Homeward Bound Over the Hills

23 July 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Aidilfitri vacation was coming to an end. We left for home from Pasir Mas at 0430 hours and arrived at the eastern end of the mountain roads just in time for Subuh prayers. By the time we reached the Titiwangsa rest stop an hour later, this was what we saw while the cold winds buffetted us:

Travelling the East-West Highway in the dark could be a bit daunting, then the sun rises

We got one amazing view from the top of the hills as the sun peeked over the horizon. If only we could stay up there and enjoy the view forever.

This view beats anything back at the Tenth Floor

The photos here could not do justice to the view because of the low light conditions, as well as the sun coming up right before us. 

...is the love that I've found ever since you've been around

It was like the top of the world, with the layer of clouds were like a carpet of whiteness in the valley far below us and the only explanation I can find...

From Baling to Sik we passed through Kampung Memali

We stopped for breakfast at Baling, which we usually bypass.

Sik, dude

We also stopped for photos at Sik, because Sik.

Then we headed home, safely reaching home base after lunch.

Lunch at Subways.

 

Hari Raya at Pasir Mas

20 July 2015 | Hisham | | Board and Card Games, Family Pics
 

This year I was able to take a full week's vacation for Eid vacation at Pasir Mas. I was able to take a vacation because I had a job to take a vacation from this year, which is one of the many things I am grateful for this year. We arrived a couple of days early so Ain could work her magic in the kitchen. There was also a lot of orange soda thanks to Abang G.

Orange and Brown family

Eid was on a Friday. Irfan and I walked to the masjid, and almost missed the Eid prayers but got into the back line just in time.

Tok Bah and Tok Man, also a Tall Boy
 

Betty Was Missing

12 July 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Recent News
 
Sad rainy day

A month ago, Betty went out for her daily roams and never came back. The neighbours reported not seeing her. She was gone all throughout Ramadhan. We live close to thick tropical-grade underbrush. One possibility is that she might have come afoul of local wildlife - and I don't mean squirrels. After three weeks, I had accepted that we would never see her or hear her little mewlings again.

For weeks only Comel, the neighbour's cat, hung around about the house. Here she is trying to persuade me to let her drive us to town. Well, not without a valid driver's licence, missy.

 

But on Sunday, while Irfan was playing with Comel's owners from next door, his classmate came a-visiting bringing with him Betty!

Thanks to Irfan's sustained crowdsourcing efforts and detailed descriptions, his friend from school recognized Betty's markings and her collar at a housing area half a mile away! At first she was somewhat reserved, but ultimately she went back to her old self, napping in her old shoebox.

 

She also still enjoys car rides!

We are overjoyed by her return! 

 

83 Months

22 June 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

83 months of Yaya!

Happy girl at the beach at night

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Yaya loses a Tooth!

18 June 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

Yaya lost her first baby tooth today! June 18, 2015. She is a little over a month shy of her seventh birthday!

Buh-bye tooth!

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Rafe - 41 Months

29 May 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

The boy is now 41 months old! Almost 3 and a half!

Happy roti canai-filled Adik

That is the face he made after eating his fill of roti canai at the Straits of Malacca.

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

82 Months

22 May 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

82 months of Yaya!

Yaya and Adik

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Boy Spells Words

10 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Irfan told informed us that he was invited by a teacher to attend some spelling bee. Later he told us the event was held at a local hotel: the biggest hotel in town.

He didn't even tell is it was this contest:

Irfan with buntings

You can read about the contest here.

Irfan with Mom

We arrived and I took some photos before Irfan joined his school contigent for registration. There were 150 attendees from his school.

Now that's one tall First Former

After registration, the teacher in charge briefed his contigent. It looks like there were representatives from every Form.

Irfan with other First Formers

Irfan and the other First Formers take a photo together. He was the only one from his class.

Irfan with Mom, redux

This appeared to be the qualifying round. There was only a preliminary written test for the attendees. If Irfan makes it past the preliminaries, the next event would be the State Challenge which according to the website would be held at Dewan Kapitol on the 8th and 9th of August.

 

Veronica - Hello and Farewell

07 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Before we left for Kuala Lumpur and Sitiawan last weekend, Ain was enamoured with another stray kitty who hung around at a roadside stall nearby. She took to Ain very well, so she thought we would also adopt her and Betty would have a companion.

Neow neow buddy

We took in the new calico on Tuesday and named her Veronica. Like their namesake, Betty and Veronica did not really get along well. Betty was quite haughty and Veronica was a better-behaved kitty. They did things together, but once in a while they got into hissing slap flights. We thought that after a week or two of acclimatising, the two kitties would be okay with each other.

On Wednesday, while we were having lunch at home a neighbour knocked on our door and told us she saw Veronica get hit by a car. She was at the doorstep limp and lifeless, her eyes looking out to nowhere.

While I returned to work, Ain and Irfan sadly buried Veronica by the canal. We were all shocked by the sudden death. Even Betty appeared to be shaken by the event. She is less energetic and behaves better than she ever did now for some reason. Perhaps she regrets fighting with Veronica.

Here lies Veronica neow neow neow neow
 

So long, Veronica, and sorry.

 

A Return To the Tenth Floor

04 May 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

It's the Labour Day/Wesak Day long weekend. We were unsure if we were able to travel 500 klicks plus change to the old house back on the Tenth Floor in Kuala Lumpur.

We had planned on departing at 3AM, but because we were exhausted we awoke at six, and after gearing up were only able to push off from Kangar at seven. Twitter warned us of slow traffic on the highway ahead of us, which forced us off and into the state roads near Selama toward Taiping. Soon we decided to stop at Atok and Opah's in Sitiawan for a brief rest and Friday prayers.

We resumed our journey at 3PM and reached Kuala Lumpur by nightfall.

It was a strange feeling, returning there after five months away from the city. I don't believe we were ever away from the city anywhere near this amount of time. The strangeness was promulgated by the fact that it did not feel like we were away for five months. It felt like we were only away for a week or two.

Soon we were back at the Tenth Floor. A familiar sight of the Pandan Indah cityscape greeted us. The city lights were still aesthetically pleasing. That night we went for a drive around the city, like old times.

The Tenth Floor was all but a shell of its former self. Despite being our shelter and home base for the last fifteen years - the same number of years I lived in Sitiawan before I had to go away to study - it felt like a relief to finally being able to appoint a realtor to help sell it off. Irfan knew of no other home and it was here that he learnt to swim.

 

A Return to Burger Republik

30 April 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics, Food
 

Because we sent some freelance proofreading work in the direction of the proprietor of Burger Republik, they invited us over for dinner on the house. I had the chicken kebab which was perfect and juicy. Especially the onions.

Because onions!

Ain had ordered a new item on their menu, the salmon. I thought the bean sprouts gave the fish a great taste and texture. Although I loved my kebab, I quickly wished I had ordered the salmon instead. But all is good, because we all share our food with each other anyway.

Irfan had a "Broadway Burger". But there was no photo of it, just this photo of Irfan devouring said burger.

Because we found the selection of Burger Republik's menu quite appetising, we shall return there!

 

Rafe - 40 Months

29 April 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

And so Adik is 40 months old!

And he's excited about it!

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Atok and Opah's April Visit

26 April 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Atok and Opah visited us in Perlis once more, this time to help ensure all went well during the my last ever semester final examinations. If I make it through this, then I would have a Bachelor of English Studies degree. And in a position to do something with it.

We planned for a picnic at Gua Kelam, but rainfall overnight caused a change in plans so we went to Tasik Melati which appeared to be overrun by ants and water lettuce, although the lily pads were pretty neat.

However, after breakfast at Tasik Melati we found ourselves at Gua Kelam anyway because we travelled quite a bit past Sungai Batu Pahat northbound toward Kaki Bukit.

We enjoyed the greenery at the Gua Kelam Secret Garden on the other side of the cave tunnel where we finished off the leftover of our Tasik Melati breakfast.

There was one way to prove that we were at the Secret Garden, which was to take a photo of the indisputably noticeable large words that labelled the locale as a SECRET GARDEN. Needless to say its secret was safe with us.

The next morning we visited the Pauh Pasar Pagi which was a unique combination of a farmer's market which also includes flowers and other landscaping material, and a flea market which even sells melee weapons including a not-very-hefty-looking wooden mace. With spikes and all.  

Atok and Opah were very engrossed with the decorative plants, which were sold right by the roadside.

Irfan smiles with glee at another flower stall which was located between a graveyard and a rubber plantation.

Opah bought for Irfan another flowering potted plant to look after. According to the seller it's a "Japanese Rose" however a cursory Googling confirms that it is not.

After exams were over, it was time for Atok and Opah to leave for Sitiawan, with a plan to meet soon during the Labour Day/Wesak Day long weekend.

 

81 Months

22 April 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

81 months of Yaya!

Artsy selfie

* Mouse over the pictures for captions

 

Wedding at Lunas

01 April 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

One day we had to leave Betty kitty at home for the weekend.

What IS up with the many-angled ones?

We travelled south to Lunas, Kedah about three hours south where Ain's cousin Zariff was getting married.

Lunas is near Kulim which is a spitting distance from Pulau Pinang

Ain had found a homestay online and booked by phone. It was quite a comfortable pace to stay, we discovered upon checking in.

This is the same place we rendezvoused with them a couple of years ago

Then we rendezvoused with Tok Bah and Tok Ma in Kulim who had driven in from Pasir Mas, and had some nasi ayam for lunch. We also took a drive to Butterworth to buy some pickles at the pickle store.

 

Rafe - 39 Months

29 March 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

And now Adik is 39 months old!

Happy little boy, up close

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80 Months

27 March 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

80 months of Yaya!

I was framed, I say!

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Rafe - 38 Months

28 February 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

Here are Adik's 38-month photos.

My happy little boy

Mouse over the picture for captions.

 

An Unexpected Guest: The Wet Sprocket

22 February 2015 | Hisham | | Family Pics
 

Upon returning home from Pasir Mas to pay our last respects to Irfan's Nyang, we discovered that the house had an unexpected guest.

It was a big katak puru that took refuge among the old laundry causing Ain to scream out loud when it jumped after being startled. Ain and the local fauna appear to love to startle each other at the same time. It attempted to flee deeper into where the glassware was stored, but Irfan and I boxed it in, literally.

This is not an unboxing video

Soon, the toad was released out to the recently-harvested bendang.

Bufo this, dude!

Where I assume he lived happily ever after.

Thanks for minding the house while we were away.
 

79 Months

22 February 2015 | sila | | Family Pics
 

79 months of Yaya!

Peekaboo!

* Mouse over the pictures for captions