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Archive for October, 2012

These cakes were made over the weekend because we bought a carton of eggs to make baked doughnuts [needs improvement and therefore no pictures] and then had to find another three more things to do with the eggs to finish up the carton to prevent wastage. So at the end of the weekend, we had pancakes for breakfast on Friday morning, a dozen of these cupcakes, 5 servings of egg and mushroom soup, and a container-full of crab mayo. The latter two I have been eating for lunch for the better part of this week.

And in spite of my best efforts, I *still* have two more eggs to rid this weekend. Sigh.

I was really pleased with how these turned out though. They are moist and almost creamy, with a really strong whiff of espresso coffee. Peanut and Lion both helped in sifting the flour and beating the batter. The kids are at a stage where they want to participate in most of my baking endeavours, much to my delight. Even better is that they also gamely participate in the eating of the products. Heh.

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While walking behind some really slow people in Court today trying to get from one mention to another, I finally understood how frustrated The Other Half felt when we couldn’t engage the car’s turbo sometime back.

I really wanted to overtake those guys but I couldn’t find the extra power to pull ahead because of my half-healed toes.

I tried to swim laps two Saturdays ago but my arms got too tired because I couldn’t kick properly.

Sometimes I forget and try to run only to gingerly hop twice and carry on hobbling. Yesterday I almost signed up for a Yoga class forgetting that I still can’t flex my foot.

I really need to get better soon. I have too much nervous energy with no outlet or capacity to store.

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The usual stages I go through every night:

Stage 1 – I put Peanut to sleep on her mattress to the right side of the bed and Seph to sleep on his mattress at the foot of the bed in our bedroom.

Stage 2 – I come back to find Peanut asleep on my side of the bed. Seph is still on his mattress.

Stage 3 – I go to sleep on Peanut’s mattress while The Other Half goes to sleep on his side of the bed next to Peanut.

Stage 4 – Lion wakes up and looks for Mummy. He plods over with his pillow in tow and curls up near the foot of Peanut’s mattress.

Stage 5 – Peanut rolls off the bed onto her mattress and snuggles to my left side.

Stage 6 – I wake up and both or either of the munchkins end up under the bed. I get up and the munchkin who is not under the bed rolls over and takes over my pillow.

And this is why I have given up on a complete night of real sleep since becoming a mother.

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My father played a pivotal part in catching a cobra near the playground the kids hang out in the mornings last week.

Apparently, the cobra had been there for a few months but the Town Council people did not manage to capture it in spite of numerous complaints.

My father first spotted it some weeks ago and mentioned it to us at dinner. From then on, every time he took the kids to the playground, he would walk around the perimeters to patrol the shrubs for the cobra.

When he spotted it last week [pointed out by another person out walking that morning], he asked my mother to find him a big stick [or something…I’m not very good at transcribing stories told to me in bits and pieces in a smattering of Mandarin and Hainanese], which my mother pulled out from some garbage bin nearby. He then proceeded to fashion it into a Y-shaped rod to stab and trap the cobra’s neck [as I was saying, smattering of Mandarin and Hainanese].

At that point, the usual inhabitants of the playground [who was on that day a teacher-mother with her 2-year-old] got excited. The teacher-mother left her kid with my mother who had Lion and my sister’s daughter XL with her and went off to trail my father because she wanted to take pictures of the snake catching with her mobile phone.

So my father took a stab at the snake and caught its neck between the spokes of the rod. However, as the spokes were a little too wide, it yanked its neck and got free and slithered off. It then stayed underneath a shrub to hiss at my father.

According to my father, that means that all the chances of my father ever capturing the snake have gone down the drain because the snake has now made an enemy of my father [in Mandarin and Hainanese, I repeat]. So my father’s next plan was to destroy it.

[Incidentally, my husband the reservist medic confirms that if you can’t catch a snake, you have to kill it. No idea why. My mother thinks that’s because it will come back and kill you. If you think I am weird you should meet my parents.]

So anyway, my father spied the guy who guards the toilet at the market cycling past. Now this guy has a crazy amount of tattoos all over his body and every time the market has any kind of religious God’s birthday type events, he will participate in all of the temple festivities. He looks like a tough guy who’s seen it all. So my father thought he would be a great candidate to recruit for the snake killing exercise. My father stopped him and asked him whether he would be able to smack the snake to death if my father got it to come out of the bush. The man stared at my father in shock but got off his bicycle to come take a look-see anyway. When my father teased with his Y-rod, the snake reared its ugly head and hissed. Man with tattoos jumped [about three feet, says my mother] backwards and fled.

At this point, quite a crowd had gathered. Someone called the town council people, two of whom showed up with two very reluctant Bangladeshi workers in tow. My father teased the snake again and it reared and hissed again and according to my mother, every one of the people watching took a step back involuntarily. In fact, the town council man then told my father that this is way too dangerous and that my father should run away from the snake. The two very reluctant Bangladeshi workers then decided that catching snakes was not part of their job descriptions and declined to attempt. So eventually, they ended up guarding the snake while some other professionals were called in to deal with the problem. At that point, my parents took the kiddies home to nap.

Two days later, my father ran into the town council man at the market. The town council man went up to shake his hand and thanked him profusely for assisting in the snake capture. My father very modestly gave the non-answer of oh, it was very dangerous for the kids at the playground . But from the way he was telling the tale to me, he was immensely pleased.

While he was telling me the tale with frequent interjections and supplementations from my mother, Peanut stood next to me, eyes goggled, listening closely and even asking for clarifications. She was in school at that time and did not witness the event. It later turned out that she actually went to school and told her teachers about the incident, from what she gathered from my father.

How proud of 公公 the 抓蛇英雄 we all are!

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empty victory

We won an appeal today. Or rather two appeals since they were cross appeals which were heard together some three months ago.

“Sorry to have kept you all waiting,” said the judge. “Something else that was of a much higher value and needed a bit more attention came up.”

Yet strangely, this win doesn’t sit really well. It was a significant victory in terms of numbers but I felt more excitement opening my parcel from The State Hermitage Museum than while travelling to Court for the decision. It didn’t make us grin like crazy and drive straight to the clients’ office to take everyone out for lunch. It didn’t really do anything at all for us. In fact, in the afternoon, we got into an argument about interpreting the decision and then went back in to Court for other more pressing matters. It didn’t make us both call it a day and treat ourselves with the rest of the day off. I didn’t even eat lunch at all, spending the time at my desk drafting a long email to the clients to explain the complicated decision to them.

There was nothing: no sweetness, no joy, no smiles. There was just oh okay, back to work.

Maybe it was the nature of the file, or the fact that this is probably the beginning of a long road where we’ll be made victims of our own success again.

I kept asking The Buddha, We should be happy, right? We did a great job.

So eventually at 6pm, we both left work.

I decided to celebrate anyway by stopping by Courts on the way home to buy a new hairdryer.

After walking around the new and unfamiliar shopping mall near my parents’ place, then finally finding Courts, it turned out that they are way too busy selling people tvs and washing machines and fridges and coffee machines to sell any hairdryers.

Something isn’t quite right about today. I should just say a small prayer and try again tomorrow.

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There was a time maybe up to a month back when I used to text this person on a social basis and used to speak with him almost every day when we run into each other in Court. He was like my go to person for discussing legal points, or just to hang out and have tea.

Then suddenly, either him or me disappeared from the scene for a while, which is pretty common for litigators when we get blotted out of general circulation while doing trials for days and weeks. In fact, someone from the conveyance side just stopped by my office this afternoon wondering why she hasn’t seen any of us for a long long time even though we work in the same place.

This afternoon, while leaving Court with The Buddha at the end of one of our trials which ended early enough to return to the office, I saw him with a couple of other guys smoking at the dustbin across the road but we didn’t go over to say hello, which we would have done ordinarily, which would have been unheard of up to a month back. We just got into a taxi quietly and left.

I think back to the different clots of persons I used to hang out in the bar room and / or after work over the years and realise that I have actually fallen in and out with many different people over the years. There are no fights, no disagreements, no recriminations, no resentment. We just move on to something else, like molecules of water heated and cooled.

Perhaps most business or work relationships are just meant to be transient and superficial.

Or maybe I am just finding it harder and harder to click on a deeper level with most people as I grow older and more set in my ways.

*

Last week, when I told School Marm about the strange phone call I had received, she duly informed me that when she calls me on the phone, she always knows it’s me picking up. Because I always sound suspicious, shifty and weird. Also that I am the only person she knows who screens my own calls and pretends not to be myself on the phone sometimes to people I don’t want to or am not ready to talk to.

Oh well. So much for growing old and therefore growing out of being a social misfit.

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Why do Über rich people always get a kick out of telling others that they are “simple men” when they are very obviously far from simple? Why can’t they just come out and say I am damn rich and I enjoy eating caviar every day and spending oodles of money on stupid little things for kicks?

I tell people with no hesitation at all that I spend money on all kinds of frivolities [like cross-stitch sets I then never find the time to complete, limited editions of piano music I then never find the time to learn, knitting patterns and recipe books I never find the time to utilise, beautifully illustrated classical tales I never find the time to read and too heart pain to let my children destroy, just to name a few] and that I like to eat good food and am not discriminating about the venue or price and always wear expensive shoes. What’s the problem? I don’t for one moment believe that any of us are simple. Simple is the description of a mathematical problem consisting only of two single integers added together and makes less than ten. Or a one-hand melody consisting only of middle-C in semibreves [like the one I am teaching Peanut on the weekends].

Nothing is simple about any person or being a person. Liking a good bowl of plain porridge with soya sauce at a hawker stall does not make you a simple man. Even if it did and we accept that there is such a thing as a “simple man”, it does not make you a better person than most anyway. Consequently, it is of absolutely no relevance.

People should just embrace who they are in their lovely complicated identities [like bundled contradictions] and get a move on. Don’t kid yourself. Your “simplicity” is not impressing anyone here.

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