Monday, October 24, 2011
It's been about 1 month since I've started at my new workplace. In summary... I'm on a ridiculously steep learning curve.
I've had 1 traumatic event, which happened to be my first ever case done as an employee. That sure was scarring, but I learnt valuable lessons: to not be intimidated, to find ways out from being cornered to give solutions.
And then though i had expressed reservations about working with a certain population of folks, i'm now working with them and I must say they are generally a delightful bunch once you can engage them.
There have been times that i mentally try to plan an escape route for myself... I entertain strange thoughts like running away to work in a cafe, run away to be employed in something less taxing on the social front... Things like that. Because things can get so hard. In the initial weeks, I was really shaking in my shoes, worried that I'll be assigned a counselee. I felt like I wasn't ready, I felt indescribably anxious. I was a wreck behind my desk. Stressed, worried, desperately praying, fearful, feeling inadequate. You name it.
To some extent, my anxiety has lessened... and I'm not sure if it's because my self psycho-ing is working or whether it's because I'm suppressing my fear. I've written out all the words of encouragement and prayer that people have given me and stuck them on my cubicle walls. I read them and meditate on them when I'm afraid. I have to constantly tell myself that I want to love my job, i'm just here to help, I'm just here to love, just here to be human to another human being. I want my life's purpose to be in sync with my job, and I want to see it as part of my life and not separate.
I knew this was a journey with the Lord, my choices have all along been made with the intention of following the Lord's guidance. I also knew that this wasn't an easy path to take, but I know that the Lord has meant for me to be here, right now. That's the thing that gives me the assurance to carry on and to carry on in good faith that He will protect me and lead me through no matter what.
I know that it's not an easy path to take because i began with the understanding that it's part of God's plan to mould me. And as we all know, a moulding and refining process is never easy. Hence the struggling. I'm faced with my personal fears every day. Which would explain my heightened levels of anxiety.
Yet looking back, i think i've come some way. About 2 years ago, i was way more anxious. While I waited for a student to walk in for counselling, I was in a state of near panic. I would be getting sweaty palms, elevated heart rate, racing thoughts. I remember jumping in my seat every time i heard the sound of the lift landing at the floor I was on.
I don't feel that kind of panic now, but i do still feel pretty stressed. So i take the time to examine my thoughts and try to plant more helpful thoughts in my head to stop myself from over thinking and reacting.
So yeah. This has been the state of affairs. Some might think i'm being too hard on myself. Maybe I am. I guess it's because i just don't want to hurt anyone. I just want to get better at what i do so that I would be able to bring more help than confusion.
Lord. Let me know that You are near. That I'm never alone in that counselling room. You are the greatest counsellor who ever lived and who still lives. Help me to love your people just like you do, and attend to their deepest needs wherever they are at. Help me to grow and mature, and to sharpen my skills so that I can help bring light to what has been in darkness. I'm determined to walk through this because you have ordained this so. Lord, have your way! In Jesus's precious name I pray, Amen.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Y will be going to HK for a work stint and though we don't meet up as often as we should, the months that she will be away will be felt, honestly. So we decided to have a girly meet up over tea and delicious bites at this place called Arteastiq at Mandarin Gallery.
|The 2SC10 Library Gang|
|Y's Ginger spice tea. It has a good ginger kick! Me like. Comes with biscuit, milk and sugar cubes.|
|That's where the good spice kick comes from|
|Lychee... something... Can't remember. I just remember thinking that everything was presented so prettily.|
|The wrap, upclose.|
|Monkeying around as usual.|
I'd say the food isn't cheap and for bigger eaters, you might find the portions a little wanting. Which is why ordering your food with the teas might help fill you up. The general sentiment was that the food was good, so, if you don't mind paying for presentation, you can try this place. The ambience is lovely: dainty, delicate, whimsical.
We'll be having another outing soon, just to spend more time with Y before she goes. And hopefully when i start working (*kaching!*kaching!*financial freedom*!) and when XH's baby gets a little older, we can troop over and raid Y's apartment in HK. Teeheehee.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
But God put me here. I know what comfort is. I also know pain. I know who God is because of my upbringing and being in a community that has helped lead me in my walk with God. I may not be in the most perfect situation, as there are always worst, or better.
And I see, that i have much to be thankful for. I don't know the whole picture, but there must be reasons for me to be here and not somewhere else. And that's comforting to know. :)
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
It was the first time in my ENTIRE life (so far), that I stepped onto Marina Bay Mrt station. Seriously. And so, here we are! This was the less "open" way in though it all leads to the same place. The architecture of the barrage is quite something to behold. And then it opens up to reveal a wide open space. But that's not all...
Us on top where everyone is either kite flying, picnic-ing, snapping photos, playing cards, lying around, frisbee-ing... oh, it was grand. :) There was so much happiness going on up there. These grassy slopes remind me of the architecture of the arts faculty in NTU.
What seemed like the residential kuching. People stopped by to pat the little girl. She was such a pretty ginger cat.
She had orange eyes!
She looks like she's having a word with God now.
No sitting? I lie down. :) Metal sculpture of something along the lines of: What goes around, comes around. Can you see us in the reflection?
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Guess I've just been enjoying my time while waiting for my results of the dissertation, which is back. Not too great, not to nasty either. Out of two reviewers, one called for major changes. I'm given 2 months to complete it, but I'm not going to take all that long... Yes, I'm enjoying my student life, but I think it's about time to get out and earn my keep. Time to save for my big day as well... :)
I've been cooking more, doing stuff in the kitchen so that mum doesn't have to prep dinner when she gets home. Which is fine with me. I love cooking Every opportunity i get, i'd do it!
Posted a couple of posts on my food blog... With more to come. *sly smile*
A church mate asked if I would like to be her baker for her wedding dessert table. OH. HOW COULD I GIVE UP THAT OPPORTUNITY?! I'm honestly THRILLED by the prospect. As much as I would LOVE to do table deco, I know I don't have the experience for that, so we're leaving that to her aunt. I'll just be concentrating on the food.
The theme is "summer" and "pink". So I've got a list of 7 items right now (jie and i sat together to think and research), and maybe I've got to think of a few more, that I'm going to propose to her. I'm not going to do all 7 of course. I'm pretty much a one man show, so... it would be too heavy on me! Thankfully, the choices I've picked are not too fussy. Maybe except for the macarons. But those... those are Divas. And Divas are fussy.
So, with these 7 items and more to come, I'll be doing my experimentation and there'll be photos aplenty. Hoo yeah!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Just some of our snaps from the day. :)
Us. Before starting our 1.6km walk.
Nice shot of a flower by Gem. :)
We saw some tadpoles swimming in surprisingly clear water.
Tall creepy climbies.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
I'm going off now to get some ingredients for something that I've been dreaming of making ever since I saw it on Giada at Home. Blueberry and mascapone cheese turnovers. Mmmm... :D
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I should be back when I'm thrown work to do and tts when I'll be stuck in front of my computer. Haha.
As for the macaron business. Received another request to provide macs for a friend's house warming! Am very honoured and really want to give it my best. :)
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
2) Dissertation has been HANDED IN, believe it or not! Even i cannot believe it. I have looked back and wondered... HOW IN THE WORLD did i actually WRITE THAT?! It's practically a book. For all the months of whining, or moving in gear 1, stalling, and starting up and chugging on... It's finally done. It has not been approved for official printing and hard cover binding YET. It's just been handed in to be examined. Supervisor says she does not foresee much amendments to be made. I sure hope so...
3) Though supervisor tells me to take a break, she then proceeds to tell me about a publication opportunity. I thought: Why not? Good for me, good for her as well. And so... i now have to begin a feat of condensing the 22,600 words dissertation into a 8,000 word document. Good luck to me. I was also told that the process of writing and publication can span from a few months to years, and the journal can also REJECT your article even after you've spent precious time and effort to write it to meet their requirements. I need to be prepared for that.
4) Macaron madness is about to ensue... All for the upcoming WEDDING. I CANNOT WAIT. I can now focus ALL MY ATTENTION on making sure that they turn out nice. In the past, having to multitask between macaron baking, dissertation and washing up meant that my macs would mess up because i wasn't able to watch the oven like a hawk. As a result, the temperature goes way beyond and my macs go boomz. hurhur.
5) Many many meetups with friends to be done. :D Finally!
6) I think i might have discovered a way to ARREST the FLU when you know you're starting to get sick! Disclaimer: this has happened to me only ONCE, so i cannot confirm if it is 10% effective. Anyway, recently, i caught the flu bug from a friend and when i felt the sorethroat, i immediately burst into action: breathing in the aromatic pure essential oils that i have. I have quite a nice collection because i like not just the smell, but the other uses and benefits they have.
I used my aroma lamp (novita, that my group of close pals gave me for my b'day. whee! :D) and practically positioned it beneath my nose and mouth while i was working at the computer. I'd inhale with my mouth wide open. Sure, i DID choke and sputter because the intensity of the oils in the vapour can feel quite uncomfortable (stinging feeling) in your air passageways. But, i noticed that my symptoms started to cease at the runny nose stage. I did have some help from salt (gargle at night to stop soreness and 1 clarinase pill to stop the runny nose on one particular day when i needed to be outside). But other than that, all i did was breathe in oils like clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, pine, thyme, peppermint, lavender, when i sleep or when i was doing my work at the computer. And really, to my surprise, the flu development STOPPED. Well, it could have stopped cos Gem said he's pray for me. Haha. But yeah. The next time this happens? I'm going to replicate it and see how it goes.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
And true, i've ever toyed with the idea of setting up an online store for my baked stuff but even then, they were just dreams... Dreams encouraged by those around me to bring to fruition but gained no real ground because i'm not confident of my ability to commit since i'm suppose to be getting a "proper" job after i graduate. (Friends see the potential but i'm not sure if my family would balk at me becoming a stay home baker. Hmm.)
So yes, to my surprise, a request from an old classmate came around on FB and i readily said yes. It's a great honour. Being able to provide something for a friend on her special day is a great privilege i don't take lightly.
And it's certainly a wonderful opportunity! I'm not sure if you can call it a big break, but we'll see how it goes... I guess i'll only know how good my stuff are when i get feedback from a wide range of people. 500 people at the wedding. No small number, yo. I'm glad i'm just starting off with an order of 200. I cannot fathom making 500 macs at the moment. D-8
Gem and i have had a few conversations on what happens if it really takes off. Not in a large scale way, but what if people begin to write in asking for orders for various events like birthdays and baby showers. Would i be able to manage it all? I don't know. I count myself really blessed that Gem is a designer! He not only designs environmental sets for events, he also has had a hand in designing wedding invitations, namecards and the like. Heehee. So, no mystery as to who will be helping me with my namecard if i even decide on making one. Haha.
So, yes. Although this is going to be my first time doing something like this, i'm going to have to pray hard... That the macs don't mess up on me and my friend on her special day. I hope that everyone will enjoy my handiwork as much as i enjoy making them for their eating pleasure. :)
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The food in my palm was a reminder that Sg has to import a large proportion of its food sources and that the balance of the food chain is so vulnerable to the health and state of our planet.
I was also reminded of the people in Japan. Here i was enjoying what many of the affected Japanese may not be able to at this point in time.
My heart ached, but i was also grateful to the Lord.
Monday, April 25, 2011
1) Used thermometer to measure temperature of sugar syrup.
2) Sugar caramelized although thermometer said it was at 116C, which is about right.
3) In my haste, and absolute bad estimation of what 30 seconds was, i added in the hot sugar into the egg whites and i got scrambled candied omelette in the electric mixer. Fail max.
4) Hard time washing up. And formulating how NOT to mess up the second time. Washing off hard sugar off surfaces ain't easy.
1) Used thermometer to measure temperature of sugar syrup. This time, was more careful with the fire, and allowed the temperature to slowly creep up till 116C. Still caramelized around some corners. :(
2) Added it to the eggs in hope that a little browned sugar wouldn't hurt.
4) When the sugar hit the cool eggs, the sugar became solid blocks of candy swirling around in my bowl.
6) I did achieve a meringue for my pains, but decided that having hard lumps of candy in my meringue won't be nice in my macarons.
By now, i am a little cheesed off at myself but i'm not giving up. This time, i decided to use another chef's methodof gauging if the syrup was done. I used her instinctive method of sticking a fork in to syrup and then seeing if i can blow out bubbles from the fork thongs. I had highly doubted if i could even be able to do that cos i... uh, felt inadequate. Not that i doubted her logic, since i've seen her do it.
1) So this time, i did the same thing again, slow but not that slow a fire.
2) Realized egg whites were not beating up into foam cos there was too little in the bowl bah. Added a bit more egg whites.
3) Behold! I tested the syrup at a few points and discovered that I COULD blow bubbles when it was right! I WAS SO PLEASED. And the sugar was NOT caramelized. Geez. No need for troublesome thermometers that clatter about and now i really don't trust this made in china one i bought. Sigh. Money wasted. Next time, if i ever do want to get a cooking thermometer, i should get the infrared type since they don't rely on sitting in the pot and that can cause the tip of the thermometer to touch the bottom of the pot and mess up everything.
4) Added the slightly cooled (30seconds) syrup to the eggs. No mishaps. No cooked eggs, no sugar crystals. Just, nice firm and glossy meringue ready to use.
Third time's a charm, huh?
Lets see how these italian macs turn out... It's my first time making them after those mac classes i've had which taught me a new thing or two. :)
Update: the macs turned out very nice. :) Some still had lopsided feet for some strange reason, but otherwise, they were really nice! :DD
Update: i think the lopsided feet are caused by my uneven and heat warped baking pans! Dargh. Also... italian meringue macs tend to be hollow inside. Sheesh. So the first batch that i made that turned out so nice was simply due to beginner's luck eh.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Credits go to: http://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com/2010/08/macaron-troubleshooting-new-recipe.html
Since last year, i've been meddling with tons and tons of sugar, almonds, egg whites and possibly suffering from fat overload from trying to cook and get rid of all the spare egg yolks lying around. All in the name of making one of my favourite desserts: the macaron.
I've tried the french method, italian and even swiss methods of making the meringue and i've had so many failures and partial successes that at times, i throw tantrums just because of a tray of failed macarons. And okay, there was one particular day when i had 16 failed trays all in one row. Talk about discouraging.
But you know. When i want something to be made right, i stick to getting it down right.
I've been reading this blogger's macaron posts over and over again for a while now and i've been given so many tips and pointers without her knowing it. I am forever grateful to her! For her honesty, her candidness, and her efforts, because now i can make macs at home and make macs to give away to others without having to spend a bomb on those being sold commercially which aren't that delicious. Some are great, but would me a pretty penny. (But of course, some flavours are beyond my ability to recreate so i'm still thankful)
Yes, so these are my chocolate macarons made with her recipe that includes dehydrated egg whites. I didn't age my egg whites (read: impatient) but they still turned out decent i guess. What i'm most stoked about is that they are so nicely filled up (no hollows), have nice, smooth, non oily and non translucent shells and they have feet! Most of my french meringue macs die before reaching the oven (weird batter), or come out looking like something else altogether. The only thing i'm not toooo satisfied about is that they do not that that delightfully crisp exterior. They are just soft all the way through.... Hm. :( I wonder if it has something to do with not aging the eggs or not having them rest enough.
Nevertheless... Thank you Miss NSHP! :D
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I would say I'm doing pretty well, meeting the supervisor vetting deadlines for Chapters 1, 2 and 3. I've currently got my paws wrapped around chapter 4 which is the Results section and all i can say is: This is madness. Just this one chapter has got me laying out 79 pages full of qualitative data. Really tiring and tedious work but you know, this is my hardwork. And honestly, things achieved simply aren't all that worth it.
My brain is feeling pretty taxed at this point. I'm nowhere near giving up of course, but yeah... Currently I'm pretty darn exhausted mentally. I just don't feel like looking at 79 pages of data and doing my write up on what i have found in my research. I'm actually 2 days behind schedule for this chapter because of the sheer amount of consolidation of data for just 8 participants.
Yet, i'm glad i'm here right now. I've come pretty far. What would i do if i could do anything i wanted right now? Make macarons.
But it ain't happening today, baby.
I'm glad i've got a list of things planned ahead of me once i hand my work in for examination. Tea with my ex-boss and ex-colleagues (yay!), attending an old friend's recital (yay!), and cooking myself nuts on the 1st of May at a friend's place for a boardgame gathering.
You can't imagine how STOKED i am about that! Big house, big kitchen, Joline is the Executive Chef of the day and i even get a Sous Chef (okay, his domestic helper) to help me! How cool is that. :) It's like a dry run for my future cafe. *ahem*
And then it's whipping up macarons for people who've asked or who are on my mind, whipping up macs just because, for experimentation... meeting friends that i need to catch up with. Boy. I'm glad the gov is giving out the growth dividend on 1st may too then. Imma gonna need it.
So yes. I'm looking forward to all that.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
french and swiss meringue (from the TOTT class) macs hanging out together. they look so different don't they!
(photos taken at night, so... oh well. none of those nice, brightly lit window photos that i love)