Wednesday, November 28, 2007

birthday mummy (still) lookin' good!

When it comes to birthdays, I’m usually stuck with the big question of WHAT present to give. Back to the basics, it’s either flowers, teddies, perfumes, jewelries, cosmetics or anything ‘girlish’ for the gals, and jerseys, high-tech gadgets, neckties, cuff links, hankies, cologne sets, music CDs, and books for the guys. To be on the safe side (indirectly meaning that either you’re too lazy to pick a gift or you really have zero idea on what the birthday person wants), some common gift examples come in the form of cold, hard (and new) money bills, dinner reservation at a hip restaurant/bistro, a whole night of partying, or going to the movies with all your best pals. To me, the most effective and fabulous present you could ever give to a person is something that he/she is really into or wishes to have desperately. For example, I know my good friend Suki is the type of girl who loves to be pampered. I can see this from her collection of expensive body lotions e.g. Crabtree & Evelyn, and her stock of home-made body scrub (which smells super yummy!). So when I gave her a card which said that she’ll get a free treat of French manicure from me, she was ecstatic and told me that it was the most unique gift she ever received. Simple to make a loved one happy, isn’t it? The key is to know what the person likes and from there be creative to create your own ‘customized’ gift especially for your friend/relative/parent/beloved. If you’re not sure about his/her liking, just go ahead and ASK! It wouldn’t hurt to enquire and I’m sure the birthday person will feel more touched as this shows your efforts in choosing the right gift for him/her.

Anyway, getting a gift for my mum (her birthday was last week!) wasn’t that hard. I knew for sure that she simply adored (1) teddies and dolls (you heard that right!), and (2) pretty flowers neatly arranged in a bouquet. After giving some thought, I decided to make a flower bouquet myself for her. As you all know, bouquets made by florists have always been unbelievably pricey. During my 5-day flower arranging course which was organized the previous month, my instructor told me that florists can make profits up to RM50 per bouquet! And since I have some basic of bouquet-making, I went with the idea of DIY. Mum loves white roses or anything white, so I started a search in Donggongon town (flowers are sold much cheaper there than in KK!) for white flowers. At the same time, weddings were conducted almost everyday for that period and flowers were selling really fast. In the end, I managed to get some white, orangey-pinkish, and yellow roses, and a bunch of greens to achieve that ‘full bouquet’ effect. That night, it took just a few hours to create a simple but beautiful bouquet of flowers (for experts it’ll just take less than half an hour of their time). Before hitting the hays, I placed the bouquet carefully on a chair which faced Mum’s bed so that when she wakes up, the first thing she’ll notice is the flowers. Indeed, she did notice them the next day along with the lovely rose scent that surrounded the them. She told me they were really gorgeous and gave me 2 pecks on the cheeks and a big bear hug. I accomplished 2 objectives that day, which was (1) Mum’s happy with my gift for her, and (2) I saved lots from it! Normally for an average roses bouquet it costs around RM60 and above. If you do it on your own by buying the flowers individually, along with the wrapping paper, and ribbons, it just costs you around RM20-RM25!

That night, we went out for Mum’s birthday dinner at this German eating place called Gunter’s. Dad used to be Mr. Gunter’s (the owner) regular when it was still located in Luyang years ago (above The Cottage pub). I was around 13-14 at that time but I could recall the brightly-lit restaurant with its cozy table settings and homey interior decoration. One of the unforgettable dishes over there was the dessert – crepes with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce…SEDAP GILA!!!! Few years after that, it had been replaced by some Chinese eatery and had not heard from it since…until this year. While driving along Tuaran Road, I saw a signboard to my left which had Gunter’s name on it in big letters. I was puzzled as the junction led into a housing area. Then it came to my mind that Mr. Gunter’s mini restaurant could be installed in his own house! We’ve always planned on dropping by for dinner but never had the chance…until on Mum’s birthday! Not wanting to be plagued by the ‘kepunan’ effect (a custom which says that if you don’t do what you plan to do, you’ll get ‘punished’), we went there despite potential threats of heavy rain (it’s the raining season now). The place, a nice double-storied house, was quiet and for a moment we thought that it was closed for the night. Then a girl’s head popped out from the window and asked us to come in. By looking at the exterior and interior parts of the house, it was obvious that Mr. Gunter & family are flowers-worshippers. Outside, it was like a mini park with flower pots on the floor, and flowers hanging from the ceiling. In the inside, there were colorful (artificial) flowers hanging on the window curtains, on the walls, on the cupboards, on the tables, and heck, they even served fresh flowers along with the dishes! Even on a cold night, there were some groups of people, young & old, waiting eagerly for their orders in the air-conditioned room. Being a first-timer in the new place, I decided to have a go on their ‘authentic’ German food which included the special long-as-a-French-loaf sausage (it has a German name but I forgot the word) coated with lots of mustard, accompanied with mashed potatoes, bits of chicken, and servings of mushroom sauce. Mum requested for pork wrapped in egg folds (think nasi goreng pattaya), drenched with mushroom sauce and accompanied by a bowl of boiled potatoes. For dessert (sadly the crepes are not on the menu list anymore…sob!), I wanted something different and ordered the baked apple with cinnamon ice-cream. The apple was good (even though it had been baked into a prudish-looking thing), and we believed that the ice-cream was of ‘the better ones’ as it did not have this soft and melty taste like those cheap ice-creams, and it tasted smooth and blended well on our taste buds. For those who are fans of real western food, skip Chinese coffee shops and head over to Gunter’s for the real deal! Don’t think of the quantity (of the money), but think in terms of quality!

We had a good time that day. Not only Mum was genuinely pleased with her gifts, she also managed to eliminate any worries of ageing (being older) out of her mind! :)

my self-made flower bouquet for dearest mum!
my special sausage dish...yummy and FATTENING!
mum's pork ala pattaya-style and potato dish
baked apple and cinnamon ice-cream for dessert!that's a fresh flower on the side :)
the beautiful flower deco inside Gunter's restaurant
more nice views of the restaurant

perfect setting for X'mas, don't u think?

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