Saturday, September 30, 2006

Will we ever get it maid?

My mother-in-law is starting to complain about her new maid. It has been 2 months since she had this girl. The last one ran away, remember?

Even though this new maid has been with my MIL for 2 months already, it seems like she has only been working for 2 weeks. My MIL has to keep on reminding her what to do each day. She has no initiative of her own, what more to be proactive.

Each morning (before the fasting month), if my MIL does not tell her what to prepare for breakfast, she will not prepare anything except to take out the bread & butter, and lay out the table. She has no initiative to ask my MIL what to prepare. My MIL is not well, and sometimes she forgets to tell the maid what to prepare for breakfast the nite before. She expects the maid to ask her what to prepare, and not just serve bread and butter or just assume that, that is all that is be served for breakfast. After all, this particular maid actually complained to my MIL once ( about 2 weeks after working) that she (the maid) has nothing to eat for breakfast even though there were 3 loaves of bread in the cupoboard. She does not consider bread as her breakfast food. She expects my MIL to get up and prepare breakfast, and she eats from what is left. The same is for dinner. Nothing is prepared if not told what to do, but then, she (the maid) complains that she's hungry. Can you believe this?

My MIL's maid of 6 years (she went back in 2005 because her own mum was not well) has her own initiative to do things without my MIL having to tell her. Only when she is unsure, would she then ask my MIL. If my MIL is in d habit of telling her what to do or prepare each day, and one day my MIL forgets, she will ask my MIL for instructons. She is one maid whom I have never seen sleeping on the job. She does not stop working from the time she gets up in the morning, which is around 5.00am, to the time she goes to bed, which is around 10.30pm or later.

My MIL is not well, and having to tell the maid each day to do the same job over and over again is taking a toll on her. One would expect that when you have worked for 2 months already, everything should be automatic by now. You don't need to tell them what to do anymore, except when there are new things to do. I feel sorry for my MIL, and sad that she hasn't been able to get a maid that is hard working and understands her health situation, and be able to do work (the maid) without my MIL having to supervise the maid all the time.

The other day when I called up my mum, she too isn't in the best of health. She complained that she can't do the daily household chores without it causing so much pain to her whole body, especially her back. She needs and wants a maid, but dn't want a live in one because of problems like the one my MIL is currently facing, and what I had to go through with the last maid that I had. It left me traumatised, and still do to this day.

I wish there is a daily maid service in Kota Bahru who can come in daily to help my mum with the daily household chores. I wish that my MIL would get an excellent maid so that my MIL can take things easy. But, I could only wish. When it comes to maids, it is all luck. You might get lucky, and get a good one, like the one my MIL had for 6 good years. You could get unlucky, like the one I had last, that till this day makes me cringe just thinking about getting a maid.

Each day that they (the maids) are with you, you think about their welfare. To make sure that they eat. That they have clothes to wear. Their health, and their other daily necessities. You make sure that they are happy working for you, but do they care how we feel with the way they do their work? I doubt it, if I were to go by what my MIL is currently facing, and with what I had to go through. They just don't care! Why they even bother coming over to work, if this is the type of service or work they render, beats me.

I don't totally discount the possibility that one day I might still need and want a maid. But, my bad experience with the last one is making me wary of getting one. It has, as of today, been 6 months since I last had a maid. It has been tough, especially when my hubby or I has to be outstation for work, or when my son is sick, and I can't take time off from work to take care of him, and have to depend on my MIL's incompetent maid to take care of him. Those are real tough times. I pray to God to give me strength to go through it all. So far, I have made it. I hope that I will forever be able to survive any tough situations put forth.

I was apprehensive about the fasting month this year, not knowing how to handle having to rush from work to prepare for breaking of fast and also to prepare for sahur. It has been a week already since the fasting month started. I thank God that so far, things are manageable. I hope that everything will be fine throughout the fasting month and beyond, God willing.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A lot to be thankful for........

If my dad had been alive today, it would have been his 70th birthday today. He passed away 10 years ago, a week after my mum's birthday. He went away suddenly. The death certificate states that he died of a heart attack. From what I can remember, he does not have a history of heart problems. My dad had high blood pressure, not heart problems, and the blood pressure was being taken care of through constant medication.

My dad hardly fell sick, except for the few sniffles and coughs. But, to see my dad sick at home in bed was a sight I could hardly remember ever witnessing. In fact, he was hardly on medical leave throughout his working career. As far as I can remember, he was always working. He'd be up and about working at his make shift table sitting on his favourite rattan chair when I get up to go to school, and later for work. He would still be hard at work as I get ready for bed at night. He seems to enjoy what he does. If ever he did complain about his work, he probably only complained to my mum. We, kids, were too engrossed in our own world to notice much anything else.

My dad was an inspiration not only to his children, but others as well who have crossed path with him. If ever I do meet, till today, any of his former students or people who have come to know him, they will always speak fondly of him.

Coming from a humble background, my dad had worked hard to get to where he was before his sudden demise. He wanted his children to never forget that it is only through sheer hard work that you can succeed. As my siblings and I grew up, we probably could have most of what the other rich kids at that time have, but my parents never spoil us. It was the public bus to school. Pocket money was enough to only buy a packet of mee or nasi lemak and a drink. If we want to buy anything extra, like sweets or toys, we would have to be thrifty in our spendings. But, when it comes to books, my parents spend willingly, because they believe that books can give us a lifetime of knowledge.

I grew up surrounded by books. I have books by my bedside, which I read before retiring for the night. I read in the car on my way to work each day (when my hubby drives and when we are not in some animated discussion of sorts! LOL!) When I have to eat alone, books would always be my trusted and faithful companion, eversince I was a child till today. There must be at least one book in my briefcase as I travel outstation for work, because I don't like spending time waiting at airports doing nothing. Staring at people passing by is not a favourite pass time of mine! LOL! I have been brought up to love books, and I thank my parents for cultivating that interest in me, and today, I hope to cultivate the same kind of interest in my son.

I am glad and feel blessed that my hubby is also an avid reader, and my son has already shown signs of interest in books, reading at every opportunity he gets. When there are no books to be found, the back packet of cereal boxes and orange juices becomes his reading materials! I hope he will grow up to love books the same way my hubby and I do, if not even more so.

Though my dad is no longer with us, I have a lot to be thankful for the way he and my mum had raised us. It had made us a well rounded person. It has made what we are today. We succeeded in life because of what they had made us to become through their guidance, not through force. They thought us to recognise the rights from wrong. They help us to make decisions without actually making the decisions for us made, because they knew that they had taught us well, and that we would make the right decisions.

The constant reminders of where our beginings were, kept us firmly rooted to the ground. Not giving in too easily to all our whims and fancies as we grew up made us to appreciate even the little things in our lives.

Thank you, Ma. We love you!

Jetsetting and some stitching report

It had been a hectic week for me this week jetsetting from state to state. I was in Kuala Terengganu on Monday, Penang on Wednesday, Melaka on Thursday and Kuching on Friday. I got back from Kuching on the 8.00 pm flight and arrived home close to 11.00 pm. I am just glad that it was Saturday the next day, giving me time to recover from all the travelling.

With so much travelling, it was to be expected that I won't be doing much stitching. However, when I was in Penang, I arranged to meet up with Ina, who, coincidentally, was going to pick up her daughter from the airport half an hour before I was to board the plane back to Kuala Lumpur.

Again, Ina had been so kind as to pick up my framed piece from Tammy's and bring it to me at the airport. Expecting some waiting time at the airport, I brought along Wendy's RR to stitch since it was small and easy to work on while on the go. Also, I was already way behind on this RR since it was supposed to be mailed out on 15th September, and I had only put in a couple of stitches in it, so, stitch I did at the Penang airport as I patiently waited for Ina.

Managed about 30 minutes of solid stitching which was very satisfying, before Ina arrived in her usual chirpy self. She actually spent more time chatting up with the lady sitting next to me at the waiting lounge, LOL! as their daughters were coincidentally studying at the same residential school. Talk about the world being small! *grin*

Ina brought along, as planned my framed piece. It's gorgeous! The framing, the mounting, and of course, the hardanger! LOL! *wink* It actually attracted the ladies sitting next to us as I opened the wrapping! *grin* What do you think? *wink*

On another stitching report, Linda came over to my house yesterday to pick up her cebelia threads which I had bought at Haby's for her some time back. She brought along my finished BUZZ RR. Now that it is completed, I think the whole picture is really nice. Don't you agree?

Thanks, Linda and Wendy, or joining me in this RR. Though it was extended twice due to everyone's busy schedule. We got it done anyway, as my portion on Wendy's RR was completed this morning.

I like the fabric colour (kind of peachy, though the photo is not doing justice to the piece) of Wendy's RR, and Lizzie Kate's designs has always appealed to me, especially if you needed a break from doing a big or medium size project, which, the Joan Elliot's Friendship Sampler is, which brings me to the final report on my stitching for now.

I have completed most part of the back stitching on the 2nd shelf, and I am now working the backstitching on the upper shelf. I am giving myself another 2 weeks to complete this piece.

On another note, I stashed! *grin* Yup! I told Linda to bring along some of her charts when she came over to pick up her cebelia threads. I knew it would be dangerous for my purse, but, it has been quite some time.....err...was it really?.....*grin* that I bought any I being truthful to myself here? LOL!

Anyway, I bought two charts from her - Garden Sampler by LK, True Love by The Workbasket and a fat quarter of 28ct gingham linen. Love the linen especially! My 1st purchase of linen! What am I going to work on it, since I have never worked on linen before? Hmmmmmmm......I just love the piece! I'll think about it later what am gonna be stitching on it! hehehhh......

Friday, September 15, 2006

It happens, but all ends well..........

It's one of those things that has to happen to U no matter what you do........

Huh? What am I talking about? working trip to Bali, that is.

Yup! I was away outstation for work last weekend, from Sunday nite till Tuesday. Overseas....Bali, Indonesia, to be exact! I went there on the invitation of the Menteri Besar of Terengganu. He wanted us to have a better picture of the architecture and landscape which has impressed him so much, so as to unable us to incorporate those ideas into the Kuala Terengganu Airport which is currently under construction. At the same time, for us to get some inspiration from the beautiful architecture and landscape that is Bali .

I didn't dare talk about it earlier to anyone since I wasn't sure whether I would actually be able to go with so many paperworks that needed to be done before we could actually fly off. Everything was finally settled and ready to go only on Friday evening, 8th of September.

I was excited about the whole trip since this is only my 3rd trip overseas on government service since working for the past 21 years! But, my excitement was shortlived, at least at the initial stage of the trip, when my bag did not arrive with me. In fact, about a dozen other passengers too did not get to claim their bagage because of failure by the bagage handling people in Malaysia, to load up the bagage when, we were told, the bagage carousel suddenly jammed up. Terrible, huh? How could they make such a mistake! And, to make matters worse, there were no more flights via MAS to Bali on that day. The next one is at 9.40 am the next day, arriving only at 1.00 pm. Uurrgghhh!

Gosh! What am I suppose to wear for work tommorrow? What am I gonna wear to sleep tonite? What about my toiletries? And make-up, and undergarments? My contact lenses could last only a few more hours. I need my contact lens solution. My glasses are in the bag! Gosh! I cudn't think! My mood dwindled immediately after that. Even when the local travel agent put a garland of flowers over my head, I couldn't get excited. Even though I was hungry, the food did not look d least bit appetizing. The hotel was a lovely place, my room was nice, but, my mood was already in the pits. I just lost all interest.

All I could think thoughout dinner is where to get my emergency supplies of things I mentioned earlier. Would I be able to look for a decent, comfortable blouse for work tommorrow? Will the shops still be open, in time for me to get those things? Where do I go? I AM in a foreign land I have never been before!

God tests you in many ways, but if you are patient and show faith in Him, He will show you the way. During dinner (we had to have dinner 1st because dinner was already served when we arrived at the hotel, and I was travelling in a group, so I had to follow the majority), I silently prayed, hoping that everything will turn out OK.

After dinner, together with a colleague, we dashed to the nearest supermarket. With less than 30 minutes before the shop closes, I am surprised, but thankful that I actually managed to find just the right blouse suitable for work that fitted like it was made for me! LOL! Not only that, I also managed to grab a new comb and some basic make-up!

For sleeping, a colleague lend me her kaftan. I was also given a new collared T-shirt by a Yang Berhormat who accompanied us on our trip, upon knowing of my predicament. See, all you need to do was be patient and have faith, and things will turn out okay. *smile*

I had a great time the next day going around the airport and a few resorts in Bali, taking in all the beautiful architectural details and landscape, till my camera run out of batteries, in my new blouse *wink*, but my pants were d same ones I wore yesterday....but, hey, U can't hv everything, can you? LOL! *wink*

Bali is a beautiful place to visit if you are into buildings and landscapes. They sure have such lovely buildings, and most were detailed in carvings. Even McDonalds had carvings! Even with so much carvings, they were all tastefully done! At nite, the scenes were even more beautiful when the lights on the buildings were lit up, creating mysterious feelings.

All in all, despite the initial set back, the visit was an eye opener and very inspirational. I thank Menteri Besar Terengganu for the kind invitation. I hope I will have more visits of this nature. *wink*

Friday, September 08, 2006

I've got it framed......

I was in Penang on 20th August, 2006 for work. I managed to squeeze in some time on my last day of work to drop by Tammy's to pick up my framed piece which I had earlier sent by PosLaju. It is my Trellis piece, by The Workbasket which I had completed some time back.

This is the 1st time that I sent a piece to Tammy by mail for framing without choosing the colour mounts and the framing. I left everything to Tammy and her husband to decide. The only criteria I requested is that the mounts be in either green or purple/purplish pink to match the colours of the stitched piece. The rest, I had to leave to Tammy and her hubby to choose for me, hoping that I will like the end results.

I am quite particular, or, you can call me fussy! LOL! about the way how my pieces should be framed. Usually, whenever I go to Penang for work, Zarina would pick me up after I am done with work for the day, and we would go to Tammy's for me to choose my mounts and framing. Later, when the framing is all done, Zarina or Niza would be so kind to bring them down for me whenever they are down in Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives. Thanks, Niza and Zarina!

This time, since I was going to be in Penang for work, and I was driving up, rather, my hubby was going to drive, I decided to try to send my stitching ahead of my trip so that I can bring it back with me to KL.

Heh! I must say that I was kinda `nervous' and `anxious' to see how my piece was going look all framed up, LOL! since I had no inkling at all as to the exact colours of the mounts and the design of the frame. I had to trust Tammy's taste! LOL!

So, what do U all think (see right photo above) ? Not too bad, huh? *wink*

BTW, while I was there (at Tammy's) I also managed to pick up another chart! *grin* - a hardanger chart by Cross N Patch called Christmas Star. I just could resist it since I saw a completed piece done by Tammy and it is really gorgeous!

I started on it a bit, just couldn't wait! LOL! when I came back from Penang, but has since put it on hold while I try to finish off my JE SAL. I can't wait to come back to it so that I can have this lovely piece all framed up on my wall! *wink*

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How time flies..............

I started out on the JE SAL with Barbara on 1st July 2006, although I only actually managed to put in the 1st stitch on July 2nd, due to some unforeseen circumstances.

Earlier, Barbara and I agreed on a 2 month period to complete the piece, but since I was sitting for the promotions exams, the infamous PTK, in August, Barbara was considerate enough to put on hold the SAL for two weeks.

Not discounting the two weeks of no stitching period, it has been more than 2 months since we started on the SAL. I am usually a fast stitcher, but, lately I am way over my head with work, that by the time I get back home, I am mentally exhausted. To add to that, without a maid, I had to do the household chores first before I could sit down and relax to stitch. Usually, by the time I am done, I would be too physically exhausted, added on to being already mentally exhausted! LOL! Not a good combination to sit down for a stitching session! I would end up going to bed early! LOL!

I really must apologize to Barbara that I cannot proceed with this piece as fast I usually could. It is one of those period of time when things just simply gets too hectic. I am hoping things will slow down a bit in about a month, but I doubt it very much because a number of projects that I am currently managing have to be tendered out before the end of the month, or latest, before the 1st week of November. That is work, and U have to work to live.

However, I am still hoping to get this piece (JE SAL) done before the end of September. I am hoping taht I will be able to catch up on my stitching during the weekends, but, so far, it has been 2 weekends that I have had to work over the weekends since I started on this project.

I will be working again come this weekend. Another weekend stitching time off my plans......but, I am kind of looking forward to work this weekend because........... heheh.....I am not telling! *wink* I will only tell about my work after this weekend, because, if everything goes well, it is going to be work of a different least for me.......*grin*

For now, here is my progress photo.....

The backstitching for the center pot, bottom shelf, is fully completed. I targeted to finish the backstitching for the 2nd shelf this weekend, but, looks like it's not gonna happen.......

Friday, September 01, 2006

Did you ever dream that someday...............

Malaysia's No. 1 singer, Siti Nurhaliza, got married on 21st August 2006. A grand reception was held on 28th August 2006. Never mind that she married a divorcee with 4 children ranging in age from 18 to 8 years old, and that he is 19 years her senior in age. That is not the reason whyI am putting up this posting. Rather, when I look at photos of the `akad nikah' (solemnisation of marriage) and the grand wedding reception with guest ranging from royalties to cabinet ministers, I cannot help but think...think about how some people have just got it made.

Siti Nurhaliza started out into the music industry at a ripe age of only 16, eleven years ago. When she started out, did she know that one day she is going to be so successful, that she will be Malaysia's No. 1 singer? She only won 2nd place in a local singing competition, yet, she was the one that got things going her way. I cannot even recall who won 1st prize! Maybe because she came with a package? Good voice with good looks to boot?

I am sure everyone started out into whatever business they venture into with hopes that they will become successful. You want to be the most successful enterpreneur. You want to be the richest man. You want to be the most intelligent. You want to be the most famous. Noone goes into something without wanting to succeed, but, how successful you actually become, depends on how hard you work for it.

Some say that sometimes luck also plays a part in your success. True, to a certain extent. A saying says, "Being at the right place, at the right time, and meeting the right people," is having luck on your side. But, you cannot depend solely on luck to make you succeed in something you venture if you don't work hard for it. You have to work hard for what you want. Nothing comes easy.

Did I know, as a child, that someday I would be able to fulfill my dream of becoming an Architect? I started drawing out floor plans even at the tender age of only 6 years old. They were not perfect floor plans, but they were recognizable. You could make out the living room, dining room, the kitchen and the bedrooms. I even drew out the doors. At that time, I did not know what an Architect is. I only knew that when I grow up, I want to design my own house.

When kids at that age change what they want to become when they grow up as they grew up, mine never changed. It was always to design my own house. Later, I found out that what I wanted to do - to design houses - is actually to become an Architect.

My dad's ambition was to become an Architect, but alas, his talent in the field of art wasn't enough to get him entered into university to pursue architecture. He became a lawyer instead, and a good one at that, but, deep inside, he never fail to hope to one day become an architect. When he realised a daughter of his had talents to draw better than he did *wink*, and was very much interested to become an Architect, he got excited. But, my parents never forced any of us, my siblings and I, into anything we did not want to. They let us decide what is best for us.

When finally I graduated with a Degree in Architecture some 21 years ago, my dad was the happiest dad around. *grin* Well, ok, all parents are happy of their children's success, but, my dad was especially excited that I fulfilled a dream of his to become an Architect. Although he, himself did not become an Architect, but to have a daughter of his carry on his dream is a dream come true enough for him.

I wish that I would someday become a famous Architect in Malaysia for the beautiful and unique buildings that I designed, but, after 21 years already in the field, I am not sure that I can still someday become that famous Architect who designs the most beautiful buildings in the country.

I have designed many buildings in my 21 years of service, big or small, but, being in the government, you don't get credited directly for your work. At the end of the day, if a building is recognized as being beautiful or unique, it will be known as the building designed by the government.

However, I still hope that by the time I leave the service in the government, I will have at least one big building to my name, so that one day, my son can say, "My mum designed this building". *smile*