January 28, 2008

My reptile shoes

Do you know the shoes that look like a reptile snout? They are a little on the ugly side, have lollipop-colored range, lightweight, have large ventilation holes, and have Alligator tag on each side. They are becoming quite popular here in Jakarta mainly for kids but I have seen a lot of adults in them too. They are comfortable, very safe and they really grip your feet. For those who hate them, they are viewed as the biggest fashion disaster.
I don't fancy them, but my boss wife sent me one pair of crocs upon hearing my rants about the possibility of getting another flood this year. Last year my area of Jakarta was drowning under, after two days torrential rains. One of the worst things dealing with the flood was when you do not have proper footwear. I got cuts from stepping into God know what since everything was washed by the water. I personally don't think I will be wearing my crocs any time soon though but it's better to be prepared than surprised like last year.

January 27, 2008

If only we had more time

“Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
~Epicurus quotes (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)~

This morning I was sitting up in front of my computer reading Detiknews when it was first reported that Indonesian former President Soeharto was in critical condition and that he suffered a multi organ failure (again) ...later it changed to he passed away at 13.10pm Indonesian time. Immediately all the television networks are swarming over Soeharto death stories. Coverage is impressive from all local channels.

His death had been a result of the slow deterioration due to his long term illness. From the day he was rushed to the hospital earlier this month, we all knew that he was dying, but he was revived after his heart stopped, went into critical condition , revived again ... all thanks to the highly dedicated 40 doctors who gave all their best to treat him. He appeared to be in a holding situation of life and death - from which you're just waiting to be released into the next stage, but miraculously he survived despite the knowledge that he was on borrowed time. At the same time there were talks going on about his past corrupt deeds and human right abuses but just as quickly disappeared into thin air because there's not enough proofs and everybody else (his cronies) did it too. It is a conflicting situation that the people is divided by those who loved, feared, hated and envied him. Like it or not, he became a part of the lives of a lot of Indonesian citizens, and he will be missed. May God bless his soul.

I am not going to discuss about his political legacy because you can find them all over the news, let him rest in peace. What I am going to highlight here is how we all perceive death. No one likes to speak about death, it's a taboo subject to some people. Whenever someone we know dies, it reminds us that we will all die one day. We all try to rationalize it as a life completed so that it makes sense to us. For some, death is not an end but instead it is a beginning. Then there are people who believe that death is the end of everything, that you only get one chance at life and then there is oblivion. How do you perceive death? Are you afraid of death?

*image from TokohIndonesia

January 25, 2008

Complainfest continues

I am not normally a cranky person, but my experience this weekend put me back in the cranky mood. First the missing parcel, now the water shortage! This afternoon when I turned the faucet to wash my hands, I got only a little dribble which quickly falls off to almost nothing. This is not the first time I have been experiencing inconveniences with water supply. Having no running water means washing up, having a bath and flushing the toilet and cleaning become all a bit more difficult.

As usual the Utility Board only became aware of the problem when customers started to report that they had no running water. These piped water supply interruptions are not unusual in Jakarta. My worst experience was last year during the flood where I was without clean water for 10 days. I had to evacuate to my sister house in Bogor until the water resume to normal. Now, I always fill up the reserved water tank, the bath tub, and the buckets in case the water is not running in the morning. The water has come back on as I write this entry but water pressure remains very low. ARRRRGGGHHHHHH! I think I will go insane!!!SmileyCentral.com

January 24, 2008

Missing parcel

I've been particularly cranky and resentful today. My lovey sent a parcel from Canada post office a few days before Christmas (air parcel post), it was supposed to arrive Jakarta earlier this month but I still haven't gotten it and it's already over a month now! It is a parcel of 3 bottles Burt's Bees body care, and a box of 6 packages cat treats for Suneo. The weirdest part is, the Christmas card which was sent a few days after the package has arrived. I am very upset because I cannot find this products (my skin care) anywhere in Jakarta. Burt's Bees are recommended brand for endometriosis sufferers because they are safe and paraben free. I am not trying to exaggerate my endo problem but a lot of our daily care or food products have estrogenic compounds that will trigger the pains. I wouldn't care so much about that had I not had endo recurrence despite the surgery which I have gone thru in 2004. That means I have to read every label of products carefully.

Now back to the parcel, normally air parcel post would take up 1 to 2 weeks to reach the designated address. I really don't know what to do now. I would like to inquire the Post Office to locate this package but am pessimistic they will give me an ear full. Missing parcels from overseas is very common here. At least I want to hear a ..."I am sorry to hear your package didn't come" ... though that won't make me feel better either. I wasn't mad, just more than a little annoyed.

January 23, 2008

Four eyes

A couple of days ago, I bought a new eyeglasses at the optical shop inside the mall. My decision to buy there was on two factors : they had a pair of frames I really liked, and they had a 50% off for the frames. Fortunately in Jakarta you do not need to go to the Optometrist (the eye doctor) to get prescription glasses. Optical store offering "FREE EYE-TEST" with a sit-down machines that do computerized eye-tests, then you get a computer readout of your prescription. They later will conduct another test (no flicking back and forth of lenses), ask you to read the small lines, color comparing. After that they will do the head measurement and you can come back the next day to collect your glasses. Some places even provide a 30 minutes service! I still had the exact same prescription of -3.50 (left) and -3.25 (right).

I wear glasses every day and consider them an integral part of my identity. My glasses are probably the only accessory I have other than maybe my watch. I wish I can wear contacts like other people, but my eyes are sensitive and it could cause an irritation if I tried to wear them continuously.

I am aware choosing the right eyeglass frames will make or break the image you are after. There is a huge selection of different materials to choose from but my choices are limited. First off, I have a small face and a rather broad nose. I only wear glasses made from plastic with light-weight frame, and no nose pad because I tend to develop a head ache if the glasses feel so heavy on my nose. I know the new frame was a bit too big for my face but they are incredibly light and suit me well.

*eyeglasses image grabbed from Visionglasses

January 22, 2008

Meowy Suneo

My cat, Suneo, is an outspoken fearless little thing! He meows all the time if anyone not where he thinks they should be when he thinks they should be there, he meows when he gets bored, he yowls and cries like a baby when he wants to go out. And if I ignore his demands, he will meow, growl and howl until I open the door. Sometimes I meow back at him but he does not like to be talked back to...hahaha! He has to have the last word (meow) in all of our arguments. Suneo is 9 months old now and he has grown into a good looking adult kitty. He sure is a kitty with a lot of cattitude!

January 19, 2008

Simple lunch

This may not look like much, but this spicy Green Beans is delicious! With additions like garlic, some chili paste, and small dried shrimp, these beans are really flavorful.

On the other side I made Fried Tempeh seasoned with diced red hot chili. Even though both meals look very simple, I was nevertheless happy because they are rich in fiber, and very tasty, which is definitely a plus for a weekend lunch. Serve with steamed rice.

The green issue

I've been tagged for another meme by Anna. The topic is Global Warming awareness. I am an admitted latecomer to environmental concerns but I do believe that our life styles have contributed to the global warming problem. It's never too late to start caring for the earth and that it can all start from home. So here we go :

1. I’m not a vegetarian, but I have cut back my meat consumption (for a few years now), especially red meat or their byproducts. Only in special occasions will I eat meat and that is normally in a small portion.

2. I wash my hair every morning but I almost always let my hair dry naturally. I don't like blow drying my hair and I do not use hairspray either.

3. Take public transport whenever possible.

4. Use energy saving bulbs in my house and turn the light off whenever the rooms are unoccupied. Same for TV and computer.

5. Donate usable clothing, newspapers, magazines.

6. Use hands to wash my clothes and line dry them (in Jakarta the clothes dry quite fast because the weather in general is pretty warm).

7. Print on both sides of paper whenever possible.

8. Use home air conditioning sparingly.

That's all I can think of at the moment, Anna! Have a nice weekend.

January 18, 2008

Seven things meme

Apparently I’ve been tagged by Ecky. The gist of it is to name
. Here goes :

1. Kindness, tolerance and good manners:
The world today is way different then it was when I was a kid. People have become so self-absorbed, esp. in the big cities, that consideration of someone else is almost non-existent. A prime example is it takes a lot of guts to cross the street in Jakarta without being hit by the crazy cars, motorcycles, buses and huge lorries---esp. in places where there's no cross walk sign for pedestrians---all whip around at the speed that can kill you instantly. I even often have a hard time crossing the road in front of the mall in my area, and prefer to wait for other people to jump out first without risking me getting run down by the selfish drivers.

2. Stay healthy :
I have a long term goal to eat healthy and work on an endo diet because it helps to slowly reversing the regular pelvic pain that I have had. I’m finally educated enough to do it the right way even though I often break the rule once in a while. My health is my most treasured possession.

3. Handicrafts & arts :
Indonesia is an absolute paradise for ethnic handicrafts and I am a craft addict.

4. Internet :
We are now in the age of Cyber Technology. I know it does sound like the anti-social way of living ... but it has become such an inevitable part in my life that I really cannot think of living without it.

5. Kitchen :
I enjoy baking because it relaxes me, and home treats are healthier.

6. Simple things :
Life is nothing more than all the little daily things put together. My nieces/nephew contagious laugh, my pets unconditional love (it has been almost a year since my dog, Fatso, died...but I still miss him a lot. Fatso is the reason I've never had another dog and keep Suneo the cat instead), a surprise call from a friend, a sincere smile from a stranger. etc.

7. Recycling :
I recycle as much as I can by donating old clothes, mags, books etc to charity or people in need around me.

Pardon my absence

Sorry for the lack of posting over the last few days, I've been busy with works. I also have problem with late shipment from the forwarding agent and I still don't know exactly what's caused this. Everyday I receive the same excuses and was promised this week the goods will be here, but I have a feeling they won't be able to keep their promise. I have decided to stop using their service and will make them suffer by delaying the payment when they finally deliver the goods to me. Talk about revenge huh!

Ecky & Anna, thanks for the tags...I'll post soon!

January 13, 2008

The story of two purses

My sister in law had her purse snatched a few days ago by a passing pair of guys on a motorcycle. It happened in the morning on her way to her workplace. She said the motorcycle came up from behind, and in an instant one of the guy sitting on the back snatched her purse which caused her losing her balance, hitting the ground and got some bruises on her upper left hand. It took her several seconds to realize her purse has disappeared. The motorcycle has sped past her before her mind had caught up with what had happened. Her glasses lying somewhere and when she screamed for help it was too late. Her ID, ATM/credit cards, wallet, keys, phone all gone! She is lucky she is not badly injured. Still, though, she was vaguely annoyed that she had to cancel her cards, re-apply for new ID, etc.

I had the same thing happen to me a few years ago on my way to the church. Luckily someone saw that and gave me a ride home. I still couldn't believe why would someone snatch my purse. It wasn't a nice purse, and I was inside Bajaj (the three wheel vehicles). That time I was aware there's a motorcycle trailing my Bajaj, but I thought they just wanted to drive past the Bajaj. Then I felt someone grabbed my right hand from the left side of the Bajaj window (I clutched my purse on my right side), and before I could figure out what had happened...my purse has disappeared! It was an intense moment and I was stunned. I was mad with the Bajaj driver for not doing anything and the fact it was very dangerous as the snatcher grabbed my hand while the Bajaj was running on the traffic. Luckily, nothing too important had been taken. And there's no cell-phone either inside the purse as I don't like to receive calls when I am inside the church.

In a big city like Jakarta, purse snatching is a common crime and mostly the victims are women. It is already a very common thing that people take it as a daily happening. In most incidents, two men on a motorcycle speed up from behind a victim and the passenger on the back snatches a purse, handbag, or cell-phone. As usual the police is utterly ignorant unless you're someone from an affluence family. They are just not interested with petty crimes. What I can do to avoid this from happening again is to stay alert all the time and use my common sense whenever I go out.

January 12, 2008

My lunch today

Today I am having Chinese Cabbage Stir Fry and Oatmeal Fried Shrimp. This crunchy fried shrimp was adapted from Taste of Home Recipes. I modified the recipe quite a bit here. I used oatmeal instead of coconut flake for the coating, and I didn't use baking powder at all, because I like mine a little more crisp. I also added some chopped scallion (green part only) to the batter, but otherwise made it as directed.

January 10, 2008

Behind the closed doors

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The term pack rat is literally used to describe a sleek, soft-furred animals with big, bright, bulging black eyes. They belong to the rodent family. They have a blunt nose, small close-set ears and a long tail. They usually live in group, and will make nests wherever food and shelter can be found. Describing someone as a "pack-rat" usually implies to a person who keeps everything and has trouble getting rid of them (a compulsive hoarder).

A lot of people have tendency to save or collect things. We hoard, collect and buy more stuff than we have room to store. It is perfectly natural as some of that things might have a value or a use. However, this can obviously get out of hand as we live in a society that is bombarded with material things. There are so many things we need, from electronics to clothing to kitchenware. The list of must have items seem to be growing daily. I'd like to share the following stories to all of you and hope we can learn something from here.

Case #1 : My niece, L, refuses to part with her old, ripped up rhino soft toy, Mr. Hippo.
She has a room full of animal soft toys from a palm size dinosaur to a huge cuddly tiger which keep piling up and they take up space. The other day while chatting online with her, I mentioned that now she is no longer a little girl (she is 11 y/o), it might be wise if she donated / gave up some of her toys and keep only a few that she likes. But she wouldn't let anyone touch them and if her mom tried she would cry and become really upset. My sister once told me she has secretly try to discard Mr. Hippo and other old toys, but L found out and was very sad. The thought that Mr. Hippo & friends would suffer in a trash container along with another garbage made her cried. So, her mommy let her keep Mr. Hippo. And this has resulted in L having too many soft toys which she neither will discard nor giveaway!

Case #2 : my eldest sister, E, is a stockpiler. She always stock up on foods in large quantities. She also stockpiles on other things ... toiletries, candles, spare batteries, umbrellas, satay skewers ... because she thinks she may need them someday. Having a good supply of the things she need just makes her feel better. The contents of her pantry and refrigerators (they have 2 big fridges) are always full with food. I joked with her, one day when my place is flooded again...she should send a chopper to drop some supplies for me!

Case #3 : A good friend from the US once complained that his wife is a clutter bug but she didn't see it as a problem. For many years she bought things and bric-a-brac and had accumulated stuffs that is almost totally filling their house. Every drawers filled with all the things that she might or might not use this year, next year or ten years later. Things were not easy between them. Eventually he could not deal with the stuff or her shopping spree any more and they decided to call it quits and separated.

Case #4 : my good friend in Jakarta, a mother of three grown children, confessed that she has trouble throwing things away. She has plenty of outfits that she doesn't wear because they don't fit anymore, but she also can't give them away. I spotted there are 3 bicycles belong to her kids when they were young parked nicely inside her big house, there are more than 30 chairs all over the house, a pool table which nobody ever touch, probably a hundred of wooden statues small and big, and stack of old books that have become yellowish with age. She even told me she has a store room for appliances and knicks-knacks that is accessible to her only. While her house always looks neat and clean, behind the closed door, there's so much we view but don't see.

What can we learn from the above stories? I honestly believe that some of us are just wired that way and the best we can do is develop techniques to counter it. We can learn not to be emotionally attached to some of the stuff we have, and learn to refrain from buying new things obsessively. Sure it is very hard to balance the need and desire to downsize the things we love with the urge to keep, collect and accumulate. Perhaps we should ask ourselves, is this what I want most?

January 9, 2008

A trip to strawberry farm

When it comes to all time favorite fruits, strawberries are on top of my list. I can finish a full bowl of strawberries at one sitting and not feeling guilty about it...hehehe! On my recent trip to Lembang with my sister and her family, we went to a pick-your-own strawberries local farm where you can go and pick fresh strawberry right off the bush. All you have to do is just pick what you need and pay by the scale. Usually, the strawberries are ready for picking, but, when we were there it has been raining for like a week straight so there are fewer berries to pick. But despite the rain we had an enjoyable time walking through the strawberry rows. On our way back we stopped by at Strawberry Sweethearts to buy a box of strawberry yoghurts.

January 8, 2008

Proof of the global warming

Of most pressing concern to all world citizens is global warming. We are all familiar with the bad news ; our resources are running out, the population is ever growing, leaving less and less for everyone to eat, the air and water are becoming more polluted, the planet's species are becoming extinct in vast numbers. This climate crisis is, indeed, extremely dangerous. Saving the earth isn't just for green activists anymore. We can stop wasting energy start from ourselves.

January 6, 2008

Lazy day

I haven't felt like blogging the last few days, and I have no excuses for that : no overwhelming work, no PMS, no bad internet connection. I'm just plain lazy! I just don't know how you dedicated bloggers can keep it up so regularly.

It was cold last night, and as usual my cat, Suneo, curled up on my bed near my feet. When he was a bit smaller, Suneo likes to sleep in numerous places. Floor, table, counter, bicycle basket, shoe box, bed, on keyboard or sometimes over computer, practically everywhere he likes! But nowadays my bed is his favorite comfort zone. At times he sprawls in the middle of the bed leaving me with little space to move. Just so you know, if you sleep with cats ... you are a guest in their bed!!! Suneo is also unhappy if I turn on my other side and accidentally touches his body with my feet. He would instantly grab and give my feet a bite...hehehe! If I scold him for being a bad cat, he will just lay there looking completely innocent in the way that only cats can master...argghhh!!! As a dog lover, I cannot believe I can tolerate cat selfishness...LOL!

January 4, 2008

Juice of the week

I drink freshly made fruit and veggie combo nearly every day and one of my favorite blend is apple-celery juice.

Here's what you need :
3 granny apples (have it's skin removed) cored and cut into chunks.
1 stalk celery, cut into big chunks.
1 cup chilled water.

How to make them :
I am using a fast speed blender, I don't have a juicer. First off, add chilled water into the blender , then add the apples and celery. Pulse ground (on and off the machine) for a couple of times, then, turn up the speed of the blender until the mixtuer well blended. Strain with the sifter before serving. This combo is so refreshing, healthy and a great way to start off your morning. If you want to know more about celery juice benefit, please read it here.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

January 2, 2008

White Flowers

I did not know much about photography but I knew I loved it! My two cyber-friends Shirls and sweet Fe inspired me with their confidence and knowledge to just get out there and follow my passion, and how to make sense of my camera. My shots are not as good as theirs but I am learning everyday. The following images were taken at Venita Plant Nursery in Lembang, West Java.