advices that they gave was to bring a strong antibiotic, a strong cough syrup, flu medicines, ointments and an extra pair of glasses. I can get the others, but to make another pair of glasses with only 3 days left is a challenge. I hope and pray to Allah that my glasses will survive the journey.

Since there will be  lots of walking, I also bought a good pair of shoes. What is it? Not Crocs. I thought of getting one, but after I look at what they have in the Crocs store, I decided to buy a different shoes.  I bought a pair of anti fatigue shoes from Timberland. I had seen it a month ago, and at that time, the store didn’t have the size for me.,  Oh yea, I have started wearing it, and so far, I’m liking it.

And a week ago, my sister texted me on the limited amount of money we can withdraw from Tabung Haji. Well it is true when my Along (eldest sister), who is now in Mecca also advised me to bring lots of cash. But, some of my friends advised me to open up an account in Al Radjhi Bank, and just make  withdrawal from the ATM.  Might has to do that.

Whew! There are so many things to do in these last few days, and to make it difficult, I have to work until Thursday. Between now and Thursday, I have to do handover to my backup, and on  Thursday morning, I have to do a short briefing  to my department.  Ahhh!!!! I wished I had more time to do all these thing so that I can go on leave and do whatever last minute shopping I need to do. But I take this as part of the challenges for my journey.

Okay, I can't spend much time here, but I would try to post one or two more blogs before my trip.  Salam....

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

They wanted a cat.

My kids wanted a cat for a pet. They have been talking about it for months. They have been luring stray cats to the house, and tried to keep them, but the cats know better. They better be guests to this house than becomes a permanent resident.

After months of waiting patiently, they cannot wait for it anymore. On Saturday, they asked me to go and buy them a cat for them. I told them to ask their dad first. Zaki was the first to go and asked his dad.

“Ayah, we want a cat,” said Zaki.

“No,” replied his dad.

“Why?” he asked.

“Are you going to clean the cat poop, pee and everything?” asked his dad.


“So there a cat poop outside, Go and clean it. If you can do it, you can have the cat,” he said.

“Okay,” he said, "I do it," but didn’t move a bit from where he was.

Their dad looked at the rest of them, but no one went to clean the cat poop.

“See, I made my point,” said the dad.

“But the cat that we want to buy has been trained,” said Amir.

My hubby continued to read. They didn’t give up.

On Sunday, after the music class, they persuaded me to take them to the Pet shop. They were very excited thinking that they would get a cat, but before they get down from the car, I told them not to expect too much.

When we went inside the shop, there was no cat. They were disappointed but didn’t give up. They asked me to ask the girl in charge.

“Yes, there are two, but they need to be cleaned first.”

They were excited when they heard that.

“Oh, how much is it?” I asked further just to appease the kids’ curiosity.

“These two are expensive,” replied the girl.

“Yeah, how much?”

“It’s Persian, and the price is RM1600 and RM1800,” she replied.

I turned around and looked at them. “Expensive,” I said.

They still wanted the cat, and when I said I didn't have that much cash with me, Zaki said, “Use your credit card to buy.”

Huh! There’s no way I’m going to fork out that much for a cat until they proved to me that they knew how to take care of their pet. Meanwhile, let them continue to dream their dream cats.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The boyz new toy

My husband has a new toy. A typical man with its big toy. Not motorbike, not car or any remote controlled toy. It's his new brand lawn mower.

He wanted to buy it months ago when we moved to our new place, but I have been holding it back. I asked him to use the Pakistani guy that we hired earlier to cut the grass. He did use the Pakistani guy for a few months, but he was not satisfied with the results. He told me that the lawn needs to be cut using the lawn mover.

"Why?" I asked.

"Look at the grass. It is not cut evenly," he pointed to me.

I looked and didn't make any comment. He was not happy with my reaction. So to prove his point, he took me to a house in my neighborhood and pointed out to me the difference between our lawn and our neighbor's lawn.

He managed to convince me, and I gave the green light to buy. He was delighted, and last weekend, he bought his dreamed toy. It was not only him that was delighted, but the boys too. They were so eager to start the project with their dad.

So on Sunday, the day after we bought the machine, he and the boys started his lawn cutting project. But as usual, he will read the manual first. Together with Syafiq, they took half of Sunday morning to finish cutting the grass.

When he finished, I heard him called the Pakistani guy. When I asked he said the edge and those near the wall or under the shrubs cannot use the lawn mower. Hmmm.... I wonder whether he will want to buy the Bosch grass cutter after this?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She's sad....

Last weekend, I went out to buy things that I need to bring with me for my Haj trip. I was happy to find my size in the shop. Normally it was not easy to find one as my size is an exceptional.

I bought 3 pairs, and I still need to buy some other smaller things that are required. The next challenging thing is how to fit all those into my luggage. One big luggage and one hand carrier.

I wanted my kids to be part of my preparation, so I showed them what I bought. The boys gave some comments, but Zara didn't. She looked at it briefly, and then continued to watch TV. From her face reaction I know, she didn't look for the long separation, and she looked sad.

I asked her what she thought of the baju ihram, but she just raised her shoulder. I asked her and Zaki to follow me to my room and explained to them where I'm going and for how long. I showed her the calendar when I would be leaving and when I would be back.

"Oh!" she said and still trying to understand what did it means to her.

Lately, every night she would come to our room and crawl into bed with us. I told my hubby to let her knowing that she won't be able to do that next month.

For the past two weeks, she would wait for me to come home and have dinner with me. It didn't matter whether I reach home early or late, she would patiently wait for me, and then she would sit with me and told me what she did for the day.

The last time I was away from home was when she was three months old, and she didn't know what's going on. This time, it's different and I really hope she would not get sick while we are away, and I have to leave it to the creativity of her aunties, uncles and cousins to keep her occupied.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Halo Moon

Last night we saw the halo moon, but, unfortunately, I didn’t take any picture of it. It is because my phone battery was running out.

We were on the way out from Pizza San Francisco, when Zaki spotted the moon. He pointed it out to us, and every one of us was excited to see the moon. It was very clear and beautiful.

Syafiq was curious and wanted to know more about the halo moon. The moment here reached home he logged and searched for information.  After a while, he came to Zara’s room and told me that normally there would be a disaster.

I don’t want to confirm what he said. The only thing I said to him was that this is not the first time it happened. He still worried.

After that, I didn’t give much thought about it until lunch time today, when one of my colleagues talked about it. He managed to take a picture of the halo moon and explained to us how it happened.

It pricked my curiosity, and during my free time this evening, I google about it. Wow, there’s a lot of people blog about.  In fact, the whole country is talking about the halo moon..

So what is this halo moon and how does it happen?  This is what I get from the Indiana Public Media website -

Moon halos are caused by tiny ice crystals that have gathered twenty thousand feet above the ground, as thin, wispy clouds. These clouds are so thin; you might not notice them at night, if it weren’t for their effect on the moonlight. Incoming light rays from the moon are bent or diffracted by these ice crystals at an angle of 22 degrees.

This means that, in addition to the direct moonlight, you will also see diffracted moonlight in circle 22 degrees away from the moon. This is about the distance of your fist, held at arm’s length.

Like a rainbow, this halo can even be slightly colored; red on the inside, and blue on the outside.

There’s also a belief that something will happen to earth when this happened.  Whether it is true, only Allah knows. Wallahualam.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Am I Ready?

Tonight, my sister will be flying off to Madinah before heading to Makkah. She was very excited as I could hear it in her voice when she called me yesterday.

I’ll be going to see her at Kompleks Kelana Jaya. Besides seeing her off, this would also give me an opportunity to assess what time I need to be at Kelana Jaya.

My sister told me that we needed to be there at least two hours before the checking time. Since my checking time is at 8.30am in the morning, I have to be there latest by 6.30am. And what it means is that I have to leave the house by 5am in the morning. That’s very early for my young kids.

Ah, I’m not sure how my kids going to take it. To get up by 4.30am and getting ready to say goodbye to their parents. Ahhh…Thinking about that make me sad. But there is a high possibility that my house would be busy with relatives who would be coming to say goodbye and sending us off.

I know my mom would be at my house that weekend as I plan to bring her to my place on Friday. I would also be making a trip to the Tuan Haji Said Cemetery, and have the special moment with dad. He would be proud to see me off to Hajj because when he was around, he always reminded us to go to Hajj at the young age. Thinking about him brought tears to my eyes. I miss him a lot. He was my inspiration who spurred me to do well in my life. Thanks abah for that.

I still have a lot of things to do. I still have not done any checklist on items that I need to bring with me. And also I need to find a time to sit down with my kids and tell them to listen to Syafiq, their grandparents and aunties during our absences. And the most important thing is not to skip school.

Yup… it’s going to be an emotional moment for us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Labaik Allahuma Labaik

I’m so so happy. My sister, Along, is leaving for haj this Friday. She and her husband would be reporting to Tabung Haji Complex in Kelana Jaya at 9.30pm, and they would be in Mecca for 46 days.

When I first received my letter of offer, she didn’t get hers yet. But, Alhamdulillah, her constants praying and believe that she would be the guest of the Holy Land, she was selected to go to Haj this year. She would be flying to Madinah first and would be in Madinah for few days before leaving for Mecca.

Well, almost all who received the offer accepted it. If you rejected the offer, you would then back in the waiting list again. And believe me, you don’t want that to happen because the waiting list is, not five years, but more than twenty years.

When I first planned to go to Haj, I set my target that I would go before I hit fifty years old, and I’m glad that I would be going there in my 40's.  I started saving for the trip when I started work, and in 2005, I registered to Tabung Haji through online. In 2007, I went to Tabung Haji personally to confirm my registration.

Last year, I did received the
 offered , but I was put on Standby list. Since I was not ready, I declined the offered. Luckily, they stated in the letter of offer that if I decline the offer, I would still be going to Haj this year. So when I received the letter in March, I have already prepared myself for the trip.

Since my husband didn’t get the offer, we made an appeal for him to be my mahram, or else I can’t go. Within two weeks, we received the reply that his appeal has been accepted. “Phew!” I said.

So from the day we accepted the offer, we becomes focus on our trip. We put aside all the plan to decorate our new house.  We were asked to select whether to go through the travel agencies or through Tabung Haji. We opted to go through Tabung Haji Travels as advised by my brother. He went for his Haj trip last year.

After choosing our prefer destination, Mecca or Madinah first, we were asked to go through medical checkup. I was worried that I might not pass the checked up. But Alhamdulillah, I passed all through with no problem. The doctor was quite surprised to see my results.

After the medical check up, we have to submit our passport for visa, attended the two days intensive course and finally the final practical training at Masjid Sultan Abdul Aziz Salahudin in Shah Alam. The final training was very tiring.

And on 30th October at 8.30am, I would be leaving my kids and fly to Mecca for 32days. I can’t afford to go for 40days or more as I do not have many leave left. I have to take unpaid leave to cover the 30days. Between now until my departure date, I would be busy planning and preparing for the trips. In other words, shopping!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I love to challenge my brain

I love playing games. Any games especially games that challenge my brain. May it be puzzle, Sudoku, Scrabble or the latest craze, Words with Friends.

I guess my interest started when I was young when my dad always brought back home the Scrabble set from the officer mess. I was ten at that time. He thought us the rules and how to play it. With limited vocabularies, my sister and I would sit down with him for hours learning to play the game.

As I become good in the game, I started to play with my brother in law, who has a good command of English, and my older sisters.  Slowly my vocabularies grew, and my loves for scrabble become stronger. After I had gone to college, I stopped playing scrabble until I started working.

My office mates were into scrabbles too, and whenever there was a free time we would play the games. We stopped playing after we were assigned to different projects, and slowly my day of playing  scrabbled ended.

I was lucky that my husband loves scrabble too, but he quit playing against me when he got beaten every time we play. Since then, my only opponent was computer until I found Words with Friend.

I was so excited, and I persuaded my sisters to play with me. It was during second Hari Raya. Instead of visiting relatives, we were busy playing the game. My sisters are good especially Ami. She has beaten me few times, but we have not played for quite some time.

I also enjoyed playing with random opponent.  When I don't have anyone to play with, I would just select random opponent. Some of them really good, and gave a tough fight, but some I just waltzed through them.

I also played with few authors that I know, and oh boy, it was fun and tough. I have to be on top of my game or else, they would slaughter me. Besides having to have a good command of vocabularies, the Words with friends or Scrabble also a strategy game.

The game requires you to think how to defend your scores, and, also how to ensure you didn't open up the opportunity for your opponent to score big against you.  My sister is good in this where she would force me to make a mistake and open up the game.  She would then happily place her tiles at the triple letter and triple scores squares. Hah! I guess it is time to invite her play with me again.

If you do play Words with Friends, please look for me. My username is arzai49, and I welcome any challenge as it helps to improve my vocabularies and my brain.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Special gift from special friend

Look at what I have here with me? Isn’t it beautiful? Yes, it’s a gift from my dear friend, BP, for my house warming party last week.

She wanted to come, but she had a major crisis that she needed to attend to. Ahhh…not personal crisis, but system related crisis. Such an important person she is.

She was really looking forward to the party.  In fact, she and her girls were ready to leave the house when she received a call from her staff about the problem. Well, BP next time. Insya Allah.

What do you think the vase is made from? Clay? Nope. You are wrong. When I first saw it, I thought the same, but when I held it, it was very light. Lynda, who was with us, was also surprised when BP told us that it was made from wood.

Now I need to find a place for this beautiful vase. I been thinking of putting it on the coffee table, but I’m scared my kids would use it to keep all the trash in there. So, where do you think I should put it?