Last week, I was chatting with a colleague when she mentioned that she was going to be tied up on Sunday. I teased her about it, what could make her so busy on a Sunday?
It’s Father’s Day, she said. Don’t you need to celebrate too?
As a matter of fact, I don’t.
It’s been 23 years since I lost my father to a stroke. Most of the time, I don’t feel anything, we had lost him when I was little. Many Father’s Day(s) have come and gone without my noticing. But strangely enough, I felt it acutely this year.
My Mom tried her best to be both a father and a mother to us, she was literally my whole world when I was growing up. But looking back now, I think my life definitely lacked shape and colour without my father, and I hold what precious little memories I have of him to heart.
Like those times when I would lie on top on him like he was my armchair as we watch TV, him slumped on the sofa with his legs propped up on the coffee table. Or when he dried my hair after a shower and rubbed it so hard that I yelled out in pain and thought, Eh, he’s no Mommy. Or when he made fried rice for lunch and I politely took a few bites because it didn’t taste as good as Mommy’s food.
After all these years, I have come to realise that while Mom makes your world go round, it’s Papa who lights it up. You go to Mommy for everyday needs – when you are hungry, when you cut your finger while attempting to aslice up a watermelon, when you are sick and about to throw up, when you fall down and your knee is in shreds.
But Papa, oh, how magical are the moments you spend with him. Only Papa can make you feel special when he picks you up from school. When you see him and his little car parked in a parking lot across the road from your school, you’re so happy that you yell Hey Papa! You run to the little car and sit in the passenger seat, like a princess. And then he zips from one end of the carpark to the other…and you’ve reached home.
Nevermind that the ride was all of 30 seconds. It’s cool because Papa picked you up from school!
I’ve never thought much about missing my Papa. But suddenly, I do. Miss him, I mean. I’ve never been a Daddy’s girl and I never will be, and he wasn’t around to walk me down the aisle. I had to grow up a lot faster than my peers and be a lot more independent. It’s made me who I am today but truthfully, it sucked a whole lot when I was younger.
To all fathers, fathers-to-be and those hoping to be a father one day, I hope you had a great day on Sunday.
I’m not really a DIY person but this, I am very proud of.
I’ve been wanting to put up something on our vast and empty bedroom wall for a while now but those wooden letters that I see on Etsy are just too expensive for my liking. I love vintage wood, it’s hand carved, blah blah blah, but US$60 for a pop? Really? Nah.
Clever pants here decided to MAKE. HER. OWN. I popped down to Spotlight thinking I would pick up some wooden alphabets and form my own words but what do I see but words crafted out of papier mache? Laugh. Live. Dream. Angel. Mmm. I like. And each costs less than $6.
A can of spray paint was on sale at $4 so that went into the basket too. Of course, me being not at all artsy meant that I didn’t know if the paint suited papier mache. But it was cheap! That stingy attitude would come back and bite me in the ass but I’ll leave that for later.
And the result…
I thought spray painting would be easy peasy but boy, WAS I WRONG. The paint wouldn’t stay on the papier mache and all I had to show for at the end of a fume-ing experience was an uneven dream.
Oh well. I am lazy and look, nobody is ever going to look at this up close and personal except me and husband and he does not give a shit. Hmm, in fact, I don’t even know if he notices this at all. Anyhow, I decided that it was rustic and authentic to have it just sort of painted and didn’t bother touching up the paint.
I had lots of fun with the sign before putting it up so expect more dreamy pictures to appear soon.
Today, I’m going to tell you something about Life. It is a wonderful and yet disheartening thing, this Life, and there will be many lessons to learn along the way.
One thing you will most definitely realise is that life is not always smooth. There will be times when you are frustrated and things don’t seem to go your way. That’s Life for you, my lovely. It’s okay to cry, to complain about how unfair it all seems, to not want to get out of bed because you just cannot bear to face the world. It’s okay to do all that as long as you eventually brush the dirt from your knees and stand proud and tall once again.
Right now, I am feeling dejected and despondent because I don’t have you. It’s not fair that I can’t have a child while the whole world seems to be pregnant. It’s not fair that we need medical intervention when everyone seems to be able to conceive with ease.
But I can’t dwell on all this, the negativity will eat me up from inside. I can only smile, say a prayer to the big guy up there and hope for the best. I can only continue living my life, enjoying as much of the time your Dad and I have together as possible.
It’s not all gloom and doom, of course. We share many moments of pure, unadulterated joy and lots of laughter. We are a funny duo, your Dad and I. I hope we will be the sort of couple that you secretly admire and aspire to be part of.
So remember, Life will throw you a stinker once in a while. Get mad, get sad, but never lose sight of the bigger picture. Appreciate the rainbow and roses, and don’t get sucked into the pessimism. I wish someone had said all that to me before and I only hope that these words will provide you with some guiding light when you are feeling lost and lonely.
Back then, whenever I felt down, I would skip classes and do something that would make me happy.
See a movie. Have ice-cream. Window-shop. Bury myself in a book. Snuggle under the covers.
Now, when I feel tired and weary, I have to put on my work hat and head to the office.
I say good morning, smile at the people I bump into in the lift, sit at my desk and turn on the computer.
There are good days and there are bad.
There are days when I feel positive and inspired.
And then there are days when I feel drab and lifeless.
I want to paint my life, colour it with hope and dreams and love and laughter.
But I know that this is life and it’s not always rosy and sweet.
There are times when I have to work a little harder to get to where I want to be.
And sometimes, I don’t even know if I will ever get there.
I tell myself to have faith and to live life gracefully in the meantime.
I may almost be 30 but I don’t have to benchmark my life against that age.
It’s okay if I still don’t get what I want to do by then.
It’s okay if my life is not all white houses and picket fences by then.
It’s okay if I don’t earn $X by then.
It’s okay if I don’t have a Chanel bag by then.
It’s okay if I am not my own boss by then.
It’s okay – I have a whole lifetime to figure it out.
(By the way, did I tell you that I had bought the hard cover book for all of US$19? Score! It costs about S$70 in Pantry Magic.)
We had quite a lot of eggs sitting aimlessly in the fridge so an egg dish it was. And since I hadn’t put those new, cute heart-shaped Le Creuset ramekins I had gotten on sale to use, baked eggs it shall be. So one very fine Sunday morning – more like noon, really – I flopped out of bed, rather excitedly (and I NEVER get out of bed feeling excited), and plonked myself in the kitchen.
Of course, Miss Klutz here had to nearly ruin the meal by emptying the contents of a very hot, eggy ramekin onto the countertop. I was really pissed off with myself. In the past month, I had a) spilt Yakult all over myself and the sofa (it’s disgustingly sticky), b) dropped a can of hot, wet cat food all over the kitchen floor (looks like the can barfed) and c) smashed my plastic water bottle into smithereens in my kitchen.
Back to the eggs. Anyway, I had to redo the eggs quickly so that poor Mr Thick, who was as patient as he was hungry, wouldn’t starve to death.
Ignore my dirty stove. I used to clean it EVERY SINGLE WEEK and these days, I just cannot be bothered.
Ouefs en Cocotte
What you need (per serving):
1/2 tsp butter
1 or 2 eggs (I used 1 egg + 1 white)
2 tbsp whipping cream
Butter the ramekin, saving a dot for later. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of cream and set the ramekin in the simmering water over moderate heat. When the cream is hot, break into it one or two eggs. Pour the remaining spoonful of cream over the egg and top with a dot of butter.
Place in the middle level of the hot oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. The eggs are done when they are just set but still tremble slightly in the ramekins. They will set a little more when the ramekins are removed, so they should not be overcooked.*
Salt and pepper
Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
(*) The ramekins may remain in the pan of hot water, out of the oven, for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. To prevent overcooking, remove eggs from oven when slightly underdone.
I finally had the chance to use the tea set that I had bought from the thrift shop. Invited a couple of friends over (or rather, they invited themselves!) and I baked two cakes to feed them.
The recipes were from Afternoon Tea by frankie magazine – which is one of the most gorgeous and beautifully styled cookbooks I have ever seen. When I was having tea with Dotz at k.ki, I had asked the owners of the little drom store to give me a call if ever they bring in the cook book. Imagine my surprise when they rang me up a month later to say that they had a couple of copies, would I like one? Zipped down to the store a week later and realised that they had reserved a copy for me. OVER THE MOON I WENT!
The first cake my elves and I made was the Macadamia Beer Cake. It was an instant choice, my eyes wouldn’t budge from the word “beer”. We had a little mishap with this one – the recipe had called for one cup of beer (I used Chang beer) but Elf #2 had merrily emptied the entire can into the mixer by the time we remembered to read the recipe. I added more flour to even out the consistency and it turned out alright. Unfortunately, I had used a wider cake tin than was necessary so the cake came out of the tin a little stunted in the height area. Oh well, food is food, we devoured that cake pretty quick, accompanied by a pot of earl gray tea.
By the time I started work on my second cake, the Lemon Hazelnut Syrup Loaf, both elves had abandoned me and moved off into the cooler living room. Tsk!
I know, you are thinking, Hmm, this does not look like a loaf. In fact, this does not look like anything good. Frankly, I was thinking the same. Well. I kind of didn’t grease my loaf pan before chucking the batter into it and this was the result: cake that clung on stubbornly to the pan. Bah. I had to scrape everything out.
BUT. It was fabulous! The loaf – or cake, really – was so light and fluffy, it was amazing. And I am not tooting my own horn.
Anyhow, if I ever start my own cafe, I should really call it Ugly Food.
Another gem from Bill Granger’s Sydney Food cookbook. I made this seafood stew for dinner one day and had enough for lunch during the week – which was fabulous! I must be PSYCHIC – I seem to have leftovers sitting in the fridge whenever I am stricken with some idiot bug.
Unlike other stews, this one does not have a robust taste and is, instead, very light on the palate. It’s tomato-based which makes me very happy because we all know how tomatoes and I have this crazy love affair going on. ❤ TOMATOES. Nom nom nom.
Mr Thick gave this dish a thumbs up and it does not even have any chicken, beef or pork, species that he considers meat. Which means that he must have been really impressed.
I had adapted this recipe because the husband does not eat any mussels or clams. Can somebody tell him what he is missing out on? He also does not eat any raw fish. NO SASHIMI. Oh, the tragedy.
Seafood Stew Adapted from Bill Granger’s Sydney Food
What you need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red chili, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
15 prawns, peeled and deveined
12 scallops, cleaned and deveined
1 pack of mixed seafood (I got it from Cold Storage)
Heat oil in a wok over medium heat. Add onion and fry for 5 minutes or until translucent
Add garlic and chili and fry for another minute
Add the parsley and stir for 20 seconds, and then add the wine before bringing to a boil
Add canned and fresh tomatoes, and zest. Reduce to low heat and cook for 25 minutes under a lid
Add prawns, scallops and mixed seafood and cook until prawns and scallops are opaque
Spoon stew into bowls and sprinkle with some parsley.
Mr Thick went off to run the Sundown Marathon and I stayed home to chill.
I know, how boring is that, it’s Saturday and everyone’s gone to paint the town red.
But I love being at home because it’s our home.
I picked it out from 659 other units, selected every piece of furniture and decided on the colours.
It may have the same finishings as the other 659 units but we made it ours.
I sat on the floor and went through all the pictures in my camera, and read all the unread entries in my RSS feed.
I had a mug of chocolate milk and our iPad for sustenance.
And it was a lovely evening of “me” time.
We’ve been us for almost two years now and it’s nice to be simply me, for once.
Not somebody’s wife, daughter-in-law, daughter, employee, sister.
I don’t need to think about how others feel, I can play whatever music I want to play.
And I can recharge away from the hustle and bustle of life.