Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Iris field of Tuma?r

Last Thursday we drove out 1.5 hrs out of R]yadh to Tuma/r to witness the Irises bloom during mid-afternoon.

Would you have thought that the Desert could be this green? Well spring is here, after a cold winter and lots of rain, there is a lot of green.

When we first arrived all we saw were bits of purple. We had our lunch and then saw some activity amongst the flower. At about 1 pm, the petals were slowly unfolding. We all stood up, gathered near the areas where there were lots of buds and stood or sat waiting to watch for the Iris to bloom.

And then suddenly the petals opened up, releasing a beautiful smell in the air.

As you can see, the little one is excited too! She was happy to pick on some of the flowers.

I know this picture doesn't do the place justice, but suddenly, there was a sea of purple patches!

Here the Irises are in full bloom. As you can see, the flowers are up to 2 year-old Ray's knees.

Would you believe that Irises grow in the wild in the desert if you didn't see these pictures? I wouldn't have.

These flowers bloom during this time of the year for about a month before they wither and perish under the scorching heat in the desert.

Masyallah! Many praises to Allah for the beautiful world he has created for us.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thank you

Thank you for your comments, Lollies, Anasalwa, Ann and Mel Ija.

Anasalwa, at the moment I am working on two friendship blocks, boring things really, a basket block and a Mellinium block. Trouble is I have a deadline and the deadline is looming fast. Out of 20 blocks I sew I had to reject 10 because they didn't come to exactly 6.5" blocks. If it was my own quilt I would have used them but since I am handing them over to other people I had to make sure that they are precise. But I will try to put them up sometime. But I am just a little embarrased that mine are boring blocks rather than your lovely artistic ones.

Lollies, Ann and Mel Ija I hope you guys get your battery recharged too. Mel Ija perhaps if I could visit your blog sometime it would be nice.

Atenah, yes I do realised that I have been tagged. I've been trying to write it out but failed miserably. The problem is because what I would consider normal is what others might call weird. I had listed some down and decided that I was anal retentive, not weird LOL. See I ended up psycho analysying myself and therefore render me unable to complete the task. Haha. I will but the tag in my IN box and get round to doing it sometime.

I have 2 entries i hope to post the next few days:
1. Pajeri strawberry (inspired by Anasalwa's pajeri kumquat)
2. Trip to the Iris fields

I have a baby protesting that I am typing in front of the pc. Hopefully I get some free time soon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Of dreams and guilt

I had an odd dream last night. I dreamed that my teacher gave us the exam paper in advance, told us to take it home, go through it and we will sit for the same paper again after the weekend. In my dream I was anxious to have a group discussion on how best to answer the questions. But my friends were reluctant to have the group meet with me. They told me that it was a mock exam, the paper was last year's paper and the exam will be at a later date. I was tired an disappointed. The following day, instead of tackling the questions I called up my friend Rosse and asked her how she was.

I have been wandering how Rosse is doing. Hope she is doing OK.

I related my dream to my beloved. He pointed out that perhaps I am re-examining my life.

And its true, I have. I am pondering at the possibility of moving again. If we move, we move, I should have no fear, we used to do it every 8 months or so. But we haven't heard any news. Just wait and see.

Two days ago, I felt insanely guilty. I felt guilty because I sent AM out to play with the housekeeper. They went to the underground skate park to play while I quilt whilst watching them on the CCTV. I should be there playing with her myself but I needed some time to quilt.

Quilting is therepeutic for me. Makes me use my mind, my creativity, my hordes of fabric and my new sewing machine. I had a quilt guild meeting that evening hence the last minute sewing to bring my blocks in.

Its terrible feeling stuck and guilty. When I quilt, I feel guilty that I am not spending time with her, not stimulating her, not creating a new memory or recreating an old memory.

But when I am with her, I feel frustrated that I could not quilt.

But I had to remind myself that when I am with her I would give her 100% of my attention, and when I am quilting I would concentrate to avoid mistakes. Her mum needs to tend to some of her personal needs and personal growth. Only then she'd be a better mother.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Unlike other domestic godessess who baked their child's first birthday cake, I, Sunflora, took the easy way out, by ordering the birthday cake from our favourite bakery. Another testimony of how terrible I am, I organized the party 1.5 months later, with no clowns nor balloons and not that many little children either. Just some of our friends who already gave her presies, as a thank you to them for remembering her birthday.

But isn't it amazing how technology has evolved even in the cake making industry? We can now have real life like pictures on cakes? What ever next?

What did I give her? A book that made me cry when I read it to her.

May you gain a lifelong love for books and an incessant thirst for knowledge. May you have the tenacity and perserevance to make your dreams come true.

Know that you are so loved and will always be loved by everyone around you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Kesian Akak ni. Dia sebenarnya menang lucky draw di shopping center berdekatan dengan rumahnya. Hadiahnya adalah sebijik kereta BMW. Dia di beritahu yang dialah pemenang kereta tersebut. Tapi lepas 4 bulan kereta tak muncul tiba. Rupanya tuan punya shopping center tu tipu. Kereta tersebut tak bayar pun pada dealer.

Akhirnya Chamber of Commerce di sana pun tolong. Inilah dia upucara penyampaian kunci. Untuk menampakkan kelainan skit dia belilah tudung cantik. Warna tetap hitam, tapi kurang-kurangnya nampaklah kerawang-kerawang lace. Sure mahal tudung ni, yerlah nak ambil BMW yang berharga RM134,000.

Tapi cemana dia nak bawak keta dengan muka tertutup camtu? Oooo lupa plak, kat negri ni orang pompuan takleh bawak keta. Yerlahh takut mendatangkan maksiat kalau pompuan bawak keta nanti.

Kiranya cukup bagus gaklah depa kasi kat dia kunci kereta tu. Boleh lah dia jual ke, bagi hadiah kat suami dia ke atau adik lelaki dia ke, bapak dia ke, anak lelaki dia ke. Sekurang-kurangnya kalau dia jual pun leh dapat duit kan. Sedihlah kalau ade keta best-best tapi takleh bawak sendiri, kene amik supir dari luar negeri untuk bawak keta tu. Sedaplah supir tu nanti.

Pelik kat sini pompuan takleh bawak keta sendiri. Tapi pompuan leh duduk belakang supir atau taxi driver duk depan.

Tahniah akak dapat keta sebijik, walaupun takleh bawak sendiri tapi dapat juga keta tu!

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Little One is Sick

In fact we all are. Down with fever, flu and cough. The Doctor told us that it was a viral infection. The Little One is clingy, wants to be breastfed all the time, refuses any food. When she suddenly has a burst of energy, she is considerably chatty and points outside. She wants to go out. To the play grond. To the play park.

But what's more difficult for me is when I am sick myself and at the same time, having to look after her. Looks like my beloved is falling sick as well.

Hope we all get better soon!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Slowly, slowy

I have to say that for most part I am a babywearer. I tend to carry my 13 month old using the Ergo when I go shopping. This is one story why I prefer using the baby carrier rather than s stroller.

Just yesterday we went to a local Mall. This one was one of the poshest, if not one of the nicest Mall in the capital. At this Mall you can see defiant local teenagers, females, with faces uncovered, @b@yas unbuttoned often showing off fashionable, sometimes tight fitting clothes.

I was using the stroller yesterday, because I thought it would be handy to have The Little One on the stroller while I shop. Normally I would use the lift but decided to take the elevator instead. Its a bit tricky I know but I managed to get the hang of it.

Now in most other countries where I have been, people; men and women would let you go first because they understand the intricacies of going up the elevator with a stroller. This being a country where the men dominate, things are somehow different. There is no such thing as chivalry, only chauvinism.

When a man dressed in army fatigues saw me approaching the escalator. What does he do? He walked faster and INSTRUCTED me to go slower. Surely he is in somesort of a hurry you'd think. Because at the top of the elevator is a food court! He told me to wait for him to get on the escalator first before I get on, even though I was there first, so they he can go to the food court before me! How very considerate of him!

I tell ya, even typing this story it makes my blood boil! Does he even have the consideration of a human being? I guess not. If anything, the man is the essence of the men here. They are often in a hurry to do nothing. They have no consideration for other people but for themselves. They are selfish. Pure chauvinistic pigs!

Its a shame really because I really had a much nicer experience using the stroller in Europe. People offer to help when they see a woman negotiating stairs with a stroller.

I always have to remind myself, culture is not the same as religion. It is the culture here that make the men the way they are, not the religion. The religion calls for tolerance, understanding and help for one another. They make think they are enforcing religious laws here but what it is really is the enforcement of their culture.

And I have to remind myself not to generalize.

Sebab nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga.

* Literal translation: Because of a drop of blue dye,a whole pot of milk is contaminated. Just because of a person's fault,the whole community/group related to the person gets a bad reputation.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Of choices and Decisions

About the new preschool in the compound, at the beginning there was talk about the possibility of having a group for the Little One's age group. But its been over a month since they opened and still no group for the Little One. My G3rman neighbour is ever too eager to send her child there. I however thought that I wanted to sit back and watch first, see if they have enough teachers to handle the children or have the capability to handle them. For me its not the going to school part thats important, but the quality of the experience that the Little One will get. The school owner is a bussiness woman who owns a home facial/beauty business and now a preschool business. The manager who runs it is. to my knowledge not one educated in early childhood education. A Western teacher, another mother, a journalist by training, had some previous experience as preschool teacher but no qualification in early childhood education either. And 3 other helpers, again no qualification. The mums are there so that their children have a school to go to. A noble idea, just that I'm weary.

Whats the point in spending money on something that would not be enriching her experience? Perhaps I'm better off educating her myself?

In the meantime I have been trying to educate myself a little bit more on this area. Even before I had The Little One, I had been toying the idea of homeschooling. Once upon a time I was a teacher myself and I recognize the perils of a large class with just one teacher. The student to teacher ratio, in my opinion, is pertinent to the quality of time, attention and interaction the student will have with the teacher. Often enough, its the trouble makers who dominate the teacher's attention. With homeschooling, ideally the child would have the undivided attention of the educator.

But I also recognize that a homeschooling mum is one who is capable of setting up and following a schedule. Uh uh. I have problems when it comes to schedules and time management. Take my friend Y who homeschools her 3 children. She does not go on the shopping bus because her children have school in the morning. She sets up a proper school room in her villa. And she has the patience and the tenacity to handle the education of her children. Her three children are very well behaved, well adjusted and well mannered. Can I do it as well as Y can?

And then I came across the concept of unschooling. The idea that the child would determine what the child would like to learn, without following a set curriculum. Apparently John Holt coined the term unschooling. Thus I need to get one or two of his books to read more about his ideas and philosophy.

So what I do in the meantime? Just to shower The Little One with as much love as attention as I can I guess. Even while I'm nursing my PMS.

Another sale I could not resist

I know, I know, I am getting too predictable. All I talk about is shopping. But hey what's a woman to do when the sales here is really really good? How good you may ask. Well, Debenhams has been having this sale and their sales item were reduced up to 70% off. And just for two days, they have a buy one and get one free, promotion for all sales item.

Imagine this, a child's clothing item is $115. After discount, its been reduced to $45. And on top of that, you buy one item, you get the second item free. So if you get 2 similar priced items, the average cost per item is $22.50. And so of course the little one gets a lil bit of spoiling. Got her 3 bottoms and 3 tops. Bought sizes slighter bigger than what she wears but hey children sometimes seems to have built in magic beans or something. One day they are tiny and the next, their clothes don't fit anymore!!

Just this morning I was trying to put on this new top I got for her about 2 months ago. The size for the top was 12 months, she's only 13 months so it should fit. But guess what? Her head was too big for the opening on the top! I almost had to tear the neck of the top off!

And for me? I could never resist a good Denby. I first fell in love with a Denby mug when I saw them in Hong Kong about 6 years ago. The mugs were a wee bit more than what we would normally pay for mugs but I was talking pottery lessons then, and had just learned the intricacies of glazing. We were so in love with the Denby mugs that we bought a pair.

When we were in England, we never did manage to go to the Denby factory. I had thought that perhaps they may have one in Stoke-upon-Trent. But of course my beloved pointed out that they won't be called Denby if they had a factory elsewhere.

But I am digressing. I managed to get a casserole pot for $150(Origionally $300) and get a pie dish free (Originally $275). My dearest, always so sweet also loved the Denby and pointed out the cappucino set to me. Of course we had to have 2 pairs. 4 sets for the price of a pair! Not bad indeed.

So much for trying not to spend! My beloved actually said that perhaps I should quit trying not to spend because I am such a rebellious character that I love to do things that I am not supposed to do! Haa haaa!

Now, all I need is a Nespresso machine! (In Belgium the Nespresso machines were all the rage, ranging from the cheap brands to the super expensive ones.) Don't think they'll have a buy one get one free Nespresso machine. Or would they?

[Ok I lied! On top of the Nespresso machine I would also like a Kenwood Major Chef Or a Kitchen Aid, a Dualit toaster, a new Magimix, an electric grill and an electric korean BBQ set. But all this could be a blog entry on its own!]