Saturday, June 18, 2011

Behind Closed Doors - a post dedicated to any and every one

You can't tell everything from what you see on the outside.

Sure, you might try to guess...
Well-groomed. Neatly dressed. Got her act together, you reckon.
His image is important to him. The right smile. The right nod of the head. All diplomatic. Must be a corporate figure. Comfortable lifestyle.

But you don't see the terror of yet another biopsy. Another diagnosis. The CT scan. The MRI. The fear of losing a part of the body in order to save the life. The dread of going through another dialysis. The pain, constant. unrelenting. The wish for it to ease up, just for one night? Sickness has no respect for people. Disease does not choose who to declare war on.

Simple. Nothing fancy. No make-up. Same tee-shirts. Same hairstyle since 13 years old. I don't have time for frivolities. I'm holding up, that's good enough, isn't it? At least I'm reliable. Life has to go on. I'm just a regular guy. Take me as I am, you say?

But I'm angry with you. With the world. With life. With God, even. It's unfair. Why should I have to have so much dished out to me! Why should I be the one to be given so much to bear? Why do I get the lousy deal? Why do I get shelved, snubbed, ignored, deleted like a statistic? What is there in my future? Tomorrow will be the same!

I'm creative. I'm interesting. I'm unique. I stand out in the crowd. I won't be run-of-the-mill. I love being me? Is that what you're looking at? Is that what I'm portraying?
But the panic when ideas don't run overwhelms. Others rising around me. The feeling of redundancy. The dreadful thought of being labelled a has-been. A once-upon-a-time. I am obsolete!

I'm solid. Disciplined. You can lean on me. But at my time. Don't mess about with me. I know what I want. I know where I'm going. Everything has a place and everything in its place.

But the shame, oh the shame of a wayward child. The slap in the face because of the spouse turned 'player'. The knowing looks of relatives. The odd but merely nosey call from someone who's never called before. The louder than necessary laugh at my effort to joke.

I'm down-to-earth. I think of the future. I've got it in the plans. No need to overspend now. Live within my means. Pragmatism is my second name. My time will come. For now, I'm taking each day as it comes.
But it takes just one blow to destroy my plans. Just one quake to crumble my world. Just one harsh conflict to make me want to abandon ship.

I'm just little-ol' me. Humble-ol'-me. Don't-want-you-looking-at-me me. That's-just-the-way I-am me. I'll-venture-out of-my-way-once-in-a-while, but-I'll-quickly-be-back-to-my-safe-space me.
Oh, but the coldness of loneliness. Winter all year round. Singing the blues but who's there to hear?

Listen up. Nobody's gonna tell me what to do. I do as I please. I dress as I please. I go against the grain of everything normal. A rebel if that's what you wanna think. Ear-rings and studs here. Make that ear-ring. A tattoo there. Yes, there. I didn't ask you to like it. I didn't ask you to like it there. I didn't ask you to look there.
Who gives you the right to judge me? Were you there when I was manhandled? When my innocence was destroyed, my vulnerability crushed? Can you hear me still screaming inside?

me? are you looking at me? i'm sweet. and considerate. and romantic. i notice the details. i'll make your house homey. there'll be warm meals ready for you. i'll love you through thick and thin. you won't be neglected. you can count on me. won't you love me? what'll it take for you to love me? wait. what'll it take for you to even notice me?

I've made it. I'm part of the in crowd. I'm cool. I'm happening. I won't be left behind. I refuse to be a nerd. A geek.

But would you know I am in debt? Can you see my books not balancing? Can you see me sleepless in the nights desperately thinking of ways out? Can you feel the walls closing in and the difficulty to breathe? The despair?

You pass me by at the work place and I greet you as usual. Morning!
Shallow salutations?

You meet me after some time has passed. Look at you! You look the same! Your hair!
Wow, you've lost weight! I love your shoes!
Nylon niceties?

You meet me at the gym. At church. At college. At the airport. At the mall. How are you?
Plastic pleasantries?

So I've set up fences to keep you away. Even pretty ones hoping maybe you won't see.

I'm growing thorns briars thistles anything so that maybe you'll find me obnoxious enough to not come near.

I've set up a gate even. But I don't see the futility of it myself.

I've withdrawn, don't you know?

I need space between us, don't you see?

I'm deliberately being cold and hard-hearted.

But you still see the light inside.
You still choose to look for me.
You choose to sit with me.
Have a cuppa.
Probe gently.
Listen with your heart.
Feel with me.

Eventhough it-
Takes time.
Messes up your schedule.
Startles you with intricate details you don't want to know.

You might need to come again.
You might have to have your hands get dirty.
You might be stretched.
My burdens you might have to bear.
My heartache you might have to carry with you.

You might feel spent.
And worse, you might get bitten.

But you do it anyway. Why?

Maybe because I-you-he-she-any-every one has worth? Maybe because no one should ever be counted as a write-off?

Wish I could always remember this.

All pictures taken on a short trip to South Island, New Zealand (April 2011).

Do you have a comment on this post? Please leave it in the comment section.
If you want to become a follower of this blog, sign up under the follower list on the upper, right hand side (you do not need to sign up if you already have). It will help me notify you of blog updates so you don't have to keep checking.
For any personal mail, you can contact me at
A big thank to my followers and regular readers who have continued to encourage me even as I have tried to write all posts from my heart.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spaghetti Ugli Betti (otherwise entitled Why this is not a food blog)

I don't know why people don't believe me when I say I hate to cook. A few have even suggested I do a food blog like in the Julie and Julia movie! waht?! I mean, what?! (I was so shocked I couldn't even think straight!)

If anything at all, this post is to convince you why a food blog is unthinkable to me. If anything at all, this blog post should be called "How not to cook...".

There we were at a small potluck reunion of ol' gal friends. Potlucks scare the daylights out of me. You will recall the last disaster I

So I quickly asked if I could bring fruit..



At this potluck, someone had made a spaghetti dish that sounded like Spaghetti ala Ugly with Oreos. Or somethin'somethin'. (See? I don't even bother with what the dish is called.) It was yummy!

And here's my story. Just two days later, I came across a cool way of cooking spaghetti. You must understand that cooking is a terribly terribly boring chore for me. Something has to be creative, unusual, cookable and grab my attention for me to actually consider making it.

I'll call my dish Spaghetti Ugli Betti. So fun I had to try it out!


Look closer...

Eh? What's wrong with your eyes today? (Sorry, that's the only photo I took.) Can you see how the spaghetti is going through the sausage? How fun is that!! squeal! But that's all they showed us - an unusual way of cooking the pasta. Now what?

From this time on, I start improvising. Remember? Improve + otherwise = Improvise.

I chopped up some garlic and onions.

Then of course I had to add in vegetables since it was gonna be my kind of dish - a one-dish meal, all thrown in. I always try to have some vegetables. The first thing I found in the fridge was pumpkin (pumpkin in spaghetti? Nehhhh...unheard of. Even I wouldn't think of it).

I found one sad-looking stalk of celery, and a chilli that was saying, "Pick me! Pick me! I've been cold and lonely in here!"

Pathetic. But those'll have to do.

See how I cut the celery neatly when it suddenly occurred to me hey! this could be a blog post? Normally, it would just be chopchopI'mdonewhat'snextwhydoesitneedtobe prettyanyway whenit'lljustbegobbleddowninfiveminutes?

First I fried the garlic and onion in a wok. With butter. Normally I'd just use oil but decided on butter because someone once said on facebook somewhere about butter being able to solve the world's problems or somethin' (ok, not the world's problems but for sure, she was singing the praises of butter).

Then I just added in the celery, chilli and the cooked spaghetti. Stir-fried the whole thing, added a little soya sauce, tossed in a little fried shallots, and I was done.

Spaghetti Ugli Betti

Two guinea-pig daughters were at home to try my experiment.

One daughter made a face when she saw it.

The other daughter said, "Nice. How'd you do that?" (she was talking about the spaghetti-through-sausage thing, not the dish as a whole).

* I tried making the spaghetti with fatter sausages some days later (since your vision was blur earlier on, and I'm nice like that). Here are the pictures.

From this...

To these...
This time I found carrots, french beans, anchovies and chilli paste...look at the noodles going through the sausage!

Oh, the dish still didn't taste any greater.

I don't know why people don't believe me when I say I hate to cook.


1. Should I call my dish Spaghetti Ugli Betti or Spaghetti Electric Cables?
2. Should I start a food blog called "How not to cook"?

Oh, don't forget the giveaway from the previous post....deadline 20th June 2011.

Do leave a comment in the comment section of this blog post. I love reading and replying to each of them! Also, if you sign up as a follower (on the right side of the blog page), I believe it will automatically update you each time there is a post. Thank you to all who have been reading and commenting on this blog! Really appreciate you :)