Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Big brother..

I always know that deep down Ariq loves his little brother very much, but in this stage, they are just young children with their own ego and mischief..

What happened tonight really touched me, because Ariq really showed the 'big-brother' side of him, in one of his most exhausting days..

Today, Ariq had an excursion with the rest of Grade 1 students and I went with him since I am one of the 4 class coordinators (we are supposed to help the teachers in coordinating the students during school events and field trips).

Ariq had a tiring day, after going to the 'Miniature Park of Indonesia' (this is the place where people can have a glimpse of almost all the things related to Indonesian culture and history). We visited the 4D Screen to watch a cartoon movie about underwater life, the fresh water museum (all the fish in there are actually still alive), the insect museum (the insects are not alive here, except the butterflies which live in a dome-like garden), and finally the Al-Qur'an museum, which happened to have a calligraphy expo going.

The children exceptionally enjoyed the fresh water museum, with all the kinds of fish from around the world and some of them looked really interesting...

We arrived back at the school in the afternoon. As soon as we got home, Ariq had lunch (he didn't finish his lunch at the park because playing with his friends was far more an interesting choice than sitting down finishing his food), then we tried to get some rest. Ariq wanted snacks after his lunch, so I sent Aza and his nanny to the minimarket closeby to buy some.

Once he got back, Aza knocked on the bedroom door to give Ariq his chips. Ariq opened the door, slightly irritated because he was drifting off..

I calmly said to Aza, "Ariq is still resting, would you wait about half-an-hour?"

Aza nodded, "Alright". Then, he sat right there, on the steps in front of the bedroom door.

Ariq looked at his brother while closing the door and suddenly reopened the door, "Why don't you go play with your nanny while waiting?"

Aza replied, "No, I will wait here."

Ariq went quiet for some time, then finally opened the door wide, "Just come inside then, but be quiet, alright!"

Aza hesitated for a second but then he followed Ariq inside.

Once they were both inside, as you can guess, neither of me nor Ariq could get any rest anymore.. but Aza was very happy to be with both of us, after being left alone all day..

Later that evening, Ariq had to do his math project, which was to build some 3D shapes from hard paper. Ariq actually wanted to make pyramid, cone, cube and sphere. I planned to do the pyramid first and then the cube, because those two are the ones I was more familiar with.

As we started to draw the shapes, Aza wanted to join in, but he wanted to handle the pencil, ruler and the hard paper! Making it impossible for us to do any work.. I was starting to get a little impatient, but Ariq was really good, he took a pair of scissors and cut 1/3 of the hard paper and gave it to Aza, along with a small ruler and a pencil..

Unfortunately, Aza was still persistent in 'working' with Ariq's project..

Gladly, Aza's nanny and my mother-in-law quickly joined in and 'entertained' Aza, so Ariq and I could get to work. However, since I was already very tired and Aza still interfered a few times, I couldn't fully understand the exact way Ariq wanted the cube to be built and I ended up drawing the cube wrong, causing the end result to have an opening on one corner.. To add to it, Ariq cut the wrong part of the cube too..

But Ariq only shrugged and said, "It's OK, don't worry about it." Then, we just tried to make additional part to be attached to fix the unfinished cube. Once the cube was done, he decided we should just stop there after I told him I really didn't know how to build a sphere, and he said that he wasn't that desperate to make the cone either (his teacher didn't specify the minimum number of shapes each student had to build at home).

Either Ariq was too tired to make a fuss, or he sort of understood that under the circumstance, we had given our best, and there was nothing more that we could do with our half-closed eyes..

I was very touched with Ariq's attitude tonight.. and very impressed! I'm sure they missed each other, and Aza didn't know yet how to express his feelings.. I'm really glad that Ariq showed his 'big-brother' heart for his little brother, although I know for sure, he was really really tired, because I am beyond tired (I'm having trouble sleeping tonight, unsurprisingly Ariq fell asleep much faster than Aza)..

So, I just had another interesting day.. again..

Friday, 23 October 2009

Done for the day..

I'm finally done, restructuring adsense on my blogs.. I might need to check the success in a week or two, but, I'm hoping I can track the performance better now..

I'm also very happy with this Google Sidewiki. Every time I need to post something on one of my blogs, I can just start writing and decide which blog to post it later.. saving a lot of time logging in and getting to the 'New Post' page.

I really suggest everyone using blogspot to try Google Sidewiki, especially if you have more than one blog to maintain. It is a great help.

At last, have a pleasant day!

in reference to: Blogger: Dashboard (view on Google Sidewiki)

Testing my Sidewiki

I have just installed Sidewiki.. and this is my first Sidewiki entry.. I hope it works well..

in reference to: Features : Post Sidewiki entries to Blogger - Toolbar Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, 16 October 2009

About Batak...

Last Tuesday, I had to go to the insurance company. Since I left the house after rush hour, I decided that taking the bus would be fine. So I did.

It was quite a nice day, so after I finished what I had to do at the insurance company (which was not far from my husband's office), I called my husband to ask if he had time to have lunch with me and he did.

The challenge of the trip finally happened after the lunch!

As soon as I got on the bus to the interchange, a heavy rain started to fall. It continued until the bus reached the interchange. Gladly all the stops were well covered so I didn't get wet.

As soon as I was on the platform, waiting for the bus home to arrive, I could see the bus, at the far end (entry side) of the platform, not moving! The Transportation Dept. personnel who was supervising the platform quickly approached the bus to see if it was having problems.

When I saw the man waving and pointing firmly to the driver, I knew that the driver was just taking his time, trying to wait for more people before departing. With drivers like this, my trip would not be as comfortable as I hoped, but waiting for another bus could take a long time, especially in a heavy rain like that! (normal buses in Indonesia only have routes with no time schedules).

So, I decided (reluctantly) to get on the bus.. Sure enough, the true-selves of the driver and conductor quickly showed..

Not far from the interchange, an elderly woman asked to get off. The driver, however, was too busy trying to overtake other buses which were on the same route.

I knocked repeatedly on the window and some other passengers shouted to the driver and the conductor to pull over and make a stop, but the driver was far too busy to listen to any of us. He finally made a stop at the intersection which was probably about 200m away from where the elderly woman asked the first time!

The elderly woman said to the the driver, "I kept asking you to stop, why didn't you do it?"

The driver looked at her harshly without answering her question and just said to her, "Quick, quick, quick!"

The elderly woman turned to the conductor, "Help me, take these first!" She spoke as she was handing her belonging, a handbag and a plastic bag, while she was standing at the bus door with her walking stick.

Unexpected by any of us, the conductor swore at her, which she quickly replied to, "Why are you swearing at me? I only asked to be let off and helped while getting off!"

A street musician, who was getting ready to start singing, quickly grabbed the elderly lady's hand and handed her belonging to the conductor. The conductor couldn't refuse anymore, for the street musician was a guy about his size. The street musician helped the elderly woman until she was safely off the bus and received her belongings back.

A little later, the driver and the conductor talked to each other in their native language, which I recognised as my own from my dad's side (Batak -an ethnic group from North Sumatra). I sighed heavily...

It was the moment in my life, when I really regretted that I didn't speak the language almost at all..

I understand the culture of the ethnic group enough to know what I could've said to the driver and the conductor to make them feel sorry of what they have done. However, since I was younger, every time I asked my father to teach me his ethnic language, he always refused because he didn't speak the polite form of the language, which means, if he taught me the language, it would only be the form which I could use to friends and rough workers (not the language to be used to speak to older people).

Batak culture places parents and elders above almost anything else in life, and my father once told me that the worst insult (while children were playing) was to pick a leaf from the tree and let it fall to the ground while saying to the person to be insulted, "This is your father!" Then, stepped on the leaf. This kind of insult was the one known to cause kids to fight the most.

On that bus, I knew the perfect line to say to the driver and the conductor to make them behave better towards the elderly lady, "Imagine if someone does that to your mother!"

The only problem was, if I said it in Indonesian, they wouldn't associate it with their native culture, also, it might cause unneccessary outrage on the bus (from other passengers who witnessed the scene). However, if I said it in their ethnic language, they would be able to see straight away that the person who was saying it understood perfectly where the line was coming from (culturally), and it would have a different/much better effect. Plus, other passengers would not understand what I was saying..

Maybe some of you are thinking why I didn't want people to know what I was saying at those guys.. Again, it is something about Batak people..

People from Sumatra, especially the Northerners (Batak), are known as straight forward people in Indonesia. They are also known to be hard workers and not afraid of being rough workers. The Southeners, which are closer to West Sumatra, are slightly softer in character, although not as reserved as Javanese people.

The good points of these people are hints (especially bad ones) don't get to them. The way they speak is rough and loud, but they don't stay angry for a long time.

In real life, some occupations in Indonesia where Batak people are generally found are; education (as teachers) and; law practice (as lawyers).. Despite what you might think, not that many Batak people are interested in becoming armed-forces or police officers..

The bad points (according to other people), they are known to be bus drivers, bus conductors and sometimes.. bus pickpockets!

In general, no Batak peole takes real offense of these generalisations, but still, Batak people are proud people. They might not care about what people talk about them behind their back (meaning they won't take any drastic measure against it), but when someone non-Batak says something to their face, especially in public, they have to answer accordingly.

At a glance, I don't really look like a Batak person, plus I'm a muslim wearing a headcover, while most Batak people are Protestants. The only way people recognised me as a Batak is when they ask for my name or hear me talking in the language. This was why I held myself from saying the line in Indonesian in front of all other passengers. I was looking for remorse, not a bus brawl!

My father used to tell me that in the past, Batak peole came to Java to study or find work without bringing any money or belonging from their villages. They hid on ships on the mercy of the crew. Therefore, as soon as they reached Java island, they would work in whatever field they could find (my father himself used to be a bus conductor and later on a gardener, while doing his landscape degree).

Javanese people are calm, polite and reserved. Standing on the bus door while shouting to attract passengers were not their best points, while Batak people never have any problem with shouting!

As time goes by, more and more Batak people got married with Javanese people. Maybe they finally found that the combination would somehow bring some balance in general life in Indonesia.. and I happened to be one of the children of these mixed marriages.. My father is Batak and my mother is mix Javanese-Sundanese (Sundanese is West Javanese).

I still think about what happened on the bus yesterday, and wish that I could have said something.. something to bring remorse to the driver and the conductor.. but time cannot be reversed, I just hope that Batak people can teach themselves that roughness does not mean rudeness.. not being afraid does not mean disrespect.. and being strong does not mean being heartless..

Friday, 4 September 2009

Little guests

The other day, as I was looking out the open window of my bedroom, I spotted this little red dragonfly. It looked beautiful sitting right on the cactus.

It was a little difficult to get the pictures, as I had to slide my mobile phone through the window steel bar and try to get the best focus leaning my arm on the steel bar.

A few days after, my husband called me from the front yard to have a look at a pretty little cricket sitting on the side of the car.

It was indeed beautiful..

I'm pretty sure that neither the red dragonfly nor the little cricket was a permanent member of our yard since I never saw them before. However, I hope that they stick around so I could get better shots at them next time.. :-)

Sunday, 30 August 2009

My Old Nanny (Ma' Tua)

I haven't written much lately, apart from being busy with the start of Ramadhan (fasting month), also because I still couldn't bring myself to write about something that was really hard for me.

Even though it didn't take too long for me to accept what happened, I still needed some silent time just to move on.. after my old nanny passed away on Thursday, 6th of August 09..

She was the person who always took care of me since I was born. Then, by the time I had my sons, she loved them even when she didn't have any strength to chase them around like she did with me :-)

After I was old enough to be without a nanny, she concentrated in cooking for my family. Each of us had a different favourite, but we would all agree that she made the best Beef Rendang. Some of my friends who used to come to our house a lot (during high school time) also had their favourites..

She retired from working with us two years ago, right after Idul Fitri and stayed with her daugher's family since then, but she always came to stay for a few days at my parents' home at the end of each month (at the time of local community religion gathering). So, we could still enjoy her cooking once a month.

The last three months (May, June and July), many things (Ariq's end of school year performance, for one) had kept me tied down so that I couldn't stay at my parents' home at the same time as my nanny did.

During that time, I missed her so much, and my mother always told me that she was always asking about me and that she missed me so much too.

I kept telling myself that once everything was over and I had some control back over my life I would ask her to stay for a few days here.

But, who could deny fate?

That Wednesday, my father came over to see the grandchildren, and my mother spoke to me over the phone, telling me that my nanny had been in hospital since that Sunday because she had been having difficulty breathing. I was having bad flu and fever at that time, so I called my nanny's daughter to ask about her condition and told her that I would come to visit once I felt better.

She told me that her mother was much better and she had started asking the doctor when he would release her to go home. The doctor however wanted to be sure that everything was completely fine, so they were not rushing to go home.

The next morning, at dawn, my mother called me to tell me that my nanny had passed away..

After Ariq had left for school, my parents picked me up to go to my nanny's daughter's home and we saw her there, laying on the bed, looking peaceful as if she was sleeping.. My nanny's daughter told us that she didn't know that her mother had gone either that morning.. she thought she was only sleeping, until the nurse who was going to check her blood pressure came in, found out that she was gone and told her daughter.

My nanny's daughter also told us that all her mother's lab tests came out good. In general, she was healthy. I believe her good health was because of her love of walking. For over 30 years, she always walked to the market and walked back with the shopping. She used to take me to the market too, whenever I was on school holidays..

I couldn't find any strength to perform her last bath, but her daughter and grandchildren were all there.. After the bath, however, I finally found some strength to dress her in her final piece of cloth without any drop of tears.. I'm so glad I did.. It was the least I could do out of respect for the person who had loved and cared for me since I was born..

I guess the hardest part for me was the fact that everyone else still met her during the her final three months, while I didn't.. but now I understand it was fate.. Maybe it was meant to happen that way so that my love and respect for her would stay deep in my heart for a very long time, because I consider myself to be the person closest to her, yet I had to lose her the first, before everyone else did..

The best thought that my mother had was that she let my nanny retire two years ago so that she spent the last two years of her life living with her family, after having lived with us for over 30 years!

I still miss her a lot.. how could I not?! I still remember she bathed me, hand-fed me, lulled me to sleep while rubbing my back, carried me on her back, played with me, told me off when I came home late from school, taught me to cook, and later on.. had arguments over various things with me but always ended up in giving in to me.. :-)

I still miss her.. but I find comfort in knowing that her departure was without suffering and that she is now in a better place..

I love you always, Ma' Tua.. :-)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Me and Malaysia

While I had travelled to many far away places, one place very very close kept being put at the end of my destination list, Malaysia.. until two and a half years ago..

When my husband's contract in Yemen was over, he received an offer for a position in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and he accepted the offer, considering that KL is very close to Jakarta and airfare was affordable for monthly visits. After he worked in KL for about 4 months, our baby (Aza was just born when my husband came home from Yemen) was 6 months old and in good condition to travel, so we went to KL to visit my husband.. Ariq, Aza, my parents-in-law and me.

Many things were quite similar to Jakarta but certain things were very special and different. Some of those things became my favourites..

Nasi Lemak or Roti Canai + Lamb Curry for breakfast, accompanied by hot Teh Tarik

Choices of Restaurant at The Curve for Lunch (our favourites are Secret Recipe and Pho Hoa).

Johnny's Steamboat in 1Utama for Dinner

Late Night Supper at hawker stands (there was one place where they served variety of food, well-presented like restaurant/hotel menu, at hawker prices)

The ones I miss the most are the breakfast choices..

My favourite places in KL are The Curve and Masjid India.. The Curve is a really nice place to hang out with family and friends and I seriously think Masjid India is the best place for head scarves and Malay dress materials..

After my first (and second) trip to KL, my parents-in-law asked my husband and me to represent them in my brother-in-law's wedding ceremony in Sabah (Borneo, East Malaysia). As the journey there was long and rough, and my parents-in-law were not up to such travels anymore, we agreed to go.

The schedule was very tight and the village where my brother-in-law's wife came from was 2 hours away from the airport. Despite the fact that I spotted a few interesting places (such as Ape Reservation and Crocodile Farm), we didn't have any time to visit any of those places.

My husband and I really hope that we can find a good time to go to Borneo again (both Malaysia and Indonesia lands) to see the nature and do a few days trip there..

In my last trip to KL, we went to Genting Highland and spent a day in the Theme Park, which Ariq was having the time of his life.. As all theme parks around the world, it is something more of the modern world than local culture.. but anyone with kids would find it a great choice to visit..

There are a lot more interesting things about Malaysia, the ones I wrote here are just the ones that became my favourites.. so, don't take my word for it, you should come and visit yourselves and find out what are your favourites..

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

News Flash

News flash...

I'm still down with the flu (considering last week I didn't stop 'moving around' carrying the virus in me)

Aza is now very very comfortable in using the computer to play games by himself, so... I have to compete with him (and Ariq) every time I need to use the computer.. fuuhhh... :-P

I will write again soon..

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Perfect Saturday..

One note before I start writing.. even the term 'Perfect' is subject to some level of relativity..

A rainy Saturday is definitely not a perfect weekend if I was planning to do an outing, but, since I have been feeling very sleepy and tired since yesterday and keeping the thought of doing nothing at home today.. well, today turned out to be a perfect Saturday.. it has been raining since midday, not a big heavy rain, but a nice soft cooling down rain..

Ariq is also feeling a little tired today (Thursday and Friday were his first days at school and school had gone full-time). So, it was really orientation days for the both of us..

Aza, my 3 year-old son, on the other hand, has been very very 'up and running' today. He woke up at 7 and went straight to the backyard to water the trees and plants there. A bit later, he went to the front yard where my brother-in-law was washing the car, to joined in.. He finally needed a rest around midday when he curled up in his crib (his crib is custom-made 90cm x 160cm, which practically serves as his daytime bedroom and playpen).

I just finished my coffee while listening to the sound of the rain..

Just beautiful..

I hope all of you are having a beautiful weekend too..

Friday, 24 July 2009

Where is My Spider?

After three weeks having no time to take a look around.. I finally had a little chance of saying 'hi' to the pretty spider in front of the car garage. Guess what?? I could only find her web and it was already in damaged condition! The web owner was nowhere to be seen and I don't know where she had moved.

Three weeks is not really that long, but it is definitely long enough for a spider to feel the need to move out and build a new web.

I hope I won't cross path with her unexpectedly (I am still afraid of spider in general). I would really like to see her again, though, and I hope she is well..

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Saddest School Holiday...

Ariq had school holiday (finishing KG to start Grade 1) for 3 weeks (yes, school holiday in Indonesia is very very short).. but this holiday was the saddest for him (I really wish he would never have to go through another holiday like this again)..

Ariq started his holiday mid June, shortly after his end of academic year performance, then, we were planning to stay in the Safari Park Caravan Camp for one night, but it turned out that everything happened very differently from what we planned.

At the night of our wedding anniversary (23rd of June), my husband and I cancelled our dinner plan since my father-in-law had to be taken to the hospital where his haematologist practiced. My husband, one of his auntie and my mother-in-law went with him.

Past midnight, that night, my husband called and told me that they were still in the hospital waiting room! (They left the house around 8.00 which most likely they reached the hospital at around 10.00) They were organising my father-in-law to be transferred to the hospital near home. He was transferred by an ambulance early that morning. My father-in-law was in very weak condition and was admitted straight in the ICU (intensive care unit). His condition on the next day was much better, but during the following two days, his condition was much worse, until finally on Saturday (27th of June), he passed away.

Ariq was the most affected by his grandfather's departure, as he was not allowed in the ICU being under 12 years old. As we laid my father-in-law's body at home waiting for the burial the next morning (Sunday), Ariq started to understand that his grandfather was never coming back at all. From Sunday to Tuesday, Ariq lost his appetite and almost didn't talk at all. I decided to take him away from our home and move to my parents' place for a few days.

In my parents' home Ariq started eating and talking again, but the things he talked about the most was how he wanted to be with his grandfather..

Once he was eating well again, I took him home (Sunday), and he asked my mother-in-law to go to the grave. They went there next morning (Monday). The next day, Ariq woke up with a high fever, and I gave him Panadol syrup to cool it down. The fever kept going up and down until the next day, so we took him to ER and the doctor gave an instruction for a blood test the next day. When we got the result of the blood test, the doctor said that Ariq needed to be hospitalised because there was a chance that he had Dengue Fever.

My mother-in-law still couldn't bear the thought of walking into the hospital near home where my father-in-law spent his last moments in, so we took Ariq to the hospital near my parents' home. On the 2nd day in the hospital (5th day of the fever), it was positive that Ariq had the Dengue Fever (fortunately not the strain D which was the most dangerous one).

I quietly cried everytime his fever ran high and he wouldn't stop asking about his grandfather.. why he couldn't be with him and what he could do to be with him..Holding back my tears while trying to give him confidence was not an easy thing to do..

He stayed at the hospital for 6 days, the 5th and 6th day he was almost fully recovered.. He was allowed to go home Thursday last week (2nd and last day of his school orientation program) but he needed to stay home until he had seen the doctor for post-hospitalisation check up, which was last Tuesday (first day of school).

Ariq's 3 weeks holiday was not the holiday he expected it to be, but he is back at school now (he just started going to school today), and when my husband and I quietly watched him from the window, he looked happy with his teachers and friends..

I don't know how to make it up to little kids when their losses are just too great, but I guess as time goes by and life goes on, children will gain understanding and grow wiser in life too..we can only pray and be there for them.. :-)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Life goes on.. Even after the saddest moment..

The departure of a loved one always leaves a deep mark on our heart and soul.

My first experience was my grandfather (my mother's father), when I was 13.

My grandfather (my mother's father) used to do his Friday prayer at my school mosque. Somehow, after he had departed for several weeks, I completely forgot about him not being around anymore.

I sat on the lowest step of the mosque staircase from the time when the prayer ended (slightly after lunch), until about 3 pm. Then, it suddenly hit me that the person I was waiting for would never come out of the mosque, no matter how long I waited there..

I went home holding back my tears.. and when my worried mother (there was no mobile phones yet around that time) asked me why I was so late coming home from school. I lost my voice for a moment, before I choked while answering, "I was waiting for 'Eyang' (grandparent in Javanese language), until I finally remembered that he wasn't in the mosque.."

I could see my mother's eyes suddenly were glassy with tears, but she tried to hold back her tears to give me strength and she tried to smile as she hugged me tight, "Poor girl! It's alright.. Things like this happen to everyone. The most important thing is that you are safely home now."

Ah, I still miss my grandfather to this day.. and my memory of that day stays with me forever..

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Snake Skin in the Backyard

We were all shocked with yesterday's finding at home.. A long snake skin was found on the steps in the backyard.. Fortunately, we did not cross path with the owner of the skin..

To give you an idea of the size of the snake skin, Aza posed with it in this picture..

Can anyone tell me what kind of snake this was?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Buffaloes in Action

The best thing of living in a suburb, away from the centre of the city, is that we can still find a lot of natural things happening around us.. one of these things are.. buffalo family, grazing in the morning.

These pictures are not perfect as I took them from a moving car, with my mobile phone (the Nokia 6120c).. but, I got the buffaloes! Yay!

A very beautiful sight..

My Spiders Are Still Around

I haven't been watching the spiders in days, but the last few days, I realised that they were still around.

The female (yellow and black with very thin legs) have moved her web twice. First to the top of the bushes next to the front gate, and then to the left side of the the bushes, which is in front of the car garage.

This latest spot is at the right height from the ground for picture taking, which I don't need a stool or anything to be able to get a clear shot from almost any angle I want, and the pictures turned out very nice (I've only been taking pictures with my Nokia 6120c mobile phone).

The male (brownish colour) was found inside the house, in and around the bathroom area. It was quite big (the one shot on the wooden corner). I haven't see it during the last couple of days though. My guess is either he mated with the female and then was eaten, or it came across a gecko and became its meal.. (the two most likely things to happen to it).

Two days ago, I found another male. This one was smaller (younger, I think). It was sitting on the railing of the shower rolling door (the corner with gold colour).

I managed to get good pictures this time, as they were sitting at the right spots for me and my mobile phone :-)

As I can't promise to put up anymore photos of the spider family here after this, please enjoy!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Spider and Gecko

I saw the spider and the gecko while playing with Aza in the back yard this morning..

The gecko is pretty old, as it has been around the house for quite a long time. My first encounter with this gecko was when I just got married and spent the first the weekend here for the first time.

I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and it was on the far corner of the bathroom wall. In the dark I thought it was a snake! I realised it wasn't when it stood still with quiet eyes (which I assumed wouldn't be like snake's eyes).

Too bad that everytime the camera's flash was flashing, the gecko ran, and I couldn't get any better pictures than these. This is the best picture I managed to take of the gecko. After a while, it finally decided to leave the painting (yes, behind the large painting was his favourite hiding place) and ran to the roof on the side of the house..

When I tried to catch up with him, I walked past my bedroom window and saw this little (about 5-7 cm) spider. Still the same species (black and yellow garden spider) and a female. I managed to get a good shot at it.

Aza loved watching both back yard dwellers.. so, it was a really nice morning..

Have a great day everyone.. :-)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

More spider pictures..

I took some more photos this morning.. I climbed onto a stool and managed to take some good shots.

The spider was quiet.. maybe it was still sleeping..

This one is my favourite shot.. It looks as if the spider enjoys being in the middle of its beautiful surrounding..

In this one, it looks like the spider is ready to climb down its web and run to wherever it intends to go.. ;-P

My mother-in-law caught the sight of me on the kitchen stool, and asked what I was taking pictures of.. and I showed her the spider photos.. She was a little worried seeing the size, but I explained that this is the non-venomous type.. :-)

Friday, 15 May 2009

Black and Yellow Garden Spiders

I finally decided to search for the big spider on the internet, and it turned out to be quite easy as the species is very common.. and.. it also turned out that the small one and the big one I found around the house are the same species just different age (they actually grow a lot!).

These spiders belong to the 'Black and Yellow Garden Spiders' and they are very common around the world.

And.. I also found a website with Black and Yellow Garden Spider pictures that look very similar to the ones in our front yard. The owner of this website, David Cummins, doesn't have a 'contact me' button on his website, therefore I couldn't ask for his permission for putting a link. However, he has a 'tell a friend' button so, I hope putting a link on my blog here qualifies as telling a friend.

I am still a little afraid of spiders (I will tell you about it another time) but these garden spiders are very beautiful in the sunlight that I just love watching them.


The Spiders..

I took some more pictures of the big spider this morning.. The web was a bit too high for my reach, and when I put zoomed it in, it didn't come out as clear. This was the best that I could do.

I also realised that the spider only had 7 legs! A spider expert at the spider exhibition I went to told me that this was usual as spiders fight and they often lost a leg during the fights..
I also found a little spider in the bushes right outside the front door. Unfortunately, my camera was not equipped with micro shot, so, the pictures did not come out very well either, but if any of you were spider lovers, you would probably still be able to tell me what kind of spider it is..

I still really want to capture the spiders well, so, I might still put up their pictures here another time, but this is the end of my 'spider watching' session for the day.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

A Big Spider..

I'm sure all of you have noticed all the links to beautiful picture blogs on my blogs. The reason is because I love nice pictures, especially of the nature and wild life. Looking at those pictures (and reading those blogs, of course) is really my form of R&R whenever my daily schedule doesn't allow me to leave the house except necessary trips to the supermarket or the school for PAT meetings.

I'm not trying to make this blog a picture blog, but as you can see in my Home Blog (Orcalion's World), I have in the past posted pictures that I think were interesting. This particular post is the same case with those picture posts.. :-)

Anyway.. This morning, my husband came in to our room, after taking my eldest son to school and called out to our 2.5, Aza to come out and see the big spider above our front gate. I went with them.

Since we were married, I have noticed that two particular species of spiders have always inhabited particular spots around his family's house (the house I'm living in now), mostly in the front yard.

The first species is a little one, which legs are almost like they were differentiated between front legs and rear legs, because the front 4 are always sort of facing front, and the rear 4 are sort of facing the rear side. This species' web is very beautiful, is the lines in zigzag forms. When I see one, I will take a picture and post it here.

The second species is a big one (A very big sometimes), and this was the one that we saw this morning. The colour of this spider is yellow and black, and the legs are long.

I don't know the name of the spider species, I'm actually hoping that some of you might be able to tell me.. :-)

Oh, I almost forgot about the third species of spider which usually walks around the bathroom and once was taking a day nap wrapped in my shower scrub glove.. ;-)
This species have a family grown inside the house and sometimes they grow pretty big too, but they always run everytime they see one of us. This ones look like normal house spiders, so I don't bother them as long as they don't bother me!
One day, I saw one of the bathroom spiders (one that was napping) was inside a gecko's mouth.. ouch! Poor spider.. it finally had to meet its fate in the circle of life..

Potato Salad

I was thinking to have something different for dinner last night (please bear in mind that potato salad is an unusual option for dinner in Indonesia).

I diced two medium sized potatoes (about 1 cm) and while I was waiting for them to boil, I finely chopped a clove of garlic and diced a little bit of onion to make up a spoonfull.

-note: the potatoes should only brought to boil until the outer part is tender enough for the tip of a fork to go in. Then, turn the fire off and let them sit in the saucepan with a lid on for about 15 minutes or until they are all evenly soft (a sous chef friend once taught me this trick to make sure that the potatoes are not too soft for the salad)-

Then, I mix the prepared garlic and onion with 2 heaped spoonsful of mayonaise and a little bit of oregano. I let the mixture sit while I took the potatoes off the stove and drained them.

After the potatoes are drained, put them for 5-10 minutes in the fridge, and then finally, put them in the mayonaise mixture and mix them thoroughly.

I realise now that I should've taken a picture of my favourite salad, but it's still a potato salad, so you can easily imagine what it should look like anyway.. ;-)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Blog's Privacy..

Blog is a little funny thing.. It's not a open website, but it's not a completely private diary either.. and each blog owner has a unique expectation on who they want to read his/her blog (including putting a comment)..

I have met and become friends with bloggers that I met through the internet and I find this a valuable experience of friendship for me.

I am also following blogs without really ever making any comments, since their blogs are more for information or sales purposes, rather than friendship/communication purposes. These types are are really great if you are really interested in the certain things that they share the information about (or selling).

These two types of blogs are not really difficult to understand for me, as the owners are quite open to anyone who are willing to read, follow and leave comments on their blogs.

The unique ones are the personal blogs that I come across, which the topics addressed are somewhere between personal and general, and the blog owners are very successful in making their blog very very interesting to be read by general public, but they actually don't really expect the wide population to be much involved in their blogs..

I have posted comments in these types of blogs (which needed to be moderated before posted) and my comments were rejected. I feel a little disappointed at first, of course.. but, I grasp the reality that it was the nature of comment moderation that the owner of the blog explicitly states the authority he/she has on what's coming in and going out of his/her blog.

I truly respect that.

If I may, I just would like to say to all blog owners who might have rejected a comment from 'orcalion' .. is that you have a very interesting blog and although I have never met you in person, I really believe that you are a nice person. Therefore, I wish you all the best in your future..

For every blog owner who have become my friends in this blogging world.. I want you to know that I am truly honoured to have met you and have the chance to know you..

Last but not least, for everyone who comes across this blog.. I never moderate any comments posted on my blogs, so, please feel free to visit and leave me a comment or even better, become my friends..

Have a great day!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Human's Adaptability and Self-Preservation

My 2.8 years old son, Aza, has been treated with nebulizer for his allergy since he was 6 months old. He is sensitive to some types of milk (luckily he is not a big fan of milk) and a few other things that often cause allergy reactions, such as, berry-type fruits, prawns (consumption of small quantity is usually fine) and the sudden change of weather. The problem was, the biggest cause of the allergy was still unknown.

Whenever he has allergy attack, he will start coughing roughly which sounds like hard wind coming out of an empty pipe. At first (when he was 6 months), we didn't know what caused the allergy. He kept being treated with the nebulizer so often that he became so familiar with the equipment. When he was 1 year old, as long as his older brother stayed with him during the treatment, he would be happy.

Then, when he was 2 years old, based on the frequency of his allergy attacks, the doctor that we saw at that time suggested that it might actually be the milk that he drank that he was allergic to. So, we changed his milk brand, and amazingly, he almost never had a cough anymore. We were very grateful about this.

We really didn't consider the milk was the main trigger for Aza's allergy since he was drinking one of the brands that most people take. Also, compared to other kids at the same age, Aza drinks very little of milk on daily basis. I mainly compared Aza's milk drinking habit to his brother when he was Aza's age and his cousin (my sister's son who is at the same age with Aza). They both have around 5 - 7 bottles @250 ml./day, while Aza only has 4 - 5 bottles @100 ml./day.

Now, it is time for the season to change again. About a month ago, he had a bad cough. It wasn't really because of his allergy, but he had trouble breathing around sundown, so, I decided to give him the nebulizer treatment. I was ready if he would refuse it at first, but to my surprise, he took the mask, put it on his face and started inhaling.

We didn't go to the very last drop of it (it was only NaCL at that time, since I only wanted to give him some comfort in breathing), but he slept well that night, and he didn't need inhalation anymore until he was recovered from the cough.

Yesterday, after raining almost non-stop for a couple of days, Aza started coughing. I was also forced to change his milk last week because he was bored with his normal brand. I knew that he would only lasted a couple of weeks on other milk brands, but it would be enough to get him to like his usual brand again, so I wasn't too worried (I have to change his milk every once in a while, because he does get bored sometimes and tends to leave his milk unfinished).

However, the hot and humid days which always ended in showery evenings and nights, were not in his favour. Today, he started coughing really bad. I finally decided to buy his ventolin and pulmicort. As he was getting sleepy before the maid came back from the chemist, I asked him not to resist if I put the mask on him after he was asleep. He agreed.

Again, I was surprised, he got woken up by his coughing right when the maid arrived with the nebules. At first he refused the mask because he wanted to sleep, but when I reminded him that he wouldn't be able to sleep if he kept coughing that bad, he took the mask from me and put it on his face. After the first 5 minutes, he found a comfortable laying down position that allowed him to slowly falling asleep while still holding the mask.

He threw up after the ventolin (which was to be expected), and he said he just wanted to sleep. I told him that he would sleep even better after the pulmicort. I also told him that he could just lay down and fall asleep, and I would take care of the mask. Amazingly, he took the mask, put it on his mouth and closed his eyes.

After a couple of minutes, I told him to move the mask up so that it also covered his nose. He nicely did! Then, he closed his eyes again and fell asleep. In about 10 minutes, I could hear that the rough sound of his breathing had softened and I knew that he felt more comfortable too because he told me that he really had enough of the nebulizer.

This time, I took the mask off him and let him find his perfect position to sleep for the night.

It is completely mixed feelings that I feel each time I have to do the nebulizer treatment to Aza. I feel relieved that he is very easy to work with, but I also feel amazed and somewhat sad that a child that young has understood the importance of a complex medication (more than just simple grape or cherry-tasted syrup) and doesn't need any persuation to accept the treatment.

The biggest lesson for me is that human being really has a high instinct of adaptability and self-preservation. It is proven that when a child has been suffering allergy from very young age (before 1 year old), he/she will be comfortable with the use of a nebulizer at a very young age too (in Aza's case, he's only a little older than 2 years old).

When Aza was younger, one of the comfortable position for him during the treatments was to lay half-sitting on my lap, and I would get some of his medication inhaled into my nose or mouth. Nowadays, when I accidently hold my face too close to his, during his inhalation (or he moves around a bit), I could smell the medication too. It doesn't feel nice, and that is really what amazes me every time I see Aza smiling, laughing or even joking with his brother while holding his mask on his face. He must've understood that the funny-tasting smoke allows him to breathe better, so that he is always willingly do his treatments himself.

Really amazing!

Friday, 17 April 2009

There is always a challenge

Right when I thought I was getting better at prettying up my blogs, I decided to choose a template that I really like, the 'Rounder', which had the more rounded corners on each element. It turned out that I had to admit that I wasn't that advanced in working with HTML format of blog templates :-P

I really like the rounder template, but it needs more work in doing, as I need to make the image of the corners myself, or at least adjust the images that the creator created for the original template and I haven't had much experience in image creating software (such photoshop or paint).

After doing a few trial-and-error with the original 'Rounder' template, I had a good idea of what I need to learn to be able to do it in the future (nowhere near getting it done in the short future, though)..

The book that I have (which I wrote about in here about a week ago), was only explaining how to do a blog makeover with the simplest template, 'Minima' and as a non-computer scientist, I think I did a satisfying job using the 'Strech Denim' template based on the instructions laid out in the book.

I will find other books to learn about more complex blog template adjustments, but for now, I am staying with 'Stretch Denim' as it is the one that I like and I can work comfortably with. I will deal with this challenge as I go.