Tuesday, December 29, 2015


As the year draws to a close a rift in my heart opens up and there is what I want to do, what I planned to do, and all the things I left to linger in chaos, not picking out the pieces, not bothering.

I know who I want to keep close and who I want to push away. And probably I am right. For my peace of mind and happiness, I am right. But I feel the sadness rise within me for all that once was, that is no more.

The people I make an effort for, and the people I allow to fall by the wayside. I convince myself that this is the right way to go, the right way to be.

Why then, do I sit up into the wee hours of today, feeling so cut up about it? Why do I feel so guilty? How can silence make you reel the way words once did?

I don't know.

All I know is I start work tomorrow after more than a week off. I start work tomorrow.

And I need a good night's sleep.

And maybe I can transcribe an interview tomorrow and write a story. Maybe I can feed the dogs and the cats, go in early, do my work, do my work, do my work well.

What do I have left to cling to? Now that I have cast myself adrift?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gum Infections and Recalcitrant Dogs

So I'm down with a gum infection. A 7mm-deep hole under my root canal-ed tooth which got filled with food and then, infection set in...made an emergency appointment to go see Dr Priya (I had missed my appointment with her in September, I don't really remember why) and told her I thought it was my wisdom tooth...but she checked it out and found all the food wedged in that huge hole...so she cleaned it out, wedged in some medicine that tasted of cloves and put me on a course of antibiotics and some painkillers to see me over the first two days, before the antibiotics kick in and start fighting the infection.

Anyway, I didn't start on the course last night because although my friend Sue-Ann brought me chicken porridge to eat, I really couldn't bring myself to eat. The only thing I could manage was the Milo that accompanied the porridge. And even that...it took a while.

Then I tried to sleep but I tossed and turned and couldn't make myself comfortable. It wasn't pain exactly...it was like there were ants crawling all over my body. Ebony gave up and went to sleep somewhere else. Sheba loyally stuck to me, licking me every once so often to make me feel better.

And Elliott who was in my room (ostensibly because he was scared of the fireworks) moved from side to side very restlessly refusing to settle down (which of course, did nothing for my insomnia).

And then I finally dropped off...and woke up to find Elliott sleeping on the bed beside me. When I tried to shoo him down, he growled at me, which got him kicked out, not only from my bed but my room and the house. He could cool his heels outside.

And now, it's starting to storm, with the thunder growling ominously and he has started to hyperventilate and when I went to get his and Sylvie's bowls for lunch, tried to push his way in, looking at me with terrified eyes.

I told him that he is not coming in, that he can go and have that heart attack if he wants, I really don't care, and slammed the door in his face.

I think he understood.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Not Cut Out For Motherhood

I've moved in and life has quickly become terribly complicated. Firstly, I need a CD tower. Secondly, I really, really need a washing machine. Thirdly, I seem to have acquired four dogs and two kittens. Three of the dogs were mine to begin with (though not staying with me, except for Sylvie and later, Sylvie and Elliott). The two kittens, well, one fell down my air well and starved for two days. The other was deposited at my doorstep really emaciated and hissing (there were dogs on either side) madly, her eyes tearing, so scared I had to throw a towel over her to take her in, feed her, and stroke her to calm her down.

And then, there's the extra dog. I was taking Elliott and Sylvie for their morning walk last Friday when I saw this dog bobbing up and down along their path. So I crossed the road...because I didn't want Sylvie to pick a fight. (She does that) And I noticed that the dog was tied to some planks. There was no evidence of food or water around. It was a hot hazy day. When I drove by later on my way to work I noticed the dog was still there. Still tied to the planks. Trying to make itself comfortable on the grass the planks were on. Poor little thing.

I thought to walk away and ignore it. But I burst into tears on my way to work thinking of the poor forlorn little thing. What if nobody rescued it. What if it was just left there, or worse, picked up by the city council and disposed of? What had that dog done to deserve such treatment?

I got to work and texted and Facebooked some people for help. Perhaps unsurprisingly there was no help forthcoming.

The tears kept coming. I could feel my heart breaking. Poor little doggie. I left and went to pick her up. She was still there, still tied to the heavy planks which had been put there for some construction project or other. I persuaded her quite easily to jump into my car and took her straight to the vet. She kept making that bobbing movements as if she couldn't help it. The vet said she had a neurological disorder, probably brought about by distemper.

So, whoever had owned her before had not bothered to give her her shots, or deal with the massive tick infestation or even have her nails cut. She was a sorry little thing.

I brought her home and tried to feed her but she was too terrified to eat unless I was right there in front of her, watching her and coaxing. I had to kick the other dogs down - distemper, ticks, not things I want them to get. I sprayed Frontline on her twice...(I would bathe her in two days) and tried to be kind. She ran if she saw me wielding a broom or a mop. She threw up in one of the rooms on the first day. She learned quickly that if she couldn't hold it in, the air well was the place to go.

She wants to be friends with the other dogs but they only want to kill her. The kittens, well, she is gentler with the kittens than the other dogs...but maybe, a little too interested in them. They are bolder with her around, than with the other dogs.

So that is why my life has become complicated. Oh wait, that's not all. Why I have Bruno is Dadda collapsed over the weekend, purging and throwing up violently while I was there to do my laundry. We took him to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning  and he was too weak to stay by himself. Julie came and carted him off to her place. Which meant that Bruno was left alone.

I took him...and in the short time he has been here, he has already destroyed one side of the auto gate (I keep him tied most of the time now). So now, all the dogs (except for Elliott whom I am going to return to my father) are up for adoption. They have tied up my life - mornings are about walking them and cooking their food, feeding the kittens.

Evenings, I rush back from work to do the same. Kittiens just need feeding and having their kitty litter cleaned fairly frequently and as such are more independent. But if someone wanted to adopt both at a go, I wouldn't say no.

I am really not cut out to be a mother.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Barbara Pym

When I went to Fraser's Hill that second time I started reading a book that someone had left behind. It was a book by Barbara Pym. I didn't get very far because I had to leave (and return the book to the Smokehouse's library) but I remember loving it, loving the way she wrote and the English countryside she wrote about...and always wanting to go back to reading it. Or at least, a book by her.

Well I suddenly remembered about it when I was at Silverfish and I ordered some books by her. Well, two to be exact. And the first one arrived and my colleague, who happened to be in Silverfish, picked it up for me.

The book I got was a collection. I have read the first two stories - Civil to Strangers (it's simply exquisite, there is no other word to describe it) and Gervase and Flora. Gervase, surprisingly, is Henry Harvey, the man she loved (maybe all her life) who wrote letters to her but didn't return her feelings.

She wrote doggedly for years, even when publishers decided that she had gone out of fashion (publishers are stupid sometimes, and will do that) and suddenly in 1977, she was "rediscovered", only three years before she died. Then, people dug up her books, her manuscripts, her letters and even her diaries and published everything. It seemed the public could not get enough of her. So much for "out of fashion".

I still haven't moved properly. My room (in this house, my father's house) is a tip with everything scattered everywhere. I find when I come here, I have not the energy to move. I have set up a dining table with two chairs. Two more chairs to go. Maybe I'll do it this evening.

I feel very unsettled, but that's my fault. My phone has run out of battery, but I don't care about that.

I made chicken vindaloo and asparagus belacan for lunch. The asparagus won't keep (it is hugely popular and there was too little of it) but the chicken will, For a bit, anyway.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

I Want To Go Home

Do we ever really let go of the ones we love? Today is a day for memories. I am being assailed. I think I have got over them, the ones I loved, the ones I lost, but something rises up to remind me and the pain is sharp and deep.

Even if it was right for them to go and there is no way I would want them back in the condition they were in.

Even then, I miss them.

Because I am no longer sure I believe in an Afterlife. I am no longer sure that is not some comforting fairy tale we tell ourselves so we feel less desolate, less overtaken by loss.

Mum, where are you now?

Arnold, where are you now?

Do you know I love you? Do you know how much I still miss you? Do you know that I am still lost and I haven't been able to find my way? Do you know most days I am tired and disorganised and I wish so much, so much, that I could just go home and lay my head on a  comfortable pillow and feel safe, secure and that all was right in the world?

When do we lose our certainties?

I am glad neither of you are still alive and suffering. But I am not so sure about me. Is there something else I am supposed to do? I can't think what.

I really can't.

Monday, August 31, 2015

What If It Is?

I find pink puke all over the toilet bowl. Dadda ate old Onam fare and upchucked. He doesn't tell me anything about it though. And I don't mention it. He doesn't bother to put the dog's food to cook as he normally does. So I do it. The dogs are fed properly. Not the paltry amounts that he thinks are enough for them despite the fact that he does not pay for their food.

It is a strange situation. He is getting deliberately crueller to them. Tells me to give them away, put them to sleep. I think he wants me out. And in the next breath, he demonstrates some form of frailty. This push-pull thing I have lived with my whole life. Co-dependent is how someone characterised the whole relationship. And I know, once I have left, I will not be coming back. For any reason.

Sick? In hospital? Dying?

Too bad. Why is that supposed to be my problem?

Yes, I'm mad.

But mostly at myself for being so sluggish and staying for this long. I should have moved out by now. Instead, here I am on the sofa, bout the only thing I can say I achieved for today is to feed and walk the dogs. My phone battery is almost dead as the charger is in the office. I was supposed to go get that early this morning. Instead, I slept till noon.

The other thing I achieved...is finishing Joan Didion's Blue Nights. Which I loved. I love how she repeats certain words and phrases throughout the book. You can tell she was crying when she wrote it. This incredibly painful memoir about the death of her only child. 20 months after the death of her husband.

There was no warning for one. And 20 months of warning for the other.

But death, that great emptiness, that great bourne from which there is no return, that great silence, that great nothingness beyond....we tell ourselves fairy stories to believe it is not the end.

But what if it is?

The Yellow Sea Rises Up And Swallows Everyone In Its Wake

I should tell you how my first Bersih went. But I just don't feel like it. My mind is a confused tangle of impressions. Too many things at the same time. I would like to pause and separate the strands. I know something momentous has happened, is in fact, happening, and things will play out the way they are supposed to be played out.

You can't avoid consequences forever.

But perhaps, not surprisingly, what I think about most these days, are the little kittens who have now been fostered, my dogs who are being increasingly abused in this house (I have to rescue them...I cannot allow this). The three of them are spread out in various attitudes in the hall. Bruno comes over and whimpers...he lies on my foot for a while and then goes back and curls up. I have switched on the aircon because although it rained quite heavily earlier...it's now so hot that I can smell myself. Though it's way past midnight, I will have a cold shower and scrub myself. I hate feeling this hot.

I can't sleep. Maybe it's because we slept in late today. Maybe it's because my mind is buzzing...but I can read Joan Didion's Blue Nights and allow myself to drift off.

Sylvie has walked over...she is itching...another bath so soon?

The air is buzzing with mosquitoes. It makes things quite uncomfortable. I keep squishing them (most are bloody which means I have been bitten) and they keep coming back.

It's exactly 2.22am. Maybe I should sign off now and try to get some sleep. Maybe I'll tell you about my experiences tomorrow.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

When 4 is 1

It's half past two in the morning and I am sitting at my place waiting for my two compatriots. We are going for the Bersih rally...my first ever. I think I am adequately prepared. It's funny how people talk so matter-of-factly about needing to have salt on hand for the tear gas. You will choke, so you need to put some in your mouth and after a while it will clear. But not on the first or second teargassing...that you will still be able to take. More like, the third time.

I got home at midnight and woke Dadda up to tell him I was going for Bersih. He was understandably upset and tried to dissuade me, though not too hard. But then, when I was actually leaving, he woke up and staggered out in his sarong, to lock the gate and wave goodbye. I had Sylvie and Bruno with me in the house.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. The thing that pushed me over the edge was the circular making it an offence for anyone to wear yellow or anything with Bersih 4 on it. Really? Seriously? You're going to bully us to this extent?

The worm turned.

Mostly I had wanted to enjoy my weekend, relax and do nothing or maybe, move some of my stuff out of the house. More books. Also hang with the dogs. My colleague Jacqui who had agreed to babysit the kittens until Tuesday has now decided to take them on until they get adopted. She has her sister and her sister's husband staying with her so they can take care of the kits while she is at work. Prayer answered. Problem solved.

And today (meaning yesterday) was Onam. The Malayalee harvest festival. When my grandmother was alive she would make something special for it. Apparently it is a big deal in Kerala. Over here, not so much, although celebration during this time, is growing. I have been fighting with Dadda and I thought I would do something nice for him. Nice, but not nice enough.

I used the Go Get service for the first time, and put up a job to get someone to go to a restaurant serving Kerala cuisine in Aman Suria and pick up two thali meals and deliver it to his house. Now ideally, I should have gone home to share the meal with him. It is supposed to be a celebration, after all. Instead I stayed and had McDonald's with my colleagues. But feeling guilty, I called Chubs and asked him to go over instead. I should have called earlier. He was out having dinner...if I had caught him in time, he could have gone and shared the Onam meal with Dadda. Instead, he just had some payasam.

Dadda saved some payasam for me and insisted I eat it...I ate a little and then left it on the table to go bathe. When I came back, I found it had been licked clean. Haha, Bruno and Sylvie were in the house after all, I should have realised.

I feel so tired now. What I most want to do is sleep.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Miles To Go Before I Sleep

A colleague is babysitting the kittens for me over this long weekend. I have already delivered the three mewling little things to her. She's really good at the newborns. She has already installed them in a fetching basket and taken this picture which she put on Facebook. So much better than any I have taken so far:

Which means I'm off the hook for the moment and I can actually concentrate on getting some work done. But I miss them so.I keep hearing them cry but it's only in my mind. For the most part they are good little kittens. They only make noise when they have soiled themselves or when they need to be fed. Also, when they want a cuddle. What baby doesn't?

I asked for a miracle. I love the kitties already but I'm tired and there is this constant tension at home where everyone - from Dadda to the doggies, hates them. Dadda actually let Sylvie in today and luckily my door was locked. She threw herself against the door scratching it and whimpering, and I waited for Dadda to send her out. He has punished her before for much less. But no, he didn't. And the blows became more urgent.

So I opened the door and chased her out.

When I asked him why he had let her in, he said, "if she wants to eat them, so what? Let her."

I was glad I was leaving and taking the kitties with me, glad that my kind colleague had offered to babysit them. They are so young and fragile and sweet; they had already been abandoned once by cruel, heartless people. They didn't need anymore of that. And I certainly didn't either.

But after delivering them to her...I feel listless. There is a whole bunch of work I am supposed to do, things I let slide...but I can't seem to be getting my head around it. My thoughts are scattered, scattered. I want to cuddle them, feel their soft warmth against me, purring like quiet motors. (when they're not screaming of course, but I even think the screaming is cute, as long as it is not in my office, where it disturbs the other writers, and gets me stern warnings from my boss).

I feel so very sad now. And it's late. I have stuff to do, stuff to do...

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
(Robert Frost)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kitten tales

You start a day with one expectation and then something happens...I found three tiny kittens dumped by the side of a monsoon drain. They were in a box, sort of striped greyish, about two weeks old. Read that again! Two weeks old. Which means, not even old enough to be separated from their mother. They need to be fed with a dropper. They need to have their asses and peeing equipment rubbed with a wet wipe after feeding to stimulate the pee and poo. They're babies. And just like babies, you have to sleep lightly at night so as not to miss their hungry mews should they wake up.

I brought them in to the office today. Yesterday, I was too busy getting their feeding equipment and taking them to the vet, etc.

They were pretty well-behaved. After their last feed at night, they didn't wake up until after my alarm went off. That's about six hours. When they woke up I first gave them some glucose and water (the vet suggested that I alternate the milk with glucose and water). They didn't like that much. It didn't fill them and they still had to be given milk after as a supplement.

Anyway my cat loving colleagues crowded around me to see and touch and carry the kittens. Many wanted to adopt them but could not. But could not do the two-hour feeding/pooping/peeing thingy. The vet, Dr Prem, told me that only a hardcore cat lover would be willing. We have those here. Except that they have full-time jobs. So how?

One of my colleagues offered to take them on Thursday night and bring them back on Tuesday morning. That will be a BIG help.

What can I say?

People at The Edge are kind. And they love animals.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Maybe Today

Some days you wake up and your tangle of thoughts say everything: "Jeez, Elliott is scratching again. I really, really need to remember the dog shampoo."

That's it. Not something about work or my lovely night out or to remember my walking shoes as Anna wants to walk Kiara and SA and C are coming along.

We went for a porky nasi lemak dinner last night in Aman Suria but the place was closed. So we ended up at a not very good restaurant serving Kerala cuisine which the other three (Anna, Addy, Cindy) didn't like. Really, the curries didn't taste like it was from Kerala (a mixture of sour and sweet) and the only good dish was one I ordered (aloo pepper fry) but I think that is more generic Indian than Keralite. I associate Kerala cuisine with my aunts's cooking. My mother was more "Malaysian" cooking, I think...though of course, I loved her food best. Especially her goreng pisang. (We called it goreng pisang all our lives; I'm not about to start calling it pisang goreng because that is accepted usage). And then we went to the Chinese place at the other end to have dessert. Dessert was pretty good.

I am so used to forgetting my phone that when I rifled through my bag yesterday and couldn't find it, I was convinced that I had forgotten it. And told all my friends that. But throughout the day I kept hearing the bell-like alerts issuing from somewhere...and at night, when I rifled through my bag again, whaddyaknow, I found my phone. Li Ming who thought earlier that I had a mental block against walking around with a handphone, decided that I am actually taking things to a whole new level with this. We all laughed immoderately.

Sarah is back at the office after her trip to the UK and her wisdom tooth surgery. She is still unable to eat any solid food and the painkillers are not working. She is one miserable puppy.

Adrian came over to sit by me and show me a book he is reading, he bought it because of the cover and the title and what it said on the back...but as he loves language and needs the book to be well written as well as interesting, he was not finding it very good. Reading for story, rather than for language and all that. I recommended Joan Didion. He'd never heard of her. Didion? He googled it and I asked him to start with Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I am reading Blue Nights now, about the death of her daughter...and I love it. Even the image of a blue night, or "the gloaming" is so evocative.

I wish life were filled with more than just discrete events that you strive to cohere. Nothing coheres anymore.

But...there is the walk today, the Impact Hub event tomorrow (after which I go to see Mary who is nursing a very broken heart) and there are a shitload of stories to clear.

I need to get myself in the mood.

Maybe today.

Monday, August 24, 2015

It's Six in the Morning and I'm Awake

I spent a lot of time lying around yesterday, which was not so good. Hangover from the great night before, I guess, although I only had one sparkling wine. There was a to-do list which I thought about from time to time, but resolutely ignored.

And it's Monday already. Sigh.

Well, on the bright side (haha, get it?) I have written and posted 12 letters (how's that for productive after a one-month letter-writing hiatus?).

Today a cleaning lady that Vas recommended comes for the first time.

I hope they turned our water back on.

Will have to think about writing a story and editing the stories already given to me for next month's issue now that the special pullout ones are done.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Night to Remember

And now that I have gotten that out of my system! Last night was sensational! I went out with Ian, Addy and Cindy, first to the Helipad to have a drink and watch the sunset over Menara KH (yeah, KL's best kept secret which is why Addy knows about it).

and then to Jalan Alor (who knew it was so happening? Doesn't Alor mean drain?) for dinner. And boy what a huge dinner that was. Oh Chien (I don't know how to spell that but it is basically oysters cooked in eggs and although Cindy and Addy thought it was not up to scratch, the memory of it makes my mouth water now), black pepper fried squid (now, I'm not usually a fan of squid, but this was sooooo good...Ian ordered it to do him credit and it was the best dish of the night, in fact a French couple sitting near us, eyed up the dish and ordered the same thing). We had kangkong garlic (the belacan would have been too spicy for Ian) and char kueh teow and fried carrot cake...it was a feast and then some. And as we moved through the dishes ooohing and ahhhhing...I had to stop after a while because I was stuffed to the gills but the others soldiered gamely on...these guys selling selfie sticks kept bothering us.

"Selfie stick, miss? Selfie stick, sir?"

After a while, Ian, who has to be the most patient person on the planet (he was down with my haphazard driving and wrong turns and our figuring things out as we moved along) started to get annoyed:

"Yeah, you disturb me when I'm eating and ask if I want a selfie stick, of course I'm gonna say yes."

He thought their business model was somewhat flawed. Ian is a business professor from a university in Melbourne and we became friends after I interviewed him. And no, he's not from Melbourne, but from Chicago, home of Oprah and Obama's wife. He instructed his brother Eli to take me out when I was in Chicago, which Eli did, on Easter Sunday. Ian told me Eli is the wildest in the family. I didn't see none of that though, cos Eli was on his best behaviour. He also said Eli was the musician in the family and used to go busk down a street corner when he was in the service, just to make some money...and actually managed to acquire a following. After a while he took himself to one of the nearby bars and asked, how much will you pay me to come sing here? And here's the clincher...the bar agreed.

Eli, said Ian, is good at anything he does. It's just that he gets bored quickly. He's trying to get him to come out to Malaysia for a visit. Why? Because the place is nice, the food is nice and the people are wonderful and warm. I think it's because someone like Ian would bring it out in us. He's just so easy to be with. I've known us not to be warm, with people who are cold and contemptuous. They put us off instinctively and nobody has time for them after a while. You're lucky if you have a local friend who lugs you around and insists that everyone else puts up with you. But after a while, if you're really a piece of work, even that sputters out. We're a tolerant people but not that tolerant. Nobody could be that tolerant, anywhere in the world.

Anyway, there we were eating and being harassed by people who wanted to sell us all manner of different wares (selfie sticks, ornamental wooden bowls, laser pointers - no, they don't have to make sense) - when suddenly a band set up right in front of our table and started to belt out numbers. I turned to Ian: "This is all your fault!" He laughed.

Anyway, the first singer, a pint-sized woman with powerful lungs, belted out three numbers...all of which were really well-received, she clearly had talent...and then this guy on a guitar took over. He didn't have much of a voice and he sang two songs - No Woman, No Cry and Dream by the Everly Brothers. It was one song too many. One of the waiters, whom I am convinced is one of the gangsters of the area, glared at the fat guy who had gone around asking for money for the band. Everyone at our table had put in something. Anyway, it took him a while to make the rounds and that was why we were "treated" to an extra song. So there was a staring match.

Gangster: Pack up and leave. You've been singing long enough.

Fat guy: Fuck off.

Gangster: I'm warning you.

New gangster joins in: Did you hear the guy?

Fat guy: I'll leave when I'm good and ready.

Gangster: All you have is your protruding stomach. If we hit you we'll make mincemeat.

Fat guy: Hmmmmm.......

New gangster: Here, have a cigarette (places one between fat guy's lips). And do as he says and fuck off. You're interrupting our business. Five songs! You've collected your money. Now scat.

Fat guy: Shakes him tambourine meaningfully at the end of the song (Dream) in a way that is clearly a signal. Woman singer steps forward to thank the crowd. They pack up and leave.

The exchange between on-site gangsters and band tough guy were all silent. You had to have been there to imagine the dialogue.

Oh I forgot. We also had the smoked chicken wings. Which was pretty good, but we ordered too much.

Soon, even Ian couldn't eat another bite. So we settled the bill and left. To the car? Not quite yet.

There was still a matter of artisan coconut ice cream to eat. I was out. But the other three were game. And Ian, who is lactose intolerant and cannot eat anything with milk (including ice cream) could have this, because it was made out of coconut milk. Yay!

So they each had a scoop on a cone...and then we got to the car...and made our sloooooooow way out in a street that was completely chock a block (it wasn't even slow-moving traffic, it was standing traffic).

And then I drove them back to the hotel where Ian was staying and Addy had parked her car (Cindy had parked at Addy's house) and we called it a night.

Well, three of us did.

Addy was due to meet up with friends for a drinking session after our night out.

I just got a call from Vas to ask if I knew her whereabouts as she had missed an 11am lunch appointment. I suggested that considering how late she was up last night, she would probably be asleep.

Now I have to take the dogs out for a walk (long overdue) and take myself off to the hairdressers (he's been sending me polite text messages for a while now).

Later for you.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Miss Her Everyday

I miss my mother every day. It's no longer an ache in the centre of my chest, just an awareness of an absence in my life. So much left unresolved.

Yesterday was surprisingly productive. It's as if this fog has lifted over me and I could do stuff again. Not clean my room. Oh no. But I did manage the get all of six letters written. I kept adding to the list of people I wanted to write to, given the great hiatus, and now my list has swelled to 10. Which means I have four letters to go. I have booked a maid for Monday. I need to do an initial clean before she comes. Especially of my room. I do at some point need to colour my hair.

I woke up early today (OK not when the alarm went off because it goes off at fricking 4 in the morning) but a few hours later, and took the dogs for a walk. I have to be out of the house early today.

Last night, while the rush of energy lasted, I wrote letters, did some grocery shopping, made asparagus belachan, sayanged the dogs (giving them asparagus stalks to chew). And then around midnight I started getting tired, so I went to bed, read some Spirit Junkie and fell fast asleep. Elliott, of course, slept with me, first under the bed and then, in his own green bed which I have spread out on the floor once again.

Anyway, I will probably be out for most of today, so luckily Dadda has some asparagus belachan in the fridge for his lunch and dinner...there is also chicken if he wants to make curry. I need to buy lemons because the honey lemon drink seems to help him and we're down to our last half lemon now.

Later for you.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quotidian Concerns

The three dogs are bathed now. They are all slightly damp as all three towels (somehow or other) were not quite dry. One of them (Elliott's) had been pulled to the floor so the doggie could sleep on it. When I arrived home at close to three in the morning yesterday, Elliott was inexplicably outside. His fur looked ruffled and sticking out oddly (as if the other doggies had had a go at him, and their saliva hardened in his fur). Now Elliott cannot sleep on the floor (I bet I know what happened and Dadda had caught him sleeping on the sofa). So he pulled down a towel, his towel, and was sleeping on it. It has been raining. The towel was wet.

As for the other two dogs, I had put their towels on Mum's car because they kept pulling them down to bite. So, as I said, it rained. Two more towels wet. Which meant all three dogs have not been dried properly. I am relying on the sun to do it properly.

What quotidian worries, huh?

I wake up and look at Elliott and listen for the other two outside and know that I have to drag myself up to take them for their walks. That's just the way things are. Today's was a good walk. I let them go in the park and they ran and played with each like puppies. Well, Bruno and Sylvie did. Elliott hovered around, wanting and not wanting to get in on the game. He is an old doggie and the young-uns tend to get a little rough.

They were scratching and scratching and scratching...I had not bathed them over the last weekend, had not been in the mood, put it off, and I was feeling guiltier and guiltier every day. So when we got back from the walkies, gave them their water and then, dragged Bruno, who was in the kitchen next to me (he likes to keep close) into the bathroom and wet him thoroughly and scrubbed him down with doggie shampoo. (We have run out, I have to get some more, what quotidian worries, huh?)

And I bought two birthday cards for Dadda yesterday...and forgot to bring them home. The two girls had been at my place till late, late, late last night. I had intended to write a bunch of letters (seven in all) but was interrupted. So I only got the two done...so four and a half more to go. And I have to edit the roundtable now that SD has come back with it at the very last minute possible. Yikes!

I don't feel like much of anything. I force myself to heed these quotidian worries, put one foot in front of another in a world bled of any joy or colour.

What quotidian thoughts, huh?

Later that day:

Today seems to be fluid, it flows, like water in water. Like red water in clear water...where you can see the liquid shooting forward, unimpeded. I edited something. I have sent it to Kenneth. Came in to work. Anna, who has been cleaning and decluttering her apartment found a bunch of books that I lent her and brought them back today. And she brought another book too, called The Wednesday Letters which I can't wait to get stuck into. There are other things I need to do. But I left my phone at home. And without my phone - it will be hard.

So much to do.

Let's see what I can get done today.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Way Out

I realise that something inside me has broken and I am no longer functional. I plan to do this and this and this. And then I come home, look at the whole heap of things undone, curl up on a bed, not even my bed because my bed makes me itch uncontrollably, and let's not even talk about the mosquitoes, read for a few minutes and then fall asleep.

Avoidance. Is that a word?

I know denial is.

And I wake up late in the half dark caused by the early morning rain...have some stale bread for breakfast (note to self: buy a few new loaves), and Dadda quavers out from the bed: "Jenny, did you buy what I asked you to?"

And I say: "What?"

And he says: "The two birthday cards."

It's Francis's birthday on September 4. He came one month early next year. At first it was touch and go, but then he survived and grew strong and happy.

It's Uncle Solomon's birthday on September 14, a birthday he shares with someone else I have not talked to for four years. Well, I did send her a birthday card four years ago, but she didn't acknowledge it. I think that was the last card I sent her. No more. And now I know she's alive (for I would have heard if she died, maybe), but other than that, I know nothing.

Took the professor out last night (to Mum's Place because I think the food there is so good) and Addy and Cindy joined us at the end. It was a nice night. Thought Ian was looking quite rundown, ill even, and asked him if he was having any issues. No, he said, just travelling to a whole bunch of countries in a short space of time, as usual. Not something he can continue doing, he thinks. I agree. I ask him to go for a physical when he gets back to Australia. And cut down on the travel.

I have to gird my loins and take the dogs out for a walk. Elliott has scrambled under the bed, keeping me in sight, to remind me of my duties. The other two dogs are silent outside. Usually, Bruno would have started to whimper. But the thing is, the dogs outside can poop and pee behind the car. Elliott doesn't really have a place to do it except for the bathroom, and that's no good as Dadda usually goes completely insane when he does that.

Dadda is still sick. I came back last night to him coughing up a lung. I made him the honey lemon concoction (which reminds me, I have to do that again before I leave) and he sipped it and chatted with me about what is happening at work (yes, we have a digital edition, so there is still work to do, it's not a three-month holiday). His room is so dusty I need to get someone over to clean it.

I went to ESH to get the number of a plumber and an electrician. I called the plumber and he said he would come on Saturday, then he didn't answer his phone all Saturday and Sunday, then he called me on Monday to say he was coming over (could not, Dadda had gone to hospital and there would be no one in the house), then he called to say he could come on Tuesday and didn't. About this time, I have lost all faith in him and will try to get another plumber and electrician. No use sticking to the ones who can't be bothered to keep appointments.

There is so much to do. And when I see what needs doing, instead of doing it, I curl up in the bed that is not mine, and read strange books of fiction, or something on the Kindle.

I wish there was a way out of this mess and I wish I had the energy to take it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Me And That Old Man

It feels surreal. I'm losing so many parts of my life now. So many. I find myself tearing up at odd times. I don't feel particularly sad, the pain is not overwhelming. But it's just one long goodbye...and you know, people cry at goodbyes, they grieve.

I see everything slipping away and there is nothing I can do about it. So I just watch, go through the motions, try to show the people I love that I love them...as I see them slipping away as well.

I have been happy here. I have. And despite all my angst, I've felt loved and accepted and appreciated. Everything has to change I suppose. Everyone has to move away.

Maybe one day, things will change because I made it happen. And not because I was a passive recipient of someone else's agency.


But still...there is this feeling of sadness that goes on in the background, this gentle weeping, the quiet sobs.

And I read these words today by Pooja Nansi and thought, yes, how apt.

He's my heart on a high wire, never making it across,
The name on a gravestone now covered in moss,
the smeared mascara and the wiped off gloss,

me, and that
old man,

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I have always loved Wordsworth...OK always dating back to when I was nine and I copied out Lucy Gray from the Golden Treasury as a holiday exercise. I loved it because I found the poem mysterious and uncanny. The little girl, the "sweetest thing that ever grew beside a human door", disappearing into the mist with a lantern to light her mother through the snow...nothing of her ever being found. And yet, she kept on walking those hills with that lantern, singing her solitary song, for all eternity. The poem seemed vaguely prophetic. Wordsworth lost both his daughters before he and his wife died, both octogenarians, although Mary, his wife, was very nearly a nonagenarian.

So when Anna pointed out a biography of him (I had been idly considering getting a biography on my Kindle...all expensive) for RM5, naturally, I snapped it up. I knew he was a Lake poet. I knew there was some fight with Byron (I had read the Don Juan stanzas relating to Wordsworth and Southey), I knew about his friendship with Coleridge which broke down because really, no one can be friends with a drug addict, but his life in entirety, no I didn't know much. He was supposed to have had an affair with his sister Dorothy who loved him so much and was his amanuensis? I did read the Alfoxden and Grasmere diaries when I was in Hua Hin (I think I bought it in 2010 but let it lie unread on my shelf for three years before I picked it up, along with The Prelude). So yeah, I knew a little bit.

The Hunter Davies biography, the first to be merely a recounting of what happened throughout his life, without attempting literary criticism, although he did talk about how the various volumes of poetry were received and what the reviewers (most of them severely unkind) said.

I just finished it. Wow. His turbulent, restless youth. His dreams with Coleridge and his sister. His settling down once he had married and had children and becoming so conservative and didactic that people reacted to that rather than his poems per se. The tragedies in his life, starting with the deaths of his father and mother, and later his brother John. Wordsworth lost three children before he died - his daughter Catherine, in infancy, his son Thomas, a young schoolboy, and then his favourite daughter Dora after she had married. This last death seems to have finished him. He saw his contemporaries, even the poets of a generation after - Keats, Byron, Shelly - who died at 26, 30 and 36 respectively, perish before him. He saw Coleridge die, Charles Lamb, Sir Walter Scott...and he felt very old and sad about it.

But because he lived primarily in the West Country, because he was in the habit of taking long walks, living temperately and close to nature (simple living, high thinking), he survived a long, long time. He died at 80. His sister Dorothy (who had been an active and cheerful person before she had taken leave of her senses and become an invalid, died at 83 and his wife Mary, perhaps, the most temperate of them all as she was not given to passions, died at 89, having seen the publication of The Prelude, which was published posthumously, and his biography, a delicate matter, as there were incidents in his life that Wordsworth would rather have not been shared with the public.

Such as his affair with Annette Vallon, a Frenchwoman at Orleans from a good family, during the time of the Revolution, when Wordsworth was there in the early days. Their alliance (which from Annette's letters was more than just a passing fancy to her; she loved him all her life, and never demanded anything save that he come back and legitimise their union) produced a child, Caroline. So, there is a branch of direct descendants in both France and England. How interesting. I don't think Wordsworth behaved very well towards Annette. He didn't go for Caroline's wedding. And when he did meet her and she called him "father", he thought that was "indelicate".

What I liked most about this biography is that it didn't seek to paint Wordsworth in one way or another. People are various and they keep changing. They are usually a mixture of saint and sinner. Perhaps in Wordsworth's case, the sinner part was shocking (his alliance with Annette was discovered in the 1920s, when some letters were discovered at a post office, unsent, from Annette to Wordsworth) because his biographies painted him a rather dour, uncompromising figure who laid down the law as to what poetry is and was supposed to be, and got everyone else's back up.

The journal that was most severe on him was The Edinburgh Review and its reviews were so castigating that a weaker man may have committed suicide. Yet the editor, Jeffrey who later became Lord Jeffrey, said he quite liked Wordsworth's poetry and actually kept a copy of Lyrical Ballads (one of his early volumes, done in collaboration with Coleridge) on his desk. He said the reviews were to keep Wordsworth in his place so he didn't get above himself. What the reviews did, however, was to ensure that he did not make any money from his poetry (roughly about £7 a year for 20 years) so he was forced to take other work. And it was here that he drew the most criticism. The young man was a revolutionary. The middle aged one pandered to the nobility and aristocracy and spied for them. He had gone from being a radical to being the Toriest of Tories, something that the younger poets, especially, couldn't forgive him for.

This biography also took pains to point out that whatever had been his relationship with his sister (and it was pretty ambiguous - when I was reading the DW journals, I was struck by the violence of her emotions, vis a vis her brother) he was passionately in love with his wife...with a love that grew through the years. Their habits were regular, they never squabbled or said an angry word to each other and they were each other's support. Of course, because the household included his sister, Dorothy, and her sister, Sarah...it was said that he had not one but three wives, in the broadest sense of the word. All three ladies chivvied around him, looked after him, did his secretarial work and whatever else he needed. This was one of the things Coleridge most envied about him.

I liked this biography...the telling of his long years...the changes that time wrought in him. The biographer was obviously a fan. He softened Wordsworth's faults, without excusing them.

I feel like moving on to Barbara Pym next.

Receding into shadow

I miss you Mum. You pop up into my mind constantly, maybe because I think I am finally letting you go, and you are receding. So now, whatever life I choose to have, I will have to decide for myself. I've never been good at that, have I? But maybe that's OK. I can trudge on making whatever mistakes I am bound to make, falling and then getting up all over again to make mistakes, other mistakes, better mistakes...failing better, as someone once said.

My life is a mess and I allowed it to get this way. I feel tired all the time and this lack of energy has made me curl up into an uncomfortable corner, sweating because it is too hot, swatting the mosquitoes that tend to land on my sweaty flesh and take their fill, watching feel good Hallmark movies instead of sleeping because there are so many things I am trying to avoid thinking about.

And then, there's the work I could do but choose not to do.

And then I want to go out and watch a movie or write a letter in a cafe or do something at least, rather than sitting here, doing nothing, feeling lost and tired and cranky and hot.

The dogs: I love them and they frustrate me. On the one hand, I do not want the responsibility for them and on the other, I cannot bear to abandon them the way they were abandoned before.

Elliott is old and tired. He has cloudy spots in his eyes and he no longer runs like an antelope. Heck, he no longer runs at all, and if made to walk quickly, he starts wheezing.

And I don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life. The fount of creativity starts and stops...and right now, it's definitely stopped. I try to do what I am supposed to do, get by on the bare minimum and what I lack is soul, and what I lack is the real deal.

I don't know at which point my life got derailed. There is a point, no doubt, but I didn't see it while it was happening. I can only look back on it now, at this point, and wonder.

Has it derailed completely? Is there any such thing as a final ending? Is that what death is? Mother, looking at yours, I think you left so many things unfinished. You know, the way Michael Jackson did. But your body gave out before you could finish them.

And I wonder how lonely you must have been in that house by yourself. It always makes me cry to think about that. There is nothing I can do to change that now. But that house, it scares me and I avoid it. It has become like this dark thing looming in the shadows, and the more it looms, the more I avoid it.

I avoid a lot of things, but I guess if you've been watching, you've kind of noticed that already.

But as I said, even if you were watching before, I don't think you're watching anymore, or at least, less and less.

I feel you receding and this is good. You need to go get on with whatever you need to get on with. I cannot keep calling on you.

Mum I don't know how to live but I'm going to have to figure it out myself.

I love you. I always will.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

This Silence

There is a silence out there, a silence, and I don't know how far it stretches, or how deep it goes. A silence, that encompasses everyone and everything. My phone, it does not buzz, at least, it does not buzz with messages or mail from the people I want to hear from.

Elliott is pretty sick.

I need to inject some cough mixture down his throat.

I need to write letters. There are letters to be written.

Trying to transcribe the story I have written I realise that it's all wrong and I don't like it. I am trying to figure out where I go from here.

Today, I discovered Aruna Shields.

Today I took Bruno to get his stitches removed. His testicles are infected. I have to squeeze them and apply a cream. And give him two sets of antibiotics - one targeted at the aerobic bacteria and one at the anaerobic bacteria. He is due to visit the vet again next week. Sigh. He is not a restful travelling companion.

Sometimes I wish there were someone else in the car, someone to hold the dog or dogs as I take them to the vet.

But there is no one.

No one who stays. No one who calls. No one who sticks around.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Calm Despair

I didn't abandon you, you know. You left. And if I didn't pester you, it was not because I didn't love you, but because I was tired. I had work to deal with. I had my own stuff. And I figured you would resurface when you ready to.

And you did. A picture of calm despair. To pay back the money you owed. The money I had forgotten you owed. The money you could have kept. You were tying up loose ends, it was clear to see. No you hadn't come to see me. I stood there in my towel, dripping wet, conditioner still in my hair and asked you to wait until I had washed it off and put on some clothes.

But no, you wouldn't.

I called after you. Asked if we could meet up sometime. You said to call you. But you switched off your phone. The prompt told me your number was "unavailable". So I sent you a text. You answered that. With words that told me...just how bad things were. You could no longer pretend, keep up appearances.

Everything was lost, everything dissolved, everything torn to shreds.

I know my love doesn't count.

But it's there.

And if we don't ever meet again, I want you to read this and know this.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blue Horses

I came into work bright and early today. Well, relatively. I have a story in my inbox to clear or rather overhaul and I am trying to feed myself full of mental vitamins to tackle this gargantuan task. I seem to like clearing less and less.So I brought my copy of Blue Horses with me, a book of poetry by Mary Oliver. I bought it at the Harvard bookshop while I was in Boston. Lovely!

So I dip into it, read a poem about a heron and a frog (the first one) and then I will look at the transcript of the interview that was sent to me (it contained good stuff), read the story she sent me again...and figure out what I want to extract from it to shape and structure my Asean story.

I wish I had something profound to say here, but I don't.

Just that I woke up heavy hearted, feeling extraordinarily sad. I have given up trying to assign reasons for why I feel what I feel and what I am picking up on.

Hopefully the feeling will dissolve during the day...if you feel your sadness instead of trying to hide from it, usually it moves through your body, as energy does. It's only trapped energy that turns toxic.

Later for you.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


When something feels evil, trust your gut instinct. It's almost always right. And when people make you feel guilty for feeling what you feel, trust it more. Every time someone has made me feel guilty (or maybe, I made myself feel that) for being put off and disgusted by a person, that person has turned out to be bad news after all.

Evil people can be like toads sort of camouflaged in the garden, brown and ugly and really, so uninteresting that you fail to notice them. But there they are, behind the scenes, dripping poison into your little world. In this case it only worked part way. It didn't really work out as she planned. I am glad for it. I am glad she exposed herself enough to be kicked out. And I hope she really got the job she told everyone that she got. Because if she didn't, well, she will have a lot of time to sit around feeling hard done by and sending her poisonous thoughts my way.

These people tire me. And I need to buy one of those magic stones that say, back to sender, back to sender, right back to sender.

I've spent a lazy day on the sofa watching movies on iTunes. Cake (with Jennifer Aniston), Jiro Dreams of Sushi (I feel asleep while it was going on and only woke up at the end...the voice over was so soothing), Renaissance Man (which I really loved, although I disagreed with their reading of Hamlet whom I persist in thinking was a complete bastard!). I updated my other blog. I put in some stitches to the tapestry I am doing for Kat. (I stopped working on that for the longest time). I started on a letter to Nessa. I took Elliot for his walk and fed him (and the two doggies whom I forgot were chewy little buggers - they have destroyed one pair of my shoes and other slippers outside which I had better get rid off before Dadda comes back).

I thought they would be happy to be locked within our gate but they started crying wanting to go out. I think my neighbour was taking Sam and Sydney out for a walk and they always follow. Julie said she would ask her friend Sharad if his aunt would take them on her large estate (although she already has five dogs there).

Things seem so scattered lately. The moment I get back into KL I tense up and have difficulty sleeping. My room is a mess so I don't sleep there. Instead, I put on the aircon and sleep in the hall. The days are unbearable hot and turgid. I flip idly through books registering nothing. I try to write letters but nothing sticks.

I am wondering now whether this lack of focus has anything to do with the cellular waves that are flooding the space around me. What if I were to go somewhere uncovered by all this telecommunications equipment. Would I then be able to think again? Would I then have peace?

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

And just like that, March is upon us.

It's late and I'm tired. I've gone through one pullout (with a fine-tooth comb) and now I have to do the same for another. My eyes are scratchy and I just want to go home curl up in bed and watch an inane movie over iTunes or YouTube or whatever. Either that or read Love, Nina and then fall asleep.

Funnily enough, although it's just Tuesday, it feels like it's been a hard week.

Yesterday, I lost my phone and my morning pages diary.

Today, I found it again.

I guess I'll just keep that old nose to the grindstone until I'm done with what I have to do.

(Enthusiasm, where are you? Passion, likewise? Did you creep out the backdoor as I was editing pages and pages, with no clear idea where or when or how?)

If Mum was alive, I would call her now to chat. I'd say, yeah, been busy Mum, but will be done by today. Then maybe make plans to go back to JB to hang out with her.

If Mum were alive...

Somehow I think I am going to sleepwalk through the following days, stuck on autopilot, not seeing and not really caring. Not really there, if you know what I mean.

What I need to do is make lists and start doing practical things towards planning my trip because...well, it's creeping closer.

Without any warning, March is upon us. The ides of March. The time for take-off. Such things, such things.

And although it is March and speaks of tempests and tsunamis, floods and conflagrations, I would prefer to be calm, serene, mindful, untroubled.

Maybe I'll re-read Seeds from a Birch Tree again.

Or the Long Quiet Highway.


Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Today I finally finished my obstreperous novel. When I finally got down to writing again, the story poured out of me and I didn't quit until I was done. And that was when I realised. It was not about completing the novel. It was about hammering it into shape. Now I shall have to copy what I wrote into a word document. And commence: editing!

The working title is Pristine and I'm making fun of a lot of things but it turns out sort of tragic, anyway.

Now let's see if I can whip it into shape.

Monday, February 09, 2015

How long before my soul catches up?

Every so often a word, a phrase, a name
splashes across my life
like a bloodstain
Like blood
like a stain
And I remember
And I am filled with remorse
At all the things I did
and all the ones
I did them too

And I wonder what I can do
or be or feel or say
to stop staining it anew
to wipe clean the slate

To be, in peace, in calm
in serenity

And I wonder
how long before
my actions catch up
my thoughts catch up
my feelings catch up
with my soul?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Would that I had more go

So, day three of operation, show him some attention, feed him some food. Today, as planned, I made the dry mutton curry, asparagus belachan and cocoa cake. The asparagus (because I didn't remove the tough gristly bottom part) and the cake (I left out ingredients and here is one cake where I shouldn't have used less sugar) left something to desired. But the mutton curry was sheer poetry in the mouth.

Dadda attacked it with gusto. So did I. He's at the table now having a late dinner (because we had a late tea). I and trying to psyche myself up to do some exercise or something because I've been gorging steadily all day.

OK, not all day. I started the day with a visit to the dentist for the last part of my root canal - the fitting of the crown. Then I got home, fully intending to start cooking but instead, feeling tired, I had some breakfast and fell asleep. And then I woke up and started...well, you know, the dry mutton curry requires 25 shallots - that is peeling and cutting them...among other things - so, well, by the time lunch was ready, it was pretty late. (Luckily tomorrow, everything can be heated up - there is loads of leftovers)

Among the usual things I try to do every day, the boxes I want to tick...well I haven't done much of them. Other than cooking, I have been pretty lazy. I am doing precisely what I make up such elaborate to-do lists to guard against. Wasting my weekend, allowing myself to drift aimlessly.

Would that I had more get up and go.

Friday, January 30, 2015

There's something wrong with Elliott

So I made another boiled egg this morning (this time I timed it to see that it was properly half boiled and not three quarters boiled) and Dadda ate it with gusto. OK, well, he didn't grimace at it.

I spent a productive morning doing various things and then I got to work and went out for lunch at Beyond Veggie where I had a full plate of petai fried rice (which I would have never touched in pre-diet days) and it tasted so good. And it may be past six o'clock now but I'm still full. That's what happens when you go on GM. Your stomach sort of shrinks.

I notice that it also has an effect on my mood. I tend to fly off the handle a lot more easily now. Am I feeling deprived without knowing it? But then, I do feast on weekends. Yesterday I bought all the ingredients and today, when I get home (after this Skype interview that I have to do), I will be chopping up the various bits and bobs that I have to do.

Then tomorrow, after my visit to the dentist for the crowning, I will throw everything into the pot and start cooking. I am thinking that I probably should bake the cake tonight rather than wait for tomorrow. But hmmmm....don't really want it to be stale.

So yeah, maybe I will wait and then make it after lunch. Much better idea.

It's 6.20pm now. My 6pm interview was rescheduled to 6.30pm because my interviewee was having trouble connecting to Skype.

Let met check in again.

Later for you.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three quarter boiled eggs and fish curry

So here's the way to deal with a hypochondriac when you're not sure if he's actually ill. My father said he was feeling weak...possibly because of his reduced food intake. So, this morning, I boiled him an egg. I had meant to half boil it but I felt it too long and it was three quarters boiled instead. No matter, he ate it with pepper, salt and not a little gusto.

Then for lunch I packed a good deal of fish curry and mixed vegetable and rice from Pakeeza. Enough for lunch and dinner for two days. This too, he enjoyed and seemed to be stepping more briskly.

And to top it all off, I finally got a maid service to come clean the house which was reeking with dust and filth...and well, that makes everybody feel a lot better doesn't it?

So now the house is clean, the father is feeling less neglected and more like himself and the dog (who really is a finicky dog and does not like dirty) is reclining happily in his doggie bed.

I bought all the ingredients for the dishes I hope to make over the weekend - which means I can start cutting them up tomorrow - ready to be mixed and made into something wonderful when I get back from the dentist on Saturday morning.

I'm wondering if the prolonged diet (although I do break it two days a week) is having an effect on my mood. If it is, I should stop because it's not fair for me to be moody and lash out because I'm lacking some chemical or other in my bloodstream or I feel deprived.

The funny thing is, if I'm feeling deprived, I really have no idea of it. I guess it is something subconscious.

Although I'm supposed to be finishing the fifth chapter of Leap of Perception, I have taken up Tempest Tost instead. I don't think I did it justice in my first reading of it. Now I am enjoying it so very much more.

I didn't drink coffee last night. Maybe, after I've finished the various bits and bobs I have scheduled for the night, I will fall asleep properly.

Later for you.

Christmas holiday

I have just booked myself a holiday for Christmas. Inspired by a former lecturer, I will be going to a place I've wanted to go for a long time but just never got around to, or maybe, never had the guts to. I asked two people to go with me. The first said yes and then had a minor meltdown. The second said Christmas is so far away and she would think about it. In the meantime, I just went ahead and booked myself a bed.

Why not?

I hated Christmas last year. I spent most of the day cooking for people who were ultimately ungrateful and I thought, hang on, this is not how I want to spend Christmas in 2015. I want to pick my own party. Even if it's a party of one. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife.

I've become really good at being by myself. I prefer doing things along. Why not, after all, why ever not?

Alone, I can read. Alone, I can write. Alone, I can think my own thoughts without the screaming of another soul beside me.

So, alone it is. Alone it is.

My father, I think, sensing my growing distance and not happy with the diet I happen to be on which makes him not cook for himself...has started making his funeral plans. He feels ill now. So ill that today he started talking about death again. He told he that he has a fixed deposit at Maybank and to be sure to make a claim on it should anything happen to him.

So, tomorrow, with the new cleaner's coming in the morning, I will go pack some food for him to have both for lunch and dinner. Maybe if he eats, he will feel better.

The thing is, when I cook enough for it to last the whole week, he wastes the food. He finds fault with it. And then it has to be thrown away. And now he acts neglected. Dying. Sad. Abandoned.

So I will do the best I can.

But I will also be getting on with my life.

And I will people it with those I really want to be around.