Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Hobbit

Aaron is constantly trying to get down on the floor to 'walk'. With me holding his arms of course. So, yesterday, I decided to quickly dash out to get him a pair of shoes so that he can walk all over Changi if he felt like it.

I imagined a pair of those cute and soft baby shoes that I've often walked past. I headed straight for them but they were all too small! His feet are starting to remind me of the Hobbits. How did Aaron completely miss out on wearing those cute shoes? I eventually found this pair of more 'grown up' looking shoes that looked much cuter anyway. Reminds me of Michael Schumacher's red Pumas.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I need to get Fechr-ed

While I may tell myself that I don't care if my blogs traffic remains as minuscule as it is or that it doesn't matter that my PR is still zero, IT BUGS ME. I constantly read up on SEO techniques and try to visit as many blogs as I can to see how they do things. Content is definitely a big point but sometimes I come across blogs that have excellent PR with content that is just so-so.

Perhaps what I need is to Get Featured! at Fechr.com. This is a site that will feature a certain website for a full 24hrs. This should not only boost traffic on that day but maybe expose my blog to some other readers who may find it interesting. I'd better hurry and submit my URL.

What shall I wear?

Previously it was just a matter of what would look good and what was comfortable. Now, on top of that, I have to think about what will be convenient and safe. Convenient to feed Aaron discreetly in public. Safe from his constantly itchy fingers AND teeth. He just fidgets with all my clothes and if there is anything hanging off them, he tried to take a bite!

Non breastfeeders often think that a button down blouse is the easiest. I really haven't found that to be the case at all. If you undo the buttons from the bottom....you need to undo 4 out of 6 to get enough access. If you undo from the top, you're completely exposed, especially when the baby opens the shirt up more than is required. And have you tried doing up buttons while holding a baby?

So then, why not throw something over your shoulder? Like a scarf? That works when the baby is younger than 4 or 5 months. After that, he needs a view with his meal!

So what will it be? T-shirts or blouses that aren't too fitting normally work well. They can't be too long because its hard to yank up all that shirt and keep it off the baby's face. I also like those nursing tank tops that unclip at each shoulder strap.

For tomorrow, I'll be using a combination of the T-shirt and the nursing tank top. Its cold on those night flights and I don't want to be exposing my abdomen so this will be the perfect combination. Lift the short shirt up, undo the top of the tank and I'll have full access with complete coverage!

Did you really want to know all that? Perhaps not...but its the type of thing that I spend ages thinking about.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

7 years and 1 baby later

His gift to me: 91 words.

My gift to him: Pictures worth THOUSANDS of words.

But seriously, there isn't any gift that he could have purchased that would have meant more to me anyway.

What does it take to embarras you?

We're all self conscious to a certain extent. Most of us are fairly easily embarrassed too. However, once you've been pregnant and endured multiple visits to the gynae and finally popped the baby out with the whole 'world' watching....it takes much less to make you embarrassed. So here's an example of how I didn't feel anything when normally I would probably have squirmed.

A standard conversation with an Indonesian mother goes like this:
Indo Mom with baby on hip: "How many months?"
Me with Aaron hanging upside down: "11, nearly 12."
Indo Mom with baby still on hip: "How heavy?"
Me with Aaron over one shoulder: "About 10kgs."
Indo Mom with baby STILL on same hip: "What formula do you have him on?"
Me with Aaron in a Superman pose: "Oh, my own milk."

Then this morning....one Indo Mom went further:
Indo Mom: "Really? How much milk do you have?"
Me with Aaron finally on hip but touching his toes: "Enough"
Indo Mom now leans over, sort of pokes at my upper chest and says: "Not very big"

She meant no harm though...and people here don't know what personal space is so....

Foot Reflexology for USD4.40

Richard ended up working a full day today but it didn't stop me from proceeding with what we had planned; Foot Reflexology. I had expected the place to be deserted, as it was last week when we went for our Neck/Shoulder massages, but it was FULL. I took the last recliner. You get these extremely comfortable 'leather' recliners to lounge on while they work on your feet.

I wouldn't say that the 60mins were 'relaxing' since the purpose of reflexology is for general health and involved kneading my skinny toes repeatedly with toughened knuckles. While I asked for a gentle session, the two middle aged men next to me were wincing in pain. Supposedly, it will hurt when they knead the part of your foot corresponding to whatever part of your body with a problem. I only felt some slight discomfort on the forth toes so either my face or my sinuses have some secret issues that I don't know about.

All in all, it was a good experience but I preferred the Neck/Shoulder massages that we got last week.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Didn't your Mama teach you? Part II

I think the list here should cover most of what needs to be taught to Aaron at this moment. The little guy will only be 1 next week! But, its never too young to start. Just think about how much cuter the well mannered toddlers are.

11) I missed a really important one in my previous list! Always use 'Please' and 'Thank You' without exception.

12) Use both hands when receiving (gifts, drinks, business cards etc). Except when its just being passed (eg the salt).

13) Use both hands when giving. Once again, the exception is when you are just passing something along.

14) When deciding on a gift, put thought into it and give something that the other person will enjoy. It shows you care.

15) When faced with the choice of two items and you are with another person, always offer the 'better' item to the other person.

16) Stand up when you're talking to somebody. Firstly, it shows respect for the other person. Secondly, it hurts your own neck to look up at that awkward angle. This one scored me a lot of points with the nuns at school.

17) When interacting in a group, use the language that everybody understands. No talking to one or more other people in something that the others don't understand. Also, no whispering.

18) No pointing. Its going to be tough if Aaron doesn't grow out of his current 'Magic Finger Point'. Its like his steering wheel. Imagine carrying him or pushing him along with that little finger always sticking out and dictating direction. I don't want that to morph into pointing at people.

19) No name calling. Definitely. Children will obviously be descriptive so it is important to teach them not to hurt others with their description. This one ties with not saying anything if you don't have anything good to say. I'll have to start watching what I say at home. I have a tendency to be 'descriptive' and I wouldn't want Aaron repeating when we're out.

20) I think this next one is usually only taught in the west. Opening doors, offering seats, allowing other people to walk first. I never notice it much in Malaysia. Its something that I would like to teach Aaron.

Thats about it for the 1 yr old's Manners List. Obviously, this would be a living document in my mind....

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm so excited about.....

Changi Airport! I love it there. 6 hours transit time...NO PROBLEM. Just yesterday I was asked if I was excited about my trip to Brisbane. And I had answered 'Not really'. I've definitely been looking forward to it but there hasn't been any sort of excitement. Until today. Now I can't wait to be in the airports, on the planes, checking-in, scanning my hand luggage, checking that my passport is still with me, waiting for my baggage. I love the actual travel in travelling.

Changi Airport is definitely my favorite. Its a like a mall. Its always bustling (35 MILLION people through there last year!) therefore excellent for people watching. 'Street' Entertainment. Big TVs in cute little sections. Napping oasis! Plenty of restrooms and water fountains. Free internet. Movies. Koi Ponds. Orchid gardens. Plenty to keep me occupied.

Back the the solo days, I could do whatever I liked with my 6 hours. Now with Aaron in two, I'll be checking out if they are baby friendly. Will the airport meet his expectations?

More on the Chinaman Company

Yes, Richard works for a Chinaman Company and we knowingly made the decision for him to switch over. This doesn’t stop me from having it as my pet peeve. Here are a few more reasons why:

The one that ticked me off today:
- Richard will need to work a full day this Saturday because his boss is visiting and is a micro manager who feels that his presence in the factory will increase productivity. Therefore...all other managers have to do the same. Its the whole 'keep them on their toes' mentality. If he expects Richard to go in on Sunday (our anniversary) I will personally go and accompany them on the plant floor to boost productivity even MORE!

Other reasons why they tick me off regularly:
- They work five and a half days each week.
- At Plant 1, the 4 hrs on Saturday morning is required so that there is somebody to answer the phone just in case a customer rings. Customers are either sleeping in or will understand that its SATURDAY.
- At Plant 2, the half day is 1 hr longer than at Plant 1. Just because.
- They have an internet connection but the main purpose is for the big bosses overseas to monitor remote plants via CCTVs. No plans to go paperless in the next 100 yrs. Managers are required to put ink on paper to approve anything. Waste of time!
- Re-imbursements may be delayed by up to a month if the approving manager forgets to put the ink on paper before leaving. Monthly wages also need the ink. Never mind that we are given an allowance here that lasts exactly a month ONLY! The rest of the wages are banked into the Malaysian account.
- To avoid paying an employee his expat wages/allowances, the company requests that he goes on ‘assimilation trips’ once a month for several weeks per trip.

Anyway...I'm fuming. This weekend is our last together before I leave for Brisbane and we had things planned!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Overloaded Cargo

Not a very good photo because I took it in a rush from the car. But, you can still see the man in front pulling that HUMONGOUS load and the one at the back trying to help out by pushing. They do this because the normal truck (with a motor) delivers goods to a distributor's outlet and then the goods get distributed to 'nearby' shops this way so they don't spend the extra cash on another truck or have the original truck do multiple deliveries. Humans are much cheaper than fuel I suppose.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Didn’t your Mama teach you? Part I

A baby is a clean slate. I am determined to engrave good manners on Aaron’s slate; both the Chinese and Western variety. THIS, I have expectations...not hopes. The list is long but here are the few that come to mind based on what my own parents use to nag about.

1) Always greet people when you meet them. Address them by their titles if they are relatives, ‘Aunty or Uncle’ if they are Asian and ‘Mr/Mrs/Ms So-and-so’ if they are Caucasian.

2) Look at the person speaking.

3) If you need to interrupt, do so politely by saying ‘Excuse me’.

4) When leaving, say ‘Goodbye’ or something else appropriate.

5) Invite your elders to start the meal. This is a Chinese thing where each person older than you is invited to ‘Eat’ but I don’t really think I’ll enforce naming each and every person on the table. Maybe just to the eldest one or two people around. Usually it’s the mother and father.

6) Let all your elders start the meal before you.

7) For Chinese meals where the dishes are shared, don’t pick around for your favorite pieces. And don’t take the last piece without asking first.

8) No talking with your mouth full or stuffing your mouth so full you can’t chew with it closed.

9) No reading, iPods or other gadgets during meal times.

10) Wait until everyone has finished the meal before leaving the table. Obviously helping with the dishes is a must even in other people’s homes.

WOW! This is turning out to be a long list. Don’t want the post to get too long so I’ll have to make this Part I. Stay tuned!

Great Expectations

A baby is just a baby. For the first year, they can't feed themselves, go to the bathroom on their own, walk or talk. Yet, we start, even unconsciously, having expectations of them. Maybe 'expectation' is a bit of a heavy word to put on a baby....its more like 'hope'.

If they react to music - "Maybe he'll be a musician"
Climb the gate - "Future x-games contestant"
Fake crying, including tears - "Getting ready for the 100th Academy Awards"
Spend ages looking at the best dressed list - "Fashion Designer!"

What I noticed is that we don't usually mention the less glamorous professions. While I try really hard not to have expectations, I know they are inevitable. What I do to balance this out is to make whatever expectations I have as broad as possible so that I don't confine Aaron into any particularly narrow future.

Loves door handles and locks - "Definitely a locksmith in the making"
Really likes to turn the tap on - "Bob the plumber?"
Hunts down ants and eats them - "Ant eater" OK, So this one is not a profession.

Having said all that, all I really want Aaron to be right now is my precious baby. He's already moving into toddler-hood....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pickups overloaded with people

This is a very common scene in Palembang. These pickup trucks are often over loaded with goods, people and sometimes goods AND people. Even if they aren't overloaded, I've seen families go out and put their kids in the back. No such thing as a child being in a car seat over here. They can't understand why I restrain Aaron that way and let him cry all the way to our destination.

Luckily, the traffic is usually too heavy for anybody to go faster than about 50km/h but that doesn't mean its safe.

I have CLEAN water

Finally, we can wash the dishes. Mop the floor. Have a shower at home. Wash our hands.
We ordered a truck of water yesterday as I'm sure it will take several days for the water in the pipes to be clean again.

We're basically waiting for everybody else to use up the dirty water and get the muck out of the pipes. I think the neighbors just wait for all the dirt particles to settle and then use the 'clean' water on top. But...that doesn't mean its CLEAN!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I am eMama

Aaron spent the whole weekend calling me 'eMmmmm'. Then, this morning, I heard a few 'eMmmmaaa'. And finally, while he was screaming to be let out of his car seat, he said it. 'eMAMA'. It was incredible to hear it even though its probably out of sheer desperation and frustration that he spat it out.

He's suddenly growing up so much. Look at him here reading a magazine. This magazine keeps him occupied for longer than any other toy or book he has.

2 Traditional Massages and a Facial for US15.70

I may have had a weekend of muddy water but I made good use of that excuse to get some pampering in over the weekend.

On Saturday, Richard and I went for a 30 min head/neck/shoulder massage. It cost just IDR25,000 (USD 2.50) each. This is the best thing about living over here in Indonesia. Its so affordable to go out and get a good massage, manicure, hair spa, all sorts of things to pamper you for when things like muddy water come to ruin your day.

On Sunday, I had mentioned that we needed to go to Novotel for our showers. Well, I took a slight detour to the Spa in the hotel. This was a little bit more expensive because I didn't want to go outside where they might use questionable products on my face so I ended up paying IDR120,000 (USD 13.20) for my facial. This came with a full massage beforehand. The facial was an all natural one with things like fruit and oatmeal. Very soothing and refreshing but I'm not sure if it exfoliated enough of the muck off my skin.

So, there is definitely a good side to living here. Its so easy for me to complain about the living conditions and either wish I was back in Malaysia or Australia BUT....there are many positives to life in Palembang. I must remind myself of this more often. Besides, I feel awful complaining all the time when there are millions of people who live here and never get the chance to even leave this city let alone the country.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Mud!

Well....the 'water' is back but its more like mud than water. I wonder how often this happens? In the 5 months that we've been here, its the first time so....maybe its just a one off. We have confirmation that there is some work going on with the pipes somewhere.

We're off to Novotel now for a shower and lunch.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Aaron will not be getting his bath today

We've had a bit of a water crisis these couple of days. To give you the background, most of the houses here in Palembang do not get water straight from the mains. Each house has a water tank somewhere on the premises. We have a 'water room' under the front garden. This is water for washing, showering, flushing the toilet...everything except drinking, brushing teeth and anything to do with Aaron. At noon each day, water will come in and we have to go turn on a tap to fill up the room. And then of course, remember to turn it off or it floods the garden. Stupid system but only hotels and restaurants seem to have 'normal' piped from the mains water.

Two days ago, we noticed that the water in our house was extremely yellow (GROSS!). Guess what we found in the water room? Watery, slushy, MUD! I ended up having my showers at Novotel for the past two days. Aaron has been having Mineral Water Baths!

All the houses in the area seem to be affected. The main pipes distributing the water must have had a leak somewhere and gave us this MUD. So, today we had to get all the water out and clean the room. Got everything done by noon but when we turned on the tap to fill it up....NO WATER! Its 4pm now and still no water! It better be because they are fixing whatever caused the problem in the first place.

After looking at these photos, some of you must be wondering how I live like this. I wonder it myself and when we first moved here, I was grossed out each time I went to the bathroom. But, we've grown used to it now and I don't think about it. Its just like a very long and extended backpacking holiday.

Aaron says eMmm eMmm

I was in the kitchen this morning when I heard Aaron start getting really noisy while playing with Richard. Thats fine...he always gets like that. Then after awhile...I heard 'eMmm eMmm eMmm eMmm' and when I took a peek, Aaron was trying to make his way to where I was. I think he's trying to call 'MaMa' but he has it backwards and with the wrong vowel!

My little baby is calling me!!!!!

People of Palembang

9 out of 10 people I meet here in Palembang are upbeat about life. It doesn't matter that before they speak, their faces are furrowed with lines and they appear to have huge burdens on them. They definitely are poor and do have never ending financial problems but they have a great way of looking at things and accepting their situation. I'm not saying they don't worry, they do. They have problems just enrolling their children in school because of all the costs involved. However, they find pleasure in such simple things in life as a fluffy cat or catching a pigeon for dinner. Yes, my driver did just that (catch a pigeon) yesterday. He's still fattening it up at home I think.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Do you have a Zwinky?

I'm always at a loss as to what photo I should use for various places like this blog, chat forums, discussion groups and whatever else that requires a picture. I'd prefer to just leave it blank but that just looks so unattractive. But when I look through all the possible photos I have....they are not much more attractive anyway. I ended up using a photo of my hands for several places that I'm signed up with.

If you have this same dilemma or would just like to channel a different persona you can try to create a zwinky. These little zwinkies are amazingly cute and you can change their look each day.....treat them as your own 'mini me' online. They come with a huge wardrobe that you can play around with.

Another way to think of them could be as a pet (like the tamaguchis). I'm sure
Zwinky will be your best friend.
There is a whole Zwinky world out there where you can meet and chat with other zwinky friends. Literally! A Zwinky world with a map and buildings and stores.

Whats up with Aaron's sleep?

For the past week, Aaron has been waking up about 4 times a night! Previously, he was waking maybe once or twice each night. I still haven't worked out what the root cause is. From birth, his sleep has been so 'fragile'. Any number of things could be affecting it at the moment.

It could be:
The fact that we stopped sieving his food.
Him eating apples everyday.
Me having coconut milk in my meals recently.
Some sort of developmental milestone on his part.
The A/C thermostat being crazy.

I hope I figure it out soon.

How much vegetables do you drink?

My mother has been getting us to drink our veggies for about 15 years now. This is a much more efficient way of consuming all the nutrients we need each day and to get the most out of your vegetables.

The problem with adopting the motto of Drink My Daily Veggies is that it is time consuming. You need, to wash, juice and then clean up your juicer.

There is a specialty company for daily supplements, Lane Labs, LLC, that has just released a high end daily nutritional supplement. It includes the 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables we need each day. Its not always possible to EAT this amount so drinking it is a good alternative. LLC's supplement will really make it much easier for anyone into healthy living but are always on the go and just didn't have the time to juice. I have experienced the effects of drinking vegetables first hand and its something that I want our family to get into again.

It is scary to hear of all the illnesses that people are getting these days so I am always trying to find ways to boost our antioxidant intake. The health industry is always researching new ways of helping us protect ourselves from disease and this is a product that may help. For a charge of $1 shipping and handling, they are providing one week's worth of their samples. Thats sounds pretty good.

Prized Fighter

I mentioned the cockfights in an earlier post but forgot to post the picture of the fighter. So, here he is. I don't have any good photos of the actual fight but I managed to get close enough for this shot. The animal may look all torn up but he really is loved and well looked after by his owner. The guy was cuddling it and stroking it the whole time. I guess this is his major source of income!

Ladybugs and Lillypads

Moms LOVE shopping for baby clothes. They are the most irresistible things to buy!
The online boutique Ladybugs and Lilypads has this adorable pair of shoes that I'd love to get for Aaron.

They don't just have cute shoes. There is also plenty of other clothes plus bedding, diaper bags and even car seat covers! Its the first time I've come across car seat covers.

My favorite page has to be this one on all their toys. I'm going crazy in this store.

Luckily I have a son. I can't imagine how much I would be spending on cute baby stuff if I had a girl. Somehow....it just seems more justified to make a girl look cute. Boys just look cute naturally with their cheeky faces.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Love Thursday

Finally, I remembered that it was Love Thursday. Well, Jean reminded me. The day that I am supposed to post something on love...any kind of love.

Here is a photo of Aaron and my mother. There is a Chinese saying about loving till the other person is burnt (as in burnt toast). Anyway...she loves him like that and I bet she misses him right now. I think he also loves her. They have this funny head knocking thing going on between the two of them. The bring their heads slowly together to knock on the forehead.

p/s the other person in the top left of the photo is Aaron's great grand mother. He's one lucky little boy. 3 generations of love for him.

Let me down!

Yesterday, we took Aaron to Pasar Buah (the main chinese market) and outside there was a cockfight going on. Needless to say, Aaron was drawn to the crowd and he was literally trying to throw himself on the floor so he could crawl nearer to get a look! Just look at him! He is getting very difficult to carry and I'm not sure if wishing for him to walk will solve my problems. I'll just end up having to run after him instead of wrestle him on the spot. My mother is one strong grandmother to be able to keep up with him.

Get lost in the Blogosphere

When I first started carrying my camera around EVERYWHERE, my driver just looked but didn't say anything. Eventually, he asked why I was taking photos of the dentist, markets, beggars or the open burning. I said that I wanted them for my blog and for the first time, I had to explain what a blog was to another person. Since, then, he's been fascinated with my desire to tell the 'whole world' about Palembang. He started off pointing out 'tourist attractions' to me but eventually realized that I wanted his everyday life instead.

Of course, I also did explain to him that there are blogs on every topic imaginable. And that its a good place to get opinions on topics that you may not know so much about. A Blog is as versatile as your imagination. GimmietheScoop is an example of a new blog that will discuss topics as diverse as real estate and health. It is just starting out at the moment but keep an eye on it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Market on Wheels

Each morning, several ladies push their vegetable carts through the neighborhood yelling out 'Sayur' meaning 'Vegetables'. They tend to be more expensive but are extremely handy for emergencies. The vegetables are usually as fresh as you'd find them in the actual market but of course, there isn't as much variety on the little cart.

I had a short chat with this lady and found out that she is 45 years old and already has THREE grandchildren. People really start their lives early over here.....

Pugs or Boston Terriers

I wanted a puppy the whole time we were kids. However, my parents wouldn't let us have any and the only time we came close to convincing them was when we found Cheesecake in the market and brought him home for a few days. Cheesecake ended up being the guard dog at the Guava Farm my father was playing around with at that time.

Well, I have my own family now and I have been thinking about puppies again. The only 2 things holding me back is Aaron being too young right now and also the fact that we'll only be here in Palembang for two years. Wait, there is another reason...Richard isn't so hot on the idea but I'm working on him.

I already have in my mind that I want a short and stout little puppy. Something like a Pug or Boston Terrier. I fell in love with Pugs when I saw a puppy Pug at some Sunday market. As for the terrier , I always thought they were a fierce breed but it seems that they aren't. This Boston Terriers Dog Guide Article really made me laugh with its description of the breed "...strong willed and stubborn. They are also loving, intelligent, and great companions". That sounds exactly like Aaron!

*This is a sponsored post*

A Random Meme

Denise from Flamingo House Happenings tagged me for the very interesting meme to list 8 random things. I've been staring at this empty post for sometime now because it has made me wonder what really is random. The thoughts forming in my mind for the 8 are more like the first 8 things that come to mind......are those random?

1) I probably have about 8 mosquito bites on me right now. I woke up about 25 mins ago and there were no itches but after sitting here at my desk, perfectly still, I think some of them from underneath have got me. I'll have to zap them when I finish this meme.

2) My mother is going to go back to Malaysia tomorrow. Things will be lonely again around here but there is only a week and a half before I'll meet her again in Changi Airport for our trip to Brisbane.

3) I have been wondering if Aaron 'loves' me and yesterday when I was cuddling two of his soft toys, Dexter and Peter Rabbit, he came over asking to be included. So I guess he does :)

4) I'm hoping that both Aaron and I will gain a little weight when we go to Brisbane. The combination of the cool weather and more variety in food may help us.

5) Before going to bed each night, I wait for the US markets to open to check on how my options are performing. This helps me sleep better. The first thing I do in the morning is to check on them again.

6) I am planning to put taps on the bottom on Aaron's shoes once he starts walking.

7) When going on holidays, I don't like to travel with people other than my family. I do like holidays that include my whole family (ie my parents and my brother/SIL).

8) I love eating sausage rolls. The best ones I have had come from a shop in Toowong Village Shopping Center, Brisbane, Australia.

WOW! That took me ages! But this meme was fun. I'm tagging Jean.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Win $2500 at Ashwin's Blog Extravaganza

I'm only just starting to realize the power of competitions on blogs. Never noticed them until I started digging into how I could increase my own blog traffic. Anyway, here is one INCREDIBLE competition. The price is $2500 deposited into your Paypal account and all you need to do is include the following text in one of your posts:

Over at Ashwin’s blog, you will find one crazy blog owner!! You can win $2500!! To enter just copy this text and paste it in your blog!! But hurry, this competition will not last long! So get posting!

The competition will run till August 20. Like other bloggers, I'm wondering how he will pick the winner.......

I want to be like you!

I think that Aaron is starting to want to be like us. He has started insisting on using a big spoon for his meals instead of the cute plastic baby ones. He also tries to feed himself and can do it quite well, even with the big spoon. Drinking from a cup is another thing that he's trying out but the water just ends up on his shirt or on the floor at the moment. I don't mind.

The funniest one we've come across is brushing teeth. He already has 6 teeth (8 any day now) and we wanted to introduce the idea to him early so we bought a little tooth brush and a few days ago, I brushed his teeth, while he watched Richard brushing his own teeth. Who knew that he would ask to brush his teeth ALL DAY LONG! Each time we go near the tooth brushes...he reaches out to grab one. As I brush his teeth, he will imitate whatever Richard does with his mouth!

The ongoing journey to being a WAHM

For now, its my trading thats earning me the most money. When I think about it, this surely is the best avenue for me to generate an income because if done correctly, the gains are good! However, I keep getting the urge to do more, especially since there is so much talk about the surging market being a bubble waiting to burst.

I've mentioned it in earlier posts that I'm on the look out for business opportunities but they are all still in the 'in my head' phase. While trawling the internet, I came across this website with business card templates. There is a good selection of backgrounds to pick from depending on your business; dentistry, education, fitness, piercing....you name it! Apart from the glossy and digital variety, they also have magnetic and folded business card templates. You can make all the selections online and customize them to your particular needs. The website also has a small business buzz blog that I found very informative. I found this website to be a really well thought out one that was easy to use with many useful links.

Anyway...I went off at a tangent about that website but I will eventually need business cards. Right? Its time for me to go to the markets....stock markets.

6.30 am on Sundays - San Fredas Church

I may not be able to understand most of the Mass but we still make the effort to go for the 6.30am Mass every Sunday. Although early in the morning, the church is usually full and the congregation is enthusiastic in their prayers and singing. Very different from 6.30am Mass in Ipoh. The 8.30am mass is even MORE crowded and upbeat but at the moment, the timing isn't right for Aaron.

This is a photo I took after Mass on Sunday.

This one is of the parish band they had outside to raise money for the church. The two kids singing were just plucked randomly as they walked by but were sporting enough to sing something. You can see Aaron on the left ... he was actually trying to 'conduct' them.

A Bionic Fish Finder or a Chia Pet?

As a child, I enjoyed following my father and brother on their fishing expedition. I still fish with my brother when I visit him. These days, we use fishing rods instead of the hand reels we had as children. He's even talking about getting a Bionic Fish Finder. Although...I find that it kinda takes the fun of the suspense. His birthday is coming up in November so I'm looking into getting him one.

I was browsing here for a fish finder that I could get online and came across this really interesting 'pet'. Its called a Chia Pet. Its basically a terracotta pot that will sprout hair (grass) so you can keep trimming it. They're really much cuter than the Bionic Fish Finder and come in all sorts of cartoon characters.

Monday, July 16, 2007

How did you imagine life with a baby?

Aaron is 341 days old. In just 24 days, he'll be 365 days. WOW! I can't believe it.

Anyway, I was just thinking today how life with Aaron is so different from what I envisioned. Two items in particular spring to mind because I had put so much thought into them before Aaron was born. The first is a Moses basket and the second his pram.

I bought the Moses basket for Aaron because I thought that I could just put him next to my desk so that I could watch him while continuing with my online trading. He would sleep peacefully while I traded the market. UPDATE: I only just started actively trading again.

I thought Aaron would also coo quietly in his Moses basket while I continued giving piano lessons. Its just as well we moved to Palembang and there was no chance for me to resume teaching. Aaron would never have let me get through the scales let alone the entire lesson. I do miss my little students though.

I poured over brochures and scoured the internet for a pram that I liked and that I felt was good value - one that would last several years. I settled on a beautiful red Peg Perego Aria. So far, we've had hardly any opportunity to put him in it. We didn't go out much prior to moving to Palembang. And now that we're here, I sling him when we go for our walks around the neighborhood because the roads are just to broken for a pram. When I do go out to the malls, only one of them is suitable for the pram. I have been trying to get him used to it though since I'll have to use it in Brisbane.

So there you go.....life's never how you imagine it :)

Vacations across the globe

Although the northern hemisphere may be in summer time now, its either winter or 'normal season' at the places I'll be at in the next month. No matter, all the buzz on summertime going around has made me start planning ahead for my sunny vacation. While I'll be going to Australia at the end of this month, Richard won't be joining me until mid October, the start of summer over there. We're planning to spend some time at the Gold Coast and will probably end up renting a place in Surfers Paradise. It will be fun to take Aaron down to the beautiful white beaches. I know there is a photo of me playing in the surf from when I was around 12 months old and I'd like to get a similar one of Aaron so we can put them side by side.

We seem to end up at vacation rental places quite often. I know each time we go to the Gold Coast it will be rental apartment. Once, we went up the coast to Noosa and ended up renting the downstairs of somebody's Queenslander for a few days. In Malaysia too, we often rent bungalows in Cameron Highlands. Its a really relaxing way to vacation and with a curious toddler, the rentals usually offer much more space.

Who knows? Maybe I'll be checking out Kauai vacation rentals next. Hawaii is on my list of places to visit someday but that 'someday' has been pushed further away since I'd like to wait till Aaron is a little older before attempting to spend 30 or 40 hours traveling!


A couple of weeks ago, we heard Aaron's first word. At that time, we thought it was 'OPEN' but since then, its become clear that the word is 'UP' (pronounced AA-PHH). He uses it every day to indicate that he wants to leave the room or just go out. Yesterday, he woke up at 4am and very politely tugged at my shirt and said 'UP' in the sweetest voice imaginable. Even at 4am, how could I refuse?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Me and My Kite

RIGHT! After watching all the kids flying the kites ... its MY turn. Our driver, Udi, has been playing around with one for several days now so here I am giving it a go.

Udi managed to raise the kite without leaving the driveway. Notice that we have that funny overhead area for the 2nd gate that breaks up the available area so its really a very small space. Yet, he still managed to do it...alone. So, he sat by the side, yelling instructions at me as to what I should do. PULL, RELEASE, BACK, MOVE.......but it was no use. I still haven't managed to get the kite much higher than shown in the first photo. The second photo is of me playing around with the kite after Udi got it up. The kite is sooooooo high up that its too small to even show up on the photo. I am SURE it was in the frame when I took the picture. Now even the string seems to have disappeared from view. STRANGE.

A garden full of my own vegetables

I'm so excited about our garden these days. It seems that every time we go out there, the plants are noticeably bigger. The ladies fingers are doing the well and we've had them for about 4 or 5 meals. My four angle beans (also known as wing beans) have just started to flower and there are a few tiny ones about. I think we'll be able to harvest them in about two weeks. My lime plant has a small fruit on it but I'm not sure if it will last much longer (looks like its drying up). I also have a papaya tree but there are no signs of any fruit yet....just some buds.

This is a baby ladies finger with the flower still at its tip.

The tiny four angle bean is at the center of the photo. Since I took the photo, the other two flowers have beans too.

My lime.

My papaya buds.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Photos, Contests and Motivation

With so many affordable digital cameras on the market, babies and parents today are extremely lucky to have hundreds or even thousands of photos to capture the memories of childhood. I know that each week I can have anywhere between 5 and 50 photos of Aaron.

Recently, I've noticed the various photography contests that are available. They are usually extremely easy to enter and browsing through the other entries gives me the motivation to take better photos. I literally point and shoot without trying to compose the shots at all but after looking through 'good' photos I'm now trying a little harder. Perhaps one day I can boast about Aaron's photo winning a photo contest.

Here is one of the contests I've entered. Do let me know if you submit any photos so that I can go take a look.

Click Here

Summer in Cameron Highlands

Its summer all year long where I live so we sometimes take breaks from the heat to go somewhere cooler. This is a photo of Aaron and I at a tea plantation in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. I guess this fits in with the Photo Friday - Summer Time Carnival if you think of it as things that people do in summer.

Moms are the best reviewers

After becoming a mom and realizing just how demanding a job this is I find that other moms provide the most honest comments and review of things. There is just not enough time to waste on doing things or buying things that are not worth it (time OR money) so I usually try to read up first before doing anything. Lisa Reviews is a new website started by a mom with honest comments on a wide variety of subjects. Her categories at the moment are Health/Fitness/Beauty, Home Improvement/Construction, Household/Parenting and Music/Movies/VideoGames/TV.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Newspaper Boys

Not all the children here are playing with their kites during the holidays. There is a noticeable increase in the number of kids selling newspapers at intersections. I try to buy the paper whenever we're waiting for the lights but how many can I buy a day? Especially when I can hardly understand the Indonesian headlines.

I feel so sorry for the kids each time I see them. It must be close to 40 degrees standing out there on the intersection. And there are so many of them targeting the same cars that are stopped. It is encouraging to know that when school starts...they are back in the classrooms.

Toddler escourted off Continental Express ??

There was a preview of this story while I was at the gym but I left too early to hear what was going on. Now that I have read it.....I'm starting to worry a little about our first long haul flight to Australia at the end of this month.

Supposedly, the toddler was just very excited about being on the plane and would not stop staying 'Bye Bye, Plane'. And for this, the flight attendant asked the mother to give him some Benadryl! After refusing, they were both escorted off the plane. Thats discrimination against..............chatterboxes!

Aaron is a chatterbox. And, he learnt to recognize the word plane this week...he also looks for them in the sky whenever he hears them flying over.

While I'm a little worried about him being noisy on the flight, I'm more concerned with him getting himself overtired rather than worried about what other people will think of me. A baby is a baby....its nobody's fault that they are sometimes noisy or cry. Just as there will always be some people on planes who snore loudly, laugh out loud at funny movies or have smelly feet yet insist on taking their shoes off....there will be noisy babies on planes.

I've always accepted the babies that I've sat next to and I hope that other people will be as kind to me. After all, I will be the one sharing an economy class seat with a wriggly toddler for close to 7 hours.

7 Super Foods for Babies

We endured all sorts of old fashioned criticisms while we waited out the 6 months before putting Aaron on solids. Once started, we've just had so much fun introducing new foods. Aaron LOVES to eat. Here is a list of some of the main foods we feed Aaron. The ones with asterisks (*) are also mentioned in the Super Baby Food Book by Ruth Yaron.

1) Rolled Oats - We started out pressing this through a sieve but now that he's nearly 1, we just cook it longer and feed it to him whole.

2) Yoghurt* - Plain ones of course. This will help the baby get the fats he/she needs. We mix this in with the rolled oats.

3) Quinoa - This is an unlikely first food for babies but I replaced cereals or rice with this because it is so nutritious. Once again, we started out pressing it through a sieve but now feed it whole. Quinoa is extremely high in protein, calcium and iron.

4) Banana* - Not only is this great for soothing teething gums, it also helps with the babies motor skills when offered as a finger food. They are also extremely nutritious.

4) Sweet Potato* - There is an abundance of this in Palembang so Aaron has them several times a week. It is highly nutritious and rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A).

5) Avocados* - These were also in season when we first arrived here. Avocados provide good unsaturated fatty acids that are needed for brain development.

6) Tofu* - The soft silky variety. No need to mash these, just need to break it up and mix in with the Quinoa.

7) Barley - I just boil these for a couple of hours and then feed it to Aaron a few grains at a time. Its fun for him because they are like little balls that roll around his mouth. Good for when he's having a bad teething day too. Barley is high in fiber.

Other than these, we give Aaron an assortment of vegetables and fruits. So far, we have not started him on meats yet. When we do, I think his first taste will be of frogs. With the Bird Flu in this region, we no longer eat chicken. Pork is hard to come by and beef here is just too tough. So, frog it will be. It sounds gross and initially, I didn't eat it either but its a white meat and extremely low in fat.

add to sk*rt

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I know I am spending too much time online but I can't stop reading about various ways to make money online. Blogvertise is another way that I've come across today.

It is different form other sites that pay you for blogging. Once your blog is approved by the Blogvertise administrator, you'll be added to an assignment queue. When it is your turn, you will then be emailed the tasks or assignments to blog about.

With the task in hand, the post entry will need to mention the website (of course) and also provide at least 3 links to the website in the blog entry. By the way, this entry will need to be permanent and never deleted. The good thing is that it is not necessarily an endorsement of the website's products. It can be just a discussion, mention or just how it relates to the topic of your blog.

As usual, after writing the blog entry, it will need to be submitted back for review and approval. Once approved, payment will be received after 30 days via Paypal.

It sounds good to me and I've already signed up. Just waiting for approval of this blog now.

A One Word Meme

I got this meme from Mama Zen's blog and thought I'd give it a go.

1. Where is your cell phone? Next to me.
2. Relationship? Routine.
3. Your hair? Shapeless.
4. Work? My boss is sleeping.
5. Your sister? None.
6. Your favorite thing? Massages.
7. Your dream last night? Forgotten.
8. Your favorite drink? Coke.
9. Your dream car? 2006 McLarens Mercedes.
10. The room you’re in? Livingroom.
11. Your shoes? Sandals.
12. Your fears? Losing my teeth.
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? A successful hometrader.
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? Family.
15. What are you not good at? Being Patient.
16. Muffin? No thanks!
17. One of your wish list items? Grand Piano.
18. Where you grew up? Intel.
19. Last thing you did? Ate Dinner.
20. What are you wearing? Pajamas.
21. What aren’t you wearing? Watch.
22. Your pet? 19 Fish.
23. Your computer? Laptop.
24. Your life? Revolves around Aaron (for now).
25. Your mood? Relaxed.
26. Missing? Sausage Rolls.
27. What are you thinking about right now? How to get my blog's PR up.
28. Your car? Old Toyota Corolla.
29. Your kitchen? Too small.
30. Your summer? All year long.
31. Your favorite color? Purple.
32. Last time you laughed? Dinner time.
33. Last time you cried? November.
34. School? Nobody in this house goes to school.
35. Love? Is a decision.

This was fun but it was hard to keep the answers to a single word.

Then and Now

Aaron at 15 days.

Aaron today.

Mom Reviews

Here's a great product review blog that is maintained by the same great blogger as Table4Five. There are all sorts of reviews here from paper towels to medication reference books to the HP touchsmart PC. All sorts of things that busy moms need to know about.
I like the title and description of the blog too: 'MomReviews. Reviews of PRODUCTS. Not reviews of Moms'. I wonder if there is a review blog of MOMs out there? A motivating, morale boosting one though....not one that will just make me feel inadequate!

School Holidays in Palembang

All the children are on holidays here for the next month. Over here in Palembang, school holidays mean its Kite Season. The evening sky is polka dotted with kites every day while the streets in the neighbor hood are full of little boys walking around either flying their kites or trying to get one down from the trees. Here is a photo of my neighbors co-operating on a single kite.

The kites they play with are simple ones made of paper and the stem of a coconut leaf. They are extremely flexible and really FLY.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Where will Aaron go camping?

Some of the best memories of my childhood in Malaysia are of camping by the beach in and around Pangkor Island. My parents were avid divers and we used to go out to the sea almost every weekend. Every so often, they would have camping trips and of course we were included. This was before there were any hotels on the island and hardly any tourists. The surrounding islands too were literally 'deserted islands'. I remember the smell of the old fishing boats we used to take to get there. You'd think that I'd remember the smell of fish but its the leaking engine oil stink that I remember. When the boats arrived at the island, we would dive right off the boat to swim ashore. Lunch on the island was ALWAYS Roti Chanai takeaway from the mainland. I don't really remember what the dinners were.....mustn't have been that good.

The days were just filled with doing anything we wanted on that island. We were FREE, completely! My brother and I were the only two children most of the time so there was never any shortage of babysitters to keep an eye on us. They always did this from a distance so we could pretty much pretend we were Robinson Crusoe and Friday.

Night times were especially fun. Only children would think that a hot tent with lumpy ground underneath made the perfect place to sleep. Sometimes it would even leak into our tent but we enjoyed it anyway.

Where can I go to give Aaron the same carefree memories that I have of camping? Pangkor is out of the question now with the many hotels and tourists. I'm not sure that we'll be able to find another uninhabited island to camp on. While Richard and I are also divers, we are not the weekly divers my parents were and we don't have a group of diving buddies. Perhaps I'll take him to Redang Island on the east coast of Malaysia even though it will be hotel/motel instead of camping. At least the beach and reef were still pristine the last time I was there 4 years ago.

Go to the Crazy Hip Blog Mama's carnival page for more camping stories.

Mosquitoes - What are they for?

I constantly smell of citronella and I have a Lemon Grass drink every day. Why? Because this place is FULL of mosquitoes. The lowest number of bites I have received in a day is perhaps 4. Needless to say.... I hate them. Not only are they annoying, they also worry me because it makes us all sitting ducks for Dengue Fever.

So...why do they exist? What are they for? Some say they are here to feed some other life form. If thats it....why can't that life form eat something else?? I've also come across a website that mentioned that a mosquito needs protein from a mammal's blood in order to lay its eggs. Without it, no eggs will be laid. So....the only other purpose a mosquito has in life is to procreate.....and make it difficult for me to blog because I can't sit still. HMPH!

Female Circumcision in Britain

One of the CNN headlines several hours ago was 'Britain battles female circumcision'. Perhaps I am naive but how could this be? I thought this horrible practice only existed in Africa. The first time I had heard of this was in the book, 'Desert Flower'. I read this book by supermodel Waris Dirie several years ago and to be honest, it was extremely disturbing. I can't exactly say I enjoyed the book because it was an account of how the author survived the mutilation and then suffered for much of her life afterwards.

I realize that this is a cultural practice and I don't like commenting on other people's beliefs however, this particular one is out of place in today's world and serves no purpose except maybe to assure some men of their woman's fidelity or perhaps their future wife's loyalty. The perpetrators of this crime claim that the ritual is to curb a woman's sexual desire and maintain her honor. Maintain HER honor! How can mothers who have gone through the ordeal arrange for the same torture for their daughters? I no longer have 'Desert Flower' in my possession to verify this but I think I remember reading that the procedure was carried out by some village woman with a razor while a bunch of other women pinned the girl down.

The article in CNN points out that British police are offering US40,000 for information leading to Britain's first prosecution. So, if you live in Britain and you're reading this post now, please go to the police so that some innocent girl can be spared.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Temper Tantrums

Although the word ‘tantrum’ is used to describe those horrible situations where your baby becomes so difficult you wish you could just leave him/her behind, I don’t like it. Tantrums are just a normal part of a baby’s development. This is what I try to tell myself whenever Aaron throws one at me.

Life here in Palembang is pretty boring sometimes so I really look forward to the times we leave the house. However, if I don't plan these trips well, Aaron makes them so unpleasant that I start wishing for the relative tranquility of staying home. Here are some of the strategies I use to make sure we're all happy.

Timing - I only leave the house after Aaron has had a nap. Also, if he's due for a nap while we're still out, I always find a quiet corner to walk him to sleep. An overtired baby is a tantrum landmine.

Always Ready Diaper Bag - I usually keep Aaron's diaper bag packed and ready to go at all times. No sense adding to the stress by rushing to pack the bag while running out the door.

Feed Feed Feed - A full tummy always minimizes the tantrums. I feed right before leaving, as soon as we arrive at the destination and then every 2 hrs if we're out of the house for several hours. Even a quick 5 minute feed does wonders in filling the baby, quenching thirst and calming a baby.

Car Seat Toys - The biggest tantrum trap for us is the car seat. The strategy that we use is to have some car only toys available. This stash of toys are only available to Aaron if he's strapped into the car seat. And, even these are rotated to minimize the risk of tantrums.

The strategies I have outlined have worked to varying degrees. A baby is just like you or me; sometimes they have good days and other times bad. I keep reminding myself that tantrums are caused by Aaron's inability to express his frustrations in a meaningful way and my job as Mama is to help him through this phase as gently as possible.

Internet Addiction Disorder

I only read this article, Are gadgets, and the Internet, actually addictive? a week after it was published but I can totally relate the the Internet withdrawal. I get that! I was just saying to Richard a couple of weeks ago that I am spending so much time online now because of the internet deprivation I experienced for the past 11 months when Aaron didn't sleep longer than 20-30 mins at a stretch in the day time. I seemed to have accumulated some internet debt and I'm forced to repay it now by spending all my available time online.

Luckily I don't have a Blackberry otherwise I'll have what they're calling Crackberry Addiction too!

SAHM to WAHM with a click of the mouse

Since quitting my 9-5 job, I'm always on the look out for a business opportunity. And, since we've moved to Indonesia, I've been looking even harder as I'm convinced that there must be some products that I can source from here. So far nothing yet, but I've been wondering how to sell/distribute the products (once I find them) and came across this business search engine,
masterseek. It is a global search engine that provides quick and free access to company profiles, contact information and descriptions of products/services from more than 45 million companies in 75 countries. The search can easily be narrowed down to your own country or zoomed out to include the worldwide market to find business partners and sales opportunities.

Now ... back to the job of finding a business opportunity.

Disclosure Policy

Aaron, where is your bellybutton?

It doesn't quite show up in these photos but it was so funny when Aaron kept trying to move his belly upwards to get a better look!


Bloggerwave is another great place to sign up with for getting paid to do what I like to do...BLOG. It works the same way as other paid sites where there are a selection of opportunities to pick from. I'm trying to be selective in what I pick so that it is aligned with the topics on my blog.

I like the Bloggerwave interface with its dark grey background. This is much easier on my eyes when I'm up in the early hours of the morning. I usually start the day off by checking on any available opportunities to blog about. This is at around 5am in the morning after Aaron's morning feed.

Disclosure Policy

Monday, July 9, 2007

10 things to appreciate before baby arrives

Having a baby is a package deal. You get all the cute and cuddly time as well as the screaming tantrums and sleepless nights. While I am comfortable with the parenting choices I have made, I still wish I took the time to appreciate certain aspects of my baby-less life before Aaron arrived. So, to all parents to be:

1) Spend an entire day surfing the internet. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in front of the computer so that you won't waste a single second of it. After the baby arrives, there is no more time for frivolous sites....you just log on, do what you have to do and then jump off again.

2) Spend an entire day watching DVDs! Its been 11 months and I still haven't watched a single DVD uninterrupted.

3) Go out for a really expensive (and of course tasty) meal at a restaurant with good ambiance. After the baby, its either no outside food, take out food or if you're lucky, family friendly restaurants.

4) While at the expensive restaurant, appreciate the calm and quiet meal that you are having. Eat slowly. With a baby, you're probably only going to get a bite in between his/her bites.

5) Don't get frustrated if you find yourself with nothing to do and a little bored. Just sit there and BE BORED.

6) If you're a mom-to-be, glug down a can of softdrink. I miss my COKE! Somehow, what I eat/drink filters through the breast milk and the coloring/additives/preservatives would just give Aaron (and me!) a sleepless night.

7) If you're a dad-to-be, take the time to talk to the mom-to-be. After the baby arrives, all you may hear is 'SHUSH, the baby is sleeping'

8) Relax frequently with long showers or baths. I find that showers post Aaron are usually a rushed 2 mins. Don't worry, I'm still clean.....I just got efficient at showering.

9) Moms-to be, wear jewelery, especially long earrings. Wear your hair down if its long. Wear lipstick. Wear a strapless dress and heels. LOOK GOOD!

10) Dads-to-be, enjoy your current household chores. After the baby arrives, there will be a whole lot more.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Why do you want kids?

I've often wondered about this question. Excluding the people who accidentally fell pregnant or were raped, why DO people have kids? In the old days it was probably to help out with the farm work or the family business.

These days, couples are having less children and often delay having the first child till much later. Most people eventually get around to 'having kids'. Once again, why? I've heard people say that they want kids so that there will be somebody to look after them in their old age. What guarantee do they have that their kids will in fact do this? Of course, there are those who just love kids and always dreamed of having their own. If probed further, they usually don't know the specific reason WHY the children need to be their own. Why not just become a teacher and be surrounded by other people's kids all day long?

I believe this is truly one of those instinctive situations in life. There is no answer to the 'Why?'. I never thought about having a baby until sometime in early 2005. Then, out of nowhere, I just 'felt like it'. No rhyme or reason, I just felt like I wanted to be a mom. Seriously, it was literally an overnight thing. Richard used to be one of those people with no specific reason why he wanted kids but after we pondered on this question several times, and only after Aaron was born, he finally said "I think I wanted a child so that I could teach another person how to be a good human being". Well thats an answer that I like hearing! I still don't have an answer of my own but I'm glad that I didn't wait around till I thought of one.

Cheeky Little Boy

The cheeky little boy is finally drinking from a bottle. Unfortunately, I think it will take me a whole year to express THAT amount if he insists on this bottle! He'll have to keep drinking from the source for now.

Mobile Murtabak Stall

I mentioned the sweet murtabak in an earlier post but I didn't have a photo to include at that time. Here are some now. We went to Kenten, 5 mins away, to this mobile stall. Isn't it CUTE?! The guy actually packs everything away and drives off at the end of each day.

The left side of the vehicle is the 'store front' where there were about 4 women taking orders and putting on the murtabak toppings. They also made up other orders like the huge loaves of bread with bright green kaya (coconut egg jam). The next two photos are of the murtabak getting its toppings and the green kaya loaves.

The right of the vehicle is where the coal stove and hot plates are located. This is where the murtabak (basically a pancake) are cooked.

When we first got here, I avoided all the local stall foods because I was worried that my 'clean' stomach wouldn't be able to handle it but after 5 months, I eat anything as long as its hot. I still won't eat it at the stalls though because they don't wash the plates with fresh/clean water so I usually buy the food home. No problems so far.

Friday, July 6, 2007

My first PPP payment

WOW! I just got my first payment from Pay Per Post (PPP) and it feels great! Blogging is fun and getting paid for some of the posts just makes it even better. Although I am still only getting access to very few opportunities due to the fact that this blog is still Page Rank 0, I still managed to snag a total of 18 this month. That is a miserable number compared to some of those power posties but I'm still happy about it. It gives me something to work towards.

The past 11 months have been a little aimless for me. I just went from day to day without any goals and only thinking of meeting Aaron's needs. He'll be 1 in a month's time and I'm getting back on track with my own life now. So, one of the targets I have for myself is to increase that Page Rank.

Previously, I didn't really like the idea of putting ads on blogs but since starting with PPP I'm starting to change my mind. I now thingkthat a few select ads that link with the topics of the blog or perhaps ads that the readers may find useful can in fact be helpful and is a good way of earning some extra cash for SAHMs like me. We sometimes need that little bit of an ego boost in terms of ability to 'provide for the family'.

Baby Ball Pool

One of the things I appreciate about Palembang is its baby friendliness. Almost everybody we meet likes babies/children and will spend a good amount of time engaging Aaron in some sort of conversation. More importantly, they are ALL good at getting a chuckle out of a baby. Its as if everybody (men, women and other kids) here has had to care for a baby at some point in their lives and that has made them 'experts'.

There are plenty of babies everywhere we go so it makes sense that there are also plenty of baby shops around. The product lines they carry are extremely varied but it takes awhile to find the items suitable for us...such as 100% cotton material. Once I do get my hands on something, the prices are usually reasonable.

Yesterday, we went to a large shop called 'Yuli's'. I didn't really have anything to buy but I had to get out of the house and had never been there before. Anyway, we found that there was a children's play area on the upper floor. I have found the solution to the hot and boring afternoons! Take a look at his first time in one of those 'Ball Pools'. What are they really called anyway?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

7 Wonders of the World

Do you know what they are? I used to but it looks like there will be 7 new ones on 07.07.07 and almost everyone in the world can have a say as to which 7 it will be.

The campaign is being organised by the New7Wonders Foundation with the express aim of documenting, maintaining, restoring and reconstructing world heritage.

In 2005, 21 candidates were selected out of 77 nominees. They are

Acropolis, Athens, Greece <------------------ Still waiting for me
Alhambra, Granada, Spain <------------------- Still waiting for me
Angkor, Cambodia <--------------------------- May 2004
The Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico <-------- Still waiting for me
Christ Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil <---- Still waiting for me
Colosseum, Rome Italy <---------------------- August 2000
Easter Island Statues, Chile <--------------- Still waiting for me
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France <---------------- August 2000
Great Wall, China <-------------------------- Still waiting for me
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey <------------- Still waiting for me
Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Japan <-------------- Still waiting for me
Kremlin/St Basil, Moscow, Russia <----------- Still waiting for me
Machu Pichu, Peru <-------------------------- Still waiting for me
Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany <-- Still waiting for me
Petra, Jordan <------------------------------ Still waiting for me
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt <-------------------- Still waiting for me
Statue of Liberty, New York, USA <----------- Still waiting for me
Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom <------- Still waiting for me
Sydney Opera House, Australia <-------------- Lost count on the number of visits
Taj Mahal, Agra, India <--------------------- Still waiting for me
Timbuktu, Mali <----------------------------- Still waiting for me. I didn't even know Timbuktu was REAL until today.

4 out of 21 - I'd better get back on track with my trading if I'm going to visit the remaining 17 places.

Anyway, go vote for your favourite before 07.07.07

Making money online

Most people are aware that there are lots of money to be made on the internet. I'm definitely one of these people. I also WANT to be one of those that actually makes some from the internet. However, people usually think of it in the forms of advertisements on websites or paid for posts and articles. So far, it is not as widely known that there are sites that revenue share with members directly via Google Adsense. Some of them also give away free stuff such as computer games, iPods and CDs. All that is required are posts on forums or discussion boards.

Here are 5 sites to look out for:
1) Pro Mobile Talk
2) Pro Gamer Forums
3) Indie Rock Talk
4) The Online Developer
5) The Finance Forums

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Novotel Palembang - My 'Me' Place

I've posted various photos of everyday life here in Palembang and mostly, the scenes are somewhat dirty/messy/poor/old. Now, here is a photo of a place that I escape to almost everyday.

This is literally the nicest place in Palembang. It is clean, cool, quiet, usually devoid of guests and basically calming. It is extremely hot in the house here so we make it a routine to go out in the afternoons. Sometimes we go to one of the 3 malls in Palembang but I don't really count that as 'me' time. Instead, I try to go to the gym/pool at Novotel. Looking after Aaron is extremely rewarding and joyous but at the same time it is draining both physically and somehow mentally. Physically because he needs 100% supervision. I also find that I'm mentally drained ... not sure how but I think it has something to do with not having a minute to myself throughout the day. This seems to eat at me until I work it out in the gym and refresh myself. I just need that time to organise my thoughts without interruptions. After an hour I'm fully recharged and eager to spend more time with Aaron.