26 Nov 2010

Still missing Chi Chi

We went back to Malacca today - Repin has gone to India for some meetings and since I haven't gone home to the Malacca house for ages I decided to do that while he's away. As usual Ginger came along, though this is the first time we're down here without Chi Chi. At first she didnt seem to notice - well she did look for Chi chi yesterday. I noticed she went round the bedroom sniffing and making mewwling noises, wondering where her best friend had got to. Then she went to Chi Chi's bed and slept there for a while. Not satisfied she got up and went under the bed and sniffed at Chi Chi's box there too. Still no Chi Chi so she jumped on the bed and slept instead.

Today once released from the pet carrier, she ran to the kitchen. Then she came over to us and looked at me, miawing a question. I said "She's not here Girl. She's gone." Then I went upstairs, with Ginger following, or rather leading me because she bounded up the stairs and quickly went into my bedroom. Sniffing under the bed she then looked at me with a long miaw. Who says cats can't talk? I understood perfectly what Ginger was trying to say - "Where the heck is she?"

Ginger wondering where Chi Chi had gone

I stroked her gently and held her. Now she's my comfort - at least I have her. The other three cats - Momo, Apin and Black are just not my cats even though I take care of them. Chi chi and Ginger have always been mine - the whole family knew that. Which was why when they all heard of Chi Chi's death, their first question was "How's mama?" Well Mama is coping. But it will take some time before I adopt another cat. Even a cute one like Min's grey Persian that she wanted to give me. In fact, right now I don't think I want to have another cat at all. Its too heart breaking when they die. And Chi Chi's is too sudden. I wish I knew what was the cause. If it's an infection - where did she get it? How come the other cats didn't get it? Why her?

25 Nov 2010

Loss of a beloved cat

Yesterday Chi chi was sick - she vomitted some green stuff which looked like leaves so I assumed she must have eaten a plant I had bought a few weeks ago. But then she looked tired and listless and refused her meal so I quickly took her to the vet. Her temperature was indeed high - 40 degrees! The vet gave her a jab for the fever and another one for antibiotic. When I took her back home she seemed okay - even played with Ginger for a while. Last night she ate a bit and slept on the bed. Early this morning at 5.30am she woke me up, kneading my tummy and purred loudly. But at 9.00 am she again appeared weak and tired and was lying down on her cushion bed with head down on the floor. I carried her and she was limp and lifeless. Her pulse was too high though she had no fever.  Suspecting something seriously wrong I quickly I took her back to the vet. After checking her for fever the vet told me she had no fever. There was no vomitting too so we didnt really know what was wrong. She was given water intravenously and the vet told me to leave her for observation. When I left her she was miawing in the cage, though her pupils were a bit dilated. I tried to calm her down as best as I could and told the vet I'll come back in the evening to take her back. But at 2.30pm I got a call from the vet. Chi Chi had had a couple of seizures and had died immediately. I just don't know what happened. She's not an outdoor cat - we live in an apartment and Chi Chi as well as the other cats stayed inside. They don't eat anything except what we give them, and that is Royal Canin cat food. In the morning they all have a little wet food - Fancy Feast. Chi Chi however is a picky eater and seldom finishes her wet food, which will be gobbled up by Ginger. So what went wrong? I've lost my beloved cat and feel like howling loudly. I just cannot believe that she's gone just like that.  Here are some pictures of her - you can see that she was indeed a lovely cat.

Chi Chi is curious about the fish and tries to get them out.

                                                           She'll sleep anywhere!

At home in the Malacca garden

Chi Chi and Ginger together

I'm sure Ginger will miss her too - even though they aren't siblings, they grew up together. Ginger was found as a tiny kitten, hardly bigger than my palm, back in June 2006. She was dirty and hungry. When we took her in we had to clean her up for two weeks before she was clean enough. Chi Chi was given to me by my aunt when she was about two months old, sometime in July 2006. She was a round furry ball of white then. But as she grew older her distinctive colour came out and she became more beige than white with brownish tips at her ears and tail. Her face too changed from white to grey and later a darker grey. She would be about 4 this year. I can only console myself by saying that she's gone to a better place. She was here only for a while - on loan as they say. Good bye Chi Chi my darling. I'll miss you always.

23 Nov 2010

Some historical romances

The past few days have been fairly hectic ones - reason being its Convocation time at the university. Its over now - today was their last day and everything went without a hitch, glad to say. So today I managed to finish my next book on the list - a historical romance. So different from the last one - Shadow of the Wind. This one is by Stephanie Laurens, The Untamed Bride and is one of a quartet.

I didn't really know that its part of a quartet, otherwise I wouldn't have bought it. Anyway I've just finished it and found it quite engrossing. The time is the 1820s and it started out in India - during the heyday of the East India Company. We learned so much about the East India Company when I was in school, the moment I saw the blurp I decided to get it. 

Colonel Derek Delborough and his four friends have been given the task of finding and unmasking The Black Cobra - a cruel and fiendish cult that kills and rampages in the Indian countryside. They know that the leader of the cult is an Englishman and one of the upper society people but with no evidence and nothing but rumours there is nothing they can do to get him. Until one of their own - James is caught and tortured while trying to pass them a letter that is clearly written by the Black Cobra himself. This letter James had managed to pass on to Del through the girl he was escorting. Now with this pice of evidence in their hands, the group has to quickly pass the evidence to England so that they can arrest the Black Cobra. But Del and his friends are followed and threatened. Del himself has another problem now - his aunts have asked him to escort a young lady, his neighbour's daughter, back home. With the cobra's men after him and a young lady in his entourage, Del has to be even more careful.
This book is quite a pleasurable read - it has adventure and romance and is full of suspense. Del is surprised to discover that the young lady he is supposed to escort is not the timid miss he thought he would find. Delia is full of spunk and is quite capable of helping him land some cobras on her own. The first time they meet she saves his life with her quick thinking action and soon a lot of other adventures come their way.

Other historical romances I'm keeping for another day are:

1.  Searching for Pemberley - Mary Lydon Simonsen
2.  Captain jack's Woman - Stephanie Laurens
3   A Secret Affair - Mary Balogh

I've also got a few young adult fiction, one of which I've been meaning to read for some time - Does my head look big in this? by Randa Abdul Fattah. This is about a young Muslim girl growing up in Australia and her decision to wear the scarf. I'll tell you all more about this book once I've finished reading it.

20 Nov 2010

Lazy days

I've had a long lazy spell - just lazed about reading and finishing my growing pile of books. Last week was the Big Bad Wolf Sale and as usual I over spent. But I'm quite satisfied with my haul - I got a total of 60 books for a total of RM333! If that is not cheap I dont know what is. Most of the books were romance - tried a few other writers besides my usual Nora Roberts.  I also went in for a number of fantasy stuff by R. A Salvatore and a few others. There were two good finds among the lot - Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game, both by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I also managed to bag a few books by A. S. Bayatt, who was ranked No 2 in last year's Booker. I finished reading Shadow of the Wind and completely fell in love with it. I love the way the writer described books - he's a book lover's writer:
"This is a place of mystery Daniel, a sanctuary.Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived it and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens."
These words were told to Daniel, a 10 year old boy by his bookseller father. That day Daniel was taken to this secret place - the cemetry of books, where books which were forgotten or which were obsolete were sent to. Daniel was asked to choose one book and it would be his forever. And the book he chose was called  The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax.
But there is something fishy about this book because the moment people know that he has it, there are offers from strangers who want to buy it. Daniel is pulled into the mystery and is even threatened if he did not give up the book. Daniel becomes piqued by this interest in his book and intends to find out more about Julian carax. But as he grows older he realises there is more to the mystery than meets the eye and what begins as mere literary curiosity becomes a life and death search for the truth behind the writer's death (or life?)

I found this book tremendously enjoyable - there's mystery, humour, horror and romance and for the book lover, beautifully written.

Other gems I unearthed at the sale were Emma by Jane Austen (beautiful cover), Alice in Wonderland (hard cover edition with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel) , Mansfield Park (my old one is really really old and shows it) and lots of chick lit stuff. I also got a few young adult fiction which I had wanted to read before but didn't get because of other priorities but were now being sold for a mere RM8/-. I was in book heaven! And the R.A Salvatore were also hard back editions, books worth keeping! My husband too got what he wanted - lots of books on travel as well as some on colonial life in Malaya. He loves books like that so the ones that I bought for him kept him really happy. I think this lot will keep me happily occupied - at least for now.

17 Nov 2010


Sophie and Pixel (in one of her better moments)

Sophie with her grandfather on raya day

She's getting better now - at least she'll answer when I call her on the phone. The other day she said, "Nenek, I'm going back to Singapore already..." which is a vast improvement on our phone conversations. Previously she would only say "Bye!"

4 Nov 2010

This and that

Am sitting here at the Nissan service centre waiting for my car to be serviced. Quite a long queue since tomorrow is Deepavalli and the beginning of  a long weekend. Luckily I've got Mary Balogh's book with me - One Night For Love.

Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, is about to get married. His future wife is a step cousin and he has known her all his life. Suddenly just as the music is about to start, a young woman in ragged clothes rushes to the altar and says she is his wife! And true enough Neville is shocked to see that it is indeed Lily, his beloved wife whom he had married when he was in the army. But she had been shot and believed to have died. Neville himself saw the bullet going into her chest just before he himself was shot. Lying in hospital later and being told that Lily had indeed died made him realise that soldiering was not for him. He went back to his estate after his father died to resume his duties as a nobleman.
Lily meanwhile had not died. She was captured, first by The French and later by Spanish partisans who treated her badly. After the war Lily went back to Portugal to trace her husband to arrive just in time to prevent him getting married. But will they live happily ever after? What about Lauren, Neville's jilted bride? Can Lily be the mistress of Kilbourne Abbey?
Like her other novels about Regency and Victorian England, this book shows a fairly wide knowledge of life and society of the time. Mary Balogh does not shy away from the more gruesome stories of war like so many other writers who write about the era. Her women characters are strong and sometimes quite independent, even wilful at times. Lily is no less. When she discovers that her marriage to Neville was not legal she insisted on leaving him, in spite of the fact that Neville loves her and begs her to stay. Actually there are times when she gets on my nerves and I wish she would be less stubborn but it's a heartbreaking story and well written. When,  Lilly leaves Kilbourne she lives with Elizabeth, Neville's aunt who takes her under her wings and trains her to become a noble woman and one who can be with Neville as his equal.The  story takes a sudden twist when Lily is threatened with murder. There are lots of twists and turns in this story of thwarted love and is quite un-put-downable.