Wednesday, 28 December 2005

* Kgs pile up! *

~ 28th December 2005 ~

Help! The kilos are doing a pile up and I am in trouble. I used to be able to 'slip' into my clothes with ease but these days... it's like fighting gravity as you raise your arms to fit through the sleeves. Shall I use the excuse 'frozen shoulder' ? Trying to slip into my clothes is fast becoming a myth and quite breath taking at the same time. I now have a bluish hue about me as I titter about in my 'fitting' clothes.

Blame it on Christmas I'd say. All those dinner invitations beginning from the eve or even before and right up to the impending new year..... I must admit, the food were good and in utter abundance. Even doggie packed some home so as to help the hosts not have the same leftovers till new year! Poor things.
Though after two consecutive dinners are enough to tell me that I need to take a break - a long healthy one that is; but truth be told, I am out the next day gorging on lunch and desserts and more food.

It's the spirit of christmas where everyone cooks their finest and wants to feed you cos it's christmas! It's the perfect excuse for getting together and catching up on the past year and enjoying each other's company. Hosts either cook or as the norm these days, cater.

We've been catering for a few years and everyone loves to come because of the lamb pit. These guys will set up the pit at our place and by the time the party is about to start, the lamb is ready to be cut up and presented to the now familiar lamb loving crowd. A plate will be piled with the juicy meat and placed in the center of the table by the respective table's self elected hosts. Within minutes you will be able to tell if the plate was white or blue in colour and made of melamine or paper!

Mum said some actually parked themselves next to the lamb table waiting patiently while the man cuts the pieces, one person hardly moved from the area until he had filled his tummy insatiably with the prized dish of the evening. *cheek!*

I wouldn't talk about other countries but Malaysians have evolved and many are learning that there's more than the usual chicken and fish dishes. What with international trading and visitors, the variety of food is endless and you can find almost a bit of many countries' cuisines right in Kuala Lumpur.

However, due to commercial reasons many cannot be endorsed authentic enough by those who do know the actual tastes and flavours arising from these cuisines and claim disgrace to their country. Yet the smarter ones do fusion of their country and ours and surprises have delighted many instead.

Sigh.....talking about food has started the juices in my stomach and this means I have to go look for... you got it! How did I get into this subject anyway?

Well, with the kgs piling on and another eight more days of christmas to go through and new year sneaking in between...... it's been another year and soon into another one. Happy christmas again everyone and merry merry new year to you too!

Let's not forget the unfortunates during these times especially and count the blessings we are having compared to them. May 2006 be a motivated year for all of us to be wealthy in life, health, happiness and love so that we are able to help the unfortunate ones whenever we can.

God Bless.....Shalom.

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

* Christmas *

~ December 21st 2005 ~

Christmas is almost here! Everywhere is crazy, the mad rush is on and I am almost done with my pressies and cards for this year! Yippee!!
Every year is one big dash to do my letters and ready the list on the naughty and nice. Brain storming with catalogues and malls on what to get who what and not... *smile* But I managed to complete 95% and that is an achievement, given my hectic schedule.
Rome at this time is cold and it looks like a cloudy day today. It's a wednesday and I heard the pope says mass on wednesdays and sundays. Maybe we will get some Christmas blessings later.....confessions before Christmas, mmm.....
Anyway, I would love to wish everyone who drops in here a very Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year! Maybe I shall blog one of these days while I am sleepless in Roma and not in the company of two gentlemen engaged in a very intense discussion in french seated two feet in front of me! I am trying to be polite by not disturbing them with my clikkety clak on the keys. Also, am controlling myself from blurting out my colourful accompaniments when i make mistakes! Don't think they will approve, a petite cutie swearing at 100 words per second! * chuckle *
So have fun during these festive seasons and a prosperous 2006 to all of us! Ciao...:)

Wednesday, 9 November 2005

* mandi bunga *

~ 09th November 2005 ~

Malaysia has a rich fusion of a wide variety of ethnic and religious beliefs and cultures. So it is not uncommon for its people to seek help from other races if they believe it can help benefit them in their lives.

‘Mandi bunga‘ loosely translated ‘floral bath’ in english, is a practice many use here. There are variations in some places but it is mainly to do with the cleansing of bad luck and impurities of oneself so as to be able to be more receptive of the well desired wishes. Some ladies take this bath so as to attract a suitable partner or some to hopefully better their life course.

The concoction of the bath that I know consists of a mixture of seven different kinds of flowers ( preferably more fragrant, the better ) and three numbers of ‘limau perut’ - citrus hystrix  or lime may substitute. Quarter the limau perut and mix them with the flower petals in a bath.

One of the girls at the party mentioned she was gonna do this and since I had always wanted to do this as I felt my luck with men and money quite unfortunate…. *smile*

So we met up the next morning, went to market to get the flowers. I guess you have to be in the right frame of mind when you set yourself to undertake such a ritual and we were picking our flowers instinctively. We couldn’t get the limau perut so had to settle on limes.

We went to her place and began chatting…what else? She taught me how to cut the limes and place them in, squeezing them at the same time. The flowers were separated from the stems and the petals were peeled off their centers. As I continued, the water looked so colourful and the mixing scents of the flowers and limes was very refreshing in the air.

Next I took a shower, a cleansing of the body before the actual ritual floral bath. I soaped, scrubbed every inch of me from head to toes, same time clearing my mind of my troubles and fears. It is all in the mind I must say, whether you want to believe or not or have faith that it’ll work. I was 98%  there and I was ready.

I did not want to do it in the bath so I had prepared mine in a pail and after listening carefully to what she told me, I took the pail in and set it on the floor. I finished peeling the balance petals off the centers and squeezed the limes harder.

Satisfied, I scooped some of the water and floral mixture in both hands; quietly making my wish just before I doused my face gently with it and moving my hands upwards towards my head and down my hair. I did this three times, each time wishing for something different. Then, using a small bucket, I scooped the water and started pouring from the top of my head, feeling the petals running down my hair and body. I went on till I had petals sticking to me all over and till the pail of water had finished. I used a towel, pat myself dry, leaving whatever flowers on myself as they were. It was quite funny as petals were falling off me every where I moved.

Now, I can’t describe what I felt actually, probably refreshed cos after two showers. Then my friend told me I had to throw the used petals and limes into running water, preferably a river. That kinda spoilt it for me. Right…here I have just cleansed myself but I have to go pollute the environment with my bad mojo so to speak! Not that I am such an active ‘save the world!’ person. More like the fear of being caught and given a summons was more like it!

I went to see another friend to pass some stuff and we got to talking and I told her I was a bit stressed out at having to rid the ‘bag’ into a river. She started thinking of any nearby and soon we were heading along a river but it had a wide embankment running along it and I’d have to really swing the ‘bag’ hard so that it would land in the river. Sigh….i drove further along and we came upon a small bridge. Excitedly we saw the huge drain running to meet the river. Environment or not, the mojo had to go and I threw it quickly before anybody came nearer. We shrieked a bit when we saw the ‘bag’ hit the divider wall and ‘phew’ as it was taken away by the fast currents…straight into the river.

I guess I won’t do it again, considering that last bit was quite a hassle and made me feel guilty at breaking the law and spoiling mother nature. Yet it was an experience I will remember and especially the hilarious little scurrying adventure I had with my friend in ridding the ’bad  mojo bag’ and praying  we would not be caught by the law! *chuckle*

By the way, that floral bath…. It did work! Let’s just say, some things happened the next day. Good things.
To learn more about mandi bunga, check out this address below. Enjoy…

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

* schoolgirls round-up *

~ 08th November 2005 ~

Three days ago, I met up with the usual gang. A reasonably big group of women who have known each other from school, some as far as kindergarten days! Yes, quite a number of moons ago…

It was the Indian Festival of lights –DIWALI or Deepavali as we know it better here and our friend had a separate do for our group a few days after the main day.

Needless to say, once we got around the table, it felt smaller and the conversations got louder mixed with long ago schoolgirl giggles and cackles as we caught up in each other’s lives and anecdotes. Our few parents at the party seemed not to notice as it was a normal scene for them. They had to get used to this since we were young! There was a point we were kinda quiet and I noticed they were staring at our table, faces comical as they wondered at the silence. I guess we were taking a ‘small’ break!

Many have commented at how we all still looked the same but better from school days and were mainly surprised at our camaraderie after all these years. ( Yes, yes…..quite a number of moons since! ) The laughs and old ways never seemed to have left us whenever we gathered. Come to think of it all, even with the careers we have where we have to be on our proper best…we became the same old bunch from those days. All prim and proper etiquettes went out the door. Of course we are not that bad…just a leg tucked under here or there, slapping wrists, animated arms and hands flying about in between narrations, couple of sound effects that can be sold for a song, faces contorting according to tales, etc. You get the picture I’m sure.

Yes, it’s rare to see a group of friends get together at least four times a year since leaving school. We try to get as many in each gathering but distances and work have been many excuses. The average number of regulars among us lately has been five at least. Of course, I missed a few small meets as I was away but hey, they didn’t need my entertainment all the time right? I’d been boring by the time we get old!

This Deepavali, there were seven of us. Some missing due to the long holidays. Though it was a small group, we had so much fun catching up and never stopped laughing. Maybe these meets are part of the secret that has kept us well grounded and young at heart. Not forgetting looking young too!

Whatever it is, I’ll never trade them for a posh dinner with the rich for these gatherings have been truly rich enough for me. They make the best memories. Three cheers to the old girls with young hearts!

Muah, muah muah!

Sunday, 30 October 2005

* Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! *

~ 30th October 2005 ~

When I first started this blog, I went through a few hitches just to get the first one posted! You can read that in * juno's first blog *. When I told my friends about my proud new blog, one of them asked me, " Why? "

Mmmm.....well, I have always liked to write but only when in the mood. I can take a long time to get the words and phrases right because at the end of it, I want those who read them to feel what I feel and to enjoy the stories I share.

I have loads of dog stories to share especially but I had added some personal ones in between. However, I do have a tendency to get carried away and write some really long ones because I can't seem to stop! But when I do stop...I was affected by ' writer's block ' lately till I forced myself to finish the piece on Guzz's mother, Sayang. Then that hot little spiffing me on fire.

My friend asked me today who were the comments from and I was surprised when she said there were a few! So I checked and only managed to send a comment back to one person. The others, I can't seem to get to your blog or maybe, am not doing it right....

So this blog is to say 'Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!' for reading my blogs and liking what you read. This will definitely keep me in the mood to write more often.

One thing for sure....this blogger's purpose is to entertain and entertained, it has.

peace, love , doggies.....amen.

P/S: See what I mean about being carried away.....Thank you! :)

Saturday, 29 October 2005

* hot spiffer *

~ 29th October 2005 ~

Through half open eyes, I thought I heard Guzz whining strangely outside. I lay still thinking maybe he was looking at something outside the compound. Then I heard it again, a high whine like followed with a frustrated short bark. The bark turned into a frenzied few and I had to get out of bed to see why!

Peeping through the curtains, I saw Guzz peering above my car's front tyre. He stepped back and whined again. Then he goes around to the other side and I lose sight of him, hear him whine again before trotting back to the first one!

I tapped the window to let him know I was aware and he looks out the gate as if he saw something but I couldn't see anything. He looks in my direction and walks away from the car.

Niggling in the back of my head, " What if? " as I crawled back into bed. I didn't want to think about it, tried to ignore it until minutes later, I hear Guzz doing the song and dance again. I cover my ears but he decides to go in full mode....bark, bark, bark!

Sigh.....why me? I look out again and this time he seemed more frenzied as he knew he had my attention already. Think he'd been patient enough to wait till he was sure I was up and wanted me to help him get to his subject!

I take my time changing and washing my face as I wonder what could be that was bothering him. I had gone on my knees to look under the car ( at a safe distance from inside the house ) and there was nothing there.

I came out, closed the glass entry door - just in case! Guzz runs to the front tyre, his tail waving side to side like a sign, 'Follow me!'. He looked kinda different when I realised his face had black patches from sticking his head in between the tyres. I slowly bend to look but nothing. Mind you, my heart was racing because I was not in the mood for a reptile to jump out at me in surprise. Did the same on the other side, also nothing.

'OK Guzz, we'll see.' He was so excited with me there, almost tripped me few times. I went to get the car keys, opened the door cautiously - just in case! So I stuck the keys in and started the engine.

A loud, hoarse, 'Mee...ooowww!!!!' sounded from under the hood. Phew! What a relief! I smiled and turned off the engine. Finally.... for sure. I popped the hood and lifted it. And there was this little black kitty sitting on the top of my engine!

As I set up the hood, little fella runs down the middle. Guzz meantime was going nuts from behind the glass door. I had to shut him in cos he was causing such a ruckus, the kitty was too afraid to leave the car!!!

For 45 minutes, I tried to coax that kitty out of the corners it managed to get into. The driveway was right in sight for it to jump to and scoot off but no....not this fella. It seemed to feel safer in my engine than out!

Finally, I managed to get a good grip on it and bring it out from there. I was half deaf by now with its yowling and spitting sounding even louder as it echoed around the car hood and Guzz barking and almost breaking my door....

I carried it to the side gate and began to calm it by stroking its back gently and speaking softly. Poor fella, don't know how long it had been in there and imagine its fear of setting a paw down without my Guzz getting at it. It didn't spit at me anymore but howled in between my stroking. Probably to assure me it still felt scared.

Much as I felt sorry for it, I couldn't keep it because I was not sure how Guzz would react. So I urged it through the gate bars and guess what? It placed its front paws against them to prevent from going out!

"Hey Kitty, there's no way you can stay here!" I said while gently pushing it out through the bars. It turned back and was trying to get back in by the side. I had to bang on my gate to shoo it but it was one stubborn little critter.

Plan B: got Guzz and he went straight to it but I held him by the collar so that he wouldn't get it. That stubborn little critter stood its ground and curled its back and did a whole spit and spif dance! I could feel Guzz tugging forward - more curious than intending to attack! I had to pull Guzz back many times cos I was more afraid he'd lose an eye than hurting the kitty! Ha ha ha!

Nope, that black kitty is a fighter as it lunged forward with claws wide open each time Guzz moved. So I had to grab my stick and practically move the kitten with it and shaking it ( the stick not the kitten ) before it moved backwards and away.

Sad to do so but had to be done. It didn't go very far because i can still hear its meow nearby. I saw its mother earlier and I hope they'll be reunited soon.

Thus the mini adventure to my otherwise could have been longer sleep in morning.

P/S: At no time during this episode were any animals harmed in any way. Thank you!

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

* Sayang *

~26th October 2005 ~

She came to our house in a box with another sibling. Pure white and like a tiny furry ball, wriggling and emitting cute little sounds…she stole my mother’s heart immediately. The partner in crime had wanted the other pup and brought her over to do just what he knew would happen.

Mum looked at me and all I said was, ‘I am not going to be responsible for this one. I have had enough ok. You want, you take care of her yourself.’

Reason why I was unusually unwilling was because I was just trying to overcome the loss of my Juno who I had to put down a few days ago. I then decided I was not having another pet as their eventual passings broke my heart every time. I would grieve as I would for a family member and cry like there was no tomorrow.

Being the softest with the pets we’ve acquired through the years at home, I was usually left with their well being as I got older. Until today, I have had to teach the help how to feed them their meals and meds, give them proper baths and drying them correctly so that they don’t catch a chill. Yes…sounds absurd huh? Well, that’s where my eccentricities come in where animals are concern.

Sayang in Malay is ‘love’ and my mum felt that for her when she realised she had a little handicap. We noticed she dragged her left hind leg along when she walked. The vet said it was probably not well developed at birth but could be remedied with constant massaging to help the bones develop in the right direction.

So my dad did that everyday. He would hold her gently and massage her hip to her leg. Even us, whenever we picked up this tiny white snowball…we would absently massage her leg without realizing. She now runs, walks as normal as any other and is …. quite the growler.

Sayang came not long after Sheba (whom I will relate another day) and Samo who then lived across our house. When Sayang went on heat for the first time, she never had a chance. Samo too was very eager to prove his male hood so to speak. And so they both grew up just after turning one!

Who is Sayang? Well, she is the mother of the rascal Guzz who benefitted his mother’s good looks and coat and his father’s tan shades. With a good mix of his parent’s characters, he has turned out to be quite the intelligent yet playful Guzz I love.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2005

* smile power *

~ September 18th 2005 ~

Today a group of us arrive in LAX airport for a couple of days. As we walked towards counter one (as directed) at the end of the many counters of immigration officers seated along the stretch; one of them came forward and said, “ Keep going to the end but some of you may come through this side.”

I was almost at the end of the group and had paused to listen to him and was about to turn back to the barricades that he was opening when he said again, “the rest of you ahead keep going on, only some of you come through here.” So I stopped, lifted an eyebrow and gave the officer a big smile. He smiles back and signals me to turn back laughing…”Alright, you with the big smile, come on over.”

I was thrilled cos it meant I didn’t have to make a big U turn after clearing immigration at the end and walk back down again to retrieve my luggage. The officer was a nice fella and as he checked my details. I commented it was not very busy at that time. He said only at that moment, so it was like a breather for them then.

He pointed out I had not written the flight number and we both smiled at each other as he did it for me while I apologised. Then it was the left index, right index and look at the camera. Finished, I stood aside tucking my passport back into my bag whilst my friend took my place. I gave the officer ‘yeah, yeah’ grin when he said loudly, “Oh good, you’ve already written the flight number.” to my friend.

With a cheeky grin, I bade him a good day and went to collect my bag from the carousel. My seniors were laughing because they saw the whole thing.

Well, it was a nice start to my trip in Los Angeles. Let’s hope the rest of it will be even better! * SMILE! *

Saturday, 17 September 2005

* dang! *

Dang! Where is everybody? Why is it everytime I get free internet access, no one is around???
It is so annoying as I get all excited and set my notebook on and get connected and....Dang! Where is everybody??


Tuesday, 13 September 2005

* Dad ~ part two *

Since his death, a lot of things had happened. I felt he was always around watching over me. He’d always bugged me to get a house but I didn’t as I couldn’t afford it. He said he’d help but I said it was the monthly payments I was afraid of coping with. So I never bought one till he died.

After much guilt and persuasion from my parents through the years, I finally said to mum that I will try to get a house. We would drive around to check out the signs posted on some places. Then someone told my mum about a house and we went to look at it. The family were still living there and happily let us in to view.

It was nice, clean and its condition was very good as it didn't need much renovations and the house number got to me. 118. Loosely said in Cantonese, prosper everyday! Also, it was within the same area as mum’s place, near enough to drive or walk, far enough to be out of sight! *hahaha*

Two days later, I put a deposit. Within the week, I was looking for a sufficient bank loan. Almost gave up cos I was being given really bad deals till mum said go to her bank. True enough…it worked out. The family were moving to a new house which was still being renovated thus we came to an agreement that they stay on till the bank was ready with their cheque, which usually took a couple of months, 3 the most.

Dad passed on in mid March, we found the house in May. My older brother married in mid May and mum had gone for the wedding only to return in early June. Just after securing the bank loan application, mum left for her holiday and I continued the mad runs to the bank and lawyers and work.

A day before mum was due to return home, I was watching the puppies playing in the porch. The other adult dogs were busy sniffing and mucking about in the garden whilst two others i.e. Guzz and Sayang, were happily racing around the house.

I could hear the quick and loud tapping of their nails hitting the cement as they turned the corner from the back of the house. They were neck to neck and breathing fast and checking out the other. You could feel the excitement in them as they charged towards the front, towards me! I only had the wall on my left and the car on my right as these two came closer without stopping.

Immediately I pushed both puppies under the car and just managed to lift one leg up as Sayang went under me but alas! Guzz the devil slammed through my other leg at the same time and there I was…short lived super girl; more like a bowling pin being bowled over. Up into the air I flew and landed a couple of feet ahead onto the hard floor! I landed flat hard on my front, knocking the wind out of me. Stunned for awhile before the combination of short breaths, reality and pain ran through me; I lay there... quiet.

I called out for help who was already on her way because she heard the loud thud as I hit the floor! Yep, it was loud. *ouch!* I tried to move slowly, like a scene out of a movie where a fallen body from a tall building lies; my left arm was by my side while my right was above my head. Can’t remember how my legs were but I’m sure you can imagine. * hahaha *

The puppies, stunned at having been shoved rudely under the car; crawled out to me. Licking my face, toes and fingers as if to comfort me and eventually began nibbling to get me up to play. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry cos it was both painful and funny at the same time. Not to mention, the other buffalos were unaware of what had happened and continued their games in the garden!

Anyway, I suffered a small fracture at the base of the radius of my left arm. The orthopedic surgeon said I did not need an operation and placed me in a moulded cast securing it with crepe bandages. I was in cast for about three weeks, then in a sling for another two weeks. All in all, I was off work for 6 weeks.

It was during the early weeks I had all the time to go to the lawyers and bank whenever needed to sign my life away for this house. It was all going smoothly and in one month, I was told the cheque was ready! The family whom I bought the house from were surprised and I ended up collecting two months’ rent from them.

All this time, the search for a house and coming upon this one; the frustrations at the banks for a loan and achieving at the same one that secured my parent’s house; the fall and eventual healing process; the running around in getting the necessary papers done up; the fast process and house rent I collected; the much needed and not really needed renovations completing in one month; picking the right days from my hectic work schedule and the moving in….all of these, started out with lots of stress and bad tempers but they worked out properly each time as if led by some unforeseen source.

I felt my father was the one who led me to this house, who helped me to cool down and calmly make some decisions, who helped me see that behind every mishap, something good came out of it. After all, it was his wish that I get my own house and I believe this was his work.

He doesn’t haunt me no, but I know he is there. Watching, quietly showing the way as I live my life as when he lived. I still miss him but I know, he’s always here for us. Behind every dark cloud, there’s a silver lining and my dad is my silver lining. * Smile..*

* Dad ~ part one *

Today, mum and I went to Fairy Park. It is a private cemetery and columbarium near my home. It’s a mix of the Christians and Chinese religious sects. It is where my father’s ashes are, in the small chapel. Well cared grounds with tombstones of similar designs line the borders of the wide roads, uniformly arranged neatly in rows and rows upon the hillsides creating a tidy garden.

Large standing Buddhas on lotus base; dressed in orange robes and hands in front, one open palm facing up while the other held straight above it with fingers pointing upwards. You will find multiple statues of them along the borders of the grave sites of the Chinese sects. Statues of angels in white robes, half kneeling whilst holding a cross, border the Christian side.

Two peacock heads rise above a flower bed on your right, welcome you as you drive through the main entrance which is a miniature great wall, designed with long ago mighty Chinese warriors in their armours standing at the sides of the wall. Pass the wall, you’ll follow the trail of Buddhas standing along the road. To get to the chapel, you will pass the beautifully kept and neat rows and rows of tombs on your right.

On your left, is a man made cave with a pond in front. It is a mini museum of the Chinese ancestral gods and their history. Figures of the famous animal gods are seen among the foliage surrounding the pond. Adding yet, to another tale of ancient and religious beliefs.

Continue onwards, you’ll see a little chapel with a blue roof and a cross on its steeple. This area, you will find angels along the way as it lines the Christian tombs on your left. Some mausoleums span the upper part of one section giving it a surreal feeling. As we parked in front of one angel….it is all quiet except for the soothing chants coming through the speakers under the statues. Gathering the flowers and tea lights, we walk into the chapel.

As I prepared the table and tea light holders while mum did the flowers; the caretaker appeared. He apologizes for not having seen us earlier and helps with what’s left to do. Then he goes off to sit at the entrance while we say our prayers. As usual, I finished before mum and wandered to check out the ‘newcomers’.

When dad died, these guys from Fairy Park, brought us here to pick a spot for dad. We decided to get a double and picked one at the exact center of that block. D3 is his spot number. It was by coincidence when we later realised the number 3 because that is our parent’s house number.

He is now surrounded by many others and I tell him he must be having a good time as he has ladies on both his sides! *smile*. The chapel is air conditioned and they play Christian tunes softly to create a soothing atmosphere. It works as I don’t feel scared or creeped out each time I go there. Very peaceful feeling…

Monday, 12 September 2005

** Happy Father's Day Dad **


As I sauntered into the kitchen my brains telling me where to head for the breakfast already prepared in my mind since this morning…I pick up the papers with headlines about bullies on it. Dropping it on the table, I reach into the fridge for the 'can't believe it's not butter' tub and the so-so kaya I bought yesterday. What to do? When you have cravings, you settle for the next best thing just to ‘buang gian’. Though it’s tolerable, it’s so scrumptious when I picture myself biting into the bread. Ah…the power of the mind.

Anyway, after some twenty eight minutes later, (had to open the can of condensed milk, fill into the bottle…to make my coffee and buttering every side of my 3 slices of bread and then layering kaya thickly….) I finally sat down. Arranged my coffee to my right side so as not to ‘accidentally’ knock it down (oh, you not met klutzy me), bread in front and papers on my left….I start reading breakfast.

Mmmm….some nice pics of cute men but wait! There are kids who look and dress like them with them. Ah…dads and their boys. Typical to have boys with boys, where are the girls? Not that I’m complaining…*smile* Then I realize it’s Father’s Day today. Now, that has wiped the smile off my face. I lost my dad to cancer three years ago and I guess you never actually stop missing the ones you love.

He didn’t talk much to me about things. Only when he’d get into chatty mode or in a bad mood, that’s when I get to dig up some family skeletons! He loved food and he’s drummed that in us since I can remember. We love our food though I draw a line at eating out of the norm stuff. He taught quite a bit of western food while mum did the local dishes. Their passion for spicy food crept into us and we too can’t resist the variety we see oh, everywhere in Malaysia.

While I was in primary school, we used to breakfast together. Mum would make half boiled eggs; 2 for me and 3 for him. He’d then break them into bowls and we would add in the kicap and pepper and I loved breaking my yolks and mixing them up. On the count of three, we'd both swallow our eggs to see who finished first! It was fun and he tried all ways to get me to eat cos I was very very skinny then and they were darn worried. Even on days when we ate out, we would see who could eat the most satay. Couple of times we had a total of 80 sticks between the two of us not counting the black mee, lor mee and ying yong noodles! Mum would shake her head sometimes and chide us but it was fun for us all. Of course, we’ll be belching and groaning and moaning about how full up we are, tummies sticking out as we take a slow walk home. That walk always helped a bit.

Dad was not physical in showing his emotions so when I did hug him on certain occasions; he’d be gruff about it and grunts a ‘mmph’ at contact. Guess that’s where I get it from…I take a while before I would hug a person I’ve known for a while unless….these days it’s easier but I am not consistent so people tend to misread me weird, sometimes warm sometimes aloof. Can I blame them?

Since dad was diagnosed with cancer, it had been very hard on us all. For years this proud man who never stayed in the hospital and was strong like an ox, lost his confidence when he had a mild mild heart attack due to some complication in his treatment, he became anxious when he was short of breath and preferred staying in the hospital….it was painful to see him lose hope. Then his cancer went into remission and he became more of his old self and it was almost as before. Though I must admit that tempers flared often as he fought for his independence to do things as freely as he used to when he was stronger. Especially with me, I’d be yelling at him to eat or something just to push him out of the self pity he put himself in. People would look at us and think me to be a heartless kid but my dad knew, he knew what I tried to do cos he dumped his frustrations on us and we were not about to let him go down with them. Usually after the flare ups he’d do as he is told when he cools off and tries to redeem his stubbornness with jokes.

That’s living with a sick person as they struggle within themselves with their sickness and the limitations that come along. He soon had a breakfast gang whom he met every morning, coming home nearly mid-day and resting till lunch time. He began going to church regularly, seems a norm when people get sick…look for god.

Through all that, we went about our lives for the next few years, adjusting to his varying mood and health changes. We had our selfish moments at one time or the other as we tried coping with the fact he was a living time bomb, to be prepared for anything at any time. Fragile and precious he was.

We went to Rome in 2001 in the middle of summer. The heat was overwhelming. The hotel had no air conditioning and nights were warm and quite difficult to sleep. That didn’t stop my parents from singing in my ears every night haha. We went to the Basilica, did a day trip tour of Pisa, Florence and Michelangelo. 16 chapels was a mistake as we were literally being moved by the crowd from room to room. Just stand there and when you feel bodies pressing into you, forget walking. I assure you, you will find yourself in the next room within minutes! The biggest mistake was in St Peter’s church. We went to the mid balcony inside the dome and went through a doorway to head back down. Almost halfway some very narrow slab stones stairway, we realized we were ‘accidentally’ heading up towards the highest peak of St Peter’s.

Poor dad, he sat in every window nook and crevice we found along the way and bless my friend who came along, was patient, helpful and caring. We couldn’t go back down as it was narrow and people were coming up. Finally at the top, after climbing steeper stones with a rope to hang on to; I told dad to check out the view. He went ‘bah!’ and sat down catching his breath. To our dismay, we had to walk down halfway before we could get into a lift to the bottom and dad was quite furious at Rome by then. Haha. All in all we got back fine and I must admit I was oblivious to the chorus that night. Who knows, I probably joined in too! *Smirk*

Few months later we began suspecting the worst as dad kept complaining aches in his limbs. His next check up confirmed and even though the doctor spoke to him, we realized he was not fully aware of the situation. Mum and I kept telling him to sort his bank books and papers, etc as he was fond of hiding stuff in his things. I realized he didn’t understand the extent of his illness and it was a difficult decision for the family to make whether to tell him or not. Personally, I felt he ought to be told so he could finish what he wanted.

Finally, I asked him if he understood what the doctor told him and he said yeah, that the cancer had gone into his bones. ‘But I will be ok right?’ My heart tore to see the light of hope go out in his eyes when I told him… for the first time I cradled my crying father as he mourned for his limited time with us. It was hard on us both as I told him not to give in to his cancer and not lose faith in God; to be thankful God gave him 6 years to watch his grandchildren grow…It was a very emotional yet touching moment for me, the only time I felt so close to my dad.

Since that diagnosis, he was put on a morphine patch and due to his weakness; he was initially mostly nauseated and sleeping. He was more stoned than the Rolling Stones most times! Soon, he adjusted and we had moments of meals out together only this time he pinched at the food as he couldn’t taste well (medication he took affected his taste buds) and appetite was not so good. Another five months and he got worse, sometimes hallucinating about dead old friends visiting him and he started to have this glazed look in his eyes.

Pretty soon he hardly talked and stayed in bed, holding his knees and rocking side to side, he’d be humming tune after tune. His favourite… Jesus loves me, still brings tears whenever I hear it today.

We believe he hardly noticed his pain thanks to the patch but it left us little chances of communicating with him much. We would talk to him, encouraged him to go when he wanted as we didn’t want to see him suffer long. He’d respond to us when we had to sponge and change him by moving himself in the right directions.

The day my sister was flying in from the UK, he had suddenly gotten up and was flailing his fingers at the tube that was inserted the night before through his nose. The maid and I were trying to stop him from pulling it out and I was shouting over his ‘aaiyah!’s when suddenly he shouted ‘I am not pulling’ . Maid and I looked at each other behind his back and grinned! We couldn’t help it…we had not heard him say anything for three weeks. He said his nose was itchy so he rubbed the side of it for relief. He asked to go out of the room and we helped him but almost immediately after sitting down on the chair he wanted to go back to his bed.

That was the last I heard my dad speak. He left us four days later and till today I still miss him. Our challenges, bets, jokes and fights. I do know he is much happier now, free of pain and I happily wait the day I will see him again in that place somewhere. *smile* I love you dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

19th June 2005.

Thursday, 8 September 2005

* Samo the male *

* 'Duh' ...or not?
September 8th 2005 *

“So who shall I say is calling?” came the yappy question in doggy Ville.
“I am... Samo.” was the stiff reply. In ¾ time, the beat of long nails clicking on the floor, the female walked as steadily as she could muster to the other seated at the end of the porch.

Lifting her head up as the female approached, she gave a shy smile as she looked past to see the tan strong male standing quietly and straight. He too sensed her curiosity and looked steadily in her direction, letting her know he was ready when she allowed.

Haha…yes my friends, that was a teaser of the romance between Samo and Sayang; Guzz’s parents! A brief history of Samo will be today’s blog. The tall, handsome tan male among the two sweet ladies…Sayang and Sheba.

Samo actually grew up in the house across from us. He was brought there with his sister when they were so tiny. He was quite the destroyer while he was growing up. He chewed thru anything he could sink his teeth in, from shoes to papers to wires…anything. The final straw was when he began chewing on parts of the cars in the house. Bits of bumpers and wiring cables were not safe from his itching jaws. His owner, became so irate and frustrated; would hit him at first with a cane and when that didn’t stop him, he used sticks and eventually anything he could get his hands on including steel pipes.

Honestly, I don’t know how to explain Samo’s self destructive manner. You would think after all that beating, he would not do it again yet he became worse and worse each time. I was on my way out to work one day when I overheard his owner ask my parents if anyone would take Samo off his hands. I didn’t stay around to hear the rest of it as I was late.

Few days later, I came home and there he was, standing in my garden. Joining in Sayang’s and Sheba’s chorus of welcome for me, I smiled to myself thinking, ‘Well, better here than there.’ I asked mum as I got into the hallway and she said my brother took pity on him. When he came over, he was known as ‘Brown’ which I thought was a stupid name. So I got my two young nephews to name him and Samo he became.

Funnily enough, he never bit anything in our house, not even a piece of paper. He was happy to be the thorn among the roses and actually turned out to be a really sweet fella. He had a quiet nature and was sometimes plain…’duh?’ Sometimes he would give this low or high pitched curdling sound from his throat when he sees me and all I needed to do was call his name and he would go on and on till I tell him to stop. It is his affectionate call and till today, I can still set him off once in awhile.

He is blessed with a nice lean cut and medium shade of tan. Overall, he is a handsome dog and eventually, the ‘dog’ who never gave Sayang a chance to overcome her first period! We caught him trying and we did our best to keep them apart during this time, but I must tell you….when a female is in heat; there’s no stopping the crazy male. They will somehow jump or climb the highest wall to get to the other side. Even if they are afraid of heights, sorry….it’s still do or die. I think it’s a male ego thing. Oh dear, I am sure I am gonna be sorry for saying that. *wink*

Sure enough, he got her…twice! And so came a litter of five. Three males and two females, which we all heaved huge sighs of relieve. Why? Because most people prefer male puppies to females and if you had more females in a litter, the stress of finding good homes is more stress!

Of the five, Guzz was the only odd one. He was a dirty black while the rest were white or tan, like their parents! Everyone would look at him and say, “Hey, why is that fella different from the rest?” and then turn their attention to the cute whites and tans forgetting him.

Me, lover of the underdogs; liked him the most and I told my parents that I was keeping him. I don’t know where I pulled his name out from but he didn’t complain…haha. He was quite the rascal amongst the rest and as he grew in the coming months, I noticed his coat was changing to tan! I was upset as I liked his original colour and every day I would warn him, ‘If you lose all your black, I will give you away.’ He must have prayed very hard cos till today, he still has some leftovers on the tips of his ears and tail!

Guzz has his mother’s shape and coat while he has his father’s colour. Thankfully he did not inherit his father’s ‘dumb sense’. However, Samo isn’t always as dumb as he appears to be. He did get Sayang twice-haha!! No, he can be smart sometimes. He cries out loud before you can smack him for doing something wrong. I tell you, he can yelp louder than any dog I’ve known and sounds as if he was being brutally abused (well, he had training...) but we had hardly touched him! Yep, that is his best performance every time.

The other time when he performs is when his dinner is late. He would let out a loud sigh every two minutes. The first five minutes, you’ll ask him what’s wrong and he’ll look at you sadly before letting out another. He starts again after you go away, the next ten minutes, you’ll be yelling at him to shut up! And the next victim will be the maid, who will be yelled at to feed the goddamn dog so to keep him quiet!!!

His timing was flawless, he’d start softly just before four in the evening and he goes on and on until food comes. Then he began fifteen minutes earlier and so it went on for a number of years. Today I learnt, he has stopped this for some time now. Nobody knows why but that’s Samo.

He is a fantastic rat catcher. He’d be fixated by the drain, patiently watching the entry way where he last saw it. Whichever rat that crossed his way, never survived. He caught them, shook them in one fluid motion and they were gone. My mum had been many times caught by surprise mingled with horror, disgust and some glee when she opens the door and almost stands on some of them.

Now tell me, how can you call this brilliant rat catcher a dumbo? He knows she’d go straight to the market that morning itself and buy him some liver and goodies to feed him and protect him from whatever he may have caught from biting them! Yummy! Duh or not…..he knows what he wants.

Well that’s all I can think of now about Samo, the father of my Guzz; brilliant rat catcher; used to sing annoyingly for his dinner and selectively ‘duh’s when he wishes. What a male. Sounds familiar? *wink wink*

With a Samo sigh and a duh…..later.

* juno's 1st blog! *

* Finally! My first blog! September 07th 2005 *

Hi hello…..

This is the third BLOG attempt for me as I lost the first to a power cut and the second better one to some fault in page opening in preview. All these before I could post them onto the site and they were irretrievable!!! The word BLOG itself gives me different ideas but I don’t think I am about to share them with you. :P

As 3 is my favourite number, it better be 3rd time lucky for me at this blogging bit. Otherwise I am gonna hang it up high and dry!! So…how do I write the better of the second blog that I lost? Well I hope it will be the best of the other two…

Ok…I am already at paragraph three. Well.… it is my blog, so I can cheat. Haha. As most of you know, junoqua is part pet part zodiac. Privacy is something I value especially online, what with today’s technology…hard to keep up…

Pic here is not the pet in junoqua. She will be posted some other time i.e. when I eventually get round to scanning her pic. She was a strong and lovable character and very close to me. Someday I shall do a blog on her.

Guzz, (pic above) the present joy and pain in my life; is my gorgeous son as many of my frens refer him as. I helped deliver him at birth along with his 3 other siblings at home, something I have done countless times before. He was a dirty black grey when young which was unusual cos his mum is white and his dad is brown! Alas, he began changing to brown and I warned him, if he lost all his black, I would give him away. Thus the few black bits along the tips of his ears and tail! :D

He is very smart (as all mothers would say of their own) but seriously he is, very smart. He understands every word I say but selectively does what he wants especially when he’s impatient or unforgiving. Mind you, they never forget your malicious snide attacks. He loves to goad me sometimes and stops himself when an ‘Oi!’ is thrown at him. He also knows when to take cover when his nana (that’s me) is in a frightful temper. He can be vocal like a car sensor while I back the car into the driveway or when I forget to bring him in from the sun after a bath or when it’s way past feed time or just plain whining for attention.

I talk to him all the time like a kid and chide him so often he actually pretends to pay attention while keeping one eye on something else. Often enough I had lectured him on wasting his food or not drinking enough water and he’d just go do whatever I say almost immediately as if to get me off his back! Too smart sometimes even my hair stands. All he needs to do now is talk and that will be the end of my blogging days as I don’t think my heart would be able to take it!

Best part is, with me being away so often; he still loves me unconditionally. Sometimes he is disloyal with new faces but he always comes back with a guilty look knowing his nana will always take him back. I always tell him that I am living the working dog’s life while he stays home, gets fed and only needs to bark when necessary.

Dogs have been a big part in my growing and still... growing years. They have taught me to be more tolerant especially to the human kind (sadly true); that patience will bring you food of life and for the tummy; to curb my fiery temper to becoming the better person I hope I am today:P ; helped calmed me in many situations; kept me entertained when I was bored and …not; or enjoyed my dramatic antics and role plays (at least they seemed to be so); listened to my laments and moans without saying “ I told you so! “, sometimes offering themselves as a cushion or pillow to lay my heavy head; tissues and hankies were not necessary and at times laying a paw or their head in my lap to let me know ‘ hey, it’s ok…’

Yes, they had been very good to me and I love them all for it. Losing them was very very hard, the cries you hear would make you think a whole family had died! Coping to go on without their company and sometimes having to make the sad and crucial decisions to put them out of their miseries was also a life learning process. Somehow or other, a new one would come along, not to take their place but to start the beginning of a new doggie chapter.

There were dogs in my home ever since I can remember. Maybe that’s why I am not easily afraid of strays or others, apart from my own. I had been bitten by one of our own at the age of five. My dad, God bless his soul was a fine and fair man by not faulting the dog first. He somehow knew that his rascally young urn was capable enough to be the main cause of the whole drama.

Truth be told that I had prodded the poor dog’s personal hidey-hole with a stick and mistook the warning growls for joyful pleasurable grunts! Thus she got me on my right cheek, much to the nanny’s horror and my sister’s dismay. That night I ended up at the doctor’s private house party (what coincidence) being stitched up in the glare of a bright lamp! And the best part I can remember was the beautiful indoor pool where I wanted to jump into. Mum was pissed enough for the day and marched me home telling me I will someday die because of my pets! Couple of months later, I received some stitches on my thumb for trying to feed some rice to the same dog with my fair hand. She either mistook my tiny hand for bones amongst the grains or she never forgave me! ;p

At one point we were breeding rottweillers and dad loved going to homes with the same breed to compare notes. One day I went along and while they chatted, I had walked straight up to the unusually huge rott. Much to the owner’s horror and surprise, they watched as the rott and I played with each other, one hand in its mouth while the other vigorously rubbed its massive head. We were having a good go at each other. It was a gentle giant, at least to me it was. The baffled owner commented it was the first time he had seen his dog play with a complete stranger in such manner. Apparently it had bitten some people before.

Later my dad told me not to do it again as it may affect the owners’ perception of their dogs and make them do silly things instead. But he knew I loved playing with them and coming away with scratches and red marks along my arms and legs was a norm for me. The only thing I didn’t do was put my head in their mouths!!! That would have caused a riot!! Haha
So I guess this is the end of my first blog. I guess for now, I will be blogging a lot on my romps and plays with my dogs and others I’ve met on my travels. I have lots to share, so dog lovers….this is gonna be fun!

A woof and a paw to you….later.