Ah, he's so cute. What do you do with him when you travel?

You and your home exude a sense of tranquility. Love th palette and of course, the cat.
Happy holidays, Agnes ❤️

@Barbara: I have a friend who usually house/cat sits for me when I am gone. If he is not available then other friends stay here with Smokey. Smokey loves all my friends. He can tell who is coming over just by the sound of their car… I can't even hear the car.

Hey, is this Smokey's new look? he looks sleek and sweet!..

Smokey is such a cutie! :)

This is the first thing that's made me want another cat since ours disappeared many months ago. Not sure I can resist! By the way Agnes, did you know I used your quote, 'If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking.' in one of my napkin drawings a few weeks back! I gave you attribution as 'Agnes of Florida'.

@Marty, would love to take credit but I'm pretty sure I heard that line somewhere :-)

Plenty of cat attention here. Does he have his own FB/Instragram account? The pic with the bowl on the table - you look very intense while it appears the cat could care less.

I love your cat. He looks mysterious.

I love the moments that I spend with my cat. Recently, he was diagnosed with asthma and has to take medication every day now, but it helps him a lot. Haha he actually looks forward to getting his pill put down his throat. Funny little guy he is.
The photo of you and your cat lying on the lounge is perfect! They all are actually x

Beautiful post, Agnes (why oh why do cats always love dryers?)

I'd love to know what book you (and Smokey) are reading.

What a great-looking cat Smoky is! He'd be good company too I imagine. Hope your Christmas break is one full of joy and peace, dear Agnes..

@Amanda: In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan… it never gets old.

And who takes such awesome pictures?

I missed this post Agnes. I hope you enjoyed the holidays and are having a happy new year. Smokey looks soo cute with his lions cut?

what a different look,loved your cat and home ,lovely and peaceful ,god bless dear

Photos good as always.

What an adorable puma!

Oh Agnes! I didn't know. I was cruising though some of your older blogs and came to January 2011. Just five years ago but your spirit is clearly very strong. You are travelling and working hard. That is good. When my wife was killed crossing the road outside our home in Sydney I went back to Asia and freelanced. (I had been a NY Times correspondent based in Hong Kong.) I had to work really hard to survive on freelance pay. Good for the soul.:-)
I have just finishd the first draft of a new book which is quite different from the political/action/adventure books I have previouly written. It is a murder mystery set in a small town in New Zealand where I was born. The year is 1930. Still much work to be done on it. Keeps me busy.
Your blog is great. You should write a book.

@IAN: I read your comment over and over. Thank you. It's hard I know. But at the end of the day what other choice do we have than pick ourselves up. Time and everyday life helps, however slowly, to gradually turn the wounds into scars but then, you know, everyone is scarred to some extent, everyone's damaged goods to some extent and you learn to live as a scarred person and you learn to find your strength as no one else can find your strength for you.
Geoff always used to say you don't get over shit like that, you get used to it. Equal parts scary and empowering, we do get used to it. I find, in the aftermath of all of this, that I am quite scared of love, of loving again, losing someone again… scared of my own emotions.
Hope all is well at your end.

Exactly. You don't get over it. You just learn to live with it. But the memories are just below the surface. The classical music station which I listen to played the beautiful Romance from Shostakovich's The Gadfly yesterday and Wham!it took me back to watching a TV spy drama (Reilly, Ace of Spies I think it was called), for which it was the theme music, with my wife and sons. I had to stop writing for a few minutes as my emotions churned. Yet, I reminded myself, those were good times which I was lucky enough to experience.
Don't be scared of your emotions. They are part of everything that is you.

Do you expect to be off on some foreign excursion soon?

@IAN: yes, it's moments like the one you describe. Or sometimes just having that person who was so fucking perfect for you… their absence can be so hunting at times.

I am very scared of love and have messed up every relationship I had since (which were neither many nor long) because I am unable to commit and actually BE in a relationship. I am both strong and weak if that makes sense.

I have to go back to the Philippines soon but not sure when. Have a couple of other Asian countries to go to so want to figure out how to blitz it all in one trip… clock is ticking though.

How about you, are you headed anywhere?

Establishing a new relationship after losing someone very very special seems to be easy for some and not for others. I'm in the others category. You are still young. Be relaxed about it. If it happens it happens.
Re travel I am in the fortunate position of having a son who is a Qantas 747 captain so have fare privileges. But I had a fall (On my way to the gym!) which resulted in a hip fracture. it's mended well but don't feel ready for travel yet. I would like to visit my oldest son, who works out of Switzerland, and my Swiss daughter- in-law. They have a delightful chalet at Villars, near a forest where I have walked and communed with the trees. Perhaps later this year. I have a grand-daughter living in New York with her Australian diplomat husband, another studying in Boston and a third working in London. So many possibilities of family to visit == when I feel up to it.


Hi Agnes
I have just published as an Amazon E-book a new work, The Cut-Throat Razor Murders, which I mentioned earlier. It is a departure in size and setting from my previous seven novels, which mainly had an East Asia focus. The Cut-Throat Razor Murders take place in a small town in New Zealand. The work is a short novella – a quick read -- in contrast with my historical fiction book Nanyang, which runs to some 700 pages in the paperback edition.
The story: The peace and quiet of the New Zealand town is shattered when a married woman in her mid-thirties is murdered with a cut-throat razor. There is no apparent motive for the killing. A week later, a second woman of similar age and appearance – long, light brown hair, medium build, attractive -- is murdered in a similar manner. The women do not know each other and appear to have nothing in common. In subsequent weeks two more women who fit the same description are killed in an identical fashion, their throats cut with a long-bladed razor. Inspector Harry Johnson and Detective Inspector Philip Edwards believe the murders were committed by one person but cannot fathom the murderer’s motive. A ten-year-old boy, who is a fan of mystery stories, takes a close interest in the murders to the concern of his widow friend who worries that by playing detective he may endanger his life.
With the passage of the 1920s, the Great War is more than a decade in the past. But veterans of the Gallipoli debacle and the horrors of trench warfare on the Western Front are still suffering emotionally from their experiences, leading the two police inspectors to ponder whether someone with a battle-induced psychological disorder could be responsible for the killings.

If you click on the cover of the link below you can read the first chapter and part of the second.

(Ignore the age level, resulting from a weird hiccup in the Amazon set-up process.)

Agnes, I have read the exchange between u and Ian... Don't say you have messed up relationships.... I've been in your shoes as well as Ian's... I think we all change as we get older, as far as what we want, our views, etc... The one long relationship I had after my husband was killed, almost destroyed me... Call it ignorance, naivety... I was dealing w/a closet alcoholic.. that addiction was foreign to me.. since then I have dated men my age as well as younger... the bottom line has to do w/maturity.. the ones my age never grew up.. do u know how embarrassing it is to hear and see a person who is your age still act as if they're in their 20's or 30's??? I decided awhile ago that I will never try to have a relationship because its way too much work... I guess I was lucky to have had one long one w/my husband... and he wasn't perfect, but at least we had the same values which is key. Hope all is well w/you and Smokey... btw there is nothing wrong w/being single-- it only bothers tho who define themselves by feeling they must have one.

Been touring for months! Just back from Taiwan! Just missed the storms. Bring me up to date!


Missing your posts Agnes. Glad your blog is still up. I visit and it bring back memories as I started reading it about 8 years ago. I hope you are doing well.

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