Monday, December 27, 2010

Prozac Sunrise

My walls are black, the way I like 'em
They don't pretend in a colourless world
and the ravens rise, no way to fight 'em
Breathe in the smoke as it uncurls

I can safely say I have not missed
the colours you stole when you went away
the blue from the sky, the red from my wrist
which have congealed and settled into shades of gray

I could paint a Prozachean sunrise
or write a tender verse about despair
inspiration flickers and then it dies
I write, I paint, I find, I do not care

But depression is art and I do it so well
I do it so it feels like hell.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas at the Cranks

Well, well, well...there's about 10 minutes more to go and Julie is slumped on the sofa watching Carrie. We've just taken the doggies for a late walk (storms prevented taking them at their normal time), Ivan is upstairs either sleeping or reading his Our Friends Jennings courtesy of moi, and Mum is either asleep or reading Sidney Sheldon's Morning, Noon and Night (also courtesy of moi).

It has been a slightly atypical Christmas in that we didn't scream and throw things at each other. Over dinner I said we should have a tee-shirt done for the whole family - a goofy family portrait with the words "We put the fun in dysFUNctional".

Mums glared at me:

"Do you realise you're insulting me?"

I still think it's a good idea.

Check it out:

Here's the Big M with her stash:

Here's the Shi Sho:

And the Chubster:

I have no decent shots of the D-man. He didn't change out of his sarong for the present-opening ceremony. Then he was grumpy because it was half 3 and lunch was still not ready (I tell you some people ah...).

Esther gave me chocolates. Here's Chubs helping himself and refusing to give any to Shi Sho, who's standing there and lecturing him about the true meaning of Christmas:

Here's the tree:

And all the presents:

I just finished reading the book about imaginary friends that Mary gave me for Christmas. Esther was here earlier, eating cake and telling me all about everything.

The D-Man and Unkley are now watching a Malayalam movie that Unkley brought. Dadda is emitting his mirthless laugh and saying that all of this is a fantasy thought up in the minds of the moviemakers. Not historically accurate. Unkley is leaning forward eagerly either engrossed in the movie or pretending to be.

We've eaten too much as usual. Jules says she is going to get fit next year and is trying to convince Chubs to get fit along with her.

As for me, I haven't decided on any New Year's Resolutions, as yet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bigger Than Phil

When we were little, Mick played a recording of The 2000 Year Old Man for Josh and me. Mel Brooks played the 2000 Year Old Man with an old-school Yiddish accent, and Carl Reiner interviewed him as the straight man.

INTERVIEWER: Did you believe in anything?

OLD MAN: Yes, a guy - Phil. Philip was the leader of our tribe.

INTERVIEWER: What made him the leader?

OLD MAN: Very big, very strong, big beard, big arms, he could just kill you. He could walk on you and you would die.

INTERVIEWER: You revered him?

OLD MAN: We prayed to him. Would you like to hear one of our prayers? "Oh Philip. Please don't take our eyes out and don't pinch us and don't hurt us....Amen."

INTERVIEWER: How long was his reign?

OLD MAN: Not too long. Because one day, Philip was hit by lightning. And we looked up and said..."There's something bigger than Phil."

Are You My Guru? Wendy Shanker

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And The Search for Happiness

Well well well. I trudged all the way to the LRT station yesterday (feeling very proud of myself) and took myself to the KLCC in search of bottles. My re-closeable wassail bottles had run out and I had some wassail leftover. Unbottled. One more, just one more.

Unfortunately, other people had the same thought so the bottles which had been abounding at Isetan were not there anymore. There, was however, a pretty Italian bottle with a cork. Probably for olive oil but who cares? I bought it and brought it home and lo and behold, the wassail looks great in it.

Trips on the LRT can be exciting and instructive. Naturally I always have a book but sometimes you are so crammed inside there that there is no chance of whipping out said book to read.

Don't you just hate the people who are overladen with umbrella, backpack and a hundred different plastic and paper bags? And don't you just hate it when these people sit down right next to you and stick their umbrella into you and are not even aware of it, despite the plethora of pained expressions that cross your face?

Well, the guy sitting next to me did too. I didn't realise my umbrella was sticking into him until he got up and walked off (possible to detrain) but maybe because he was really really annoyed...I plunked myself down beside him, packages and all, like a veritable bag lady, and rudely awakened him from what seemed to be deepest slumber.

I didn't notice the pained expressions. When I did notice it and remove the umbrella from where it was sticking into his leg, it was too late. His impression of Malaysians as pesky inconsiderate annoyances was already cemented.

And if I were not enough, it being the school holidays, there were scads of little children running around on the train as their parents looked on indulgently, bumping against him and stepping his toes.

Normally kids annoy me but since I was busy being part of the annoyance, and since I looked really peculiar with my straw hat and bags and bags, they had the wisdom to avoid me and step on the toes of the long-suffering fellow next to me. Also the long-suffering guy just opposite him who stayed on the train (and thus suffered) far longer.

Anyways, a trip to KLCC wouldn't be complete without a visit to Kinokuniya so of course I went, without looking for anything in particular and discovered this:

which I never heard off, but which I just finished and can only say, excellent, excellent, very very.

And this:

You'd think that all I did yesterday when I got back was read. But that's not true. I also watched two Christmas movies back to back. (See I told you I was productive!)

And I made chocolate chip cookies, butter shortbread, the cake part of the lemon curd cake, Texas Fudge cake (without the fudge). All in one night.

Believe me, that takes some doing.

And today I will be making two chocolate raspberry streusel bars.

Don't you just love the silly season?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fair's Fair

My phone shows there's a message and as I click on it I already know what it's going to say. The thing is, if you cancel on me once or twice, no worries. We're all busy people and life tends to get in the way of our plans.

But if you make it a habit what can I infer but that a meeting with me is of the lowest priority which will give way to anything (and I do mean anything) at the slightest moment's notice?

The slight irritation I felt began to thrum. The message asked if we could do this tomorrow?

Then I remembered. Tomorrow is Chubs's Christmas party. And after that, off to JB. So no, we can't do it tomorrow. Sorry.

And immediately I felt better.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if you make it a habit of canceling on me, I'll make it a habit of never making plans with you. I don't want to block off my time for someone who doesn't value it.

After all, fair's fair.

The Final Stretch

Among other things, I have sprayed Arnold with the distickinfectant again (it's been two days since his bath, so I figured it was time), called the police officer to find out the status of the case (she fixes her car, I fix mine), called the workshop to find out the status of the car (it's being cemented now, whatever that means), made out a shopping list of ingredients (I need to make four more cakes and two more kinds of cookies), washed and hung out my bedclothes, downloaded three MP3s (legally, I might add) and texted a friend to ask if we're meeting tonight. (She didn't answer but I notice people take longer and longer to answer texts).

After this I will have to take myself off to Innisfree, or rather, the LRT station, to make my way ultimately to KLCC to buy a recloseable bottle (I have leftover wassail to put it in) and then back again to get all the items on my shopping list from the nearby supply store. What I seem to need more than anything else is cakes and cakes of butter. Also raspberry jam. Also aluminum foil. Also whipping cream. No more eggs because I have enough to last me through this baking stint.

Arnold is turning up his nose at his food which means I need to go forage for him as well. He's looking like a sad, sorry little doggie after the spraying (I can't help it, it's the lesser of the two evils, the alternative being a tick-fest).

Dadda is out to post cards. I offered to post them for him but he said no, he wanted to take a walk. That was like two hours ago and he's still out. (How long does it take to post cards?) I need to call and ascertain he's OK before I go out again.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Lights

I've decided to start a stamp album (talk about archaic hobbies!). But the Christmas cards have started to trickle in and I love the stamps and can't bear to throw them away. So I'll go out there on one of my famous quests (only thing is my fellow quester in search of archaic objects, Mary Zachariah, is not here to don the armour, take up her sword and follow me).

But that's now what I came here to talk about. (I just thought I'd put that in as I decided right this minute - talk about on the minute news, hahahahaha)

Anyways, I decided yesterday that I would go look at the lights of Bukit Bintang and see why everyone was making such a fuss about Pavilion.

To do so, I had to take one LRT, change at Sentral, and then one Monorail. Note to the uninitiated: I had never taken said Monorail before and didn't even know where the station was.

But I am nothing if not a reporter and an expert on being lost (there's a difference between being an expert in getting lost and an expert in being lost - an expert in being lost usually finds her way). So I asked around and was led in the right general direction and crossing the street in Brickfields, my engladdened eyes did behold the station. It said Sentral though if you asked me, I would have said Brickfields because it was so not in Sentral. Anyway, whatever floats your boat, station namers...

So I settled in, got seats in both the LRT and the Monorail which was a feat considering that two thirds of the population decided to do just what I did and land up on Bukit Bintang.

Ah, but the streets were crowded. I saw the latest version of the Mat Rocks and it was difficult not to stop, stare and take down notes like any good anthropologist (except that I'm not one and these people fascinate me because, let's face it, they're fascinating). There were tourists, there were Malaysians of all shapes and sizes. There were stern-looking policeman who kept telling us we couldn't cross the street (we crossed anyway).

The Starhill stretch was not very impressive - I mean same old, same old.

But oh my, Pavilion was everything they said it was and more.

This was what it looked like on the outside:

And for a closer look:

And this was what it looked like on the inside:

And another view:

It took my breath away. Anyways after wandering around Pavilion and trying out a beautiful red Love on Earth dress which did not fit (though the colour looked great on me), I was hungry.

Looking for something to eat I got waylaid by a young boy selling perfume who sprinkled my wrist liberally with Tresor in Love (it was lovely and if I didn't have a dressing table covered in perfume I would buy it) and told me where the nearest ATM machine was. (You go downstairs...)

Anyways I decided to try out the beef pepper rice at Pepper Lunch. Paid for my meal, went and sat down, and waited. And waited. And waited. They were running around short-staffed and people just kept pouring in and buying meals. The smells were enough to kill but I had my book, so it was not too bad.

This is what it looked like:

When the supervisor finally arrived with my meal he apologised profusely that I had waited so long, showed me how to mix it up, how to pour the sauces (sweet and salty) and asked me where I was from. Apparently, I looked like an Indian tourist. But I fear his powers of deduction were sadly wanting here.

Firstly, I didn't have the Indian accent. I have a very Malaysian one (believe me, I had to sit near two Indians on the monorail back with very strong accents, one telling the other that he had dumped his girlfriend of four years because she was bugging him to stop drinking and also because in all those four years, she never put out...all this at the top of his voice to someone sitting just next to him) Secondly, I was ordering the beef pepper rice. Thirdly and most significantly, I was alone. How many Indian girls from India would you see sitting in a corner by themselves reading a book and waiting for a meal? I mean even in Malaysia that's weird, but in India?

So I finished my excellent overpriced meal and took me off for the journey home which was a lot more crowded than the journey there. When I got back to the Monorail it was crowded. So crowded that it was hard to believe it was already nearing 11.

I mean to say what? Didn't these people have anything better to do? For that matter, didn't I?

So trying not to push and shove I got pushed and shoved inside where I bagged a seat near aforementioned Indians who were telling each other the most private things at the top of their voices. It takes all sorts.

When I finally got off at the Paramount LRT, it was dark and lonely and I walked all the way home remembering the beautiful dress that didn't fit. Jerry had texted earlier to say it was the Backyard party tonight but without a car, or a gang to go with (like those delectable Mat Rocks who looked and acted about 12 all over Bukit Bintang), I just didn't feel like it.

Arnold greeted me enthusiastically when I got home and made me feel so loved. Whenever one of us is about to go out (and he knows we are because we do suspicious things like bathe, change our grotty clothes and maybe, and this is the worst, put on makeup) he either head-butts our knees in an attempt to make us change direction, or flops on the floor and look at us out of heartbroken eyes - you'd be surprised the amount of emotion that little drama queen doggie can put into one look)

I realise of course that none of this could be of the slightest interest to all y'all, but I like recording these things, pictures and all, so I can come back and look at them, say a few months hence, and smile to myself. I wish I had recorded a lot more pictures along the way before this.

Never mind.

I always have the blog posts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bathing Arnold

Things I most like about bathing Arnold:

1. It's not too difficult; he is a relatively docile and obedient doggie;

2. The second shampooing which lathers up much more quickly;

3. The ticks that fall lifeless to the ground in the process (my pet shop guy did good - both in terms of the spray and the tick shampoo);

4. How clean and cute and respectable he looks after;

Things Arnold likes about bathing;

1. He gets to spend quality time with me and get very personalised attention;

2. The dead ticks dropping on the bathroom floor (I'm guessing here)

3. The good rub down he gets after;

4. The fact that his body is less itchy and he doesn't have to scratch so much;

5. All of the above, or nothing at all.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As Days Go By

Arnold is lying next to me, asleep on the floor. He twitches in his sleep, so I put my hand on him to calm him down. When in deep sleep, he starts to whimper. Yesterday he disturbed Chubs's (who was sleeping on the sofa) sleep.

I look down on him and see bare patches on his fur. He looks much better than when we first found him on the neighbour's doorstep, but he won't win a beauty contest any time soon.

Who would want a dog so damaged?

Ivan declines to sleep over tonight, saying he is particularly tired because of this little black ball of fur. Then, he pauses and says the doggie must have gone through hell to cry like that in his sleep. I tell Chubs the condition he was in when we found him. He says, yes, that's enough to give him nightmares for life.

He's an old dog. He's tired. I wish I had my own place. I would keep him in a heartbeat. Maybe that will be what I have to work on next year. To get my own place so Arnold can have his own little corner (somewhere near me, of course). To get him back from Furry Friends and spoil him rotten.

I decided today I wouldn't run around. I would stay at home and keep him company. I only have him for a few days more, before I have to surrender him to the vet for the various nips and tucks, and then the farm. I had to go out in the morning to post the residue of a present (long story) and buy Arnold some food.

As Dadda was out too, he was a little concerned. (Arnold doesn't like being left alone). He was very happy to see me back so soon, (well, relatively soon, anyway) and watched carefully as I changed out of my "going out" clothes into my chapalang stay-at-homers, after feeding him.

Then he alternated between the kitchen and dining room, as I made my way from one to another, mixing up the Texas fudge cake.

(He's now in twitchy REM sleep)

I have no more deliveries to make. After all, if everything had gone according to plan, I would have been in JB by now. Maybe there's a reason for all this. If I had my car, Arnold would have been delivered up to the vet by now and I wouldn't get to spend these last few days with him.

Arnold was stretched out, now he's curled up. I think he's a little cold. I put my hand on his back and he sighs. His nose twitches. I think he's dreaming of interesting smells. He sleeps with his tongue sticking out. Just a tiny smidge.

His new red studded leather collar is already a little stained. Wonder how he managed to do that. Or where. The collar goes with him when he leaves for the farm. Maybe Sabrina will allow him to keep it.

One thing about Arnold, he never bothers cats. There was a kitten mewing piteously outside our house. Arnold pattered out and ignored her. Chasing cats doesn't seem to be in his ken.

He really is a very gentle dog. Old and gentle and damaged and ever so sweet.

I wish someone else, other than me, someone with land, someone who loved dogs and would take care of him, someone who just wanted him for him and not for what he could do for them, would take him and keep him and buy him a nice fluffy bed and chew toys and send him for doggie massage and grooming and play with him and just appreciate how sweet he is.

He just woke up (I think I'm bothering him) so I sang Hush O Baby, patted his butt and put him back to sleep again.

When I Don't Make Sense

I like me better when I don't make sense. I like me better when I explain nothing. Explication is tedious. Let me just dive into cake. Or wine. Or some ghost of an experience. Let me just gesture at shadows and hum little tunes.

Let me not be clear.

Let me sip wassail and wink at you and go on and on and on and on and on...

I saw you today.

Hiding at the bottom of my brandy glass. I swirled you around and drank you up.

You burned my throat.

Brandy, brimstone, brandy, brimstone...

There'll come a day when you're losing your way
and you won't know where you belong
they say that home is where the heart is
so follow your heart
and know that you can't go wrong...

These Are The Nights

Blogs are good. They allow us to record memories we can come back to when in vacant or pensive mood and relive the good ole days. These are the good old days. Went out last night with Nits to Reef for the first time and had a blast. Reef is kinda what Backyard used to be before the renovations. More intimate and homey. Nits said it was a neighbourhood pub. But that's what Backers used to be as well. A neighbourhood pub. Now it's acquired a layer of glitz and is betwixt and between. Don't worry Jerry, I still love it and will still keep on coming just as long as Mark plays on Mondays.

Anyways, here are some selections from the night:


Mark was playing of course. Why else would we be there?

I had apple cider and Nits had vodka lime. We were moderate and didn't tipple to inebriation. The result of which, I am stone cold unhungover today. I have stuff to do and the clouds are lowering and rain is slashing in sideways. Not the best of times to go out. Arnold is outside under his favourite car, a kitten is mewing pitifully (I tried to catch her to feed her, but she ran away, not recognising a friend...maybe I smelt of dog) and George has said (not you Georgie, the other George) I have a habit of collecting strays.

So what should I do?

Make another Texas Fudge, I guess.

The Christmas Basket Project/The Reason for the Season

A mix CD of Christmas carols;
A collection of specially-selected Christmas stories;
A bottle of wassail (traditional English Christmas drink given to carollers who came tramping in the snow to your doorstep to spread good cheer)
A cake (lemon curd, Texas fudge) or cookies (chocolate chip, butter shortbread)
A box of soy tarts, a burner and candles for the burner (flavours include chocolate turtle brownie, caramel apple, spiced orange, caramel mocha, apple brown betty) so you can permeate your house with the smells of Christmas)
Other things (according to person) to show I love you

It was an idle thought sometime in the middle of this year. Yes, I think it was after July, when I had completed the project from hell and was at leisure to think about something NICE I would like to do. And nothing can be nicer than Christmas (Amy Grant is singing 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' now and agreeing with me).

So there I was idly jotting down what I would like to go into my baskets in a really nice notebook that a friend had given me when I was going through a particularly bad spot in the project (from Hell, in case you were wondering) and wanting to throw in the towel and just walk away.

The notebook said on its cover:

that you have what it takes to make your dreams a reality

knowing that you are in control of your life - that you have the ability within you to do anything

at every opportunity that comes by accepting challenges and learning along the way.

the beautiful person that you are - giving so much hope, love and joy to those around you.

I called it my happy notebook. It was only to record happy projects. Flipping through it, I see that I used it to design the birthday cards I was making (what to write inside, what to use for artwork outside), dreams, books I would like to have (the two I see there are In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin and Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf), my Christmas card list (it was fun, fun, fun writing out the Christmas cards scattered all over the bed, making checks on my list), a list of herbs I wanted to grow (chives, basil, dill, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley) in pots. I still haven't although I did buy the herb packets. I also see a recipe for aviyal (the famous Malayalee vegetable dish) with very precise instructions, from Mary's mother, from when I was in Sungai Petani in July.

I also see what I actually wanted to put in my Christmas basket. And realise I fell short, way short of everything I had originally planned. But never mind, there's always next year.

So I started picking the stories I wanted to include and inputting them into my laptop in a folder called very originally, Christmas stories. I started picking the carols I wanted to include in my CD. Some old favourites, some new (at least to Malaysians). And I started scouring eBay for the candles.

Having months and months to prepare (although towards the end it was all a rush and blur) I took my time. A little a day. Or nothing at all. Anyway it grew and grew.

I wondered sometimes at the reactions. I didn't give it much thought. It was something I wanted to do and I usually go overboard, but what is life if not for a little exaggeration?

I baked the cakes, slow-cooked the wassail, burned the CDs, made the covers, printed out the books, took them for binding, found the appropriate bottles for my wassail, bought the baskets from a uncle at a flower shop near the house who decided to become my good friend and recognise me as a "regular" customer. All of this was fine when I had my car. It became a little more complicated without it.

However, I pushed on, pushed on. My friends were surprised and delighted.

But there were two reactions in particular. An old friend (that I hadn't seen or talked to for a long time) and an aunt who is generally left to her own devices at Christmas teared up. It meant so much more to them than gaily-wrapped packages in a pretty basket. It brought some Christmas cheer to them. Which is what I had hoped as each thing I selected was supposed to infuse you with just a little spirit. (Of course the wassail, depending on how much rum I used, could infuse you with a lot more than a little).

Yesterday I delivered my last package. The person I delivered it to cut a piece of cake (lemon curd), sampled it, put in the CD to play as background and thumbed through the stories. She told me that it was wonderful to know that she had not been forgotten.

What can I say?

Peace on earth.

Goodwill to All.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Patchwork Quilt

Ah, it's tomorrow. The splitting headache has been slept off (I suspect it had a lot to do with being hungover), I have Ivan's car for one more day (yay!), I have one last basket to deliver today (called yesterday and made appointment to do so), one more cake (for friends that is) to bake, and well, all of my files from my old faulty hard disk (which crashed spectacularly and gave up its ghost two days ago) to transfer to the external hard drive (Dell wants its faulty hard drive back and it is merely on loan to me for the next two weeks).

Yesterday the police officer in charge of my case called to say I was at fault in the accident. That necessitated a trip to the station and an argument of gigantic proportions. He said he would "reconsider" and tell me his decision on Saturday. I am to call. Ivan said to call Godfrey and ask if he's free because it's always good to have a lawyer along at these things. Also, he was surprised that speeding in a housing area was not considered an offense.

Ho hum.

Anyways, in between freaking out about this and my hard disk (fixed now, blessedly fixed) I made a cake (Texas Fudge) for Julie's office, presented Alison with a basket (she met me in between a root canal, her son throwing up suddenly and rushing to some relative's house to sign some documents - hectic is too gentle a word for it), bought Mum's present and got something to deal with Arnold's ticks.

He had a few which we used to pick out manually and these have graduated...talking to the pet shop guy, he said, if you find one or two ticks on a dog, you can't just kill them and trust to fate. The doggies pick them up outside (Arnold, as we all know roams far and wide) and they have to be dealt with instantly.

Anyways, he sold me a spray (RM68? I mean to say what?) and a tick shampoo. However, I have strict orders to use the spray first, rub it deep into his fur all over his skin and leave it for two days to spread and do the good work. Then I can use the tick shampoo to give him a much-needed bath.

I forced the little doggie to stand there while I sprayed him within an inch of his life last night. Today, I can only say that he seems to be scratching less. I can't wait till I can bathe him and my baby is all clean again. I will drop him off at the vet at the end of this week to be spayed, vaccinated and dewormed. Only after this will he be accepted in the Furry Friends Farm. I will pick him up again after I get back to JB.

I hope to have dealt with the tick problem before that.

And, like James Taylor, I wish I had a river I could sail away on.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Day in Pictures

Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it.

A sample of pictures from yesterday:

A Christmas Basket

Still Sober

Drunk as skunks

A little bit o' Mark

A little bit o' fun

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Glorious Adventure or Nothing At All

I'm installing a DVD burner, Julie's Christmas present to me (after I finish using it I can give it back to her to wrap and put under tree) and listening to my new Celtic Woman Christmas album that I got at One U with Chubs today. Chubs, Jules and the D-Man have gone to church.

They remember, after all, the reason for the season, while I, heathen that I am, sit here installing software and making more presents and listening to semi-traditional carols. (They will probably be singing O Come Divine Messiah right about now, the hymn that always told me Advent was here and made me tingle with anticipation).

Oh well, see y'all in the funny papers.

After Celtic Woman I'll listen to Amy Grant. Then maybe Andy Griffith. And I'll wrap the presents I bought today.

Later for you.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Welcome to this side of chaos: in other words, my room. If I were to step out bed now I would come slap bang wallop into, let's see, a battery charger, my handbag, dirty laundry, four baskets tied together all anyhow, a box of goodies (to be sent), face cotton in a baking tin, assorted presents, Christmas cards, boxes containing a special gift specially ordered from the US of A, books (birthday present from my Uncle Solomon which I have yet to look at though they do look interesting), a wastepaper basket crammed to the hilt, wrapping paper, old copies of The Edge supplements, a water bottle with seriously stale water, my travelling bag (from JB which remains as yet not unpacked).

The good news is...I gave away my first Christmas basket today. And it went like a dream. Here. Take a look. (You didn't think I would keep showing you bruised cars and a bruiseder me, did you?)

I will not expound on the different things in the Christmas basket (since you may be one of those who's getting it and I don't want to spoil the surprise). Suffice to say, you know what I'll be doing for the next few days.

Today Chubs lent me his car so I was able to get around and run a 100 errands and actually make a date to see someone I hadn't seen in a long time. On Sunday. I'll let you know if it happens.

You see, here's the thing. I have to distribute all my presents before I make for JB. And there I'll be baking mostly, I think. Also rubbing my Big M down with ayurvedic oils which seem to be doing her good.

Please, please, please, please, please.

Monday, December 06, 2010

All Done

Shah Rukh Khan's "I'm the best" is playing in my head..

because I finished...all the stories for the year....YAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Of course T hasn't responded to tell me if they're OK or if they need tweaking, but still.

Now a little light editing and then I can get up and dance with King Khan.


There is a growing sense of unreality about everything. I stare at the notes I have just transcribed from my last interview of the year and cannot make head or tail of it. How do I write the story?

I'm too tired to goreng. But it's like part of me has disengaged and is sitting back and watching everything. That part of me is tired, bored, weary, half asleep. It's saying, so long, and thank you for playing, I need to go somewhere now.

And the other part is saying, wait, wait, I have this story to finish and some other stuff to edit and the Christmas baskets to complete and cakes to bake and and and...

The other part sighs and says, ok, maybe I'll give you a couple of weeks. Do what you have to do.

But don't be all year about it.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Do Or Do Not

There is no try.

What can I say?

I did not.

Friday, December 03, 2010


If I was still on Facebook, my update today would be:

Painkillers are da bomb!

Settling In

I don't know if it's the reaction or if I was actually injured yesterday but the pain has begun in earnest. Everything on my right side aches. I find it difficult to turn my neck that way. And my shoulder is another thing altogether.

Of course the thing to do when you're in pain is tell my hysterical Dadda. Who has suggested everything from the clinic across to the hospital..."because I need to claim for personal injury." He was hustling, then I told him, I can't go anywhere till the mechanic comes.

Now apparently after calling the insurance company, it's not the mechanic who's coming but the tow truck. They are trucking my poor injured baby away and then goodbye to mobility and hello to having to get around in cabs once more.

Hey Wolfie I'm your worst nightmare! Your ass is mine!

(If that doesn't make sense don't worry, I never made sense before the accident, surely you don't expect me to make sense after?)

So the other party has apparently not made a police report and the 24 hour time limit we're given to do it, is up.

In other news, our dogs in JB had a massive disagreement which resulted in blood spattered on the pavement. More Maggot than Elliot's blood which means we will have to be doing something about them real soon. This is not the time to be without a car when I will ostensibly have to send Arnold to other quarters. He's lying beside me now, scratching. I have to bathe him, but am dreading it with my shoulder and side the way they are.

OK, on the Christmassy side...I must find my way into Bangsar to do a mess of errands. Before I take off with Chubs today for JB. Or maybe he'll go tomorrow. He's tired and I cut in on his work time severely yesterday. When I called him he was at home finishing what he was supposed to have finished two days ago.

I need a basket.

Twisted Metal, Shattered Dreams

I can't sleep. My neck and shoulders have seized up in pure fright and my stomach churns every time I close my eyes. Everything aches and terror drips like a broken washer, into my dreams.

I read something as innocuous as Lucia to drop off and then the moment I switch off the light I snap awake. I can't seem to get comfortable in my body. I keep expecting something to crash into me again.

I'm huddled in the corner on the look out for oncoming missiles.

The police station today: Chubs who had come here after a meeting in KL decided to take on role of good Samaritan. So he noticed that the old people who were forced to use the computers without guidance to file their reports were somewhat (more than) at a loss. I, busy filling out my own form, didn't.

When he pointed out one poor old woman who was really struggling, I gaily tripped over, asked her if she needed any help and proceeded to commandeer the mouse from her and fill out her report in no time at all. The result of which she was next in the queue after me.

And Chubs was just about to begin helping another old couple when I emerged from the questioning room, from whence he had been banished (drivers only, will the man in the black tee-shirt please wait outside?).

Tomorrow I'll call Ah Meng to come take the car and work his magic. Transform it from a thing of twisted metal and shattered dreams into a shiny dream of what once was.

Ya think?

Maybe I'll use this wakefulness to some good purpose.

Maybe I'll work till I fall asleep.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Crash, Boom, Bang

If you think this blog has been a little frivolous of late, don't worry, that's about to change. I have real news today.

I nearly died.

A car rammed into my side and my car spun out of control. Thankfully it did not spin out of control into the path of oncoming traffic, but bad enough. My passenger side is all smashed up.

If it had been the driver's side, you would not be reading this.

I'm still shaking.

Of course, you're all the last to know.

The moment my father found out (he was in the hospital calling me to pick him up) he was on the phone and within a few seconds, both my mobile and landline started ringing off the hook.

Mum went into shock, Chubs called and said he would come after his meeting in KL, Julie called, all calm and calming and gave me the number of a mechanic near the house for a second opinion. She's coming over at lunchtime.

Did I tell you I was still shaking? Mummy's on the phone to me now and she's still shaking too. She is cancelling her plans because she does not trust herself to drive out now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wine, Women, Song and Cake

I had a birthday dinner with Nits last night. It was wonderful, wonderful, despite an initial contretemps where I was supposed to bring something and when almost there, realised I didn't have it, U-turned and went back to get it...while poor Nitsy Poo was starving in her car, waiting for me, thinking I was lost.

Despite all this...when we got there, everything was, in a word, perfect. The delicious wine and lemony 'tini, the pasta (we both couldn't finish, so we doggie-bagged and young Arnold, who has disappeared on his morning jaunt, will be the beneficiary). I hope he comes back soon. I don't like having him out.

Yesterday I met the most fascinating little kid, who helped me do my ingredients shopping. I had asked his advice about fondant, so he took me to the freezer, showed me the various sizes available, asked what I wanted it for...and then proceeded to grab the list out of my hand and whisk around the shop getting the different things (except for when he couldn't read my writing and had to come back and ask me what this or that was). He tried to get me to make florentinas (I think that's how it's spelled) but since my baking schedule is already on overdrive, I said maybe later. And then I asked for a baking tray and he showed me the various ones available (bear in mind this boy is only eight years old). I said, hmm...they seem rather flat...don't you have anything deeper? And he said, auntie, you mean cake tin, not baking tray. Oops! Anyway, he went into his spiel again, explaining the virtues of the various cake tins. I turned inquiring eyes on his mother. Did she teach him all this? No, she shook her head smiling. He just listens to us explaining things and picks it up. Apparently he's in the express class but still bored.

Anyway, after helping me to all the ingredients he could possibly find, suggesting a few alternatives that I may not have agreed with (such as rum essence for rum) he begged his mother to be able to tot it all up with the cash register. She refused nicely, getting him to do something else instead. So he got out the trolley, and packed everything on it and told me he would be following me to the car with everything. I said, no, no, I parked the car far away. So he said, yeah, so what does that mean, you're going to carry this all by yourself?

My little porter was all on the ready, so I said, no worries, I'll just drive the car round and load it. And that's what I did. The young man, his mother, his mother's maid all helped and we loaded everything up quick smart. So now I have got nearly all the ingredients necessary for my baking to begin.

I just need rum and aromatic bitters and I think I'll go scrounging around for that today. After my interview at 11. In Subang. After which I see the Prabhakaran (must remember to load my car with her presents).

I haven't even started on the story for the last interview. Instead, I've been dissipating, dissipating, dissipating, and soon I'll be baking.

Look at this:

Don't I have the most beautiful friends?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And I'll Miss You When You Go

The days draw in
the rains come
and somehow we wrap up
and snuggle
put up the twinkle lights
and celebrate

the warmth of the season
the smells, the colours
and everywhere
the evergreens abound
we talk, we smile
we burst into laughter
these are the days
we remember ever after

and I'll miss you when you go
I'll miss you when you go

One glass of wine
then two, maybe three

Squiffy now
falling of the chair
everything's amusing
the lights are upside down
and the fake fireplace's a scream

and there's fondant melting in the car
be sure to put it in the freezer
and then the fridge

And this weekend you'll make cupcakes
and decorate them

And I'll miss you when you go
I'll miss you when you go

He said you would
You probably will
But I'll stay, see?

I'll stay here
and miss you
when you go.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In The Bleak December

I've just come back from an assignment/interview and had a late chicken rice (with one lot of extra chicken for my fussy doggie who rejected the curried version) and I'm supposed to settle down, write my story and send it off. Then I need to make a list of ingredients I would need for the baking which will take off in earnest after this.

But having fallen asleep on the sofa last night (my room having gone from messy to unlivable in a few short steps) I'm tired and what I want to do more than anything is have a nice long nap. There is a lot of stuff to wrap, about 18 at the last count (I have to dust off my Santa hat and go a-calling)...all about me chaos swirls, swirls, matter how early you think you got this down, it always happens.

Luckily it's not December yet. If it were, I would just abandon everything, crawl into a comfortable corner and read more of Lucia, cuddle Arnold, scarf chocolate brownies and write a few desultory posts about all this existential anxiety that leads to complete and utter paralysis.

As it is...

Nearly there, just one more sprint.

As for the article, sap sap sui. Can do one! I'll do it tonight. Maybe.

But let me tell you about Saturday. Addy took me for a birthday dinner at this fabulous restaurant, Mezze. I didn't realise it at the time, but it was the one Mark kept telling me about in July (or was it June? Maybe May) He was supposed to perform there...he said, nice wine bar, dark wood, beautiful beautiful place.

Downstairs was the restaurant. It was simply superb. Addy and I were drooling over the goose liver pate (I know, but you try it and tell me it's not droolworthy). The nice manager who had a disturbing resemblance to Chubby Thambi (except that he wasn't chubby and his effervescene was real and not fake) came along, took our order, nodded approvingly when we asked for the portobello mushrooms (that's apparently a favourite there) and recommended the house pouring red. Stickleback, which neither Addy or I had heard of. Needless to say, it was divine. Between us we finished the whole bottle. But as we lined our respective tummies with the ultra-delicious food, it was OK.

Here he is. His name's Sakthi, but he prefers to be known as Magic. Same diff.

I came home and fell fast fast asleep (couldn't even manage a few pages of Lucia), the best sleep I'd had in weeks, months, maybe years.

Here's me and Addy, compliments of Magic. (both upper and lower case)

We checked out the upstairs and promised to come visit sometime soon and Magic promised in turn to give us the best seat in the house if we called him and booked it. Thing is, he's new there and didn't have a card.

As for the Christmas tree shopping, suffice to say we found a nice one, loaded Chubs with decorations (he didn't manage to find twinkle lights though so that's still on the to-do list) and may go over to his place to help him put it up.

OK Mum on the phone now.

Gotta go.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Things To Be Happy About

1. Arnold is home, inconveniently stretched out, as is his wont, in the corridor (so that you trip on him if you don't watch where you're going) blissfully content with a bellyful of meat (the latest meal being compliments of Dadda) rather than out in this awful storm, where I would have to worry about him.

2. I've just finished the second of the presents I'm making (my part anyway, I still have to take it to be bound) and it turned out beautifully. Woo hoo! Getting more and more into the mood.

3. In about an hour and a quarter will be going for a birthday dinner with Addy at a new place in Damansara Heights.

4. Have made up a list of baked goods that everyone is getting...and yay, it's almost time to start baking.

5. Finished the third story yesterday. I only have another three left for the year.

6. Have posted my final Christmas card today. The post office was actually open. Yippeee!

7. Got the odour absorber which is now doing its good work in my car which, persists, even after the expensive steam cleaning of cushions, to smell faintly of Arnold's puke.

8. Lucia is as bewitching as ever and keeps me rivetted. Molto bene, as she would say.

9. I bought a roll of actual scotch tape in a hardware shop so I can start wrapping presents.

10. Tomorrow Julie and I will be going Christmas shopping with Chubbieeeeeee. A tree, decorations, my cup runneth over.

11. I found a packaging shop at Jaya One which among others, has the bubble envelopes so dear to my heart, packing boxes (in case I want to send someone a Christmas box) and which binds books. What more can I ask for?

12. My printer works.

13. After two years, I'm finally figuring out how to use my camera.

14. The new sofa is very comfortable. I fell asleep on it during the worst of the storm with Arnold close by.

Dreaming and Scheming

Arnold has taken off for his daily sojourn. I thought, OK today I wouldn't let him go, but he kept pawing me, looking desperately into my eyes and whimpering softly at first, then louder, then louder. I can't believe how agitated he gets when not allowed out. And I wonder why it takes him all day to come home.

Anyway, I was looking at a shopping list and thinking about how shopping and to-do lists give you some idea of whatever is happening in your life at the time. For instance my shopping list today includes:

Green chillies
Spices (cloves, cardamom, star anise)
A plastic cover for the dining table (7 by 4)
Printing paper (to print out the Christmas books I spent a great deal of time putting together and formatting yesterday)
iPod earphones (Mum's birthday present to me)
and chicken for the truant doggie from the chicken rice shop

Tomorrow, Julie and I are going out with Chubs to get his Christmas tree and the decorations. He wants to Christmas up his new apartment and this is one time where we will willingly oblige. (He doesn't want to go to Ikea though and I do)

Julie asked if she could "upah" me to bake a cake for her office. I asked which cake and she said they're all chocolate freaks. So that makes another Texas Fudge cake (at last count, I'm making three). I actually have to make a list of the people I'm giving the Christmas basket to.

And I have one more Christmas card to send out, just cos, I didn't have the address earlier. The post office guy at Bangsar has started to know me real well. We banter while the rest of them loaded down with envelopes (apparently I'm not the only one who sends out cards early) snarl, already in the holiday mood.

The first time I went clutching my mess of cards, it was storming outside, so I sang "oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful..." as I licked a hundred stamps onto various envelopes.

The second time it was not storming so I didn't sing.

The third time, who knows? But I just have one card more to send. No matter how well I try to plan, it always takes several trips to the post office. I'm trying to co-opt Julie for a nefarious scheme next week. She said she's busy but she doesn't know with what. She just has a vague idea that she said yes to something or other. My sister is probably one of the busiest people in the whole of KL. Hectic social schedule indeed! Mine is nothing compared to hers. Which is why at the present moment, I'm sitting cross-legged on the sofa while she is off to Malacca for a day-trip. Arnold has gone off on his daily odyssey and Dadda is mumbling to himself and surfing the internet. Probably writing nasty letters to the editor on the various news sites he favours.

I finished my third in a series of five stories yesterday (oh joy!) and sent off a list of very detailed questions for another unrelated interview (which I had been putting off because the topic is fairly technical and required a lot of background reading beforehand). The PR (I gotta say, she's the most efficient one I've ever come across) sent me an acknowledgement pronto. And this was like at 11 at night. Wonders will never cease.

I'm re-reading EF Benson's Lucia series because they are nothing so much as pure pleasure. I can understand why Noel Coward and the like were so potty about these books. EF Benson has a very sharp tongue but I like the characters anyway. Especially Miss Mapp whom no one else seems to like. She was such a wonderful villainess.

OK I think I have to go mandi now and make tracks for the outside world. Arnold can't be the only one having all the fun.

Later for you.

Later that day: Wonder of wonders, when I got back from my desultory running of errands, who should I see waiting under the car parked on the neighbour's verge but young Arnold. I'd know that dishevelled figure anywhere. The cats are sleeker and neater-looking.

He was waiting to be let in, and when I opened the gate to drive in my car, he let out one of his howls that had my Dadda scurrying for the window.

"Eh, what happened? Why is the fellow back so early?"

"I donno. But I think he's hungry. We didn't give him any breakfast, what? Luckily I bought food for him."

I had bungkused some chicken rice and asked the guy for an extra packet of chicken for the dog. I fully expected only to feed him tonight when he got back from his peregrinations, but lo and behold, here he was.

I handed the food to Dadda while I got all my stuff out of the car and said...ok, go give him first...the one with only chicken is his. And like a gooboy, Dadda went. Arnold wolfed down everything in half a second. So Dadda added the chicken. He wolfed it down again. Now it's been some days since we've seen any display of his normal appetite so your guess is as good as mine what happened today. Maybe he arrived at his destination and whoever he's adopted was out and not ready to feed him. So that was two meals missed as he didn't get anything from here either. It must have been one hungry dog that came back.

Anyway Dadda is busy cooking the chicken I had bought before for Arnold. I said...cook it and keep it...he's too hungry. Now Arnold has fallen asleep next to me. Four helpings of chicken has done the job.

At least I think it has.

Or I hope it has.

Dadda just came here, looked at him sleeping and said: "He's having flu, his nose is running. Maybe that's the reason he came back. Having fever or something. Check and see."

And I grunted noncommitally because to me, Arnold appears to be resting comfortably.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Prodigal Son

See this sleepy doggie? He's just come back from a day of wandering far, far away.

Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close-up.

We don't know where he goes. Except that it's very far away and he comes back later every day. Dadda thinks it signals a lack of loyalty. After all we feed him and he gets all the cuddles he can take. But I think it's a very poignant form of loyalty. Like Greyfriars' Bobby he returns to scenes of past pleasures, former haunts, maybe an old master? Then he makes the long, long tramp back to arrive only when it's dark. When he arrives he licks me, heads straight for the kitchen, drinks a lot of water, eats whatever we have put out for him, and then comes to the hall, flops down and goes to sleep. You can try to wake him, but the little doggie is just plain exhausted. I cleaned the pus-filled wound with the saline Julie bought and he whimpers if I press too hard.

He's an old dog. It's difficult for him to make the two-way trek. He's tired. But he does it anyway.

Isn't that what loyalty is all about?

So when the prodigal son returns now, I have no heart to scold him. I just pat him on the head, accept his affection and then feed and water him.

My Arnold is a lovely dog.

Maybe one day he won't return.

I'll enjoy him till then.

(He's doing the whimpery bark in his sleep...he barks like this when he's trying desperately to tell you I want to go out now, please let me out, please, please let me out, I have to go)

Birthday Matters

Feeling like your youth is slipping away? Don't be silly. It left a long time ago. Kidding...Happy Birthday.


Happy 39th ah! You still look like a whippersnapper 20-sthing...donch worry. You have your mummy's face after all! Hope it's a great one.

Louwe and bunny slippers,

My sister, ladies and gentlemen, and in case you wanted to see what this particular beauty queen looks like, I got in some good shots at the birthday do.

Like this one:

Or this:

But my favourite picture of the night had to be this. My Chubs of a brother demonstrating how to look like an Ah Lian. First you bring your eyelids down. Then look up. Puff out your cheeks. Poke anywhere.

What else can I say? There was wine, there was pasta, there was lamb, there was also the sacramental tiramisu that we passed around after I had blown out the one candle (one, haha)...the three Jacobs and one Fernandez kid were trigger-happy and we snapped away all night.

All in all, a fun time had by all. Chubs recounted the UK-India SMS incident and all of us, rather squiffy on red wine by this time, laughed fit to kill ourselves. I can't remember what the SMS in question said anymore but I do remember that it nearly caused an international incident. OK, the extent of the international incident would have been a terse reply from the D-man to my sisters for telling him to kneel down, let the soil flow through his fingers and say, Mother India, I have returned to your sandy bosoms. Jai Hind.

But still.

Arnold has taken to disappearing the entire day. He goes very very far away (I went about probably quarterways with him today, as I had leashed him and forced him to take me along but he tried to get into a fight with a cute little inoffensive doggie, which earned him a spanking and a quick turnaround - I dragged him home quicksmart). I don't know how he escaped today. Neither door was open. I have named him the ever-prodigal son....except that he keeps returning every night (albeit later and later). I am thinking he has another family, but this family evidently does not feed or water him. He arrives back hungry and thirsty and tired and wanting cuddles.

And this is just for Mary. I thought it might amuse you.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hail Penang continued (and then some)

It would not be wrong to speak of people as having a compulsion to photograph: to turn experience itself into a way of seeing. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it, and participating in a public event comes more and more to be equivalent to looking at it in photographed form. That most logical of nineteenth-century aesthetes, Mallarmè, said that everything in the world exists in order to end in a book. Today everything exists to end in a photograph. Susan Sontag, On Photography

And now we've got that out of the way, let me proceed to prove her right. Here's us at Backyard last night. Me, the Prabhakaran and the Ads.

And here is Mark playing (but of course, why else would I be at Backyard?)

So I was going to tell you about Penang. Well, we went to the museum but weren't allowed to take pictures so I can offer you no visual record of the place. Instead, here's a frontal view of the E&O.

Anyways, we woke up early the next day (despite our relatively late night out) because I wanted to have the roti kosong and kopi susu at this place in Teluk Bahang. I kept telling the other two how Jackie, Julie and I had stumbled upon it in our meanderings through Penang and just how wonderful it was. All I remembered was...near the roundabout.


The place was closed. We asked a guy hanging about...and he said...raya. It was Hari Raya Haji the next day, so these guys were celebrating early. When would it open? After Raya. By which time we would be outta there. So we took our sad selves away, trying to find another place for our roti kosong and kopi susu (the other two wanted kurang manis and as for me, hey, what is life without sugar, lots and lots of it...healthy, you say? slim, you say? yeah, well there's more in life than sugar)

The mamak around the corner was not half or even quarter as good. There was no fler in his sarong tariking the coffee. And the roti lacked ooomph. Young Eve and Younger Mary were not satisfied. They needed their morning coffee. So we ended up at a restaurant in Ferringhi, having morning coffee. Just coffee. And then...

Fast forward to a couple of hours later (bout the only hours in the day when we weren't stuffing our faces) and as we wandered through the fascinating exhibits (I think Penang has the most interesting museum in all of Malaysia) the two of them were dragging apace and complaining of hunger headaches. There was only one thing to do. Whack banana leaf. Accordingly we made our way to Vellu Villas. Being naturally unable to follow directions or trust in the directions we were following, we made phone calls to ascertain the way and stopped a satisfied looking Indian man who said, yes, yes, you just go straight and turn right there.

Mary, being the astute chickadee she is, asked him: "Did you just come from there?"

Nodding vigorously, he replied: "Yes, yes."

This is us whacking banana leaf. When you're really hungry, there's nothing so satisfying. Geez, I wish I could have some now. But Dadda is making rice and we will be having it with pickles and prawn sambal shortly. Shiokalingam!

And here's Mary...I can't remember what she was asking...maybe for the fried bitter gourd (they didn't have that but their vegetables and curries were fantastic anyway) I had the mutton curry and it was too errie for me. So Mary had to take my mutton and I took her chicken. It would have been OK if I had slathered the whole thing in tairu. But I have been known to change places cos I can't take the smell. Can't stand tairu, so can't eat hot mutton curry.

We dragged our overfull carcasses outta there in search of Bru coffee. Apparently Vellu (or is it Velu) Villas doesn't serve coffee until the evening. But coffee was of the essence so we went to Woodlands nearby and had our fill.

And then Eve decided that it was time to see the Khoo Kongsi. If you think we were clueless before, you should have seen us then. I think we asked about 10 different people for directions (although we kept advancing, generally in the right direction). Because Mary looked like this...

...everyone took us for tourists. One particularly bright spark we stopped and asked directions from asked if we were from China. I mean to say, what?

It cost us about RM10 each to get into the Khoo Kongsi and was totally not worth it. Going through renovations or something...I thought this was cute though:

And here's some more of it with my two superstars posing:

Well, by this time we were hot and sticky. Really hot and sticky. It was back to base for a shower, nap and out to very good dinner at Mario' was an interesting dinner. Especially interesting in that we didn't pay for it. In fact, most of our meals in Penang seemed to be sponsored by someone or other. (And except for breakfast, which we paid for ourselves) they were all VERY GOOD MEALS. When I tell anyone that we overate in Penang, they look surprised and say...but what else is Penang for? So yeah. And we didn't walk worth a darn because it was too hot and the humidity was another thing altogether.

But young Evelyn didn't get her char kueh teow at Gurney Drive (or wherever) because were shanghaied away for dinner...and we didn't get to walk along the beach or go to Flag Hill or to the nightmarket by the beach. All stuff to do next time around.

But there was one thing I had to do. Simply had to. When we visited the gift shop at E&O I had seen their drool-worthy coffee table book. I mean it was really something else. Ilsa Sharp drawing from multiple sources to tell us why E&O, and by extension Penang, was just the most interesting place, like ever! (Yes Nits, I know you agree...)

Here's me glued to the fancy vintage seat in the gift shop leafing through the book. Merlene and then her assistant (whose name I do not remember but who was a very nice sweet young girl) let me sit there for as long as I liked playing with the book. It was just too cool. But it was also RM188.50 and I would have to justify it to my conscience. Finally decided to give myself a birthday present. And guess what? Mary decided the same thing. So here was the book I really really wanted, compliments of my friend. Woo hoo!

Awwww, look at the the little pudge! Isn't she cute?

OK, young Evelyn took off for Langkawi the next morning. We did an early morning drive to airport (finding our way through a mixture of directions and road signs) and then came back via Balik Pulau which was a mistake as the road was windy and I felt like throwing up by the time we arrived back home and I crawled into bed for a nap.

Then it was off to Mary's where I was staying the night...and here's her with her cute little mommie...

So....that's the end of the Penang pictures....all good things must come to an end.

Btw Jack, lemmee introduce you to our new sofa. Dadda's Christmas present. The Shi Sho girl is presently breaking it in...she's curled up in her blankie on it, fast asleep.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hail Penang

I was going to give you a blow by blow account but since that would bore all two of you, and since time is passing and the flurry of the present replaces the past, I'll be brief.

See this?

It's my favourite picture from the trip.

And this?

It's my second favourite image. Both my shots. And both outside the E&O. We were posing (at least Mary was because I made her). She kept saying...I know I'm born in the year of the monkey but that doesn't mean I'm your performing monkey, and I was like, yeah, yeah, whatever, now drape yourself on that cannon...come on, this is the price of being beautiful, you have to pose!

And the second one...well it was drizzling and the two of them were trying to get a handle of their respective umbrellas. You know how those moments caught in time...that split second between spontaneity and well-rehearsed poses, the knowing smile...don't they just look gorgeous?

And if you want to see the entire 3K (that's Tiga Keling or Three Keralites for all y'all who haven't been following this blog long enough to know it) here's the three of us. In Soho, which is a happening night spot. One thing, gentle readers, we were all this side of tipsy. Me, on Sambuca, Evelyn on Medori and Mary on Pimm's Lemonade.

Now you've seen all of us together, let's get on with the story. We arrived to find that we had booked a spacious apartment with three rooms (we had requested and paid for two), two bathrooms, a kitchen, a hall with a large-screen tv. All nice. Except that the shower in the master bedroom was koyak. So Mary (who got the MB) had to come shower with the rest of us in the tiny little outside bathroom. But the warm water was warm, and sides, we weren't in the apartment much to mind. And there were air cons in the rooms and the beds were comfortable.

Our first stop was the famous and many-storied E&O Hotel. We looked at the pictures of the Sarkies brothers, I took some pix but they weren't that good, wandered in an out of the bakery (it was too late for high tea...I had wanted high tea), went to the gift shop where we met and made friends with Merlene Narcis, the cheery lady who ran it (she was so friendly she showed us pictures of her three sons, her husband, and even invited us over for a bottle of wine at her very nice house in MarVista in Batu Ferringhi...we said yes, maybe, we'll call you if we come...and didn't go. Penang hospitality seems to be legendary)

Here's a picture of Merlene for you:

Merlene told us about Soho. We were going to go for char kueh teow. But the rain came pouring down, angry waves crashed onto the tembok at E&O and basically, were stuck in the hotel. So we decided to have our dinner at the terribly Mat Salleh Farquhar Bar (OK sorry if you're not Malaysian and you don't understand this - Mat Salleh is how we refer to white people - it's not rude, not really). The food was OK and overpriced and the service was poor (I know, I know) but it was an experience and one that I had wanted to have since I'd first been in the E&O.

When the bill came we did our usual fight...and found out that it was on one of Mary's siblings. Apparently, since she's the one in SP looking after her mother (while the rest of them are scattered all over the globe) they wanted her to have a real treat. Pull out all stops. That kind of thing.

Only funny thing was Mary said the meal (which in my mind was mondo expensive) was too cheap. Huh! Go figure. Different strokes for different folks.

The rain subsided and we took a slow walk to Soho's. As we neither of us were good at navigation or following directions, we had this puzzled, confused look on our faces as we tried to make out where Soho was. (I, more puzzled than the other two). Which is why a taxi driver approached me hopefully:


I smiled: "No thanks."

He went and sat down again. Then got up to ask: "What exactly are you looking for?"

I told him. He said: "Just cross the street. See that nasi kandar place? It's next to it."

(OK as an aside, young Arnold has just come back from gallivanting the whole day and he's sitting right under the fan. He gulped down two bowlfuls of water and he's in the process of passing out. My poor baby)

We found Soho, lived it up (the way aunties do, with just one drink each...but the drink had to be something we had never tried before), made more noise than a fish market at dawn and then staggered our way back to the carpark...where I would have to find my way back to our apartment. One wrong turn heading in entirely the opposite direction, and then a series of quick turns into dark streets and we were OK. Got back all in one piece.

And proceeded to pass out respectively. (At least I did. I donno about the other two).

Part two will follow as now I have to add someone's comments to my follow-up story on the Auditor General's report and send it off as well as shower and wait for the Prabhakaran who will be wending her way here. We are going to Bangsar and then to Backyard. (I will take my camera and bring you all along with me, whether you want to or not).

Later for you.