Sunday, November 2, 2014

The road trip that never was became....

A long, long time ago, in the heydays of my youth, I heard of this place in a God forsaken area. To get there was an adventure in itself, and then the food was said to be out of this world! Caution was given to those who went before that it is best to arrive before the sun sets or else.....

My life begs for mysteries around the bend of the road.  Literally. I am always curious where a certain road leads to. The revelation at the end can be the greatest surprise or can be the start of a new discovery. So, I was greatly intrigued.

Then life took its toll.


bring up kids

Fast forward to 1 Nov 2014. What a way to start a new month!

Road trip and foody buddies Simon and WY decided to go to Pulau Ketam. However, due to Christopher's swimming class (which he had already skipped for 2 weeks and I seriously didn't want to pay RM150 just for 1 lesson that month), Pulau Ketam was not to be.

So, Mr and Mrs decided to go to Fish Farm Thai Restaurant. Note that the signboard indicating the turnoff to the restaurant includes Veg(e) in the front. Reason being this place grows and supplies vege as well.

Waze is a marvelous app, I tell you! Not only does it get you to places as vague as KM4 Jalan Ampang, it also gives you shortcuts through back alleys behind the real world! So, our journey to the restaurant was a blur to me as Mr drove through village roads where steel and wooden bungalows are common!

And then lleeaaannnning left and right up the hill, we came to the point of turnoff into a dirt road! Waze goes "in 200 metres, turn left" and we were like "here? here? here?" After all it was bushes, bushes, bushes....ahhh....road, road, turn now! I am exaggerating!

Down the twisty slope, we are welcomed by the sight of rows and rows of vege and tucked at the far end, a fairly large pond surrounded by a single-storey wooden structure. It was a breath of fresh air!
"Don't park near the gas tanks...right at the end next to the Myvi would be good". We have arrived.

I have to say this now. Coming down was a relieve, keeping in mind we went through a maze and the sight that beheld us was calm. After dinner going back up the slope was another story. Keeping in mind we were full and heavier, Mr kept the air con off and even allowed another car to go before us to 'light' the way! Waze went "Turn left" and we were like left where?  It was hilarious but this segment of the journey made the dinner into a road trip. This and Look out Point/Path.

We toured the place before obediently following the waiter to our table. Keeping in mind we are sitting by the pond, I had trouble enough keeping my 2 monkeys from bending over too far into the pond. There were several heart attack moments and I was just dealing with 2 monkeys! There were not many mosquitoes actually which was kinda great. Service was fast. Food was good and given what we had, it was not expensive. It has been a long time since I had oyster with lemon and tabasco.
The restaurant is Thai. So how can you do Thai without desert!

We finished dinner at 7+. On the way down, we stopped by Lookout Point, more like standing beside the road, but the view was great. It has been a long time since I had a view of the city lights. In some remote area someone was releasing fireworks and there is something different about watching it from above. Imagine my view of just one city, what more God's view of the earth and everything in it. As insignificant as anyone below me was, in God's eyes, we are far from insignificant.

The night was young. We decided to stop for ice cream @ Inside Scoop, Damansara Jaya. I got to say the waffles were pretty good. And I love the laid back concept of the shop where the kids got to play on swings and there were bean bags to hang out. I agree that is the way eating ice cream should be - FUN!

Due to my sudden intestinal pain, we had to cut the 'roadtrip' short after 4 and a half hours later.

Pulau Ketam never was, but Hulu Langat turned out to be quite a roadtrip too!

Let go and Let God!

For the pass month or more, my heart has been on a roller coaster ride. Partly due to an uprising of earnestness to study the word of God. It started from a simple email. On hindsight, how great a master planner our Lord is.

One simple email talking about prayer.
One simple Whatsapp message talking about Israel.

Both messages I have received multiple times in different context from the 2 same persons. But on that fateful day, I decided to You Tube search both speakers. If one tornado can cause serious devastation, think of what 2 tornadoes combined can do!

So, thanks to Jim Cymbala and Jay Smith (also Jack Hibbs and Amir Tsarfati (Behold Israel)), I once again feel the relevance of God's word. Oh, how jaded my life has been before!

I see His miracles happening every day, right to this very minute. I know my prayers matters.

Sometimes things in theory needs to be sparked up again to become alive. I want to live a life of living faith.

Let go and Let God!

When that happens, oh what a joyful life we can lead!

Oh Lord, may my life always shine bright for You through my living faith!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Big girl already (2) !

In Nov last year, Caylee did start going diaper-less at night. She succeeded for perhaps a week or two and then there were many accidents. So, to be kind to myself, I put her back on diapers.

She doesn't really like to wear her diaper. She is very particular about her kind of underwear, so you can imagine how uncomfortable a diaper is for her.

At any rate, late last year and early this year, given the move to the new house and a new mattress for her, I didn't want to take any chances that she will stain the new bed. So, She was put back on diaper. I kept telling myself that it is time to train her. But I was too tired and too lazy. Also the kids were to sleep in their own room so I could not be around her to train her in the middle of the night.

Fast forward to Sept 2014. She has been whining so much about her diaper that the daddy made an agreement with her. If for 3 days you don't pee in your diaper, then I will allow you to go to bed diaper-less. Previous nights, she would take it out herself in the middle of the night and we had occasional accidents to deal with.

On the 4th morning, she woke up very early, checked her diaper and came to announce to all of us that it was dry. It was a Saturday morning mind you and we were not too thrilled to be woken up at 7+ am. That night when the daddy started to bring out the diaper, she threw a fit! So, between daddy and daughter, the promise had to be kept.

It was to be that for the next 2 nights, she had to sleep with me since the daddy had a function to attend. And she actually did wake up in the middle of the night and request for me to bring her to the toilet.

To date she is going to toilet on her own and then going back to bed on her own...without the need for a night light even. And to date, about 1 and a half weeks now, she has managed a dry bed.

So, I reckon, we can give away the last 2 pack of diapers!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Different lives in one same day

Dawn had not yet broken through. It was the time when darkness still prevailed. I was driving to work. Traffic was not light. I remember feeling harassed by some drivers urging me to move faster.
Traffic on my left lane was heavy. There were many heavy vehicles.

Then all of a sudden I noticed on my left lane in front of me, between a car and a large lorry was this motorbike. The rider and the pillion were both wearing helmets. The pillion was carrying a large school bag, almost the entire length of his torso. He was clad in dark blue pants. So, I knew he was a primary school student.

The rider looked like a woman, I am presuming to be his mum since the boy clutched her waist with one hand. She quickly gauged the distance my car was and I would see she was trying to overtake the large lorry.

Despite the strong and nearing lights behind me, I slowed down. I gave the rider more than enough space and time to maneuver round the lorry and back into the left lane further in front.

Then I sped by.

In such moments, I wish I could do more for so many people who may be struggling to put their kids through school and earn an honest living.

Here I was in my empty car and there they were. What kind of life did they lead? Although I know the world is full of dimwits finding an easy way out, I believe there are still good people doing their best, leading ordinary honest lives. It is sad though when thoughts seldom result in action. And when good is mocked as naive.

Perhaps all I can do today, in my different life is to thank God and just do, say and be what is right.

Lord, oh Lord! I pray I will never be indifferent!

Monday, September 1, 2014

SG Retreat 2014 - Avani Resort, Sepang

After a 5 year hiatus (due to baby bearing and toddler rearing), we decided to kick start the bie/a-nnual SG Retreat again! There were 6 couples and 13 kids - with only one kiddo about to turn 2, one into her 2nd year of teenager-hood and one 2 full years more to reach teens! So, in actual fact we had 10 mad kids to deal with!

We did intend to convoy to Avani but it being a Saturday, there were some chores and classes for the kids to attend and so we all decided to just meet there. The reception staff were really accommodating considering we didn't bring the check in registration slips. We could even check in for the others who had not yet arrived. We got all the room cards and proceeded to our rooms in a buggy. It was a good thing that the buggy service from the lobby always started empty else checking in would have been a pain! Checking out is a down right pain, I have to say at this point! So, make sure you are UP FOR A WALK if you don't want to wait for an empty buggy.

Anyways, as soon as we were checked in, as usual, the kids were itching to go to the pool. As to not tear the room apart, I decided to bring them. And as time passed, more and more of the families arrived and soon we were taking over the entire kids pool! I pity the people sitting near the pool cause we had perhaps 12 water guns capable of shooting piercing sprays of up to 5 feet!

About 2 hours in the pool, and we had to get out and be ready for dinner. Between 4 cars, we headed to Sg Pelek for dinner. The poor community of Sg Pelek were bombarded with endless chatter and some shouts from our 10 mad kids. And I bet those Sg Pelek kiddos never ever realized they could harass their parents for the phone if they finished their dinner quick enough. Their parent's lives will never be the same again!

Anyways, after dinner, it was beach time. Not a good time for my daughter who absolutely hates going to the beach dressed up! So, hubby and I took her back to the room, which really suited us fine. Christopher after all, had many a capable aunts and uncles to take care of him. I learnt they played lanterns at the beach. They returned at 10:40 pm and I put him straight to bed.

Now, the room. I don't really like it. Reason being the extra bed costs a bomb. Secondly, they suggested the use of the sofa bed as an alternative bed but we didn't come prepared so we had no sheets or blanket to use. In the end we ended up 4 people in a king sized bed. Kicks and bruises and no good night sleep. I tried using the sofa bed the 2nd night and ended up having the sniffles the next day! Avillion PD's water chalets were better in this aspect. I also don't really fancy the bathroom as it was too small. The water from the shower kept escaping and so our floor mat was literally always wet! When the bathroom door was open and the cupboard door was open, it was also a tight squeeze to walk out of the bathroom. And I have this bad habit of needing the clothes in the wardrobe to have some air! Well, anyways.....

Day 2 we were up by 8 and down for breakfast at 8:30 am. The spread was pretty extensive and well stocked. I reckon the F&B staff did a great job!

Beach for 2+ hours. Near the beach there were many interesting things. They had a pool, kiddie air structure for play, mini put, a trampoline and a court space. They also had canoe's for rent and swings made out of netting. It would seem there were sufficient deck chairs, some shade and beach towels. In this aspect Avani was excellent!!!

Pool time next for another 2 hours. By the time we were dressed and ready for lunch, it was almost 2. We went back to Sg Pelek for lunch with another family, Patrick and the girls. My boy was not really into food since his best buddy did not come. Surrounded by 3 girls, he grouching-ly ate something and couldn't wait to get back to the hotel. At least we got to try the famous rojak noodle and the pau kosong. Being out, we were sent on an errand to get some cold drinks for the people at the hotel.

Back from lunch, I was sent to deliver the drinks. Oh what fear for me to get on the bike with my son. It was my first time after my bike accident and these hotel bikes were too high! Thankfully along came Mrs Recipient and she took the drinks AND my son on a ride. So, I could attempt riding my bicycle with only a few adults and kids encouraging me on! I think I gripped the handle so tight (the bike was not aligned well either) that I could feel relieve in my arms when I at last came down. Back from his bicycle ride, the boy was in the room 15 min and then instigated the sister to go back to the pool! Even though they only had 1 hour of swimming/playing/war-ing (thank to Uncle John) time, they made full use of it. Darling little Alycia and Caylee kept me busy throwing them in the water. I had achy arms later lasting me till now, 2 days later!

We went to Lovers Bridge Restaurant Tanjung Sepat for dinner. Darn it...even with a booking it took 1 hour for the food to be served. It was a good thing we went early enough so that the ordering could be made and then the rest of us with the kids could walk out to the bridge. Some minutes later Caylee wanted to go back to the restaurant and I was soooo glad. Holding on to the kids on a cement platform with no barriers is not for the fainthearted. We had 10 mad kids, if you remember!

Bought our share of kuih bahulu and some keropok, we headed back to the hotel. Some crazy parents were still up to beach time. I thank Caylee for my escape. Went back with Isabel to play lanterns in the room. By 10, the peace of 2 adults and 3 kids were disrupted by the beach gang. Felt so sorry for Sin Loong and Mei Yin who had to accommodate 7 sandy children sitting on their bed! But all was good. We chased everyone down and got everyone back to their own rooms.

3rd and final day, breakfast at 8 am....NOT ! I woke up to Whatsapp message sounds and we pushed each other out of the bed. Lack of sleep, I watched as the kids played in the pool. Even out of the pool, I was a target of the water guns! At around 12, we checked out and went to Tg Sepat for lunch and to buy fishballs, pau and coffee.

How was my weekend? Tiring, I would say. Without other families to determine the activities, we would have woken up later and perhaps the kids would have had lessor swim and beach time. After all hubby is not really a beach person. So, even though it was tiring for me, I am glad my kids have this other bunch of adults and 8 other mad kids to play with. It takes the mothering out of this mummy and I was able to have some decent adult conversation with almost every single other mummy in the group. I love the bonds created and I love the bonds my kids create. Having a holiday group is not an easy thing to find or maintain and I hope even to our older days, we (and the kids) would still enjoy each others company enough to be 'overlook-ers' of small misdemeanors and still be charitable.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changing car ownership

For the pass 6 months, to my knowledge, hubby has been contemplating a car change. It actually started from me, due to my 2 accidents. I felt I wanted a new car - a safer car, a brighter car. Not sure why compact was not in my terms of reference.

Given that a car is a car to me. And it made no real sense for me to change from my Myvi to a Jazz when hubby was already driving a City (we deemed Honda is one of the more safer cars, compact did not cross my mind). Thus, I relented to taking over hubby's City and allow him the new car instead.

We made one troublesome mistake in this process. The new car was registered under hubby's name and not mine. If would not have really mattered since both our insurance now is charged to the same card. Only who pays which portion. And it did not really matter whose name was tied to which NCB. But it never crossed our minds and so we had to go through the painful process of Puspakom and JPJ. If we were to trade in the City to get the new car, we would not have had this hassle. But since now we had to transfer ownership of the City to my name and Myvi to the new buyer's name, we spent close to 4 hours in JPJ.

So, we went to Puspakom 2 times. Once to check that the Myvi engine and tint was in accordance to the limit. And the 2nd time for the City. As a result, we had to re-tint the City.

With the Puspakom reports in hand (they only last a month), next stop was to the insurance. I actually could have done this earlier and saved myself a bit of running around that day. But, oh the trouble of leave and wrong info!

So, I had to cancel my previous insurance and start a new one. My current insurance company was suffering from a system-down that day. Darn it! So, I had to go to the next nearest insurance company to make a new insurance. You don't need your name to be on the registration card of the new car to create a new insurance no matter what your insurance agent tells you! But you need your new car to have an insurance if you want your new road tax!

So, insurance in hand, we went to JPJ. We did the transfer of ownership and the road tax in 10 minutes (although we waited 3 hours and 50 minutes)! The new buyer of the Myvi paid 100 to a runner in JPJ itself to do it through the back door (literally a door at the back) and she left after 1 hour.

So, I am driving the City now. And there is a real difference. I feel bends are easier to manuever, there is more grip. Braking is definitely an immediate effect now. The only thing I need to get used to is the ease of having a compact car not. That tight squeeze just became a little tighter for me!