Thursday, March 22, 2007

Strawberry Pajeri

Its amazing how some bloggers have inspired me in so many ways.

I was reading Anasalwa's entry about Kumquat Pajeri that I had this urge to try some. I was looking around at the fruits available in Carrefour the following day for me to make Pajeri but didn't see any kumquat. Since Ana's Kak N had made Kiwi Fruit Pajeri, I thought perhaps its possible to make Strawberry Pajeri. Afterall they were on sale for $3.50 a punnet. What made the strawberried perfect Pajeri candidate was that there were rather sharp.

Growing up, the pajeri I ever tried was only Pajeri Nenas and they were somewhat watery, and didn't quite look like Ana's Pajeri. In fact, I think coming from the South, we call it Paceri rather than Pajeri.

I used Ana's recipe as a guide and looked at other Pajeri recipes on

And Wallah! Here's my Pajeri strawberry. My skeptical other half was rather amused with what I served him that day. And his comment, it was better than he thought it was going to be.

Thanks AnaSalwa for inspiring me to try out new things.

Next thing I want to try is Nina's Beef in Sweet Betel Leaves. I have been looking out for the Betel Leaves but no luck so far. Perhaps I'd need to grow them myself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One night in Madinah and one hour in Rawdah

The drive was 8 hours. We left at 6:30 am, half an hour later than promised. The drive was beautiful, our fellow travellers had packed us cake, sandwiches and toasted cheese. We did stop for nasi lemak at a 10 riyal an hour room. No, they didn't sell Nasi Lemak there silly! We packed our own and ate it there, behind the petrol station in the middle of no where. At least the toilet was marginally clean.

We arrived just before Asar. I realized its been two years since I was here last. Because it was the weekend, finding parking was difficult. I had to forgo Asar prayer at Masjidil Nabawi because I needed to change my clothes.

If I had forgotten, the little one somehow made me remember that life is somewhat a little different when I travel with her. For example, mummy should have remembered to change her diapers when we were at the pit stop. Yes I was a bad mummy and I did forget to change. As a result her nappy leaked. All over her and all over me. And when travelling with a child, its an infinite number of extra clothes you need to bring, not just for her but for you too! Luckily I had brought a spare Abaya. The other clothes I brought were meant to be worn under an abaya! Not suitable for err public places.

Thank God for understanding and helpful travel companions. At least one lady who had her red flag could babysit the Little One for Magrib and Isyak. Perhaps I should have brought her to the masjid. But she does get quite alarmed and cries. Me, getting distracted is one thing but I didn't want other people to be distracted too. Perhaps next time Insyallah.

The next morning I arranged with another lady to go to Rawdah. They are open to women from 7 to 10 am. 3 hours for the ladies. At the door, ladyguards checked our bags for contraband. The lady in front of me was frisked. Phones must be turned off and no camera phones allowed. We followed the crowd towards Rawdah.

The last time I was there, it was a weekday and there were a lot less people. Today however, there was a blanket of black. Partly because the umrah visas have not been issued yet and partly because its Friday morning. The local crowd is around.

Making one's way to the front is a tricky task. Women are everywhere, at every available space. Some reading the Quran, some praying, some kneeling and some standing. Others like us, just finding space to solat. Even that is no easy task. There were women walking past you, walking on top of you and some pushing past you. Well what do you expect? Everyone want to go to paradise, don't they? Or at least the ladies who were there wanted that. Including me.

We found a spot to perform the tahyatul masjid. The crowd in front seems to be going home but more are coming. I decided to make my way to the front. With Bismillah, lots of patience and guts to step over people and squeezing into whatever small space available to move forward I got there.

Mother-In-Law had told me where the posts that marked Rawdah was when we came two years earlier. In my ignorance then, I didn't understand why she insist on moving forward to pray. Surely Allah can hear us praying both from the front to the back of the Masjid and even anywhere for that matter? But she explained that since we wanted to pray in Rawdah then in Rawdah we should be.

After much waiting, I was there at the posts. There was no room to kneel or to sit. Standing room only. And all I could do was to start my du'a. It was emotional for me. Don't ask me why but it was. Perhaps how hard it was to get there was one of the factors.

Then I heard a voice calling, "Siti Rahmah! Siti Rahmah!"

Surely it isn't me.

"Solah! Solah!"

I looked to the right. One of the lady guards was trying to tell me that there was room for me to perform my solat! I moved a little to the right. And she put me in position. Without much thinking, I plonked my bag down and started praying.

Finally there was space for me! Now looking back I would think of 10 other solats I could have done! But even with the tiny space concentration was difficult. The moving around. The pushing around. The story of my life really! I should have planned this much better! I should have concentrated more on what I was doing instead of getting side tracked by my surrounding. Instead the "considerate" old me decided not to hog the space and move on to the oppurtunity to someone else, with hope that I would have the chance to pray there again in the future. Perhaps many more times in the future. Or better still, claim my own permanent spot in eternity in the Jannah.

Walking away was more difficult than getting in because people are starting to stream in again. I bid my farewell to the Prophet.

After breakfast it was a mad rush to drive back. We had a hard time getting to a gas station because they were all closed in preparation for the Friday prayers. What we forgot was that every single person (we think) working there were Muslim, unlike over here in the capital where there are non Muslims who man the pumps up to the point of prayer call. In Madinah, they have all gone home to take their shower and wear their Friday best to the Masjid.

Goodbye Madinah, till next time Insyallah.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Deadline looming

Who would have thought that quilters would have deadline?

Its all my fault really, I signed up to do one friendship quilt and another farewell quilt. One required 20 blocks and the other 6 blocks. I finished the latter but still working steadfastly on the earlier one. And it hasn't been easy. I have sewn 25 blocks in all and had to reject 10 and in turn need 5 more.

And what was I thinking signing up to be in the Guild board? And as Secretary no less? I have many minutes untyped and yet another meeting to go for this week!

Pardon me if I take time off from blogging. Either the solar flares render my internet connection useless or I am sewing furiously to meet my deadline or have many women upset at me!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Untuk si Gersang

Di mana kau letak harga diri?
Bermanja dengan lelaki-lelaki bergelar suami.
Kau ghairah menonjolkan diri
Pada mana lelaki yang kau mahu miliki

Pada si isteri kau katakan
Lelaki boleh berkawin empat

Apa yang kau cari?
Kasi sayang?

Banyak mata memandang
Hanya diam
Tidak sanggup berlaku tidak sopan
Tak kuasa hendak bertekak
Yang ada hanya buat pekak

Kau jaja dirimu begitu mudah
Pada siapa sahaja yang kau sangka
Dapat memberimu perhatian
Tanpa malu atau segan
Padahal manusia ada batasan

Sedarlah sendiri
Senja menanti ke malam hari
Jangan hanya mengejar bayang-bayang
Yang akan hilang tanpa pesan

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who's keeping track?

I find the conversation people strike with me really odd sometimes. Is it because they have nothing to talk about or are they just trying to make polite conversation? But it really irks me when someone asks me about somebody else.

"Is so-and-so going for holiday? How long is she going?"

Why ask me? Why not ask her directly?

More annoying most recently I was asked, " I had this conversation this other lady and she was asking if SO-n-SO does not want a child or cannot have a child?"

Why ask me? Why not ask the So-n-SO herself? Why is the other lady asking you and you in turn ask me? Why does she need to know? And plus what is it anyone's bussiness asking all that? What is it to the person asking if the other goes on vacation? What is it to other people if some people don't have children? Is it really any of their business asking? And why am I being involved in all this?

Perhaps I am overly sensitive but perhaps the way the questions are asked made me stand on guard. Because I am asked all these questions about other people, I wonder if they ask other people the same questions about me?

I feel that I am interrogated. I feel like every move I make is being taken note of. I feel that they want a report of my movement. Where I went. What I did. With whom I went with or did it with.

And my first impulse is to run. Run as far away as I can from my interrogators.

Of course in turn I am labelled a snob. Whatever!

I can't live my life on eggshells because I don't want to offend people. So what if they are offended. SO what if I am labelled hermit or outcast.

I will live my life the way I want to and I'll invite people whom I want to hang around with or omit people I cannot stand or cannot understand without guilt.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Feeling wretched

I have been feeling somewhat down and a little overwhelmed for over a week now. First was the shooting of the 4 Fr3nchm3n. Not that I knew them personally. But living in this small community of expats, its inevitable that someone knew someone who does.

I found out about the shooting at 8:45 am on Tuesday morning. I had gotten up early, took my shower and got ready to catch the 11 am bus to go for the annual cultural festival. At 845 am the phone rang. It was the receptionist telling me that the bus to the festival was cancelled due to the shooting. What shooting? I hadn't watch the news the night before. I called a few friends asking if they heard anything and they in turn called a few friends asking if they had heard anything. Finally between us we found some pieces to the jigsaw puzzle. News were sketchy.

I didn't get to go to the Annual cultural festival. I was somewhat disappointed. Perhaps I will have next year. Perhaps.

The following day I noticed that there were a lot of people next door. The B3lgians who live there had gone on the same trip to the historic ruins with the men who were shot. The difference was my neighbours came home safely but their friends didn't.

While washing my dishes suddenly I saw all their children walking out of the house.

And all of them were crying. Some were consoling each other, some were just crying alone.

I didn't know what to do.

When I peeked at the front window I saw the mother was crying outside too.

Apparently they had all just found out that the 16 year old boy had just passed away. He succumbed to his injuries.

One day they were having fun, the next, their friend had died.


Over the weekend, we went to the Iris fields again. This trip had been planned for some time now. Concerned friends who knew I was going called me and cautioned me against going. Apparently most of the Western embassies have issued a warning against their citizens going to the desert. Even one of our friends have decided not to go. Apparently the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here have released a statement cautioning diplomats from travelling to the desert.

We however decided to go. Undettered by terrorist threats, five cars took the journey to Tuma/r. Only to face a terrible sandstorm. Even the shepherds were taking their herd away from the Iris field. the sandstorm was hitting Tuma/r in full force. Did we turn back? No no! the show must go on!

We parked the cars in such a way we thought would reduce the brute force of the wind. I was sooooo hungry that despite the sand that was everywhere and was getting into everything I insist that we took out some of our food. First we distributed the ice cream, then the chicken wings. After we found that the sand didn't quite change the taste of the ice cream or the chicken wings, we took out all the other food and started eating.

When it was time for us to watch the flowers bloom, I felt somewhat faint and decided to sit in the car instead of waiting for them to bloom. A drink of water and some air conditioner made me a little better. I went out to see the flowers again. tried to take some pictures but this time my camera jammed. The sand had somehow got in the lenses and jammed them. *sigh* It was just not meant to be.

We then adjourned at R's house.

Perhaps the weather was mourning for the men who were slain. Never underestimate the desert.


News about the passing of Nazrah's mum spread quite quickly. I got a ym message from CK and then an SMS from Elisa. Tried sending Nazrah an SMS but not sure if she received it.

I know too well how it felt like losing a mother. I had to help arrange her funeral. Its been awhile but its one of those things that you'll never forget. Somehow the news made me recalls details about the funeral arrangements.

I wish her well and hope she has the strength to go through the days ahead.


I have 2 sets of blocks I have to finish by this weekend. Argghh friendship blocks are meant to be fun and full of happy memories but I am beginning to really hate this excercise. Triangles drive me crazy!

My whole body is aching and my mind exhausted. My time table is full.

Are we staying or are we going?

Frankly I don't mind it either way. All I ask is that Allah give us whatever it is that is the best for us. I accept that Allah knows best and what he decides is the best for me. Sometimes its a test, sometimes the goodness is only seen in hindsight.

In the meantime, I will exercise my freewill to make the best out of my situation.