And the Tortoise Wins ...

March 13 2007

For 6 months I have ridden back and forth to work with Pak Yono (the tortoise) and Pak Mustafa (the hare). Each driver is very different in driving styles and personalities.  As you can tell from my "labelling" in the first sentence.

At times I get very frustrated with Pak Yono because it seems that it takes him "forever" to get anywhere. On the other hand, I feel like I have been on a roller coaster after a ride with Pak Mustafa.

I normally do not eat lunch ... so when I get in the car (on the way home from work) I try to eat a quick snack ... which is usually finger food with some "dipping sauce" which has the consistency of water, but has some chilies in it.  What I have learned is that with Pak Yono this is not an issue - I merely put the bowl of food and sauce on my lap - and eat away while he drives.  For Pak Mustafa, however, I have to keep the lid on the sauce (so it doesn't slosh all over the place) ... and I often either miss my mouth or give myself a bath as he starts/stops, turns, swings, etc.  Yesterday after only 5 bites ... I was already wearing 3 splashes of sauce.

Oh and by the way, the actual travel time between the two drivers is pretty much the same .... Pak Yono goes slower but takes a shorter route (using short cuts and back roads) while Pak Mustafa takes longer route but travels faster (when there isn't traffic).

And so ... the winner is ... the Tortoise ...

ciao ciao

Sorry - no blog today ...

March 12 2007

... spent too much time working on college finances and now it is time to go to work.  Nevertheless, we are all fine and moving forward here in Jakarta.

Yikes ... Monday Again !!

March 11 2007

Survived the hash ... barely.  Or at least that is the way I felt when I finished.  After being ill for nearly 2 weeks and weight dropping off of me ... and stomach cramps yadi yadi yadi ... it was probably suicidal to think I could run a hash.  But, no one has ever accused me of being overally intelligent.  So ... off I went.  Did pretty well the first 35 minutes ... then all of a sudden ... I was running on fumes ... so I quickly geared down to a very fast walk ... lots of puffing and panting and aches and pains (thought I would lose my stomach at one point).  After about 1 hour ... I was dieing ... but didn't stop. Finally made it in after an hour and a half.  Surprisingly, I had beat over half the folks in .... not quite sure how that happened.  The true (and healthy) runners candidly beat me ... but I seem to have beat most everbody else ... guess it was that first 35 minutes that gave me a head start.  All evening Saturday and all day Sunday I paid for my sins .... had to go get a massage to work out all the aches and pains.  Oh well ....

Really not much to write about other the above ... working on vacation planning and reservations for June.  This vacation is a road trip .... which is always very hard to plan.  In total over 30 reservations to make ... I think I have about 15 done so far.

Also, "in my spare time" trying to get some pics loaded at .. if I can get that up and running (with Chris's help) then I should have something for folks to look at ... I've given up on phusebox RE pic-loading ... wasted no less then 6 hours trying to load xmas 2006 vacation pics.

Gotta run ... and work on other things.

Ciao ciao.   

Going Hashing

March 10 2007

Just a quickie ... going hashing today ... we shall see how I do ... the treadmill workouts should help ... but I haven't done much (any) of that the last two weeks since I had the food poisoning.

For the avoidance of doubt ... had inches and inches of rain yesterday.  So much for the religious advisors .... maybe they need to sub contract to CNN.  Current weather forecast is that the rain should end on Tuesday.

Got the first "fitting" on my tux (the jacket part). Good progress is being made ... second fitting for the jacket and first fitting for the pants next weekend.  Decy and the girls go to their tailor today.

ciao ciao

The Sound of Rain

March 08 2007

Woke up this wonderful Friday morning to the sound of pouring rain.  How could that possibly be?  The religious advisors had said the rain would stop by 8-March ... and now it is 9 March .... hm, perhaps it was based on the US time zones.

I am very frustrated about not being able to post pics on Phusebox.  I guess the connection is just not good enough from Indonesia - I think it isn't so much as speed (as the speed from Angola was lower) but more "consistency of signal/connectivity" and .... I think the Phusebox server times out.  Anyway, Chris is helping me build / test a site at ....  I just posted 5 pics and am posting some more ... then I will try a blog.  If it all works well, then Chris will "flesh out" the design while I am adding content .... stay tuned.

BTW ... TGIF !!!!!  I need this weekend SO MUCH !!!!

ciao ciao 

Baby Shower

March 07 2007

Ah the joys of language translation .... so ... a few days ago I find a gift on the counter and ask Decy about it .... she says she is going to a Baby Shower (a first time for her) and that it is a gift.  Last night Decy told me how she was visiting with some of the ladies about the Baby Shower - yes, it is a baby shower ... but Decy was thinking it was a baptism where they "shower the baby".  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), this baby is not yet born.  I LOVE MY WIFE !!!  She makes me smile and makes life more enjoyable.

Nothing to write about RE work .... going to close so I can work on some more vacation planning.

ciao ciao

Tidur Ayam ....

March 06 2007

The literal translation of the above saying in Bahasa Indonesia is "chicken sleep" ... the meaning is "cat nap" .... go figure.

Uggh, what a strange day yesterday (Tuesday) was ... started out with a continuation of the stomach problems from last week's food poisoning - muddled through that ... and work.  Then had to rush to the school for a group meeting about Thasya moving to the 8th grade next year - got through that then came all the way back downtown for a get together with Nathan, a friend that was visiting from Singapore.  Finally made it home at 1145pm ...and up at 330am.

** For the avoidance of doubt, we asked our driver when he picked us up to take us home last night if he slept and his response was "tidur ayam" ... at which time I broke out laughing ... and Decy and he did too ... because I understood what he said.

Really not much to talk about - RE the weather, the religious guru's finally extended their "end of rain" forecast from 18-Feb to 5-Mar ... but it kept raining ... so yesterday they extended it until 8-Mar ... I guess sooner or later they will get it right ... either through luck or through "divine guidance".

Speaking of "divine" I'm trying to work on vacation plans for June ... there's much to work through ... most frustrating, however, was the fact that there is a key regional meeting with a VP right after I return ... thus, technically, I should come back early to prepare ... not sure how I can possibly do that ... but if I don't ... the first two days in the office will be pure hell !!!

Regarding the latest furniture saga, after having the dinette chairs for about 6 weeks ... the craftsman STILL hasn't returned them after trying to "touch up" the finishing.  Also, this is the same guy/family that is doing our entry way furniture.  In early November we ordered a couch and two chairs for the entry way ... and paid 25% down ... it was supposed to be delivered in early January.  We have heard nothing but excuses as to the delays.  Finally, last Wednesday we received a message the furniture and chairs would be delivered on Saturday.  Then on Friday we received a message they would be delivered on Tuesday.  Tuesday came and went ... no message ... no information.  Woe be unto these guys when they finally deliver the furniture ... no doubt Decy will find every flaw and scratch in the furniture ... then she will refuse to pay ... then she will delay paying ... and then she will probably even try negotiating the payment.  Said another way - if these guys can't fulfill their commitments on quality, service, and delivery ... why should we on paying .... stay tuned.

ciao ciao

Not Much To Say Today ....

March 05 2007

Monday's are tough enough ... but after a 4 day weekend that didn't go as planned (due to illnesses) it was very frustrating to see all the emails waiting for my return.  However, I did manage to get through the day.

As for blogging, not much to blog about .... because I can't talk details about work ... and that was all I did yesterday.

Sorry ... ciao ciao ...

Empty Monday Morning -

March 04 2007

Hard to believe I just completed a 4 day weekend - of course, being sick really knocked the wind out of my sails ... and pretty much put a damper on things.  I guess that overall, I accomplished much of what I wanted to do (visit Chely's counsellor, see Thasya's play, take the family to 4 Seasons for Sunday brunch) ..... but I just feel empty and listless today.

Decy and the girls went to get measured for their dresses on Sunday afternoon .... so, all four outfits for the Opera are underway.  I am supposed to go back to the tailor for a fitting on my tux this Thursday or Friday.

Other than the above, really not much to blog on.  Worked on income taxes over the weekend, but still have a bit more to do.

Started some preliminary vacation planning for our June trip back to the US.  We will be very time constrained to achieve all we want/need to do in the US .... but we will start piecing things together.  The first job is to anchor the start-end flights.  Decy will doublecheck with the school to see if the girls can fly on Friday 8-June (their last day of school) or if we have to wait until Saturday the 9th .... we really want to get out of here on the 8th if we can.  Once that is known, I will contact United Airlines and see what I can book ... maybe I will get lucky and can use some frequent flyer miles ... one never knows.

Well, I think I will close and will try to work on stuff .... its "already" 429am .... hah ... don't feel like working ... but don't feel like blogging either ....

Friday Morning

March 01 2007

Based on the time of this blog you and probably surmise that I slept in ... yep !!

Had a busy day Thursday between school meeting, tux tailor measurements and working on finances and taxes.  Have much the same today as we will go to Thasya's play this evening.

Our "tummy issue" has been growing, but I am hopeful we are on the mend.  After another one of us got sick we finally had enough information to get to the root cause.  I had originally thought it was because of sate Decy bought from the street - but when I got sick - that theory went out window (b'coz I didn't eat any).  Then Nunung got sick .... so what was the common denominator .... well it is a vegetable salad made of papaya leaves, green beans, and coconut.  The dish was not properly prepared ..... some of the salad was still in the frig ... the staff didn't want to throw it away ... but Decy insisted ... as it is "not wasting" food if the stuff is making everybody sick. Thankfully, Chely never ate any and Thasya only had a very small portion.

Need to take care of some things and work on taxes.

>>> Oh, BTW, RE who was right (CNN weatherman or the local religious advisors) ... it rained everyday (nearly 2 weeks) since the "contest".  However, it is now March and the rainy season should end soon.

ciao ciao 

Short One - Thursday AM (Jakarta Time)

February 28 2007

Just a quickie to let you know we are ok - starting 4 day weekend, but with a bit of a hiccup ... seems there is something we ate that has caused some "tummy problems".  Decy ended up going to the hospital yesterday to get a shot, and a cocktail of 4 medicines - anti-inflammatory, anti-bacteria, pain reliever, and something else. Interestingly enough, I'm in much better shape than Decy and have not had to go to the Dr.

Thasya's play starts today ....

This morning we go to JIS to meet Chely's counsellor about college planning.  Afterwards we go to the tailor for the "1st measurements" on my tux.

Oh - supposedly the rest of the furniture and our dinnette chairs will be ready for delivery on Saturday - we shall see.

ciao ciao

Time For A Long Weekend ....

February 27 2007

As mentioned, I am taking Thursday and Friday off from work.  A long weekend is needed badly, especially after the last few days events at work - which I cannot talk about.  Time for a refreshing, some R&R, some catching up on "home work", etc.

Decy and I continue to sort through the options and issues associated with getting me a tuxedo.  The fundamental concern is that there is just a wide range of prices and qualities available ... and each is hand made; thus, there is a potential for making a mistake. Its not that I need the best quality tux - its just that (a) it must be on time, and (b) it must look neat and professional (not like something I found at the thrift store). I think we are getting there - Decy will probably buy the material today (bless her heart, this issue has been really tough on her).

The school play that Thasya is dancing in is called Flapper (a 1920's theme).  It begins on Thursday and there are two performances each night for 3 nights.  She's wearing down (especially after having to do a band performance last weekend) .... but the end is in sight.  I offered to take the family to Sunday brunch at 4 Seasons - and asked Thasya if she would have enough energy to go.  She quickly responded YES - and we joked that she might just spend all her time at the dessert area eating chocolate - he he he.

Well, I see the stock market took a gut wrenching 3-4% plunge yesterday.  Its not a surprise and long overdue .... you can't climb virtually non-stop for 9 months ... there has to be a pause and a set back / correction from time to time.  Depending on what the market does on Wednesday (US time) I might jump in and buy something "on sale".  The way you make money in the market is to do the opposite of the crowd - but remember, for every buyer there is a seller - and the other person thinks they are smarter than you.

As you can see, not much to write about .... been working on pulling some music together for the mini iPod Decy inherited from Thasya - I'm getting there.

Oh, we're having some handphone challenges right now.  First, when Decy fell last weekend at Hotel Mulia her handphone went flying.  There is no damage to the insides, but some damage to the casing - and it needs to be repaired. And, it appears that Thasya's phone (which was a gift from a friend) is pretty much dead - can't hold a charge and overheats.  So, we are thinking through the options ...

BTW, recall the company's "employee appreciation event" where Decy and I dressed up?  The company put together some photo albums (professionally done "books" where the pics are printed onto the cardboard pages).  Anyway, there are two different books ... and there are many pics of Decy and I throughout both - one is particularly funny as they caught her singing to me while we were dancing - you can tell by the look on her face and the position/shape of her mouth ... plus she is pointing a finger at me as if she is saying "I love you" ... he he he.

Well, time to close ... have some things I have to work on.

ciao ciao

Definitely A Short Week ...

February 26 2007

... at least as far as going to work - received approval to take Thursday and Friday off.  Now, I just need to line out all the activities I need to do ... or, should I say, Decy needs to help me.

Sounds like the tailor work on my tux is going to be more expensive and more time consuming than I expected ... I'm having a hard time understanding that, given that this is Indonesia.  But, I have often found that "upper end" activities and items are very expensive relative to other prices.  The thing that concerns me the most is their completing the tux on time.  They claim it will take 4 weeks - which is fine if it is, in fact, when they complete the work.

If the tailor is like the furniture maker who made the dinette and entry way furniture then I won't see the tux until July .... for example on the dinette it was supposed to be delivered at end-November but was delivered 20-Dec ... then Decy returned the chairs for "touch up" and 7 of them have been gone for a month.  The same company is doing the entry way furniture - we ordered it in November and it was supposed to be delivered 1st week in January .... still no delivery to date ... supposedly because of the rain ... but that doesn't jive as it hasn't been raining non-stop since November !!

BTW, if any of you see the news on the "mud volcano" in Indonesia ... at is in Surabaya ... one of the places we visited during vacation.  We drove right by it.  A real tragedy.  Sad part is, most "knowledgeable" scientists, engineers, and geologists believe it was caused by the drilling (for gas/oil) activities.  But, somehow, the govt assembled some folks that have stated it was/is a natural disaster ... which then presumably takes the responsible company off the hook for paying damages .... now, folks are trying to lower concrete balls into the crater to slow the mud flow ... sounds to me like they are just going to "choke" the throat of the volcano which will either (a) cause an explosion, or (b) cause the mud to begin flowing from somewhere else.  To me, lowering concrete balls into a mud volcano is like trying to put a car on the railroad tracks in an attempt to stop a train.

Well, I better close this blog and get some other stuff done.

ciao ciao

Monday, Short Week?

February 25 2007

Well, here we are bright and early on a Monday morning ... 430am.  I'm running a bit behind on starting my blog.  First, I set my alarm back 10 minutes to 320am ... then I exercised ... then I listened to Josh's song to determine if he was crazy or not.  Actually, I think he is a bit crazy ... anybody that thinks listening to one song for a 1/4 second squeal at the 11th second of the song ... and if you hear it "he's not crazy" but if you don't ... he is .... well anyway ... I just don't think that is a robust enough of a sanity tests ... which is why I think he is crazy.

About this week, I am going to try to take Thursday and Friday off.  Aside from needing a break and needing to work down some vacation .... Thasya has a play performance during the week (in the afternoon) ... and ... we are going to try to have a another meeting with Chely's counsellor about college ....

As for posting pics on Phusebox ... I just don't know what the problem is.  Could be my computer, but I think it is the link/access from here in Jakarta.  All I know is that when I needed to post the flooding pics and prayed a lot about the posting ... it worked ... other pics ... failed.

Didn't do a whole lot this weekend ... actually did, but didn't feel like I accomplished what I wanted.  We went out CJs Friday night - met a young couple (he's Irish, she's Indonesian) ... he needed somebody to talk to .... we made it home about 6am ... so that pretty much shot Saturday .... after getting up later in the day, I worked.

On Sunday, did some more work .... and did some exercising.  Then went to JIS (Jakarta International School) and listened to the bands play (Thasya's in the beginners, 1st yr, band - flute).  Came home, did some karaoke - Decy got a massage on her shoulders and arms (more about that later). Then we headed off to bed ... approx 10pm.

About Decy's shoulder - last Friday night (er Sat morning) while leaving CJs ... at the bottom of the stairs there was a wet spot on the marble floor.  Unfortunately, Decy's legs went flying and she came down pretty hard.  No serious damage/injury but still some bumps and bruises.  Sumi, one of our maid's, massaged Decy on Saturday and Sunday trying to work the kinks out.

Don't recall if I mentioned it or not, but at the Company party last week I won a 30 gig iPod.  Chely has a 60 gig ... and Thasya has Chely's old mini.  So, we gave Thasya the 30 gig ... and now Decy has inherited the mini ... of course ... it will be me that has to do the music transfers.  I still don't have an iPod (yeah, I know, I'm old school) ... but my stereo still blows away anything that is available today .... and as Chris knows ... hooking his music up to my stereo is an awesome combination.  Hot.

Speaking of hot ... last night while doing karaoke, somehow Decy and I scored a 99 on the Titantic theme song .... I think our machine is broke ...  and on that note ... I think I will close ... (no pun intended ... well, actually, there was a pun intended)

ciao ciao

Friday Already ???

February 22 2007

Ok, so I never hit my stride this week.  It was a complete and absolute "muddle through" week. Nevertheless, there were accomplishments and it is now Friday.

Speaking of accomplishments ... remember that I mentioned that the religious advisors said it would quit raining on 18-Feb ... but CNN said otherwise. Well, there's been 4 days since Sunday (Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu) ... and it has rained every day. Enough said.

Decy has been doing a bit of shopping for material this week - she is going to have a dress made for her and a tuxedo made for me for the Opera in April.  I've never owned a tux before (I've rented some, but never owned).  And, haven't had much of a chance to use one over the years ... but I suspect I will have a number of chances here in Jakarta .... soooo .....

BTW, been getting harassed at work (as follow through on the Saturday company party award) .... I've been called one of the Blues Brothers, the man in black, Tony from the mafia, a pimp, and who knows what else.

As for this weekend, I have some work I will need to do ... plus taxes ... plus catch up on my finances a bit .... I doubt I will hash on Saturday ... but one never knows.

Gotta go ... sorry .... its "already" 442am ... and I have some things I have to take care of before leaving for work.

ciao ciao

Just Can't Hit My Stride

February 21 2007

Sure wish it were Friday ... I'm feeling a bit like Paul ... too much work and too little sleep.  Trying to spend some time with the family each evening but it just gets harder and harder.  Most nights are a maximum of 6 hours sleep.

Sadly, have only been able to muster the strength for exercising one morning this week. As for today ... I "slept in" ... 4am get-up instead of 330am.

... sorry this is short ...

Consistency And Balance

February 20 2007

This subject matter (er, title) could make good sermon material for Chris some day.

Consistency - not as the term is used for measuring texture, but as the term is used for describing "the absence of changes".

Balance - not as the term is used to describe a piece of equipment, but as the term is used for describing "not too much" and "not too little".

About consistency - you may recall that on occassion I have opined regarding the lack of hot water in our house.  Well, that was finally resolved - not sure how, but it was.  I can only presume that the hot water heater inlet or outlet was closed or plugged, the pump wasn't working, or the thermostat was turned WAY DOWN.  No matter the reason, we now have abundant hot water.  But ... there is catch ... consistency (or the lack thereof).

First, you have to understand that water systems here are not like the US ... we have city water (with little to no water pressure) ...and we have well water (which requires a pump).  These water streams are mixed together (somehow), run through a water purification system, stored on the roof, then brought into the house as needed.  There are booster pumps in/around the house that provide us with the water pressure for water usage - sometimes the pumps work .. sometimes they do not, and when they do work, they may be intermittant pumps vs constant pressure pumps - I do not know.

Now comes the challenge ... there are so many pieces to water system that it is impossible to maintain consistency of pressure of the cold water line and the hot water line .... imagine you are in the shower ... get the water balance just right .... jump into the water stream and start washing your hair (be imaginative if you are thinking about my hair) ... suddenly hot water pressure drops ... water turns colds ... so you jump out of the water stream ... finish washing your hair ... and wait for the pressure to rebuild ... ahhhh ... perfect ... so you jump back in ... rinse your hair ... but before you finish rinsing the hot water pressure is full bore again ... so now the water is scalding .... so you jump back out of the water stream ... lather up ... wait for the temperature to drop ... ahhh ... perfect ... jump back into the water stream to rinse off ... but then the hot water pressure drops again ... and you are getting iced !!!

A key challenge is setting the faucets so at least "on average" the temperature is reasonable ... and the extremes are manageable ... quite a challenge at 330am ... especially given that the temperature swing is probably 40-50 degrees.  Another key challenge is maintaining the self-discipline to NOT continually reset the hot water / cold water mix .... it is better to set it and leave it.

Now - about balance.  As we all know, an automobile has two primary controls for it heating and air conditioning system.  One control is the temperature control - on some cars this is an actual thermostat (such as is on our Fortuner) - on other cars it is a hot/cold slide bar or spin dial (such as on our CrV).  Now recognize, in Indonesia you do not need a heater (unless you are at 6,000 ft or higher elevation) - so most folks in Jakarta (sea level and below) don't ever use a heater.

Adjusting the A/C on our Fortuner isn't too bad, because you can set the temp you like and just raise and lower the fan speed as appropriate.  On the CrV, however, this is bit of a challenge sometimes ...

During the non-rainy season it is consistently hot here ... say 85-90 degrees.  During the rainy season (and especially after a hard rain) temperatures can drop to 75-80 degrees. This is where the challenge comes .... at the borderline between needing A/C and not needing it.

Yesterday, is a good example, it had rained all day .. it was borderline between needing A/C and not, and I was in the CrV .... our driver Yono had the A/C temp slide bar on the coldest position (where both drivers always keep it) ... as it kept getting colder and colder in the car ... I requested that the A/C be adjusted downward .... so, the fan speed was lowered.  Still being too cold, I asked for another adjustment ... however, Yono (and Mustafa is the same) doesn't realize that to do that requires RAISING the temperature, not just LOWERING the fan speed.  Unfortunately, the "next lower" fan position was "off" ... so that is what was done ... it was turned off.  Within 10 minutes, Yono was sweating to death because of the heat coming off the engine ... so we turned the A/C back on .... and we promptly swung to freezing again.

The above has happened several times.  There is no way I can explain the "proper use of the A/C" in bahasa and the drivers can't understand English.  Hopefully, Decy will be able to explain to both of them how the two functions work together .... of course, once on the rainy season ends ... the borderline situation will go away .... until next rainy season.

 ciao ciao ...

Typical Tuesday

February 19 2007

Guess Monday was a holiday in the US ... for us working stiffs in Indonesia it was just another day in the office - however, not many people were there and a lot of extra work seemed to be shoved my way.  Lots of folks already starting to take vacation .... I haven't even used up my 2006 entitlement ...

Really nothing much to blog about today - I could talk about the gully washer we had yesterday ... but I'm sure all of you are tired of hearing about flooding.  Don't know whether to believe CNN (who says the rain is with us another week or two) or the religious advisors who said last Sunday was when the rain would stop - of course, it rained heavily on Monday ..... sooooo ...

Here's a heart wrenching story - I read in the paper the other day that a poor husband and wife went to the hospital to have a baby.  When they went to check out, the bill was ~$400.  The man didn't have the money ... but was able to round up ~$200.  The hospital released the mother but kept the baby "for collateral".  The man went to all his family members, friends, etc. and finally collected the remaining $200. When he went to pay the hospital bill and get his baby (about 10 days later), the hospital said the bill had grown back to ~$400 due to charges over the last 10 days.  The hospital took his $200 but wouldn't give him the baby.  Thankfully, the guy went to the press - there was a tremendous outroar from the community.  The hospital finally acquiesed and gave the man/woman their baby and forgave the $200 for the "10 day overstay".

I visited with Decy RE the above, she says it is quite common for this to happen as most people can't afford any type of health care, much less delivery of a baby ... and so "keeping the baby" is the only way the hospital can ensure it gets paid.  This was heart wrenching to me ... especially given that our maid Wiwi is pregnant.  This WILL NOT happen to Wiwi.

- - - I wonder how many babies have never been collected because a family didn't have the money - - a very sad thought

Ciao ciao.

Challenging Times

February 18 2007

I really don't understand why sometimes I can post pics on phusebox while other times it is virtually impossible.  However, I did slip one through today.

Friday night was our typical night at CJs ... not much to talk about there.  However, Saturday night was our company's employee appreciation event.  The theme colors were: red, black, and silver. There were prizes for the best dressed .... there's just something about being overseas that makes life fun and funny .... for those of you who care ... I was selected (out of about 800 folks) as being the "No. 1 Eunuch".  I am pretty certain the folks meant "first place for unique outfit", but it just didn't come out that way.  When announced, the Americans broke out laughing ... I don't think most Indonesians figured out the enunciation issue.


In addition to getting a prize for the outfit (approx $160 coupon at Carrfour [like a super Walmart]), as a door prize / lucky draw we won a 30 gig iPod.

Sunday was a quiet day ... in addition to working over the weekend "in my spare time" .... we watched a couple of movies and played some pool.  I also got this foolish idea about exercising ... and did 64 minutes on the treadmill ... consuming 450 calories ... and running 8.5 kilometers (~5.3 miles) ... my body is still paying for all that running.

As for the weather here, we are getting very heavy downpours each day again ... but usually only 2-3 hours at a time. Nevertheless, this is still causing localized flooding ... including the area where we almost leased a house (Kemang).  The spiritualist say the rainy season ends on Sunday, 18-Feb - we shall see.

Other than the above, not much else to blog about.  So, I will get some work down before leaving for work ... besides it IS already 501am.

Ciao ciao.


February 15 2007

Well, another week bites the dust.  Had a number of set backs at work during the week ... but a few small successes.  So, I guess I won't complain.  Besides, if I did ... it wouldn't do any good.

Went the JIS yesterday and talked to Chely's counsellor.  We have much to do to get Chely ready for college and to select the proper school - something that is much harder (a) being overseas, and (b) Chely being Indonesian.  Chely has the biggest workload .... hope she is up to the task.

Today, Decy will meet with two of Thasya's teachers as part of a normal Parent-Teacher update.  There is no school today and Monday ... so the girls will have a nice long weekend.

For Decy and I ... much to do today ... then we will probably go to CJs for a while tonight.  Tomorrow is the big company party .... Decy's new dress will be ready today (its a surprise ... so I don't know what it looks like) ... for me ... I bought a nice black shirt ... to go with my black pants.  I will then wear a red wrap around belt (cloth tied in a knot).  Decy is hoping to get a silver scarf (over the shoulders) made for me today ... and I will borrow a black hat from Thasya ..... I'll post a pic when I get one.

Had a bunch more rain last evening ... probably 2-3 inches as the pool filled up pretty fast.  I don't know yet about new flooding in the area.

We talked to Hotel Mulia last night about the Opera Tickets.  They had a cancellation and upgraded us to center section ... our part was agreeing to pay for the whole table (for 10).  I had anticipated this (based on our "friendships" and likeliness to get preferential treatment) ... and have rounded up another two folks to join us.  We are now at 8 confirmed attendees .... only 2 more folks to line up.

I am going to close for now ... internet access seems to be working pretty well (at least for now) so I will try to post some pics from the Christmas holidays.

Ciao ciao .....

I'm Back ....

February 14 2007

Sorry I have been absent the last couple of days .... we have had severe issues with internet access from home.  And, at the same time we had systems problems at work ... both on the internal network as well as internet access.

I think we have the home issue resolved - after several extremely frustrating days of intermittant to NO access we had a technician come out and check the wiring on the house.  It appears (so they say) that some of the telephone wires used for internet access came loose.  The guy worked on that - and voila we have access again.  Overall, it looks pretty good.  Hmmm, wonder how long it will last.

Ok, about the flooding and Decy ... first, weather ... for the most part it has been dry since about last Thursday ... but that is the "most part".  This is still the rainy season and showers come and go.  Earlier this week while Decy was delivering some supplies to the flood victims there was flash flooding in the area she was at ... and many homes had 3 feet of water come rushing in.

Yesterday (Wednesday) there was a very heavy thunderstorm that rolled through the city.  Decy looked outside our house and noticed we had 18 inches of water running down the street.  This is odd, as during the worst flooding we had no water in the street.  This just goes to show you the flooding can happen anywhere at anytime.   Because our house is 4 ft above street grade it was not an issue.

All week long Decy has been delivering supplies to flood victims ... she has received additional donations of both money, food, school supplies, and even a bed.  With the money, she obviously buys more supplies ... and then makes deliveries.  I think she is pretty much to the end of the finances ... but has a bit left.  She is beginning to shift focus to the schools as many of the schools have lost all their supplies ... books, writing paper, pencils, etc.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day ... and Decy and I spent the evening together .... it was an odd mix of events, and not at all like I had planned/anticipated. She picked me up after work and we debated (in a nice sort of way) where to go ... stopped at the Shangri-la hotel and had a drink and snacks. Then, we ran over to hotel Mulia (where CJs is at) and met with the CJs manager ... and tried to organize seating on some opera tickets we are buying for a first ever in Jakarta event in April.  Then, we got a call from our Singapore friend named James who is here in Jakarta just for Wednesday night and part of Thursday .... so we met him at the Le Meridian hotel at Club 30 (Tiga Puluh).

We haven't been to Tiga Puluh in some time due to the quality of the band and DJ.  They were VERY happy to see us come back.  The DJ has been replaced (actually was last time) and was doing well.  Unfortunately (and hopefully only for last night) between music sets they had this "heckle and jeckle" comedy team ... who talked 75% in bahasa.  As for the band, they are so so .... but their contract runs out in 2 weeks.  (we think we saw the replacement band when we were leaving).

Here's something interesting about Tiga Puluh .... like I said they were VERY happy to see us.  After we ordered our drinks they brought us complimentary calamari (nobody else got any).  Then they advised they were doing a lucky draw and collected name cards from James and I.  Later that night two cards were drawn from a pile of about 50-75 .... first name drawn .... mine (for dinner for two) .... second name drawn .... James (buffet for two).  I recognize the odds of us winning both drawings is about 1 in 2500 to 1 in 5625 ... which isn't too bad ... but it DOES seem odd.  Then, later that night Decy was given a rose.  We left Tiga Puluh at 1230am ... got to bed at 130am ... alarm went off at 400am (I set it back 30 minutes as I usually get up at 330). I'm doing ok.

Today, I work only 1/2 day ... as Decy and I have an afternoon meeting with Chely's school counsellor to talk about college options. Tomorrow morning Decy has a 20 minute conference with 2 of Thasya's teachers.  That one is right in the middle of the morning ... which means I can't attend .... you know - missing 5 hours of work for a 15-20 minute chat.

Weekend is coming up .... my company is holding an employee event on Saturday ... not sure what to expect but it is being hyped up a lot.  It will be held at hotel Mulia. Theme colors are black, silver, and red.  Decy is having a special outfit made ... as for me ... I think I will just dress in black with some scarfs in the accent color.

Notice - that I did not talk about work.  It pays well ....

Well, need to close and take care of some other issues this morning.

ciao ciao.

I-net Challenge

February 13 2007
Having severe internet access challenges at work and home ... all is ok ....  Happy Valentines Day !!!

All's Quiet Right Now

February 11 2007

Now much to say ... just Monday morning ... I need to work on taxes this morning before heading to work ....

ciao ciao

Saturday Afternoon - Jakarta Situation

February 10 2007

As you can see, I have posted 10 new pics on the Jakarta situation.  My family knows that for over a month I haven't been able to post pics (due to the earthquake in Taiwan) ... but thanks to God ... these pics are making it through.  Everytime I hit the send button I pray ... and pray while the files are being transmitted ... glory to God !!!

We have a break in the weather here.  Thankfully it hasn't rained in 24 hours (at least not where I am).  Waters are beginning to recede .... clean up efforts are ongoing and will take months.  Unlike New Orleans where the govt can spend billions to help rebuild the city .... and many people have insurance ... the folks here have none of that.  You will see pics of people cleaning furniture, dishes, clothes - things that you and I would throw away ... but this is all they have ... they will scrub and scrub and scrub and get it as clean as possible ... and then just "live with it".  Very few have insurance.

Decy saw one house today that still had water in it.  A frig was floating.  She asked the man what he was going to do about the frig ... he said he will try to clean and fix it ... as he cannot buy another one.  I guess he can clean it .... but I assume he will have to buy at least a new motor and possibly compressor for it.

One of the other expat wives is starting to help Decy.  On Friday they assembled another set of supplies.  On Saturday (today) they delivered the supplies to the a community shelter.  Chely and Thasya and Susie's (not sure of the spelling) two kids also helped.  It was an eye opening experience.  I was not able to go ... but I cried when I saw the pics.

On Monday Decy will go out and buy more supplies with the wonderful donations that friends and family have given. Then she will deliver them - probably Tuesday.

Another expat wife called about trying to help out and make a donation ... as well as help in a delivery.  Step by step people are helping out ... in my heart ... I believe more will help as the stories (like from today) are told.  Even so, after we get through this event ... there are so many needs in the city in the base case .... I can't help but believe in my heart that Decy has started a good work that will help bring many of the expat wives together ... to help the community.

I need to close .... thank you all who have made donations to help the Jakarta victims.

ciao ciao

Are You Ready ??

February 08 2007

Finally a break in the weather .... rain continued on Thursday until 3pm ... not always a downpour like it was around 5am, but still a good solid rain.  According to the security alerts I receive several times a day, the rain cause a 3 foot wall of water to enter back into many of the previously flooded areas.

Haven't had any rain in 14 hours (its now about 5am). However, I hear thunder ... so another wave must be building up. Supposedly this weekend is supposed to be better.

Yesterday Decy made deliveries on all the supplies she purchased.  She assembled plastic bags containing baby's milk, water, medicines, clothes, blankets ... whatever she had.  She used everything and ended up with about 100 "gift baggies".  She and our driver Pak Mulyono went to the flooded areas ... specifically to two facilities for the homeless.  One facility had about 600 people crammed into it (there had been 1,000 before the waters started receding).

Based on Decy's description, the facility was more of a bunch of un-air conditioned hallways and rooms ... hundreds of people living on the floor on blankets, towels, rugs, no furniture to speak of .... what little they have is stashed in plastic baggies by their side.  Bathroom facilities are grossly inadequate and are right next to a rudimentry kitchen.  The smell throughout the place was "strong" to say the least ... consider ... that many people, coming out of a flood ... covered in mud, gunk, etc., with no place to really clean up.  Anyway ....

Decy handed out the gift baggies ... one by one ... focussing on the children as they are helpless and can do nothing for themselves.  She also helped lots of adults.  As you can appreciate ... having 100 baggies ... and 600 people in just one of the two facilities ... meant that she could not possibly give out a baggie to everybody.  Decy's eyes showed much pain when she described how the children faces looked when the "have nots" looked at the children drinking their milk (the "haves").  Painful as it was ... at least she was able to help some.

I strong believe that Decy has planted a seed.  I believe that seed with grow and multiply.  God has given Decy a rare talent where she can bring together all classes of people, all nationalities, all religions.  We are just ONE PEOPLE ... and her love and spirit draw people together.

Yesterday afternoon/evening as we reflected on the events of the day, Decy started receiving SMS's from some of the expat women here about how things went.  I'm not sure what to make from some of them ... I think overall positive.  But one, a very strong positive.  One woman, Susan, is coming over to our house today (Friday).  Decy and she will go shopping for more food, medicines, milk, and clothes.  Together they will make another delivery this weekend - Susan wants her daughter to assist in the delivery ...the seed begins to grow.

Decy says she saw a number of bridges where folks have put up tarps and are living in makeshift tents.  She is seriously considering making her next delivery there.

Some friends and family have pledged contributions to assist Decy's effort .... and on the basis of the pledge she will buy the items and make the deliveries (time is of the essence for these people; thus we cannot wait for the money to show up to begin doing His work).

While driving home last night there were a lot of street vendors in a back alley (unusual on that particular road).  Decy was with me ... and we talked about it ... apparently the shopping area was flooded out ... so they moved to the street.  I saw lots of children's clothes for sale ... many at $0.50 to $1.00 a set ... I talked to Decy about trying to go back there and buy clothes to give away ... I'm not sure if she will do that .. or focus on foods and medicines .. or maybe some of both.

Decy is also buying lots of lotions and powders ... as many people have skin rashes because of the flooding and living conditions.

For those of you reading this and are "touched" ... you too can help ... obviously there are organizations like Red Cross ... but who knows when and how the benefits would flow to the victims.  If you know any of my family members, you can give money to them and they will get it too me.  I recognize that takes time - but time is any enemy right now ... so, if you do want to help ... email me or blog me ... we will act based on pledges .... even $10 goes a long ways ... when there's no overhead, no salaries, no corruption ... just a woman handing out baggies of foods, water, milk, medicine.

God Bless You ....