Real conversations that took place between my CEO and me today

1.

Him: I just realised that you are one of the few people in this company who are not friends with me on Facebook. Therefore…*sends me a friend request*
Me: *turns to look at him* I verbally decline your friend request.
Him: You’re mean.

2.

Me: Would you tell me to fuck off if I…
Him: (interrupts) Fuck off.
Me: (totally unfazed) If I asked you to pay half of my mobile phone bill because I’m always having to make work-related phone calls on my personal phone? (We don’t have a landline.)
Him: Okay.

Yeah, we are weirdly this comfortable with each other…

Sometimes things don’t come full circle

Well, if you’re like me, you cry over it a bit. It’s just inevitable. Then you contemplate, make lists in your head and on paper, check your bank balance…

And buy a plane ticket to Tokyo.

That’s right. God-willing, come February, over my highly coveted 4-day Chinese New Year weekend + the following week, I will find myself on sushi and sashimi land. And you best believe I would eat all of it.

So sometimes things don’t come full circle. Draw a new line.

Water races down the waterfall

I have finally stopped listening to Hozier long enough to listen to one of the other two albums I downloaded recently – Damien Rice’s My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Just like Hozier’s album, there isn’t a single bad song on this album. Not a one. Damien Rice is BACK.

These two are currently taking turns being on replay. You’ve got to be in the right (read: blah) mood to listen to them though, or it’s got to be raining outside, which it is every day these days. They are depressing as hell, a la all the songs Rachael Yamagata has ever written.

Last weekend I went, for the first time in my life, to a karaoke bar with some friends. It was a riot. One of my friends was able to pull the high notes to Sia and David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’. Crazy! Me, I’m better at the lower notes. They all said I killed at Rihanna’s ‘Stay’. Well, course I did. I’ve had so much practice singing that song.

I work a lot. Who knew I could be such a workaholic? I certainly didn’t! I’m up for a raise come January but I don’t know how much for, so I want to make myself look as good as possible, hoping that the pay rise will commensurate with my level of gung ho-ness. Heh.

We’re playing Secret Santa. Seeing as I’m in charge of operations, yeah, it was me who came up with the idea. I think it’s okay because I’m not associating religion with it. Who’s even associating X’mas with it? Santa is Santa and Secret Santa is fun! I used DrawNames and today we were assigned our recipient. I got a guy whose wishlist states:

1) Surprise me
2) Video games

Really? The price limit is $20. What video game can I get for $20? He’s so annoying. Maybe I’ll get him a $20 voucher to an Apple store. He stole my Macbook charger from underneath my desk and when I found out I just about had a conniption fit. (As an aside, I used the phrase ‘conniption fit’ in an email to the team recently and it was him who told me to “ease up on the SAT words”. He had to look up ‘conniption’ in the dictionary. Ha! I was so proud of myself.) Though when I found out that someone else had stolen his charger, I was sorry I got so mad. Hehe. Macbook chargers are like $100 apiece though. Not like my $20 would help that much. We’ll see.

I wonder who got me and what they will get for me! Here’s my very specific wishlist, because I know what I want and I’m helpful like that:

1) A book called Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth (the tv show is SO GOOD!)
2) Gift card for a coffee shop (anywhere but Starbucks)
3) Gift card for Sephora
4) The best chef’s knife $20 can buy
5) A nonstick doughnut pan
6) Any brand earphones (not earbuds) with a mic
7) Voucher for Cold Storage (only my favourite supermarket because it carries all the fancy imported shit I love)

My Indonesian vacation is less than a month away. I’ve decided that I will not go snorkelling after all, which is silly considering we are going to Lombok. But I’ve not yet reached a stage where I can face my aquaphobia. Maybe one day. In the meantime I’ll just see the photos and listen to the stories, I guess.

It’s a crime that she’s not around most of the time

The other night I had a dream about my cousin F. He died in January, three months shy of his 25th birthday. I ran into him someplace, and immediately asked to kiss his cheek. He didn’t hesitate. He let me kiss his cheek. He was an adult in the dream; I never would kiss his cheek in real life and he never would have let me. Dreams though, eh?

I’ve been dreaming of him lately. I’ve been thinking about him a lot, maybe that’s why. Recently, after a hard day at work, I basically got home and wept for him for hours. When I’m having a hard day, all the things I’ve ever been sad about come to the surface. I’m perpetually sad about mum, so mum always comes up first. Since he died, cousin F has been coming up second.

I never wrote about it then. In fact, I only mentioned his death two months later on this blog. But the second time I visited him in the hospital – after we all knew that his parents had come to a decision to turn off his ventilator the next day – when everyone had said their last goodbyes to him and left, I, too, tried to leave. Only I couldn’t bring myself to. I knew that the next time I saw him would be at his funeral. I held his cold hand in my hand and sobbed until I shook. Until all I could see was my own tears. I had only ever cried that way for mum.

His brother gripped my hand. His mother – Aunt Y, the aunt I hadn’t spoken to in five years – hugged me and kissed me on my cheek. “I haven’t kissed you in years.” I didn’t speak for a very long time. I just cried and cried. When I eventually did speak, the words came out garbled. I had to say it twice. “I remember when he used to sit on mum’s lap.” Aunt Y smiled. “Your mother loved him dearly. I’ll bet you he’s already on her lap right now.” It doesn’t work that way, but the things we say to comfort ourselves…

Cousin F was very affectionate with my mother. Whenever we gathered at my grandmother’s, he always ended up sitting on my mother’s lap. Aunt Y would nag him to get off of her, that he was too old, but my mum would defend him and say, “I don’t mind! He’s so light anyway.”

At age 13, cousin F was diagnosed with a benign tumour on his pituitary gland. The pituitary gland makes very different hormones, one of them being the growth hormone. As a result he stopped growing in height at about five feet, and he couldn’t put on weight. My mum didn’t mind her 15-year-old nephew sitting on her lap because she could barely feel him.

When cousin F was a little kid, he was obsessed with toy buses. His favourite one was a red double-decker one, I remember. He would push it around the house, making up stories as he went along. One time he even included the toilet on his ‘route’. At the time my grandma was still living in her old flat with a squat toilet. Everyone went ballistic on him because he could have fallen into the hole. It was so funny. He never did it again.

As I sobbed I only saw those two images in my mind. Him as a little kid, pushing his toy bus around the house, and him as a teenager, sitting on my mother’s lap. How could that little kid I grew up with be lying in a hospital bed, connected to a dozen tubes, pale, cold, and barely alive? How did we get here? He was robbed of a normal teenhood and a normal adulthood and now, at age 24 years and nine months, he was going to die? How was that fair?

Ten months on and I still ask why. Hell, ten years on since mum died and I still ask why. It doesn’t get me anywhere. It’s not meant to. It’s just human. For some reason these things happened and I will feel the repercussions forever. So I do.

Chocolate Waffles

For years I waffled on getting a waffle maker (see what I did there?). Reason being, a waffle maker is a unitasker. I didn’t need more clutter in my kitchen. The desire to own one would come and go and I always managed to suppress it. That is, until a few weeks ago, when I found myself suddenly thinking about owning a waffle maker, and I continued thinking about it like it was my job. I started googling and I found a cheap one that’s more than a waffle maker. It’s also a panini press and a sandwich maker. A panini press! How could I not?!

So now I am the proud owner of a waffle maker/panini press/sandwich maker. I have yet to try the panini press and sandwich maker bits, but the waffle maker has been used twice and it’s pretty solid. I only wish it would beep at me when the waffles are cooked instead of the light simply turning green. I’m busy in the kitchen, you know. I can’t always be watching it. But I digress.

Let’s talk about waffles. What kind do you like? And more importantly, how do you eat your waffles? (Real!) maple syrup and butter is the way I go.

Sadly though, today’s waffles did not get to bathe in maple syrup. I’d run out and so had the supermarket. Luckily these chocolate waffles are good enough on their own!

Chocolate Waffles

The recipe comes from Gale Gand’s Brunch, kindly shared by Will It Waffle. I like that they are not overly sweet. You know I’m not a fan of sugary stuff. The centres are so fluffy thanks to the egg whites that are whipped stiff.

The rogue non-chocolate waffle is from last week’s batter using a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The recipe also calls for a separation of the eggs and super stiff egg whites. Waffles with crispy edges and fluffy centres? What more could you ask from a waffle? This is a recipe to use forever and ever, amen!

I love my waffle maker.

Edit: At jennanolten‘s request, here is a pic of my magic machine!

magic

No tired sigh, no rolling eyes, no irony, no “who cares”, no vacant stare, no time for me

I am this loving this song so hard right now. It’s all I’ve been listening to since I woke up.

My work day was so good I want to weep thinking about it. Everything went so smoothly and nobody annoyed me for even a second. Every day should be like this!

Yesterday was great too. My boss gave me so many fist bumps for multiple jobs well done. I asked him if he was glad he hired me. He said, “Sometimes.” Pffft.

I am mostly happy here. It’s a wonderful feeling.

It was over my head, I know nothing at all

Last night I dreamed that I was being attacked and chased by people I was trying to help. I don’t know those people in real life, but something like that did happen in real life recently – minus the physical attack. Yeah, I’ve discovered that some people are just not worth my time and effort.

This morning I made waffles with my new waffle maker. I bought a new vacuum cleaner too. But my new home appliances deserve their own post. It seems unlikely, but my new home appliances are actually worth expatiating on. Anyway, I can now make waffles at home. I browned the butter so carefully it came out the most beautiful shade of brown; I whipped the egg whites so stiff until I could do this.

stiff

The other night I finally decided to take the wall clock I bought in Paris two and a half years ago, out of its very dusty box. It’s very cheesy, it has the Eiffel Tower on it. I don’t know why I decided to take it out now… But you know what? It doesn’t even work. I thought my battery was dead. I replaced it with a fresh one – still doesn’t work. Figures, doesn’t it? My Paris clock won’t move. It makes total and complete sense, really.

An online friend whom I stayed with when I went to NYC in 2008, and whom I met again for a brief moment in Paris one year ago, emailed me saying she would like to come to Singapore in February. One week ago I knew how – and where – I was going to spend my Chinese New Year 4-day weekend plus the week after, and that place wasn’t Singapore. But now…now I’ll take a guest in my home, sure.