Others (under construction)

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Unwanted Mail

I hate mails like these....
It was sent to the old address and I never got it till yesterday. The letter dated 11 Nov2008 was from the Income Tax Department basically saying that they had calculated the property gains tax for the house I sold in the year 2000. Yes, you read it right. Mctc and I bought the house in 1997 and sold it 3 years later. During that time if one were to buy and sell a house/property in less than 5 years, the profit gained from the sale was taxable. But if I'm not mistaken, the first house you sold would be exempted from tax.

This is how the property gains tax looks like.

It says here that I have to pay RM1237.50 for the property I sold 8 years ago. Are they slow or what? And what more, Mctc has received a similar letter bearing only his name saying that he owes them the same amount. So are we suppose to pay only RM1237.50 or 1237.50 times two? And I thought debts after 7 years were written off or have I been reading too much of the bible? :). I have to go and clarify with the tax department.

Today's the last day of the year 2008. I am happy that 2009 is coming REAL SOON... like tomorrow. I didn't have a good year... well I knew it was going to be a bad year at the start of this year. I was constantly down and many a times I put on a smile and hid myself behind this happy face. When I received the letter from the Income Tax Department, I was like... oh well, it's expected. A bad end to a bad year.

Well, tomorrow's the beginning of a new year, boy am I looking forward to it. :)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Flowers at Cameron Highlands

When we were at Cameron Highlands 2 weeks ago, we saw so many beautiful and healthy flowers. The colours were so vibrant and these beauties created a peaceful environment for our vacation.
Among all the flowers in Cameron, this was my favourite - bird of paradise. The ones I saw in Seremban were so pathetic compared to these. I guess it's because of the climate. Any plants or flowers purchased in Cameron Highlands would wither as soon as we reach home.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rays of the Sun

Spotted this while I was in Pasar Malam (night market) 2 Thursdays ago.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cameron Highlands 2008

15 - 17 December 2008
Let's see... altogether there are 24 adults and 6 children who went for this Cameron Highlands trip. Rachel did a great job cutting and pasting it into 1 picture.

Thompson booked a 3 bedroom bungalow for this vacation. This is the 4th time he booked this place for the family. I've only been there once before in the year 2006.

15 December 2008 - We started off late because most of us were involved in the Christmas Musical the day before and some of us stayed back till 1 or 2am to help with the undressing of the stage.

Rachel and I (separate cars) left Seremban at 11.30am. Our initial plan was to stop at either the Tapah rest place or Bidor for lunch. Then someone mentioned that she wanted to eat at the Sungai Buloh overhead bridge restaurant (I think it was Sze-En) and so we made a stop there and had our lunch.

Sze-En wanted KFC chicken rice without the chicken and Mctc accompanied her by eating 2 pcs of chicken.

Then we hopped over to Burger King where Rachel, Rajen and Aunt Lily (aka Aunt Zainab) were having some whoppers. I had my Swiss mushroom burger and Mctc had his whooper.

Rajen promised Sze-En some baskin robins ice-cream and she greedily wanted 2 scoops of vanilla ice-cream. After one or 2 bites she didn't feel like having it anymore. Poor Aunt Rachel and Aunt Eunice had to eat most of the ice-cream. My father had the last few bites ... not sure whether he forced himself to finish because the last I know, he wasn't a fan of vanilla flavoured ice-cream.

Sze-En.. so stripy looking. :)

We stopped at the Tapah rest place. Sze-En had a crash course of geography lesson. Aunt Rachel showed Sze-En the map of Malaysia through her iPhone.

The toll cost RM35.70. We didn't exit Tapah. We took the longer route to avoid the winding road right after the Tapah to gate. We exited Simpang Pulai and it took us another 45 minutes extra to get to our destination.

We arrived at 6.30pm.. too late for tea. Those who arrived earlier had hot scones for tea. Dinner was at 7.30pm. We had Chinese food.

After dinner, the kids watched a movie in Jason's laptop while the adults played mah jong and card games.
16 of us stayed in Strawberry Park ... about 20 minutes walk from the bungalow.

Most of the time the older folks would play either mah jong or gin rami (not sure how to spell), and the younger adults ... well... we did what we liked... played tennis, read a book, played card games or went for a walk. Rachel and I brought our computers and we were often found in one of the rooms trying to get online with our mobile phones. The internet connection over in Cameron Highlands was pretty bad.

We had roast chicken and fish and chips for lunch the next day. It was delicious. The desert was a bit of a let down. The caretaker made apple crumble.. but there was more pastry than the apples. So you can imagine how deep we had to dig to get to the apples. Sigh...

This boy.. Jared is a darling. He is not shy and love to talk. It doesn't matter if you are 9, 19 or 90 years old. He can just start a conversation with you and keep you entertain for a while. These pictures shows that he is playing with the mah jong seeds (or do you call them cards??). He declared he loves to play mah jong and when the adults were having their lunch, he was seen playing with the seeds.

Soon it was time for tea. We had pineapple tarts and steamed corn. The apple crumble desert was left overs from lunch.
We went for a walk. The kids enjoyed the col air.

We had Chinese food again for dinner.

The kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The caretaker lit the fireplace and those who felt the chill were seen standing or sitting close to the fire.

The adorable kids.

After we checked out from the bungalow (and Strawberry Park), some of us had our lunch at the "Ye Olde Smokehouse", an authentic-looking Tudor-style with a 2-storey building.

More of this place in another post. (I hope!).

We left the mountains at 3.40, reached Tapah rest place at 5pm, left there at 5.45pm and headed straight for Seremban. We were suppose to meet Rachel at the Sg Buloh overhead bridge restaurant but Mctc zoomed past the turning. We reached Seremban at close to 8pm and had dinner with A.Chris and family.

While we were in Cameron Highlands, Thompson was making plans to book the bungalow for next year. Guess this place would be our yearly mini family vacation.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cookie Cutters

Some may think that I really love baking... judging from these facts:

1) There is a label in my blog called baking
2) I'm always baking chocolate brownies
3) I bought so much ingredients (enough to open a store) this Christmas to bake cookies for friends and family.

I've given it much thought and I'm still not sure whether I like baking or not. I am not so much of a baker. I'm not good at decorating cakes and cookies. (Will have to master it with more practices). I just like to see and taste the outcome of my creation. I also like to bless others with my cakes and cookies.

When Aunt Pang went to UK in November to visit her daughter, I asked her to get some unique cookie cutters for me. Here's what she got for me :

Gingerbread men and bear, Christmas tree, rabbit and various Christmas cookie cutters. She gave my early December and I used most of it to do my Christmas cookies this year.

Thank you Aunt Pang. These cutters came just in time for Christmas.

In November, I also asked Ruth if she come across any interesting cookie cutters and if it's cheap to buy them for me. She called one day to say that she had found some nice cookie cutters and will post them to me.

On the 2nd of December Ruth emailed to day that she posted a parcel to me a few days back. I was so excited. I waited.. 1st week....2nd week... 3rd week.. then I wrote to her saying that I suspected that the parcel was lost in transit.

Then on Christmas eve I got a call from Esther saying that Ruth's parcel had arrived. Almost immediately I emailed Ruth to tell her that the parcel was finally here.

Gosh... it's like opening a present. I couldn't wait to see what was inside.

The box was over filled with cookie cutters.

I was especially pleased with these cutters. Can you guess what what they represent?

A closer look of each cutter.
Give up?

It's the 12 days of Christmas. A partridge in a pear tree, Two turtle doves, Three French hens, Four calling birds, Five golden rings, Six geese a laying, Seven swans a swimming, Eight maids a milking, Nine ladies dancing, Ten lords a leaping, Eleven pipers piping, and Twelve drummers drumming.

Cool eh?

Another bag full of odd cookie cutters.

And a baking magazine and a microwave cook book.

Thank you Ruth. You made my day and my Christmas a joyful one. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Painted Nails

Esther took Sze-En to a manicure/pedicure shop and had her nails painted to match the holiday season. It was on promotion.. RM15 for 10 fingernails. Very cheap and very beautifully painted don't you agree?

Rachel went to get her nails painted the next day. It cost her RM45 I think. The promotion was only for kids. She waited in line for so long that when it was her turn, and when they told her how much it cost, she was willing to part with RM45 plus another RM33 for them to clean and trim her nails. She said she will remove the nail polish next week. Kinda expensive for something so temporary if you ask me. :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve

This year we've decided to have a Christmas do in my parents' house on the night before Christmas. Usually we have it in my cousin's house but this year, my mom volunteered to open her house and only family members are invited. There were close to 50 of us who came for this party.

My mother cooked about 5 or 6 dishes, Aunt Chris brought mashed potatoes and garlic bread, Aunt Zainab cooked her famous beef rendang, Aunt Sally made apple crumble, Aunt Terry brought a huge roasted turkey, Rachel made mushroom soup and jelly and I of course baked chocolate brownies. Rachel also brought another roasted turkey, much smaller than Aunt Terry's. What did Esther contributed?.... Well... I think she bought buns, ham and had Tusi sliced the tomatoes and cucumbers.

Jason and Neela came back to Malaysia for this season. They are from Canada and whenever they can, they will fly back to Malaysia to be with Neela's family.

Jason is our official "turkey carver". So far he has carved turkey for 3 Christmas seasons.

International food. We have beef rendang (Malaysian), mixed veg (Chinese style), mushroom soup, garlic bread, buns (western)... and a whole lot more I mentioned earlier.

This is my plate. There were so many nice dishes and my stomach could only take that much. :(

My gingerbread house. At the end of the day we tore down the house and threw everything away. My family is not big on eating gingerbread cookies, let alone the house, so everything went to the garbage bag.

At close to midnight we saw some fireworks displayed in the sky. This is my first time taking pictures of fireworks. I must say, I was pretty surprised at what this camera could do.

My mom's house, all beautifully decorated for Christmas. This year, she didn't really decorate much. Usually she would have 4 decorated trees and a snow (by using cotton) village. This year, she only put up 2 trees and there wasn't any snow villages.

The last of the family members went back at 12.15am. It was a tiring day. I helped my parents to clean up after that, and left while they were washing the porch area.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Gingerbread House 2008

Here's the finished gingerbread house. It was already past midnight when they put up the trees and snowmen. Rachel said that they were too tired to hold the trees up and wait for the icing to harden and they fell many times.

The gingerbread house house is now in Esther's house. She has added a colourful-star-and-hearts walkway. It's all wrapped up now because we do not want any insects or lizards to have a feast.

This is how it was supposed to look like. It's from Good Food Magazine Christmas 2005 edition. I really think that they have given us the wrong measurements for the house. This house seems to be shorter.

This is my first gingerbread house. I made it in the year 2006. I just made the walls and roof and pass them to Rachel to decorate the house. We used m&m's as part of the decor. My mom, aunt Maggie helped her to decorate the house.

I think this year's house is much neater, don't you agree? I'm sure Esther would agree with this, because she did most of the piping this year. :)

Click here to see how we put up this year's gingerbread house.

Last Minute Shopping for Christmas 2008

Yesterday I went with Rachel for a last minute Christmas shopping spree at Mid Valley Megamall - KL. I wasn't feeling very well but since Rachel wanted to see this year's decors at Mid Valley, I forced myself to go. I was the navigator. She doesn't know KL that well and had never driven to Mid Valley before. Rachel said that I was a terrible navigator... sigh... We didn't get lost or made any wrong turnings so how could she have said that???!!! sheeeeech..

Oil palm trees along the highway. It was so windy and the palm trees were leaning to one direction.

We hit the highway at 8.50am and arrived Mid Valley at 9.45am. At this time there were ample car park spaces. We chose one nearest to the entrance of the shopping mall.

The decors at Mid Valley. I have posted some pictures of this year's decors at Mid Valley but these were taken from another angle.

A picture at The Gardens. I think I look a little pale here and I don't think you can see that my left eye is a little swollen.

We shopped for like almost 6 hours. We wanted to leave at 3pm, but ended up leaving only at 3.30pm. So much to see and so little time. We didn't want to get caught in the 5pm after office hours jam.

When we left the building, we were very much surprised that the jam had already started. There were just too many cars. We had to make a huge detour round the mall to get back to Seremban.

The Sungai Besi toll gate which would lead to Seremban.

We reached Seremban at 4.45pm and went to Jusco Seremban and continue some minor shopping there.

Later, I went with Rachel to her mother-in-law's place to help decorate the Christmas tree. Yes, help to decorate. :) . Some of you may know that I don't even own a tree in my house (most Malaysians have fake Christmas trees and we use the same one every year till it's brittle.. I think) and I'm not good at decorating a Christmas tree.

Let me see.... what I did was to take out the price tags from each ornament and put the beads round the tree. Rachel did everything else.

It was certainly a long day for me. I was so exhausted when I reached back home.