food. places. people. things. ramblings

Christmas 2012

Today is Christmas.

I’m not feeling very Christmassy. There is no tree in the house.

The tree is spending its Christmas in its box, in the storeroom. Just like last year. And the year before. Oops.

It’s not that we do not want to put up the tree. It’s just that in its place in the living room are some other clutter things.

Besides, we were so busy the past week, I could hardly breathe.

Ok, excuses.


Not all excuses. I was really busy baking.

Making cupcakes, cake pops and cakes for people who have placed orders for the goodies to share their joy and celebratory mood with their loved ones.


It’s hard to imagine that of all the baking and time I spent in the kitchen, none, I repeat NONE of those are for people I treasure – my family, my friends.

I have the habit of not making wastage, which means no extras, and no room for mistakes.

It didn’t quite dawn on me when I was planning my bakes earlier, that I would have no extras. I was just focused on getting all my orders done without having a pair of hands that feel disconnected to my body – which means I have to be most energy-efficient.

However, when I was down to making my last cake pop and decorating my last cake, it really struck me that all I had was ONE miserable cake pop, which I had used for trial decoration, and eventually went into my stomach.

I had to do some taste QC every now and then, don’t I?

And savouring its goodness reminded me why customers want to order from me and gave me back my sanity (which sometimes get sucked away while  making many cake pops) again.

So, back to having no extras. I was faced with the rude shock that I had no log cakes, no Christmas cookies, no Christmas whatever for Christmas. Buying a log cake wasn’t really on my mind since I really like the one I make.

It’s about the recipe, not about me.


On the eve of Christmas eve, what was supposed to be a few hours of nap turned out to be a mad rush to get to town to catch a movie (thanks to Mr D’s online booking mistake). I was happy to find the place nicely decorated, people taking pictures, stores blasting Christmas carols and everyone in a festive mood.


Then I got a little depressed. We have no Christmas party, no gifts to give, no gifts to receive. We are pathetic. We neverused to have big celebrations in the past anyway, but at least we did something, just to join in the festive mood. What used to be a time for bigger paychecks with bonuses and irrational spending for me (when I was working for others), just got very sane and down to earth, as it had gotten in the past 2 years.

I could have reduced my depression by buying some presents there and then for my friends. But, I don’t want to do so without time for thought. Fact is, some friends have also drifted away and the friendship just isn’t the same any more.


We decided to get some toys for Mr D’s nieces and nephew. But in the end, we did not find anything suitable (not even in the toy fair at Takashimaya!) and continued searching the next day, where we found something great in Toys ‘ R Us. After spending some time wrapping them myself, I felt more lifted.


Since the year was coming to an end, I also kept thinking about what has happened in the past 12 months.


Earlier this year, my aunt passed away peacefully, due to old age.


Then, my cousin’s son lost his battle with cancer a few weeks back. What struck and stuck in everyone’s minds was that he was only 32, a year younger than me. When diagnosed, he was already in the final stage of the disease.


A stark reminder to everyone that age is not a factor for mortality.


Some time ago, I went to his place to visit him, together with my parents. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive of the type of atmosphere we would be in when visiting him and talking about his illness. Will we all end up in tears and having everyone awkward? I kept reminding myself just to be normal. I guessed the last thing anyone in that situation would want is a sorry look on my face and sympathy. Instead, we should be lending support in ways we can.


But he was (at least appeared to be) quite cheerful. Maybe resigned to fate would be a better description.


We talked as-a-matter-of-factly about his diagnosis, treatments, about movies and other stuff. We joked about the water in his (collapsed) lungs and he told me perhaps his illness was not that bad a thing after all, because since his diagnosis, he had been having home cooked meals everyday, while prior to that, his mother never cooked.

Perhaps it was his sociable character, it was really enjoyable to talk to him.


That was perhaps the reason why he had so many friends turning up at his funeral. At a corner, they also placed a Mac running a slideshow of his pictures, and many albums which contained pictures of his life. They celebrated his life, and were relieved that he had ended his suffering. At the same time, of course, it was hard to see him go.


This is the part of life I am beginning to really hate. Someone put us here, just so that we have a life, but then we are human beings and we have attachments. And everything that lives will die. It is even more painful to see people you love go. If I could choose, I won’t want the pain, so don’t put me here in the first place.


It’s part of life, everyone says.


So if you asked me what I think about those people who stock up on necessities in anticipation of the Mayan’s prediction of the apocalypse on 21 Dec, their actions simply do not make sense to me. Why would they want to be surviving if the rest of the world is gone? I would not. In fact, if there is an apocalypse, I just want to die with everyone else. There won’t be pain for anyone then.

But then again, everyone’s take on life is not the same too, so to each his own.


It’s also in these last few years that I realise, what sticks in people’s minds even after they are gone, is really how you treat them, or others. It’s not about how you appear to treat people, who you appear to be, how much wealth you have, but who you really are.


And my Christmas wish for everyone during this time, is:


– Find time to be alone and spend time with yourself. We need to look within to know who we are and to find peace in our minds.

– Read. Think. Listen and talk less.

– Think before you talk. Or tweet. Or email. Or comment on that Facebook post. You know what I mean. Always not thinking before doing so and making empty comments just make you an empty vessel.

– Breathe deeply and smell the air.

– Smile.

– World peace. No, I am not Miss Universe. But really, peace is the best thing.


Merry Christmas everyone!

Looking forward to a good 2013.



NOTE: My old posts still remain at My Baking Blog and my collection of recipes is still available at My Baking Recipes.
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