Keroncong is traditional music from back home. Unlike its ‘livelier’ counterpart, dangdut (our version of country music.. only much, much livelier and is considered a little .. err.. boorish by some people, for lack of better word), keroncong maintains a calmer, steadier flow. It’s really, really lovely to listen to.  Keroncong brings back memories of my late grandfather. My Eyang Kakung (or Mbah Kakung), as we Javanese call our grandfathers, is an avid keroncong lover. He listened to his fair share of Beatles as well, but keroncong remained his love.We used to listen to keroncong together when I was little, in his spacious bedroom. Him in his rocking chair, my sister and I in the bed. He run a private practice clinic adjacent to his house (he was a surgeon), where he had morning practice time, an afternoon break, and evening practice time. Very common private practice time for doctors in Indonesia. During his afternoon break, Bapak, my sister and I’s special nickname for our grandfather (Bapak literally means ‘father’.. my sister and I call our paternal grandparents Bapak and Ibu (mother), because when we were little we’d imitate our parents and our uncle and aunt who’d call them that. Bapak and Ibu love being called that, they always say they consider my sister and I their ‘anak buntut’.. youngest children.) would come to the house for lunch, nap and afternoon tea time with Ibu and us, when we were there for vacations (we spent pretty much every single vacation we had growing up at Bapak and Ibu’s). Bapak would always bring back ‘oleh-oleh’ from the clinics. Oleh-oleh means souvenirs. As a doctor, he always had pharmaceuticals sales reps brought him various things, from pens and notebooks to cassettes and body lotions. I remember vividly the way he used to say oleh-oleh, “oyeh oyeh..! oyeh oyeh untuk Mbak (my nickname) dan Neng (my sister’s nickname)” Oyeh oyeh is baby talk for oleh oleh :) He’s so adorable. We’d wait impatiently for him to come back in his white coat (everytime I see a doc with white coat to this day I always choke up), bearing our oleh-oleh. He’d eat a proper lunch with us, he always said the prayer.  Bapak told us stories from his youth. His struggles in the time of colonialism in our country. Bapak is quiet, but utterly strong, wise beyond anything and anybody I ever know all my life, faithful. Bapak is a true, real patriarch. (I am a feminist, mind you.) He respects the women in his life with everything he has, he treats people with kindness and compassion, he believes in humanity, in people, in life, in the best of everything. He always urges us to ask questions, to inquire, to learn, to be curious. Be curious but remain faithful, keep your feet firmly planted to the ground. Be humble, treat people with sincerity and honesty.  Bapak was only 65 when he passed away. I can’t tell you how many people mourned for his passing. Too many to count. Tonight, as I’m listening to these lovely keroncong songs, I’m thinking of Bapak. He’s my hero, and he is a hero to a lot of people I know. I miss you, Pak. I don’t ever wish to turn back time anymore, but sometimes I still find myself wishing you’re still here with us… I know you’re always looking for us from up there, caring and taking care of us in your own way. For that I’ll be forever grateful… for your presence, for simply having the honor of calling you my grandfather… I’ll always be grateful. I’ll always be overwhelmed.


I lost 5 lbs when I got food poisoning. That’s the only good thing about it.

I didn’t do any type of workout for a week following that, mostly because my stomach continued to feel wonky afterwards.

I’ve been working out again now, but as usual, my appetite always jumps up. Over the weekend I did the most pigging out I’ve done in a while. Pizza, wings, chocolate cheesecake, sweet pancakes, cheesy baked rice. You name it, I’ve gulfed it.

I’ve felt tremendous pang of guilt when I woke up this morning. Was gonna hit the gym, but nasty cold weather is upon me and I don’t feel like taking my baby through the cold. So I did the next best thing, Jillian Michaels 6 packs in 6 weeks routine and boy was my butt severely kicked.

And after that… I had two pieces of wings and two slices of pizza for lunch. And just now I ate a banana (that I continuously dipped in Nutella) for “dessert”. Feeling quite monstrous.

Tomorrow the snowpocalypse is going to be upon us again; and so that means I’ll have yet another butt-kicking fitness date with m’dear Jillian. She’s hot, but REALLY cray. 

I’ve been cutting back on my caffeine and booze consumption. 

What is a good birthday present to give to a 50 years old uncle? That I don’t even know all that well….?

It is 7:48 PM, 78 degrees right now and I am sitting on my patio.

Seventy fucking eight degrees in the middle of March.

First gorgeous day in months.

I can do with this weather all year long. No extreme winter cold, no extreme summer heat. Just this. Perfect.

What a lovely blessing.

Food Poisoning

I will not wish it on even my biggest enemy (not that I have any). The pain is just unbelievable.

I like being healthy. I hate being paralyzed to my bed all day. Feeling miserable. Can’t play with my little boy, can’t do shit else. The worst part has got to be having it at the same time with my husband.

Romantic? NO. Furthest thing from it.

I’ve begun to feel better, and I’m only hoping it won’t come back.

Thinking of Japan today.

I always think of Japan, actually. My husband and I have been talking about moving to Japan. Living there for quite some time. We have this incredible, unabashed sentiment about Japan. We love Japan. Both of us have lived there for a little bit.

It breaks my heart what happened in Japan. I was at the gym and all the TVs were only broadcasting the news about Japan, the catastrophe, the damage.

Dearest Japan, I’m sending you prayers and positive vibes. You’re strong, you’re self-reliant, and that’s more than enough to get you back on your feet soon enough. I love you, and hope to see you much, much sooner than later.

I’m pretty sure I’ll kiss the ground once I land there. Yep, that’s how much a Japanophile I am. And nope, I ain’t ashamed.

I’ll be going to an outdoor wedding in the middle of summer. When I think about what I wanna wear, somehow ‘coral one shoulder dress’ keeps popping up in my head. So I went scouring online for my perfect outfit. This’ll be it – paired with nude pumps, nude lips, and smoky eyes. Not to forget the bow-clutch too, of course!

My uniform for this year’s summer. Comfortable (srs bznz), stylish, and the necklace adds a little ‘funk’— just the way I like it.

I just read my old private journal for about an hour or so. The one conclusion I have, is that I am happy and thankful of where I am today.

Do I want to re-live older days? No, not really. I am only looking forward to a better, brighter future. With my team, my family.

I notice an evolution, that I have evolved. And that maybe (I’m just flattering myself here) I’ve grown up a little. 

I have a bigger optimism than I used to have. I have more forgiveness and understanding of life, of things, of people, of family. 

I like life the way it is now. There are a lot of things to improve, to look forward to, to fight for, to hope for. But for now, I know, I would not rather be someplace else in time or space.

And it is an honest feeling. I feel this tiny happiness, this tiny relief. We aren’t rich and we are really frugal, I shop clothes in thrift stores not because I want to but because I have to. My son doesn’t have much of new clothes or toys or books, most of them are hand me downs or thrifted. We barely ever eat out anymore.

But somehow I feel that I have found the joy in doing those very things; in being those very things. And it is an honest joy.

I spoke to my grandmother last week, and she asked what I do for entertainment. I said, I watch Japanese dramas or variety shows. And I really enjoy it. I said, I go to the gym, a really affordable family friendly gym, several times a week and I really enjoy it. I said, I do Jillian Michaels exercises several times a week at home and I really enjoy it. I said, I bake bread and bagels and cakes and I really enjoy it. I  said, I drink cheap table wine from the grocery store while chatting with my husband and I enjoy it.

I must be a cliche. A boring cliche. But I enjoy it. It is ok.

I don’t really look forward to dinners in fancy hipsteresque restaurants anymore. I don’t really want to go drinking at some fashionable bar anymore. I don’t really want to go out to the mall anymore. I like doing what we can afford. I have learned to like them and I have succeeded. 

It is a tiny joy. But it is a big relief.

And I am very grateful that my sister got a scholarship for her graduate program. She is more than deserving.

And I am praying hard that my mother will be granted her tourist visa so she and my sister (who already has visa) can fly here in the summer to finally see her grandson. What a glorious time it will be. I haven’t seen her for seven and a half years.

There is really no point to this post, just collection of thoughts I want written, so I don’t forget in the future.

Imagining a summer party here…….. with flows of mimosas and endless chatters with good friends.


Friday Giveaway!

Remember my last giveaway sponsored by Vestique? They have generously agreed to host another!

Vestique will send the winner of this giveaway a pair of their Throw Me A Rope Earrings in Silver (above).


It’s really easy to enter and earn additional entries too.

1. REQUIRED: Leave a comment on this post with your name and e-mail address. Include a link in your comment to your favorite item in Vestique’s New Spring Arrivals!

2. OPTIONAL: Earn up to five additional entries by completing the following: 

(Don’t forget to write in your comment which of the optional items you opted to do!)

You have until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 to enter this giveaway! I’ll announce the winner on Friday, March 11.