Monday, 7 December 2015

A Saturday in 2015 December

5th December 2015, Saturday:


Lucas: 5 years 4 months old
Luis: 1 more month to 3 years old


Saturday morning
Both children wake up around 7.30am as usual. This week the Para Asean Games is taking place in Singapore. We decided to go watch the swimming event together with Bee Leng. 


Ate peanut butter and jam bread at home, left the house around 9am. Bee Leng was not ready so we went to the coffee shop near our house for KP's breakfast. The children drank Milo while we were there.


Picked Bee Leng up from the bus-stop and then drove to OCBC Aquatic Centre. It was the medal-giving ceremony when we arrived, Luis kept asking me "Where are the persons swimming?". We stood up for a few national anthems and then finally the competition resumed. Watched for about 30min and then KP wanted to leave for lunch.


Saturday afternoon
Drove to Chinatown because I seemed to have hurt my back since 2 weeks ago. First stop was the dessert shop because KP is currently obsessed with steamed milk pudding. We ordered a few desserts. Surprisingly Lucas likes the steamed egg with ginger. Luis started with the gingko nut but quickly changed his favourite to the 杨枝甘露.


Walked to People's Park and I had my back massage. Smelling full of ointment, headed to the hawker with 永祥興豆腐 that KP likes. He queued for that for 30minutes I think, Bee Leng went to get carrot cake and I ordered 3 large coconuts. But the boys did not eat the food, so I went to buy Bunny Bread for them. Lucas devoured 4 small chocolate buns and Luis ate 2. After lunch KP bought a thermos flask at the pasar malam and then we headed back to the car to go home.


While in the car Lucas said he wanted to swim when we reached home but (luckily) it was raining. So upon reaching home, I put Luis to bed (our maid was on her off day) and KP put Lucas to bed. After Luis slept I went to the living room and made myself a peanut butter and jam sandwich and watched TV, a little hungry since I did not eat much for lunch. Lucas did not fall asleep and came out. After some TV watching he went to our bedroom and we 'forced' him to sleep.


Evening
Nearing dinner time and I was not in the mood to cook. Texted Bee Leng and we decided to eat dinner outside. Settled on Junction 10. As it was Christmas season, there was a teacup carousel outside and the boys were interested in it. Found out that I need to spend $50 to redeem one ride. Reached Junction 10, the boys had one zoomoov ride together, went for dinner and then I went to Giant to purchase $50 worth so as to get another $50 spend to redeem the teacup ride.


After Giant, we enjoyed two more rides. Bee Leng with Luis first. Lucas was very happy to follow them on foot and 'guided' where to go.
Then Lucas and me. At first Luis didn't want to join us but he was disappointed when we went far and so he and Bee Leng chased after us. Hit me on my back because he was angry. Quickly put him behind Lucas and the three of us rode together. Super fun. After the ride we sent Bee Leng back and then went home.


Upon reaching home, did the usual shower, milk, brush teeth. Luis said "I want mummy let me sleep", so I put him to bed. He fell asleep rather fast and then I went to sleep with Lucas. After that, nearly 11pm, I went back to my room, surfed Qoo10 and facebook for a while and then went to sleep too.











Monday, 5 October 2015

Lucas' 5-year old birthday

15 September 2015, Wednesday 10.07pm



I didn't realise that I did not document it. I should still remember. 

It started a few weeks ago with Lucas choosing his cake. He has moved into a Superhero fad stage and he is all about Iron man. I almost ordered a fondant cake from a freelancer with average design and above average price. Luckily my colleague told me that Bengawan Solo offers Avengers cake though 2D. Anyhow I let Lucas choose and he liked the designs. But he wanted to have it for his indoor playground and school celebration! 2 cakes, total damage $170. Heart pain. But ok... Once a year ... a little bit of pain is ok as long as the little boy is happy. 


We celebrated the first one at Happy Willow, same as last year. Lucas chose it. I was happy, because last year it was not very ideal. He was scared off because of the loud whistle and then he didn't get to place his cars on the cake. This year we get a chance to make it good! He even wore the same Captain America costume!

Saturday morning KP and I set off to get the food from Lot One. No catered food this time. 
Then off to Happy Willow at Fusionopolis.   And then as usual the children eat and play, the adults eat and chitchat. Luis was in good spirits too, past the moody phase. He had a super good time!

Then a very successful birthday song singing and cake cutting! Lucas was so happy, after the song he politely turned to me and asked if he can blow out the candles now. I find this moment very special. 


As usual we stayed till late afternoon. 

2nd birthday celebration was at mil's house along with BH. The usual dinner and then cake. It was usual, but I have come not to take such usual things for granted. It's lucky that there is a family who cares enough to do such usual things.

3rd birthday celebration was in school. As one of Lucas' birthday presents, he received an IronMan suit. On the actual birthday he went to school. In the afternoon we brought his suit and the cake and goodie bags to school. Luis came out from his class too to celebrate.

After that we left and went for dinner at Swensens with mil, fil and BL. It has become a tradition because the birthday kid gets a free firehouse ice-cream.

All in all, a happy birthday for the little boy this year :)






What can I pray for you?

5th October 2015, Monday, 9.17am:


This morning after the boys went off in the school bus, I was sitting in the car at the stadium doing my makeup as usual. A man came near to look at the car and I was wondering is it because he thought I was parked in the disabled lot and wanted to give me a piece of his mind.


He came to my window with a smile, I wound down the window and he said something unexpected. He introduced himself and then asked if there's anything he can pray for me. He said God sometimes gives him vision and two days ago he had one, where he saw a woman in a white car and short hair. I was skeptical of course and I said no, there's nothing that I am asking for. He stayed outside the window and said a prayer to God to keep me safe.


I don't know if this is true of course. The first reaction was to be skeptical. But then I wanted it to be true. I got out of my car and thanked him. I can choose to think it's a scam or I can choose to think it's true. I choose the latter. It made my day, what this man did. I am this kind of person, naïve. And I like to think the better of situations.


When the man asked me the question, two things came to mind. My next career move, and my mother. I want to know if she is happy. But I didn't ask for it because it was very abrupt. Now there is a teeny tinge of regret. But just so teeny tiny. Because my Buddhism belief tells me to be grateful, that someone prays for me to be safe is already a very generous act. How can I ask for more.


So thank you, Dylan (I think that's his name). You made my day.







Friday, 2 October 2015

I still miss you, Ma

2 Oct 2015, Friday 8.15pm

I still do. I thought of you when I was jogging. Thought of how you suffered in hospital. I cried, because I thought of what you went through. I tried to be rational, that life for you is better than when you were in the hospital. But I still felt sad. Unexplainable. 
I wish you can hear me. I wish to know you are happy now. I still can't let go. Losing you is so hard. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Bobby

 5th September 2015, Saturday 10.33pm

Today Bobby passed away. 17 years 5 months old. 

These few months we have been deciding when to euthanise him. At first I can't bring myself to do it. The wound from my mother's passing is still too fresh. Then these two weeks it became more obvious. 

Around National Day I noticed that he slept much more. Then a week later my maid said Bobby doesn't like to go downstairs anymore. When she brought him downstairs he just wanted to lie down. So we stopped his evening walks, which was already reduced from his twice daily walks. Then this Tuesday I brought Bobby to the vet for his subcut. He smelt strongly of urine, probably slept on it. So I bathed him when we came back. I figured he would feel miserable sleeping with that kind of smell. I must have hurt him accidentally because he barked, the high-pitched painful bark, during bathing. And then during the night he punctuated the night with his barks. Seemed that he could not lie down for a good sleep without feeling some sort of pain. 
That night I did not sleep well too. Each time I heard his bark my heart raced. I felt helpless. I went out after one of the barks and petted him. He laid down and slept. Seemingly ok and didn't hear him bark for a while. But then again the barks came after about an hour. 

These couple of days I prayed to Budhha to let Bobby go painlessly. This morning I asked Buddha for mercy for Bobby. 请释迦摩尼佛大慈大悲。

This morning we didn't go out. Our friends came with their children. I already stopped buying the KD diet for Bobby, I wanted to let him enjoy his last meals. I steamed rice and chicken thigh for him. I carried Bobby to his food. He ate half, then started slanting his head to the right. I was concerned why that was happening and held him, slowly letting him lie down. I thought he might be going into a seizure again. He didn't, and he put his head on my lap. I petted him briefly and stayed like that for a while. Then I busied myself and we all went downstairs to the pool. Later PC came down and told me that Bobby ate his lunch halfway and collapsed. By the time I went upstairs he was already gone. From the maid's description it sounded like a heart attack. 

Thinking of Bobby now I can't help but cry. Actually it was a relief that he passed away. Did he hear me telling him to go? Did we feel the same way about his mortality? But nonetheless there is a tinge of sadness. 

Bobby. You are a good dog. You brought us so much joy. You took a good chunk of my heart and memories. I love you so much. You are my first dog, and probably my last too. I hope you are in doggy heaven and happy and without pain now. You are the best dog. Ever.  
Run Bobby, run. 


Bobby Tan Ah Mi
23 April 1998 to 5 September 2015

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

100 days

1st September 2015, Tuesday 10.51pm

Today is the 100th day after my mother passed away. I don't cry as often and I don't think of her as often. Every week still, perhaps every 2-3 days, but not everyday. 

Different things come up in my thoughts now. For instance, I probably miss her so much because I am guilty for not seeing her two days before she passed away. It's not because I'm closer or more filial to her compared to my siblings. Also, my mother probably felt least close to me of all her children. She could confide in my sister things that she did not tell me. My brother was also good to her. I am the only one who scolded her often. I also did not engage in heart to heart talks with  her. 

My insensitivity as a person, I realise, probably impacted my relationship with my mother. This insensitivity, which I am sometimes foolishly proud of because I am not afraid to bring my awkward subjects, is not great all the time. 

Today is the 100th day my mother is gone. Is it for better or worse? As Buddha says, no one knows. You never know. I miss her. It's so true, how some things you start to regret only when a person is not around. A fact that you think you understand but actually you don't, until you experience it. I regret a lot of things, I regret my spiteful and inconsiderate actions, words, body language, thoughts that I inflicted on my mother when she was around. If only she can hear my apology. 

Today is also my brother's and my birthday. We went to his place tonight for celebration with the children. Without mother around it takes extra effort to keep the siblings in touch. I don't wish for much, I just wish for my mother to enter my dreams. Well, and to find a job that I can be happy with. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Feeling as a failure

It just struck me, or I only just realised, that when I feel stressed from work, this feeling is so overwhelming that it stops me from having other feelings? It can consume me so much. 

That day I received an email with 'points for discussion' as the subject title from my manager. After I read the content my emotions for the next two days has been set.  The content is all about my failing as a manager and also tracking of a deliverable. I know what he is doing. He is starting to collect evidence of poor performance so that he can justify putting my performance as 'poor' at the end of the year. 

How do I describe this feeling adequately? Many things are at play. 
Last week in our bilateral I thought he was still trying to coach me so I told myself to buck up. It's disheartening to receive the email this week knowing that he already made up his mind. 
And I am not used to being a failure. This is finally happening to me. I realised recently that many people who are classified as non-performers now were actually capable when they were younger. Why have they gone to the other side? One is because they did not evolve with the job requirements. The other is because they reached a position that is past their ability. I think I belong to the second group. I suck at being a manager. Some things I simply don't know that I have to do. 

Anyhow I was already having a tough time closing my gaps. And to receive such an email now, fight or flight? I feel like flight. But can I flee? Can I afford it? I feel stressed because I know I can't afford it. So I have to fight? Seems that I don't know how. Or is it that I now fall into the first group? 

I don't want to give my HR the satisfaction of putting me down. But I can't find a job in time to leave. I'm stuck. I should strategise. If the gaps are difficult to close, focus on strengthening other parts. Make these parts so good that as an average I can't be put down. HR is playing dirty, I hate it. 

Yesterday I read something about not letting anyone put down your soul. Stand up for yourself. I shall stand up for myself.  

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Lucas at 5 years old

20th August 2015, Thursday, 10.53pm lying in bed with all lights off and Lucas sleeping next to me. 

When Lucas is approaching this age, I start to see him display some non-child characteristics. He can be meaner, deliberating hitting his brother when he fully knows it's wrong, saying things to make his brother cry (fav is "no mummy carry for you"), or just some hand gestures that are more stylo than cute. 

But he's still by and large a sweet little boy. He still loves his cloth and sleeps with one at night. At times he still puts his arm across my shoulder when he sleeps. He still enjoys playing with cars and trains and can become very engrossed in it. And best of all he's still a happy go lucky little boy. 

For some reason yesterday I felt that my baby is really starting to grow up and starting to leave boyhood. For the first time I told him a heartfelt 'Happy birthday'. First time not because I haven't said it to him before but because he could start to show that he can feel the happiness of being wished. Hb seems to feel so too, I guess he was listening in when driving. Soon after he asked Lucas to follow him to Limbang so he can buy a toy for him. I did not object, it's his birthday and daddy also wants to show his love and do some bonding with him. 

I love you Lucas. So much that I do not know if you will ever realise how much. Perhaps one day when you are a daddy you will understand. Grow up all
You want but importantly stay happy and healthy and kind forever. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

生命不怕苦,只怕你吃不了苦

Recently I am feeling down. HR berated me again. Read some of the below online and kept on reminding myself:


Busy is a choice.
Stress is a choice.
Happiness is a choice.
Choose wisely.


In every situation you make a decision. You can choose how you want to face it. You can choose to dwell, at times this is ok if it helps you to process it. But call it a day after sufficient dwelling. Choose to be positive.


Also when faced with new things:
If it's important, you will find a way.
If it's not important, you will find excuses.


There is almost nothing that is impossible. If you are afraid to do this or that, then perhaps you do not want it enough. It's not important enough. You are not hungry enough. Which is also not wrong, then don't do it! But if by not doing it you continue to feel down, then give it your all. Always go back to part 1 of making your choice wisely.


Finally:
生命不怕苦,只怕你吃不了苦.


如果沒有大浪衝擊,怎麼會有漂亮的浪花.
Get on with your life. Stop sulking.


Note: Above quotes are not from me! All taken from other sources online which I cannot remember, sorry!




Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sucks to dismiss people

Totally sucks. I know it is worse for the person I am dismissing and I am not saying at all that what I feel is worse. But I just want to voice out, not to seek any understanding or sympathy from others, that this sucks.


I'm like a jerk. Upsetting other people's life and emotions. The other person is pissed. Of course will be pissed. If it's me of course I will be the same.


How do you gauge if you are doing what's right? What's right within what circle? In the circle of your managerial responsibility to the organization? Or in the circle of life in general?


Some might say this is what you have to do as a manager. Your responsibility is towards the organization.
But I remember a story of a fellow colleague. That she dismissed someone and she thought it was all amiable but the next week she came to know that he committed suicide. How do you live with this?


I don't want to live with such things. I don't want to give another dismissal if I can help it. Enough with it.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

How did mother feel in her last days?

I never talked about it with her. We don't have that kind of relationship.


One day I was visiting mother at home. It was my turn to watch over mother. I asked her a few times if she wanted to go to the toilet. She said no. Then after a while she said yes. I brought her there. And then let's just say that she was not in time.


It occurred to me briefly, mother was probably embarrassed that she no longer had such basic controls. And she was reluctant to go to the toilet because she doesn't want to feel helpless. Or be embarrassed in front of her children.


Same for showering. She shooed me out after I helped her some.


Mother was a proud woman. She was fully independent just 2 months before she was in this state. She almost had no one to talk about such things with her. How do you accept yourself falling into such a helpless state in such a quick time?


Was this why she was different when she was sick the second time around? She seems to be more calm, but was I mistaken? That she was actually resigned? That she didn't want to be like this?


The day before she was admitted to CCU I visited her. The nurse was helping the patient in the next bed with her bowel movements and it stunk badly. I mentioned it to my mother but she smelt nothing. Is the loss of smell an indication of the end nearing?


Christine mentioned that mother stared at the ceiling for a long time during one of the visits. But she did not ask further what she was staring at. Was there another sign?


My cousin mentioned that on the day of mother's passing, mother was talking to her mahjong friends and said that she does not have to go through kidney dialysis anymore, forever. My cousin heard and felt it was weird but did not ask further. Did mother know? Or she didn't but she has given up her fight? Because she doesn't want to live her last days in the helpless state that she was in?


Mother's life was not long. But I am truly grateful that she was considered healthy and fully independent right till 3 months before she passed away. Many old people were bedridden for many years before they passed on. I am unable to imagine the quality of life or what they would rather have. Anyhow there is no need to speculate. If you are bedridden, see it as a gift that you get to spend more years with your family. If you leave the world early, see it as a gift that you had less suffering.


I didn't know how mother felt in her last days. I can only say that she was a brave and strong woman. And I am glad that she left the world with no worries. I cannot ask for more. I am grateful.
































正能量

正能量


I heard this from my masseuse last Sunday. I think he was saying something about how stress can make the body condition worse and that it's important to have more 正能量.


Then I saw this word again on one of my friends' Facebook post. So it got me thinking.


正能量, it makes sense. When you have more of it, your life is happier, not just your body. When you have more of it, you are less moody, you are happier, and the people around you are happier too. It's total win.


I was moody for a few days since last week. Because of some employee termination issue that I screwed up. So bad that I cried when talking to my husband while sitting outside Lot One. I'm usually not someone who cries that openly. On another day, so bad that I was sitting and thinking moodily about it on bed one night and ignoring my children while they played on the bed. They wanted my attention and company yet I was just stoning there. And so bad that I was especially fierce to Lucas these two days. He's a sweet boy and he doesn't get angry because of how I treat him, but one day he will. And maybe he feels something too just that he did not react.


Therefore, 正能量.
Consciously tell yourself to have more of it. It's total win. Good for everybody, good for health. At the end of the day what is most important in life? What is it that you pray for everyday? Happiness, health, safety.





Monday, 27 July 2015

Terrible day at work

Last Friday I had a terrible end to my work week. I screwed up on an email reply and got scolded by HR. Rightfully so. But I was also upset.


Started to think about whether it is really necessary to terminate employees who do not perform. Perhaps it is not really necessary. These people that I terminate can keep employment in other companies. Perhaps the perception of hire and fire does not increase the competence of the team that much. Compared to keeping a stable team.


One of my friends on whatsapp said that he personally does not like to terminate employees who do not perform. He prefers to train them. What got me thinking was this - that loyalty and trust is more important than lack of capability. Really worth thinking. But your team members and the stakeholders must be able to accept this too, and there must not be major mistakes. This holds true for borderline cases. I have tried to keep an old employee for two years and towards the end there were enough mistakes such that the other section heads were also pushing to end his employment.


Also, started to think that I really dislike being a manager. No more termination. I'm sick of it. Each time I feel like an asshole. Perhaps no more being a manager. I'm not cut out for it. It sucks. I now clearly know that I prefer being an individual contributor.


Anyway, according to Buddha, "Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are, it depends on what you think." I try to remind myself this and get over how upset I felt.


Screw it. Go on with life. Stop sulking. Be happy.













Thursday, 23 July 2015

How come?

I still think of my mother everyday. But I don't cry anymore. Yesterday I called my uncle to see if he dreamt of my mother. He said he dreamt of my mother wearing the clothes she wore while in the coffin and was walking around in OG.
And he also told me to continue chanting for my mother especially within 100 days. So I did, in the car on the way home. And I started to feel very sad and started crying as I chanted. 

Today on the way home I did the same and also was very sad and started crying. I miss her. 

And now sitting in the car in the carpark after I come back from the vet with Bobby. Because my eyes are all red from crying. I still regret not visiting my mother in the last two days before she died. I'm sorry. And I miss you so much. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Flashback


I'm the one on the left wearing the White tshirt and maroon culottes. When I was young I only get one set of new clothes once a year. Because my mother can only afford to buy new clothes for me during Chinese New Year. 

I still remember that I felt embarrassed during primary six and later in seconday one as well, where I always wear the same clothes when I go out with my friends. Once I overheard my friend telling another friend,'see, she's wearing the same clothes again'. It hurt. Of course little kids don't know any better. But I can still remember the embarrassment I felt then. 
Teaches me to be humble though. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Nip the problem in the butt

I know there is a problem. And I am afraid of the consequence. So I avoid talking about it. I thought by avoiding it then it will not be a problem. That the situation will be better. 
But I'm wrong. This is no way to live. I will talk about it. What will come will come. 

How do you un-dislike someone?

There's this person whom I dislike. So I am prejudiced against him. But I of course do not show this in front of him. I may have made it known to some others through the things I say.


These two days I saw him. And a question popped into my mind. How about I stop disliking him? Doesn't mean I have to like him. Just stop the negative feelings. It's good for general well-being, less negative thoughts, happier person. And makes me less stern.


So how do I do it? In the philosophy of Buddhism, I should "let go". So I shall tell myself this: Just let all the bad things that he has done go, there may be a reason why he is the way he is. Perhaps he cannot help it. Perhaps he is not aware of what he is doing. Perhaps he is clouded. Or perhaps he knows but still chooses to be the way he is. Who cares? None of my business. For myself just have good conscience, I do not need to harbor hatred or dislike for others. I shall start now. 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

What is sibling love?

My love for my brother and my sister is different. Today I shall just talk about my brother. 

With my brother who is ten years older than me, I have a protective kind of love with him. I worry about him, such as about his health because I feel that he's not resting enough and running around a lot for his family. I worry when he sent me back late the night after meet passed away that he would fall asleep while driving. 

I also have an endearing sort of love for him. Last week I asked him if he kept mother's neck pillow. Actually I wanted it for practical and remembrance reasons, more of the latter. But he already threw it away. Just now he reached Singapore airport and he called me. Said he bought a neck pillow for me. And also told me all the things he bought in Dresden. I was happy that he enjoyed himself shopping. Also felt abit heartache that he overloaded his luggage and had to handcarry a lot of it. And felt very proud that he is a family man. 

Brother, live long and healthy ok. You are a very good brother. Next life I'll still choose to have you as my brother. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies

First post 20th June 2015 Saturday
Edit 11th September 2015 Saturday:





KP bought a microwave oven when our toaster oven was spoilt. I've been meaning to try baking cookies with it. One day I came back from work early (left around 6pm) and we were done with dinner and stuff before 8pm. So I made cookies. 

This recipe I found is really fantastic. It's simple and delicious. I decreased the sugar but it was still a tad too sweet for my taste. The temperature was a total disaster in my case. In the end I tweaked it to 200 deg C for 20 minutes. Pretty sure if it were lower it would be more soft and chewy, but I was impatient by the time the first batch was finally done that I just want to make it quick. 
I thought it was not very good and almost didn't want to document it but a few people said it's nice. So here goes. 
Edit: below is the recipe with less sugar and it still tastes pretty good. I also did it at 180 deg C for 20 min. 
Next time I'll try with oil as substitute for the butter. 

Original recipe from:
http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/32688/the-best-soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies.aspx

INGREDIENTS:
Makes 18 big cookies

- 70g castor sugar
- 70g brown sugar
- 125g butter, melted

- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (optional)

- 225g self-raising flour
- 100g chocolate chips

METHOD:
  • Preheat the microwave oven to 200 deg C. 
  • Using a hand mixer blender (I used the Philips brand and the zigzag blade), cream the sugars and the butter together until pale and smooth. Just a minute or so, stop when it's well combined. 




  • Add the egg and vanilla essence, but don't over-mix as it may curdle the mixture.

  • Transfer mixture to a big mixing bowl and add the flour and mix in three batches. You can use the fold in method with a fork. 




  • Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  • The dough should be quite sticky. Place blobs of mixture on the prepared baking trays.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 180deg C for 20 minutes. 
  • After the time is up, it will be very soft and still a little sticky on the baking sheet. Remove the cookies and place on a wire rack to cool down. It will get harder and the form will set. 

    Next tries:
    - Use 1/2 cup oil with abit of salt instead of butter. 

    Note:
    - Original temp and time in source recipe is 180 deg C for 8 min.

  • Chrysanthemum tea

    There are two ways to make it. Either steep the dried flowers in hot water or boil them. From young my mother has always boiled them. And it's the concentrated type and slightly bitter too, which I learnt from Internet is because it has been boiled too long. So even though it seems like a rather simple drink to prepare, I always need to google how to prepare it because I do not do it often. And I always end up not being sure how much flowers to put and making it too bitter. Therefore I'm documenting it now. 



    INGREDIENTS:
    Dried chrysanthemum flowers
    Water
    Rock sugar 



    METHOD:
    1) Use approximately 1 (chrysanthemum) : 10 (water) ratio


    2) Wash the chrysanthemum flowers


    3) Put chrysanthemum and water in pot. Turn on stove to start boiling. I used medium to high heat so it's faster. 

    4) Turn off the stove within 5-10 minutes after it starts boiling. 


    5) Add rock sugar to taste. 


    When it's a hot day I like to chill it before giving it to the children. Enjoy. 


    Update 27 July 2015:
    I boiled chrysanthemum tea again on Saturday. This time it was not bitter. So if you prefer the non-bitter taste, do the below instead:


    After step 1 and 2:


    3) Boil the pot of water. After it comes to a boil, turn off the fire.


    4) Pour the chrysanthemum flowers into the pot and cover it. Remove the flowers after 5 min.


    Continue with step 5.




    This is not part of the recipe but I just wanted to document it:


    On Sunday after we came home from Ah Ma's house in the afternoon, I sat down with the children at the dining table to chill over some cold chrysanthemum tea. It was a simple and nice bonding time. We finished the whole jug of tea, mostly by the boys. I enjoy such times, sit around the table and spending time with each other, even if it's talking nonsense or fooling around. Stay like this, boys.











    1 month ago

    One month ago at this time I received the call from my brother telling me that mother suddenly got very sick. I was in the bathroom, just finished changing my clothes for the night. And then I changed back to jeans and my green superman tshirt and rushed to the hospital. 

    It's been a month. Just a month. But feels like ages. I still miss mother very much, everyday. Today Lucas was sick and didn't go to school, I also took leave to look after him. And I thought of a similar incident once and I dropped by mother's house with Lucas. 

    I would have dropped by mother's place today too if she is still around. 

    Come into my dreams one more time? 

    Saturday, 20 June 2015

    25 days

    Since mother's passing. 
    Just came back from business trip today. Luis vomited just now during midnight. While sitting on the rocking chair waiting for him to fall back to sleep I thought of mother again. Many thoughts recently revolve around the hospital days. Perhaps because they are most recent. 

    The other day I was thinking of how she would have felt if she knew that she would not go home anymore on the day my brother brought her to the GP and he recommended her to go to the hospital. 
    Of course it's good that she didn't know. How sad it will be if she did. 

    I also kept thinking of how she looked when the nurses opened the curtain after they have cleaned her up for us to say our goodbyes. And how she looked after they removed her tube and put on her dentures. How her head droops down the side and her mouth can't close which we suspected was due to the bottom dentures not placed properly. 

    I also thought about whether she was in great suffering between the time Christine left and the time she collapsed. She was breathless, and was she terribly uncomfortable right before she collapsed?

    When they tried to resuscitate her, I know medically she didn't come back. Did she suffer during this resuscitation? Were her ears still hearing what was going on? Did she hear us when we were saying our goodbyes?

    Is a person's passing from Earth meant to be painful?

    Tuesday, 16 June 2015

    Look back

    The night before mother was admitted to CCU, I shared a fishball kway teoh mee, no chilli, with my mum. As usual her appetite was small, even smaller after she had pneumonia. She asked me to eat first then she ate. I purposely didn't eat too much, said I'm full, so that she will eat more. And she did, and I thought, 'very good'!

    Every time when I leave the hospital, I always look back and tell my mother a second bye bye. I was unsure when would be the last time I would see her. 

    The last time I visited her was on a Saturday, two days before she passed away. I didn't talk much with her or do much with her. I sat on the chair for some time, I only spoke very shortly with her and I did not stay late. It was only a one hour visit. But I heard her voice that night for the first time after a week, because she had been intubated. And I told her that 'Ma, didn't hear your voice for a long time'.

    I regret not spending more time with her. 
    I regret not visiting her the day she passed away. 
    I regret not having a last chitchat with my mum. 
    I miss you so much, mother. 

    Sunday, 14 June 2015

    Visited mother today

    14 June 2015 Sunday

    Today is 三七。
    Visited mother with sister, Lucas and Ah Yee. Felt strangely happy to visit her. 
    Actually the reason for the visit is not because of 三七. It's because I miss her. 

    Sister bought all the goodies. I gave mother a muffin that I baked the night before. At the end of the visit we brought Ah Yee  for lunch at Tim Ho Wan. 
    Bitter sweet feeling. 

    Today I fly to Europe for test house visits. Felt strangely laid back. Brought back pack instead of feminine shoulder back. No heels, not even kitten ones. Forgot to bring Ang Bao from in laws. Feeling fat. Nothing's going very well. I still miss mother. Not so painful now. But still missing mother. 

    Thursday, 11 June 2015

    I dreamt of mother

    The night before yesterday. I think I did. 
    I woke up in the morning, as usual thinking about mother. I thought about once when it was almost time for school and mother had not cooked lunch yet. So she asked me to go to the hawker centre to eat chicken rice. I was in primary school, and I was afraid to eat alone. So I asked my mother to go with me and eat together and she was so happy. 

    Anyway when I thought of this then I realise that hey... I seem to have a recent memory of mother in my mind that's not from the past. Then it came to me that I dreamt of her during the night. 

    It's funny... While I was dreaming about her everything was clear and vivid. When I woke up it was not so clear anymore. What I remembered was that I was able to touch her, her hands were not the same dried up and cold hands that I last felt when she was in the coffin. And I was aware of that in the dream. She seemed aware that she already passed away too. At some point in the dream she smiled and she was happy. I did not recall having any conversation with her. 

    But I was happy. For some reason while I was driving to work and thinking of the dream, I broke down at the steering wheel. Maybe it's a form of relief? Or of something closing the loop? Because I never saw my mother on the day she died and I have always been asking mother to appear in my dreams. 


    Monday, 8 June 2015

    Moving on

    I have moved on. The pain is not as intense and not as frequent. Over the weekend I missed going to the hospital to visit mother after Heguru class. But I was able to forget about mother at times and went to watch the SEA games with Luis. And to have dinner with friends. 
    Is this the 'acceptance' part of grieve?

    Wednesday, 3 June 2015

    Today is a 1

    On a scale of 1-10 where 1=very sad. 

    Cried some yesterday, first started after my brother said he missed mother and called her number. 
    Then I started a Remembering Mother' whatsapp group. Don't know what is the trigger but I was crying last night while lying in bed. 
    And then again today when I saw the poem written by Desmond. 

    This whole day I'm just down. Made my work even more unbearable. It's a 1.

    Tuesday, 2 June 2015

    NUH line

    Taking the Circle Line to meet my sister at Jurong Point. 
    Didn't expect the hesitation to take it just before I left office. Previously I took the Circle Line solely to visit my mother. Felt painful to take this line for anything else. 
    But there was no taxi and now I am on the train. 
    It's not that bad. Perhaps I am moving on. 
    Hardly any tears today, the verge of crying didn't materialise into real tears. 

    Back to usual, yet not usual



    Today we go back to work. The usual. Getting on with life.
    How is it that mother still lingers on my mind? I thought work will make that go away.
    Sister said she missed going to the hospital after work. Me too, I am reluctant to tell my mother in law that I am going back for dinner. Refusing to accept reality. That mother is out of my life.
    So we are meeting for dinner tonight.
    How is it that I still feel like crying now?

    Monday, 1 June 2015

    怪怪的,痛痛的

    今天按钱时不用按妈妈的家用。
    今天上香时不用求释迦摩尼佛保佑妈妈。
    心里怪怪的,痛痛的。
    原来生活中有一些负担是快乐的负担。
    没有了以后,怪怪的,痛痛的。

    I miss my mother

    My life's equilibrium is upsetted now. 
    As if a puzzle is suddenly missing one piece.
    As if someone punched my heart and it is giving me a dull ache everyday. 
    Every morning when I wake up it feels the worst. 
    Every day a little bit of tears. 
    Every day a little sad, preferring to look down than to make eye contact with people. 
    Where are you mother? Are you happily in your next world now?

    Saturday, 30 May 2015

    头七

    It's 10.54pm now and I'm lying on the bed with Nichole in my mother's house. Today is the 7th day, according to Chinese customs my mother will come back tonight. 

    At first I was scared to come back. Then my brother in law wrote the below:

    Then I truly understood. She's my mother. There's nothing to be scared of. So I decided to come and stay overnight.

    We prepared this for her:

    Pig trotter vinegar cooked by my brother. Her fav chicken rice from clementi. Other home cooked food we had today. Mother has a sweet tooth. Even after she had diabetes she still loves durian so of course we need to have it. My brother said before she had diabetes there were always soft drinks in the fridge. Now she doesn't have to worry so we bought Sprite for her. I used to go NTUC with her often when I was young. And she always liked to buy the chocolate bars at the counter. So my brother bought kitkat. And finally kitkat. 

    We also cleared her room of the hospital memories. No more medication, Jevity, commode, walking frame. Only happy memories. We made her bed the usual mess that it was in. 

    Hopefully my mother will come into my dreams and we can have the chitchat that we didn't have. 




    Friday, 29 May 2015

    It's over

    This morning was the funeral. And we picked the bones in the afternoon.

    Slept on and off for two hours when I reached home. It's usually worse when I just wake up. A dull ache in my heart. Tears ready to spring out.

    Now it's over. I don't need to check my phone when I wake up to see if there is a bad update about my mother. I have received the call that I always prepared myself for. Without even realising it. 

    My mother is gone. So fast, it happened on Monday night. Today is Friday night. It feels so long ago. But it only happened this week. On Monday my mother was still around. I was still planning to visit her on Tuesday. Today I don't need to spend my thoughts worrying about her on and off anymore. 

    This dull aching...what do I do?

    Tuesday, 26 May 2015

    妈...

    Thank you. 

    I don't know if I'll ever get over the regret of not visiting you two days before you passed on. I try to tell myself that I spent a lot of time with you so those two days are no big deal. 
    But we haven't had a decent chat. You were always on my mind those two days. When I have a pocket of time I kept thinking if I should visit you. But I told myself I'll take a short break and see you on Tuesday. But you have moved on. 
    I am grateful that your death was quick. I hope it was not painful. I hope you were not quietly suffering for long.
    Why didn't you ask for me to come? Did you know you were moving on? I don't blame you at all. I just have a small regret. 
    But thank you, 妈。You are the strongest woman and you have been very important to me in my life. From you I learn strength. I started to appreciate you more after I became a mom. You have produced three good children. I hope you had a fulfilling last few decades and that we make you proud. Now is the time to rest and move on to your next milestone. I will always miss you. 妈。

    Saturday, 18 April 2015

    Today I grew up a little

    It's 1.43am on a Friday now. I just finished sending out an email.


    This week has been hellish. One of the contributing factors was triggered by an email from another head. Indirectly I learnt that she sent an email to all other heads except me to ask for opinion on standardizing a document which needed majority of the input from me, but which I have been delaying providing due to lack of resources.
    So I replied by asking her to share the document so I can add my input and to include me in this communication which she has left me out. I was of course not happy with it.
    In response she replied with a sub-par standardized document without my input. And mention in the email to everyone that she has asked me for input before but I unfortunately did not provide.


    I wanted to be mature and I called her after the email. I wanted to clarify how it ended this way. Without going into details, she was a bitch. Then I wanted to reply the email to everyone such that I can put her down. But I told myself to wait and not do something I will regret.


    Finally I replied her email tonight. What did I learn and what did I do?


    After a day, the anger died down significantly. I was able to think clearly. When I just wrote the reply, there was still a little bit of me that wanted to bite back. I didn't want to lose face in front of the other heads. I didn't want others to think I am a coward. I didn't want to let this head off so easily.


    But in the end I didn't bite. I was cordial and provided my input that I stayed up tonight to work on instead of spending time with Lucas and instead of sleeping. I did not harp on the sacrifice that I made. I thought I will feel like a loser when I sent the email in a cordial way. But I didn't. In truth I didn't expect not to feel lousy. I learnt a lesson. I grew up. Today I lived the wisdom of Buddha - let things go and you will find inner peace. Sounds clichéd huh... I didn't know, but it really works. Today I grew up a little, and this is the proudest thing that I did all week.




    Wednesday, 8 April 2015

    Luis’ 2nd birthday

    Took me 3 months to write about this. First it was laziness, then it was resource crunch at work due to a couple of people leaving, then it was mother being admitted to hospital and still is in hospital now. In the office now and there is network down so work cannot be done. Decided to do some ‘well-being’ brain stuff.
    This year I managed to think ahead instead of being caught off-guard that his birthday ‘suddenly’ arrived. Luis still likes monkeys very much, especially the monkey soft toy that Daddy bought for him. So we had a monkey themed party.
    As usual we invited our friends and their children over to our house, (I hope) they had a blast of a time at our house. Even our bedroom looked like the tornado struck, I didn’t dare look at it anymore after the first look, so I assumed they had plenty of fun. Not to mention the other rooms.
    We also had a celebration with Daddy’s side of family. The usual dinner followed by birthday cake. Luis enjoyed his cakes very much at this period. I brought him to Four Leaves at Yew Tee and let him choose his cake. It wasn’t easy! Which kid at 2 year old can make up their mind without changing it? So in the end he ‘chose’ his cake with my preference – it was a strawberry shortcake which turned out to be surprisingly nice.
    For his actual birthday it was a weekday. Lucas got to skip childcare that day. We brought both boys to take the duck tour followed by the Singapore flyer. Then we went to Swensens! They give a free ice-cream of 5 flavours to the birthday kid with a candle, we did it once with Lucas and we thought it was very nice. So we went to Bukit Panjang Plaza’s Swensens. Both boys had a good time.
    Finally we went home for naps. In the evening we had a small single portion cake for Luis with birthday song in our house. Cake was shared by the brothers. And that is the start of Luis’ 2nd year J

    Friday, 3 April 2015

    Funny Luis

    At home, Luis slung a bag meant for toys on this neck and then said, "bye bye, I go 'hoyeeday'", then he left out bedroom. Kp and I looked at each other and laughed.

    Luis - 2 years 3 months






    "Water-water" - Luis was referring to the water bottle, but he calls it water water.
    Luis - 2 years 6 months




    Kept referring to yoghurt as "sugar". We always enjoyed yoghurt together, just Luis and me, before Heguru class. 
    Luis - 2 years 6 months


    KP was scolding Lucas in the room, Luis was in the living room. 

    Luis (to daddy): Don't scold Lucas.

    (Me in the kitchen preparing dinner, thought: oh such a good boy, protecting his brother)

    KP (fiercely): Why?

    Luis: Because Lucas is so naughty. 

    (Me, thinking it's normal, he's just two so his thoughts are not logical)

    Luis, after a few sec: Cane Lucas. 

    !!!!! Evil!!!!

    Luis - 2 years 6 months




    Luis says 'oopsy!' whenever he falls or drops something. Wonder where he learnt that from!

    Luis - 2 years 3 months




    "I want mommy let me sleep."
    Ok I am responsible for the bad grammar, because I always tell the maid to "help me let Luis sleep."


    And another classic that I hear a few times everyday.
    "I want mommy carry.", which sometimes sounds like "I want mommy hairy."
    Lucas and I make a joke out of it sometimes.
    Luis- 2 years 6 months




    I was coughing on the bed next to Luis. When I finished:
    Luis: Mummy, you must cover your mouth when you cough.
    And then he proceeded to put his hand on my mouth and said, "Like that."
    Why I want to record this - at this age, I find that this is an impressively long and grammar-correct sentence.
    Well done baby.
    Luis - 2 years 7 months











    "Have good principles and conduct yourself honourably"



    This is an excerpt from the eulogy given by Li Hong Yi, grandson of Lee Kuan Yew. 

    I particularly like this excerpt.
    Sometimes I am a coward at work. Not daring to speak up, not daring to verbalise my opinion when I feel someone is not doing right. I will not be this kind of person anymore. I will keep to my principles and hold my head high. I will not concern myself about not being polite, about being afraid that I will offend others. Life, after all is not worth all these little actions that waste time and are not fruitful. Be true to yourself, that is more fulfilling. If you are a honourable person, there is nothing to worry about. 

    Monday, 30 March 2015

    Proud to be a Singaporean

    Today is the funeral of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. Today is the first time that I felt the proudest and the meaningfulness of saying the Singapore pledge and singing the National Anthem. I never felt this way before when I was in school. 

    I'm always proud to be a Singaporean. With Mr Lee Kuan Yew's passing, it reminds me and reinforces my appreciation of Singapore. 
    I'm sure it is the same for many others. Let's hope that Singaporeans do not forget this intense feeling we had all week. Do not forget what this great man did to give us such a beautiful country. Do not squander his hard work. 
    Singapore is my homeland and I am so very very proud to call myself a Singaporean. Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

    Tuesday, 24 February 2015

    Mother is better today

    Some good news today, infection gone down but still very sick. Jia you. You can do it. 

    Monday, 23 February 2015

    Mother, fight!

    I know this is the worst you have ever felt. But you are a fighter, you are the strongest woman I ever know. It's a mind over body game. You can win this, mother. It may feel impossible now, but you can do it. Fight on, win it! We are all not giving up on you! 

    Saturday, 21 February 2015

    My mother's famous steamed yam cake

    Finally I made the effort to learn how to make it. So two days before CNY in 2015, I took half day leave and requested my mother to show me how. It doesn't look good in the photo, I didn't do it justice. But with fried onion and shrimps, it is soooo damn gooood. 
    In this photo you see little craters, that's because Lucas ate all the sausages that were on top of it!

    Makes 1 rectangular aluminium tin foil roughly 30 x 15 cm (the type commonly sold in ntuc). Super huge! 

    Ingredients 
    These are my agar-ations because my mother is never specific when it comes to cooking. 

    - Yam, diced, roughly 1kg +/- 200g (1 whole or 3/4 of a big one)
    - Mushroom, soaked till soft then diced, 1 rice bowl
    - Dried shrimps, 1 rice bowl
    - Rice flour, 600g (1 packet)
    - Potato starch, 6 soup spoons?
    - Garlic, diced, half a rice bowl
    - Onion, diced, half a rice bowl
    - Salt, 1 soup spoon (yes!)
    - Sugar, 1 soup spoon
    - MSG, 1 tablespoon (yes!)
    - Roughly 3 soup spoons of oil

    For garnish and to go with yam cake:
    - 1 sausage
    - Fried onion and oil
    - Fried shrimps

    How
    1) Heat a very big wok with medium fire, put oil in, fry the following in order (add in one on top of the other, not fry each separately), each one for roughly 30 sec. 
      a) Garlic
      b) Onion
      c) Mushroom
      d) Dried shrimps
      e) Yam

    2) Add enough water to cover the ingredients. 

    3) Add half a soup spoon of salt, half a soup spoon of sugar and half a tablespoon of MSG. Stir fry some more to mix it. 

    4) Cover the wok with the lid and let it simmer on low-med heat. 

    5) Using another large bowl, add rice flour, potato starch and half a tablespoon of MSG into it. 

    6) Add 7 rice bowls of water. 

    7) Mix flour mixture with hand till there are no lumps. Remove sediments if any. 

    8) Uncover the wok lid. It should look like this now. Yam should be soft - I.e. can cut with wok ladle. 

    9) Add the flour mixture to the wok and mix. 

    10) Time to bring out your muscles and mix till you get this. 

    11) Switch off the fire. Oil the tin foil and scoop the mixture in. At the top or anywhere in between if it feels too sticky or too difficult to smooth out, add oil. You can be generous with it, cos my mum says 芋头糕没油不好吃的。

    12) Garnish with sausages if desired and steam for about 1 hour. 

    13) After 1 hour insert a chopstick in. It will be soft but don't worry, it will harden when it cools down. As long as it's not sticky as if it's uncooked it will be fine. 

    You can eat it with fried onion, shrimps and sambal shrimp chilli, or you can fry it neat, with egg or with black soya sauce (like frying carrot cake), whatever fancies you. 



    Monday, 9 February 2015

    Farewell

    Today my colleague had a farewell session as she's going to the U.S. to work. During her farewell it got me thinking about how my farewell will be if I should leave one day. Something like other people's mortality makes you think of your own mortality but less morbid. 

    This colleague has friends in the office. She has two friends who are really close to her, who cried during the farewell and I'm sure again later when they bid their personal farewells. There were others who had good things to say about her. She's not close to everyone, but she's close to some.

    I'm envious. I do not have such friends at work. I'm not even sure if someone will bother to hold a farewell for me when I leave. I'm simply not the type who cares enough about people or reveal myself enough to form friendships with people at work. In the past I have been closest to Jesselin. I don't have such friends anymore at work. Simon is not the same as Jesselin. In the past at one point I felt lonely at work. Over time I've learnt to accept it. When you are a manager you have no friends. The people you work closest with cannot be your friends.  Unless you are friends with other managers, in this case it's difficult to find someone who will click with me. That's one reason if I get to land another job I would like not to be a manager anymore. 

    Anyhow I got a little sad, that's unfortunately how I am. What to do...

    Wednesday, 4 February 2015

    Conversations with Lucas

    About Bobby playing fetch
    ...
    Me: Bobby is old now so he doesn't play with the ball anymore.
    Lucas: Does Bobby play with the ball when he was new?
    ??? 
    ah... opposite of 'old' is 'new'...

    Lucas, 4.5 years

    Bobby in hospital - 2015 Jan
    Bobby had a seizure on a day that I had to fly to UK for a CLT. Before going to the airport we dropped by to visit him. I cried a lot again, then went for dinner then went back to the car which was parked outside the hospital. 

    As we walked past the hospital:
    Lucas: Mummy do you miss Bobby?
    Me: Yes. 
    Silence... Thought he will say more...
    Me: Why do you think mummy will miss Bobby?
    Lucas: Because you don't want him to stay in the hospital. 

    Lucas, 4.5 years old

    100 French fries - 2015 Feb
    Lucas likes to use '100' in his sentences. 

    Me: Did you finish the ice-cream today?
    Lucas: Yes!
    Me: Whaattt?
    Lucas: I also ate 100 French fries. 姑姑 took the chilli and I took the chetchkup ("ketchup"). (Ok it wasn't said so nicely but I can't remember the long gibberish words that were used.)

    Lucas, 4.5 years old

    Toys do not equate love
    This is actually told to my husband.

    Well done baby. 

    Lucas, 4.5 years old

    Wearing socks
    I was in the shower and Lucas came outside the door and called me:
    Lucas: Mummy
    Me: Yes baby
    Lucas: I wore one sock on my own. 
    Me: Very good baby. 
    And then he was gone, wearing the second sock probably. 

    Sometimes it's necessary to remind yourself that these seemingly little things are considered milestones for children. I record it here not because he wore a sock on his own but because I could lead feel he was very proud and wanted to quickly share it with me. 

    Lucas, 4 years 11 months
    2015 July 11


    Massage chair for mommy
    Lucas' birthday was coming soon.
    Ah Ma: 你的生日要什么礼物?
    Lucas: 我按摩椅.
    Ah Ma:  按摩椅? 为什么按摩椅?
    Lucas: 因为妈妈常常背痛.


    Lucas, 4 years 11 months
    2015 July


    I miss you mummy
    I was sorting out the toys at night with the boys in Lucas' room, in an attempt to get them to give away some toys because the house is too messy. Luis went to bed after a while and Lucas was playing with some toys on the bed. I was sorting in progress when...

    Lucas: Actually I missed you when you took the aeroplane to buy Hanuta.
    He was referring to my business trip to Europe 2 months ago.
    Lucas: When I showed you SG50 (frankly I don't remember...) and then you showed us the Hanutas and Luis said "too much Hanuta...".

    Lucas is a sensitive boy, I appreciate that he expresses his feelings to me. Hopefully he will stay this way as he grows up. And of course I felt so touched.

    Lucas, 4 years 11 months
    2015 August 2nd, Sunday night 9.30pm