By the time this post is up, Hubby just called and told me that his Aunt Marie will be having surgery today, and also the doctors found other potential cancer. We still don't know for sure, since she lives in another city. Please pray for her. We will appreaciate all your prayers very much. Thank you.
It's been a bittersweet week for our family last week, especially for Hubby's family. Life consists of ups and downs, happy moments and sad moments, and God Himself created light and dark, yin and yang.
Last week was Hubby's birthday, which happened to fall on the inauguration day of Indonesia's new president elect. Now, Mr. Jokowi is the first ever President here who was elected directly by the people, and there had been a lot of drama prior and following his winning, a lot of hatred and accusations from his opposition, so much heated arguments over social media amongst each presidential candidate, so his inauguration was a very huge, big thing. Thousands and thousands of people will be celebrating on the streets downtown, the crowd will be massive. There will be free food, entertainments, and of course lots of police and guards standing by for security reason. The celebration would be lasting all day, from morning to night, it was a total zoo! Jakarta's traffic without all this is very congested already, so we fully expected the worst traffic jam!
For that reason Hubby chose to have an off day on his birthday, because his office is located very close to where the festivities would be happening, and he didn't want to get stuck in the middle of the throng of people and traffic jam. I would still be coming to the office as usual, because my office is in the suburb near our home, quite far from all the happenings downtown. We decided that I wouldn't be taking my car that day, Hubby would drop me off in the morning, then he will pick me up for simple birthday lunch at noon, then he will pick me up again after work for his birthday dinner at Signature, a restaurant at a posh hotel downtown where we had our first real date. We had tried to have dinner there twice this year, both failed because the restaurant was always fully booked. So we were really looking forward to having dinner there this time. Hubby already made the reservation. Everything was set and ready. Sounds good, rite.
But life had its own twists and curves and u-turns and surprises.
Both of us went home around seven then played with our son. As I often said, we are truly fortunate to be able to see our son every night, when most working Jakarta parents are only able to see their children on weekends because the traffic jam result in their coming home around nine or ten after their children already fallen asleep. Michael had so much fun giggling and squealing and laughing with his father, he finally got tired and asked to go to sleep. (Michael goes to bed at eight o'clock) So I changed him into his favorite reindeer pajama and tucked him in with Violet. By the way, Violet is a talking dog from Early Learning Center that you can program with your child's personalized info like his name, his favorite color, favorite food, etc. So she could be like a customized stuffed friend to your toddler. I got it for free from a YouTube giveaway right before Michael was born.
Now I have a little story to tell about this doll Violet. Several weeks ago, she got "sick". Well, I mean all of sudden, she could no longer talk nor sing as usual. I think she got shortcircuit or something inside her battery operated machine, her usual cheerful singing turned into a raspy robotic unclear voice. I told Michael that Violet was sick and she should rest and sleep inside the toy cupboard, so Michael gave the doll a little kiss and I saved her inside her box in the cupboard. I thought that was the end of our Violet. Not so. That evening, Michael got her out and pushed the buttons on her little paws and stomach and she began to sing and talk again! Michael was so happy he insisted to carry Violet to his crib in the nursery. Michael usually takes something with him when he sleeps, kind of his favorite of the moment thing. Sometimes his Winnie the Pooh, sometimes Daddy's broken cell phone that he gave to Michael to play with, a TV remote, a piece of clothing that he likes, anything he happened to keep his fancy at the moment. I was glad as well, because Violet is a nice toy. Conventional yet modern and educational at the same time.
After tucking Michael in, we had a simple dinner of some rice with veggies and tofu, then went to a nearby mall to watch a movie: Dracula The Untold. Btw, if you were wondering, no, we didn't leave Michael alone, the childminder was at home with him. ^__^ Anyway, Dracula The Untold has a good storyline, except the ending, which is typical Hollywood. I like that the main character is strong and would do anything to protect his family and his people, and that he still asks God for help and knows what is right and what is wrong. After the movie, Hubby was still hungry, so we went to order some porridge for him to eat at home. We went to a nearby restaurant called Kaca Mata, which means Spectacles, which opens 24/7 and has several branches around Jakarta. While having the late dinner (though I didn't eat, Hubby did), Hubby proposed for us to go and have something different for lunch on Saturday. "What about Korean BBQ?" he asked. There was a nice Korean BBQ restaurant at a square near our home, and though Korean is not particularly my favorite, I agreed that we should eat something different once in a while.
Saturday morning began as usual. Early morning stroll with Michael to the nearby park, then off to see our renovation project in an adjacent neighborhood. Coming home, one of Hubby's aunties who live nearby happened to pass by and we waved her and her husband hello.
I was taking shower in preparation for lunch when the news hit us. Hubby's auntie, his mother's younger sister, who was only 56 years old, suddenly died last night. My mother and father in law had been with her since yesterday, but didn't get a chance to even tell my husband, since they were so shocked and busy with all the sudden arrangements that had to be made right away. Hubby knew from his mother's status on Blackberry Messenger. Auntie Edith, was the one whose son had the engagement party that I wrote about in this post. Her only son, Tommy, is getting married next May. Aunt Edith had been on wheelchair for 22 years as a result of terrible car accident and had been taken to the hospital quite often, but she had a high spirit to stay alive and see her only son getting married, so the news that she died so unexpectedly and so quickly - only 15 minutes after being taken to the hospital - was quite shocking to us all. I felt so sad for her and Tommy.
We quickly changed and prepared ourselves to go to the funeral home to pay our respect as well as to see if we could be of any help. I spoke to Michael that he should stay home because his father's auntie had died and Mommy and Daddy needs to go to the funeral home and when Mommy and Daddy comes home, he should not touch us until we take a shower and change into clean clothes. I doubt Michael, who is only 20 months only, understand what death means. But he knew that it was something serious and the serious tone that we spoke, so he nodded and waved us goodbye. "Please be careful, Daddy!" he said.
It was a good thing that we got there right away. Hubby's aunt, Aunt Hilda, was standing by alone. My in laws have left to go home and take a shower, and Tommy was going some place to take care of administrative matters for the cremation. We prayed for Aunt Edith, then we helped Aunt Hilda greeting guests and taking care of logistics. My mother in law is the oldest in the family, so she took charge for everything including in picking the decor for the funeral home, in white and lavender colors. It was beautiful.
I was sad for Aunt Edith, but I was even more so for her only son, Tommy, who looked pale and red eyed. Christine, his fiance, was with him and stayed by his side. I did everything I could to help with the guests. It was the least I could do. When other family members came several hours later, we went home.
Another hard blow was, Aunt Edith's youngest sister, Aunt Marie, is having colon cancer and is still in chemo treatment. She lives out of town, so she could not come to the funeral, and we heard that her condition had taken to worse. She was so upset and distressed to hear the news of her sister passed away. Please pray for her and also for late Aunt Edith, your prayers are needed and will be much appreciated!
Also, the upcoming Saturday was Hubby's cousin's wedding. Her name is Sabrina, and all of us were supposed to attend. However, we decided not to come afterall because it is considered bad luck for the newlyweds to have guests who just had their family member died. Well, we didn't share that belief, actually, but the mother of the bride does, so in respect to that, we decided not to come, because that would be awkward for everyone. Aunt Ing, the mother of the bride, didn't come to the funeral either, but she kindly sent over a lot of food to the funeral home.
A little bit of explanation about this custom, over here pregnant women, babies, toddlers, and families who are going to celebrate some important events like wedding, are believed to not come to funerals because it is considered bad luck. On the other hands, if you just had one your family members died recently, you should not come to other family's important celebrations, because it is considered bringing bad luck for the host family. I know it sounds rude and unfeeling to some, but it's a custom and belief that some people still have, and it is wise to respect that for the sake of propriety, manners, and good relationships. It's not that the people who are celebrating happy events are cruel or being rude or insensitive. No. They would do anything to show their support and condolescence and help and pray for the family who is having a hard time. It's just they will not come close physically for about a month, I think. They will show their good will and condolescence in person later on for the 40-day-after-prayer.
I asked Hubby if he still wanted to eat Korean BBQ, but Hubby said he was no longer in the mood. So we just stayed home and had a simple homecooked dinner.
On Sunday, we took Michael for immunization shot. He is now at the age that he remembers things, including the unpleasantness of visit to the doctor, so we didn't tell him that we were going to the doctor. Poor kid, he was so happy for the excursion until he realized where we were taking him. Reaching the doctor's house, he refused to go out of the car, excusing himself sleepy and wanted to sleep in the car. Long story short, after much drama, finally the doctor gave him the shot while Michael was kicking and screaming in my arms. He even refused to sit on the examination bed. The doctor is a very kind and patient man, luckily.
If you Friends have any idea of experience on how to handle this situation with your toddler and would share what you did to help your child not scared to go to the doctor, it would be very much appreciated! I was thinking to get Michael some doctor toy set for him to play with, to familiarize himself with the idea that doctors are not to be feared, that immunization is a preventive action against sickness. He is old enough now to understand if we talk to him in simple sentences and give him explanation. I keep my fingers crossed.
In the early evening, Hubby and I went to the funeral home again for mass. This time, more family members had flown in from out of town, and Hubby introduced me around to his relatives whom I had never met before. When the mass began, Hubby went upfront with other family members, but I knew that I could be of more use staying at the back to help with logistics. It was a good decision, because there were so many guests who came later and needed ushering to their seats. Then more chairs and food and snacks needed to be ordered and prepared and brought in and arranged because the room was so full. I stood on my feet in heels for hours and I was tired, but I didn't mind. I was glad to be there and offered what little service I could help the family with. We left around 10 pm, and when we were heading home Hubby gave me a kiss on my forehead and thanked me for helping out. "You have a heart of gold. Princess," he said. I didn't expect any thanks, I didn't even think he saw me back there, but I was gladly surprised that he noticed and I appreciated his kind and endearing words.
Monday was Hubby's birthday, but Hubby was feeling a bit down. It was the cremation day, and everybody would be busy so he didn't expect anyone from his side of his family to remember his birthday. I could sense his mood, so I said to myself that I would make his birthday a really big deal for our little family.
In the morning, I held Michael in my arms then played the song "What A Wonderful World" on my pink laptop to wish him happy birthday. Then I made all these cute pictures to post on my social media to wish him happy birthday. It's my own trick to remind his brother and sister of his birthday, just in case they forget out of all the busyness of Aunt Edith's cremation. Apparently it worked! An hour after I posted my birthday wishes, they started posted funny pictures and birthday wishes, too! I was so happy and the birthday guy, of course, was ecstatic!
This was a picture of Hubby in Positano, Italy, that I posted on Facebook for his birthday. You could tell from his posing that the man has an outrageous sense of humor!
As I mentioned, today was the inauguration day of Indonesia's new President elect, Mr. Jokowi. So, I would have to say, "Thank you, Mr. SBY, good luck, Mr. Jokowi." SBY is the initial popular name of the previous President. So many people criticizing Mr. SBY, but I do believe that he has left some good marks, as well, which deserve our thanks. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but personally, I consider it unethical to praise and idolize someone when he's on the top of the world, then condemn and critize when his stardom has started to fade.
Nobody really worked in the morning of the inauguration speech. Everybody tuned in to the TV or the internet for the lates updates from the Presidential Palace. Then I realized, that for the third time this year, our plan to eat at Signature restaurant had to be cancelled yet again, because the location of Signature is at the heart of downtown. We could take the back streets to reach the premise, but there is a good possibility that we would get stuck and could not leave until very late at night. Sigh.
So over lunch, Hubby and I decided to go to this new mall located by the sea that we have never been to, called BayWalk. The food might not be too special, but at least we could stroll by the marina bay and since it's Monday, the mall won't be too crowded. We ate at a nearby restaurant called Apollo, and we had some noodles. It's a must dish for birthdays here in Indonesia, because the shape of noodles is believed to symbolize long life.
I changed into this lime green dress with red flowers for our date that evening, as well as putting on a splash of bright red lipstick. Well, OK, not bright red, just pinkish red. ^__^
Another annoying thing happened on the way to BayWalk. There were signs all over the place announcing which road to take to the new mall, but all of them led to some construction work closing the street! And since it was evening and dark already, we couldn't find the correct way, though we literally could see the mall building glittering with lights from afar! After several attempts, we finally gave up and went to another mall called Emporium, where we usually eat at our favorite restaurant, the Imperial Jade.
But yet another strange and exasperating thing happened! We could not find the restaurant! And there were no directory or any personnel to ask where it is! We have been to the restaurant like a dozen times with no difficulty to find the place whatsoever, and out of all days, on this special day we could not find it! We looked it up online, and we found the plot number and everything, the floor, etc., for some unknown reason we walked the whole floor and just didn't see the restaurant. Strange, isn't it. It's like the restaurant has disappeared or something.
We finally ended up going to this restaurant that we spotted while we circled around, called MayStar. It's another good Chinese restaurant, thankfully. The dishes were quite tasty and the menu has good wide selection. It's just right on time that we spotted this place, because Hubby had started to show signs of bad mood from all the unfortunate events surrounding his birthday. Could not blame him!
Since we could not come to Sabrina's wedding anyway, Hubby thought that it might be nice to invite his parents, brother, sister, her sister's boyfriend, and his two unmarried aunties, Aunt Hilda and Aunt Tien, to our home next Saturday to have sort of post birthday party. We could entertain them at home, order food from Angke - another good Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood -, serve them ice cream and cookies and wine. It would be a casual and fun family gathering. I thought it was a wonderful idea, so I told Hubby I would take care of everything. He just needed to invite everyone over. After dinner, we went to a wine shop to pick a bottle for the party. We have wine collection at home, but Hubby insisted to buy one bottle special for this event.
I knew Hubby so well, I could tell that he was not really full with our dinner. Over our marriage, I have become sensitive to his moods, even if unspoken, most of the time anyway. And since we believe that full belly is a sign of good luck on one's birthday, I insisted that we should have something else after dinner. Perhaps we could stop by at a coffe shop on the way home for some dessert, I suggested, since there was no particular dessert place that Hubby wanted at Emporium mall. Finally we made final stop of the day at a cute ice cream parlor, called Lindt's. I am familiar with the place, since the chain had originally opened its first branch in my home town! It was late, but the place was still opened with some guests having late dinner, chatting away and laughing happily. Too bad my iPhone's battery had gone dead so I could not take pictures of what we ordered!
I'm so glad that the day finally ended up well and Hubby was full and happy. Besides, we still have his post birthday party next Saturday to look forward to. I just hoped that all his family members could make it, for Hubby's sake. That man of mine never asked much attention from anyone - well, except from me, but I think it's a very nice problem to have, rite, hahaha - , and I really really want him to have a wonderful birthday party, surrounded by the people he loves and cares about, despite the sad situation we were having, with the passing away of Aunt Edith, and Aunt Marie is still coping with cancer.
I went for my biweekly grocery shopping after work, and carried home lots and lots of plastic bags loaded with fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, toiletries, and other supplies and neccessities. I believe in recycling, so I always fold the plastic bags into neat triangle shapes, keep them in the drawer, and reuse them, especially as garbage bags. I don't go grocery shopping once a week, because I find that the more frequent I make the trip to the store, the more money I will spend in total for a particular month. Going twice a month is just perfect for our refrigerator size, and the fruits are still fresh before the next grocery store trip.
Fresh greens don't stay good that long, so I still buy spinach and watercress and other green healthy goodies from street sellers that push his cartload of fresh vegetables around the neighborhood. It's a common practice in Indonesia, and you can find street seller pushing cart with various things to sell in practically almost every neighborhood in the country. They sell fresh produce, fish, clothing, beverages, children's toys, jamu or herbal drinks, food that they will cook on the spot like noodles and wonton and meatballs, porridge and fried rice and kwetiaw and crispy fried tofu. I missed these sellers when I lived in the US, they are very convenient to have when you don't have time to go to the grocery store. The food sellers especially. The dishes are especially tasty, if not very hygiene. ^__^
Michael welcomed Mommy home and did a thorugh inspection on the grocery haul. He particularly was interested to open a bag with things for him, like baby talc and formula milk. "Is that formula for me?" his childminder teased, and he replied in his baby talk, "No, no, formula for me!" So cute!
I saw this picture of Dita Von Teese going grocery shopping at The Glamorous Housewife blog. Look how glamorous she looks with her vintage dress, cinched wide belt, Hermes purse, and black heels! As much as I admire her strict discipline and dedication to looking fantastic all day, everyday, I know that I would never be able, and do not care to, to pull of a look like that while doing groceries in a million years! Too high maintenance. I mean, I have a life, and I don't earn my living with a picture perfect image like some celebrities do.
But I also saw another picture of her, also while doing grocery shopping, where her look is still pretty well put together, but more attainable and realistic for everyday ordinary woman like me. Now, I call this inspiration! Here in this picture, she looks well groomed but simple and low maintenance, wearing a nice fitting red top with nice detailing, cropped black leggings, ballet flats, ponytail, and a dash of red lipstick. She looks fresh as a daisy and not frumpy at all. And her looks seemed simple and quick enough to do for busy women who needs to be out of the door in five minutes!
I didn't look, I didn't search, but I happened to pass by a booth selling ballet flats at the mall while having lunch with my coworkers. Quickly the image of Dita Von Teese came to mind, and since these cute patent leather ballet flats with black bows and gold Hello Kitty heads are very comfortable to wear AND were only four bucks, I snatched them! Besides, my old red ballet flats are more than five years old and have changed color to a bit of brownish anyway. No, this is not me justifying myself, the flats are really five years old. ^__^ Even my coworkers agree that I need to buy a pair of new ballet flats and throw my old ones to the trash bin. I wear heels and wedges to work, but I change into ballet flats for lunch time, especially if we go to places where heels would just be a pain in the arse. I also keep a spare pair of flip flops in my car, just in case.
Making an effort to look presentable everyday requires discipline. Especially if you find yourself unmotivated and bored. To keep things interesting and fresh, from time to time I challenge myself to style a certain piece of clothing or purse or accessories or even a certain color of eyeshadow in several different ways. The fashion challenge I put on myself this week is how to incorporate a splash of reds onto no-red outfits two days in a row. I started day one with this look.
My coworkers whom I usually lunch with planned to have sushi today. Since I don't like sushi, I decided to go home and have some simple homecooked meal instead. It saved me some lunch money, not to mention the extra of having a chance to spend a little bit of time with my son. I live pretty close by, so I have very little gasoline expenses.
Michael is always happy to have Mommy home. Whenever I come home for lunch, he will ask me to accompany him for his afternoon nap time. The problem is, later on when he wakes up and doesn't see Mommy next to him, he will cry and look for me.
This is what I had for lunch: homecooked fried rice with some veggies, some pork meat, and tempe mendoan - a kind of soy based Indonesian snack cooked with green onions and spices. Delicious!
This was how I rocked the look for second day. Now, some people, including my own Mom, don't understand why a thirty-six-year-old mom keeps taking selfies and post them online and write about what she eats and what she wears and what was going on every week in her family. They think I show off the mundane and dumb version of myself. Well, I am open to critiques and suggestions, and I am thankful that they care enough to give me advise and inputs, but I never say that I will accept every single critic and suggestion and input. Everyone has their own reasons. As for me, these are some of the reasons why I'm doing what I'm doing. I think I will write a separate post about it in the future, the benefit of amateur blogging and journaling for me.
- Hubby loves it. He loves seeing my pictures online, because he leaves the house when I'm still in bed, and he likes to see what I look like when I'm up and ready. He loves seeing me all dressed up, not glamorous of fully made up or dolled up, mind you. He's a great advocate of natural look and less makeup, but he wants his wife to look like she makes an effort to look presentable everyday.
- It refreshes me and motivates me. Keeping up appearances - I'm talking about my look, not in terms of keeping of with the Joneses - all day, everyday, whether anyone look or not, requires determination and discipline. I seek motivation everywhere, including blog posts, YouTube beauty videos - which some people consider dumb and a waste of time - , magazines, everything. They inspire me and motivate me to keep consistency in maintaining myself. Not just my look, but also my health.
- It's a balancing tool. It's an outlet to channel my femininity and girlieness. Before I joined the work force, I loved reading "serious" books like finance and politics in my spare time. Now I still do, but I also have developed a taste for chicklits and light readings. I work very hard at the office. I deal with office politics everyday. I am on my toes at all times and required to be firm and masculine and sometimes ruthless and cunning on a daily basis, eight hours a day. Do I like it? Yes? Enjoy it? Very much. But I cannot be, and don't want to be like that 24/7, or I will crack. Outside of the office, I want to be a woman, a girlie girl, a wife, a mother. I don't need extra professional-intellectual stimulation, thank you very much. I have had enough of that during the day and during conversation about work with my husband every evening. There is time and place for everything, and my social media is not for me channeling a serious, elegant, intellectual image, it's just for fun and going crazy, though I do try to make it positive and encouraging.
It turned out that my coworkers didn't eat sushi on Thursday, they changed to eating sushi today, so I went home again to eat some eggs, nuts and potatoes for lunch. As usual, I accompanied Michael for his nap time, and I had to snap this picture of his odd sleeping position before getting back to the office. Hahaha!
Hubby was going out with his friends that evening, so I decided to have some time for myself as well as running errands at the mall. Hubby wants me to be home when he is, so he can tell me about his day, and I always try to comply to his wish whenever I can. So I try to schedule my going out and about like having some me time, running errands, or going out with friends - that got less and less frequent after husband and baby, unfortunately - on the evenings when I know he will come home late.
First, I bought these two sets of red wine goblets, three pieces each set. We only have a pair of high quality wine goblets at home that we got as wedding present, and four mismatched - though pretty - champagne flutes. We needed half dozen wine glasses for Hubby's post birthday party on Saturday. Actually I found a very beautiful wine glass with twirling stem and gold sheen in it, but the store only had one left. Well, that would not do for six guests! So I went to other store, compared several brands, and finally decided on this particular brand called Ocean. They are not as high quality as the pair we got at home, but they are not of cheap quality, either. The glass is thin enough and very clear, it's not heavy, and well-balanced. They are in the mid price range, but it must be my lucky day because the store happened to have a 30% off discount for this particular style! Wohoo!!
Then I bought this Nike backpack. Actually Hubby asked me to buy a nice and sturdy school backpack as a gift for his friend's eldest son, a ten year-old boy who will celebrate his coming-of-age aka being circumcised on Saturday. Hubby's friend is a Moslem, and circumcision is required by the religion before a boy reach puberty. I also bought some batik print wrapping papers to wrap the backpack. Doing creative things with my hand after work soothes me and calms my mind. Well... wrapping gifts in a simple way is not really creative, but you know what I mean.
I got a parcel with some decorative vases and objects last year at the office, inside this pretty vintage looking treasure chest container. I let the team to share the inside of the chest amongst them, but I kept the chest, figuring that I could make a good use of it as storage. It had been left in the office until today, since I had not idea what to keep in such a unique storage and where to keep it. Now the chest is filled with my pretty semi lingerie-style nighties and baby dolls that I bought to please my husband. Ho ho, not what you think! They are not sexy lingerie, mind you, just some silky, comfortable things for me to sleep in. My husband loves the feel of silky satin materials when he hold me before falling to sleep. I wrote about it in this post here. Told you, I love recycling and repurposing things! ^__^
Next week's to do list:
I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies: