of maggi goreng and that blue robe calit tiga


After over a week retiring early to bed and getting enough sleep (mashaAllah, what great nikmat ample sleep is!), tonight I am back being a night owl helping to proofread my sister’s work sambil teman Nashriq telaah his readings in preparation for his classes that will begin this week  – tapi sekali toleh belakang tadi nampak mcm tgh tgk kartun batman la pulak, ish! As always, bila stay up, perut pun automatic macam macam, hence maggi goreng taugeh setimbun. Exactly at 12 midnight. I guess bad habits are really hard to break :cry:

On a different note, we’ve been out and about with my parents to nearby places. They’ve only about two weeks left here. Their help and sacrifice in helping me make my mission impossible plans a reality can never be repaid. That’s why I’m so so grateful I passed unconditionally! Unfortunately our supposedly elaborate trip got cut short by the kids’ unprecedented condition. SO, I made another elaborate itinerary, booked accomodations wayyy in advance – for May 2015. Yep, I am so making them both come here again soon, USA, take 4! And it’ll all be on me this time, plane tickets and all! :-) Hint: Blue robe, calit tiga ceremony.

Heard my sister’s got an itinerary planned for a trip to Scotland when Mum and Dad visits her for two weeks. I’ll just pretend that I don’t care :lol: :lol:

Ok. Maggi pun dah habis now. Back to work!



There’s always a next time

We’re back home in Milwaukee this evening after less than 24 hours arriving in Door County where we were supposedly going to have our week-long trip. Ayra’s teeth decided to keluar secara berjemaah (like 8 of them?) and Ayman’s showing signs of stomach flu (most probably contracted either from the shopping spree at the outlet or at the mall a couple of days ago). Torturous night, last night! The endless cryings, the vomittings and what not. Oh well, sh*t happens. I feel so sorry for my parents especially Dad. But chin up, they can have fun in the UK with Angah.

And I can always create a new itinerary altogether soon! :lol:



One of the best things I enjoy doing is creating itineraries, especially road trip itineraries. It’s been a loooong while since I last created one, in fact I can’t remember the last time we ever went on a (proper) vacation. Maybe the last one was last winter, when Nazmien, Nashriq’s sister was around for four months. Since then, the past 8 months have been nothing but a dreary period of “binge writing”, which I swear I will never want to do ever again. It wasn’t fun, and that was when I realized that had I made full use of each and every minute of my time the past 5 years, I wouldn’t have to end up torturing myself for 8 long months working on writing up paper after paper after paper after paper after ..(I mean it was just crazy. Period).

So anyway, I’m currently planning an itinerary for a quick road trip with mi familia since mum and dad  only has about 3 weeks left here with us before they head over to my sister’s place. I know Wisconsin is a very beautiful state but I’ve never really had the luxury of exploring other counties beyond the Milwaukee-Madison radius. So yes, to a long-due getaway and exploring beautiful Wisconsin!

Dah puas rasanya bertapa at the local library day in day out, for weeks and weeks, months and months. Cuma mampu perhati je dari jauh kawan kawan lain sibuk post pictures having a whale of a time and kadang kadang kesat air mata sorang sorang sebab punya lah stressful and lonely, the studies – tak cukup satu dua (and it was just for candidature!), the analyses – challenging, the cuti belajar – short setahun, the financial status – uncertain, my advisor – he’s hours and hours away from where I currently live, the kids – they need round the clock attention etc. etc. so I guess now it’s my turn pulak to bersuka ria :P My bersusah-susah dahulu days are finally over, alhamdulillah! 

To the readers of this blog aka my virtual friends who wrote to me personally, congratulating me, thank you, thank you, iA I will get back to each one of you personally too. (Apakah statement bajet famous? :lol: ). Some of you wrote asking me to write about the weeks leading to the day I made it to the finishing line. iA will do that when I feel a little more settled down. It is nice to learn that through my (mostly thoughtless) rants over the years, some of you told me that you have been inspired in one way or another, that is, to not give up.

Perhaps I didn’t see that, and maybe it was never my intention anyway, but yes, this is what this whole journey of life is all about: to not give up, no matter what. We were given this life because we are strong enough to live it, no? 

Till I write again (on a more frequent basis, hopefully like the way I used to some two years ago), I need to get back with the road tripping thingy 8-)





PS: Previously, road tripping meant going cross-country, driving for as long as 12-hours (or more) to get to NY, for instance. But since Ayra was born, traveling is no longer our cup of tea because her personal disposition is very different from Ayman, who is tougher and tak banyak ragam. So this very first road tripping with her around is going to take us just about 2 hours to reach the destination, Door County, in northern Wisconsin. But we’ll yet have to see how it turns out :lol:

Selfie selfa


Almost midnight and just about to head home after seharian library date with boyfie. Rasa jakun pulak. Maklumlah masa sekolah dulu tak pernah bercakap, masa undergrad pjj UIA Kuantan/UPM, masa sama sama blaja dekat Illinois, anak anak pulak masih merah merah. Sekarang anak anak dah besar sikit, sibuk sibuk pun, tudung pun dah blh pakai lilit lilit balik. Sikit masa lagi, bila dua dua dah masuk kerja semula, boleh la main dating dating lagi :lol:

Tp sbb ambil gambar, buat buat la sengeh sengeh mcm ni. Sebenarnya kepala & badan memang rasa dah nak barai.


on being unorthodox



The past five email correspondences have only been with this 80-yr old Atok, my mentor extraordinaire, working on so many different things all at the same time. Many more emails to come within the next few days! I will definitely miss this.

But right now, I am also palpitating like crazy. One does not normally have 3 defenses in a single week, defending three research work on top of your doctoral dissertation all at the same time. It’s usually spaced out across semesters.

But you can be the unorthodox student and make it work, he says.

And yes, you can make it work, even though you’re far, far away from campus. It’s all up to you.



3:39 AM. Sunday. Doing my rounds of prepping for the grand finale(s). Spot the coffee mugs!

Bertahanlah wahai badan. Kekal tabah lah wahai hati. You’re doing awesome and you know that.

alternatives to “good job!”

I was looking for this today, and found exactly what I wanted. I think most of you know that praising our child “clever”, “pandai” is actually detrimental to his/her cognitive development, but instead, we should be praising for efforts. But then again, I always run out of good things to say other than the standard “good job!”. So here’s to sharing what I found:

(Source: http://picklebums.com/2014/07/10/25-alternatives-good-job/)

Say thank you when you mean it – explain why you are grateful for your child’s actions.

Thank you for helping with…
It makes mornings/dinner/outings easier when you…. thank you
I really appreciate it when you…
Thank you for doing that… it means I/we can now…
Make an observation based on facts – just say what you see without emotions or judgment.

We did it together.
Wow! You made a building/drawing/etc.
You did it on your own.
You did x and then y and worked it out.
You used lots of red paint/blocks/tape/etc.
You made it really big/small/colourful/complicated/etc.
That took you a long time, and you did it!

Extend and encourage – extend learning and encourage conversation by asking questions about what you see while also recognising their efforts.

How did you do that?
You did X, what will you do now?
Can you tell me about it?
What is your favourite part?
How did you think of that?

Put feelings into words – explain how something makes you feel, help your kids notice how their actions make others feel and acknowledge your children’s own feelings.

I really enjoy doing this with you.
I love watching you create/help your sister/play soccer/ etc.
I’m so proud to be your mum, every day, no matter what.
Look how happy your friend is when you share/help/smile/etc.
You kept going, even when it was hard.
You look so pleased to have done that!
You made X feel so pleased when you did that.
It makes you feel good when you do X.

Say nothing – we don’t need to praise every little action, or fill every space with noise. It is enough to sit back and watch our children’s delight in their own achievements

Say nothing – just smile.

For a ready-to-print version, click here:

Post-op update

In pre-op room. Getting his mood ready to get changed into hospital gown.
His child life specialist from the pre-admission tour came to check on him that morning, bringing a hospital gown specially tailored for Optimus Prime.
It was quite a wait in the pre-op room, but he knows something's just about to happen and decided to be extra clingy. It was heartbreaking when he kept uttering, "Ayman takut.." every other minute.
Five years from today we will look at this shot again with a smile :-)
Alhamdulillah everything went well. We were transfered to a ward room to stay for the night so he could be on IV. This was to ensure he's hydrated, to minimize risk of hemorrhage. This was also about the time we switched the tv on and learnt about the tragic MH17 incident. :sad:
All is well the following morning, ready to discharge, after a very torturous night with the IV machine malfunctioning, and having to go through another procedure with his other hand at 2 in the morning.
We're very grateful to have atok and ibutok around otherwise things wouldn't have been this easy. We don't have to worry about who needs to take care of Ayra at home (Atok did).
I have had my tonsils removed when I was 5 due to tonsilitis. Looking at how slow and painful the recovery process is with Ayman, and how much weight he has lost over the past 10 days for being on liquid diet, I now come to understand why mom says it's a no joke thing. We had to administer super-icky narcotic medicine every 4 hours to help him deal with the pain. And I felt bad at some point because removing the adenoids and tonsils were optional. But now that he's getting better, I certainly can spot a significant difference in his voice and clarity of speech. Just can't wait to plump him up again!

Raya will be just as is as he is still halfway through recovery and our focus is very much still on him. But it’s really nice to have my parents around, at least there’s still reason to make some lemang and rendang and what not. If they weren’t here and I have to deal with the whole situation alone with Nashriq, raya will just be another day you go to the masjid for prayers. :-)

Eid mubarak everyone, and safe travels!



It can be concluded as of today that I now have developed fear of flying. Oh dear, dear. 20+ hours of flight time, transferring from plane to plane, airport to airport, to get home is definitely a legit reason to be afraid, no? Going home has been a yearly routine for the past 4 years, except this summer. But in the event that I am not allowed to extend my stay here, it only means that I will be traveling home alone with the kids, pretty much soon. On a different note, I wish my parents can just stay here and not board that long haul flight to Manchester to my sister’s place, and back home. Although this is not until mid-September, the sheer thought that such air tragedies can happen to just about anyone (and there’s nothing you can do to save yourself) gives me the chills.

Nonetheless, my heart, thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims and families of the MH370, MH17, GE222, and AH5017. And to the people of Gaza – Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. May God give them continued strength. We can only help as much as we can, from afar.

Please, please, let there be no more news of this nature. Definitely not an Eid to look forward to, never imagined 2014 would be this dark a year for us all.



Prepping for the big thing



I went to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin today for a pre-admission tour. I met with a child life specialist who let me be doctor to Optimus Prime, my current favorite toy. I get to play with real doctor stuff today, and even made Optimus wear the hospital pajamas.

Tomorrow, Dr. Robey, my ENT specialist for the past couple of months will have me as his surgical patient. Optimus Prime will be with me. So will mummy and daddy. Mummy says it’s a really big deal for a 3 year old to undergo 3 major surgeries back to back. But everyone in the family can’t wait to meet the new me. So please make dua that things will be alright. :-)


I found a hidden gem at the Asian store today. This is one of my dadah, my ubat pandai, my tranquilizer. Before I moved to Milwaukee in Dec 2012, the local Asian store we go to in Champaign stopped carrying these. And when we moved here, I couldn’t find it either. So i was really surprised with this find. The only place I know to be carrying these on a continuous basis is in Chicago. So greed got me and I emptied the shelf today :lol:

My daily Milo moment will be more heavenly from now on :)

Biskut lemak Hup Seng, 69 cents per pack.


What’s on your mind?

This is why you shouldn’t take people’s Facebook/online lives too seriously (mine included :lol: !). Pictures only provide an impression of reality, or just a fraction of reality, but not the reality.

The actual day to day reality might quite be just the opposite.


discovery of the day


A friend posted the Jung/Briggs Myers’s test on her IG today, which reminded me of something I enjoyed doing occasionally over the past ten years or so to check on myself. It’s a 4-letter type scaled-based test which translates into a possible combination of 16 different personality types. We sometimes use this before working on a group project so that we’re mindful of each group member’s personal disposition (tekun buat kerja ke, verangan je lebeh and cakap je banyak tapi isi takdak ke..cepat makan dalam ke (me la tu).. kejam tak bertempat nak semua siap on time ke..(me jugak)..  suka present present depan orang tapi kerja sebenar buat sikit je ke. Ok that’s not me.. :lol: ) etc.

The test is free, if you would like to know more about yourself. Do be surprised to see how accurate it is! Well, provided that you answered all the questions honestly that is. :cool: I am not that good with psychometrics, but I do know this is one of the most stable tests out there, hence reliable enough. Here:



I have an ordinary personality: an ISFJ. The typical teacher-mummy kind of person. And it’s been like that since the first time I took it. (Good? Bad?). Other than an empirical study noting that ISFJs typically score highest in college GPAs regardless of major (which I wish it’s true all the time but it’s not :lol: ), there’s nothing quite outstanding, from my POV. But anyway, after 10 years of being together with Nashriq, I finally made him answer this test today and so grateful to have been destined to marry an ISTJ :-) . It seems that we are two very similar individuals in so many ways that make things work well and yet different enough to complete each other and make things so exciting. Cewah. Well, the results weren’t that surprising, I could guess he is an ISTJ right away anyway, but having him go through the scale and receiving a confirmatory result is still thrilling. :-)


Now what’s your 4-letter combination? Does it suit aptly with your current job? Are we that different as a person? Perhaps that’s why you like (hate?) me so much? We prefer people we think are similar to ourselves than those who aren’t. And there’s also a science behind that,  too. :lol:


Good day!


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