mental indigestion

Haiku #1: Ode to GED February 25, 2009

Filed under: In a blur — mel @ 11:42 pm

with nothing left to

possess our souls and silence

what is our value


Before it wears off February 21, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration — mel @ 10:09 am


So I did manage to scoot off somewhere on my own and I did rest a whole lot there, going to bed around 9pm every night with naps in the late morning and afternoon (where there is no access to TV or laptop, the human body knows when to rest). Even then, I still couldn’t quite escape being the typical task-driven Singaporean, because I would book an activity or two each day, be it a cooking class or a spa treament or a cycling tour. “Wow, you like to be beezy beezy Ms Mehraine,” the cheeky reception guy would say every morning when I trotted over to choose my to-do thing. So yes, I guess I still don’t quite know how to do/be nothing yet, but slowing down already proves to be such a stark contrast to the usual life.

I saw a different side of Bali in Ubud – a quieter sort of getaway compared to the frenzied beaches of Kuta and Nusa Dua and this has made me like the place a whole lot better. The last time I was there, I was on this super-defensive framework of “I don’t want to get ripped off” and of course I felt I was. This time, I felt a little more generous with tips because I knew the staff around me were working hard but struggling with slower business, though I did draw the line when  the hotel chauffeur beseeched me to go “shoppings for present”.

I liked cycling around the area best – though embarassingly enough, a little van had to rescue me while going upslope because I was practically wheezing midway. (“Ha ha Ms Mehraine you are funny!”). But breezing by downslope through the sleepy villages waking up in the morning and glistening rice padi fields was almost magical,  like an amusement park ride but so much better. This is a rather gimmicky thing to say, but I can only describe this in touristy terms since I was just a passing guest there.

Reality hit home the minute I returned with a bad stomach (ironically, I suspect, from the coconut milk laden dessert  I had prepared during my cooking class) and the usual insurmountable list of things that needed to be done. Nevertheless, I’m still very thankful to have that little breath of fresh air, no matter how short-lived. I know my mind has cleared somewhat – because one obvious indicator that I am less stressed is that I’m more sociable – and within the next few days of being back, I became acquainted with a few unlikely strangers and had some really random, connected conversations with them. So before the window of “leave-me-alone-I’m-overwhelmed” oblivion closes in again, let me just remember that such breaks are good.


Signs that…. February 8, 2009

Filed under: Life in general — mel @ 11:34 am

Things are wearing out

– Chomping on sticky chewy toffee causes front tooth to chip. Disturbingly, I actually ate that chipped part thinking I had a sandy candy (made in China what) and then only realising the little hole in front later. I ran to the dentist wailing (I’ve had repeated nightmares on this and it really happened. This is the 2nd tooth-based nightmare to come true) and he was kind of biting his lip trying not to laugh as he patched it up with white filling. I eat apples with my incisors now.

– Drinking just a teensy weensy bit of alcohol gives the tonne-of-bricks kind of headache the next day, even if it’s just a sip without getting anywhere near remotely high. That’s not fair!

Times are bad

– A security guard beseeches us not to put our handbags behind our backs at a restuarant because “there are lots of pickpockets now”.

– A  lady carrying a huge bag hounds me for $8. Ausipicious number, I guess.

– Jewellery sales staff are biting their nails while standing outside their shops.

– Not enough seats during church service.


Engineer Cuisine February 2, 2009

Filed under: Kay poh recommendations — mel @ 8:44 pm

Up to now, I’m still not much of a cook even though I have amassed quite a collection of recipe books and even a Larousse Gastronomique, which is really a treasure trove of useless but fascinating information. [For example, did you know that the rare Mouflon is a wild sheep from Corsica and Sardinia and is an ancestor of the domestic sheep?]

I realise that the only bits of cooking techniques I recall are from home economics class, what Julia taught me  and select snippets from cooking shows that zoom in very close when they chop things. 

This is why I think Cooking for Engineers rocks – detailed step by step photos and timeline tables in all their glory. I’ve tried making Garlic Roasted Potatoes (D’s craving) and Corn Fritters (my craving) without much confusion (except for the slight mayhem those popping corn kernels caused). 

The guy who created this magnificent website stays in San Francisco. Olduvai you should make friends with him.