Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day ...on November 22nd.

Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a traditional holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. This year Thanksgiving fell on Thursday, November 22nd. I think most of us know or have heard of this particular day, now a bit on the history... it was celebrated as a "day of thanksgiving" to 'God' in 1619 when a group of English settlers first arrived in Virginia. Picture by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1850-1930)
It was also celebrated in 1621 by the early settlers in Massachusetts who were particularly grateful to the Native American who taught them how to both catch eel and grow corn in order to survive in the New World. So now if you watch scenes of Thanksgiving Dinner on TV, you'ld remember its history in blogsini... he..he..
Thank You
For us muslims, kesyukuran atau giving thanks to Allah Almighty for the things we have achieved do not need a special date or time... hanya dulu2 orang kampung kita suka buat kenduri doa selamat pada hari Khamis malam Juma'at.
These days, Thanksgiving Day is part of a four-day long weekend which usually marks a pause in school and college calendars. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday - a day to shop like crazy! There would be sales everywhere and some stores even open as early as 5am. Hardcore shoppers would start queue the night before. But my husband only got Thanksgiving's day off! Nevertheless, we took the opportunity to go down to 17-Mile Drive Pebble Beach in the early morning of Thanksgiving Day with Salbiah, Faizal & Yazmin. Cuaca nampak panas.... but the wind really makes it sejuuk.. A few Head of Companies would be coming down so it's good to check out first the location of the Golf Course there. Story on 17-Mile Drive is in my next posting...do read on... :-)
A few days before the holiday, topics on Thanksgiving would fill TV programs: be it news, talkshows or cookshows. From lessons on roasting the turkey & preparing the stuffing, to adorning center pieces on the dinner table. Thanksgiving meals are traditionally family events where certain kinds of food are served - most of which are native to North America. Those that are associated to a Thanksgiving Dinner are stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, turnips, yams and various kinds of pies: apple pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie and pecan pie.
Thanksgiving Dinner
The star is of course a large roasted turkey! I haven't tasted yet daging turkey (ayam belanda).. I hear it's available in the 'halal' meat shops here. Menu Thanksgiving Dinner sama saja dengan Christmas dinner.....macam lah kita, ada lemang, ketupat, rendang, nasi impit & kuah kacang yang begitu sinonim dengan Hari Raya. I am surprised to know the 'Mat Sallehs' here have the concept of 'balik kampung'. Like our highways, the multi-lane freeways here jammed up in the rush to be on time for their special dinner...
Yazmin all bundled up! Kalau jatuh .....tergolek situ la, dah tak boleh bangun sendiri... he..he....

17- Mile Drive .....

Yes! I learnt something new today... I now know how to crop a photo ...Yeaaa, might be easy for some of you out there...:) So go on, double click on the image of Pebble Beach on the left which I took from a brochure. Get the enlarged version.......and let your imagination flyyy... The area is beautiful!! 17 Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach, California. Much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses and mansions. It also serves as the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach. I hear quite a number of hollywood's actors and actresses live in this area.. sorry, I haven't done enough research to let you know who! Like the community, the majority of 17-Mile Drive is owned and operated by the Pebble Beach Corporation. Macam mana2 khidmat penswastaan yang lain, entrance fee mesti ada! Entry into Pebble Beach costs US$9.00 per automobile. Of course, residents of Pebble Beach and their guests enter for free. Entry is also free for bicyclists and pedestrians. Motorcycles however, are prohibited from entering 17-Mile Drive. In doing so, the beaches are free of rubbish - except for seagull droppings! - and the overall atmosphere is calm and quiet. There are three main gates for entering and exiting the 17-mile drive—the Pacific Grove Gate to the North, the Highway 1 Gate on the Southwest and the Carmel Gate to the South. We entered through the Highway 1 Gate. Travelling along 17-Mile Drive takes as long as the traveler likes. It takes a minimum of 20 minutes from Highway 1 Gate to Carmel Gate without stops. However, one cannot resist the numerous turnouts along the road to stop, take pictures, or get out and stroll (picnic too!) along the ocean or among the trees - making the trip a lot longer than 20 minutes! The road runs inland passing Spanish Bay, then becomes parallel to the beaches and then runs up to the coastal hills - providing many scenic view points between the Pacific Ocean, the beaches and the centuries old forest. Begitu nyaman sekali! Probably the most famous tree in the United States is The Lone Cypress which has inspired many as an icon of fortitude. It has clung to its rocky perch for over 250 years and serves as the eternal symbol of Pebble Beach Company—the developer of the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach and the Del Monte Forest. See how lonely it is at that angle! They had to tie up the tree inland in order to secure it. The winds in this area can be very gusty! A small tree like The Lone Cypress - tak tahu kita panggil pokok apa - is more than 250 years, so one can imagine how long the other trees have been around.










Managed to snap a picture of the surfer from afar. The water was freezing cold...gila betul!



Monday, November 19, 2007

My November Babies...

My girls' birthdays both fall in the month of November. Anis Aqilah turned 18 on November 7th and Anis Atiqah is 15 since November 16th.....which is a few days ago. This is the first time their birthdays are celebrated without relatives and their friends. I know they miss those occasions.. Actually, their previous birthdays were nothing fancy. Without balloons & party stuff, but a birthday cake is a must! When they were smaller, finding a cake that was certified 'halal' was rather difficult. I always ended up buying from Angel Cake Shop since there weren't many business of homemade cakes around then. And of course, baking is not one of my forte! But, these last few years and with the turn of the millenium we could see many make-from-home food businesses springing. Ordering can be made easily via the plain old telephone, sms ( kat sini orang sebut text messaging ) or even email-ing. Some even provide home or office delivery service! I wonder whether the lady ( did not have the chance to meet ) I used to order cake from have opened up her own shop. Her husband works on a few floors below my 'once upon a time' office and delivery was either at the elevator lobby or at the parking lots. Just transfering from one boot to another! A few of us would order cheese cake or chocolate cake or even carrot cake... semua sedap2. InsyaAllah...sahih kebersihan & kehalalan. Here, my baker is Anis... but the cake she made for her sister, picture above got the help of Betty Crocker! he..he.. Pre-mix chocolate cake flour.. We shared it with Shafinaz, Aziz, Jina & Eddy as dessert at Shafinaz's apartment. The main dish was laksa johor cooked by the hostess. Ahaa..she claims she cannot cook, but her laksa speaks otherwise...memang sedap!...I had 3 helpings..imagine!
Happy birthday my November babies...

Atiqah who started complaining about 'sakit mata' & 'pening2' getting her eyes checked by a doctor... hish..macam2 betul budak nii.. baru 15! But, this is another story altogether...
:)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hari Raya & Deepavali Reception

On Saturday Nov 10th, the Malaysian Professional & Business Association (MPBA) organised a reception for Hari Raya & Deepavali. It was still in the month of Syawal and Deepavali was only a few days before... so the mood for festivities was still in the air. I hear it's an annual affair and the reception was held at my hubby's office. You can see the various spread of food on the table - curry, assam pedas, samosas, rendang, meehoon goreng, mee mamak...- and the dessert table was equal in variety. I thought we brought the 'hit' of the day - satay! ... from Kak Rose & Pak Mat's grill, fanned at the back of our house. The lovely couple came all the way from Stockton and everyone was pleased to meet them. I was given the 101 ( basics ) on satay making and now I know those golden delicious succulent meaty bites needs tender loving care in their preparation. And Pak Mat is just the right 'man' to do it. Sabar betul! If it were me, I think I would have burnt the whole lot and created heaps of carcinogens! Although Kak Rose's peanut sauce or kuah kacang is the 'talk of the town' - memang sedap! - their satay doesn't really need the thick peanutty coat to taste better. They're already 'out of this world' delicious just on their own. . Maybe this year's crowd is not too large compared to previous years since it is a long weekend - Veteran's Day is this Monday. Nevertheless, there are a few MPBA members who came from as far as San Francisco and Sacramento, like Semara & Anee. I spotted a few Singaporeans as well - they love our kind of gatherings. Picture on the right is the President of MPBA, Haniza doing her welcoming speech, introducing and thanking her committee for the wonderful work they have done. And the girls at their counter for new member registration....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dept of Motor Vehicle (DMV), CA

I already passed the written test for driving license...yea...yea.. So the next step is to pass the driving test pulak. Remember I mentioned somewhere in my previous posting, Massachusetts doesn't allow A2 visa holders to apply for a driver's license? Well, California ni lain .... different states have different rulings. Macam another country altogether! I could choose to apply for a California ID or a driver's license and I chose the latter. In case of any emergencies a driver's license will come in handy... obviously! California ID costs $22 and the application fee for the driver's license is $27. The fee is good for 12months and allows us to take the appropriate law tests 3 times, if needed, during that period. Alhamdulillah, I passed on the first try. Actually, it wasn't very easy as some people claim - the questions are quite tricky - and the ' english ' memang berbelit2. But, if English is not your choice, then you can opt for Bahasa Indonesia! Doing the practice tests on line at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/ will also help a great deal. The people here can start to drive as early as 15 and a half years old...of course, dengan memenuhi beberapa syarat2 tertentu. Atiqah says several of her High School friends have started driving to school. Well, I think it's ridiculously too young to drive at that age! They say it's easy to drive here because the roads are wide, no motorbikes to avoid, bicycles have their own lanes and strangely enough everybody follow the rules! I don't know when I can really start to drive here..... I can't afford a car at the moment, and I just need to use the license for ID purposes actually. Right now, I am glad I have adik2 and fellow homemakers Nani, Jina and Faridah who are ever so willing to pick me up - di jemput - whenever we have our meeting & eating sessions.....mmmuuuah...love ya 'all... :)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Gilroy Premium Outlets (GPO)

Just like Wrentham Factory Outlets in Massachusetts, Gilroy Premium Outlets located south of San Jose off Hwy 101 is also a bargain hunter's haven. It is more than just a great collection of the finest designer labels and brands, GPO is California's largest outlet center. Last Saturday,... and Sunday... we decided to 'scout' the area and take a peek in a few of the outlets there. I love to browse through and window shop but I am not really a 'shopping freak' ( I think...he..he.. ) and I buy things whenever necessary only. I believe you'ld need a lot of determination to do so... I would figure out in my mind... nak pakai ke nak simpan jer - like the many handbags & shoes that I already have waiting their turn -, or thinking where would I put it ( rumah tak besar & storage area pun tak banyak ). But sometimes the special price during 'sales' and 'closing downs' can drive anybody insane! These few weeks with Thanksgiving Day just around the corner, have been CRraazy!. All the department stores and shops are really competing with each other to win customers. Friends of mine here are no help either. They would entice me further, saying " Beli Kak Ainal, beli... jangan tak beli! Biar menyesal beli, jangan menyesal tak beli! " When one is no longer on the payroll and not receiving monthly paychecks, - only one 'pocket' as I normally say - STRroong 'will power' is really needed.. he..he..
Shopping 2
Shafinaz claimed she has 'repented' from buying anymore stuff. Dah tak nak shopping, she said. But, the way I looked at it...this petite lady, manager of a semiconductor company here hasn't lost her ways in the purchasing department. And, although almost 8 years living in the US, I am glad she & hubby Aziz still practice our ways of helping out - tolong menolong. My marble top console table ( just a small one, actually ) would not have reached Cupertino without their help. That day, I succumbed to Bombay's 'Closing Down' sale! I hear Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is going to be even crazier. Shops will be open very2 early and people would camp out as early as 3am just to be the early birds.. So, what say you Shafinaz!? Wanna catch some more 'worms'?... he..he..
Well, to my friends ( especially Rusminah & family ) who are planning to come over to this area of the country... do include this shopping stop as part of your itenary.... you won't regret it! I will then utter our popular saying here....... " Beli...jangan tak beli...Biar menyesal beli, jangan menyesal tak beli! " he..he..
It takes about 30 minutes drive to Gilroy from San Jose.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween?


Our doorbell saw action last night! Believe it or not within 2 hours that is from 7pm till 9pm, almost 90 kids came to our front door. Yes, I counted! Serve us right for keeping the porch light on. I didn't have the heart(tak sampai hati) nak turn them away. Most of them have their parents waiting in the dark as chaperones. That really comforted me as people here, including us don't open doors to strangers. But last night was an exception. These children are very polite...they only took one candy each from my bowl.. until I say...go on, u can take some more!
Anyway, candies are very cheap during this time of year. I rasa macam raya...instead of duit raya, we gave away candies! To some I even say Eid Mubarak back to them ....... Halloween?....aaah..to me its just fancy dress...

The 'Bumble Bee' below is so cute! These 2 guys took the opportunity to collect donations for UNICEF!...Scaryyyy!!!