Friday, December 30, 2011

FAREWELL 2011, WELCOME 2012...

2012 is looming  and the auditor who keeps checking on this unworthy blog keeps harping on me to you really have to? 

Its not that I dont want to update but December, as always, is a hectic month. To begin with, lots of walimahs  to attend, high on list was the one for both Mak Uda's daughters who got hitched on the same day and were feted in one big kenduri to save cost, hehe (as Mak Uda has so many children!!). Our beloved Kak Naheed and Kakchik Khadijah are now wives...Alhamdulillah. So, we were in KL for almost a week, then back to Kelantan for another round of walimahs of various friends and relatives. Then off to Penang to visit Abang of course. 

In between those times, we did nusrah for jamaats that came to our mosque. As it was raining almost everyday, we took the task of washing their clothes and the drier never stop spinning.

Then, came the preparation for Adik's new world in secondary school...Right after the UPSR result was announced, the application form for the much sought after school, namely Maahad Muhammadi (P) was promptly  filled up. Adik was then called up for an oral test followed by a written one. Alhamdulillah, with so much do'as from all of us, Adik got a place. There were 840 students competed  for 400 places allocated. A scramble for all spanking new school uniforms and fees to be deposited in school's account, amongst other things, followed. Then only could we relax a bit...

And to end 2011 on a good note, we went out for 3 days in Masturat Jamaat so that we could remind ourselves again and again on the importance of having constant worry on our imaan and amaal. Alhamdulillah, Adik picked up another good habit this time, which is reading 2 pages of the holy Qur'an upon finishing  every fardh solat. By Isya', she would have read 1 juz,MasyaAllah....May Allah gives Adik taufeeq to hold on to this good practice throughout her life...In the last khuruj she participated, Adik picked up the good habit of performing ablution before going to bed and it seems to stick, Alhamdulillah. May Allah choose all of us again and again to go out on the path of Allah to learn Deen , to correct ourselves, to restrain our nafs and to learn to live our lives according to the way of those who had been declared radhiallahu 'anhum .

So, in a few days time, we will have a change of our timetable. As Adik's new school is quite a distance away and a stay in school hostel  was ruled out,(for the house would be very lonely without you) we have to start early. No more dilly-dallying in the morning as you used to. It will take some times to get used to it and stronger willpower of course. For the whole 6 years of primary schooling, with the timing of a private school and the fact that the school is just in our vicinity,Adik could afford to iron her uniforms, finish up homeworks and even memorised few ayaahs from the holy book before setting off to school.No more of it ya Dik....

Its quite a task for Mama and Abah too... We have mapped out the shortest and least congested road though, with the help of google map no less haha!! InsyaAllah, we are quite sure you  could handle it well Adik...Abang was faced with harder challenge when he entered the madrasah and he adjusted really well and seems to flourish even more in stricter regime...

Lastly, we are praying that 2012 will be a better year for all of us...Abang aims to finish his hafadzan in 2012, Adik to learn more religious subjects in Arabic. It is actually the single most important reason why we choose MMP for Adik, not because it is arguably the best school in Kelantan or the fact that it has produced the best student who hold the record of 20As in SPM.

May Allah makes everything goes smoothly for both of you my beloved Abang and Adik.....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

OUCH!! (part 2)

Just as everybody in this household is taking it for granted that I am all fit and healthy all year long, and they were all happily packing away to go for a short break, I decided to pull a quick one. Its a given anyway. I deserve extra attention once a year. And to get that, I must fell sick...(and err... I kind of promised myself to do this anyway)

I perched on the study table and stared and stared...halooo,look at me!!!! but they were so busy zipping and unzipping the bag again and again and didnt notice my staring at them with a crooked smile until the very last minute.

And Adik shrieked!!! Huh,at last I got your attention!.....Yes, my lower canine tooth was falling out was juuust hanging on and kind of pointing out to one side already, causing the crooked smile as I couldnt close my mouth properly by then. And Mama shrieked even louder when she saw it. They fussed and fussed about me and I loved every minute of it!! 
The BIG questions were, was I in pain? Should they go ahead and try to pull it out? Was any of them brave enough to do that?

No answer to any of those...

They wanted to consult Abah  who had  flown a day earlier to do some work, but decided against it as it was very late already. Abah must have gone to sleep. Mama then went online in search of advice and instructed Adik to look for signs of:

  • Red, irritated appearance of the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Rotten appearance of teeth  
Alhamdulillah, none of it....From the net, Mama deduced that if a cat has teeth that are falling out, it can either be a completely normal process or one indicating that an underlying health condition exists.

They decided to deal with it tomorrow, kissed me goodnight and allowed me to sleep with them. YES!!!

I slept soundly but I know Mama didnt, because she had learned so much from the net just then and she was feeling guilty!!! The vet did check my teeth when we go for our yearly booster but he never said a thing about brushing teeth and Mama, ignorance in many things as she is, never seen anyone brushes cats' teeth in her life!!

Morning came and it was very chaotic. They had to catch their flight around noon but I was the priority here!! Matter was made worse when Abang called early in the morning asking Mama could she please send him a towel! He said he has been borrowing a friend's towel for the last few days...Mama was beyond shock!! ( biasa la mama kan, drama queen sokmo!) How could he leave towels behind? Personal hygiene ranks very high in Mama's list, so she didnt take it very well when Abang said to just bring the towel when they come to visit .(Abang said that after Mama exploded)

Well, in my opinion, Abang shouldnt be blamed. It was frantic the day he left. On the first day of  Eid-al-Adha we slaughtered 2 cows on our backyard , shared mostly with Abah and Mama's siblings. So, you can imagine the full house with cousins ( an occasion very much enjoyed by Abang and Adik of course) and the works that followed after. Abang helped out a lot. Yes, it was a yearly affair and Abang is quite adept at it by now but still, his room was a mess as it was used for male cousins to lepak, change and pray. He had tried to gather all his things but still...And his flight back to Penang was very early the next morning. 

So, Mama became very stressful and snapped at Adik at every single mistake she made...kesian adik. 

The vet was closed and so were the courier companies as it was the birthday of our beloved Sultan. Many calls were made and to cut the long story short, a back-door transaction(shhhh!) was finally made with a courier agent. A visit to the famous pet shop of Kubang Kerian and a chat with the ever friendly and knowledgeable owner saw Mama heaving a relief sigh . He calmly assured Mama that it is an entirely normal aging process.

Just before noon, I was  left with the neighbour who is as crazy about me as my own family with loads of premium wet food together with a  what-to-do/ watch-out  list.

They barely had time to catch the flight...and off the went to KUCHING, of all the places!!

I am very satisfied to know that they didnt really enjoy their time there as there were too many reminders of me...heheheh. Mama even updated her fb status with: In Kuching and missing our kucing!!
none of them is as cute as me tho...

Ok folks,I need my beauty sleep long!!

Dr. M. Grey

    Saturday, October 29, 2011


    Friday Evening
    I'm writing this sitting in the car waiting for Abah praying the Maghrib prayer at Masjid Muhammadi. Its so serene here, the sight, the sound. We arrived 5 minutes before the azan was called out, and within that few minutes, cars lined up and filled both sides of the road shoulders. Family with children, youngsters, old men and women and all sort of people thronged the majestic building. Really evoke the grateful feeling of being a Kelantanese and  actually living here in me. Not 15 minutes ago I was horrified at the crowd at  KB Mall. Truth is, we very rarely go to the mall on weekends. So, what is normal to others was frowned upon by us. When we were coming out, there was still a long queue of cars waiting to get in and I was horrified that people were still coming in to the mall when Maghrib is so near. Well, there is a small surau in the mall anyway...

    I came to realise that it has been a long while since Abah and me got to spend time alone together. In fact, I think  this is the very first time both of you, Abang and Adik, are not with us at night time....Adik went off to join her school program, camping on some beaches, around 3 this afternoon. Soon after, Abah and me decided to go out as Abah needed to find something for his never-ending DIY home and garden projects . And I wanted to find a gadget to transplant the seedlings that I saw on this new-found information -laden gardening blog. Sadly though, I couldnt find it...must try other garden stores soon. I have had enough  frustrating moments trying to transplant without injuring the seedlings...

    So, there we were. Walking hand in hand, looking at things and ended up buying a micro fiber carpet for our bedroom. We were sold on the fact that they are super absorbent,stain resistant, do not shed, bla,bla,bla...the salesman claimed that it was made in Belgium but I doubted it. (Upon checking it on the net just now, true enough, I found that they  actually came from Taiwan!!) Then, we  got the tools Abah was looking for. Soon after,we passed the lingerie section and I was attracted to sports bra on sales. After a few minutes looking and discussing them with Abah, it suddenly hit me that Abah might be embarrassed to be there and and apologised to him. Abah was surprised and said no, he's not embarrassed at all, automatically reminding me of how around ten years ago, it was a  normal thing for us to do, browsing all departments together as I could never shop or even walk alone. But Adik, since you arrived and especially after you reached certain age, I think 9 was it, you have become my best shopping companion and I thoroughly enjoy your company that I have forgotten I used to do it with Abah!! You are always my best critic, honest as you are...(though sometimes I wish you are more subtle, like Abang....) 
    When you turn 11 and and  we shared the same shoe sizes, you become more enthusiastic. Thank God, by this year your feet has grown even more and my shoes are safe!! Recently though, whenever both of us are wearing black abaya and walking/standing side by side, people have been commenting that we are of the same size. Something like," Eh, dah sama besar Mama ngan Adik"...Adik beams whenever anyone says this as it means she's taller, which is true....and errm, Mama beams too as she thinks (read: perasan) she looks smaller now, which she hopes is true!! And yes, we wear the same S size abayas.

    Okay, Abah's here. He's finished the prayer....
    Now we are having dinner at Hayaki Kopitiam at Jalan Kebun Sultan as I've been reading good  reviews by some bloggers here. Our verdict,the food's not bad at all.

    And now we stopped again for Isya' and here I am again waiting in the car as I am on 'leave'.

    Saturday Morning.
    We just came back from tosai breakfast..
    I thanked Abah upon realising that we were out till late last night so as to avoid from me having to be at home alone if Abah was to go to mosque from Maghrib to Isya' as thoughtful of him.

    I have ran out of things to write.

    Adik, please come home soon!!!!!
    And, hooray!!! the day after tomorrow, Abang will be home too for Eid al-Adha, InsyaAllah...He'll be home for one week and all of us must brace ourselves for another surge in weight-gaining haha!!

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    SYAWAL 1432H

    Abang's coming home for Raya this year was uneventful, Alhamdulillah. He arrived around 11a.m, thus having ample time to drop at  Tok Ayah Wahab's on the way home from the airport. Next destination was to the mosque where Abah confined himself for i'tikaaf as he had been sending numerous text messages   reminding me to bring Abang to see him before going home. 
    And with Abang home, as expected, all carefully planned healthy meals disappeared!! We were back on rice on that day itself as Abang said he dreamt of Mama's Nasi Lemak with Ayam Goreng Berempah the night before! And the dream happened to has a continuation with the list of food items  getting longer and longer. Adik, ever the cheeky one, tried to capitalize on it by asking Abang to think/dream of several other types of food not included in Abang's list!!
    And oh, I must stated here  too,for the records ,that the last Ramadhan was the first Ramadhan I prayed Taraweeh with Abang as imam. Awesome!! ( a bit funny too as Abang didnt memorise the taraweeh du'a yet and he kept asking to make du'a and he and Adik amin-ed it)
    With your presence too,Abang, the festive mood started to creep in. Before that, Adik was bent on studying for her UPSR, but now that you're home, all revisions considered done!!  All you two did were talking, playing, giggling, talking again...all day long! Okay,okay,  so you did help  vacuuming, dusting  and  wrapping the eid gifts for uncles and aunties, which Adik enjoyed so much. She wrote cute eid wishes and drew silly pictures and stuck them on the packages.Abang laughed and thought that his sister is the cleverest and funniest girl in the whole wide world!

    We got many gifts too and the one that I like best is this;

    This Nut Tray came all the way from Tehran...Thanks so much Kak Ni. Definitely the best gift for a nutcracker like me!!

    On the eve of Eid, we gathered at Tok Ayah Mustafa's and recited the whole Qur'an as a gift to Mama's late grandfather. Tok Ayah Pa has more than 10 sons + grandchildren whom are huffaz but not all were present on that day. So, we divided the parts amongst us and Abang alone recited 3 juzuks ...Alhamdulillah. I hope this practise of giving will continue in our home forever, InsyaAllah.

    We didnt hold our customary 3rd Syawal open house this year as all the clan of Hj Mustafa headed to Kuala Trengganu  on that day to celebrate your cousin's, Kak S, wedding.
    This is one wedding I would like to remember and refer to when the time come for your turn. ( Adik naturally, screaming when I mused aloud about it...she went,'"Mama! but I'm only 12!" . And I went, "Its not wrong to plan early la Dik"!)
    Ayah Yie and  Cik Ninie went to great length to ensure  that the nikah and walimah , which is a form of ibaadah, stay true to its meaning and serve the purpose, that is to close the door of those shayateen.

    An 'aliim once said in his lecture, instead of closing the door to those doomed creatures, most people actually invite them to join their feast. How? By indulging in extravagance that lead to wastage, thus joining them together in a brotherhood ties... By mixing of non-mehrams during the feasts, by blaring music and by all those traditional practices so rampant in our society that has no basis whatsoever in Qur'an and Sunnah.Not to mention the exposure of auraah and being made-up by transvetite make-up artists.

    They began with a simple invitation card printed on regular papers. Stick To Sunnah  was the theme, so it was keep-it- simple and no-waste all the way. I especially like the way they printed the card:

     Ayah Yie kept out his daughter's name as she is a strict niqaabi who started observing the niqaab as soon as she reached puberty.  Everything about her is considered a 'secret',so well-hidden, yet jodoh found her at the age of 18. An 'alimaah, she is an exemplary young muslimah both in ibaadah and akhlaaq. I always pointed it out to Adik that, she's the one to look up to, to imitate and to admire.
    The banquet area was totally separated for male and female with no male attendant at all in female area. (What always happen everywhere are, the area may be separated but there's always male attendant refilling the dish, collecting the plates and glasses etc.) As many of the brides friends and students are strict niqaabis, they were able to eat and talked freely. Well, it might not be a big deal for most people, but it is for me...
    They spent very little on dresses and made no fuss on hantaran thingy. Yet the bride shone...and nobody were too interested to look at those gifts (because no emphasise were put on those) or asking questions  as per usual in weddings everywhere.Alhamdulillah...lots of du'a for newlyweds were heard that day...I  now thought of it as a successful walimah and making azam to emulate it when the time comes....

    Let us pray again for their good life together showered with mawaddat and rahmat from The Almighty,Amiin....

    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    RAMADHAN 1432H

    So, 20 blessed days of Ramadhan has passed by...leaving us another 10 more greater days for us to strive even harder to gain as much blessings  as possible. In keeping with the sunnah of our beloved Prophet, Abah will start his customary last 10 days i'tikaf tonight, InsyaAllah. May Allah accepts the effort and give Abah strength to do as much devotion as possible . Goes for us at home too. Adik has promised to do khidmat on whatever needs Abah might ask for during this i'tikaf...and now Mama, Adik and Grey are eagerly waiting for Abang who  will come home on the 28th by Firefly, InsyaAllah.  I cant thank Firefly enough for re-introducing  PEN - KB route. One big headache gone, Alhamdulillah.

    This year marks a meaningful Ramadhan for both of you as this is the first Ramadhan that you go through as fully responsible adults according to syari'at. Alhamdulillah, I can vouch for Adik as I'm seeing a vast difference from last years effort. More discipline in tilawatil Qur'an, taraweeh prayers and generally more agreeable in all aspects. I am sure Abang is doing as good or even better as he is constantly in a more a'maal conducive environtment. As UPSR is looming, right after eid that is, Adik seems to be more attentive on her study too. As for Grey, she's doing not too bad at all...having her meals as we are having our suhoor and iftaar, sits and listens to our Qur'an recitations. You should see how she sits most respectfully with her two front legs put together, head cocks up and ears straining. She really is an amazing cat!!

    In the 2nd week of Ramadhan, Tok Ayah Pa was warded for a few days for acute coronary syndrome . He has just got home a few days before Ramadhan after spending 40 days on the path of Allah with Alang. He has taken ill during the khuruj too. Alhamdulillah, Alang was with him and did lots of khidmat to Tok Ayah. Since last year, whenever Tok Ayah went on a khuruj fisabilillah, one of his sons or grandsons or nephews will go along with him. I wish one day Abang will also be able to accompany Tok Ayah on one of his journeys, InsyaAllah. I'm sure Tok Ayah will like it very much...

    And oh, I must record here too how we try to do a rice-free diet starting a couple of weeks before Ramadhan. We were well into our 20 odd days of no rice when Mak Tok came to stay with us during Tok Ayah's hospitalisation. Mak Tok was horrified that we didnt eat rice during iftar. So, rice meals made a comeback to our table....Now that only Adik and me at home, we have pledged to go sans rice again...only to be broken when Abang arrives I guess. I must say that not eating rice-based meals proved to be easier on us. Upon iftar, there's no heavy feeling, thus make for more enthusiastic taraweeh...and of course made my life easier in the kitchen. We go for single-dish meals most of the time...I made a large batch of something that all three of us like ,eg lamb stew, and eat it with nan one day, freeze the rest in single portions and eat them again with wheat bran boule, couscous, baguette etc. And we eat lots of salads...
    organic sprouts

    pecal with veges from mama's garden

    wholemeal organic spaghetti aglio e olio

    grilled salmon
    chick-pea salad

    couscous with lamb stew
    mashed sweet potato with grilled lamb

    These are not meant to entice anybody ya...just for the records...and to appreciate Adik's effort on photographing every single dish I prepared!

    As for raya cookies, I have no intention to make any as I have placed orders with your aunty Cik Ni and cousin Kak Intan. These two enterprising ladies produce awesome melt-in-the mouth cookies ( and all sort of cakes) using the best ingredients and we can rest assured of the  hallalan toyyiban status of their offerings. I may bake some cakes...(please notice the word 'may'...). Gotta rush now...Till then.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    PRETTY BISCOTTI....not!!

    Failing to find anything healthy to munch on ( and munch must I, because I am a natural muncher...and you guys know how crazy I am over anything that goes c-r-u-n-c-h!), I decided to make myself some.

    So, as the posting trend of late on this blog is just posting whatever is handy for the current month,( for the lack of ideas and to keep up with the promise to you two, if you cannot tell already) here is the account of what I have gotten myself into last week. 

    On hindsight, this is really not a bad idea at all as this recipe is  definitely for keep if you wish to continue eating healthily throughout your life.(I surely hope you do!)

    Maybe one day, when I'm long gone, you could take a peek here whenever you crave for something healthy Mama used to make.
    So here goes....


    200g egg whites
    1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    150g caster sugar
    2 egg yolks
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract( I still fail to find this, so I use the usual cheap vanilla flavour)(edited later: yeay! Abah brought back pure vanilla crystals from Turkey for me!!!)
    grated zest of 1 lemon

    zesting the lemon was easy-peasy lemon squeezy using this zester (hehe..sorry, cant resist it! I love my zester!!)

    Flour Mixture
    300g plain flour,sifted ( I used Red Rose flour, being low-gluten, it helps produce a tender and light biscotti compared to normal flour)
    2 tsp baking powder,sifted
    1 tbsp ground cardamom,sifted ( I have never seen one, but I have ground cinnamon of course, so, in it goes..)
    100g rolled oats
    150g dried cranberry
    60g sweetened shredded Hawaiian coconut (I underestimated our local bakery supplier and asked for regular dessicated coconut and was pleasantly surprised to find the exact ingredients asked for ,sitting pretty on the shelf)
    200g pumpkin seeds.(The original recipe uses pistachio instead of pumpkin seed. I have pistachios... as my gym buddy who is married to an Iranian keeps kindly supplying me with plump pistachios,walnuts,almonds and raisins from Iran, but I love eating pistachios on their own too much!! So I opted to use pumpkin seeds instead as they have the same green hues....Whattodo, I'm greedy when it comes to nuts!!)
    I tried to use as much organic product as I could....
    Step 1: Preparing the dough
    Whisk egg whites with salt until foamy. Gradually beat in sugar till glossy and stiff peak forms. Look something like this;
    Beat in yolk until combined. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in flour mixture in three batches and mix well with a spatula to form a sticky dough.

    Step 2: Shaping
    You can shape the dough as desired but as I was pushed for time ( as I always am...), I opted for the easiest one lah...the logs!

    urghh..they look so ugly!! (next time, must make it flatter)
    Do take note that you need to oil the plastic sheet otherwise the dough will stick. (I am so lucky to still have this Tupperware rolling sheet that I got in the UK almost 14 years ago. It is still in excellent condition after serving me well in my experimenting years of baking pies after pies thus piling pounds after pounds on myself and Abah,huhu...
    Adik, when the time comes and I pass this to you, take good care of it okay. Even if the Tupperware claims that they give it a lifetime guarantee, they just dont make this anymore...With all those measurement printed on it, it really made things a lot more easier and less wastage esp when rolling n cutting pastry to fit the tin .)

    Step 3: First Baking
    Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with a non-stick parchment. Brush the top with egg whites for glossy effect. Bake @ 160C for 20 to 25 min.
    I have used this magic carpet over and over again for  so many years.....

    Step 4: Slicing
    Cool the logs before you slice it and use serrated knife. It is a MUST!!

    Step 5: Second Baking
    Arrange the slices in single layer and bake @ 150C for 25 min, turning half way through baking.
    (That is what the instruction in the magazine said...
    But, a glance at the clock told me that I only have 15 minutes before I have to rush out to get Adik at school....)
    So, I made up my own timing.
    And ended up with.....
    not so pretty biscotti......

    This recipe is taken from Malaysia's premier food and lifestyle magazine,Flavours, which I subscribed to. It promised a colourful mosaic of green, red and white fine textured biscuit riddled with tiny bubbles , and offers a crisp , firm bite with with cardamom spiciness.
    Well, I got green and white from pumpkin seeds and oats  alright, but the red of the cranberries was nowhere to be seen after I decided to turn on the the temperature to speed up the baking time....they turned dark brown!!

    BUT, rest assured, they ARE good and filling and satisfying. Totally recommended. I baked it on Sunday and on Monday Adik fasted and ate a piece of it for sahoor with a mug of hot chocolate and came back from school at 4 PM saying, "Mama, please make more for Ramadhan. I'm going to eat them for sahoor everyday...".

    p/s; I gave a few pieces to my good friend cum business partner, the famous Kak Chik, and she gave her thumbs-up with caution, "not for denture wearers", haha!!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    NOT A BOY, NOT YET A MAN......

    Well, as you ( the 2 or 3 regular readers of this space) might have presumed, I am going to write about Abang. Its a given. Everytime he came home for holiday, the story about him would  soon emerge here...After all, this blog is dedicated to them, Abang and Adik. ( feeble excuse really.....reality check: #1. I dont have anything interesting to write about . #2. I want to get Miss Auditor off my back...aiyaa, why do you have to check in here ever so regularly? and pressing me to update! I regret telling you about this blog...)

    see, he had a cheeky smile on...
    Anyway, Abang was home for just one week...and all of us couldnt get enough of him. This time around he arrived looking very relax, not tired or anxious as before. Looks like he's got used to long bus rides, Alhamdulillah.He said he slept all the way and ate well  at one of the stops, so he did not arrive famished as on previous bus journeys . He could even teased Mama upon seeing how excited Mama was when he arrived on our doorstep. Eyes twinkling,he quipped "Relax Ma..."

      We saw many changes in him indeed, not least the physical side. In the above pic, he stood on a step lower than Mama so that Mama could hug and kiss him comfortably.( As a matter of fact, my tall nieces/nephews/females cousins are all subjected to this kind of treatment from me when they want to bade farewell to me....)(hehe,sounds familiar kan cik auditor?)

    And Abang has pimples now!! And kind of proud of them, much to my bewilderment...And he kept showing his biceps (haha)  and demonstrated to Adik what kind of exercises he does everyday to gain that. I wish Abang would grow a beard soon!!
    Physical aspect asides, we are happy to notice that Abang's confidence level has raised quite a few notches up. Previously, only the three (or four if you count  the snotty cat in) of us are privy to his silly antics,even sillier jokes and ridiculous behaviour. Outsiders will only see a quiet, gentlemanly Mama's boy. He used to get tongue-tied when speaking to people and often reduced to silence when he couldnt find a proper answer to any questions.

    Not anymore!!

    Soon as he arrived, as usual Abah asked him to call Mak Tok, Ummi and other elders in our close-knitted family. Surprise, surprise!! We didnt need to coach him anymore! He asked the right questions, gave the right responses to enquiries....leaving Abah and Mama looking at each other with raised eye-brows and broad smiles....

    The next agenda was  a visit to Tok Ayah Wahab's. Again, when we arrived, he needed no prompt from us to go directly to Tok Ayah. He even managed to ignore Aqim The Favourite Cousin !! Tok Ayah was as usual, sitting on his recliner. After the customary salaam and all, he proceeded to massage Tok Ayah's legs. We were like, WOW!!   When Tok Ayah asked him to recite a surah, he readily did it, attracting Mak and her children who were creating a ruckus in the living room to come gather and listened in.

    Up until today Tok Ayah still talking about how good was Abang's recitation and keep saying Alhamdulillah. He even said that amongst his many grandkids, Abang and Abang Abdullah Zahid have the best voices. Hahaha...Yes,(soon-to-be-a-dentist) Abdullah Zahid has lovely voice indeed, having competed and won in many musabaqahs and nasheed in his school and college days. But the same cannot be said about Abang...He does recite beautifully, but good voice is not one of his attributes. Tok Ayah seems to forget that Hassan has a very good voice too.

    When we next visit Tok Ayah Mustafa, the performance was repeated and got even better. When Tok Ayah asked him to recite, he asked Tok Ayah in what tarannum Tok Ayah wanted him to recite!! Adik went, "fuyyo, terernye off!!"

    All in all, we were suitably impressed with Abang's more mature attitude.....

    Then  came the Trengganu trip to visit Mama's siblings. First stop at Ummi's then to Cik Nini's and Ayah Ji's for he has just got a long-awaited son. The first one is in Jerteh and the latter in Kuala Trengganu and Kubang Bujuk. And what do we have in between? Yes, miles and miles  of inviting white sandy beach. 

    And I got my boy again........

    He has always loves sand. Everything else would cease to matter when he got his hands in the sand.

    full concentration.....

     As for the little fashionista, she was more concerned  with her shawl.....Nowadays she spends a few more minutes more than usual in front of the mirror wrapping the shawl whenever we are going out. Now on the beach the wind was threatening to undo it ........

     Abah took a 40 winks...or maybe 100 is more accurate as I could hear a snore.
     Oh, what a relieve now that  I dont need to be right there under the sun anymore.....Ten years ago I would be sitting cross-leg covered with sand and drenched in perspiration
    playing with you two...and mostly to make sure that Adik stayed out of water. Adik is always attracted to water as Abang is to sand.

                                        PEACE OUT.....

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    THE HEAT IS ON..... pt 2

    Mama and heat are just not meant to be together...that explains why am I here again, filling the void as May is nearing its end. As usual, I'm not very good at giving titles to my entries,so just let me repeat the title for  last year's entry on the very same subject matter....Do not complain or I promise never to write again!! You better take heed as its not everyday you could read a blog entry from a clever cat like me...

    Daily harvest from Mama's vege beds
    May started out very-very hot, with no rain at all. Mama's enthusiasm for the kitchen garden died with all the crops. Alhamdulillah though, the effort was not at all futile, the family got to taste all the veges from the few harvests before the heat sets on.

     After a couple of weeks of hot spell, the rain came for a few days,  giving us much needed  respite....and Subhanallah, it was so refreshing. We could all really taste the barakah in that.....the air became cooler, new shoots sprouting everywhere and flowers started blooming. 

    Brunfelsia blooms...(mama's garbage enzyme does help too)

    Now, the heat is back on again to test the patience and to see how grateful some of us are over the other blessing showered upon us everyday by HIM. InsyaAllah it wont be long anymore before the next rain come...

    Mama is a bit better this year. ( compared to last year that is...I'm sure my advice did play quite a role in this...). Yes, she still stay away as much as possible from the hot kitchen, but at least she did something quite useful. As for staying away from the kitchen, it was not a bad thing either. First and foremost, unlike me, she really doesnt need to eat three square meals a day....well, I dont have to spell it out clearly why it is so, do I? 
    And Abah was not around most of time, away as external examiner in other university for those sitting for professional exams and aspiring to be doctors. And when he was back home, he was busy entertaining external examiners that came to HUSM.
    As for Adik, now that she is a teenager ( and very conscious of that fact!) is forever watching what she eats...I'm quite sure Mama's behavior is affecting her's. Mak Tok is  always asking her to eat more rice...and Mama is always saying good eating habit must start early. I dont really  understand all these talk about basic metabolic rate, calorie requirement  and what nots that Mama has been explaining to Adik. So, I better not go into that. I dont need to  anyway, being  an individual with an ideal weight...hahaha..I can see Mama is green with envy over this statement!!!

    Oh yes, I was saying about Mama doing something useful earlier and I almost forget about it...dont blame me! Its easy to forget because its not everyday Mama does useful things.  

    The heat would keep her in the bedroom, forcing her brain to work  a bit , tap-typing away Malay translation of a book on Etiquette For Teachers And Students for madrasahs use. It was Ayah Chik Razif who gave her the chore seeing that Mama has so much free time and living her life like a madam tai-tai.( albeit not a wealthy one) He is supposed to do that but re- delegated the work to Mama. It is not that easy as the book was originally written in Urdu and then translated to English causing some original connotations to be lost somewhere . And the fact that it is dotted here and there with the Holy Verses and Ahadith that need accurate translation. Ayah Chik is always  a phone call away to guide as he has got lots of experience, having translated the Fadhai'l A'amal series when he served at Sri Petaling Madrasah few years back.

    Exercise wise, unlike last year,she has been good this year. Reason, she found a "ladies only" gym. So there she goes twice weekly for a couple of hours doing cardio and strength training in air-conditioned studio. So, no excessive sweating or heat stroke or whatever excuses of last year's. Those strength training has proven good as I personally saw Mama clearing and digging up the vegetables beds with no complain whatsoever!! My Mama is no longer a lembek lady..yeay!! 

    Abah is especially happy about this as he will have less chores to do at home. To encourage Mama more, he even bought a portable air-cooler and place it in front of the treadmill at home so that Mama could still use it on the days she doesnt go the gym. He 'incidentally' bought it on Mothers' Day...I must use the word 'incidentally' as Abah insists he does not celebrate birthdays,Mothers Day or whatever days. He said,giving gifts are simply sunnahs, thats the only reason he is so fond of giving gifts to Mama... and somehow the gifts are always the practical ones...I wonder why?? And oh ya, Adik got some hand-made chocolates for Mama on that day. Mama ate two of them and she finished the rest..... Practical too, isnt it? Hhemm, like father like daughter...

    Anyway...that's all I can think of. Hopefully next month, you'll read Mama's entry and I dont have to write again until the next hot season. Abang is coming home on 4th June for a week, InsyaAllah...Please pray that Mama dont do anything stupid such as eating whatever Abang will eat in that one week and 'undo' the 3kgs she has lost in the gym.

    Signing off,
    Dr.M. Grey

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011


    Adik's name began with the capital A followed by a D, thus makes hers the first in her class roll-call. Somehow, there's no one named Abdullah or Abdul something in her class. Not only that, she seems to be the oldest too, being born in February. Weird, no one was born in January in her class...Well, its not a big class to begin with, being a private school and all.

    Anyway, it boils down to Adik becomes the first to own an IC  in her peer group. And  believe you me , THE CARD is a BIG deal for a bunch of  12-year-old....

    So, exactly on her birthday, which fell on  a school day, Adik nagged us to take her to the JPN, telling us that her school allows parents to take their children out during school hours for that purpose. Abah said to wait for a few days, until he is free to bring Adik. But, as we know, Abah's free time is about next to never....

    To cut the story short, it was Mama who finally braved the rain to go to the JPN during the weekend so as to avoid parking problem and the queues...Its a good thing that the JPN opens on the weekends albeit for the first half of the day only.

    It was an interesting day at JPN....first of all, we were allowed to drive through the gate and parked in front of the  Federal Building  itself...the guards being friendly since it was raining cats and dogs I guess, and its Friday anyway, meaning  only a small staff were at work, so there were lots and lots of parking space for the take. The lady who took Adik's picture was even friendlier as in offering to take another shot after noticing that Adik has dimples when she chatted  with Adik. So Adik sat on the chair again and smiled 'deeply' so that the dimples showed, haha!! All in all, Adik ended up with a very nice IC photo, a very far cry from Mama's first black and white ( yes, I'm THAT ancient!)12-year-old  IC photo.

    So Adik, you are now officially an well as a 'baligh' teenager. Thus said, I think there are  a lot of things that are not 'blogable' about you anymore. What with respecting your privacy and more importantly, being a muslim girl, its not proper for you to be too exposed to the world.(as if the world is reading this!!)

    And in September you'll be sitting for UPSR which you think is the most important exam ever!! Please forgive us for always trying to play it down when you were so agitated about it. We just want you to take it easy...we do understand how you feel to see all your friends attending tuition classes everywhere and you are not. But, really, you DONT need them. Abang didnt attend any during his time because he didnt want to miss solat with jamaat and look how Allah elevates his status now. He has memorised  10 juzuks of the Holy Qur'an  beautifully in such a short time. 

    We do understand though, being ambitious, how frustrated you are over the fact that your school doesnt have aggressive revision program that normal schools carry out to ensure that their kids get all 'A's.  And knowing how private schools like yours do traditionally gets marked down....

      Your school  has never been aggressive in achieving academic excellence , preferring a holistically well developed child instead, which is why we chose it in the first place.

    So Adik, fret not..all 'A's or no 'A's,wouldnt change the way we look at you. We are just happy now that nowadays you are more mindful of your wudhu' and solats, reciting daily surahs and  doing other 'amals more consistently as well as readily attending weekly taa'lim without any fuss.
    As for housework, I cant be any happier now. You made up the beds exactly or even better than I do, able to cook simple meals and tidying up the house is almost a second nature to you now. 
    Alhamdulillahi llazii bini'matihii tatimmu ssolihaat....

    And Adik, we love you soooo much!! 

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011


    In continuing  with the effort to eat more healthily and be greener, I started, or rather, expanded our kitchen garden. The garden was already there since day one. Abah and me  planted the basic need of  Malay kitchen supplies the like of galangal,lemongrass, turmeric,pandan, various  kinds of lime,the beautiful edible torch ginger (bunga kantan), curry leaves and chives soon as we moved in. And a variety of ulams that we sow or just grow by themselves.I love the fact that I could just open our back door and cut/dig/pluck whatever amount I need for the dish I was making.

    The chives has a special story on its own. I must tell you here lest I forget. It was originally planted by your late grandmother, Nik Noriah Nik Mahmood, loooong ago. When Mak Uda and family had their first home in Dato Keramat, Tok brought a clump from Kota Bharu and planted it there. Mak Uda has since moved to a few houses before settling at their current 3-storey abode in Subang Alam. The chives always moved with her. And I took it from her house (when she was living in USJ I think), because I like chives and because of the memories...Never have I look at  or use the chives without not remembering the woman who had affected my life in BIG ways...I really wish you two could have met her. Oh, now it has bring tears to my eyes....

    But, I digress.

    So, I consulted Maktok whom as you know, always have vegetables growing around her house. She makes it looks effortless to grow anything, be it veges or flowers. She came over accompanying Tok Ayah  on his scheduled follow-up at the hospital and give me valuable pointers. She said I need raised beds and showed me how to do it. Well, Maktok is 30 years older than me but errr...I am a bit ashamed to admit that she fares a lot better than me at hoeing. It left me breathless after a few swings...(left me wondering how could it be when I could easily work the treadmill for 30 minutes covering 3km quite breezily) So I stopped her and said I would continue later. 

    Okay, another confession..I of course, asked our gardener to finish it ...and he thoughtfully made 4 rows of them raised beds. I could only fill 2 of them and asked the Pakcik to fill another two with tapioca as all of us are crazy over tapioca shoots.

    Soon, beautiful plants just sprouted and I started calling myself a farmer,hehe... Cool mornings and evenings are now spent sowing seeds and hoeing weeds. 

    The red okra that turn white upon steaming,much to my disappointment

    The beginning of an angled loofah

    Red amaranth that we shared with ulats

    The beans that refuse to climb

    I made organic pesticide using garlic,chilli , onions and soap and tobacco too...The internet is extremely useful here.You could choose any recipe that works for the pest in your garden.. I tried out quite a few before I hit the right ones. I found many helpful  gardening blogs too and I especially love this one.

     Abah is very helpful and full of support...Adik shows slight interest..hemm..and Abang, when he was home for the holidays enjoys eating all those veges including those he never likes before. He said they are tasty because Mama grows them...biasa lah anak lelaki I,pandai ambik ati!!

    Then, I discover  garbage enzyme.
    And I am experimenting on it too.
    Freshly made...

    One month later..
    Cant wait to use and see the result...Please pray that it will work and we will soon harvest better produce...

    Friday, February 18, 2011


    Oh the chubbiness...
    ...just scanned some old photos and they came pouring in. Abang were 2+ and Adik were 3 months old...I had to bite my own hands on a daily basis to stop myself from biting you two...Seriously, both of you looked good enough I could eat you!!...and oh, the heavenly smell! I SOOO miss that. Abah swears that he could still detect some of those smell on you two even today...I somehow, fail to do that. (Told you, my olfactory system is super efficient especially in detecting bad odour....)

    Perhentian Island 2003
    To the beach, to the beach...
    That was always the theme for our holidays of yesteryears. There were tons of our beach photos...but I just love this one best. We couldnt fish you two out of the water, so, the milk bottle had to go in to 'refuel' Adik....
    My most favourite photo ever
    Late Spring 2002. I just loved  the way the neighbours's nasturtium flowed over  to our side of  wooden fence.....
    First bus ride
    We just got back from Sydney and realised that you two have been on planes, trains , boats and every other single moving vehicle except bus! The perfect opportunity came when the Paediatric Department chose Trengganu as the location of that year's Family Day and a bus was made available for it. Abah followed on his car as  he guessed it correctly that both  of you wanted the car ride on the way back.

    The must-do activity in hotel rooms
    Jumping on beds....the highly sought-after activity that was totally banned at home. I figured out that most hotels have better, sturdy beds than ours, so I let you two jumps your heart out on them whenever we were in one. Okay, okay...I was a bad mother then, but this uncivilised manner was stopped when  you reach school age though.
    Our months-old garden 
    The making of a bully....

    And it continues....
    Abah was always trying to introduce traditional games to when he found an 'upeh pinang' lying on a roadside, he took it home and showed you how to have fun on it...Adik enjoyed the ride (and bossing Abang around,as usual!) so much, and Abang , being Abang, obligingly and lovingly pulled and pulled...until the upeh torn.
    The 'colgate' moment...
     I just realised that none of you has ever had 'rongak' days...your milk-teeth would only fall off when the permanent one was already in place ready to take over.Hemm, now does it not prove that I have done a good job taking care of your dental hygiene??  YES!!
    Another favourite...

    Read-aloud session

    Abang began to take over the reading-aloud sessions as soon as he got the grasp on reading...oh, how relieved I was!! Adik couldnt get enough of  it and I couldnt cope...Thanks Abang!
    Schools First Day
    2004 Adik started at Kid's Excel and Abang started at SRI Al-Qari. Abah and me were not really keen on letting Adik start that early ( we still believe best early education starts at home), but Adik, you were very insistent...partly because you wanted to be like Abang, attending school. We were hoping you would be bored after a couple of months, but no such luck. You loved it to bits and still loves school until this very day.....

    Oh for the memories....