served fresh from the forest floor

Of Self, Baking, And Breads

It was one of those typical workdays. I was whipping up a storm to catch up with deadlines. The work at hand is not as easy as my previous assignments. This time, it has to be Singapore taxation laws and immigration policies. And already, I am running late.

Another part of my mind – the domestic part of it – was already feverishly checking the contents of the refrigerator to see if I had enough supply of eatables because I had company coming over for dinner.

The cats were mewling for tiffin that I was cruel enough to delay for fifteen minutes in serving.

Then I got a call around midday from someone I did not expect, with a message that blew me off my zen. I will not go into the detail of the message but it was something that really stressed me out.

I knew I was stressed because I had been typing the same word and erasing it and then retyping until it has become an aerobic sequence – step down, and up, and down, and up, and…

I removed myself from the keyboard. This will not do. Deadline be danged.

I gave Their Majesties the delayed meal served up on a silver platter and decided to take a short walk to the pharmacy/convenience store two blocks away from home.

I do work from home these days, but that’s another story.

I reached the pharmacy without incident. The stress was starting to wear off but it was still palpable. I needed an outlet.

The domestic part of my mind began tugging at a nerve to catch my attention. Get Flour. Butter. Yogurt. Light bulb. Walk to the checkout counter. Let cashier ring up purchase. Pay up. Walk back home.

The cats were soaking up the sun’s afternoon rays when I got back. They glanced at me with disdain and decided to ignore me. They were already fed, after all. Their demands for the moment have been addressed so I was another useless minion until dinnertime.

Back inside, I ignored the computer’s silent accusation that I am a bad, bad  worker for not finishing the taxation articles.

I went straight to the kitchen and surveyed my purchases. The light bulb replaces the busted one in the kitchen. Did that.

Yogurt was for snack. Did that.

I had flour and butter as remainder. I have brown sugar in the cabinet, as well as cornstarch.

I had everything I need to make shortcake.

Time to release stress by kneading dough.

I’m no Martha Stewart or Julia Child but I felt peace returning once I began measuring out the ingredients for my shortcake.

After the dough was smooth enough, I wrapped it in plastic and popped it in the fridge for a spell. While I waited for the time until I could put it into the oven, I chatted with Lurchie over gmail about the day’s craziness.

I excused myself once to prepare my dough for the oven and returned to the computer to vent and pour out my woes. It’s nice to have friends, even if they are so far away.

Meanwhile, the shortcake was doing well and in a few moments the house smelled of fresh baking. Ah the advantages of working at home.

Then it was time to sign off from chat. I had to take what was baking out of the oven. Sliced those into squares, and just as I was cooling the ‘cakes, company arrived.

I sliced up celery, onions, carrots, and then shredded cabbages. I dumped this in the pot with pieces of chicken and a pinch of spices and salt. Poured water, allowed the entire thing to boil and then let it simmer. Chicken stew for main course.

Dinner conversation touched on topics as personal incomes, ultrasound, gynecologists, weight loss, who’s bedding who, and all other matters that comprise the stereotypical girl talk.

My guests and I demolished the shortcakes and most of the leftovers were promptly wrapped in paper napkins for take home.

The cats were asleep after their dinner.

After the guests left, I still wasn’t feeling sleepy so I switched on the computer and tried to have another go at the taxation policies of the city-state of Singapore. I munched on the last slice of the shortcake (calorie-bingeing) while I wrote.

I finished the whole thing after an hour and emailed it off to the person who needed it. It was two minutes past midnight. All in a day’s work.

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