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:

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

  • 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. 

    - 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. 

    Dried chrysanthemum flowers
    Rock sugar 

    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



    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?