Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Troy (finally)

I am sooooooo in love with Achilles. I am soooooo in love with Hector. Or is it Brad Pitt and Eric Bana? Who cares? I love them all!

You know, I am such a romantic. I get so taken in by epics. Kesian si Achilles tu, shot through the part of his anatomy that bears his name by that useless Paris just as he saves the love of his life. And poor Hector who only ever wanted to see his son grow up hacked to pieces and dragged through the sand dunes because of Paris' stupidity.

Aiyoh, I just can't get over it. The tragedy of it all!!! I just want to weep for centuries!

Oh dear, I am a tragedy!

The Fear Factor

I know I've mentioned The Idea a few times but never elaborated.

1. Too risky - someone might steal it
2. Too embarrassing cos can be rather ambitious
3. Too forthright in case it never happens, so I become like all talk and no action.

But the truth of the matter is that if I don't let it out someday, the following applies:
1. Stealing ideas is one thing, making it happen is another
2. Ambition is good and everyone has dreams. Better to aim for the sky and touch the treetops rather than to not have left the ground at all.
3. I have a blog for goodness sake, I am all talk anyway!

So here are my ideas (hands off and yes, there are more than one):
1. Open a jamu bar and promote healthy Indonesian tonics in a trendy way.
2. Sell baby clothes. (This idea is wearing out - mind the pun - cos you can actually get quite cute ones at reasonable prices here).
3. Design and sell maternity wear (a big possibility)
4. Publish a new magazine/bring in a new title (sigh)
5. Manufacture home soft furnishings (once I improve my sewing skills)
6. Buy cheap clothes and shoes and auction them on Ebay.
7. The dream of all dreams - to open sandwich cafe/deli.

Sigh, so many ideas, so little money. But I guess, they say where there is a will there is a way. And trust me, the will is there. Did I mention as of this Friday, I begin life as a part timer at work?

Yes, the accountants are not as backward as I made them out to be.

But this also means cash is running high and dry!

I have always wanted to do my own thing and in my younger days. I was alot braver and would have jumped at the opportunity. Failure did not even feature. My Mum said that at the age of one I started walking and was ready to conquer the world.

Now, I am a different person. Now, it's a lot harder.

Where did the gungho-ness go? Has burning ambition cooled to latent ash? If I was so ambitious, why didn't I take the plunge all those years ago? Rationality has a point but others speak of following the heart. Do I have any ambition left? What if I fail?

Huzir Sulaiman was once quoted in an interview as saying, "At thirty, you can't rely on youthful promise anymore. You have to deliver".

And that is what scares me most.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

In Search Of Young Boys' Underpants

Bubbit peeed in his potty yesterday. Now I know what a coach feels like when his student wins an Olympic gold.

There we were, his own private cheerleaders: Grandma, Kakak and Mummy, egging him on to do the deed.

Actually, last night was the second time in three days. After months of lying there clean, dry and rejected (Bubbit threw Potty into the airwell everytime it came near), Potty has now been splashed with golden nectar!

It was a real drama to behold and there were tears aplenty, but my dear boy did it! Yes, he did have to be restrained like an ex-con (guilt, guilt), but with my soft urging ("I don't care Bubbit, this is just something you have to do"), he braved what was to him, the unnatural, and is now cometing his way out of toddlerhood into the realm of boyhood.

I am so proud of him.

Now, new dilemmas present themselves.

As we enter a new phase, one of wet mattresses and toilet visits at inopportune times, one wonders: Where do you buy small boy's underpants? Do they make them his size? And what of all those Drypers?

Monday, September 20, 2004

It Errts!

Last Friday, The Hubbit and I spent our hot date sweating our guts out at the Body Pump class in the gym. It was steamy alright. With twenty (or more) of us packed into a tiny studio together with our weights, we were jumping about, groaning, grunting, dripping and just plain stinking before we even got to the abdominals. Pity those who went in after us!

What I am really getting at is that yes, I got through my first bit of exercise in almost a year. And yes, I feel pretty good about myself, because I also did a yoga class on Sunday. But what I really feel, more than anything else, is simply PAIN! There isn't a single part of my body that does not hurt. Well, maybe except for parts that don't have any muscle. Like the tip of my nose.

And my triceps! Gawd! I feel like they have been ripped out and sacrificed to a pack of wild dogs. To give you an example I had to lie down to tie my hair yesterday and it took me a good few seconds to actually get the car door shut from the inside. That is, after the few minutes I took to get in, cos Safri the Body Pump master was very into his squats and lunges.

So no pain, no gain right? I am going to be VERY good this week, because I am going to look VERY good by Christmas and refuse to look like I am expecting the next one when I am not! Incidentally, those of you who think you are being tactful or nice by saying that I am not fat, but 'Big Boned', well you are not. How would you like it if someone said you had a big nose or a big mouth? Bone, nose, mouth, all the same.

I am attending another yoga class today - this time Ashtanga and I am looking forward to hanging upside down for a while and breathing like Darth Vadar. Its really very calming.

And I will try hard not to think of whats for dinner when I am doing it.

Will try very hard. Till tommorrow then!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Letting Off Steam

Seni, our new Indonesian maid joined us about a month ago. Barely twenty, she knew nothing of housekeeping and even less of life outside her kampung. She says (in Indon), and I hear (in broken Malay), that her family dabble in housework to bring in the money but I wonder what that means when she has difficulty frying vegetables.

Seni is a sweet and to date, honest girl. We soon discovered that she did not know how to boil eggs because they were always fried where she came from. In fact, she had never seen a hard boiled egg, let alone the half boiled variety that Bubbit wallops every morning. She has never flash-cooked vegetables before, never trimmed the skin and fat off chicken and never washed a car.

So really, it was only a matter of time when communication wires became tangled, frustration mounted and tempers flared.

I reckon it's easier to be angry at someone when they are defenseless. It gives you that sense of power to belittle someone and for them to be afaid of your power and authority. It is in essence, aprime example of the school bully syndrome.

Last weekend, I had marinated chicken and fish fillets to feed nine friends I was having over for a steamboat dinner. In the evening I instructed Seni to cook some of it for Bubbit's dinner. I returned to find all the chicken and fish in Bubbits little stock pot. Needless to say I hit the roof like a hurricane and Seni was left standing there not knowing what hit her. (For the sake of clarity, she was not hit physically though the tone that I used may have woundedanyone's ego and I am sure her confidence took a real battering). Her baffled look made me blow even angrier. "How could she not know?"

But when the dust settled, I asked myself, "how could she have known?" She had no idea what a steamboat was (now, I doubt if she'll ever forget), did not understand my half-baked Malay and was too meek to question it.

There are other things we were angry with her that last night. Like washing the crystal wine glasses with detergent. How was she to know that would leave a taste in the glass?

Like setting the table slowly without the proper scoops.

In a way, I can understand how some housewives can be driven to abuse their maids. Whilst I certainly do not advocate it, it is at times, so very easy to lash out at the person nearest to you. And often, in an empty house, after the husband and kids have been shipped off to work and school, the only other person left standing is the defenceless maid.

When someone throws a spanner in the workings of your hectic schedule, causing disruptions and added stress, it is hard to think out of the equation. All we see is our chickenless steamboat, our ruined dinner party, our even more complex lives. But who thinks of their lives back in Indonesia?Their simple lives where just getting food in their stomachs is a blessing; where do crystal wine glasses and cutlery fit in there?

Our previous maid was an Indonesian who had travleed the world and worked in theMiddle East for a good ten years. We treated her like gold and trusted her with our baby. We later discovered she had been sleeping around and was sneaking salt into my son's porridge so that feeding him was easier.

It's not easy to draw the line. We gave to the underserving and hold back from the unproven.

After the Slutty Maid, I vowed never to feel sorry for a maid again but Seni strikes a chord. She is barely out of her teens. When I was her age, I was at university and my biggest worry was my hangover the next day. When my Mum urged me to work during the long summer holidays I retorted that I worked so hard the rest of the year that I deserved to do nothing for three months. Throw me in a toilet and I wouldn't have been able to tell between a toilet brish and a toothbrush.

And here we have this girl, far away from home, without a person caring for her needs. Instead she is caring for those of others. I sometimes wonder is she needs some mothering. Her mother is far away and those around her do nothing but tell her she is slow and scold her.

People say that when you have a maid, your life becomes easier. Whilst I don't have to mop floors anymore, things have become complicated. I am responsible for her now. If she doesn't eat well, she will fall sick. If I mistreat her, I will scar her for life. I have become, essentially, responsible for another life (though not to the same extent of the Bubbit).

And if this isn't about growing up, I don;t know what is.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Yoga, Yuletide and the passing of time

Never mind the impending tax seminar tomorrow and the looming possibility that if I don't start working, there is the distinct possibility that four partners may be faced with an empty room meant for a press conference.

I spent the morning scouting around for cheap and chic yoga classes. I began yoga last year when my very-into-yoga-yogi-friend, Agnes, kept exalting ts benefits. Plus she had lost tonnes of weight and was beginning to look lean and strong like Madonna, minus the masculine muscles.
But alas, yoga, if done outside Brickfields, is not for those on a shoestring budget and my bank account soon groaned from the hefty weight of RM35 per class. It was only a matter of months before yoga fell further and further down the "To Do" list and now, to be completely honest, I can't even remember the complete sequence of the sun salutation.

Shame shame!

But I'm back! From Outer Space!

Tapas on Lorong Kurau in Bangsar has reinvented itself as an Ashtanga studio and even better, have a visiting teacher for the month of September. And the classes cost RM25, so at least I can still afford parking at work.

And two other yoga-gila friends, Merina and Diana, hip mums of the new age, also run a yoga class of their own brand every Sunday in Faber Ria, Taman Desa for only RM15. They are so grateful when people turn up, and pay as well(!), that I am looking forward to finding out why.

Another friend is also getting a Pilates group together in Suasana Sentral, so really I have no excuse.

Ignore the fact that Birthday season has arrived (Sept - Dec) which means, cakes are floating around aplenty. And soon, we shall be waist deep, cheeks groaning in Yuletide/Kongsi Raya festivities long before the first whiffs of Open House lontong even hit you. Who can turn their noses up at those Buka Puasas, where samada Melayu ke Cina ke India ke apa apa, semua pun jostle against each other to get to the juiciest ayam percik. Oops, mind the bloke who hasn't eaten for over 12 hours!

Speaking of which, a year has passed and I bet you didn't even see it coming! Gasp! I have been fat for almost 3 years now! What's the excuse?!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Pain In The Butt

I can't believe I have been sitting for almost six hours straight.

First I sat in the boardroom staring at the giant projection of the Budget speech. I left because my fidgety boss kept getting me to do stuff. Then I came back to my place. And have been here ever since.

And soon, I hope (The Hubbit is not answering his phone therefore does not know I need to be picke) up, I will be sitting again in the car to get home. Then I'll plonk my sore bum down on the couch and proceed to spend the evening in front of the telly.

How I do love my Friday nights, where the hours somehow whittle away despite the lack of good telly (incidentally a feature of all tellies worldwide no matter what country you are in - a silly assumption by telly execs that everyone is out partying at the end of the working week).

Anyway, tommorrow night we are 'entertaining' at home. I wish my guests a strong stomach. Brace yourselves, my Pumpkin Steamboat is something to be reckoned with!

Have a good weekend y'all!

Now if only The Hubbit would get off the toilet seat and look at his missed calls!

In God We Trust, In People We Audit

It's Budget Day today!

The accountants are excited, I can tell.

The lobby this morning was hushed with anticipation and I heard the faint chanting of "budget day, budget day...", under ragged breaths.

I really should stop taking the piss out of my colleagues. It's rude and disrespectful.

Don't get me wrong. I spent the afternoon with the Tax department yesterday in a training session and I actually like them all alot. Even if they do come up with phrases like 'calulated mistake' and manage to pull off using words such as 'review' and 'hitherto' in casual conversation.

After all, I couldn't do the things they do, and they are in short, brilliant.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Fear Leads to Anger, Anger Leads to Hate, Hate Leads to Suffering - Yoda et al

Another of my friends just told me she is getting a divorce. That makes her the 3rd in my close field of friends to go through what appears very much to be an inevitable conclusion of marriage in the 22nd century.

The news of her marriage shocked me and I felt the dark shadow of possibility lurk over mine. It seems no matter how hard you try, how hard you love and how far you compromise, there are no guarantees.

One of my uncles who lead the most healthy, Christian life you can imagine has been given two more years to live before, at the age of 67, the cancer in his stomach eats him to his death. Then you have the old ah ma who looked after my sister when we were young who smoked a pack of B & H a day and consumed nothing but sweet thick local coffee, brewed to a deep ominous black. She celebrated her 75th birthday with a fag.

There are just no guarantees and no matter what you do and how hard you try.

In an age where we are driven to surpass our expectations, motivation seems to be the only thing standing between you and that yacht/jet/mansion (source: Adam King of Guinness fame). It is almost alien to accept a concept where nothing you do can affect what is going to happen. You are supposed tobe incontrol of your destiny. Who believes in fate anymore these days?

I have a friend who married his childhood sweetheart and is now coming to grips with a future without her. Another has accepted the end of her relationship but her husband obviously hasn't because he refuses to sign the divorce papers. And now this one. Still loving each other but unfortunately, their lives had grown apart.

I'm at that stage in my life where the passing of time is marked not by the big New Year's Eve bash but by when so-and-so got married, when so-and-so gave birth and so on. My life evolves around my family, my house, my friends mostly of whom are married. Those who aren't pose hypothetical questions about marriage. "Is it better to have married and be divorced or not to have married at all?".

In short, my family is my life and by virtue of relation, my marriage is also my life.

Sure, I try not to lose myself in it but when it comes to priorities, my family rules.

And so many of my divorced or divorcing friends would also have said during the tenure of their marriages.

"It is the coming to terms with the fact that your marriage has failed that is the hardest part", said my friend.

Whilst I do sincerely believe in the finding happiness after a broken relationship, it is the very fact of a marriage ending that I'm not sure I can hack. The admission, the defeat. Sure, you'll get over it, but what happens when it actually happens?

I admire my friend for her courage as I admire my divorced friends, other divorced couples, and indeed my divorced parents for their courage.

Chicken shit like me, I would want to take my son and live a recluse in the South of France and never be in touch with anyone I've ever known. If someone I knew spotted me, I would pretend I spoke no English and run away as fast as I could.

It's the courage of admitting it and then facing up to everyone. Their expectations, their pity, their sorrow, their dashed dreams too. Its like having the carpet of comfort and security beneath you suddenly pulled away and you are faced with a sore bare bum on the cold hard floor.

I would hang on as long as I could, denying that everything around me had fallen apart. And when I do get torn away, I would not even know how to begin to pick up the pieces.

My friends' divorces scare the shit out of me. Whilst I wish them luck and happiness, for I know they will find it, I fear for the safety of mine. Who knows? We have seen no guarantees. Right now I hear Time ticking very loudly before the inevitable occurs.

Laughter one minute. Tears the next.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Man With A View

I'm supposed to be in a meeting now, but I slipped out, because my eyes are sore and my brain is numb.

The firm is coming out with its annual tax and business information CD Rom (riveting stuff!) and heading the project is a senior manager who is a bit of a "character" (pronounced with a sneer).

"What do you mean?", I inquired naively, before I had the benefit of meeting him.

"You'll see...", the reply came knowingly.

Do I see? Geez, my eyes! They are melting!

Mr G, as we shall call him, though he is known by many other names, most of which I shall not mention for fear of degrading my blog, is a man of about 40.

See, our Mr G is so into his technology that he actually houses a server in his office. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, his very own. And that also means that the laptops/PCs issued by the firm aren't quite "canggih" enough for him, because sitting on his desk is also his very own PC.

Now, I'm not IT savvy at all, so suffice to say, it's got like a gazillion megabytes and is so amazing, the casual onlooker wouldnt even know where to find the "On" button.

Anyway once, IT were cleaning up the tax server and found an unusally large file belonging to Mr G. And guess what they discovered inside? Nestled amongst tax returns, invoices, reports, accounts, you name it, was none other than a flash of tit, a piece of bum, a bit of muff. Okay, it was a bit more than that. It was a very large file I am told.

He doesn't come of as a pervert, but lets be serious, all men have their stash of porn somewhere - does that make them all pervs? (hmmmmm...). He just comes off as an oddball. He is the only senior manager who has no staff under him, bascially 'cos no one can work with him. And he has the best job of all. He does no work. Save and except for this riveting tax CD. Which explains why he throws his heart and soul into it each year (7 hour meetings are a norm).

And do I see why! With is fringe combed down over his brows, his eyes peering over his glasses to focus on documents a mere 2 inches a way, the man questions every single dot and every single comma.

Looking at the map of our offices, he asks "Is KK on the coast?"

"Yes it is", I answered, "I've been there".

That silences him for a while.

"Is it 'Gym' or 'Gymnasium'?", comes next, as he looks at pictures of our head office facilities.

"Well, everyone knows what a 'gym' is. It's just like 'fridge' and 'refridgerator'", I reply.

"OK, I'll take you up on that!", he smiles, eyes flashing.

What is this man on? Anyway, the dictionaries let me down.

Nevertheless, annoying as he is, he is meticulous beacuse he has to be. And actually, I like him - I find him a real hoot.

But not enough to keep yawning through the meeting.

Anyway, I am on Day 3 of Catkins (my version of Atkins) - and we are smooth sailing! Haven't lost any weight yet though.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Fuddits

I know food is a recurring theme in my blog. I just can't seem to stay off the subject. I can rattle on about it till the cows come home and it's time for dinner.

Anyway, The Hubbit and I are on a mission to lose the flab. And after years of not working out and having a baby, I have stores of it. The Hubbit has launched himself on a full-fledged Fit For Life regime that causes him to lug a suitcase of food to work every morning - a result of having to eat six meals a day, each featuring exact portions of carbs, fibre and protein. MIL saw her son carting off all that food and assumed he was bringing it to feed the office, until I told her it was for him.

I, on the other hand, am on a modified Atkins because though I have sworn off my favourites (any gravy-soaked or deep fried carbo), I still insist on my freshly squeezed fruit juice each morning to help the ahem, bowels moving.

So far it's been good. Admittedly, only two days but it's been good. In fact, I think it has brought The Hubbitt and I closer. On Sunday evening, we insulted each other's cooking over the stove (yes, he even cooked his own bolognese!) whilst our son did a poo poo in the garden. This morning, we even discussed the nature of down dogs, he having attended a yoga class the night before.

Mornings are now a flurry in the kitchen as the maid struggles to prioritise the orders we bark at her.

"Seni, potong itu sayur macam kotak-kotak".

"Seni, mana itu Zhiwei punya air sekolah?"

"Apa? Itu air untuk mee pasta belum letak api ah??"

In all that commotion, salads are dressed, sandwiches are stuffed and lunchboxes are packed, miraculously in order, and we hop into Car-ageous and the Gans are off.

Seni must breathe a big sigh of relief when we do finally zoom off (usually late). Then she only has three hours before MIL comes over, bringing back the little Bubbit monster and the kitchen orders begin all over again.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Butter Cake with Lemon Icing

The day began with promise. Not an easy feat considering it is Atkins Day 2.

Ate lots of meat and tomato for breakfast.

Then Dear Friend mentioned she was chomping on the remnants of her brithday cake.

Lovely, soft, lemony butter cake.

That was it lah. Now the longing ache in my stomach is growing into a starving needy beast and am VERY tempted to drive over to Alexis and eat a whole Tiramisu for lunch.

Sob! I will never be thin!