From Stockholm to St. Petersburg

Been on the move continuously for the past 28 hours or so – ferry for 16 hours, followed by another 12 on the road… A little ragged and raw, but all better now after a rest day in St. Petersburg… Not much to write since I spent most of the day exploring this historical city by foot, so I will let the photos do the talking… Been thinking about what to write about the whole Anwar fiasco, but I’ll save that for the road tomorrow


On my rants… haven’t ranted for the longest time… so here goes…

Dear readers ( imagined or otherwise),

I begin by firstly making an apology for being so gone, for so long… It’s been too much to rant about, in one go… However, for the sake of posterity, they will be put down, eventually…

Let’s begin with the happy stuff first – gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Alya Zulaikha on the 23rd of August 2012. Didn’t even realize I was preggers until it was 10 weeks down the road. Blessed with a fairly easy, albeit high-risk pregnancy, for all of 33 weeks, when little Alya came into the world via C-section, due to pre-eclampsia. I’ve never endured a more nerve-wrecking night in my life, as the specialists hovered and fussed over me, all I could think of is, please God, have mercy and bring our little one into this world hale and hearty. She was born tiny, weighing a scant 1.8kgs. She’s since rapidly caught up on her growth outside of the womb, and she’s been an absolute angel…

OK, writer’s block has set in… Was roaring to write just three minutes ago…Somehow the inspiration has dried up… Maybe tomorrow then…

G’night y’olls… Will be enjoying the bed all by my lonesome self tonight, dearest Giraffe is away for work for 6 lonesome days – Jasmine.

On aging…

Stumbled upon this on one of my many forays into the world wide web… Yes, there are plenty of issues simmering beneath the surface waiting to be dissected with the finesse of a blunt axe, but not tonight peeps, my raging hormones refuse to let me… So, in lieu of my own presumably wittier prose, I give you a list… Of 30 things one ought to know at the ‘magical’ age of 30…

By 30, you should have …

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.

9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.

13. The belief that you deserve it.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.

By 30, you should know …

1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

2. How you feel about having kids.

3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

4. When to try harder and when to walk away.

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.

7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.

8. Where to go — be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat — when your soul needs soothing.

9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.

10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.

11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.

12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.

13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.

14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.

15. Why they say life begins at 30

On life…

Haven’t blogged in the longest time due to the fact that in the past 8 months, my life was literally turned upside down… Uppended unto its head, screaming and kicking, and finally settling down again… right about now… mind you not completely settled down, just starting to resemble ‘normal’ for a bit…

Started in March, when on the 17th of March, my poor brain suffered a hemmorrhagic ischemic attack. In other words, I had a massive stroke. The plumbing in my brains went kaboom! What transpired next was epic – hospitals and the whole shebang of suffering a stroke – came to death’s door a couple of times, was even put on a respirator for a few days, because my brain had decided breathing was too much effort.

In all likelihood, the stroke itself should warrant a separate entry, but I will not indulge it. Praise to God, I survived. And I want to express my most sincere apology for making my loved ones sick with worry.. Here’s a pic of the bleed in my brain, which, by the way, is still there, since we opted to not go for surgery. Thank you, my darling Giraffe, for keeping my faculties intact.
( the white bit is the bleed )

To cut the story short, came home after two weeks of hospitalization, doped out of myself. To this day, I remember nothing of the hospital, other than the incredibly vivid hallucinations I had while high on morphine… Alhamdulillah, God is kind in making me forget.

Moving on, 8 months down the road, I am doing well, in fact better than ever before… I’ve lost a substantial bulk of my fat arse… I eat better and take better care of myself, have a positive outlook on life, and have regained almost all my motor functions. Just a little jittery sometimes, but it will get better in time, I suppose…With that positive note, I will stop here, and continue the story when the writing bug bites again.. Off to lunch!

Loving the air I breathe – Jasmine.

On being human…

Have not blogged for the longest time… Found this inspiring piece from a friend’s site – thank tou Chiao Kee for the inspiration. TOo much has happened in my life in the last six months to be put down in one entry… Will get cracking on it ASAP.. In the meantime, if you enjoyed this, please visit Chiao Kee’s site
Today’s Remembering Your Spirit is a list of rules on being human. The original author is unknown but I like these rules. My favourite is number 5. It really resonates with me at the cellular level. Which one is yours?

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s the only thing you are sure to keep for the rest of your life.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called “Life on Planet Earth”. Every person or incident is the Universal Teacher.

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation. “Failures” are as much a part of the process as “success.”

4. A lesson is repeated until learned. It is presented to you in various forms until you learn it: then you can go on to the next lesson.

5. If you don’t learn easy lessons, they get harder. External problems are a precise reflection of your internal state. When you clear inner obstructions, your outside world changes. Pain is how the universe gets your attention.

6. You will know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change. Wisdom is practice. A little of something is better than a lot of nothing.

7. “There” is no better than “here”. When your “there” becomes a “here” you will simply obtain another “there” that again looks better than “here.”

8. Others Ach Lockbox are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects something you love or hate in yourself.

9. Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting. Take charge of your life, or someone else will.

10. You always get what you want. Your subconscious rightfully determines what energies, experiences, and people you attract; therefore, the only foolproof way to know what you want is to see what you have. There are no victims, only students.

11. There is no right or wrong, but there are consequences. Moralizing doesn’t help. Judgments only hold the patterns in place. Just do your best.

12. Your answers lie inside you. Children need guidance from others; as we mature, we trust our hearts, where the Laws of Spirit are written. You know more than you have heard or read or been told. All you need to do is to look, listen, and trust.

13. You will forget all this.

14. You can remember any time you wish.

To being human,

Chiao Kee

Take note and learn something – Jasmine.

On her 21st…

Dearest Boo,

I just wanted to take this time to wish you a happy 21st birthday. It’s hard to believe that you are 21 years old! I would like to congratulate you for making your life so complete, and I’m proud of your accomplishments – you’ve come a long way from the quiet little girl that use to stare at the world passing by from behind my skirts. All of your life, I’ve made a conscious effort to teach you the difference between right and wrong, as that is the measure of a complete person. I’ve also tried to diligently teach you how to think on your feet, and how to think on your own terms. You’ve embraced my high standards, then decided to exceed my wildest dreams and expectations.

One of my greatest joys with you has been your affability, and genuine interest in making and keeping friends. You are one of the nicest, friendliest young women I have ever known, and have more friends than I can count. You are obviously doing something right. Still, it would serve you well in the future to only associate with people of the highest integrity. After all, the old cliche, “You are known by the friends you keep,” certainly holds true. So far, you have done a reasonably good job in making and keeping friends. However, you need to not always think that every one of your friends will do the right thing. If you choose your friends wisely, life will be so much easier. One strong characteristic that you have that causes me admiration is your loyalty. Loyalty, combined with your word being your bond will get you far in life.

In two years, or ten, depending on how long you study, someday the real world of mundane things like getting a job, paying bills, and buying a house will be a priority. Remember to always think everything through and not do things on a whim. That sharp salesman is not your friend, despite his affable nature. People will try to look for an advantage, and some might take you for being an easy mark. The easiest word to say is No.

Finally, please realize that I will always be there for you. If I’m down to my last three cents, I will gladly give you two of them. Never be afraid to ask anything of me, and never be afraid to challenge me….but do realize that you better have all your ducks in a row if you challenge me. I know it’s cliche, but a good way to look at life is to always do the right thing, even if someone isn’t looking.

I’ve never told you this before, but your greatest characteristic that I admire is your strong desire to do things on your own and not ask for assistance. Boo, as you become an adult, I just want to reiterate on just how proud of you I am. The main thing I want for you to do is be happy. Despite all my [mis]fortunes over the past years, I still have remained relatively happy. I might have my moments, but you know what I mean. Life has its ups and downs and you just have to roll with the punches, no matter what they throw at you. Our family is a resilient breed, and you, clearly are the best of breed.

I know I promised that I actually ‘write’ a 21st letter for you, but  I hope that you will forgive me for settling for an ‘electronic’ version instead 🙂

Love always,



On advice for living life…

I once read somewhere that advice, really is just bits of nostalgia that has been recycled, the ugly bits painted over, then dispensed as wisdom. Most of the time, the pearls of wisdom I hear from people are just the ugly bits barely painted over, rudely shoved down the throats of unwilling recipients.

And then every now and then, there are bits of wisdom that truly shake my soul out of the stupor of everyday life. Today’s earth-shattering bits of advice comes from Eve Ensler…


It’s perfect timing – as I’ve been very insecure lately about being abandoned, on my own, growing old, dying – variations of the same theme – of being alone. Eve Ensler has reminded me that it takes strength and courage to be able to face challenges of life on my own. To stop being afraid of being alone in all its permutations…

Eventually, we will all grow old and die, and spend almost an eternity alone, before being united with our loved ones. Till then, learning to cherish the time that I have with myself – Jasmine.