Thursday, December 28, 2006


Petite Fleur reacts like a mimosa (touch-me-not) among unfamiliar people and surroundings. She cocks her head inwards and withdraws into her shell.

We were at Katong Mall's Christmas carnival. Loud music. Crowds at the stalls. The sort of place that she clings on even tighter. A nice lady was doing glitter tattoos. I wasn't sure whether she would sit right through it. But she nodded her head to indicate that she wanted one.

Pensively, she maintained her courage.

This wasn't just glitter and glue. She overcame her shyness and got her first tattoo.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

All I want for Christmas

You don't have to visit Santa's toyland to find toys. These are toys in the shower tray which are there all year round.

I don't need a present when all I want is right here.

No sleeping in late too when the tiny occupants go shopping at 7 am.

Free man for grabs. The cutest member of my family, my baby bro Herbert aged 30 has offered himself up for the Free for all Christmas Grab! He bears resemblance to Tay Ping Hui and some say Ekin Cheng. 1.8 m. Eats healthily but smokes too much. If you fancy babysitting duties with the crayolas and see yourself nagging at him to stop smoking, you have passed the sister's audition.

In his own words "Lets just say that in love and relationships, I am very PASSIONATE."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Through the looking glass

I took the week off before Christmas so that I could soak in the festivity of the holidays. It was literally soaking wet in Orchard road due to heavy rains. I walked around the Hilton en route to Toys R Us at Forum Galleria. Was imagining an alternate reality of what life would be like if I was a tai tai doing my usual daily rounds - sending my child for enrichment at Forum Galleria and shopping in designer boutiques. Watching the rain pour as I sip a latte slowly from the al fresco portion of Coffee Bean. After that, I made my way to Wheelock and imagined what it would be like to book an appointment at the nail bar. Laughing at the overpricedness of it all and how boring and empty that would become on a daily basis.

Until I was annoyed to find, a scrap booking shop on the second floor nestled between the overpriced nail and facial bars. Annoyed because, of all the things that I saw that day, this was the ONE thing that I would die for to do. I stopped to observe a live scrap booking class. Before my eyes, the insult! They were given free run of gorgeous paperie in all manner of colours. They were using special scissors to cut eleborate edges on the paper. One of them, was musing what manner of font she should use for her photo captions. When the class ended, they packed up their craft material into cute bags with custom made pockets to organise their craft material.


My leave ends tomorrow as I return to work and a reality of paperwork which pays the bills. But somewhere in my dreams, a fantasy version of myself is in that scrap booking shop working on paperie which does not pay the bills.

Wishing everyone, a fantasy Christmas and a very happy new year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A genteel party

The tables were set. For 7 adults and 6 little people.

The genteel hosts.

The great thing about having friends over for a meal is that they will cheer in approval at any food that you present so long as its home made. The shepard's pie looked liked the real thing. The rehearsal helped. But nothing incited whoops of delight like the children's centrepiece. Doesn't it look out of this world, like it landed from outer space? Hey its actually a cabbage, used as a pin cushion to pierce the cocktail sausage, quails eggs and cheese cubes.
We recycled the third used pinata, a pony by wrapping toilet paper around the cavities which were previously beaten out of it. Without having seen the pinata yet, a mom, noted as a word of advice to us all.

"We don't choose ponies, cats, animals as pinatas in case the children get the idea that its ok to hit animals. We usually get a flower, star or non animal object."
Right there and then, in the pent up frustration to wield violence on the pinata which would yield the sweets falling out, Shane yelled.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bollywood Queen

The All Shapes gym that I go to held its first annual D&D. The theme - Bollywood nite. I am not good at dolling up, neither do I have any clue how to dress up in Bollywood style but Maria, my next door neighbour who is one of Singapore's top bridal planners and make up artists totally sorted me out.

I went into Maria's bridal studio in my shorts and T shirt and emerged. Bollywood Queen.

This was my handsome date.

I want to include photos of my posse of exercise friends, but am not able to because most of them are conservative head scarf wearing Muslims. The party kicked off once the last male catering staff left the function room.

"Ladiees, you can take off your head scarf now!"

Maria did such a great job transforming me, I was selected out of 80 women at the dinner party to be one of the 20 contestants for the title of Bollywood queen. When my name was called, I walked on stage and had to catwalk in my outfit.

Sashay. Sashay. There was no inhibition. The women there had seen me at my worst. Sweaty in the gym, straining through ab classes with no abs to speak of.

From 20, they eliminated to final 5. I was in the 5! I was more interested in wolfing up the gado gado but they made me dance on stage again to Hindi music. With no talent there, I didn't make it to the final 3. But still. It was truly a night to remember for life.

I had LONG TRESSES, people. Maria affixed a hair piece which gave me these long brown curls which draped on my left shoulder.

Some of the women took the mick.
"You look like a movie star. Can I have your signature?"

The funniest thing was when people who knew sat next to me, didn't know who I was until I opened my mouth to say something. Their mouths dropped when they realised it was me.

I was just attending a dinner. But through the makeover magic, I felt like a celebrity attending a Bollywood gala to receive an award.

Several women got up on stage to share about their weight loss. There was laughter and tears all around, for what is Bollywood without these elements?

The most valuable memory from that night was the Oprah affirming moment, when our trainer took the stage and talked about why she went into women's fitness. It was to help women with their weight.

"Weight" she said "is not a number. It is how good you feel about yourself."

Thank you All Shapes. I'm feeling much better.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Do I hear party?

Sometimes, if you're afraid of doing something. Saying it aloud helps.

"I was thinking of having a little Christmas gathering"

Then, you request for dates of availability.
"Are you available for lunch on 16 Dec?"

When they reply that the date is good, there is no backpaddling.

I'm having 6 adults and 6 kids under the age of 5 over for lunch on the 16th.

After brainstorming the possibilities of cuisine, I've come down to the conclusion that Shephard's Pie is it. Easy to cook, requires minimal chewing and will suit the palate of both adults and children.

The only thing is, I have never cooked a shephard's pie. And rehearse I must. There is nothing more terrifying than cooking for a party of friends and attempting a new recipe that you're trying for the first time. In order for it to look effortless, practice is the key.

After work today, I shopped for beef mince, onions and garlic, potatoes and milk. Grace wanted to learn something new too. I couldn't shoo her away so I narrated like a talking cook book.

"Brown the beef together with the onions and garlic. Add in the peas and carrots."

She did most of the preparatory work. Peeling the garlic and onions, mashing up the potatoes. I was the head chef, doing the tasting work and giving out directions. I wanted to be the junior chef, really. But she wouldn't let me. That's why I need to take over the kitchen on Sundays.

We put lots of cheese on top of the mash and put it in the oven to bake. As I guessed, you can't go wrong when you combine beef mince, buttery mash potatoes and melted baked cheese.

The most deceiving thing about Shephard' s pie is that it is such an ordinary comfort food, they will think that I am just whipping out something that I normally do which happens to taste great at the same time. Oh its just home cooking you know...chortle chortle.

Try to present something out of ordinary like a hungarian beef ghoulash or a sushi platter and they will think that you are trying to impress. But of course, it is all about making an impression and slacker cook is cramming for the final presentation.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Slacker cook

Apart from boiling up pasta and frying up the odd fish finger, I haven’t really cooked much in the past few years. Grace prepares all the kids meals and she is so capable, I leave her to do the menu planning and marketing.

Sometimes, if I have friends over, its always the same presentation. Tiger prawn linguine with shitake mushrooms. It’s the easiest dish to prepare which requires minimal preparation. You chop up the garlic and shrooms, boil up the spaghetti, peel the prawns and you’re done!

The other thing I’m lazy enough to cook up are leftovers. Half onion in the fridge will be tossed into the egg omelette. Overnight rice is fried up with the meats and veg left over from yesterday’s dinner. That’s why Chinese cooking is perfect for a slacker cook like me. Toss up something with soya sauce and a bit of pepper and you have a stir fry.

But today, I attempted something very different. A Thanksgiving Meal comprising of:

Pumpkin soup
Christmas stuffing
Mashed potatoes and
A roasted bird!

I had the guidance of my mom’s friend who is visiting from the States. She is married to a westerner so she knows how everything is supposed to taste and turn out.

The kitchen looked like a war zone after we’d done. By actual cooking, I realized that my kitchen lacked very basic items a) potato peeler b) knives to accompany forks for western cuisine c) flour for thickening the gravy. I made a quick trip to the 7-eleven to get more butter for the mashed potatoes.

Its been a long time since I’ve been that drained after cooking but I felt a great satisfaction when my brother and his wife came over and tucked in. There was so much to go around, I managed to feed an additional friend. The smells of butter, thyme and sage were permeating in the house from all the cooking. When Grace goes off on Sunday, I usually request that she prepares our meals in advance but there is no need for this in future. Today’s meal provided me with the ‘kick’ I needed.

So this is my December's Resolution:

Once a week on Sunday, I will make it a point to navigate my own kitchen and feed family n' friends food prepared by my own hands.

This isn't something which I thought of myself. My colleague, Lynette started cooking every Sunday. The reason: so that her kids could grow up with a concept of how their mom's cooking tastes like (good or bad). Some things will not change - we'll be trading our quick and easy fish and chicken recipes, some of which start from a base of campbell's mushroom soup.