Sunday, 31 December 2017

Come December

Hi everyone

It is that time again. The last month of the year. It is in reality just another month.There is really nothing special in store for me but as usual I am drawn into sharing the buzz of December.

There is the year end festive sales and spending. The frenzy catch on to most people, no matter their economy status. The shopping mall that I went to was super crowded.

As for me my time for getting excited over sales is over. My appetite for shopping is no more there. No more buying on impulse. But I do need to carefully spend on things like sport shoes and I would  wait to take advantage of the lower price at the year end sales. So I too make up the crowd.

Shoes for walking

I also ordered and have paid for a new pair of specs.  A necessity because I can't see the traffic lights clearly with the present specs.  I thought I could get a good offer at this time of the year. Yes they have discount and vouchers but the price is still high and the vouchers need to be redeemed in the same shop. So we end up buying another pair. The bills make you sigh . .

In my younger days I would not bat an eyelid at the bills. Not that I was loaded but then when you are young you tend to follow your heart. You would buy whatever you fancy as long as there was money in the pocket, you don't even wait for December to come.

During the second week, the girls, my four grands were here. With them around you can't expect the house to be in the quiet as usual. There was a change in my daily routine as I had to attend to their needs. Instead of having a morning dip at the pool all by myself I had them tagged along to the beach. It was quite a job keeping my eyes on them when all four were in the water, to make sure they were close to the shore or within my reach.

In between the outings I also cooked and prepare their meals myself. The three older girls, in their early teens, have quite good appetites but different liking. The youngest was so manja and wanted to be spoon fed as if she was still a baby. It is a different kind of situation from my past experience when I had only two kids to layan.

There are many weddings come December. If you have a few invitations and intend to go then there must be  some spares in the pocket. Not only now is a material world but from before it is in our culture that we  don't attend invitations with empty hands. In the old kampung days people bring rice, sugar and the like to give to the host. Nowadays we usually put money in an envelope, simpler than wrapping a gift.

There was one wedding which took place in the same week when the girls and their parents were here. How could I go but to take the whole gang with me . . .though  the invitation says suami isteri dan keluarga dijemput I felt I was like taking  advantage. I apologize to the hostess, my good friend in fact, that I have brought along a rombongan hehe. But good manners should prevail. I gave her a bigger envelope.

The girls were here for only one week so I can say it was fun to see to their whims to indulge and to please them. I don't know how I would take it had they stayed on for longer.

I wish they stay longer. I miss them.

Never mind, we were to meet again soon in this same month of December.

On the third weekend there was another wedding kenduri by a relative which we all attended. Very early in the morning me and hubby started out south to be joined by the girls and parents coming from further north and we were to meet on the way at one of the RnR.

There the December crowd again! No parking space, all full. We had breakfast in the car. When the girls arrived and two jump ship for want of more space in our car we continued our journey without stopping again. No point stopping because of the crowd.

You know what, we arrived at the wedding hall earlier than the caterer ha hah. But ok, we helped to make the bunga manggar .

Lucky the DJ was already there so we approached him and made him sing karaoke our favorite song. I sang along with him to the girls surprise. Hey didn't they hear me singing before? That song twinkle twinkle and all the lullaby s. Or they may not have heard how high my voice can rise during play in the tennis court.

December see less people playing tennis here. My regular gang has gone to join their family to holiday and to celebrate. When they were back I and some others would be away. So we see empty courts most of December.

In this final weekend  here I am sitting alone in the house. My other half has just left to go look after the third and the fourth girls. Their parents are going to send the two older girls back to the hostel tomorrow as school will start on Tuesday.

Me here tunggu rumah. My girl is involved in organizing a tennis tournament in the nearby town. She has been commuting from home the past two days. There will be another day. So I am here at home to accompany her. I hope the tournament will be a success.

That my friend is December for me . How's yours.

Bye . . .

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

A Surprise Encounter

Hi everyone

A glimpse into the animal kingdom.

It's the animal world. No mercy. No feelings. You are my food. Naturally.

But I couldn't ignore hearing the distress cry of the struggling frog.

I threw a stick in their direction.

The snake was startled and slithered away. Fast and swift and jumpy.

The frog stopped crying.

I am not sure whether it managed to escape or being swallowed.

I  was shakened too.

Till next entry, bye . . .

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Banana Story

Hi friends

What gets me to write this banana story is when I notice this lone bunch of bananas left behind by the girls.

When they were here I provided them with bananas to snack on as it is a healthy food. It is also cheap, easily available and quite nice and comparable to other fruits in all the goodness. In times of the rising cost, banana is therefore a good choice. If we buy local banana so much the better, we are helping our own farmers. Better still grow your own bananas .

Banana has high potassium content. Good for the heart it seems. Since I am diagnosed with a suspect of some heart ailments it is just right that I too should eat  more bananas.

Banana gives instant energy. If you are hungry and tired eat a banana as a quick fix. You can also have it before or during exercise to boost your energy.  Tennis grand slam players too take bananas during breaks to refuel energy in long and grueling matches.

So you see banana is not only for the poor  as some may think.

But in the old days banana was considered to be the poor mans's food.

When milk was scarce or unaffordable infants were fed with  mashed bananas. To stop the child from crying feed him banana.  May be umpteen years ago I was one child being treated like that!

Now I take the cue from people of the old days what to do in a distressed situation. If I am late in preparing meals when time is up and everybody is hungry I sometimes would have a bunch of bananas hung in the kitchen as a standby he he.

Banana is very synonym with some of us so much so we develop a strong liking to planting bananas at our home even if our compound is so small. It is easy to plant but quite difficult to manage.

Tall banana in a small compound
Plant it where ever possible

If you have ever experienced growing banana  then you will know that after harvesting the fruits disposing the tree is quite a problem because it makes such a big garbage.  It is of no point keeping the plant because it will never bear fruit again. Anyway you got to tebang the whole tree to get to the bunch of fruits.

You also sometimes get heart sick seeing your bananas being robbed and destroyed by monkeys and you are left with spoilt fruits or nothing at all but only the garbage to clear.

Come to think of it why go through all the troubles. If you want to eat banana just go buy a kilo, you can have it more than you can stomach. But then you like it better and feel proud about it if its home grown. You can tell your friend, this banana is from the tree I planted.

I first planted banana some years ago after a trip back to the kampung. It was nice to see the many banana plants around the kampung house. It was green and fresh and I wanted the same effect at home. So? I have one tree dug out, took it home and planted it.

Banana is so easy to grow. I started with just one plant and now I have a clump. but to tell you the truth my starter plant was as tall as me he he.

The plant

Pisang empat puluh hari -the fruit

I also grow pisang awak which by the way can be translated directly as, your banana. For me the not so ripe pisang awak make tastier banana fritters than pisang nangka.  This is the reason I plant the pisang awak though some people might think no one wants this kind of banana. Some even have seeds the more reason people don't want them.

Pisang awak-unwanted?

Don't discard the over ripe bananas for visiting birds yet ( have mercy leave them some) because it can still be consumed by humans. Make cekodok, a kampung food which has found its way to the cities. But don't eat it too much it's fattening!

If you want to make banana cake choose the right type of banana as indicated in the recipe. Pisang berangan ( dream banana?) is usually the choice because it makes tasty banana cakes. But I use whatever banana I have at hand. It might not taste like a dream cake but still is quite nice and no one would notice the difference except may be the most expert.

Have you ever heard of pisang awak masam? Yes that's the name, pisang awak masam which means your sour banana. No poking fun but that's what the kampung people call it. They planted it mainly for chicken and not for human consumption but why should I bother even if its just for animal feed. I have used it before in cakes and it tasted nice and not too sweet because the special taste of the banana.

 Alas the pisang awak masam has already extinct from my home garden.

In fact there are some types of bananas that have become scarce like those that come with the name of  awak nipah, awak gelugor or  awak abu. I would like to plant them too.

Too much bananas? Then share it with your neighbors. If they are not interested here is what you can do . . .
  • Peel the not fully ripe banana
  • Slice it
  • Throw away parts with seeds
  • Put those slices without seed in the food processor
  • Process it coarse
  • Pack in plastic wrap
  • Freeze
  • thaw when needed

Packed  for freezing

So there you can have banana for cooking at any time.

Sorry friends I got carried away talking about bananas anyway I hope you enjoy reading and find my tips useful.

Till next entry . . . bye . . .

Monday, 11 December 2017

Most Beautiful Punai The Pigeon

When life could be free of hassles
I would just wait and linger
And watch the wings in nature

Here at a distance
Waiting in silence
With endless patience

Would you descend
To the open
For a moment
 Just so you not be hidden

To have you be captured
In dots and pixels
Shots in bursts
For remembrance in images

Let the light of the sun flood on you
Let it be shown your true hue
With gleaming eyes and murmuring coo
A pigeon most beautiful

Monday, 4 December 2017

Bird Watching With Adelia

The orioles calling from the tree top


Fan - tail robin (?)

The Oriole 

The yellow bird descends for Adelia.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


Hello again friends

Life in retirement can mean you may have many quiet days. Life has become slow and static. It can be the dullest part of one's life. You fear change. You fear to tread out after a long time of being used to staying home.

Life may be like a sleep, you are oblivious to the surrounding. That bad? Well try ask some retirees or just watch their life.

You try to break the monotony by going out for games where you meet the regulars, the like minded people.

You go out, you play, then you go home, sometimes without even a little chit chatting. Its like a routine though you might enjoy the hours.

It can be boring doing the same thing day in and day out, but, it makes you feel safe from the unexpected and you prefer to remain like that and not try to take any chances. People say it's a mediocre situation. Of course nobody wants to live without excitement by choice.

So far nobody tell me that I am mediocre person right to my face.

Do talk nicely to me!

May be I am. Having hobbies may not prevent you from feeling and acting dull.

Friends sometimes urge me to join them for the away games organised by our club. Ah that will involve travelling outstation, I am afraid that will disrupt my daily chores  as I am tied to giving priority to home. Not that I am not interested as they assumed.

In fact I have become interested in joining organised sports activities like the night run which took place at some sixty kilometers away. When I have registered and promised others that I would be there running with them I cannot back off like a coward. That indirectly forced me to move on and leave home feeling free.

Sometimes I force myself to get out of my hermit like life and join friends for morning tea or something. I can't help thinking that's a waste of time, not that I am not interested. I even have the idea of having a durian feast by the roadside.

Sigh . . . you feel lost as to what really the kind of life you want to live. At the end of it all you remain to staying home and do nothing.

I don't mind relatives and friends coming over to my house and being busy cooking and entertaining them. I don't mind spending money and time for them occasionally. I don't worry at times my house turns topsy turvy by their cucu and cicit. I can put the house back in order at my own sweet time. No rushing. No hurry. Life is slow, see?

Three weeks ago there was a meet up of  a few old friends, college mates, former course mates to be exact. I was quite reluctant to go because I had to drive out of the district but they insisted chiding that it was unbecoming of me not to attend since I was the nearest while the others were travelling far from the four corners of the peninsula. For old times sake . . . I joined them not to be so obviously anti social.

Having attended the evening high tea I accept the fact that if you make the effort to reach out to people you would feel the difference even though it may just be temporary.

We met . We chatted. Though we parted ways many years ago surprisingly the closeness was still there. You know you still have friends.

Life is not that dull after all. I felt refreshed.

That day we forgot all about the high bp or diabetes or  cholesterol levels.

The host busy with her signature dish - the mee mamak special

Bubur semolina with ghee, raisin and cashew nut inside

Talking and laughing and feeling young again . . .

Hurriedly made symbolic cake for old times sake
Cake cutting to celebrate our small reunion

It was havoc and there were only six of us. How would it be if there were more. We were quite ambitious to  trace other old friends and have a reunion somewhere in the future.

A reunion?

Hope you enjoy reading.

Till next entry  . . . bye.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

To Enjoy And To Share

Hi everyone

The frequent rain is forcing me to stay indoor. Sit in a cosy corner and do some sewing or knitting or crocheting. No. Do some reading. Novels may be. No.

I prefer to surf the internet. Read some gardening blogs. That is how it is nowadays for me.

My outdoor activities like tennis, swimming or walking will have to take a back seat for a while. This wet weather will last for sometime. Rainy days are not all negative . Rain brings pleasure and promises . Like a cheerful person having good vibes.

Everything seems to be so fresh and alive. My dying plants are showing sign of reviving.

Of course I know too much rain has adverse effects on the plants. Delicate plants would surrender even those stronger ones would stoop in heavy rain. The half dead ones may totally die if the rain continue to pour. It is lucky that the house and its compound is on higher ground so it doesn't get flooded to effect total destruction.

Light rain won't prevent me from going outdoor at home. With this renewed interest I am spending more time tending to the plants in my home garden.

I am thinking of adding more varieties at the same time spruce up what plants I have to make them grow lush and green and if they are flowering types, boost them to flower. As it is now you only see leaves.

My interest is rekindled by the gardening blogs I read. I marvel at some of the bloggers for having deep interest in horticulture and are able to identify all or most of their plants. They have great patience to carry on minding their garden and at the same time recording the plants' progress in their blogs. It is very generous of them to share knowledge and tips with their readers.

Myself is quite an ignorant gardener. I am not very serious but I do like to garden and don't mind to dirty my hands and play with the soil. And I have not been too squeamish about worms and bugs, well except for leeches because they can stick on to your skin heee.

There was a time I had quite a good collection of flowering plants. Since I spent more time with them they reciprocate with beautiful flowers which became the envy of neighbors. That has become history.

When I read those gardening blogs they remind me of flower plants that I have had before. I feel a little regret that I don't maintain them to this day except for a few. But then not all things will last and garden is dynamic, it won't remain the same year in and year out. In my case it was purely negligence on my part, no pointing to any other excuse.

Some plants are hardy. They can withstand neglect or even abuse. Usually this type of plant does not get appreciated. Like the common garden palm or the common plant as below they  are left at the back of the garden to fend for itself and which in no time become bushy.

Hardy plant - has been there for so many years

It is human nature that we don't care much for plants we consider common and can be easily grown like the bunga tahi ayam or the balung ayam though collectively they can be very stunning with their flowers

We usually clamour for rare ones. Of course most are appreciated for the beauty, color and form, or their scents or fragrance. Some go to one level higher, for medicinal value or in the old days, may be even now, for their supposed mysticism. The bomoh usually request you to supply seven type of flowers for him to cure or alleviate your suffering from some kind of penyakit misteri  . . .

I have very little knowledge and lack of patience in matters pertaining to plant care. That was why my attempt at planting orchids failed.

Nevertheless once I had a success with this one species of wild orchid ( wild, according to the friend who gave me ). I grew it in a pot and hanged it to a mango tree.  After many years the orchid outgrown the pot and got attached to the tree. It grew so well but no flower. I gave up on it just left it there.

However after may be more than fifteen years it began to flower. I was stunned the first time looking at the length of the flower stalks, one with nearly twenty buds attached to it. What a joy.

When  the bud began to open it gave out a soft scent which I did not realize initially.

It continued to bloom once a year usually in March. You know the plant was blooming when you got a sniff of the fragrance. But if you get your nostrils right to the deep purple flowers you might not like the smell .

Now what left of the plant is a half empty pot with a pathetic stalk hanging downwards. The mango tree on which the orchid grew were chopped off to give way for kitchen extension. Tree and orchids were mercilessly taken away. So heartsick. That was quite a number of years ago my heart now is already mended.

I have also grown another pot of the same plant taken from the remnants I found  and it is growing well. I will care for it to see it blooming, that is if I can live to another fifteen years or more to see some flowers ha ha.

Old picture of the said orchid

Garden is for us to enjoy and to share . . .

Till next entry

Bye . . .