Walks of Life


My name is Rahiza. And these are some snippets in my Walks of Life :)

Another Weekend

As usual, we had our family outing today. Harith has been requesting for a video game for quite some time. Well, he has one, but we left it at home. Dear hubby spent the whole day yesterday surfing the net, trying to find a good bargain. Unfortunately the bidding on E-Bay got higher and higher.

We decided to get a used one. So we got him a used Sony Play Station-2. Main reason was that his cousin owns exactly the same console. So, it's easier for Harith to borrow the CDs..hehe..jimat sikit duit abah ummi. I wanted to get the Nintendo Wii, but it's wayyy to expensive, even for a used on. Plus, I'm not sure if we can find the games and accessories easily in Malaysia.

Later, we went to Wal-Mart. Just looking around, and I got some stuffs for baking cakes. And off we went to Bangkok Market again. Alhamdulillah, I got to buy "Ketupat NONA""...weeehaaaaaaaa...who says you can't find ketupat in Los Angeles..muahahaha...another thing that I found was...jeng..jeng...BELACAN!!! yippiee..it made my day! haha..

Most interesting was we met another Asian family. They're from Indonesia, and was very very friendly. They even invited us to go to the Indonesian consulate for Hari Raya.

Well, another tiring day. Later..

Turbo Jam

Turbo Jam!!!

I just love it!

I ordered the video via internet after seeing the advertisement on TV. I received my package on Monday last week. Since then, I've done the exercise for about 7 times. First 5 times was the Learn and Burn stage..trying to grasp the 11 Elite moves of the programme. This week, I'm starting on the Cardio Party Mix which takes about 45 minutes per session.

I try to control my eating habit too..but being typical Malay, I had to have rice..LOL..plus it's Ramadhan and I need the energy(excuses..excuses haha....)but really, I try not to over-eat.

The result? Hmm..after 7 workouts and not so serious controlling my food (I still eat stir-fried..according to the video, I should take steam or baked food ONLY for better result), I managed to lose 1/2 inch from my waist, 1 inch from my hip and 1 inch from my thigh. Yipppiee....yeah..maybe it's not much, but I'm still happy with the result, considering that I'm not so discipline during the workout (always taking a break...pancit laaa!!!) and still eating all those oh-not-so-healthy food. :P

Semangat nih!!!

I plan to go all out after Ramadhan. 2 sessions per day, 6 days per week..control my eating habit, well, I should be down-sized soon...gegegege..

Anyway, I'm not SO big...lol..haha..but I'm on the mission to lose a wee bit of that tummy pooch that has been hanging on so stubbornly ever since I gave birth to Hannah. Grrrr... Plus a healthy lifestyle should be able to control my dreaded anxiety disorder.

Come and join me! Go this website for more info.

Selamat Hari Raya

My family and I would like to wish all friends and readers:

Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin
May all of you have a wonderful Hari Raya with your respective families.

As for us...huhuhuhuhuhuhu.... :_____((

This is the first time, EVER..that I'm celebrating Hari Raya away from my family. Hmm..I mean, my extended family. Alhamdulillah, my own little nucleus family is all here.

Dear hubby seems to take it well. Not a surprise since he's the type who rarely shows his emotions on anything, hehe..plus he spent four years doing his Degree in this United States of A. So, Hari Raya away from family is no news for him. And so are the kids. Well, they don't even know what a Hari Raya is. So, I'm left alone in my sorrow...Isk..isk..isk..

I miss my Mom..and of course I miss my Dad. This is the second time in a row that I'm unable to visit his grave during Hari Raya's morning. Last year was Kelantan's turn. I'm supposed to have my turn this year, but here I am..well..about 11,000km away from home.

Hmmm..what are the things that I would be missing?

First and foremost, I would surely miss eating 'ketupat and rendang'. Huwaaa......
Being half-Javanese, 'Sambal goreng' comes next. Isk..isk..isk...
Being half-Minang, 'Ayam Lemak Kuning' is also being missed. Huuuuuu...
Most of all, I miss being being around the family, the 'maaf-maafan' session..taking turns from the eldest to the youngest and eating together after returning from the Mosque after the prayer. Visiting relatives...hmm..I would miss going to Busu's house..chit-chat and gossips di pagi raya, haha...going back to Dad's hometown in Batu Pahat...I miss Cik Idah's terrific sambal goreng..I can go on and on and on..the list is endless!!! Haihhh...
Although I can cook those special dishes myself (except for ketupat, where in the world can I find ketupat in Los Angeles!), it just won't be the same. The ambience is not the same. My mom won't be around to nag me (you forget to put this, you should have done it this way..bla..bla..bla..hehe), my niece is not here to 'sibuk-sibuk', no brother and sister-in-law to insist on doing things short-cut, hehe..

Life is just as usual here. I don't even realize that today is already the 26th of Ramadhan. Except for going for Hari Raya prayer at the mosque, we haven't really make a plan on how to celebrate. Oh..the Islamic Circle of North America is having a family day at Six Flags Theme Park on 4th October. We might go there.

Hmmm...anyway, here's my most favourite Hari Raya song of all times...Satu Hari di Hari Raya by M. Nasir.

Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku lihat cahaya bersinar indah
Langit cemerlang tak terkira
Tanda kuasa yang Maha Esa
Memberi nikmat pada manusia
Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku dengar irama yang sungguh indah
Ku coba mendekati padanya
Kira irama itu adalah
Suara pujian pada yang Esa
Satu hari di Hari Raya
Aku menangis tanda gembira
Aku menangis tanda ku cinta kepadaNya
Satu hari di Hari Raya
Ku lihat wajah suci ibuku
Ku lihat wajah kasih ayahku
Ku gembira
Mungkin inilah dia kebahagiaan
I miss 'wajah kasih ayahku'...terribly...and more so during this Hari Raya.
I hope my Mom will be OK...since 4 years ago, Hari Raya has always been difficult for her. My being so far away will add salt to the old wound. I hope it won't bleed too much. Hmmm.....

Surah Al-Mulk (The Kingdom)

I wrote an entry about Surah Yasin before. Today, I'd like to share about another Surah which is I think equally as important.

Surah Al-Mulk is the 67th surah in Al-Quran. It contains 30 verses.

As well being called al-Mulk, it is also called al-Waqiya (the Protector), al-Munjiyya (the Rescuer), and al-Mâni'a (the Defender) because it protects the one who knows it and rescues him from the punishment and defends him during the Rising. It is also called al-Mujadila (the Arguer) because it argues on behalf of the one who knows it when he is in the grave. Numerous hadiths have mentioned its excellence.

The Prophet, (p.b.u.h), said, "There is a sura of the Book which only has thirty ayats which will intercede for a man on the Day of Rising and will bring him out of the Fire and make him enter the Garden. It is Surat Tabarak (meaning al-Mulk)." He also said, "I wish that 'Tabarak' could be in the heart of every believer."

Eversince I knew about the Fadilat, I try not to miss reciting the Surah. Twice on each day...once after performing Dhuhr and once after performing Maghrib.

Truth be known, I'm scared of death. Well, who doesn't? I think only kids or insane people who are not scared. As I've said before, I know too well that my preparation for the other world is very very limited. But I know, one day..Death will come..without a knock on the door...not a minute earlier or later. So I hope that my small effort will help me in the hereafter journey.

I'll end with the tafsir of the 1st verse in Surah Al-Mulk which clearly shows the powerfullness of the Surah:

"Tabàrakallazî biyadihil moulkou, wahouwa 'alà koulli shay-in qadîre"
(Blessed be He who has the Kingdom in His Hand! He has power over all things.)

"He who has the Kigndom in His hand" means the sovereignty or kingdom of the heavens and the earth, this world and the Next. It is said that it means the King of kings in this world, as you say, "the master of the kingdom." The first is more general and encompassing. He abases or exalts whomever He wills, He gives life and makes die, enriches and makes poor, gives and withholds. It is also said by some that He has the dominion of prophethood by which He exalts those who follow it and abases those who oppose it. He has the control of affairs. As He says elsewhere: "They do not measure Allah with His true measure. The whole earth will be a mere handful for Him on the Day of Rising, the heavens folded up in His right hand." (39:64)

In Arabic "hand" (yad) designates authority and power. Allah has the power to bless and take revenge. Commentators say that yad refers to Allah's power (qudra) which is His attribute without interpretation or qualification. His power is beyond description or limitation. In this context, Abu Hurayra reported in a sound hadith that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah's hand is full, undiminished by any expenditure since He created the heaven and the earth, for what His hand holds has not decreased. His Throne was upon the water, and in His hand the scale which He lowers and raises."

Mulk means sovereignty, kingship, dominion, and it is means ownership. It usually refers to this world, the physical world of bodies, whereas Malakut refers to the dominion of the unseen as He says, "Glory be to Him who has the Dominion (malakût) of all things in His Hand." (36:83)

"He has power over all things" defines His power - it extends to all things without limit. It reinforces the first sentence.

Insya-allah, I hope by my sharing this, friends and readers...all of us will get a benefit out of it. I suggest that you grab an Al-Quran's tafsir and understand fully the meaning of the whole Surah.

Another thing, we are in the last 10 days of Ramadhan. There's another Hadith by the Prophet about the Fadilat of the Surah.

Rasulullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "The person who reads Tabarakallazi biyadihil mulk & Alif Laam Tanzeel-as-sajda between Maghrib and Esha;the reward(for reading these 2 surahs) will be as though he(the reader) had stood awake during(the night) of Laylatul Qadr." (Ruhul Ma'aani, Ibn Mardawayah)

*** Alif Laam Tanzeel is Surah Al-Sajadah. I will write another entry on the Surah, Insya-Allah.

May Allah give us the strength and courage to reap the maximum benefits of Ramadhan, Insya-Allah.

An Evening In The Park

Yesterday evening, we took the kids to a nearby park. It was about 10 minutes drive. Victor Park is located in a neighbourhood in Emerald Street.

The kids had a really good time. Hannah sampai taknak balik..mengamukkk.. They made friends and had fun together. It amazed me that the young ones are so easy to get along between them. Just a quick hi and what's your name, and off they go, running around and holding hands like they've known each other forever.

Here's some pictures that I snapped:

Harith and his new found pal, Kevin

Daddy and his little Princess

I love this pix...slack la ada tiang kat tengah la pulak

One Malay, one Chinese and one German...Harith, Kevin and Jack

Masjid Al Noor

Lucky for us, there is a small mosque nearby our home. Although it's about 10 minutes drive, but Alhamdulillah. Dear hubby has been going there to perform his Friday prayers. The name is Masjid Al Noor. You can go here to visit their website.

During Ramadhan, hubby has gone there for a few times too..usually during weekends. (He only comes home from work at about 7 something). Usually he goes alone..one time with Harith. I wanted to go too, but thinking that Hannah would not be easy to look after (she's very active), so I just perform my prayer at home.

But last Friday, I decided to tag along. Harith has promised to look after his sister while we pray. So, off we went.

I was quite surprised when I arrived. That was the first time I see the most number of Muslim women. Most of them were Indians or Pakistanis or Bangladeshi. I could tell from their dress and also their slang. They were very friendly too, adressing me as 'Sister'. Oh, the mosque served Iftar during Ramadhan. So I had a nice err...I don't know what it was..some kind of Pakistani food I think, but it tasted good. Hehe...

Anyway, their Mazhab is different from us. As we were getting ready to perform prayer, I realized I was the only one who was covering all my hair properly. I didn't wear the usual 'telekong', I wore a Punjabi dress but with my hijab and handscover, covering myself from head to toe except for my face and my two hands. As for them, they were wearing Punjabi dresses too, but they just sling their 'selendangs' around their faces. I could still see their hair. Hmm...

Well, anyway...I hope I can go there again soon as Harith kept his promise by taking care of his sister well. Kudos to him...good boy. :)

Anybody who's 'sesat' in LA and looking for a mosque, this is the address:

Masjid Al Noor
25816 Walnut Street
Lomita, CA90717

Ada Untukmu - Nubhan

I've always been a regular to Mr Manager's blog. So I've long aware of the new found gem of Artistes United Records (AUR) (belonged to THE popular diva, Ning Baizura) - Nubhan. I also watched Akademi Fantasia's final concert where Nubhan managed to clutch the 3rd place. That was when I first heard this song. But at that time, I didn't really pay any attention..bz with the kids cries, demands, etc etc etc. Plus, the clip was a bit corny for my taste. Heee...

Anyway, I had quite a free time to browse through all of Mr Manager's blog, so I entertained myself with this song. Mr Manager also posted the song's lyrics. To my surprise, I like the song very very much! Nubhan's voice is quite different from other Malaysian man artist that I've heard before. It has kind of a soothing element in it. And the lyric touches me. I've always been fascinated with the story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz, and Taj Mahal as the symbol of their love.

Enjoy the video. It's when Nubhan had his debut of this song in Akademi Fantasia's final concert.


Today is 14th September.

Exactly 4 years ago, I lost a man whom I've loved through out my entire life.

He was my strength, my mentor, my idol, my friend...he was everything to me and my family.

He was my Dad.

Al-Fatihah to dearest Ayah.

"Dear God, please forgive all of my father's sins. Please show your love and mercy to his soul. And please gather his soul among the good people whom that you love. Please give my regards to him, and please tell him that not a day passed by that I don't think of him and that I love and miss him very very much."

Dear friends and readers, I would appreciate very much if you would offer a prayer for my Dad.. Abdul Rahim bin Haji Hussien.
Thank you.
I wish my Hannah would know him..and my Harith could have spent a longer time with him. I wish they would have had the chance to know how great their grandpa was.

I wish you are still here Dad.

Venice Beach, California

We promised Harith and Hannah that we would take them to the beach. So yesterday, off we went to Venice Beach. It's located about half and hour from here. Would take shorter time if we take the highway, but I was feeling a little adventurous so I asked dear Hubby to take the normal road instead. It's quite refreshing from being cooped up in the house all week. It's nice to see the neighbourhoods and rows of shops. And we got to pass through LAX. I've never seen LAX during the days, because the 2 times I've been to LA, I arrived here during the night.

After a couple of hours in the sun, we decided that we've had enough. It was great though. The wheather was terrific! A cold breeze but at the same time..sunshine.

Anyway, Venice Beach is also well-known for rows of shops..(about 2 miles I think) that sells all kinds of merchandise. On weekends, there would be a lot of street performers. They kind of make a living out of it. They would dance or act or do gymnastics..people would gather around them..hopefully one of the people would be a talent-hunter..and when the time comes for money-tipping, everybody will start walking away...hehehe..

There was also a weight-lifting championship. Surprisingly, one of the contestants was a 74 year old man..WOW..

Anyway, Venice Beach has been the location of a few well-known movies, such as Speed, The Fugitive as well as a popular television series, Baywatch. Yeah babe..Baywatch was filmed here. However, I didn't see any life-guards as hot as those in the series. They were wearing shirts and shorts, and no six-packs or big boobs were in view. Hehehe..

True to its name, the place was modeled after Italy's Venice. There're canals, with buildings on both side that really look like those in the original Venice.

The Truth About Cheating

Watched an Oprah show this evening featuring topic of 'Cheating Men'. I know this is an old issue...infidelity everywhere...yeah yeah..but this is an inside view from a man himself. The interview was with M.Gary Neuman who wrote a book entitled "The Truth About Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do About It".

Here's the interesting part. You can go to Oprah.com and dowload the book for free. Yeah..you got that right...FREE...but there's a catch. You can download it between now till 7 p.m. September 12th Pacific Time...that would be around 10 a.m. September 13th Malaysian time.

Anyway, snippets from the show, there're basically 4 strong signs of husbands having an affair:

1. spending more and more time away from home
2. having less sex with wife
3. avoiding contacts with wife, i.e: you can't reach him at his handphone etc.
4. critisizing the wife almost all the time

So, go ahead and get your free copy. It took only about 10 seconds. It's a 233 pages book. Can't wait to start reading my copy. Heh..heh.. ;)

10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka

A friend of mine shared a video called "10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka" in my Facebook. It's a short documentary featuring snippets and interviews of a few individuals who has fought for independence long before anybody else has even thought about that. But just because they were from "parti berhaluan kiri", history has not recognized their struggles and contributions. I think this documentary is truly an eye opener. Please go here to browse their website.

Angkatan Pemuda Insaf, Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, PUTERA, AMCJA...Ahmad Boestamam, Ibrahim Yaakob, Burhanuddin Helmy, Ishak Hj. Muhammad a.k.a. Pak Sako ... What were their contributions? What is Hartal? Their story has never been told. History books in school has recorded them almost as betrayer, very closed to communism etc. etc. etc.

Anyway, watch these videos and judge for yourselves.

Remembering 9/11

Today is September 11th. Exactly 7 years ago, the world was shocked by the attack to the World Trade Center in New York, USA. I was then a Programmer in Arab Malaysian Merchant Bank. I knew nothing of the attack, until my System Analyst came to work and excitedly inform me that he was 'lucky' enough to watch the attack to the second tower in 'Live Telecast' by CNN.

Every TV channels feature coverage of a few ceremonies marking the anniversary of the attacks. Till now, the government stood up their claim that it was a cruel act of terrorism. The ground where the WTC once stood is now known as Ground Zero. Even the heated presidential election campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain took a break when both candidates walked together side by side, to give their respects at Ground Zero.

Almost 3000+ lives were lost during the attack. Part of them were the lives of firemen and police officers who were bravely executing their duties to save lives but ended up losing their own instead. My heart went out to 63 children who gathered there...63 children who will never know their Dad.

Anxiety Disorder II

Contrary to what I've hoped, I still experience panic attacks here in LA. I've had hopes that I would treat my problem here, as I won't have any due dates to catch and fussy customers to deal with. So far there have been about 3 series of attacks. Once, I got it during my web-cam conference through YM with my Mom. I quickly left the laptop and let my kids chatted with her as I don't want her to worry. *sigh*. Problem is, I'm not sure what triggered these attacks. Might be because I'm quite stressed handling the kids. Harith has been very, very naughty these past few days, and often I found myself catching for breath and rubbing my chest.

Anyway, another blogger (Mr.Manager - manager of Ning Baizura) is experiencing these attacks too. He's new to this. As for me, it's been almost 5 months since the first attack (and still counting...arghhh). From his blog, I found out about the Rescue Spray. It is one of a few products concocted by Dr. Edward Bach, who recognized the need for emergency treatment for people with stressfull lives. I checked the products over the net, (you can visit the website here)and found that the products are based on natural herbs such as roses and chestnuts. So I decided to grab a bottle of Rescue Spray and a bottle of Rescue Sleep. Each cost around USD11. I'm more convinced of the 'naturality' of the products because they are sold in WholeFoods Market. WholeFoods Market only sells products which are natural and organic.

I tried Rescue Sleep on that very night. True enough, I slept like a log! No tossing and turning, and no waking up at nights. For the first time in quite a long time, I slept like a baby. My hubby had to wake ME up for sahur. Usually it's the other way around, hehe...

I haven't tried the Rescue Remedy Spray. So far, haven't got any attacks since I bought the spray. Nevertheless, Alhamdulillah....I thank God for giving me a solution for my problem. If not permanently, it's still would be very useful in emergency. You readers might not have any idea on the attacks I'm talking about, unless if you're experiencing them too. I pray to God that none of you readers, my friends and my loved ones have to suffer like I do. It's terrible to have the dying feeling hanging around your shoulder all the time. Every minute, you'll think of having a heart attack and drop dead. You know that it's not true, but your mind has a way to wander from the rational thoughts to crazy thoughts. The feeling of tightness in your chest, the heart beating like crazy, the cold sweat running all over your body contributes to that crazy thoughts. Plus I'm here in a foreign land with only my two young kids while dear hubby is at work, and there's no way of communicating with him except for YM (my phone doesn't work here except for SMSes which cost RM2 per sms...grrr).

I googled if there's any anxiety disorder specialist here in LA. Well, of course there are dozens of them. There's one who's located here in Torrance. He's running a center which deals with my kind of problem. It's called the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Center. I know the medical cost here is rocket-high. But I still emailed him anyway, detailing a little bit of my problem, and inquired about the cost. He replied promptly, saying that my case is treatable. But of course, the cost is very high. Each session would cost USD200. I have to attend weekly sessions for about 3 to 4 months. The total cost would be around USD2500.!!! There's no way I can afford that kind of money! *Sigh*..so close, but yet so far :(

Let's just hope the Rescue Spray can help me. In the mean time, I'm trying to think positive and take things slow. Pray for me..ok. Thanks.

Belief and Faith

So far, I can say that life in LA has been quite challenging, in terms of religion. Although there are many Muslims in USA, the numbers are quite small. Everywhere I go, people seems to stare at me, just because I'm wearing Hijab. Sure there are some Iranians, Turks and Pakistanis around, but not all of them are wearing Hijab. It's just like back in Malaysia. So far I can count with one hand the number of other women wearing Hijab that I've run across to (I met a few Muslim women in Disneyland and Farmers Market). And so far whenever I go to supermarkets or the beach, I would be the only one wearing Hijab.

There are lots of Christian channels in TV too. Night after night, there would be some movies about God and prophets...from Joseph (Yusof) to Zachariah (Zakaria) to Jesus (Isa). There would be voices of Gabriels, giving messages to the Messiahs. However the story lines are wayyyyy too different from what I've read in our Book (Al-Quran). Although I know they are wrong, I inclined to watch them. Just for the sake of entertainment. The stories are told in an epic style, so it's interesting to watch the costumes and the sets. And me and dear Hubby has shared many opinions and views, discussing the movies. On Sundays, there would be live telecast from churches all over LA.

This is another reason why I'm reluctant to send Harith to the public school. I'm afraid that there would be teachings of Jesus and Christianity at school. And I'm concern with the Halal status of the foods in the cafetaria. Well, if we are to stay here for good, then that would be a different story. There are a few Islamic schools around, but those are private school and cost a bomb! But, as I've said, if we are to stay here permanently, I would be sure to send them to an Islamic school. Money doesn't matter when Iman and Faith is in question.

As for restaurants, there are very few restaurants with Halal status. There is one website that have the list of Halal restaurants, Zabihah.com . Since we have been here, we haven't eaten outside. I cook everyday. I'm more comfortable that way. And we get our poultry supplies from an Iranian supermarket, Shayyan International.

Well anyway, I guess this experience has taught me something. Belief and Faith, are very important. And patience. There's a reason why God has given me this opportunity to be here. To test my faith, my imaan. Someone told me once that Imaan flunctuates, sometimes it's high..and sometimes it's low. It's up to us to maintain our beliefs, by praying often for Allah's guidance.

Harith's Masterpiece

Found a coloring website for kindergarten. This is Harith's first masterpiece on that site. :)

Any resemblance?

This just strikes me when I looked at Harith's picture closely. He resembles my late Dad so much..don't u think so? His eyes, nose, mouth, and smiles. :)

This almost bring tears to my eyes. I miss you, Ayah, and now I can see you in your grandson.

Almost 3 weeks...

It has been almost 3 weeks since we came to LA. Most of the times, I'm quite bored. I spend my time cooking and cleaning and goofying around with the kids. Dear hubby gave me permission to go around, but I'm too scared to drive. Everything is left-handed here, and I'm pretty sure I will bump to another car as soon as I drive out from the car-park. Hehe.. Plus, the more we go out, the more we spend. Haihhh... Since hubby is working from 8-5 or sometimes later than that during weekdays, we only go out during weekends. Hmm..still thinking about which places to go tomorrow. Since it's Ramadhan, we might only go fishing at Redondo.

Anyway, at first we planned to enrol Harith to a school here, even if it for just a few months, just to give him some exposure. Usually school enrollment is a simple thing. Just bring the birth certificate and the immunization record and it's all set. However a trip to nearby school proved it's not as simple as that. By California law, we have to do medical check-up, dental check-up, etc etc etc. All in all, the total cost would be somewhere near USD 1000! FYI, medical facilities is very, very, very expensive here in US..even so for dental. That's what Barack Obama and the Democrats are fighting for. After discussing with dear hubby, we decided not to go ahead with the plan. We're not staying here for good anyway, only till the end of the year. It's really not worth it to spend almost USD 1000, when that money can be used for Harith's schooling in Malaysia next year.

So, I have to do the schooling myself. However, Harith proved to be a very very difficult student. He have trouble concentrating, and he gets bored very fast. Luckily I brought a few of his books from back home. So far I stressed on Mathematics. I want him to be good in Maths. Also, I found a few websites to teach him read English. Harith is good in communicating English, but has trouble reading. But he's progressing, and I'm pretty much satisfied with his progress. However, he's very good in drawing (for his age), and quite creative. Somehow, this reminds me of my late Dad. Surely he got the genes from his Grandpa since Ummi and Abah are no way an artist..haha.

Hannah and Harith with their color pencil man

Abang and Adik goofying around.

We watch TV almost all the time, and laptop is almost ON 24 hours, either for games, or facebook or forums or etc. I know this is really not healthy...*sigh*...please of you readers have any idea on what activity to suggest for the kids, please give them in your comments. TQ.

1st day of Ramadhan and Farmers Market @ The Grove

Well, yesterday was the 1st day of Ramadhan. For me, this is the first experience ever of fasting in oversea. Not new for dear Hubby as he spent 4 years here during his student years in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. Coincidentally, yesterday was also Labor Day here in the States. So, dear Hubby was not working. We decided to go to Farmers Market.

There are lots of Farmers Market here in LA. But the one that we went to was the original Farmers Market, established in 1934. Today, there is a big shopping complex named The Grove situated next to the market. So, it's a combination of the old and the new. Dozens of all types of restaurants in the market..u name it, u got it..but of course it wasn't suitable for us Muslims. There were also poultry stores (which are NOT OK too, because the meat sits just next to u-know-what..yeuwkk), and vege stores. There's one candy store which sell all types of nuts, and corns, and all the sweet things, and Abang and Adik were in heaven! Hehe..

In front of the historical clock.

Inside Farmers Market

The Grove is a really modern shopping centers. Almost all the well-known brands are there..such as Coach, Victoria Secrets, Banana Republic etc. A 3 stories Barnes & Nobles is also there. You would have a great time shopping here, provided u have lots in cash lah..(which I didn't have, so no shopping..huhuhu). Another attraction here is a little train that goes along a railroad around The Grove. When I was here last year, me & dear Hubby thought Harith would surely have a great time there, since that kid is really gaga about train. But poor Harith, it's in the process of a face-lift and will only be back on November. *sigh* He was so looking forward to it, because he saw my pic with the train, last year.

A beautiful fountain in the middle of The Grove.

Victoria Secret Boutique

At about 3p.m., we went home. Need to prepare for breaking fast. Dropped by an Iranian store (Shayyan International) to get some supplies.

So, here's a little something about Ramadhan that I've googled.

The Meaning of Ramadhan

Ramadhan is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. It is a time for inner reflection, devotion to God, and self-control. Muslims think of it as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. For Muslims, Ramadhan is a "month of blessings" marked by prayer, fasting and charity.Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. The others are: belief & testimony in The One God (Shahaadah); prayer (Salah) - five times a day at its appointed times; alms -giving (Zakat) – approx. 2.5% of fixed assets annually; and pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah (also spelled Mecca) at least once in a lifetime.The third "pillar" or religious obligation of Islam, fasting has many special benefits. Among these, the most important is that it is a means of learning self-control. Due to the lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours of fasting, a measure of ascendancy is given to one's spiritual nature, which becomes a means of coming closer to God. Ramadhan is also a time of intensive worship, reading of the Qur'an, giving charity, purifying one's behavior, and doing good deeds.

As a secondary goal, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate and learning thankfulness & appreciation for all of God's bounties. Fasting is also beneficial to the health and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.
When the fast ends (the first day of the tenth month of the Islamic calendar –Shawwal) it is celebrated for three days in a holiday called 'Eid-ul-Fitr (the Feast of Fast Breaking). Gifts are exchanged. Friends and family gather to pray in congregation and for large (in the number of attendees) meals. In some cities fairs are held to celebrate the end of the Fast of Ramadhan.

From Dawn to Sunset

The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. In between -- that is, during the daylight hours -- Muslims totally abstain from food, drink, smoking, and sexual relations. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal (suhoor) before dawn and a post/break-fast meal (iftar) after sunset.
Islam follows a lunar calendar which means that the months of the year are measured according to the revolutions of the moon around the earth (each month begins with the sighting of the new moon).

One may eat and drink at any time during the night "until you can plainly distinguish a white thread from a black thread by the daylight: then keep the fast until night." [2:187]
The good that is acquired through the fast can be destroyed by five things –the telling of a lie, slander, denouncing someone behind their back, a false oath, greed or covetousness.

Devotion to God

The last ten days of Ramadhan are a time of special spiritual power as everyone tries to come closer to God through devotions and good deeds. The night on which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet, known as the Night of Power (Lailat ul-Qadr), is generally taken to be the 27th night of the month. The Qur'an states that this night is better than a thousand months. Therefore many Muslims spend the entire night in prayer.During the month, Muslims try to read as much of the Qur'an as they can. Most try to read the whole book at least once. Some spend part of their day listening to the recitation of the Qur'an in a Mosque (Masjid).

Preservation of Qur’an

During this month Huffath (Muslims who have memorised the entire Holy Qur’an) recite a thirtieth of the Qur’an, word for word and accent for accent in congregational prayers on a daily basis after the night prayer, which is approximately an hour and a half after sunset, for the duration of the month (approx. 30 consecutive days), until they have completed the whole Qur’an.Muslims believe this is one of the ways in which the Qur’an has remained intact since revelation more than 1400 years ago.Food in RamadhanSince Ramadhan is a special time; Muslims in many parts of the world prepare certain favorite foods during this month.It is a common practice for Muslims to break their fast at sunset with dates (from a palm tree), following the custom of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). This is followed by the sunset prayer, which is followed by iftar –The actual break-fast meal. Since Ramadhan emphasizes community aspects and since everyone eats iftar at the same time, Muslims often invite one another to share in the Ramadhan evening meal, the breaking of the fast “break-fast.”Some Muslims find that they eat less when breaking their fast during Ramadhan than at other times due to stomach contraction. However, as a rule, most Muslims experience little fatigue during the day since the body becomes used to the altered routine during the first week of Ramadhan.

May our act of fasting is blessed and accepted by Allah The Almighty.

Dear God, please help us to devote our ibadah to you, please make it easier for our little family, being in a foreign country and miles away from home. Amin.

Disneyland California

Last Saturday, we went to Disneyland, as promised to the kids. The tickets were quite expensive, costed almost USD200. *sigh*..well, nevermindlah..for the kids' sake..(and the parents too, ahaks)

Well, pictures speak thousand words. I'm too lazy to describe the experience. Please browse my online photo album for more 'words', haha.

Nevertheless, our family had a great time, especially the kids. It was a new and exciting experience for them.

Thank you God, for the opportunity, and thank you Walt Disney!