Rose Garden

I’ve just come across the work of Rose Wong on the illustration blog Brown Paper Bag. Wong’s Consider Death show (last fall at Grumpy Bert in Brooklyn, New York) comprised pieces that feature lush greenery combined with stark, cold geometric shapes and lines. In some of these pictures there is a lone, faceless figure, a woman who seems to be in deep thought.

By Rose Wong (4)

In this article, Wong says that when she’s ‘sad or frustrated’ art makes her feel better, but that it isn’t easy to draw in those instances. I feel that way about writing, and instead of working on my stories, I usually end up staring at Pinterest boards, which is how I found Wong’s illustrations.

By Rose Wong (10)

Art has been a lifesaver for me. When I’ve felt the darkness pulling me in, when I’ve felt unable to tell myself apart from the black hole in my head and heart, the shapes and lines and colours and textures of art have given myself back to me again; have served as a climbing frame or stepping stones to safety.

I’m afraid my writing doesn’t serve that purpose. I need to be well to even contemplate entering my stories. But I feel I am very close to that place. I am getting there, word by word, line by line.

By Rose Wong (8)


ms cat nail bar

By Ms. Cat

For my fiftieth birthday, my eldest niece, Nadia, got me a voucher for a nail spa and so I went for a pedicure this morning. It was a very expensive pedicure (RM75) but seemed no different from the sort I usually have at the salon down the street. (Note to self: If a salon is called Posh!, you can expect high prices for nothing more than ambience, speaking of which, the piped music was embarrassing and included a tinkly version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.)

I also had the ‘callus heel treatment’, which cost RM70, but I’m not sure I noticed where the pedicure ended and where this treatment began, especially as the former included the ‘removal of calluses’. I must say my heels look and feel smoother than they’ve done in a long time. I’m pleasantly surprised as nothing can usually be done with the cracked and hard skin on the soles of my feet. Perhaps I was paying RM70 for magic!

I usually choose scarlett for my toe nails, but the last time I had a pedicure I picked a dark coral shade. You can see what I opted for this time. The colour is beautiful but, as always, my toes look like slug corpses.

While I was having my hour as a lady of leisure I received a text from the kids saying that my bedroom door had ‘locked itself’ and there was no key to be found. I shall have to call a locksmith tomorrow, but in the meantime, I’ve got one of the condo’s maintenance staff to remove the lock and door knobs and so now the door has to be held closed with a stool. I just thought I’d add that to this post as confirmation that a mother’s day always ends up equal parts bitter, sour and sweet.

Kinda Blue


From Water Rolls, Water Rises, a picture book published by Lee & Low Books, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Meilo So.

Let’s Stay in Bed

sleepy head by matt blease
‘Sleepy Head’ by Matt Blease (

Let’s stay in bed, my body says.

Let’s stay in bed, my head sighs.

Let’s stay in bed, my heart beats weakly.

Let’s stay in bed, say my unseeing eyes.

I am all tangled up in the bedclothes of life.

When is laundry day?

In Which I Come to a Screeching Halt

Debbie George. Lion Jug and Dandelions
‘Lion Jug and Dandelions’ by Debbie George

I am posting this picture because it’s a happy picture: look at the lion’s smiling face; look at the determinedly bright yellow of the dandelions.

I am not happy. Things are not going well. Nothing is certain, although you could argue that nothing ever is. Still, it’s one thing to not know where one is going, but be, nevertheless, on one’s way. and quite another to feel that one has come to a sudden halt, with no prospect of starting moving again. For the first time in a long while, I am not on my way and I am wondering if I ever was. Have I been fooling myself?

I don’t want to speculate on what has been and what might be. Stress does dreadful things to people. It makes them say the silliest, most irrational and rather unkind things. Don’t think about it. Don’t analyse. I will distract myself with happy pictures and the Moomins.

Tove Jansson’s series of books is being discussed by a Facebook group I belong to and I am supposed to lead the discussion on two of them: The Exploits of Moominpappa and Moominpappa at Sea. I thought I liked them the least of the books, but I’m enjoying my current re-read of Exploits. I shall post a review when I’m done. In the meantime, isn’t Edward the Booble the most fabulous name for a ferocious sea serpent?

Edward the Booble from ‘The Exploits of Moominpappa’, story and illustrations by Tove Jansson.