Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Family Day Out...

This is a back-dated post....back to Sunday, 23 May 2010.

The whole family (or rather I) decided that we should all head out to Lippo Karawachi for the 31st Jakarta Highland Gathering . Afterall, we've never ever been to this event before eventhough we've lived here for 4 years.



31st Jakarta Highland Gathering Poster

We arrived early in the morning....and left around 11 am ish. Thank goodness for that too...as it rained in the early afternoon. My friend said it was all muddy and yucky....

First thing we did was walk-about to check out what's in store. Boys went to the Outward Bound area to try out some of the challenges.

We then move on to....FOOD. There were many stalls serving all-sorts of food from major restaurants and bars. We opted to have German food....
German Sausages and Pork Chops

There were loads of competitions, performances (belly dancing, traditional dances, etc etc)... Here are some of the more interesting things around...

Lumberjack?


Bagpipes....


Heavy Weights - to get the highest height...





House?

Anyone here a fan of HOUSE? As in Dr. House in the series?
We are. Both H and I, and even S1....so much so that he declared that he may want to be a doctor! hahahaha... Before HOUSE, we never really had any interest in complicated medical jargon. Heck! We don't even really pay full attention to our doctor....But these days, we are more 'educated' and we tend to ask our doctors more questions, and even scrutinize what type of exam table is being used. Silly, I know...but at least we are more well-versed in the medical field, even if it's from TV!

Plot for a Retirement Home?

I just saw an ad on Outer banks foreclosures, and guess what? You can actually purchase a canalfront lot for only USD 25,000! I am sure the price is still negotiable. I am just thinking that this could be a good place to build a small retirement home with views. When comparing this with the price of the new BMW 528i which sells for USD 120,000 here; the canalfront lot is a steal! Only problem is a good reputable and cheap builder is quite hard to find. Know any?

Thanks Wenn

I've received this award from Wenn. Thanks a bunch....



Here are the rules:
1. List 7 random things about yourself
2. Share the award with up to 15 other bloggers
3. Link to each of the recipients and let them know they've won via comments on their blogs
4. Thank and bring the love back to the person you won the award from by linking back to them.

I supposed I AM a Versatile Blogger...as one day, I can be writing like a sane person and another, I write like I am some mad cow waiting to kill someone. :-)
I hope Wenn do not mind that I am not sharing the award ...... Yeah. I wanna keep it ALL to myself. heheheh....

7 random facts about myself:

a. I always seem to have a little volcano popping out somewhere on my face....

b. I am a mixed-up person... scientific person who strives to get logical and scientific explanations AND yet is quite pantang and do believe in traditional pantang larangs etc...

c. I absolutely love to ZZZZZ. I love food but I love ZZZZZZ more.

d. I do love the little luxuries in life......

e. I hate one-sided conversations, as in... you ask one question, the other answers one answer. You ask another, and the other person answers....

f. I don't want to be the DREADED MIL....so I need to write a letter to myself now so that in 20 years time, I will read it and be reminded NOT to behave like a dreaded MIL

g. I used to love roller-coasters...but think I am getting old....both the head and body cannot tahan...
Okay. That's it. 7 already.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Time to be hardworking...

I am one of the laziest person around. I usually cleanse my face, slap on some pharmacy-bought moisturizer, and that's it. I don't bother with sunscreen nor specialty creams and serums. However, with age catching up real fast, I think it is time that I get a little more hardworking and put on those specialty wrinkle creams and serums, not to mention those SPF 50 sunscreens! I don't want to have those wretched lines appearing and having comments about my looking older than H!

F&B Business....

Don't know if I mentioned this before...but my sisters and I are thinking of opening a cafe bakery. We have been talking about this for the longest of time. However, as we have no experience in the Food & Beverage business, we are hesitant to make this jump. H has repeatedly mentioned that perhaps we should start with franchising. I supposed we could look into this as an option. Who knows? The best franchise opportunities may be just there waiting for us....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Feel Terrible...

Yeah. Feeling terrible for writing the last post...it's like making use of the tragedy to make a few dollars. And just immediately after I submitted the post for approval, I received an email from the school with updates. Yes. Official SAR teams provided by the Government has ceased, but search activities will continue along certain parts of the river. At the same time, the school has established a Fund to support the family Pak Ade Arfan, who perished when he went after SY. And you k now what? His wife is going to give birth to their first child soon.

As I am writing this, I am crying buckets.... It just hit me real HARD again that I could have lost my son. He was there - witnessing it all..... Any slight change in circumstances and it could have been any of our children at that trip.

We definitely will contribute to this fund. It is the least we can do for his heroic efforts. S1 said he pulled the other 3 kids to safety and then went after SY.......

Still NOT found...

I hate to be writing this here.... but SY is still not found. It has been 17 days. The search-and-rescue teams are still out there searching, albeit at a smaller scale. Some are still hopeful that she will be found alive. I have heard from some fellow moms that the family has somewhat accepted that she is gone from them forever. The pain for them must be unimaginable - how do you have closure in this case? Will there be a funeral? Is so, the funeral planning must be meticulous to minimize the pain and suffering of the family...

Foods that BURN Fat!

Did you read that correctly?
Foods that BURN Fat?
Are you dreaming?
Apparently NOT. There are foods that actually burn fat! How great is that?

When I saw the statement "foods that burn fat" , I HAD to look up what they are. Get ready for the list -
1. Cayenne Pepper
2. Ginger
3. Cinnamon
4. Apples and Berries
5. Citrus Fruits
6. Soybeans
7. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
8. Garlic
9. Seaweed
10. Green Tea

And what do you know? I love to drink Green Tea, eat dried seaweed, tofu, berries, garlic and even ginger (ground fresh ginger with Hainanese Chicken Rice!!! YUM!) . So if I continue to include these foods, I should not have to worry a thing. Yeah?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boys' School Carnival 2010

This is a back-dated post....But not so back-dated to 2009 lah.

Boys had their annual school carnival on Sunday, 6 June 2010. I had volunteered to man the Hair Art Stall at 10.00 AM. As S1 thought his duty (for his class' stall) was at 9.30 AM, we were at school about 9 AM, plus I had to meet with S2's teacher. At first I thought I had to braid hair etc....and I am hopeless at that. Actually, all I had to do was use coloured hairspray. Easy Peasy!

What did they have at the Carnival?
Traditional Fair Games, Hair Art, Nail Art, Face Painting, Cupcakes and Cookie decorating Stalls.
Food Stalls - DinTaiFung, Tamarind Indian, Oh La La! Cafe (french pastries), a small hotdog/burger place and food from the School Cafetaria.
Vendor Stalls selling all sorts from toys to coffee to body creams to cushion covers etc.
Bouncy castles (not castle lah...), Rocking Bull, Pony Rides, Trishaw Rides, EuroBungy, Water Wars etc.
Performances from Staff, Students and External Parties (S2 was in the Orchestra performance)
Champagne Tent where champagne and other cocktails can be purchased.
Races between teachers and parents, and of course the must-have lucky draws (which we didn't win anything!)

Some of the Fun Stuff

H's Heineken and My 2 champagnes
(all proceeds of these purchases go to charity....so don't blame me for trying to be charitable)

Performance by the School's Local Staff - Musicians


Ditto - Dancers
(the painted guy in black is the HeadMaster)


Setting up the Orchestra
(S2 is the seated one in White)


Pretty Maids all in a Row - Violinists
We left school at 2ish-3 PM. Can't remember after all the champagnes and margaritas!

Definitely Better...

Yes. I have to say the new week after the horrible one was definitely better. Our lives have somewhat resumed to normality....except that S2 is still coughing and my internet connection is still bonkers. However, I am sad to say that up till today Sei Young is still not found. The grief and suffering her parents are enduring is tremendous. There are rumours and beliefs that surrounds her disappearance which I will post later.

Anyway, there's another two weeks of school before the boys break for Summer....which means all-day TV and GAMES!!! I am trying to arrange for some scheduled activities in PJ for the boys so that they are FORCED to attend. If I leave it up to them, they will prefer to stay home and play games till their eyes POP OUT from the sockets. So what am I looking for? Maybe Mandarin Classes and Soccer Camp. Anyone know any good providers? How about good Mandarin teachers that will come to the house? ...maybe 3 times a week. Please recommend. Thanks.

We will be back on the 13th of July....and returning back on the 11th of August. Err...actually, boys will be back for those days. H and I are going to Moscow and the States from the 15th till end of the month. (H insists that we take a twosome holiday annually). Initially, was contemplating of having the boys with us this Summer holiday but decided that we will plan our family holiday for Xmas/New Year period instead. I get back just in time to have a party for S1's 13th birthday party (party is a couple days earlier than his actual birthday), which will be a joint one with his friend that will also be back for the holidays (they live in HK). What will be doing for the 13-year olds? Donno yet....hahahahah

I know my post is a bit mixed-up...but I think my brain is kinda mixed-up. I had a dream two days ago....that I lost S1 in the city of Moscow. Somehow he was found and brought to me by a Muscovite Police. I could really feel the relief in my heart when I hugged S1. Gila or not? I supposed the compartments in my brain that stores information about my trip to Moscow and missing SY just got criss-crossed.

Okay...later. Got to go scrapbooking now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekis Horribilis

The Queen of England has Annus Horribilis, I am having a Weekis Horribilis…if there is ever such a term....

This is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong post.

First Day of the week - Sunday. Though it wasn’t a school day, we were in school for the annual school fair. I had volunteered to help out in the Hair Art Stall in the morning. And since H was going to be coming as well, I had made an appointment with S2’s teacher for a short discussion regarding S2. You see…I had received complaint emails from his teacher regarding his disruptive behaviour in class blah blah blah. At the short discussion, it was more of the teacher talking with H interjecting with a few questions. I just listened. I was quite bothered and worried but the Hair Art Stall did get quite busy and thus didn’t have the time to ponder. And later on (after duty ends), I was perched on a chair on the school lawn sipping champagnes at 11 am (eh…all for charity!!).
What worries???

Monday was kinda normal. Woke boys up, told S1 to have a great time at Pancawati (Whole year group departs in the morning for their 4 day/3 nite Residential Trip. Scheduled to return on Thursday afternoon), and then went back to bed. Was halfway on the road to my Monday Art Class when my friend called to say that our Art Teacher couldn’t make it, but I could still paint at her place. I was kinda lazy so decided to go home instead…to bum around, surf the internet, eat my roti canai with curry chicken etc etc…. Later in the evening, met with 8 other moms to watch Sex and the City 2 at the Premiere Class. Was kinda nice…to be served your Martinis and Nachos inside the cinema. Yeah. Yeah. I know the girls in SATC drink Cosmopolitans… but I felt like a Malibu Martini which they made with Passion Fruit.
How was the movie?
Entertaining chic flick…but felt the first movie was better. If it weren’t for Samantha, I think the movie would be kinda flat. Don’t you think?

Tuesday started off well…. Went to my scrapbooking group….did some pages and then started chatting. And the topic of S2 came up. The year-end report is coming up and as we might be moving end of this year, this particular report could be the FIRST one that the new school looks at. He may be cheeky and boisterous but certainly does not have any behavioural problems. Certainly do not want them to get the wrong impression about my S2! And recently had an encounter with a lady in a restaurant, whom I started talking to whilst waiting for our respective tables. Her 6-year old son was turned down for a place at the American school because of “behavioural issues”. So you can imagine me panicking over S2’s report. I immediately emailed his teacher to tell her that I was coming to see her right after school.

As I was l leaving my house, I checked my email and saw that his teacher had replied and it was a looooooong email….my S2 was a little depressed in class, and even cried in the morning. Adoi! Met with S2’s teacher for about ½ hour and had a pretty good discussion. She had decided to give S2 (and another boy) additional project work outside of class. She felt that the two boys (these two errr…..Nerds are really happy and excited when doing challenging Maths) were getting bored in class with the ‘regular’ and mundane end-of-year stuff. Reason that he cried was that he was abit surprised with his reading and comprehension test results, which were just average. His teacher said “because he is really good in Math, he expects everything else to be the same”. Oh Well…you cannot be good in EVERYTHING.
Anyway, she assured me that the report will not be worded in a negative way, but it will be a target for S2 to be less “silly” (don’t know how she is gonna word that in a proper sentence. Basically, he’s a smart boy BUT it’s his silly-ness that is the problem).

Tuesday stress is NO WAY over.

Since I was in school, I went to the Medical Room to pick up the boys’ test results. Well, you see….the school requires the students to have up-to-date health information and have provided the Mantoux test (Test for TB exposure) at school.
And what do you know????
Both the boys’ results were POSITIVE. I informed the nurse that false positives are quite common for BCG-vaccinated people, but she went on to say that the induration is big…blah blah blah. There were recommendations for Chest X-Ray, Blood Testing for ESR and consultations to a Paediatric pulmonologist. I tell you ……I almost PENGSAN!!!
Not only that...I received an email from ANZA (where I do my scrapbooking) indicating the staff that serves our coffee/tea/sandwiches etc is positive for ACTIVE TB.
Can you imagine my fear?
I was gonna take S2 to his Mandarin Class from school, BUT with these results…… I told my driver to step on it…for the CLINIC, of course!!

Chest X-Ray, Blood Test, Paediatrician…the works. Four nurses were in attendance to take S2’s blood sample because before the procedure is even started, he cried liow. ADUH! Whilst waiting….I was contemplating of dragging S1 to the clinic the moment he returns from his Residential Trip on Thursday. I just want to get all this out-of-the-way!!!!! The X-Ray film and usual blood count results were made available pretty quick …..the Paediatrician had a look, indicated lungs are pretty clear, blood results were consistent with his conditions (allergic reactions etc) but he still required the ESR result and confirmation from the radiologist. Later, after dinner I picked up the full blood report– one hand holding the report, the other with my iPhone to check through medical websites. ESR is NORMAL….which is good! Though I didn’t get the full results, at least my fears for TB is somewhat allayed.

A bit jumping the gun here….BUT… The next day, the paed called to provide with the full results. ESR and X-Ray ALL NORMAL. Phewwwww...

Wait. Wait. Tuesday is NOT over yet. Remember my S1’s Residential Trip? It went horribly horribly wrong. Read here…..and here for the lengthy posts.

Thursday - Somewhat 'normal'. S1 was home from school....and I dragged him to the CLINIC to have the necessary tests done + to get the latest flu shots. I did the tests too....and since blood was already drawn, I tested for my cholestrol and sugar levels. TB results are negative. Phewwwwwww...
But my cholestrol levels are a little on the high side. How high? Donno...as I haven't picked up the full report. The doc called with the results...told me to CONTROL my diet.
Now, H is giving a hard time at EVERY meal. BLeah.....

People and Nature are giving me a hard week. Technology got jealous and wanted-in to contribute to my misery. Have I gone bonkers or what?? What the heck am I talking about?
My Internet lah. It’s been on-off-on-off for the last two days. Frustrating man! I am actually typing this on MS WORD…so that I can cut-and-paste to my blog when there IS connection.

And now…my S2 is ill. Coughing, wheezing and having a fever. His blood work from Tuesday was good. Maybe he picked up some germs at the clinic then. Probably have to keep him from school tomorrow.
Aiyaaaaa…What lah?
It’s Sunday already.
And should already OUT of this Weekis Horribilis!!!

Tomorrow will definitely be a NEW week.

S1 is Coping Well....

Continuation from here.

As I mentioned, I was keen to speak to the counsellors to seek some advice on S1.
H and I arrived at school at about 1.20 PM. There were a few counsellors on-duty and I managed to speak to an external counsellor – a psychologist. She indicated that Every individual will deal with the traumatic incidents differently. Some will totally shutdown, some will cry incessantly, some will be angry, and some will be talking about it incessantly. She said that S1 is still in the Shock Phase but assured me that S1 is behaving normally. The fact that S1 could draw me maps and talk about the incident, he is processing the factual part of the incident. He has not shutdown. He just hasn’t dealt with the emotional part yet….and she said “it will come”. I will have to look out for signs and symptoms (which she gave few examples) of post-traumatic stress.
What do I need to do?
Emphatise. Listen. And if required, seek external help.

While I was halfway talking to her, S1 walked past, gave me a hug and said “I am going to attend one session of counselling each day….so I can miss at least one class every day…hahahha”. The counsellor said to me that this was a good excuse for him to get the counselling he needs! I agree. I am sure he will have flashbacks, nightmares etc. Eventhough I wasn’t there, I woke up Saturday morning by a dream – I was running away from flood waters in a forest. Adoiiiiiiiiii…

There was another term that she brought up – Survivor Guilt. Which is also NORMAL. We all think about it, but don’t dare verbalize it. But my friend did… she said “we all feel sorry and sad for the parents but can’t help saying ‘thank God my child is safe’. And you feel guilty for saying that”.

I spoke to her for quite a while, and then she 'summoned' H over. Though he went to school with me, he sat at a table on the other side of the foyer. She 'interviewed' him and asked him what was his feelings blah blah blah. I supposed she wants to ensure that the parents of the kids are also handling the situation well.

As normalcy is good for the kids….the parents of S1’s friend went ahead with the scheduled paintball birthday party on Saturday. As half the kids at the party were on the trek, the chaperons (the dad and an ex-Marine friend) were told to be vigilant on the kids’ behaviour. My S1 must have had so much fun that he had a sleepover at his friend's house.

Still no news of Sei Young. From the last published update from Jakarta Globe - at least 1000 people are searching for her. I was at school for more than 5 hours yesterday to help fold ‘Missing Person’ flyers into origami cranes (In Korea, cranes signify Longevity). One of the parents owns a light aircraft and has volunteered to scatter the flyers over hard-to-reach areas around the Pancawati area. The flight was scheduled for early Sunday morning. Hopefully, she has been saved by remote villagers, that will see the flyers. If I am not mistaken, a fund is being set up for Pak Ade's family.

Meanwhile, the school is starting to debrief all the kids that were in the forest at that time...and S1's turn will be tomorrow morning. When I told him the time for his debriefing, his remark was "ahhh..good. Math at that time!".
Teenagers!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Every Parent's Nightmare

I am so very thankful that my S1 is safe.

It all started as a fun-filled educational trip for Year 8 students. The kids departed early Monday morning and was scheduled to return to school on Thursday afternoon. And then tragedy struck...
Read the details as reported in the Jakarta Globe:
Today's update 11 June 2010 .
Older news - 10 June 2010
- 9 June 2010 AM 9 June 2010 PM (but these proved to be incorrect)

I do have S1's account of the incident, but will not elaborate here at this moment.
There are parents who question the big WHY? and waiting to point fingers. But certainly this is not the time. Search-n-rescue parties are still searching for her. I do pray that she is safe and will return home soon.

I myself are having problems dealing with the tragedy, thus am worried for S1. He seems okay. Normal. He can talk about it but somehow is not really expressing his feelings, which I am sure there will be - fear, sadness, insecurity??? I am worried that he is keeping it all in. He's refusing the counselling that the school is providing. I supposed he thinks counselling is 'girly' or that counselling is for the mentally-unstable. So being a mommy, I wrote to the school and requested a group counselling for the kids that were in this trek. At least, when he sees others opening up, he might. He has gone to school this morning - the school felt that some normalcy will be better for the kids to cope. Plus there will be counselling. I will be going in later ...to speak to the counsellers for some advice.

I didn't know how serious it was until I picked S1 up from school on Wednesday morning. I received a call at 9.00 PM Tuesday on my home phone. And NOBODY ever calls me on my home phone except the carpet man. Yes. Carpet Man trying to sell me carpets. Anyway, so I was a bit cheesed off when the phone rang....thinking stupid Carpet Man calling at 9.00 PM at night so answered with a really gruff HELLO. Then the angmoh voice on the other side asked "Is that Mrs. NomadicMom?"...my heart was like going bit-bop-bit-bop already. Then she asked if I had spoken to S1 earlier (a lot of kids brought their mobile phones with them, and had called their parents to report on their safety...but donno why my S1 deliberate left his mobile phone at home! Plus...he had forgotten my number!!!) which I hadn't. My immediate question was if he was alright. GOD! I tell you...... My heart almost stopped. She assured me that he is SAFE and will be coming back to school the next day (Wednesday), instead of the scheduled Thursday. She went on to tell me that he was part of the group that went trekking in the forest, and due to a flash flood blah blah (can't remember her exact words)....managed to get out, but a student and a guide is still missing. Before I put down the phone, I had to hear her say again that S1 is SAFE. I was soooooooooo relieved that my son is okay but kept thinking of the missing student and guide. I thought they were just lost in the forest, and since the trained-n-experienced guide is with the missing student, things will be fine. I had no idea that they were swept-off by the strong currents until the following day.

The buses were due to arrive at 10 AM, but I arrived at school just before 9 AM....and there was an update on the guide - they found his body. Gosh. I just couldn't help it and started crying. It was just too much. The students had a quick briefing before they were collected by the parents. It was a real sigh of relief when I saw S1. I asked if he was okay....which he answered Yes, but he doesn't want to talk about it. But as we were waiting for our car, he saw his friend...and they started talking. Only then I knew what the kids had gone through....and the severity of it all. I will post S1's account once things are more settled, and after the school has issued official inquiry....don't want the press to simply pick up things and write all sorts. So...later then.

My Deepest Condolences to Pak Ade's family. May he rest in peace.

Please pray that Sei Young will be found safe and sound.

Friday, June 04, 2010

I am baaaacccccck....

Came back late Tuesday evening....to be stuck in the office rush hour.Supposed to go out dinner with H and the boys, but ended up with a KFC delivery instead. By the time I got home, boys already ate and was somewhat ready for bed. Oh well....Jakarta Traffic!!!

I was dying for a massage on Wednesday, but then my menses came (4 weeks after D&C) so had to put my pampering on-hold. BUMMER! And not only that, I had to go grocery shopping to fill up my empty fridge PLUS I had a last minute change to a cupcake order - supposed to be on Thursday, but suddenly changed to Wednesday...so had to rush out the 26 cupcakes in the evening. And then had to rush to make those homemade burgers for dinner. Luckily have a helper to clean up the mess.....

And then Thursday was another packed day..... had a Parent-Teacher conference for S1 at school in the morning. And after that, rushed over to the poolside and managed to catch S2's participation in the Swimming Gala. Managed to see him get 2nd place in the Breaststroke event. S1 and I had a mommy/son lunch at DinTaiFung, and by then...I was absolutely pooped. Couldn't get myself to accompany the boys to their Chinese Class nor to the gym. Stayed home instead... and then met up with H and a couple of friends (who just flew in from KUL) for dinner and drinks. By the time I got to bed was midnight.

Today? Accompanied the friend to the mall from, got back at almost 4 pm, updated my blog whilst waiting for boys to come home so that we can head out to pick H up for dinner. H was rather insistent to bring the boys to the new Paulaner Brahaus for dinner....as boys absolutely LURVE german bratwurst.

Okay lah...time to head out to the madness of Friday traffic. Later...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Achy Joints

Funny how our conversation topics changes as we grow older.... Ten years ago, the topics centre around potty-training, playdates and paediatrician. Nowadays....its more like anti-aging creams, menopause and chiropractors! Sad to say, but I have a few friends that are currently suffering from severe joint pain. Advised them to undergo acupuncture treatments as well as to take some joint supplements. Hopefully that will alleviate their pains.