Thursday, January 27, 2011

Don't Take Her Word For It!

Our youngest son posted this on his Facebook and got all his friends giggling. I thought I'd share it with you, with the hope that the less experienced amongst us will learn something before it's too late.

Thanks to the producers and players of this video.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Superstitious Are You?

If at the end of your Chinese dinner your fortune cookie tells you that you are going to go through a patch of bad luck, and would be stripped of all your wealth, do you rush back to check that there's no one snooping around your house to rob you blind?

If a black cat crosses your path, do you worry for days on end for what catastrophe might befall you?

If a Feng Shui master tells you that in order to attract wealth and happiness the main door of your house should face East, rather than South, the direction it currently is facing, do you quickly get a contractor to shift your thick oak door to face East?  (Mind you this is not a permanent solution as later in the year, or a couple of years down the road, the same or another master would tell you that your front door should in fact face North!).

If in the West the number 13 is considered unlucky, number 4 or 44 is a no-no in this part of the world. So we have houses and apartments numbering 41, 42, 43, then suddenly 43A, or 45, with number 44 nowhere to be seen.

There have been reported cases where a husband or wife left the family and home because some fortune teller told them it was not safe to stay home.

And some will not make any business or other decisions without consulting their fortune tellers first. These poor souls (who are both naive and gullible) will be very bold with their ventures if told that lots of $$$$$$$$ are coming.

It is no exaggeration to say that some people actually treat their Feng Shui masters or fortune tellers like god.

So how superstitious are you?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Fruit

And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells
in hills, on trees, and in (man's) habitations

- Surah Al Nahl, verse 68

We have seen how, by the grace of God, the birds and the bees, while helping themselves to the sweet pollen and honey, help to turn flowers into fruits:

 And indeed, with the passage of time and with glorious sunshine, and by the grace of God, into fruits do they turn:

There's something to be learned from A Tree and Its Fruit:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, 
but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 
By their fruit you will recognize them....
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

-Matthew 7:15-19

**This post is inspired by Faith of  Lemonade Adventures, and Brother Paul Washer.

Thank you, Faith. If you are reading this here's something for you:

Do Not Worry:
Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; 
or about your body, what you will wear....
Like the birds in the air your heavenly Father feeds them, 
and you are much more valuable than them.... not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

- Matthew 7:25-34

You've prayed for me to keep my faith. I know well you'll keep yours. God bless.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Picking Up The Pieces

You don't understand it
neither can I
behind the door, the sofa, you peeped
shadows play tricks on your weary eye
for you swore she was there
where did she go?
your heart sank, you don't know

The sounds of silence as night falls
looking around the four walls
there's a portrait by the bed
only the portrait
and memories of yesteryear
of days gone by
no smile
no laughter
no rush
no chatter
no hugs 
no kisses
you wonder if she misses
the smiles and the laughter
the hugs and the kisses
or even realises
your pain and the emptiness
as you pick up the pieces

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sapodilla's Turn

Let's move on to another exotic tropical fruit grown in abundance at The Farm.

Introducing the Sapodilla or its Latin name Manilkara zapota. 

Originating from Central America where it is known as zapote, Sapodilla comes in many names: locally it is known as Ciku or Sawo nilo. Spanish explorers who introduced this fruit to the Philippines called them chiko.

The English call it "tree potato", or "nasberry plum".

In some countries Sapodilla is cultivated for their gum or latex (e.g for making chewing gum in Mexico, Guatamala, Salvador and Northern Honduras).

The fruit is sweet tasting - often described as a mixture of brown sugar and root beer. It is loaded with vitamins too. Go here for a complete write-up on its nutrient value.

Over at The Farm I keep a close watch as it develops from flower to fruit:

Unlike the Durian which can grow to more than a hundred feet tall, Sapodilla's average height is only 10 feet, even lower with constant pruning.

Since there are so many ripe fruits I often share them with the birds:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Romancing the Durian

Do you still remember the great fun we had trying to guess what these tiny green berries were? 

And then more clues were given to help you figure out?

Finally the amazing secrets were revealed to much awe and gasps!

But before people went crazy over the fruit, a warning and caution were issued.

We were then introduced to the Queen of fruits, in case things got too hot.

Now let's revisit this subject and look at the progress in the development of The King of Fruits. (Due to the frequent interruptions of normal posting, the following is not in real time but about a month behind).

This is a good time to enter a durian orchard (apart from when the fruits actually drop, of course).

As you take a walk around the orchard your senses are awaken by the sweet aroma permeating the air. It is not unlike you walking in a botanical garden of blooming lavender or roses. 

The scent of the durian flowers is really nice - sweet and refreshing -   not like the smell of its fruit at all.

The 'berries' had burst open

Exposing the stamen (anthers and filaments)

After pollination the petals and other parts
drop to the ground

Where proper pollination had taken place young fruits are formed;
Minute spikes which later become thorns are visible

For a full description of flower parts and the pollination process go here. If you have children or grandchildren studying fifth grade biology, of if you yourself would like to recall what you learned (or missed) in your biology class, it's worth a visit.

Will keep you posted as the King of Fruits develop further.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Into The Twilight Zone

With your help, my post-traumatic stress didn't last very long.

I had contemplated modern day cures for trauma (alcohol, drugs) to numb the pain. Na'uzubillah! God forbid!
(I did consider anti-depressants - Zoloft, Prozac - or even Valium to put me to sleep, but I was afraid that the after-effect would only worsen my situation).

I instead opted for prayers. May He show me that there is a reason in all this. It reminds me the obedience of prophet Ibrahim in willingly accepting the command of Allah to sacrifice his son Ismail. It was all a test of course, as a little lamb took the place of his son at the final moment - a sacrifice marked to this day by the Muslims in Qurban.

I have never been nearer to Him than now.

Thankfully post-traumatic stress, even though an acute affliction, are fading away fast, as I begin to accept the reality of it all. It is the pleasures of the past that I'm having problem with now. Those moments that I will treasure forever. Photos and other items that remind me of them are all over the house.

Thankfully too I have the love and support of my children and daughters-in-law. They are just God-send.

I have also decided to devote more of my time to looking after my grandchildren.

Little Zaqwan was playing with his toys

when I decided to take him away for a while into the unknown, may be meet my Alien friends

Away we go!

We'll be back. Hopefully soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Best Wishes for the New Year, Sorry for the Sob Story

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your comforting words and thoughts, and your prayers.

As I struggle to come to terms with the situation I unexpectedly found myself in, I kicked myself repeatedly for not seeing it coming.

Beware - things may not be what they seem at all. Never in my wildest dreams I imagine myself going through what I'm going through now.

I had absolutely no intention of ending the year with that kind of post. It is not fair to you my readers to be burdened with what is a very personal matter.

While I was hesitant to share the exact nature of the tragedy, I couldn't help but put my feelings down as I have done on many occasions in this blog. I have been sharing both happy and sad moments with you.

Some of you had called it brave and generous.

Until now I'm not sure if it was not a stupid thing to do. I risked turning away my faithful followers and readers.

It was to be my last post. I just hope that some good came out of it.

What happen to me now is of little consequence. If you guys had learned something from this episode in my life, then my pain and suffering had not been in vain.

It just so happen that this is the dawn of a new year. My very best wishes to all for a delightful and peaceful journey ahead. What a way to start mine. If there's a silver lining, (or hikmah, as we call it) I haven't seen it yet.

Remember, don't take things for granted - show your appreciation to your spouse, your children, your parents, and all your loved ones before it is too late.