Thursday, August 23, 2007

This only works with comfortable shoes

This is going to be one of those days...I can tell.

It's not going to be bad exactly, just frantic and tiring.

I have an audit and a hearing and masses of work that's screaming to get done.

But it's better than one of those days where there is just such poison in the air, where various people tell me the variously bad things others have done to them. Whether it's real or imagined slights, it's still exhausting and poisonous and I feel like I just don't want anything to do with it.

I leave work on days like that with a chest full of poison and exhaustion. But am unable to get into a tram and face other people...all with faces like mine.

So no matter how cold the night it, I walk and walk....across town, in the direction of home but avoiding people and looking at bright lights, the reflection of lights on the Yarra river, clothes, makeup...anything but people.

I walk until I'm exhausted and the poison is drained.

By the time I get home, my heart is pumping, my body is warm and best of mind is clear.

People will always be people. And sometimes, when people have insisted on being well...human, the only way is to walk things off and try to come home with a clear mind and heart.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Bitten by a whale shark

So anyway, I was at the gym doing my usually huffing and puffing thing and I tune into the nice TV they've got in front to distract people from the pain of physical activity and this show, "Thirty things to do in Australia before you die" comes on.

Item No. 3 (I think it was 3, I sort of lost count), was swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Axmouth, Western Australia. So of course the National Geographic channel watching, NG magazine reading NERD me goes...oh wow.

Because whale sharks are just so rare. People could look for them for days, months, weeks and not find them. They're quiet, stealthy creatures that feed on plankton and ghost through the oceans sucking up tiny organisms and being thoroughly unobtrusive. (And yes these facts are off the top of my heard, from the NG article I read at least 5 years ago.)

Axmouth is one of the few places on earth where they can be seen with any kind of regularity at all and apparently, they have to send out a spotter plane for hours ahead of your boat to find the shark so that you can swim alongside it and just be near one of the ocean's greatest creatures for 5 minutes.

I want to swim with the whale sharks and see them for myself and be near that kind of awesome vastness.

I've spent my whole life in urban Singapore lying on my couch (reading NG of course!) and dreaming of stuff like that and now that I realize one of those pipe dreams can really be done, I just can't wait.

Realistically, I know I won't be able to do it for quite a few years because any enterprise that requires a spotter plane is going to cost if not a bomb,then at least a grenade,but now that I know it can be done, I want to do it.

There is this crazy conversation going on in my head right now between City Me and Adventure Me.

City Me (screaming): " You can't do that! You must be crazy, it'll cost a bomb and you might get killed"

Adventure Me(dreamy tone):" I can see whale the wild...AND its not that far from where I am now..."

City Me: " It's going to cost a bomb! You might as well buy ten LV bags with the money! What's wrong with you?Why not set some some designer bag or Tiffany jewellery as a target instead of some mad scheme!You don't even know how to scuba dive and the water will be freezing!!!"

Adventure Me: " Let's go see how much it costs then maybe I'll stay in Australia an extra year...... and go by myself even if my other city friends won't come with me......."


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Of Aunts and Cakes

One is seldom moved by a blog post, much less a food blog. But today I read a post that moved me almost to tears and made me think of my aunts and of home.

The blog name is Tea and Cookies and a more appropriate name for a cosy heart and tummy warming blog, I couldn't think of. One post in particular, " In Rome, with Aunt Angela" really warmed me to the tips of my toes.

Here's an extract:

"But still, as I bake my walnut cake I think of her. In my secret dream life I get to live in Rome (and why not?). I wake up in the morning to a brilliant blue sky and make my cake, mixing the egg whites, the sugar, the nuts. And when it is finished and cooled I wrap it up and take it down the street to where Aunt Angela lives, still hale and hearty. We sit and have tea and eat our cake, talking and chattering away (in my dream life I speak beautiful Italian). And when I say something particularly funny (I am very funny in Italian), she lays her worn hand on top of mine and smiles at me."

One of my aunts threw a small dinner party for me before I left Singapore, needless to say, all my other aunts showed up with more food and dessert in tow than I could possibly finish in a week of dinner parties. (Isn't that just what aunts always do?)We sat in her tiny condo speaking a polyglot mix of Teochew dialect, Bahasa Indonesian and Mandarin Chinese and happily digging into all that glorious food. One aunt who happened to have a prior dinner appointment that night, came before her other appointment, ostensibly just to sit and chat and wound up eating a full dinner anyway. I don't recall all the things that were eaten that night, apart from an amazingly simple and delicious fried chicken dish, but I think I'll always remember that evening and how wonderful just being with family can be.

I've included my 6th aunt's fried chicken recipe below and its simplicity still astounds me even as I'm reviewing it.

My aunt's ridiculously simple fried chicken recipe

I kilogram of chicken wings
1/2 a tablespoon of salt
2-3 tablespoons of ground ginger powder

1)Marinade the chicken with the salt and ginger powder for at least 3 hours (overnight marinading yields the best results). Be careful with the salt because for some reason, with this dish, the salt goes a long way as the fluid from the chicken is released in cooking.

2)Heat oil in a wok over medium heat until oil is hot. This is a deep fried dish, so be sure to use plenty of oil, enough to cover most of each chicken wing.

3)Fry the chicken in batches till cooked through.

Alternatively, the marinaded chicken can always be roasted if deep frying is considered too unhealthy or too much of a hassle. The result is also good, yielding a crunchy,tasty chicken wing as well, but will be understandably less oily.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Beautiful cake and beautiful people

It's a lazy saturday morning so I decided to stick up one of my birthday pics. Here's my cell group and I at Meiji Japanese restaurant with the gorgeous cake that Rowena (second row, middle) baked for me. It looks like it came from a shop but it doesn't! She did it all by herself...and it tasted fabulous!I don't know why we all look so flushed, it could be just my camera settings but then again maybe it's the excitement of being near a fabulous cake that we're all about to eat *grin*.