Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Small Steps

Yes, I am getting there. I am getting to where I was. Seeking HIS blessings at all times. Yes, I am beginning to climb that step. Yes, I am no hypocrite. Hence, no, I have not started my daily nitnem (prayers).

Yes, we have begun to go to HIS Home. The first time that hubby and I went, I found it difficult to even take the first step towards HIS home. I sat in the car beginning to have cold sweat. Felt like my whole body has just froze. Hubby held my hands, and walked me to the compound. He told me to take my time. Even if I can't enter the Darbar today, it's okay. FYI, the Darbar Sahib refers to the main hall within a Sikh gurdwara. This hall is where the holy text, current and perpetual Guru of the Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a takhat or throne in a prominent central position in the hall.

See, I hate doing something just to show. I believe no matter how much a person portrays any kind of fakeness, you can't hide your deepest feelings from HIM. HE knows it all. So yes, I don't pray just because I want people to see I am praying. If I am going to do it, then I do it with my body, mind & soul focused on it. Otherwise, what's the point?  I won't put on mp3 hymns if I don't sincerely want it to be playing. Just like these many months, not even 1 minute of it was ever played. Yes, everyone was surprised - from what to what I became. But it's true, no matter how much you try to run from HIM, you know that it is only HE who will give you what you truly need.

I ran, ran far away. I was bitter. I had hatred. But at the end of the day, here I am. Getting back on track. Thanks to my grandparents who taught me this path.

"Small steps. Take small steps. You will do just fine." - Hubby's words to me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Grey

Movie Review: THE GREY
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, a pack of vicious wolves and bunch of unknown cast members
Running time: 117 minutes

Before I begin, have an open mind about this movie. Don’t underestimate the powerful meaning of the story. The movie centres around John Ottway (Liam Neeson) who earns a living by killing wolves that threaten to attack an oil drilling team in Alaska. Ottway writes a letter to his wife, telling her that he plans to commit suicide. He attempts just that, but as he hears a wolf howling from afar, he pulls the trigger of his rifle – and it doesn’t go off (for some strange poetic reason).

As Ottway and the team of oil drillers head home on a plane, it hits a blizzard and crashes on a snow covered mountain side. Many die from the crash, but Ottway and a few others survive. Not long after, a couple of the survivors get attacked and mauled by gray wolves. Ottway being the most experienced with wolves, rallies the others to stick together and survive this ordeal. The next morning, they wake up and find another one of the survivors killed by a gray wolf. Realizing how vulnerable they have been, Ottway leads the group to hike away from the crash site and into the forest.

Along the way, one by one survivor gets attacked and killed by these demonic-like wolves. The plot has its fair share of thrills and suspense. The main philosophy that is endearing to me is the basic tale of survival. How it is when it seems like everything is against you – even God has turned his back on you; and yet your own WILL is your only solace.

This is exactly what the movie is about, how Ottway thru his journey leading the group of survivors – would experience a soul-searching endevour to LIVE. A few flashbacks of his wife appear throughout his ordeal and that leads him to the climax of the movie. He is the only survivor left, and low and behold – he finds himself right in the middle of the wolves’ den. The alpha male, walks up slowly to him like as if it’s been waiting all along for Ottway. With one last bout of courage and will to survive, Ottway embraces himself by arming shards of broken glass around his fists and takes on the wolf head on, before the screen goes black.

Wait a little longer after the credits, and there will be a scene of both Ottway and the wolf lying on the ground – quizzing you on whether he made it or not.

Acting / Performance: 6.5
Plot / Story: 7.5
Music / Score: 6
In a single number: 7

 Movie Review by Just Me, The Mr

Friday, August 17, 2012

In Time

Movie Review: IN TIME
Directed by: Andrew Niccol
Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy
Running time (no pun intended): 109 minutes
As soon as you start watching the first 10 minutes of the movie, you’ll be drawn in by its premise and uniquely construed plot. I know this did the trick for me. Imagine a world which literally revolves around time (not money, mind you). IN TIME is a story where everyone stops aging by the time their 25, and ones mortality depends on how much time one has. A digital clock countdowns on your hand, giving you a constant reminder of how much time you have left. The poor and less fortunate literally live a day at a time, scraping thru the barrels so to speak; and laboring at factories to earn time (not money) while the rich folk have boundless of time and live in an upper echelon society divided by time zones (note, Greenwich).

Justin Timberlake plays Will Salas, just an average guy who like others in the ghetto live a day at a time. Fueled by the tragic way he lost his mother and the conviction to upset the balance of TIME between the needy and the wealthy – Salas sets on a mission to disrupt this ‘system’. Along the way he meets Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), the daughter of an exceedingly wealthy man who’s in the business of loaning (see controlling) time; and forges a bond with her. Together they appear to make a nuisance of themselves in the eyes of those who wish to maintain control over time. Will and Sylvia are like Bonnie & Clyde, stealing time from the banks (and her own father) and giving it for free to those who need it, those from the ghetto. Oh and in all this mix, there’s a timekeeper – Raymond Leon (played by Cilian Murphy) who’s dedicated to restore order for the right reasons.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. I thought Justin Timberlake acted really well, while Amanda Seyfried complemented him. The pair made a cute couple who had their share of moments i.e. on-screen chemistry. Nice background theme (from Craig Armstrong). The storyline and plot kept you wanting to know what happens next and how will it all turn out in the end. It’s thought-provoking to imagine a life which didn’t revolve around money (which in many ways, is the case in reality), but instead controlled by a much more precious commodity – TIME.
Acting / Performance: 7
Plot / Story: 7
Music / Score: 6
In a single number: 7

Movie Review by Just Me, The Mr

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Grandparents, My Parents

Confused with the title? Yes, my grandparents are my parents. Since I was a baby, I was sent to my grandparents to be taken care of. I grew up in their arms, their comfort, their love, their care, their protection, their teachings - everything is to do with them.

Last Friday night, I had the worst nightmare being awake. Before I continue, if you are wondering how come then on Saturday I had a post on the Pork Tenderloin - it's because I write quite a lot, and it's all scheduled to be automatically published.

At approximately 4.30pm, I got a call from my cousin sister in law, D. She asked me if I knew that grandma had a fall and is being rushed to Temerloh Hospital as we speak. My reaction "WHAT?!". Immediately told her I will call her back. Called my Mom, my granddad, their house phone as well in Pahang - all no answer. I called my uncle (their son), and he didn't know anything about it. I called D again, asked how she knew, she said her husband had text her. I tried again calling the numbers over and over again, still nothing. Finally after a few calls, my mom picked up. I asked her do you know that grandma had a fall. She said yes, that A from our hometown just called. She was so calm about it. I said, Mom, we are going. Then she was like..you want to go all the way? Then I realized, she must have mistaken grandma with A's mom. We call her the same. I asked my mom, who do you think had a fall, your mother, or A's mother? She replied A's mother. I said no, it's our mother. She said I call you back, let me call A. Hardly 10 minutes later she calls me back, crying away. Can't even speak to me. In that instant, I knew it. I just told her, we are going. Decide if you want to come with us.

In the mean time I was already informing hubby. I didn't know he had left his office immediately when I confirmed it's our grandma. I left office. Trying to refrain from bursting out crying. I waited till I got to my car and that's it. I couldn't stop. Then I decided I had to call my boss and tell her. Because I have no idea how long will I be away. I could hardly speak to her. But I managed to convey the message.

I got home, trembling still, managed to have a quick shower, threw some change in a bag, and waited for hubby to reach. I couldn't do anything. Just sat. In between calls kept coming in. Hubby arrived moments later, and said, let's go. I said hold on, my mom and uncle were deciding to go or not. Hubby said, we are not going to wait (which was of course what I had in mind too). So we both left. Headed to Raub. The jam was horrible. Since it was after office hours and during the fasting month, the jam is just bad. It took us easily an hour and a half to two hours just to hit the highway. We reached Raub and kept in touch with my granddad. They were suppose to leave Temerloh Hsp soon. So we went and met A and family. To thank them for being there when all this happened as no one was with my grandparents. They were left alone as their elder son and DIL had gone for a holiday. Which they always seem to be doing and letting grandparents fend for themselves. I despise them for this and for treating them like they are a burden. After about 30 minutes, we get the updated information that only grandfather is coming back, and grandma has to be admitted there. Grandfather is old and is definitely not able to cope roughing it out in the hospital. Immediately without hesitating, we went back to A and family, told them to please look after granddad and make him stay over at their place. Not to allow him to be alone after what has happened. He was very emotional. 

We rushed and well, kind of sped to Temerloh Hsp. We got permission from the guard to visit my grandma, and thereafter I got a pass for myself to stay over. Oh my God, when I saw her, I was devastated. This is by far the worst fall she has ever had. Thanks to hubby who in the lift told me, to not cry in front of her and not let her break down either. If it wasn't for my hubby by my side, I don't think so I will be strong enough to face all this. 

Grandma was shocked to see us there. She kept crying. She couldn't breathe through her nose at all. Her whole right side face was swelled up. Her eye couldn't open. Her eye lids all swelled up as well. Blue black marks on her whole right face. Describing it makes me wanna cry. She's so fragile and has shrunk a lot lately and to know that this has happened to her - I couldn't swallow it. But I had to. Because I am the closest to them. Because I am their everything. Because I am not their granddaughter, I am their daughter. Closer than their daughter in fact. But when she closed eyes to rest, I cried my heart out. 

I kept giving updates to my mom, my brother who is overseas, and my uncle (their younger son who is a Dr).

I didn't sleep even a bit as I was so worried about her. Since she couldn't breath at all through her nose, her mouth kept getting dry, and she wakes up jolting suddenly - perhaps because of the whole event. She was very shaken up. 

There was so much going on - non stop with doctors and nurses talking to me about all sorts of things.  Long story short, we brought her back to Raub on Saturday night. And on Sunday, we brought her to KL. My uncle being in the medical line and ex director of a gov hsp, made appointments with the specialists in Putrajaya Hsp on that Monday itself - for eyes & ENT. Hoping that the next follow up will show some improvement.

They have been staying with us since Sunday evening. Usually they stay with my mom, but my parents had planned for a trip to visit my brother and family a while ago. It just so happened that this incident took place a week before their trip. But although there's lots to do, and to also keep coming to office, I am very grateful that I got this chance to take care of them. Yes, I rush to office, rush back lunch time, and back again to office. But it's fulfilling. I do not feel tired at all. Not one bit. Maybe I will burn out later, I don't know. I am also thankful to my boss, who understands my situation and my bond with them. Who has told me to take leave when I deem necessary. So I have opted to take half days, not everyday, but perhaps every other day. 

Yes, I will forgo everything if I have to for them. I will leave my job if need be to take care of them. I will do anything for them. 

I am thankful my husband understands this bond. They are truly my parents. Two people who planted great seeds in me. All good that I have in me is thanks to them. They helped me paint my blank canvas with colors of love. They have helped me and hubby in a lot of ways - without hesitating. They do things for me that even some parents don't do for their children. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pork tenderloin

Although we can eat pork, I don't enjoy it and hardly eat it. I do cook at home (which is quite rare to have me making a pork dish on its own), but it's more for hubby. I am very happy to just have my chapati and dhal! :)

Anyway, I was suppose to make pan fried chicken for my Day 3 dinner, but I didn't realize I thawed pork tenderloin instead! What a bummer! Since it was already thawed, no way that was going back into the freezer or even fridge for that matter. What do I do? I made this:

And surprisingly, even I enjoyed a few bites of it. Here's the recipe:

1 cut of tenderloin
1 1/2 cup of Minute Maid's Citrus flavored juice
1 cup of water
4 to 5 table spoons of black pepper sauce
1 cup of frozen green peas (optional)

Put all the ingredients with the tenderloin in a non stick pan. Let it slow cook over the lowest heat for about an hour and a half or two. In between, all you have to do is turn the tenderloin. Once it's done, just add green peas if you want. I added because I had to have some greens. Yes, I'm weird.

I had some of the pork cut into small pieces. So I just mixed all in.

The best part is, I just left it and did some chores, my workout on the treadmill, took a shower, and by the time I came back to the kitchen, dinner was ready :)  All I had to do was slice them, serve on a plate, with some of the juice.

Oh, and of course, no oil, no hassle!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest blogger

Someone approached me to start being a guest blogger. I was taken by surprise, a pleasant one of course.

Source: Google Images

Anyway let me introduce, Just Me, The Mr! Hahaha 

Yeah, my hubby has decided to do weekly movie reviews for me. Let's face it, my movie reviews are not that great. So he has decided to do it as a guest blogger for me. Let's hope I do not have to chase him every week for it!   :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A healthy dip

Are you looking for a healthy dip? To dip your steamed vegetables and fruits in? Hey, if you are looking to have a dip for nachos and chips, then might as well don't bother! Just go for all the other dips available. 

We had steamed broccoli with yoghurt as the dipping for dinner one day. (Yes, this was one of the 5 days). I just couldn't have plain yoghurt. I had enough of eating hardly anything! So I decided to make a dip like this:

I used pestle and mortar to crush 6 pcs of almonds, 1/2 teaspoon of  black peppercorns,  1 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds. Add all this to the home made yoghurt. Add in salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and tadaaa! 

I forgot to take a photo of it, but it tasted really good. Of course I had to add more black pepper to it. The oommph wasn't there! :)


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hubby's way of losing weight

I finally decided to try hubby's way of losing weight. I wouldn't say I'm "obese". But when I calculated my BMI last week, I was in the 'overweight' category. No wonder the specialist asked me "Do you think you've lost enough weight?". Hah!

I have always been keeping track of my weight and BMI, but months ago, all was okay and in check.

So hubby was of course delighted. He made me a 5 day plan. Let me tell you, it ain't easy! How can I not have my version of proper lunch with vegetables, tofu, a little bit of rice, and maybe an egg to go along? Replacing all that with an apple or two? And don't get me started on dinner! When the first time on Sunday night I saw the plan, I looked at him and said "Are you kidding me!?".  @#$%   

Well, Day 1 was not too bad. I was hungry though. Like really starvingly hungry! Hahah Ok ok, that's over exaggerating.... BUT I was starvingly hungry ok!  :p

I kept telling him I am hungry, and he was going to say something, when I said "just listen". And so he did. He has been hearing me ramble about hunger since Day 1. Today is Day 3. Of course with this diet plan, daily treadmill session is included. Minimum is to burn 100 calories, but yesterday I went up to 200 calories. I was in the mood I guess! 

I will blog about the menu plan and my experience to this drastic change once I am done with my 5 days.

If this really works, then who needs slimming pills, going to slimming centres, HCG diet, carb blocker pills, liposuction etc etc etc etc?? 

Source for all images: Google Images
Well, of course hubby himself is a living walking example - cuz he did lose a lot of weight by just exercising and eating super healthy and cutting calories. But still, I need to try it on my own. What works for him may not work for me, right? (Yeah, right! - that's me being me! Of course it'll work! It's whether I have the determination and commitment or not. There, I've said it out!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The decision

The decision is to go ahead. But we're not jumping in immediately. Give it a couple of months, and then we will begin this journey, together, holding hands.

In all these turmoil, we lost ourselves.

We have to find us again. Otherwise, it's not worth to embark upon this journey.

We have to be strong.

The tunnel may lead us to a dead end. We have to be prepared to accept it.

But the tunnel may also lead us to having one of the best experiences of our lives.
Nothing will prepare us for it, but it's a journey we are waiting for.

For now, we have to take the first step - regain our faith in the Almighty.

The first step is always the hardest. But we are certain, it's not impossible.

"Everyone is subject to His Command; no one is beyond His Command." - Japji Sahib

Suddenly I remembered this movie: 

 Eating and enjoying life ("Eat"). Finding spirituality ("Pray"). 
And "Love" balances the two.



If you are still keen in reading my writings, ramblings and rants, do check out www.venomjoy.blogspot.com