Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rose cake by Pedlars of Sunshine

Here's a photo of the rose pink cake I made last weekend, on a special order for my Aunt's birthday. It is a 3 layer victoria sponge - layers of moist butter cake with raspberry jam and buttercream filling.

I had so much fun making this cake, and it was a smashing success at the party. Yay!

Pedlars of Sunshine

I'm back! but just for a little while... and only because I wanted to update you on what I've been up to :)

One of the things that really gives me great joy is Baking. yes, with a capital B.

It started off as a weekend thing, making cupcakes for  G to take to school and  birthday cakes for the people I love.


In the last few years, I've had so many requests that I sell the cakes I bake, and so many complaints and moans along the lines of "why can't you sell these cakes?"

The obvious answer was of course that I am a full time lawyer and mom, and I don't have:
a. the time
b. the shop
c. the delivery services

Well, all these reasons were demolished very effectively by my eatership (isn't that a great word? Thanks CC) , and I've finally set up my ONLINE CAKE SHOP!!!! So exciting

Truly! I kid you not.

Its called Pedlars of Sunshine and its on Facebook for the moment, while I try and get the blog up. You may get there by clicking here

After setting up the fb page, I realised I didn't have any photos of all the cakes I've baked over the years ("tsk, tsk, if only I had dusted off this blog earlier", you say. And you're right of course).

So my poor eatership has to put up with me baking a new cake every weekend to post. The hardship they endure, I tell you...

Anyway, go like my page, and you will be entitled (for a very limited time only), to a free cupcake (which you will  have to pick up).

Monday, January 07, 2013


Wow! I'm back here after almost 6 years... I'll be 40 soon (can't really believe that.)

Still the same person I was then, except I've stopped being Supergirl.

Have grown up and am now Wonder Woman :)

Gitanjali's 10 this year (!!) and Alysha will be 11. Inara turned 7 today. Nandika's joined their gang, and they are part of my gang.

One change is that I am no longer a goddess based in Brickfields.

Have officially become a resident of PeeJay. Still a lawyer. But nowadays I'm also a bit of a baker. Never did have that 2nd child, but I now have 3 dogs (except on school holidays, when Gitanjali joins them, and I have 4 dogs)

I have a garden swing, which I use a lot. I still like dresses and books.

Ketchup soon!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

dressy me

you know, i suddenly realise that in this year, my 34th one on this planet, i finally seem to have come upon my personal style! honestly. throughout my growing up years, i had a style true - this has later been defined by fashion as grunge, but at the time, it was mainly jeans, preferably not washed for at least a month, and a baggy heavy metal tee-shirt, topped off with some kind of shapeless bag.... of course when i started work as a lawyer, my friends convinced me that perhaps this was not the look to aim for, so then i sort of just drifted into whatever corporate look the fashion world decreed and my friends told me to buy, while after work, my grunge look continued...

i have to say that in my first year as a lawyer, i would consistenly get shocked when people described me, as "that sexy girl with the short short skirts"... honestly, i could never figure it out.

this makes me want to cry now of course, because until i became pregnant, i had what i belatedly now realise to be,a fantastic figure... not only was i thin, i had some innate ability to eat anything at all and not put on an ounce. of course i also had a size 34B chest, but you know - that's not really a bad thing. now that i have boobs, i realise clothes were never designed for breasts... my shirts are always popping at the middle button now, which never happened to me before... and i think of all those years and years of baggy tees, when i could have been flaunting it with baby tees and spaghetti straps like the girls nowadays... so sad.

so anyway then i got pregnant, wore maternity clothes, and then did all the same things again but somehow on a larger scale after gitanjali was born.

but suddenly now, 34 years later, i realise, that i love wearing dresses. really . dresses. me, ms. heavy metal. and not those shift corporate things either that you sling a jacket over to take you from work to dinner. no.

i love the flirty dresses, with the swish swish skirts that are suddenly everywhere. i love them... and i look good in them. now i know what hips are for. so that your dress can swirl out from your waist and fall and go swish swish. love them love them love them.


i'm going to go get another one tomorrow. just thought you'd like to know that.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

G + A

You know, sometimes, when i see these 2 together, i get a pang of jealousy that i never had a friend like that when i was growing up... they have so much fun together. When G was younger, their sessions together were rather torturous, as somehow she would have caused A to cry at least 3 times in one play session. She's more of a rowdy, compared to A who's more of a demure miss.

However, they (or rather G) seem to have grown out of it, and now they play and conspire together. The other day, Sham and i left them to their devices, to have a good chat... when we went to check on them, they had somehow managed to turn G's room upside down. Every single thing in that room, including her books (which at last count was slightly more than 100) was on the floor! Doesn't sound like a good thing, but the thing was they turned it upside down together, and had so much fun doing it, that though they went to bed without a bedtime story, secretly i was glad. You're supposed to get into trouble with your friends, no? Reminds me of the other time when Sham and i had a long catch up chat (which we don't get to do much, b'cos we're usually so busy managing the kids) - when we checked on them, they had taken the bicycle to the bathroom, used up all the tissue and toilet paper in the house to allegedly clean the bicycle (wet tissue and toilet paper all over the floor), "washed" the bathroom floor with fabric softener, and were busy scrubbing the bicycle with the maid's toothbrush!!! All this done very quietly in the space of maybe 10 minutes!!! and it's not like Sham and i had left them somewhere else. We were sitting in the hall, and all this took place in the hall bathroom! can you imagine? it was so wrong, but so hilarious... the expressions on their faces when we caught them was priceless!!!! again, we hustled them off to bed without books, then secretly called each other the next day and laughed and laughed about it..

During the school holidays, Sham and i gave them facials even! unfortunately they ate the cucumber slices that were meant for their eyes... we also let them play in the rain, one afternoon - though not very succesfully, i have to say. being very cool kids, they kept grumbling, but my face is getting wet... my clothes are also getting wet. the first time i said go ahead, you can jump in that puddle just for today, they both hesitated and said, but it looks dirty, and my shoes may get messed up!!! kids today!

i just pray that they'll be good friends like that always... and that someday their friendship is what sham and i have, a warm comforting thing, full of love, laughter and fun, where they can be exactly who they are, without any pretensions - a shoulder to cry on when you are sad, and a co-conspirator and aider and abetter in all crime, someone to check whether your lipstick is on your teeth, and to borrow accesories from to match that saree (or saree from to match that accessory), a person that their husbands will be jealous of, and a person to hold their hand, when they are screaming in labour pain (though hopefully i will still be alive then, and tell them to take that epidural...) - so precious and so wonderful...

Latest gitanjalisms

Scene 1

A friend of my husband asked Gitanjali the other day,

"Hello. Are you a genius?"

whereupon, G looked up at her and said,

"No, no. I'm a Hindu"


Scene 2

Her teacher had been reprimanding G about something when G told her (with her hands on her hips),

"Don't Talk"

Teacher (very shocked): "Sorry?"

G(smiling): "Yes... I'm proud of you"

(Note: apparently the teacher had been practising this in school. Anytime a child apologised voluntarily, the teacher would tell the child that she was proud of him/ her...)


So funny no? i just rolled around laughing... if i ever go out of business as a lawyer, i could just sell her stories as comedy material!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

zoo books

ok, follow up post to the zoo post. in case you were wondering, here are some of the zoo books we've been reading:

1. Edwina the Emu, our absolute Favourite. so hilarious.

2. edward the emu, our second favourite.

3. rumble in the jungle by Giles Andreae. Currently Gitanjali's favourite - she loves to count the ants that appear on each page... not set in the zoo

4. the mixed-up chameleon by eric carle

5. madeline by ludwig bemelmans(although not set in the zoo, madeline says she's not afraid of the lion in the zoo)

6. put me in the zoo by robert lopshire

we went to the zoo

yes we did. during the last school holidays, shamira and i took gitanjali and alysha to the zoo. For some reason, i've always had a very negative impression of the zoo. All those poor animals locked up in cages, malnourished and ill treated, chomping on cigarette butts.

But Gitanjali and Alysha have been reading a number of books recently, which are all set in the zoo, so i thought, let's just do it once, and get it out of the way... It was like planning a trip to the dentist. i had visions of a blazing day, crowds, tired kids, and sad animals... and Sham nearly cancelled at the last minute because she had heard bad reviews of the zoo

Boy! were we agreeably suprised!. The Malaysian Zoo is not at all what i thought it would be. The animals aren't in cages! Except for the monkeys and chimpanzees (which obviously would have to be in cages so that they are not actually molesting people or staging daring escapes), the rest of the animals are in large airy enclosures... The Giraffes, and Zebras are actually in this huge savannah like field where they can run around.

the kids were thrilled to see emus at the zoo, because they are in love with Edward the Emu and Edwina the Emu (both hilarious picture books about these two emus at the zoo...). They kept walking around saying, so many edwards and edwinas, and kept calling them, edward! edwina!...

Inexplicably both of them fell in love with this mousedeer (which in hindsight was probably not a mousedeer at all, but some kind of smallish deer), and refused to leave the deer enclosure.

There was a tiger that kept padding around, and then leaping into the water for a swim, and a leopard that paced up and down endlessly. Gitanjali looked at the leopard and said, "i know, it is thinking, how to eat us all up!" On hindsight, i guess that was probably exactly what that leopard was thinking...

We had fun, fun, fun - even Sham and i. We loved everything, but my favourite was the giraffes. There are trams running all day long, so there's hardly any sweat involved. you can walk and view as many animals as you want to then hop on to a tram to the next exhibit. There's a couple of lakes, and one was teeming with bright pink flamingos and all sorts of water birds. We saw pelicans! and wallabies! and giraffes! and elephants! and monkeys, chimpanzees, parrots, goats, mice (!),deer (in all shapes and sizes, hippos mooching in the mud and rhinos... Fun, fun, fun.

We have decided that it shall be a compulsory trip every school holiday. Sham and i also subsequently discovered that both our husbands had been jealous that they had not been invited for the trip, so it looks like we'll have to take them along sometime...

Friday, May 11, 2007

school days

you know the thing i realise, is that you may come from a family of 5, but all five of you would have had different childhoods - you are passengers in a car on the same journey, but one of you was driving, one of you got the window seat that looked at the other lane, one of you got sort of squished up in the center, one of you was leaning out the front passenger window looking at the gorgeous scenery, and one of you sat at the back pissed off that you didn't get to sit in front... seriously. go ask your siblings.

i have 2 younger brothers, and whilst we used to gang up on each other a lot pre-puberty, we became incredibly close friends in our teens and were happy to be constantly in each other's company. We shared secrets, friends and bitched about our relatives together... but if you sat down now and sort of pscycho analysed us - you would think that we came from different families...

the elder of my brothers was a straight A student, an over achiever, he was a prefect, a head prefect,a scout bla bla blah - i don't know he felt the need to do that and he did... he made my parents proud. They were proud parents of him.... his report cards were very boring - all 99% and 100%...

my report cards on the other hand, were works of art, when they managed to come back home... mmm, the first time i forged my dad's signature on my report card, i was 9. now i think of it, that does seem to be a little early to be dabbling in forgery, but as history will show, i was a rank amateur... the signature looked exactly like his, but i had signed it with a pencil (so that i could erase it if it looked wrong...) - i learned that day (after the teacher slapped me) that people only sign with pens, so that other people cannot erase their signatures... (to think that now i am a lawyer, constantly harrassing people to sign here, with a black pen...)

well anyway, thus began my career in school, and it proceeded merrily onward after that. teachers pulled their hairs out over me, punished me, visited my house as if it was the local 7-11, and prophesied a dire and desperate future for me...of course the fact that i was always in the top ten of my class sort of made things worse... i don't know why.i mean it should have made it better surely. girl who doesn't do her homework, talks in class all day long, is the messiest girl in school, and who is constantly reading a story book (which would usually have been wildly inaproppriate for my age group) behind my geography book - scores well in exams. its a matter for rejoicing, no? Apparently not. every teacher i had hated me, some with more venom than the others... but i had lots of fun, and had lots of friends, so i don't know what their problem was... the only thing was of course that it was slightly hazardous to be my partner. for you to talk in class, you have to talk to someone, otherwise they sort of commit you for it didn't matter that i always got partnered with the most studious kid in class. by the end of the year, i would have destroyed all that poor kids credibility... i also always forgot to bring my books, so my poor partner always had to share her books with me, and lend me her notes (because i didn't take it down), and help me with my domestic science stitching and i don't know what else... sad to say, i have lost touch with most of these girls. i should one day like to track them down and say, thank you for all that you did...and sort of give them a hug and then sort of say, But why? why would you have sat with a nut like that?... but as they say, that all is like so much piss in the river... long gone and history...

my youngest brother is younger than me by 5 years, but he decided to follow in my footsteps, and in fact, outshined me. He did all that i did, but cut classes, hung out with every thug's kid who went to school (or dropped out of school) in brickfields, smoked, failed exams merrily, got notes from the headmaster and i don't know what else. my parents having grown up nicely by then, refused to go to see the headmaster, and sent me their representative to speak to esteemed HM and sundry teachers (on the excuse that they had done their duty with me, and that now it was my turn)- so off i went, to listen and nod my head sagely. i mean can you imagine the scenario? you need to speak to him you know... he doesn't do his homework, he talks in class... blah blah blah... and i look at him, and say, yes, i will sit down and talk to him. i funny.

my parents brought us all up the same way you know, so i don't know how we turned up so different. or how our perceptions of our childhoods are so wildly apart. they just are. we just are. and this makes me think of all that i worry about bringing up Gitanjali...

what food, what books, which school, which class, and God knows the millions of things i think about in bringing her up. i worry about giving her too much, not enough too little, i don't know... all sorts of things. motherhood seems to come with built in guilt. and you know the thing is, i sort of get the feeling that no matter what i do or don't do, she will one day turn around and say "i hate you. stop bugging me..." or something... and probably she will need some expensive psycho therapy to undo my damage... let's hope not ok. and here's to wishing that she will always love me as madly as she loves me now. that she will always have a sudden urge to run and give me a hug... though probably if she does it when she's 33, she probably needs psycho therapy anyway...

anyway guess what? my friend says i'm ms bling bling. so there? at leat she can say she has a bling bling mum

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

my contribution to science

One of my friends and i were discussing something, that really i feel deserves considerable scientific research.

and the issue is this.

why is it that when you are trying to conceive, your period never comes, until you actually go the pharmacy and buy the actual pregnancy kit? and then once you buy the kit, it immediately turns up... why? why? why?

what is the connection?

i really think there's something to this... its one those great unsolved mysteries of the universe. i wouldn't mind donating, say RM50.00 (is this enough? should be enough buy 4 kits - hence 4 months of testing) to some scientific fund to come up with the answer.

Friday, May 04, 2007

tips to healthy living

here are some hilarious tips i found online, which if put into practice, will definitely improve the quality of your life... ge-ran-tee...

1. Aspire to be Barbie - the bitch has everything.

2. If the shoe fits - buy one in every colour.

3. Take life with a pinch of salt... A wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila.

4. In need of a support group? - Cocktail hour with the girls!

5. Go on the 30 day diet. (I'm on it and so far I've lost 15 days).

6. Let your greatest fear be that there is no PMS and this is just my personality.

7. I know I'm in my own little world, but it's ok. They know me here.

8. Lead me not into temptation, I can find it myself.

9. Don't get your knickers in a knot, it solves nothing; and makes you walk funny.

10. When life gives you lemons - turn it into lemonade… then mix it with vodka.

11. Remember every good looking, sweet, single male is someone else's ex boyfriend!

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Sun!

Guess what? apparently apart from being 95% wonderwoman and 100% supergirl, i am also the Sun... A reading of the characteristics of the Sun has made me think that perhaps i am more the Sun than Wonderwoman... What do you think?

You are The Sun

Happiness, Content, Joy.

The meanings for the Sun are fairly simple and consistent.

Young, healthy, new, fresh. The brain is working, things that were muddled come clear, everything falls into place, and everything seems to go your way.

The Sun is ruled by the Sun, of course. This is the light that comes after the long dark night, Apollo to the Moon's Diana. A positive card, it promises you your day in the sun. Glory, gain, triumph, pleasure, truth, success. As the moon symbolized inspiration from the unconscious, from dreams, this card symbolizes discoveries made fully consciousness and wide awake. You have an understanding and enjoyment of science and math, beautifully constructed music, carefully reasoned philosophy. It is a card of intellect, clarity of mind, and feelings of youthful energy.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Memories of 18

i just got tagged by Manju to tell you the songs i was listening to the year i turned 18. it's supposed to be a simple tag - you're supposed to go to the popculture site, find the songs the year you turned 18, make a list and say how these songs affected you then... so off i went to the popculture site, and guess what most of those songs in 1991 made me sick - what a spectacularly boring year... now if it had been 1983 or 1984, then we could sit down and talk all night, but 1991 was the year of horror apparently according to popculture... i'm also pretty much a heavy metal babe, so i very clearly remember that the album of my choice in 1991 was the sabbath stones by black sabbath. i was very into metallica and iron maiden as well, so i got to confess that Bryan Adams (that horrible horrible song about seeing his unborn children in your eyes, yuck yuck yuck... it was on all the time i remember... even thinking about this awful song is creeping me out... what kind of weirdo sees unborn children in his lovers eyes?) and Mariah Carey didn't do it for me.

then i went and looked properly and realised that 1991 was the year slayer came out with War Ensemble, which is like the song for me... i can't explain this song to you. you have to hear it blasting from your speakers, and the lead singer would scream "Waaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrr! Ensemble!" If i had an anthem, this would be it.... The best and cheapest stress buster in town... Waaaarrrrrrr!

REM came out with their Losing My Religion album in 1991... and that song and the whole album so touched me, so so much. i still love this song so much. Turns out, in 1991 i also listened to

3. under the bridge by red hot chilli peppers (which remains till today, one of my favourite favourite songs)
4. the unforgiven by metallica
5. I Wanna Sex You Up, Color Me Badd
6. Gonna Make You Sweat, C+C Music Factory
7. More than words by Extreme (remember this song? used to sing it all the time)
8. Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper
9. November Rain by Guns and Roses
10. Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn.

The year i turned 18 is very vivid in my memory - it was the year i got my spm results. it was the year i started my diploma in law. i was a paradox - on the outside i was this indian girl with long long hair, and on the inside i was this metal chick ... so lots of people had a very different perception of me, that were to say the least, completely inaccurate...

before the spm results came out, during the holidays, my friend suga (from penang) came and spent a month in my place in kl. we hung out all day, went shopping and did all sorts of freaky things. we would go to shopping complexes in bukit bintang, and pretend that we were down from the usa with with our rich daddy - suga made me try on all the expensive outfits, and we got the best treatment from the snobby salesgirls because of our uppity (fake) accents! we always made the salesgirls drool by picking up hugely expensive things at random and saying, "yeah, i think we'll take this as well" we went skating at this rink in bukit bintang, flirted with all sorts of guys there, who were eating out of our hands, and did all sorts of crazy teenage girl things...

when i got my spm results, my parents decided to enrol me in the diploma in law course in Help, and here i am, today... of course out of all my coursemates at help, the only one i keep in touch with is my friend, simone... don't know what the rest of them are doing...

i remember the year for the fact that i shared an amazing closeness with my two younger brothers... my taste in music is largely due to our shared influences during that time. while others hung out with their friends, i could just hang out with my brothers at home... we cooked, we blasted the music, we bitched about our mutual relatives... we were cool... we had so much fun...

its sad because we don't get to hang out so much any more. marriage. kids. work. different residences. these things have separated us, but you know, i know that they're there. they know i'm here. its just that we stopped being wild together... perhaps we have stopped being wild... and perhaps that's a necessary part of growing up - but its still a little sad... its like that guy said in that song of 1991 - a thing that made you go hmmm (remember this song C+C music factory - things that make you go hmmm)...

that year was also the year that i became aware that i had an effect on men... but i was not to realise my full powers until the year i turned 20... and i think this delayed realisation was because i went into that diploma program. you see the program, was for 6 months only, and immediately after that i joined the degree class - at 18 1/2, i was the youngest in that degree class. no one treated me like an equal because everyone was at least 2 years older than me ( and when you're 20, i guess, an 18 year old is a baby). - so my classmates treated me like a kid, and well, they treated me like a pet - and not the goddess i eventually turned out to be...

i won't complain because i had lots of fun - i met lots of wonderful people including jeff and shamira, some of whom changed my life and who i am today. until today, jeff shakes his head when he recalls me at 18 - long hair in a plait. pottu (bindi - a mark hindu women wear traditionally) a grungy bag. heavy metal t-shirt, jeans and singing a song from the sabbath stones. head banging....

so overall, i would have to say it was a good year for me ;)

i think i would also have to thank manju for sending me on this journey down memory lane.. guess i won't get you for tagging me after all, my dear.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lists: My Ten Favourite Gitanjali-isms

This photo is really a defining one for gitanjali, because really, she's sort of an undercover devil... she looks all angelic but the trident is making you wonder isn't it? I took her for a birthday party the other day, and she was in this beautiful white lengha (long skirt suit) with ribbons in her hair, and pearls, and everyone who came in to the party would exclaim, "she looks like an angel!"... and then she proceeded to terrorise all the kids... so anyway here are some of my favourite Gitanjali-isms for you...

1. one morning, when she was about 2 years old, she wandered into the bathroom for her shower, and noticed that her dad had left his minyak cap kapak (some kind of ointment which derek is addicted to. if you don't know it - it has a sort of sharp stinging smell, and you sniff it or rub it on your temples to allegedly help ease headaches or stuffy noses. However i know a great many people who are addicted to it, my husband being one) in the soap dish. she got so upset, put her hands on her hips, and said (very sternly): "look at this mama. he left it here again. i am socked and dis-pointed.... are you socked and dis-pointed? i am very upset"

2. she was carrying her handbag and asked me to carry her books for her. when i told her to carry them herself, she looked at me and said with her hands in the air "but how can i carry it? i am only a child. I am not Muruga ! (a Hindu God, and our personal diety)"

3. my parents are constantly dumb-founded by the things she comes up with. one evening while out in the garden with my mum, she said to my mum, "Paati (grandma), look!" and my mom looked at the garden and said "what is it?" and Gitanjali apparently went, "look at the plants and the flowers. they're so beautiful! how did it happen?"

4. i'm constantly trying to correct her behaviour, especially her temper tantrums, and her abusive behaviour to other kids... one day, she told me, "mama, you are Alysha, and i am Sham maasi, ok?" and she goes "Alysha darling, don't play with Gitanjali ok. She is a very naughty girl, always snatching things and hitting you..." LOL! it was a bit shocking really, because you don't think a 3 year old would be able to look at herself from the outside...

5. she was on the toilet while all this was going on, and having so much fun (with the role play) that she was there for what seemed like hours... so at some point i got impatient (which i am a lot with her, although i am trying to be better) and started yelling at her to finish already, at which point, she says to me, "Darling, if you get angry, or lose your temper, you cannot shout. You must take a piece of paper and scribble on it, and show me how you feel, ok? i Looooove you. Come, come, i will give you a kiss..." (even as i type this, i am laughing at the very patient intonation in her voice, as she gave me this piece of sage advice that i am constantly dishing out to her... LOL) Trust me, it was hysterical!

6. she's got a desk and 2 chairs in her cubicle in my office, with a telephone, and a pc (but at the time when this incident happened, she hadn't got her pc yet...). sometime last year (probably just after her 3rd birthday, she was in the office - school holidays or something. she generally plays on her own, so i don't really see what she's up to. this is as safe as it gets, you know? she's really comfortable with everyone here. well anyway, pramo, our chambering student was with us then, and they were both doing something together. i went off to meet a client - came back from my meeting and found that my little madam had moved her table to pramo's cubicle, set up all her stationary and phone there, literally squeezed pramo to a corner and then told her "you sit over there. don't disturb me ok? i am very busy" and gone to work scribbling on her pieces of paper!

7. i will never forget the day, when i asked her, "how are you feeling darling?" and her response was, "i'm feeling frustrated mummy!" . She started this after we got that book, The Way you Feel, but on and off, she does come and say, she's feeling frustrated... she usually has a reason as well, but its usually something like, "i'm frustrated because i want to get that sweet"....

8. My office is on the 1st floor. i usually park my car on the main road and pass the downstairs mamak coffeeshop on the way up. everyone in the shop knows her. actually, i guess everyone on this street knows her. Anyway, my associates in this office (if you read my office blog, you would know that its very much a place where we eat) have trained my daughter in several bad habits. any time she is here, she gets to go down to this coffeeshop or the convenience shop in the petrol station for some kind of goody. usually at the coffeeshop downstairs, she gets to buy a bun from the bread stand (which is right by the entrance)... One day, i get her down from the car, and walk with her to my office. As she approached the bread stand, she turned and looked at fatty (the manager of the coffeeshop who mans the cash counter), then ran to the bread stand, snatched a bun and ran off to the office! Criminal behaviour! in broad daylight! Clearly with Intent to commit a felony!!! at 3 years old! Dear, dear, dear. it makes me think of what they say, "you only find on the ladle, what there is in the pot..." (an old tamil saying - "satiyile irrukurathuthan appayile varum" i.e. the child being the ladle and the pot being the parent - not that i was ever guilty of criminal behaviour at 3 years old mind you... or even now... or anywhere in between either, so don't go there)

9. as i was walking her to her class one morning, 2 other kids came up. the little boy started whispering to his sister, and after a pause, she came up to me and said "She (pointing a finger at gitanjali) beat my brother yesterday." you must understand that i am not a confrontational person at all - i don't quarrel with people generally, and this was early in the morning, probably not even 9 yet, and i hadn't had any coffee, and you know, this kid was like 6 years old or so - i really wasn't expecting a fight early in the morning you see - so i said, to her, somewhat lamely, "oh dear. did she? what did the teacher say?" really pathetic i know, but i am not a morning person, and she was truly 6 years old, its like being attacked by a, i don't know, something small and furry and cute, by a hamster or something... aiyah! i don't know. don't judge me, ok...

anyway, so i sort of avoid looking at this kid, and as i hand over gitanjali to her teacher, i ask her, "did she beat anyone yesterday?". The teacher looks at me in surprise and says, no, she didn't beat anyone. so then i point out the hamster's brother, and the teacher goes "Ohh him. No she didn't beat him. She bit him yesterday. She took his hand and chomped it like this!"

Of course she then went on to explain that said brutality had come about because he had been bullying Tishia (Gitanjali's favourite in class, who has Down's Syndrome), but i have to admit i had to go and have some serious coffee after that...

10. last week she went and told everyone in my office, and i mean, everyone, "you know, my vulva is red today? that's why, its... itchy!"

Lists: My Ten Favourite Books

In no particular order are:

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien (because seriously how can you trump this book? the inventiveness, the detail, the imagination, the romance, the characters, the landscape, the vision... i could go on and on, but yet fail to accurately tell you why this is such a wonderful book. i really think that everyone should re-read this book, at least once a year... if you've never even read it once purely on the flimsy grounds that a. it is too wordy b. it is too descriptive or c. you don't read sci-fi, then all i can say is, woe be to you! it's like saying you don't eat chocolates because unwrapping them is such a bore. don't be like that - go read it)

2. One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (brilliant)

3. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

4. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

5. All of Terry Pratchett's books, but if you asked me to specify just one, then - Reaperman

6. The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (i love Mr. Twain dearly, but i think this was his masterpiece)

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

8. Catch-22 Joseph Heller (so hilarious and yet, so sad)

9. pride and prejudice by jane austen

10. Leave it to Psmith by pg wodehouse (i adore all of wodehouse, but this one is my personal fav)

10A. Cheaper by the Dozen (Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth - this book is out of print as far as i know, but is the most wonderful book. it is truly a comfort book. one i read when i need cheering up.. hence had to add it to my list as 10A.)

Monday, March 19, 2007


So i've always known i was strong and beautiful, but i've just found out that i'm supergirl... of course i would be happier if i was superwoman, but what the hell, i guess i can live with being supergirl. it's a tough job, but someone's got to do it...

Your results:
You are Supergirl

Wonder Woman
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Lean, muscular and feminine.
Honest and a defender of the innocent.
click here to take the "which superhero are you?" quiz...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day and i dedicate it to all the wonderful women in my life ... and that includes you dear reader ...

Let's celebrate this day and embrace all the women who have made a difference in our lives. Our mothers, our aunts, our grandmothers, sisters, best friends, our daughters, our secretaries, our goddesses...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Books: February

Despite it being the shortest month of the year, i managed to read 3 books - which goes to show something i'm sure - though i don't know what. probably that i have an undemanding child who understands that i need to read to be normal.

So, i read, Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells, which frankly, i didn't like so much. i felt a little cheated as i loved the Ya Yas in Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and this prequel doesn't do them any favours. i ended up feeling really terrible for their children, the Ya ya-ettes - the poor things. So i guess the novel was succesful on one level since it produced this total emphathy i have for the kids - but because i loved the divine secrets i was saddened by this. It's like one of those episodes on your favourite show, where your fav character gets killed off. you had to watch the show to see it happen, but you can't take it nevertheless. That's how i felt about this book. Sigh...

Then i read When we were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro, who i love for writing The Remains of the Day - which must be one of the most wonderful books ever. And it was good.Can't wait to read Never Let Me Go, which is also by him. Its sitting on my bookshelf waiting for him, but the thing about him, is that he makes you feel so deeply for his characters, that you sort of feel drained after finishing the novel. You need to step away and breathe... large breaths.... in out, in out...

So to breathe i read The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards- which probably wasn't so clever of me, since it is also a deeply emotional novel. It's about a doctor who delivers his twins on a snowy day, and finds out that whilst his son is normal, his daughter has Down's Syndrome. And it is set in the sixties when very little was understood about people with Down's Syndrome and there wasn't much support. The general prognosis then was that the child would be very disabled and a short life because of heart complications. In grief, he gives the child to his nurse and tells her to send the child to a nursing home. He tells his wife the girl died in childbirth.

The nurse can't bring herself to give the baby up and runs away - she cares for the baby and brings her up. she has to fight lots of fights but when the book ends the girl is 24 years old and has a job and wants to get married.

i've been wanting to read this book ever since i saw the blurb on the back of the book in a bookshop last year; And then this year Gitanjali's best friend in class is little Tishia Bharti who has Down's Syndrome. She is such a lovely child. Everytime she sees me, she gives me a hug and 2 kisses, one on each cheek. I've never met such a loving toddler before. i just want to take her home and take care of her and never let any harm come to her.

And so, when i saw this book during the recent CNY sale at Trishansasha, i had to buy it.

It's a nice book, but i think the author could have done much better. She put in a lot of stuff that she didn't have to, and somehow a lot of emotions get glossed over for the overriding pain of the loss of that little girl. The mom can never move past that point in her life to celebrate in her son. Her daughter died and she goes into depression. And while this is a valid emotion, it doesn't make sense that she can't enjoy her son. but then maybe that's what depression means. i don't know.

The story is told in parallel format. the son and the daughter. Because the book spans 24 years, there are lots of leaps made. i guess the story hooked me more than the actual novel. It was good but could have been great...

It's March now, and i'm reading Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. Let you know how that works out ok...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Being 34

You know, for the longest time, i was 26. Every year, i celebrated the anniversary of my 26th birthday. But then Gitanjali came along when i turned 30, and it was a little bit difficult to ignore that fact. So anyway, i'm 34.

And 34 has meant the following:

1. under eye cream. Ye Gods! i am old to need this, but i do. i actually have actual lines under my actual eyes. Although the other day, a door to door surveyer turned up at my place, and asked me whether my mother was in. When i (being a bit blur as usual) said no, she wasn't in, he wanted to speak to some other adult on the premises, so either this guy was a mind reader who knew that mentally i'm about 16, or i just look 16 despite the actual lines under my actual eyes... or he was visually challenged (which he was not, since he was able to write the answers i gave him (obviously after all that i had to entertain him and asnwer his questions...)

2. i have PMS. AAaaaarggghh!!! it just suddenly turned up. i never had it, and now i do. Every month for about 2 days, i get all melancholy. i'm down and it feels like the world is collapsing, and i have to cry and cry for every small thing. Horrible. I think i only realised it because its so unlike me to be depressed, and i was so down this month just before i got my menses. Strange that age can do that to you, but there you are.

3. I am slighly obsessive compulsive (OC). Really. and i've just realised this. When i say i'm OC, i mean that when i'm doing something, i can't stop and do something else. Don't get me wrong. i'm the Queen of Multi Tasking. I can sit in a trial, and sms at the same time. i read a submission, answer the phone, and give an opinion to one of my associates at the same time as i'm having lunch. Multi Task is what i do best. But let's say i'm soaping the dishes, and you ring my doorbell, i will be unable to rinse off and answer the door. i have to finish soaping the dishes, rinse my hand, then answer the door.

The other day, Sham, inarah and alysha had dropped by for a visit. The kids were playing, and had dropped crumbs all over. i was sweeping up, when Gitanjali ran and fell. My hands were dirty, and Sham was nearest, so she was consoling G. i had to wash my hand before i went to G, and even then, as i approached G, i noticed some crumbs on the floor. i had to stop, pick up the crumbs and only then could i go to my daughter, who was wailing away in pain! Psychotic of me, but its things like this that have made me realise i am OC. it's not only to do with cleaning either. Lots of other things have me obsessing. Too many to list now, but anyway, 34 has done this to me...

Strange but True


I think that one of the terrible things that you have to deal with as a grown up, is that your parents are not infallible. That they are vulnerable. That they can probably die, just like other people.

My dad was driving me somewhere the other day, and telling me of how he plans to sell his Volve, b'cos he no longer trusts his driving. He said he was getting older and that his spatial judgment was getting bad, and i'm sitting in his car, and trying so hard not to listen to him... you know mentally i had my hands over my ears and singing "La, la, la, la" the way we do when we are kids and we don't want to listen to that kid over there calling you names

i just couldn't deal with it. i mean he's Super Appa. My dad. He can do anything. How can he not be able to drive a Volvo? so anyway, i don't really want to ever have to deal with it. i just want him to always be able to do everything fabulously, you know?

Three weeks ago my mum developed some terrible leg pains, and convinced herself she was dying - and she refused to let anyone take her to the doctor. i remember telling my colleagues at work this, and they were shocked at me - they kept saying "how can you just let her not seek treatment? what if there's something terribly wrong and you could treat it? - and whilst all that makes sense, here's the thing... it's my mum. what can happen to her? she is indestructable, virtually. she's not going to die.
and while logically, i know that of course such things (death etc) can happen to everyone (theoretically), i can't really reconcile it with my parents... Hope i don't even have to go think about it for a long long long time...

Anyway her leg pain went away. She went online and checked up her symptoms, and did some self treatment. For my mom, anything found on the net, is better than an actual doctor telling her the same time...

In any event, my mom has made me promise that if something were to happen to her, e.g she collapsed or something, and she was not in possession of her faculties, i am to refuse all invasive medical interference on her behalf. she doesn't want to have a bypass, or her leg amputated or something. Give me the dignity of death, she said. So there. not really negligent daughter after all.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Holiday in KL

I've finally got the internet back after 1 week of crossed wires and no service, and it feels wonderful. we stayed back in Kl during the Chines New Year Hols (Gong Xi Fa Cai! everyone) and it was blissful. The roads, oh i could write an ode to the roads in KL during Chinese New Year. Such beauty i have not seen in a long while...
Sham and i took the kids to the Lake Garden park on Saturday, and on Monday, we took them swimming. Simply joy

These are pictures of them on the revolving swing

ice cream on the park tram. what better way to spend a sunny day?


Photos of us in the pool and the jacuzzi

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

congenital heart defect day

Sham told me today, that it is congenital heart defect (CHD) day.
A little more than a year ago, this would have meant nothing to me.

400 days ago, i would have told you that CHD happens to other people.

57 weeks ago, we hadn't even thought of a name for inarah yet.

in this past year, i've been through several phases in dealing with inarah's CHD.

at one point, i never spoke about it. i tried to forget it, and pretended she was and is perfectly normal. i could never speak to sham about my own fears for her as well, because i was afraid i would make her cry, and i can't bear it when she cries - it breaks my heart. i guess this is because she has always been the stronger one. i'm the zany nut. she is the stabilising factor. she feeds me when i'm hungry and rescues me when i need rescuing.

i don't ever remember rescuing her - or for that matter of her ever needing rescuing. she is my rock.

i remember once when i was chambering, i had taken a huge bag full of original documents home to work on it overnight. i took a bus home, and happily got off the bus - leaving behind this bag!!!!

i walked halfway home, then realised my hand was quite free. thought about it for a while (show's u that even goddesses can be bimbos), then had a heart attack as i realise i had left this entire bag with all the original documents (the client's only copy of the documents) on some minibus. i dithered on that road - walked a few steps back and a few steps forward, in some kind of bizarre dance while my brain turned to jelly. i had visions of my budding legal career being flushed down the toilet, and further visions in which i was made bankrupt after the client sued me for negligence... i was already crying by the time i called sham. in between my tears, i managed to tell her the story - and she came! she caught a bus and actually came to this bus stop to hold me and wait with me to check every bus that went past. we found that bag eventually, sitting exactly where i had left it - but to this day, the horror of that day is still fresh in my mind, which usually is rather like a sieve...

so. she is my hero. and heroes are not allowed to cry.

but suddenly we have this baby - and she is wonderful. she is gummy and huggy and beautiful. she laughs and smiles. she's just adorable and its true, i do forget that she has CHD.

but then, i now realise that just because i don't think about it and i don't talk about it - it means that one day we will wake up, and take her for a check up, and the doctor will scratch his head, and say "Folks, its a miracle. she's cured. she doesn't need the surgery after all."

i have to confess that i had a sort of fantasy that in fact, this was going to happen, because after all it's us. things like this don't happen to us... but they do. and it has. and it won't happen that way. and that is scary to me for all sorts of reasons, that are scary to even think about...

so anyway, i thought this poem is wonderful, because it's so true.

Somewhere...someplace... today...
A family is waiting to hear...
Is something wrong with their baby?
The answers aren't quite clear...
This family has entered an unwanted world...
And they just don't know what to expect...
Somewhere...someplace... today
They first heard the words: heart defect.
And how they hoped this was not true...
And thought... this cannot be...
I too... know just how this feels...
For one day...this was me.
And how they hoped this was not true...
And thought... this cannot be...
I too... know just how this feels...
For one day...this was me.
A man and a woman embrace...
Their baby is in surgery...
They long to see her face...
They haven't got to hold her yet...
Without...a cord or line...
They pace the room awaiting news...
And hope she'll be just fine.
Prayers fill this busy waiting room...
And mom and dad are scared...
The tiniest hearts are repaired.
A child's growing fast...
His mom thinks...can this last?
It's almost forget...
That anything is wrong...
Her child seems so strong.

Somewhere...someplace... today...
A little boy fights...just to live
A father holds his tiny hand...
His love...all he can give...
The doctor's are all baffled...
They fear that he might die...
A family says goodbye...
Somewhere...someplace...each year..
More than 40,000 families will see...
What it means...when something's wrong...
They'll face a CHD.
Today...for just a moment...
Make time to tell someone you know...
"I've been changed by a heart defect".

Author - Stephanie Husted

I've been that person holding a baby in a waiting room, hoping the doctor will say, it's just a false alarm - she's not a blue baby. And i've been that person who had to listen to the doctor say that she has CHD.

so: i've been changed by a heart defect.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

xina and derek

i finished a year in provence. it was as delightful as i thought it would be. really felt as though i had popped into provence for a bit. v. good.

it's really quiet in the office today. just derek, esther the new receptionist and me.

By the way, i may have forgotten to mention that my husband has been renamed as derek by Gitanjali, who is no longer gitanjali at all, but Xina. Lol!

She told me, as i was getting her ready one day that her name was Princess Josephina. She asked me for my name, and voila! i am now princess esmeralda. she then announced that her papa was derek. so i asked her, "is he a prince, baby?"

And the answer?

"no mama. He's just Derek. He doesn't have a crown or anything... he's just derek. Derek! Derek! come here Derek! Derek!" (needless to say she has a crown. it is pink and furry and sort of hairbandy, that her nut of a godfather, kumar, bought for her at some ridiculous price from klcc...) And then she proceeded to call her father "Derek" until he was forced to answer her. So anyway, now he's Derek. and so he shall be henceforth referred in this blog, as derek is infinitely nicer than "moo".

oh, i bet you're wondering why her name is xina instead of princess josephina right? well i bought some gloxinias last week (gorgeous indoor flowering plant), and brought one to the office, which i named Xina. G happened to be in the office last week, and i introduced her to Xina, whereupon, Gitanjali, consumed with immediate envy, renounced her princesshood, and declared that her name was now Xina, and that the plant is now Princess Josephina. which worked out quite well, b'cos obviously, xina is shorter than p.josephina and its highli unlikely that i need to call the plant, whereas G needs to be called all the time...

Only fault in this whole name change by G is that she can never remember "Xina", so she sidles up to me, and goes, "uhh, mama? what's my name? aah. Xina. Papa, don't call me Gitanjali. i am ...uh... mama, who am i? i forgot...i am zani... no i am xina." LOL... there should be a constant laugh track in my house, cause the insanity never stops. My mum called the other day, and spoke to her, and she told my mum, "i'm very busy. i'm eating poisonous biscuits!" (actually she meant expensive biscuits, but it came out wrong...)

so anyway, suddenly everyone's back from court and the office is noisy... see you soon.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bloggers United. No Fear

i support them. Do you?

books i've been reading

so anyway, while i fell off the edge of the world in december and disappeared for a bit there, i was reading these books..

1. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb - lovely. go read it.

2. The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi- hilarious, and at the same time, very real. Karim the nervy (and not nerdy) lead protagonist sounded very like a couple of friends i had when i was younger...

3. Thud(and Where's my Cow) by TerryPratchett -
obviously as a rabid TPratchett fan, i may be slightly biased, but this is as usual for TP, a funny and wonderful book. Loved them both. i refuse to surrender Where's my Cow to Gitanjali, despite the fact that it is a picture book, which just goes to show how rabid i actually am - because these books were gifts from Jeff, and he had inscribed the inside of Where's My Cow in the following insane manner - "To G, love Jeff Mama". i am currently investigating how to erase that without leaving a mark, so any helpful suggestions will be welcome.

4. The Divine Secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood by Rebecca Wells- i liked it. made me want to see the movie, which is usually a good sign

5. Masqueraders by Georgette Heyer - the wonderful thing about my holiday reading this year was that i got to read books by some of my favourite authors. Georgette Heyer enjoys an entire shelf on my library, so i loved it that i got to add this book to my collection. i had never come across it before, and have to say that this story of a sister and brother who masquerade as a brother and sister respectively is one of her best. love it, and shall read it again.

6. Ancestral Vices by Tom Sharpe - I checked my books yesterday and realised that there are only 3 Tom Sharpe books that i don't have yet. He is another favourite of mine, and this book as usual is a gem that you really cannot read in public because of your tendency to laugh hysterically. Certainly the scene in the book where the cranky Lord orders a sucking pig (as in a baby pig still nursing from the sow) for an 8 course dinner, only to be served with a huge wild boar by the chef because the butcher had misheard the order for the meat, and sent a pig had me rolling on the floor... so, this is a dangerous book. read it privately.

7. The Ground beneath her Feet by Salman Rushdie. classic Rushdie but haven't finished it yet because i got sidetracked by the rest of the above. Little bit more. The problem is that when you are reading a rushdie, you can't reasonably read 2 other books at the same time. you get a bit lost... so shall finish it once i finish it. which shall be reasonably soon i expect, since i have Haroun and the Sea of Fish (also by Rushdie) which is also waiting to be read. But ormus cama is calling me in my sleep, and singing. i have to read this one soon, i know it.

8. i'm currently reading A year in Provence by Peter Mayle. makes me hungry i have to say. i love travel books, where the author goes off and spends time in a foreign location and do up an old house and eat and eat and eat - especially when they are well written. i feel like the writer is my friend, and that i am being invited to just pop over and hang out at their place and eat and eat and eat. i loved Extra Virgin: amongst the olive groves of Liguria by Annie Hawes. Lovely book, so i'm sure that i'm going to love this one too, especially since its considered some sort of classic to be compared against every other book of this genre. So if you write a book in this particular genre, and your book is compared to A year in Provence, you know you've done well for yourself. So anyway, i already love it, and i'm only half way.

Now that i read this list, i realise it looks pretty diverse - but actually its not. There is a method to my madness, and the fact is that part of my compulsive personality is that once i like an author, i have this need to collect all his/her books. Hence i have a shelf full of PG Wodehouse, a shelf of G. Heyer, 2 shelves of TPratchett, all but 3 TomSharpes, half a shelf of Rushdie (they're harder to get, what with books being stopped at JB... 3 books of KazuoIshigaro (i just started obsessing about him), 5 of GabrielGarciaMarquez, half a shelf of SpikeMilligan (i've successfully brainwashed my husband, and he thinks that he is collecting them but they are all mine. Mine, mine, mine), and half a shelf of travel books.

Not to mention all those picture books of Gitanjali's which are at least partly mine. i'm just allowing them to sit on her bookshelf. so anyway... can't quite remember where i was going with this logic...

ah, yes. i just wanted you to know that i spent my time well, while i was not blogging. so rest assured. i only went away to improve myself. back now, so be cool.

Friday, November 24, 2006

rumours of my demise

no no, i'm not dead yet. and neither is this blog. it's just that i've been terribly busy being a lawyer and all... suddenly i'm in court all the time, and interviewing clients and preparing agreements and submissions and i don't know what all. so no time to indulge in any kind of brain activity that is not legal. sorry. shall be back in december but for the moment, am just swamped. completely. very unfair, but such is life. i'm good. actually even my nearest and dearest would desist from calling me good. slightly naughty then. law coming out of my ears, but doing alright despite that fact... miss you too.

anyway, just came back from oblivion to give you this public service message:

Trisha n Sasha are having a storewide sale - everything is on at least 20% off, - but if you buy for more than rm100, its 30% off...

so there. now that i have done my duty to mankind, shall catch up with you in december ok...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

books, lovely books

After my post about our favourite books, I’ve had loads of enquiries as to where I’ve been getting all these lovely books from. I don’t blame you if you’ve not seen such books in your friendly neighbourhood bookshop. I haven’t either.

For some strange reason, the large chain bookshops in kl, seem to stock up on a different variety of books altogether. Occasionally, you can find a couple of Dr. Seuss books, and some Sandra Boynton books, but otherwise, you are in for a meager selection at exorbitant prices.

Luckily for me, I discovered Trisha ‘n’ Sasha, a children’s bookshop in Sri Hartamas, when Gitanjali was about 18 months old – since then, most of my book purchases have been from here. T&S has a delightful collection of picture books, which they restock all the time. Its purely a children’s bookshop, and the variety of quality books and fun educational materials is, from a kl perspective, amazing. Books range from about RM6.00 onwards, with the average book priced between RM19.90 and RM25.90. They also have storewide sales about 3 to 4 times a year, when every book in the store, is at 20% off.

The last time they had it was in July, and every book in the store was at 30% off. Every Book!!! Sham and I both bought the same parenting book, titled, “How to talk so kids will talk, and listen so kids will talk” – its’ fantastic, and after 30% off, came up to RM48.00 or so!!!

They have storytelling sessions every Saturday morning from eleven to twelve o’clock, and these sessions are followed up with hand/face painting and balloons – and this is all free!!! And the storytelling is wonderful. I love it, love it , love it.

After re-reading the above post, I note with some trepidation that there seems to be an unusually large number of exclamation marks, but I can’t bring myself to delete any of them, as they are sort of necessary, and not really the sign of a demented mind (as I am sure some of you were beginning to wonder). It’s just that I’m so grateful that I have this wonderful bookshop to go to. In the spirit of confession, I have to admit that more often than not, I fall in love with the books, and buy them for Gitanjali without consulting her first – I sort of feel deprived that I never had these kind of choices when I was growing up. I would have loved pig in the pond. I would have cherished all the books I have now collected – and yes, deep down inside, (very deep la ok) I actually on a certain level think of her books as mine, because I adore them. And she always falls in love with them too.

The last trip that we made, I let her choose one book, and she chose a Barbie doll story book (which cost RM5.53, after discount), which she fell in love with, and made us read about 20 times everyday. She was so grateful for this book that she actually crawled up to our bed in the middle of the night (on the day that I had bought her the book), hugged me tightly, and said, “thank you so much mummy for buying me my Barbie doll book. I love you sooo much…”

Touching as that was, I don’t intend to let Barbie corrupt our collection, so mostly, I choose the books, and I love them madly. So anyway, go check T&S out.
Their address is:

No. 6-2 & 4-2 (2nd Floor)
Jalan 31/70A
Desa Sri Hartamas
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 23004399

Now I’ve gushed so much about T&S that I’ve forgotten about the Scholastic Book Clubs. This is a book club, which Gitanjali’s school belongs to, and they seem to come out with book catalogues every 2-3 months. I’ve found Scholastic to have a fantastic range of picture books – in fact, scholastic actually is a range that aims to bring great books to more people at cheaper prices - the quality is probably not as great as a non-scholastic version, but will be so much cheaper. In fact, I remember there was one particular book, Giraffes Can’t Dance, where the scholastic version was RM20 cheaper, but the non-scholastic version was so much more gorgeous that I bought the more expensive version… but this is a one off thing – usually scholastic versions are great anyway, and with the book club, I can get fabulous books at RM6 onwards. I bought “Guess How much I Love you” for RM11.00, and “Sheep in a Jeep” for RM7.00… such steals. The only problem is that the books are so cheap, that you end up spending about RM100.00 each time… but you get 10 books. So I guess it works out… Scholastic Book Clubs however seems to be available through schools only. So if your child's school isn't a member, and they would like to be, you can call this number: 1-300-88-7818 or you can give me the school's particulars and i can pass it on to gitanjali's headmistress, for her to recommend.

Happy Reading y'all

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The wild things

Gitanjali and Alysha with Mr. Lion and Tiger at my house

God's Cake

Sometimes we wonder, "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Here is a wonderful explanation!

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away. Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, "Absolutely Mom, I love your cake."

"Here, have some cooking oil," her Mother offers. "Yuck" says her daughter.

"How about a couple raw eggs?" "Gross, Mom!"

"Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?"

"Mom, those are all yucky!"

To which the mother replies: "Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.

Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance ;)

I rarely post things here that were not originally written by me, but i received this forward today, and i thought, "wow!". The message is simple really, but sometimes its nice to be reminded, you know?

My favourite line is : "God is crazy about you, He sends you flowers every spring, and a sunrise every morning."

Actually, He makes my petunias and jasmines flower everyday, all year through, so He must love me oodles ;) Bet He loves you too...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Merdeka Baby

i have to say that i'm viewing the upcoming independance day celebrations with more enthusiasm than i did last year.

probably its b'cos gitanjali keeps shouting "merdeka, medeka" in the most cheerful voice, at the drop of a hat, and she gets all joyful and stuff as soon as she sees a malaysian flag. "Merdeka, Merdeka!!!" "Mummy look, 5 flags. Merdeka". Unbridled Exuberant Joy (all begining with capitals, please note) would be an understatement for her state of mind at the sight of the flag. They are teaching them to wave the flag and march up and down at her school.

i guess this is what they mean by brainwashing the young... Das Kapital and all that. Anyway, so I too, am joyfully exuberant about the fact that we Malaysians are celebrating "Merdeka" and shouting it from the rooftops (or at least from the balcony of my 9th floor apartment, with a joyfully exuberant 3 year old waving a malaysian flag). My mother has also joined in the festivities, and has presented me with a flag to hoist in my 1st floor office. it is some 4 feet tall, and needs a pole, she tells me...

So, while i stand here and ponder on the inexplicable absence of any flag pole in my office, which if i didn't mention it before, is on the 1st floor, Happy Merdeka Baby. Have a fantabulous time, and make sure you get some flags to wave joyfully.

Friday, August 25, 2006

our favourite books

Gitanjali is only 3, but between us, we've read such wonderful picture books in the last couple of years that i thought i would do a list of our favourite books...

1. my all time favourite is "owl babies" (by martin waddel and patrick benson), which i got for her when she was 18 months old. she loves it, but i have to confess, i love it more. the artwork is spectacular, and the story so very real... this book is a comfort to me and to my baby.

2. second place is tied. my vote goes for "the pig in the pond", which is by martin waddell and jill barton. This book is laugh out loud funny. a number of people have read this out to my daughter, and they are always laughing by the time they get to the end, so i love this book.

However, gitanjali adores "i love you stinky face", which is by
lisa mccourt and cyd moore.this book was something alysha read first and loved. sham recommended it to me, but i had doubts buying it, b'cos gitanjali was only 2 years or so when i got it. i didn't really think she would understand the meaning of "cyclops" or "green alien from mars", but boy was i surprised! Gitanjali loved this book from the moment i first read it to her. i like it too, but gitanjali can tell you the entire story by heart - if you didn't know better, you'd think she was reading it...

3. would have to be "Snuggle puppy" by sandra boynton. it's a classic boynton boardbook, and i got it for her when she was less than a year old, but both of us love this book, and know it by heart. it is also a song ( a love song), which you can listen to on boynton's site, so we sing it as well... we love this book very much...

4. this is a new book for us, but already we've fallen in love with it. In "Guess how much i love you" (Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram), Little Nutbrown Hare describes to Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him. Gitanjali now asks me daily "guess how much i love you", and proceeds to demonstrate to me exactly how much she does - its lovely.

5. "One fish, two fish, Red fish, blue fish" is also a new book for us. i don't know if it counts as a picture book but it's a Dr. Seuss book, and the longest one we've read so far. my husband was reading it to her for the first time the other day, and somewhere midway, he stopped, looked at me, and said, when does it end? LOL... it's a really funny book, and gtitanjali already knows enough of it to fake "reading" it... in my house, we have to read this book at least 3 times a day currently (sometimes under duress), so it is hot...

6. "Sheep in a Jeep" by Nancy E. Shaw is fun fun funny. six sheep jump on a jeep, push it into mud, rescue it from the mud with the help of some tattoed pigs then drive off in happiness and crash into a tree. the sheep are so comical, and their looks of dismay priceless...
Go buy this book.

7."The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear" by Don & Audrey Wood is beautifully illustrated, and has great comic value.

The expression on the mouse's face when he thinks the bear is after his strawberry, and his attempts to hide the strawberry are precious. i love this book.

8. "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer is endearing, and just right for bedtime. This is another great favourite in our bedroom, and the little girl in the book is Gitanjali, or so she would have you belive it. Of course the pretty mama, is me...

9. "Harriet you'll drive me Wild" is also by mem fox, but is totally different from time for bed. its illustrated by Marla Frazee. Harriet is a pesky child, and her mom an almost saint who tries not to yell, but fails miserably by the last few pages. This book came to me at just the right time, when i was about to sell gitanjali to the best bidder, for no peskier child could i have found. nowadays i just tell gitanjali "You're not a pesky child isn't it?" or better "you know mama doesn't want to yell right?" (which is of course a terrible lie, b'cos this mama is not only already yelling, but on the verge of rendering bodily violence...). Anyway. we love this book, b'cos its about a pesky child and an oppressed mama, which we can both of us identify with... also its very funny... so go get it, even if you have pesky sons and not daughters...

10. "Click Clack Moo" (Doreen Cronin, Betsy Lewin) is about cows that go on strike because they are cold and are demanding electric blankets... so funny. Buy it for yourself, and your kids will fall in love with it too...

PS: i did this list from memory in my office on a sleepy friday. i am away from my bookshelf, and have only put down what i can remember. the books here are all lovely, but since i have a full row on my bookshelf all crammed with picture books, and all of which, we love at home, i probably have missed many out... so what i am trying to say is this is obviously not a full and comprehensive list. also there are books that i have not read to her yet or haven't bought for her yet. "Where the wild things are" by Maurice Sendak is one of them. Another is "Goodnight Moon", and also "Goodnight Zoo". Also i have only included one dr. Seuss book, and one Sandra Boynton book, b'cos we find all their books lovely.

Have a good weekend you all...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

everyday i open up this page, and think "What? still no posts?" "why why why"... i don't know what i think is going to happen - that someone is going to tap into my brain and type out my thoughts i guess..

the fact that no one has, is a bit disconcerting, and this terrible method of me actually having to log on and actually having to rack my brain and actually having to type the actual thoughts out seems a tad inefficient, not to say outmoded... but what to do? i miss all my lovely comments, and you lot don't seem to want to comment if i've not posted, so it looks like i've got no choice but to do it the old fashioned way... so here i am...

how have you been? i've been well. a little busy, a little zoned out.. a little fatter... what is it about fat? why does it creep up on you like that? and the terrible thing is that your brain somehow adjusts itself so that when you look in the mirror, you look the same as you did 5 years ago, and then suddenly, WHAM!!! can't fit into any of your clothes...

this week has been a rollercoaster one for me... some ups, some downs... hardly got to watch any telly, except for nigella cooking something yesterday... only got to watch this as gitanjali loves her as much as i do...

moo bought me a surprise ring with a nice big stone on it, so that was definitely an up. the down was that i only get to pick it up tommorrow after they've set it... i've also had people unloading their problems on me this week - 5 different people by the way with 5 major problems, and i have to say that it is tiring and tedious - somehow i sort of carry their problems with me, even though they've gone off feeling a little better for talking to me... but then i guess i'm blessed that i only have to listen - it's not as if i'm carrying that burden for them, am i... and they all said that they felt better for having me listen to them, so i shall not complain...

its school holidays after tomorrow, and god help me, what will i do? sham has promised to go on a picnic with me, so that will be nice, but what about the rest of the days? have been racking my brain, but no thoughts yet... and the thing is she's 3. so many many more years of school holidays looming ahead... a bit scary the whole thought of it...

i have to say, having gitanjali in my life - it's like i was always wandering around in black and white, and suddenly there's colour... and noise... it's wonderful. but the whole mom thing is so tiring. i think that this is the thing.... it's like having the best time of your life, but being tired at the same time, and not having enough sleep, and this, with only one toddler... what happens when i have the other 3 (oh didn't i tell you? i plan to have 4 kids, if i can)

gitanjali was fully breastfed until she was 21 months old, and she spent the first 18 months of her life entirely in my care. i was lucky and still am lucky that i could keep her with me for that long, and that even now, i get to spend more time with her than most working moms - but i have to say that now that i don't have her with me all the time - i make sure that the hours that i spend with her are solely centered around her, and we have a lot more fun these days... (this of course means that i suffer terrible pangs of guilt whenever i go out and do something that does not include her, like a facial or a manicure or shopping... ) which was not the case when i had her with me all the time in the office - see those days, i used to have her in the office all day long... i had to work and keep an eye on her as well, which meant i was there, but i wasn't really there mentally with her - then when we went home, i would be so tired, that i would just turn on the tv or grab a book and zone out... nowadays b'cos i don't get to see her all day, i don't zone out at all... she's number one all the time, and that is just the way i like it, i have to say...

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why God made Mums

Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?
1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mum just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you Your mother & not some other mum?

1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's mums like me.

What kind of little girl was your mum?

1. My mum has always been my mum and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mum need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mum marry your dad?
1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my mum eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mum didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mum doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
2. Mum. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mum is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between mums & dads?
1. Mums work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.
2. Mums know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but mums have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Mums have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mum do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mum perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your Mum, what would it be?
1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my Mum smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Please Rock my Boat

Do you remember this song? it's by bob marley, and the chorus goes:

"oh please don't you rock my boat, cause i don't want my boat to be rocked..."

when i was on holiday in kinabalu recently, i was asked an interesting question by one of my friends - he asked me why i couldn't stop being a lawyer while i was on holiday... this came up because my husband was hustling shan and telling him not to do something (really can't remember what it was he was told he couldn't do) and shan was taking it quietly. this bugged me and i was tellling shan he had to stand up for himself and defend his position... hence, the lawyer remark...

the thing is this - i don't think telling someone to defend their position or their stand, or even telling someone to make a stand is "lawyer" thing... i should think its a basic premise that everyone operates on... over the last couple of weeks, i've come to realise that most people just don't like rocking the boat... most malaysians have an opinion about the govt. and about politics and about "that fellow", but most don't do anything about their own basic human rights...

i've always been a firm supporter of the proposition:
"i disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

(a quote which is commonly misattributed to Voltaire, but is actually a summary of his attitudes, based on statements he made in Essay on Tolerance, by Evelyn Beatrice Hall (writing under the pseudonym of Stephen G. Tallentyre in The Friends of Voltaire (1906))

and i think that surely that is the philosophy everyone should have, that if you disagree with something, or if something is wrong, or if something goes against the grain - you should stand up and voice out your opinion, that you don't take everything life serves up on you with a smile (and a what can i do, i'm just one person attitude)... but i look around me, and realise, that alas, most malaysians don't think like this at all... most of don't question what goes on under our noses, and God forbid! if your boss or your superior says something, then it must be followed (even if it goes against the grain to do so)...

my associates come back from court all the time and inform us for example "oh, by the way, there's a new court policy - we have to name the individual lawyer on the warrant to act which is signed by the lawyer"... now this is a general document that we get all our clients to sign.

i looked at kavi (who happened to be the one who came back from court with this new policy) and asked her, well what happens if that lawyer cannot attend court on that day or if that lawyer leaves our firm, by the time this hearing comes up?

and kavi's response was "i know, but that's what the judge wants." (we fought that policy by the way, and now there is a direction from the court that we don't have to do this...)

but this is the thing, why do we just take it? what about if you're in a queue at the supermarket, you pay your RM49.90, and instead of giving you the 10cents balance, the cashier rings up the next customer? and what if you were that customer behind the guy who got shortchanged? would you support his decision to fight for his right for his 10cents, or would you just think he was being stingy and was wasting precious moments of your time while you wait in line behind him?

most of us would walk away from that 10 cents. and most of us would think rude thoughts of anyone holding up a queue for a meagre 10 cents...

most of us would obey whatever directions the judge gives, because really, you don't want an irritated judge to hear your case... most of us would just step away from the fight... and i don't.

i would have attributed it to my legal education, but for the fact that i see people like kavi and shan daily... surely i learnt of my legal rights from the law? but kavi read law and so did shan... so how? why is it that if you are right about something, you don't stand up for yourself? we teach our children this (or do we?) i know that i was thought something like it from my books,

but then come to think of it, i never questioned the concept that cinderalla only needed the prince to find her to live happily ever after... why couldn't she go and look for him? why did she want him anyway? why did she stay in that smelly kitchen and get all dirty? why didn't she just whack the ugly sisters with a stone when they were sleeping? why couldn't she have lived smellily ever after with the farmer's son? if all she needed was a wash to look pretty, i'm sure that farmer's son would have married her - what do you mean what farmer's son? surely there was some other man in the vicinity apart from that idiot prince who spent a whole evening with the girl, but couldn't recognise her in daylight without her shoes... why? why? why? why did we accept this idiotic story as the story of our childhoods?

as an employer, i see more and more young people who are prepared to accept whatever life throws at them without a quibble... without a question or a complaint, without a word of opposition - and its scary... its even scarier when you realise intelligent educated people do this, that we censor ourselves before any authority even thinks of censoring us...that we don't ask questions, and that the questions we ask are often better unasked, such as "what is siti nurhaliza wearing to her wedding reception? (obviously since most of the major newspapers chose to answer this question with interviews with the designers, this is a big question everyone is asking these days...)

David Mamet said:

"we live in oppressive times. We have, as a nation, become our own thought police; but instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder "censorship," we call it "concern for commercial viability."

wouldn't we agree that as malaysians we as a nation have the above malaise more than poor ole david mamet... we can't even live with an ex-prime minister ranting about his successor. instead we have to come out with loud statements of support and meet the current pm at the airport whenever he comes back from holiday... but we don't even consider how a man who was making sense some 4 years ago (that ex) has suddenly apparently stopped making sense - don't get me wrong. i don't support either one of them... all i'm saying is how come we accept everything our administration (both current and past) does without question... and if we doe question them, then how come it doesn't come out in the press that such questions are being asked? and why do we not ask how come such things are not being reported.. take today's newspapers... the new straits times has as its headlines, azalina's statement that they are still going on with the sports complex in uk. but hang on.. she seems to be replying to somebody ... and the report actually says, despite opposition, they are going to go on with the project... but what's the opposition? who is opposing it? why are they opposing it? why can't i read it in the paper as well? why are you not asking this question also? why why why????

don't get me wrong... i'm not ranting for the sake of ranting. i'm making noise because this is something i feel passionate about, and sometimes it feels like i'm the only one in this rocking boat...