Monday, January 27, 2014

A NEW START.....

Okay...I have left this space long enough. I know.

 Lets see, errmm my last entry was in August last year, so, its been 4 months. 4 months wherein so many things happened  and have changed our pattern of life quite significantly. Yup, I know both of  you, Abang and Adik, for whom this blog is dedicated to, fully understood and have forgiven me for breaking the promises made. I just couldnt find the time to write in the first 3 months and did not have any creative streak in me in the last month that followed.

So, yes, my mother left me. The beautiful, gentle and most loving grandmother of yours that you fondly call Moktok.... On the 5th Dec 2013. 1 year and 4 months after her husband of more than 50 years passed on.Oh, the tears still flow writing this out....

 Mid Sept 2013, Moktok was admitted after Abah noticed her left leg was inflamed and tender to the touch. Moktok had been diabetic for quite a number of years and errr...was not the most disciplined patient at  watching what she ate as well as not very compliant to the medication provided. Two weeks in the HUSM, discharged for a couple of days only to be re-admitted into Tg Anis Hospital where we encountered the most mediocre treatment ever from hospital staff. And that is to say it mildly....We took Moktok out, AOR, after only one night . Brought her to Perdana Specialist  Hospital only to be advised to bring her back to HUSM as they dont have a nephrologist resident.  From then on, things got from bad to worse....

 2 traumatic weeks in CCU, another harrowing week in HDU and a few days in normal ward....and Moktok was then discharged, with doctor's order to continue the haemodialysis (hd) treatment that was started while she was still quite unconscious in CCU. 
Moktok on BiPAP (Bi level positive air pressure)machine in CCU

Moktok then started  attending the hd sessions regularly at a centre near her home and we were so happy to see Moktok was almost  back to her normal self  when suddenly, without any warning, she just left us....when we were having so many plans to do with her.

Indeed, Allah is The One who has the knowledge...

Now, all of us are still talking about her, reminiscing...being nostalgic and even laughing at some memories...for indeed, besides being kind hearted, Moktok could be so funny and was such a good sport. (Oh, I really miss talking and joking with her...)  More importantly, InsyaAllah all of us are praying and presenting her with our a'maal on daily basis. May Allah give us the strength to remember to do it for all our life....for Moktok and Tok Ayah had indeed shaped us into what we are today.

We have learned so many valuable lessons during those hectic months in the hospital. Most important for me, is to value and appreciate each one of us. Masya Allah, Moktok was sick just long enough to give each and everyone of her children, sons and daughters in law and most grandchildren, opportunity to serve her. And, Alhamdulillah, what an honour it was!! We got to  care for her as she did us when we were small...clean her,bathe her, dress her up, diapers n all, feed her ...and at times when she was hallucinating yet still want to pray, we recited the prayer aloud alongside her and she followed us word by word. We took turn...all of us.

 But, there was a test for us in that too...

With quite a number of us, there bound to be some moments of difficulties... and being physically and emotionally exhausted, temper did flare some times! Nothing out of control though...and Alhamdulillah all was eventually amicably settled . The practise of gently reminding and advising each other amongst us proved to be priceless. And now that Moktok , who we always thought of as the one that binds us all, is no more with us...I feel the need to be in constant contact with my siblings are stronger. And the feeling, I discovered, are mutually shared by all of my sisters and brothers and thanks to the modern day technology , it is  soooo easy to do that.....

Okay, that is all I could manage to pen down now ..... starting again was difficult, just so you know!!












Friday, August 30, 2013

SYAWWAL 1434

Syawwal is still here for another few days, so, it a perfect excuse for me to use it as  the title for this post, thus 'camouflaging' the fact that I just  have no better idea...

Anyway, Alhamdulillah, things have been looking up since my last morbid post.

Abang came home 3 days before Eid and things started to become hectic. The day he arrived was the only day he got to have iftaar at home. The next day, it had been pre-arranged  for all of Abahs siblings that have arrived home to have iftaar at Tok Ayah's. The event that unite Abang and Adik with cousins were as always, joyous occasion. And on the Eid's eve, we gathered at Moktok's, with another set of cousins.

At Moktok's we held our annual full Quran recitation as gifts to our ancestors who had gone to meet The Creator . And of course, this year, it was specially dedicated to my beloved father. Alhamdulillah, this year, all of Moktok's children, except C.Lah, were present. With so many of us, we managed to khatam the whole Quran quite fast with Abang alone read 4 juzuks.

Abang was quite the popular guy amongst the cousins this year. He arrived home looking better than usual, taller and broader. Turned out that he had been feeding well!! For almost the whole month he and  his friends that had been chosen to become  imams for taraweh prayers all around Penang were being feted by the respective  locals where they were 'stationed'. They would be fetched from madrasah by the locals around 6pm every day, have iftaar at the masjid, did the taraweh, had moreh, the locals then sent them back to the madrasah. On the way, they would stop at various food stalls to buy food for their friends back at the madrasah who were not as lucky as them! Abang said they usually arrived at the madrasah carrying loads of food packets! Looks like the uncles were full of understanding of the kids needs and the teachers were sporting enough to turn a blind eye towards that not-so-legal activity!

We were taken aback when we saw him at the airport, but quickly recovered as we saw his boyish smile was still there! On the drive home, he entertained us with the report of the above activity. And he nonchalantly told us that he was given a token in the form of some money in an envelope and the money was gone when he left it in the robe that he took out to go into the loo,at the airport that morning. We were all like , what??? How careless of you Abang!!  And he said, its okay, its not my rezeki, Allah has ordained it....

Everybody back home, yes, everybody, noticed and commented on Abang's appearance. In his whiter than whites robe and neat turban, and ermmm.. good looks, he kinds of stands out I would say. So much so that when the men went for Maghrib prayer, the imam was a bit late and when he arrived to see the congregation was quite ready , he just pushed Abang to the front to lead the prayer. And, as Tok Ayah's house is just next the mosque, all of us ladies at home, could hear Abang reciting in such a melodious tone. Subhanallah, it was beautiful! I was particularly surprised because prior to this, Abang's voice was kind of hoarse,croaking at intervals when he recited long surahs as he has this problem with excessive phlegm due to his allergic rhinitis. Alhamdulillah, looks like it is cured.

The next day, at Moktok's village, it just happened again...
And at both mosques, the elderlies, being intrigued by newcomers as usual, questioned Abang of his lineage, no less! When Abang amusedly  related it to us back home, Abang was being relentlessly teased that those men and ladies are targeting Abang for future son-in-law!!

Eid, as usual was much anticipated occasion for Abang n Adik, as it is about the only time all cousins are gathered. It is so heartwarming to see how  all of them are so fond of each other yet with religious upbringing, they know the limit set between boys and girls, Masya Allah...
First eid day with some of the cousins on both sides

On 4th Syawwal, Moktok's clan checked in at three dorms in Lata Tembakah, a waterfall resort for the planned family day. Needless to say, it was an indescribable happiness for all of us...We even managed to bring Moktok along despite her being quite feeble now. It was made even more enjoyable as we had  almost the whole resort to ourselves. When Ayah Ji gave the bayan after maghrib, the whole surau was occupied only by us. The next morning,the ladies,most are niqabis, got to swim too  as the other visitors were not allowed in until 10am.
Family day at Lata Tembakah

Eid celebration ended for us  when  Abang had to go back on  Syawwal 8th/August 15th. And it was not without drama either! Abang suddenly realised he didnt have the IC with him as we were standing in the queue at the check in counter, despite being repeatedly asked by me before we left for the airport. To make matter worse, we didnt bring any printout travel documents whatsoever! I was really mad at him...and I made them both recited the prayer Rabbi yassir wala tu 'assir  while waiting for Abang's turn. No talking at all was allowed!! Concentrate and really asked from Allah with all your heart...
Masya Allah, the prayer proved to be  potent and to cut the story short, Abang was allowed in..Then only everybody  was allowed to smile...hihihi.

So, thats about our eid this year.....and with that, I end this entry!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

RAMADHAN 1434

First n foremost, please forgive me, Abang  n Adik, for I have broken my promise of one entry per month. Last month was hectic and I didnt have the energy nor the time to sit down and write .

Yesterday marked one full hijri year of  your grandfather, my beloved and much missed father, passed away peacefully, looking like he was fast asleep with a smile on his fair,serene face, when he did.

Right after suhoor, my phone was full with messages of the same tone from my siblings over our whatsapp family group. All of us were feeling it all over again. And we encouraged and promised each other  to increase our amaal soleh of that day and gift them all to our beloved father. And it was Friday yesterday, which  made them more valuable.....May Allah accepts them all, increased them and be the reasons for your grandfather's status to be elevated  higher .

And in the evening we went for iftaar with Mak Tok. Alhamdulillah, Mak Tok was okay and happy as there were quite a number of us were there yesterday. Abi, Umi and their grown-up  sons who rarely visit, made time for Mak Tok yesterday. 

Ramadhan always come bringing  a kind of serene joyful feeling to us...but this year, a melancholic feeling also attached itself to it.

Around a week prior to Ramadhan we lost your Abah's uncle and cousin. Tok Din, as he was known to you two, passed away suddenly while vacationing with his whole family in Langkawi. And Makcik Zalina succumbed to cervical cancer exactly on her 46th birthday. Two deaths of close family in a row quite affected us. Let us pray for both of them, and infact, for all our family who have gone to our Creator, and are actually waiting for us to pass through the same door that they had passed....

The last memory of Tok Din to us was when he came to visit Kak Chik in Aprbil. He was his jovial self as usual, enjoying our Kelantanese food, especially the gulai serati ( ate them twice), went shopping, mostly food of course, with Tok Nazi, Kak Long and Kak  Cha, reminiscing and enquiring about relatives scattered all over Kelantan.
The thing about him was, he became Abah's uncle by marriage, but he was close to all Tok Nazi's nieces and nephews, as well as grandnieces/nephews . We could see how all K. Cha's n K.Long's small kids behaved toward him  like their own grandfather.  A big burly Johorean, with a bigger heart to match, Tok Din would never fail to  enquire about Abang Habri whenever we visited them at their Taman Tun's house , or he came visiting and Abang was away in madrasah. He always remember all the names of  the many grandchildren....there are so many of you  that it is quite understandable if  the elderlies cant remember the names of all. But not him, he always remember and always interested to know Abang's progress. When he last came, we told him that Abang has khatamed and he was impressed and I vividly remember this wistful look on his face when he mused aloud that his own  grandsons should become hafiz too. May Allah makes his wishes to come true...ameen.

As for Makcik Zalina, we pray that all the sufferings that she went through was enough to ensure her meeting with The Maker , a peaceful ones, for indeed she had suffered a lot. We saw how her condition spiraled down, after she refused chemotheraphy, opting for alternative treatment onstead. I still shudder remembering how at one phase her nerve became so sensitive that you cant passed by  the bed she was lying without her feeling the force of our walking by and it caused her pain. One light touch on her leg would sent her screaming and she described the sensation as like being on electric shock. The pain was so sudden and acute. She was just a bag of bones,  reduced to an unknown face when she died. But, after she was bathed and prepared for the burial, her sweet, kind face returned and she left us with the memory of a kind, hard working,warm and strong-will woman.

There, death upon death should be enough  a reminder to all of us that it is always nearby, biding for the time. Let us all be prepared ,for the the wisest ones amongst us are the ones who always remember death.

 I thus, end this entry with a loose translation of a  hadith...

Ibn Umar (Radiallahu anhu) said, with ten other companions we went to visit Rasulullah Sallallahu alaihi wasallam. One Ansari asked “Who is the smartest and most (karim) among people”? Prophet  Sallallahu alaihi wasallam replied;" The one who remembers death the most and is actively preparing for akhirah(hereafter). They are the smart ones, they will gain grace in this dunya and honor in the akhirah”.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

ON BEING ENVIRONMENTALIST...(pt 2)( or trying to be...)


We, Adik and me, were on our way  to get our weekly grocery supply and Adik reminded me to update my blog and I said I just dont know what else to write and can I stop posting entries already, please? Adik reacted strongly to this and gave me quite a lecture....hmmmh!!

So, between picking up this and that  and referring to my shopping list, while Adik disappeared upstairs to get some stationary, I thought of a few things I could write on. But all of them lack essence ( haha, as if my previous entries did have some). Adik met me while I was queueing  to weigh the veges. I got a small pumpkin ( to be pureed for our healthy high protein mug cake and pancake recipes), a small jicama for the salad bowl and some old gingers, all in one plastic bag. In another one, 5 limes and a handful of green chillies. Since Adik was there, I asked her to hand those to the lady at the weighing counter. And Adik was horrified that I mixed everything together and thought that is was shameful and I shouldnt do that. I shushed her and went to get some tortilla and asked her to meet me at the cashiers. She came with all sour face and complaining...

Favourite shopping bag...big n strong!!

  Aha! Now, I got things to write up on, and what better is, educating my daughter, who one day soon, Insyaa Allah,will be doing the grocery shopping just as her Mama does now.



I usually do our grocery shopping on a weekday, in the mornings. So, Adik is not exposed to this until now, the school holiday and she's bored at home and decided to accompany me.( Abang will be arriving soon as his madrasah only started its vacation on the 1st June.)

I'm sure, Adik, you do realise that plastic bags really are an environmental hazard and how we have been trying to reduce their usage since a few years back. I wrote about it here. So, why should I take a different plastic bag for each vege when all three could fit into one? Adik argued my practise slows down the line and gives the lady extra work. Owh Adik, that is just a tiny price to pay compared to what those plastics cost to the environment! Plus, those people manning the weight stations are supposed to know about this. They should, after I have been giving them short lectures week in and week out!! And at the cashiers too if some ignorant ones gave a blank stares at me and my shopping bags. And at some customers too...Some people actually looked at me and reminded me that it's not Saturday, you dont have to bring bags!! Yes I did...and I even went further and asked to see the management after one too many frustrating episodes. You knew about this...You and Abah rolled up your eyes at me over that!! But,but...it did  produce result alright. No more explaining to the staff nowadays and they actually praise me and keep telling me I am about  the only one they know that bring bags on weekdays. So, if you see a makcik in niqab, wearing sport shoes,walk very fast , carrying recyclable bags in Kubang Kerian, that would be me hehehe....

Annnywayyy....havent you noticed how our household trash greatly reduced with this green effort of me? Few years back, Abah has to take  the garbage out every 3 days,  but its a fortnightly chores now.
Imagine the energy and resources saved!! And imagine the benefit those plants in our backyard gets from the composted  kitchen waste. And how those bottles that we deemed as thrash could actually feed a family. How many times have we seen people ransacking the waste bins by the road side,looking for recyclables. So, our state is still very much backward in recycling technology, cant even provide enough recycling bins, but we can help by separating the recyclables, thus making it easy for those people to actually collect them. My heart goes out to those people thinking how they have to go through those awful smell just to get a few bottles. I actually wince everytime I saw people just chucking their empty bottles into the bin together with all sorts of waste from their home. If our guests ever do that in our home,by mistake, I would unhesitatingly pick it out the instant I saw it. 

So, I'm still trying... and I really hope you and your generation would do that naturally. Sadly though, most people still regard it as unnecessary. Some shopping malls still unashamedly hand out plastic bags even on Saturday!! I like it very much when we go shopping in Penang where everyday is no plastic day. No wonder Penang is much cleaner than Kelantan!







Sunday, April 28, 2013

OF FENCE, LASIK AND PROSTHESIS....

So, after more than 10 years , our house is getting a proper fence! The construction is still going on and is expected to be completed very soon. Mama's front garden was mutilated in the process, much to my dismay, but Abah calls it collateral damage. Hmmp!! 
Well, it was me who wanted the proper fence when we first built this house. But Abah thought, fences are a waste of money, keeping neighbours and beggars away, so, totally of no use!! Abah wants our house to be easily accessible  to everyone ....so a simple fence was built. I think I have published a picture of it before, let me see...

 Yes, this was when you two were 5 and 3 respectively. In here, you could see our simple fence of chain-links on top of 2 feet of concrete borders. And in that white pot was the small bauhinia kockiana plant that Toksu gave us as a housewarming gift.
Look, how the small plant grew into luscious flowering tree that covered the ugly fence and provided colours to our front yard almost all year round.


And of course, the perfect place for Grey's afternoon siesta. They made picture perfect companion!!


But the flowering bush is gone now sob,sob...


Anyway...you cant have the cake and eat it too,can you?

Then the much anticipated Lasik happened....
After 35 years of having glasses on my nose, I could finally ditched them!! For good, InsyaAllah...
It has been two weeks and I am still counting my blessings on a daily basis. Subhanallah...there's no word really to describe how grateful I am for this great nikmat from Allah. Only those chained to their glasses would understand my feeling I guess. I must say my decision took many people by surprise...well, its not everyday a person very well known as the most 'penakut' willing to let her eyes 'cut' opened!
 Well, of course I decided upon it after much reading on it, istikharah and mesyuwarah with Abah. The fact that no blade and needle involved in any stage helped a lot!!
 So, I DID it...met the well-known Prof Muhaya,talked to her, found out the she was Abah's senior in their undergraduate school.
I must state here that many people are inspired by my decision hehehe... I got many calls from friends and relatives to enquire further on the actual operation. My advice is, do as I did, read, istikharah,discuss with your spouse and of course, lot and lots of do'a. And by all means, watch the promotional videos widely available online, but dont look at the actual video taken by Abah during my operation!!  You'll be scared to death, at least I do!!
Prof M invited Abah to join in the OT but of course he couldnt hold my hand. But knowing he was close helped a lot, coupled with the prof's soothing words and zikr...One thing for sure, no pain whatsoever!!!

And the last highlight of this month is of Kakchik Illa went into the OT again for re inserting of her prosthesis. Alhamdulillah, the operation went well and she is now recuperating in the executive ward in HUSM. InsyaAllah, she'll be able to walk again very soon.In the meantime, we try to visit her as often as we could...helping her ease off some of her food supplies!!!

That's all for this month kids...I'm off to packing bags as Abah and me are leaving for Kota Kinabalu again. Adik, be good while staying at Ayah Mat's ya...

Friday, March 29, 2013

MISERABLE MARCH...

Just when I thought I can retire peacefully,she has to come into our life. And made my life,in particular, oh so miserable.

It was Adik who 'discovered' her and begged and begged Mama and Abah to allow her to bring that tramp home.
I disliked her on the first sight.
And it progressed to disgust and now I simply hate her!!
Nowadays I live my life in seclusion. In Mama's room to be exact. I will only go out when I couldnt smell her rotten odour  around. Well, too bad if Abah, Mama, Adik( and now its school holidays, Abang is around too) have to do extra job of making sure she is out of the house before I could be persuaded to eat.
I cant even linger in the kitchen for a second more than my mealtimes as I cant stand her pathetic voice outside the backdoor.
I am so disgusted I cant write any more...so, guys, thats all from me for now.

signing off.
Dr.M.Grey

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Oh, Grey,the ultimate snobbish cat!!!
I was hoping she would write a proper entry for this month as I am having a major brain drain due to the heat. Well, me and heat never agree. Year in, year out, you will hear about how bad the hot season affects me as Grey  has kindly written here and here. She is in  a rotten mood this year,thus not so kind!
Well, it is sooo hot now. I have been quite useless for the last two days. Cooped up in my cold dark room with minimum movement. And this morning, Maktok has to come visiting me, along with C.Nini and C.Jah and their families, after listening to exaggerated report by Abah.  And as usual, I would miraculously get well whenever my sisters are around!! Much to Abah's delight of course as he was leaving for another trip to KK this evening.
Poor Abang for having to come home for holidays in a very hot season where Mama stay away from the kitchen as much as possible. We did go for a short break in a jungle to escape the heat. Setiu Agro Resort to be exact, where all of us enjoyed  jungle trekking, canoeing,fishing and cycling in the cooler air. Here's some pics for the record;
It was made even more enjoyable as we teamed up with Mak's family where Adik became inseparable with Kak Iybah and Abang with Aqim....and the resort itself was surprisingly quite void of other holiday makers thus leaving us monopolise the canoes,pedal boats and the floating gondola. Abang got to be Imaam at the surau and recite his daily portion of the Quran on that said gondola after fajar prayer. Blissful indeed!

Insyaa Allah I'll try to make Grey writes again on her enmity with Cheeky in the coming month...
Till then, let us pray harder for rain....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

FOOD AND SUCH.....

Oh, its the last day of February already? I havent got anything to write this month. Few days ago I was thinking about writing on our newly 'replenished' back garden, as in sprouting new seeds to refill the bare patches and pots which had been  left unattended since the rainy season of last December. The  project took off well, the weather being very nice and all. But, Allah indeed is The Best Planner  and He ordained that heavy rain are visiting again, and most of my seedlings couldnt stand the continuous downpour. Anyway, Alhamdulillah ala kullihaal...Allah knows best.  I managed to save some of the sturdy seedlings of kailan, cherry tomatoes , capsicums and some salads and hoping they will survive Insyaa Allah.

So,Abang and Adik, not to disappoint you, for this month's entry I decide to post pictures of our food!! Hehe...boleh la kannn...
The thing is, we have been cutting down on eating rice since last year. Down to only  once or twice in  a week . And when we do eat rice, it is either brown rice or basmathi most of the time. ( with exception when there are visitors in our home, especially Tok Su and KakChik , whom are surely will want to eat white rice with budu and all sorts of ulams and we will merrily join them!)
And we got asked by people, what do we eat if we dont do rice?
So, here's the answer; 
Everybody likes quinoa when its served with braised lamb...as the picture below
From left: brown rice porridge, venison steak, ramen, grilled fish taco, chicken enchiladas, salmon wrap





saffron flavoured quinoa with grilled tuna steak









Quinoa with braised venison

Venison has become the most preferred source of protein, it being the low fat meat. As for fish, we go for salmon and tuna. We always buy one whole salmon whenever they are on sale and we got tuna steaks from Kota Kinabalu where Abah frequents for his teachings. Quinoa has become so likeable after I discovered a better way of preparing them. Dry roast them until fragrant, add water and cook with some kind of flavouring. And I have been adding chia seeds everywhere....and imposing 2 to 4 litres of plain water on everyone in the house. Well, Abah and Adik sportingly eat whatever I serve but they just ignore any other rules I make. And they rolled up their eyes every now and then at my attempts of eating healthily.
And, oh, I must state here too...most of the veges served and featured in these pictures are proudly from my own organic garden. Please take note!!