Life isn’t a journey

I often visit the blogosphere once I’ve successfully put my full of life children to bed. Just reading whatever’s trending, getting some ideas and inspiration, or simply stalking my favorite writers and their latest work.
I stumbled upon a visual tableau by David Lindbergh on  Alan Watts’s words, titled Why Your Life is not a Journey.

I believed life is a journey but always struggled with the ‘to where’ part. It has kept me riled up for decades, searching for my kismet. Has had me believing that I have yet to reach my destination. That it is somewhere I will soon arrive if I navigate properly. But the problem with this equation is that I don’t know my destination. So I’m just traveling along.

Alan Watts says life isn’t a journey and all of sudden I feel like I had it all wrong.

Life isn’t a journey sounds so right so fast.

Because life is about the now and enjoying this very moment. Life is like your favorite song, the one you dance or sing to. How each chord stirs your emotions while it is playing. With a song, you don’t wait for it’s end to relish the joy it brings.

So life is a song. Your favorite song. Life is how you moved to that song. Life is how you let that song influence you. It’s how the song made you feel. It’s the now and not the end. Because when the song ends, you will stop moving and feeling. You might feel exhilarated or high from all that dancing and singing but that feeling will fade away like the notes of the music. Then you’re left feeling nothing because there is no more music.

I believe now, life isn’t a journey like a traveller waiting to arrive at his destination. Life is music that must be danced to and sang. Life is the music of a composer.

More than just about football

Tactical planning before the game

Every year something new springs up. Makes life interesting and we look forward to these opportunities and challenges.

The Supergirls has had their ups and downs but with the grace of the almighty, we are still going strong.

More girls have joined us, more parents are beginning to realize girls football isn’t such a bad thing. The commitment and dedication of these parents is commendable.

A lot has happened in the first quarter of 2017. The girls have grown a little stronger, bonded a little better and gained a lot confidence, both on and off pitch. And these have translated into many aspects of their life.

They are doing well with school and other activities. They are braver to try new sports and have been chosen to lead many of their sports teams.

They have even dipped their hands in some acting. Our girls did so well at the audition for Kasut Bola Pink, a Malay movie that the director created a new scene to fit the whole team. The lead actress even donned on our Supergirls Jersey. How cool is that?

We were even invited for the premier screening of this movie. It was great joy watching these girls faces when they saw themselves on the big screen. The bonus was reading their names appear in the credit listing and their beloved teams name. They were truly proud.

See, I told you a lot has happened.

To end the first quarter, the Supergirls had a sparring match with Superdads. It was a lovely match day. Watching girls playing against their fathers, brothers and some moms too. Amazingly these girls won win a score of 12-3.

I, who have never played striker scored a perfect equalizer goal the first half of the match but it was all downhill after 20 minutes. Superdads’ stamina was no match to Supergirls. These girls were like Energizer Bunnies. They simply never grew tired.

Looking forward to more exciting challenges in the next quarter. Stay with us.

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Homemade heart shaped butter cookies

The contrasting red against white is very vibrant. I just love how these two colours complement each other.

Now put these two together on a piece of cookie. I bet you will have kids and adults alike running to the kitchen to sink their teeth into it.

And that’s just what happened.

My youngest saw a video on Valentine’s day and this particular cookie, heart shaped strawberry jam cookie, stuck with her and she had been bugging me to make it.

This recipe is so easy and simple, you can get you tween to do all the job.

My 11 years old, who loves cooking, not only baked these little cute hearts, she even cleaned up after.

Now let’s get to the recipe;

  • 120gm butter (let it soften by leaving at room temperature)
  • 100gm all purpose flour
  • 150gm cake flour
  • 100 castor sugar
  • 1/2 TBS baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • Strawberry jam (as much as needed)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for dusting)*

In a large bowl (or on your counter top) mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Create a well in the middle, crack in the egg, pour in the vanilla extract and butter. Mix and gently knead until it forms into a smooth ball. Cling wrap it and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes. 

Remove from fridge, roll into a quarter inch thickness and cut out desired shape. To make these hearts, you’ll need two different sizes cookie cutter. Place all large size heart shapes on a greased tin or parchment paper and then cut out tiny hearts in the middle of the large heart shaped cookies. Make equal amounts of hearts with and without hole in the middle because you are going to sandwich these two together with strawberry jam.

Bake at 175’C for about 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on these. They cook very fast. Don’t let them brown. Remove from oven and let them cool a little. After that, spread the jam on the heart shape without a hole and put the heart shape with holes on it.

*You may dust these cookies with some powdered sugar. I didn’t do that because I liked the rustic look and didn’t want to hide its flaws under a thick layer of white powdered sugar.

That’s it, you done. Now you may enjoy with tall glass of cold milk or fresh juice.

  

Change your attitude

These three words caught my attention while I was browsing through my phone at breakfast. First, this is unusual because I discourage phones at meal time but today was an extremely rare occasion. Seriously! I never get a calm and relaxed breakfast. Saturday breakfast all by myself at McDonald’s. Am I dreaming?

As I was saying, ‘Change your attitude’. A survey conducted by JobStreet had revealed the mystery behind why there are so many unemployed fresh graduates and it is due to their attitude.

This isn’t something new. I’ve heard it before. Friends from HR department, reiterated that same sentiments.

This takes me back to my interview just a couple of days ago.

I had this wonderful opportunity to work with a telco company. They had come up with a brilliant CSR project; their way of giving it back to the community and I loved it!

I was extremely excited to be part of it. The money was good too but that wasn’t what got me excited.

Everything seemed to be fine. In fact I even started preparing my lesson plans. I had drafted a couple of interesting ways to connect with my audience but little did I know, they had second thoughts about me.

It was the perfect job for a mother like me. I only had to work once a week. The only drawback was its location. I knew it would have been a problem and I acknowledged it but with a little planning, I knew anything was possible.

I had laid out my limitations because I am a full-time mother and everything else is secondary. They seemed fine with it and led to believe everything was fine.

Without an explanation or even a simple note, I was cast aside.

So what did this deduce out of this situation? Was I considered to have unrealistic expectations? Could I have been clumped together with all those unemployed fresh graduates who are said to have terrible attitudes?

The thing is I would not know because those who interviewed, whom I met up with on three separate occasions and had many conversation over the phone, just dropped everything. No more calls or messages.

Honestly apart from my role as a mother, I was perfect for the task and they made it quite clear they wanted me. They even confided in me, revealing how tough it was getting someone who was up to it.

I’m not upset over not getting it. In fact I’m a little relieved. I’m glad to have someone who can give more than what I could have. It’s the sudden silence. They not knowing if I was still on board. The courtesy call to say I didn’t have to sign my contract. (That’s how far deep into the employment deal I was.)

I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who has this beef. My husband had complained about it too once. He too had a similar experience.

Not getting a job is quite upsetting but not knowing why and waiting for the interviewer’s response is worse. How do you expect a change when you don’t take the effort to tell what wasn’t right.

A letter of unsuccessful interview is a nice way to end it. In fact it should be made a requirement for all employers to issue to potential candidates. It’s a way to show that the employer appreciated the time and effort put in by the potential candidate but they are sorry for whatever reason.

When I was a fresh graduate, this was a normal practice. Has it changed over the years?

To expect change, one needs to state the problem area.

Just my ramblings, as I sit and watch many youngsters going through their phones. Are they searching for a job?

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A beautiful encounter

My husband always puts me in charge when things go wrong with our reservation or if we needed to get a good bargain. I have a knack for finding ways to right a wrong and get a bonus out of the situation. My tag line, “it was rightfully mine.”

En route to pick my mom up, I had a beautiful encounter with a simple man, with seemingly simpler needs. Whilst trying to climb up a step, he stumbled and fell. I raced towards him to help him up. He gently refused but seeing that I wasn’t going to leave him alone, he passed his shoulder bag to me, while he tried to steady himself and slowly take that step.

“It’s not a big deal, I’ve fallen so many times that I’m used to it”, he said as we slowly walked towards the local health clinic, a pace too slow for me but I wasn’t in a hurry. As we reached another step, I extended my hands but he just smiled and began telling me about his weak legs and how no medicine can cure him. Yet, he visits  many clinic each month to find medicine that will ease his pain.

It was a slow and painful walk for him. He just endured and spoke softly about his legs. He wasn’t complaining, he was just telling me about it.

As I was wondering why he didn’t park his car inside the clinic, he began telling me how he tried to park his car at the designated handicapped parking but was denied because he didn’t have a handicapped parking person sticker on his car. He never bothered to get it because the parking attendance at his previous clinic knew him and always allowed him to park inside.

I was so ready to give the guard at my mom’s local clinic a piece of my mind and relate to him how his wrong doing had caused this man to fall but before I could speak my thoughts, he smiled and said, “it wasn’t the guard’s fault, because I am new here and I should have had an OKU sticker on my car” He even smiled at the guard as we passed him. I looked back and caught him looking at the old man with some degree of concern. Perhaps he must have been regretting his action.

It’s my right! These words came ringing in my head because if it was me in his situation, I would have bitten the guard’s head off for not letting me park at the handicap parking bay, which was empty by the way. But not this old man. He just walked past the guard and sat quietly on a bench with his hands clasped together forming a diamond. He had his eyes shut as I walked on to my mom’s waiting room.

After helping my mom collect her monthly medication, I related the story to her and she too felt the guard was wrong. But as we walked past the man, whom was still sitting in the same way he was when I last saw him, all anger we felt for the guard vanished.

This reminded me of a phrase I know too well but hardly practice; be the lotus flower growing in a muddy pond. So beautiful and pure it grows, unaffected by the mud around it.

I never let things go. I react too fast because I get affected too easily. The old man had all the right reasons to pick a fight and demand that he was allowed to park inside the clinic area, but he didn’t. He just sat there, with his hands clasped in a diamond form, silently and patiently for his turn to see the doctor.

Despite sitting right in front of the vacant handicapped parking, he didn’t show any signs of anger festering in him. He was the lotus flower at this overly crowded health clinic. He was unaffected and didn’t let the surrounding affect him. He just was being him.

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To be in the moment

VIP seat at Camp Nou, Catalonia Spain. Also experienced the media room and the tunnel players walk through before match.

Firstly I am amazed at how far my first born has made it in her footie adventure. When they first joined this amazing all girls football team, never in a million years did my daughters, my husband or I ever dreamt of it giving us such a wonderful experience.

It was May 2015, one bright sunny evening. My husband and I nervously approached some moms and dads at the USJ 4 field. It was hard to get their attention because they were busy laying out food for their Vasakhi potluck party, which later we learned is something these crazy awesome bunch of volunteers from the Subang Jaya Community Sports Club (SJCSC), love doing.

Many were dressed in fine Punjabi suits and the men, wore their favourite Kurtis. Some non Punjabis even donned on the turbans. How cool was that?

I was in my old tattered jeans (one of my few favourite posession which I had been wearing for over a decade) and my husband in his usual loose football shorts and oversized sandals. Both my girls begged us to turn back because they too felt out of place. I’m glad my husband, a football lover, did what he does best when it comes to football, he walked right up and asked if my girls could join them. The rest is history.

It took a lot dedication and we had to give up our bum lifestyles; which was spending the whole weekend cooped up in our house watching television.

Every weekend we were would drag ourselves out of the house and onto the field for football training. During tournament season, it was mapping KL roads. Going to places we would normally never go and spending our whole morning and afternoon at these tournaments.

Most of these tournaments would start about 7.30 (we meet early to warm up together) and end about 2 pm if we are lucky but usually can last until 3 or 4 pm.

 

SEE ALSO: Their first tournament

Every weekend there is football, if it’s not a tournament then it would be training. As tough as it sounds, it is a lot of fun too.

It’s lovely to see these girls, ages between 5 to 13 years old meet up and train. It’s not just about football, it’s more than that. Although they meet only once a week but the connection between them is good. They always seemed eager to train, which is a positive attitude.

We are lucky to have such a dedicated team coordinator and awesome team committee. These people not only jive well with each other but are genuinely interested in helping girls in their football journey.

They get them into tournaments so it would give these girls the confidence they need. Even if it means joining all boys tournaments and playing against all boys teams because football is still, a male dominated sport.

But luckily Astro Kasih saw the gap and decided to give equal opportunity to young girls, and a footing in football. They are helping both young girls and boys by giving them a invaluable experience.

And that’s how my daughter ended up in Barcelona, Spain for a 10 day overseas football training camp at FCB Escola.

It’s brilliant what she is experiencing at this moment. Would there be more opportunities for girls in football? We and many parents have our fingers crossed.

But for time being, we are just taking one step at a time and enjoying her journey. Hoping she would be able to do more when she returns and help others along the way.

With Dani Alves at a beach in Barcelona

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There’s no place like home

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At the airport before departing to Barcelona

“This time tomorrow, I won’t be doing the dishes and the next morning I won’t be taking Bahadur for a walk or any of my usual mundane routine stuff”, said my eldest, looking rather glum at the dinner table .

“But I thought you hated all these chores?” I butt in, trying to make light of the matter.

She was sad because this would be her first trip without us but was happy about going to Barcelona for a football camp.

She didn’t know how to react because she had worked for it and did her best to be part of the lucky 32 that be attending a 10 days football training but as the day drew closer, her feelings were playing with her. It was a big bag of mixed emotions.

“Are you sure you are my Asheesh?” I asked her because kids her age wouldn’t worry about missing their daily mundane stuff.

“Yea! Imagine no nagging ma to annoy you,” her little sister said annoyingly.

Listening to her speak about how she was going to miss the normal and mundane in her life made her sound so matured.
Perhaps she too feels that wonderful feeling my husband and I get each time we return home after our holiday or weekend away.

There’s truly no place like home.

The little one missing her elder sister and calling out her name while hugging the laptop
The little one missing her elder sister and calling out her name while hugging the laptop


Barcelona Chronicles continues…

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History Happens Here: Day 1 FCB Escola, Barcelona

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At  the FCB Escola Soccer camp’s pitch; during their training

During my sporting days; I was a runner and played netball for school which pretty much up sums up the extent of my athleticism, but I always complained of the heat.

It took too much energy off me when I was training or during actual competitions because I would be drenched by the end of it. Feeling completely exhausted and burnt all over which was just the right recipe for me to complain and bitch, and cry and kick.

Sunblock wasn’t a thing back then and non existence for a suburban girl like me.

On one misty morning, many moons ago, I noticed an improvement in my athletic skills. A much better performance than my usual attempts at  a cross country run because on that particular day, the sun was hidden behind thick dense clouds and the air was fresh. Felt like I was running under a perpetual soft rain fall, that kept my body temperature cool.

I managed to secure the second spot, just seconds after the victor. Immediately a judgement was passed; that people from cold country were so lucky because they didn’t have to suffer running under humid hot weather like mine, and perhaps that was the reason most of the fastest runners were from that part of the world (then).

That was the extent of my sporting knowledge, limited to my locality and experience.

At Camp Nou: History Happens Here

But listening to my daughter sharing on about the experiences she’s gaining while at a football training camp in Barcelona was so insightful.
“It’s so painful and hard to breathe, ma”. I constantly feel like there is something stuck in my throat and I have to cough it out to clear it so the air can travel to my lungs”, she complained during my most recent Skype conversation with her and her friend; who usually joins in this Skype conversations, nodding excitedly at their recent experience.

head-nod

It’s true what the Barca coaches said on the first day of The Advance Training Camp in KL, that he isn’t looking for the Messi. It takes more than just talent to make it this far.

barca11

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The Supergirls make it to Barcelona

Football was predominantly a male sporting activity but not anymore. Although they aren’t many woman footballers in the professional arena, as compared to men, it has not stopped girls from picking up this sport.

Thankfully these days you are able to find some all girls football teams like the Supergirls.

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photo courtesy of Astro

On September 2016, 7 players from the Supergirls moved on to Phase 2 for a five-day residential Advanced Training Camp in Kuala Lumpur. They were selected out of thousands of young footballers (ages 10 to 12 years) during a nationwide search by Astro Kem Bola 2016. This was a proud moment for all the Supergirls’ players, coaches and parents.

SEE ALSO: 7 Supergirls at Astro Kem Bola 2016

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(far left) Thurga, Lakei, Rania, Yasmin, Asheesh, Kanchen, Ashley (far right)

And for Phase 3, Astro Kem Bola 2016 programme,  4 of our girls have been selected for a 10-day Overseas Training Programme in Barcelona. They are currently undergoing a Pre-Barcelona Camp in Kuala Lumpur before they leave for a 10 Day Overseas Football Training in Barcelona, Spain.

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At Pre-Barcelona Camp: Thurga, Asheesh Kaur, Yasmin, Ashley (L-R)

They will take part in an immersive exchange programme which includes training under the local academy coaches, attending a live professional football match as well as a series of friendly matches against local youth sides, in Barcelona.

These girls, by that I mean each and every single Supergirls player has never ceased to amaze us with their dedication and love for the game.

We are particularly proud of what these four girls have achieved thus far and are rooting for more success for all girls from the Supergirls in the near future.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Supergirls is the first Malaysian grassroots all-girls football team between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. It was conceptualised in 2014 and it’s first training was held on 18 January 2014.

To date Supergirls have over 30 girls, aged between 6 to 12 years old. Enrollment is open throughout the year and all you need to be part of the Supergirls, is  the passion to play, regardless of skills.

“While no one would join the league without a love for football, our league is actually less about football and more about growing balanced kids and healthy families. We strongly encourage all parents to attend their children’s games, support them as they play and make life-long family memories. All officials are parents and other volunteers from the community. Our core values include unity, service and family” SJCSC vision statement

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Get in touch with the Supergirls via their Facebook page at Supergirls Subang Jaya Community Sports Club. Open to any girl aged 6 to 14 years old.

*Link Supergirls Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sjcscsupergirls/

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Cosplay

Every year to celebrate the school year coming to an end, teachers at my children’s school love to have a party, especially for those moving out of school or their classroom, as they move up to another level.

This year’s theme was to dress up like any cartoon character. So a cosplay was in place. I’m not much of an artistic person when it comes to such display but seeing their enthusiasm wanting to be part of it, made me excited too.

With a little planning, I’m pleased to say, we managed to pull off a more than just a decent resemblance to their choice of character.

Astrid Hofferson

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A strong willed and determined character from How to train your dragon. We decided to go with her costume from the first movie, when she was much younger.

 

astrid-skirt

The biggest detail in her outfit was the skirt. We used crepe paper here. Looked rather nice while it was laid out on my dining table but little did we know how fragile the pointy strips would be once on her. But the axe and shield, that is something we are very proud of.

Used an old tree branch and a flat surfaced rock from my garden. With a little cloth tape and crepe paper, we managed to turn these into something resembling an axe. And for her shield, we used my stainless steel, deep heavy bottomed pot’s top cover. This saved us a lot of time because there was no need to cut out a cake board and stick a handle to it. If time permits, decorate the shield with some symbols to make it look more personal and used.

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My Astrid before she got into the car

Astrid’s hair is fairly simple to do. It’s just two ponytail tied together with a piece of rag or in this case a thick woven thread around her head. You may want to google that up.

We could not find feathers to put on top of her boots, so my Astrid settled for leather boots. A tad big for her but we had no other option.

God have mercy on her feet and let the cool weather stay whilst she’s at school.

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After her car journey to school 😦

An important point to note for those of you planning to attempt this: I should have used the cloth tape (the one used to make her belt), a piece of brown cloth or leather looking PVC  to make the skirts’ pointy strips instead of the brown crepe paper. This way you can be rest assured, the skirt will stay intact no matter how roughly your Astrid moves in it.

“You cannot expect me to move like a princess, all dainty, whilst dressed like Astrid”, she lashed backs at my instruction to take it easy on the skirt.

 

Rey  (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

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A hotheaded, bad-ass, gear-head loner. Another strong willed character became the central part in out little cosplay. My almost tween had a tough time deciding between Rey and a female footballer as her character.

rey-costume

This took minutes to put on. The only work required was her boots and the staff. We used an old tree branch and tapped a silver/grey cloth like tape all around it. For her boots, we used her ballet pumps and covered it with her football socks, to make it looks like she’s wearing long boots. Amazingly, she managed to pull it off rather well.

I used my pashmina scarf for the vicose used by Rey, and draped it along my daughter’s shoulders right to the front of her body. No pins were used to keep it intact, so it would give a more natural flow as she moved. And we used an arm cover for cotton drapped around Rey’s arms.

It’s the confidence that matters. You can wear whatever you like as long as you have the confidence to pull it off. I have to give her 100% for that.

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Rey has triple buns (tiny ponytail loops) as part of her character costume but I wasn’t able to pull that off in 5 minutes. We were running late so my best was double buns.

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You start off with a tiny ponytail right above her head. Then divide hair into two (three if you want Rey’s effect) sections. Secure with an elastic band as you would a ponytail but as you come to the end, leave your ponytail in a loop. Roll up the remainder of the hair along the elastic band and secure with pins. The triple buns are actually tiny ponytail loops. Please check YouTube tutorials on how to do this.

 

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