Maybe I’m putting off studying a bit… (with apologies to Adele)

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these hours you’d like to feed me
To assuage my hunger pangs
They say food’s supposed to fill ya
But I ain’t done much filling

Hello, can you hear me?
I’m in my litterbox dreaming about what I used to eat
When I was younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before you put me on a diet

There’s such a difference between us
And a million meals

Hello from my empty bowl
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m hungry and need you to feed me
But when I call you never seem to hear it
Hello from my hollow tum
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m wasting away from hunger
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Hello, how are you?
It’s so typical of me to talk about myself. Not sorry.
I hope that you’re well
Did you ever make it out of the house to buy me more snacks?

And it’s no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time

So hello from my empty bowl (empty bowl)
I must have called a thousand times (thousand times)
To tell you I’m hungry and need you to feed me
But when I call you never seem to hear it
Hello from my hollow tum (hollow tum)
At least I can say that I’ve tried (I’ve tried)
To tell you I’m wasting away from hunger
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Popcorn begs for food a lot. A LOT. I had Adele’s Hello in my head while I was feeding her dinner this evening, and I couldn’t get it out, and somehow the two things collided into this.



A Mini Performance Review

Dear spiders living outside the house, I want a word with you. I thought we had an agreement: I don’t allow the cat to squash you and I don’t brush away your webs; you eat up all the mosquitoes, flies, and other assorted flying I-don’t-know-whats with wings.

How do you account for this then?


It itches like the dickens, I tell you. And there’s more than one of these bites! Look, you’ll just have to take my word for it. No, I’m pretty sure you don’t “feel” me. You don’t have soft skin that welts up when bitten and itches like this!

Very uncool, guys. There are currently a couple that have even invaded the house!

Please step up and do your job. Eat the (blood)suckers! The mosquitoes are top priority. If you get those we can maybe, maybe let the other flying things slide.

Right? Right. Glad we had this talk.


2014 in Review

I originally started writing this on 22 December, as you can see below, but because of the move, and my back giving me trouble, and—frankly—WoW, I didn’t finish it. This seemed to be a good time to finish up the post, especially since we’re in traffic on the way to some friends’ for a New Year’s Eve get-together.
Continue reading


Popcorn: An Introduction

This is our cat, Popcorn. Otherwise – and often – known as “Hey!”, “Stop that!”, “OI!”, and other less-salutary names.

Captain Useless of the Meow Brigade been unusually affectionate

(My favourite nickname for her is Captain Useless of the Meow Brigade.)

We have a complicated relationship, this cat and me. It was the husband who rescued her from a puddle in a rainstorm nearly 12 years ago. And from early on he was her mama. She liked climbing legs, clothed or unclothed, and played with claws out.

I, on the other hand, am allergic to cats. Love ’em, but am allergic to them. Puffy face, swollen eyes, non-stop sneezing, runny nose, the works. The first six months the cat was with us, I took Piriton, an antihistamine, daily. It didn’t stop me from having a runny nose and swollen eyes most of the time I was home though.

The cat doesn’t love anyone but my husband and – now – me. It took him going away, back to the U.S., for a year and a half when we were engaged for her to begin getting closer to me. That’s a year and a half of feeding, of having only me for affection and reassurance and comfort. Once he returned, however, he was Person Number One again, with me trailing. But since then, I’ve been one of her people. (It’s a very short list.)

Popcorn spends most of the day sleeping on a corner of the bed in the guest room. The husband feeds her in the morning, before he leaves for work.

Feeding her, by the way, requires a special arrangement. She’s greedy and lacks self-control, so if you put down the full complement of food for any given meal, she gobbles it down too fast… and then throws up all of it a couple of minutes later. As best as we can tell, what happens is she swallows air as she inhales her food, and that’s what makes her hork it all up. Then she sits there meowing loudly and obnoxiously for more food. We’ve tried feeding at regular times (doesn’t help) and free-feeding (she gets fat; see: no self-control)—nothing but splitting up the meal into at least two portions served at least fifteen minutes apart seems to work.

I generally do the evening feeding. In between meals, the cat sleeps, as cats do. She spends the days bathed in indirect sunlight, slumbering peacefully. Except, of course, for those times I walk past, from my study to the bedroom or bathroom. Every time I pass, I meow at her, causing her to flick her ears and sometimes to turn around to look at me. Sometimes I go in and pet her, put my cheek against her fat furry flank.

I do it in part to annoy her, because I find it mildly amusing to tweak her a bit. But the truth, I realised recently, is that I also do it because despite it all? I do love her, and she’s old enough, and sleeps so soundly, and I’ve lost two beloved rabbits, that I do it to reassure myself that she’s still alive.


Scamming water

So this just happened.

I’m on the way back to the apartment after physiotherapy and lunch, with a load of groceries. I get into the lift, and one of the nice guys from the Starmart downstairs—where we get our water—is inside with a cart loaded with two Aqua water dispenser bottles, headed up to the 19th floor.

We’d ordered three bottles last night, and they’d promised us delivery at 10 a.m. today. Thing is, they’ve always been a bit spotty about delivering it when they say they will. I once spent two days without drinking water, and was reduced to buying 1.5 litre bottles of mineral water so I wouldn’t dehydrate. There was no cooking done those two days, because have you ever tried washing vegetables or rice with water from 1.5 litre bottles!?

So I’ve taken to ordering new bottles when the last full bottle goes on the dispenser, but this time I forgot till the last bottle was down to a quarter.

The lift arrives at my floor. I stick my head out the door. Three empty bottles still sit outside, in our (private) lift lobby.

“Erm. Tiga botol saya?” I say, in my crappy, anyhow-whack Bahasa Indonesia. [My three bottles?]

“Tidak ada, m’am. Kosong. Mungkin besok? Ini order kemarin.” [Don’t have, m’am. We’re out. Maybe tomorrow? These were ordered yesterday.]

“Saya order kemarin juga. Dia bilang pagi ini, jam sepuluh.” [I ordered yesterday too. He said this morning, ten o’clock.]

“Kosong, m’am.” This goes on for a couple minutes, him repeating they’re out, and that these two bottles were ordered yesterday, and me stubbornly saying that mine were also ordered yesterday, and something something about their orders for our residence stack that I don’t quite get.

“Tapi saya tidak ada air saat ini!” [But I have no water now!] Mostly true, because now we’re down to about 1/5 of the bottle, which will only last till tomorrow morning.

“Maaf bu, besok.” [Sorry m’am, tomorrow.]

In desperation, I lapse into English. “No, no. I need at least one now.”

“Already paid?”


He looks at the two bottles, thinks for a brief moment, and then pulls one bottle off the cart and offers it to me. I give him one empty.

“Yang lain besok, bisa?” [The others tomorrow?]

He nods.

“Terima kasih!!” [Thank you!]

And off he goes to deliver the remaining bottle.

TL;DR: I just ninjaed part of someone else’s water delivery. GO ME.

Tap water in Jakarta is generally not safe to drink, so like everyone else, we use a water dispenser for cooking and drinking water. [Go back to reading]


Dear Harry

Dear Harry

It’s been exactly one month and one day since I came home with you from visiting the vet and found you’d passed away on the journey back.

I had a pretty good day today: meditation workshop at the nice yoga studio where I did my AntiGravity Yoga teacher training; catching up for fellow classmates from AGY teacher training; lunch out in Midori, a Japanese restaurant out in Bintaro; good conversation over lunch about yoga and meditation and philosophy and quantum states.

I got errands run and gave small gifts of food and favours (and giving makes me happy). I even found the time and energy to go to the gym and make myself lightheaded on the elliptical.

And then I sat on the big flat beanbag on the floor (remember how you loved that beanbag?) and ate an entire can of tuna and watched TV and played music on Spotify and read while waiting for your papa to get home.

It was a nice day. Productive. Lots of positive experiences. I really enjoyed thinking and talking about how the discipline of breath meditation relates to learning to accept yourself as you are while working towards perfection, and how those seem to be mutually exclusive but don’t have to be. It was a mind- and heart-opening discussion, and I’m struck again by how what I’m reading (Yalom’s Schopenhauer Cure) is echoed in what’s happening in my life and mind.

And today I was blessed because there was very little traffic on the roads. Thank you for that gift, Jakarta!

As I was sitting there on the beanbag after my good day, I was reminded again that despite all the bad things that have happened this year—my accident, your passing, for one—and the multiple stressors I’m experiencing, I am basically and fundamentally quite happy at this point in my life. It’s not that things don’t go wrong. It’s not that I don’t get angry or upset or agitated. It’s that despite all these things I am, deep down, content.

But you know, I would have been that much happier if you’d been hanging out with me on the beanbag like in the past.

I still miss you and think of you every day. I miss your funny face. In the evenings when I go to switch the lamps on, I still expect to see your eager twitching nose going a dozen times a second and you periscoping madly as you wait for me to feed you. I miss your company especially late at night, and think of all those nights in the last year we hung out together on the carpet. You were a great companion.

I miss you every day. I hope to see you again someday, at the other end of the Rainbow Bridge, with Rufus.

Love you,


2013 in Review

It is the last evening of 2013, and I’m sitting here in our apartment in Jakarta waiting for the husband to put dinner on. He’s been cooking the holiday meals, in part, I think, because he usually doesn’t have the time, so the holidays and the occasional weekend are the only time he gets.

It’s been quite an eventful year, following in a sequence of eventful, stressful years. This year was a bit of a mixed bag:
• At the turn of the year, B and I were talking about moving to Jakarta for his work, and spent the next four months in an agony of tension as to if, and if so, when, we’d move.
• My sister-in-law was diagnosed with late-stage uterine cancer.
• My sister developed post-natal depression.
• We finally moved to Jakarta in late May, after much stressing over getting our animals here, and making arrangements for our apartment back in Singapore.
• I had a bit of a health scare when my gynaecologist found something that shouldn’t be there.

On the other hand:
• I discovered aerial silks and hoop, and spent a good chunk of time on pole before we moved.
• My niece was born, and lit up the lives of everyone around her.
• We visited friends in Perth, and I generally flew around a fair bit either on vacation or making trips back home to visit.
• I had surgery, that thing that shouldn’t have been there was biopsied and, as far as we know right now, is not a problem.
• I met up with Gabs in Singapore and we had a fab time together.
• I started horse riding lessons! I’m not very good yet, but I have fun.
• B and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary with a lovely trip to Bali.
Our plan, such as it is, for tomorrow, is to pretend to be lizards in the sun on those loungers there.
• I took an AntiGravity Fundamentals training course, and am in the process of getting certified as a Level 1 instructor.
Chandelier pose at Antigravity Yoga class. :) I love inversions.

And aside from all that, we’ve had quite a bit of good food and wine, and I’ve had the luxury of spadefuls of time in which to go to yoga class and think and make things.

I can’t sit here and ponder too long, because dinner will be on the table soon. But I did want to, in the spirit of giving thanks for blessings received and opening my heart to new blessings in 2014, make a quick list of the things I’m grateful for in Jakarta.

  1. I have access to fun activities here that would have been much more expensive and harder to get to back home—riding, regular AntiGravity Fitness classes.
  2. Our apartment here is larger than ours back home, and the cat and the rabbit have both been reaping the benefits of that. Harry, in particular, loves the extra space to run around and explore and make mad leaps. And we have room for a Christmas tree!
  3. We’ve had fireworks marking every major holiday we’ve spent here in Jakarta. It makes holidays feel remarkably festive. And yes, the New Year’s Eve fireworks started about 15 minutes ago, and are still going. Noisemakers and party horns have just kicked in too.
  4. We’ve met new people who have been open with their lives and time. B and I are both fairly introverted and solitary by disposition (though he’s far more so than I am). And as you get older, your life can contract if you’re not careful. Moving here has forced us to expand, and I’m grateful for that.
  5. Speaking of expansion, moving has also gently expanded my comfort zone. Learning to communicate in a new language, learning where to buy groceries and pay bills in a new city, learning to adapt to a new rhythm, and learning new ways to cook and make things… all these things have kept me engaged and alive. I’ve learned anew that I am much more resourceful and resilient than my first instinct. I fight the challenge and I moan and complain about it, but in reflection, I am grateful for it, because I think that in the end I will be a better person for it.

While I want to fix the formatting and add more photos, the husband’s getting hungry. Roll on, 2014, and may you be better than 2013—more good stuff, less bad stuff, okay? Happy New Year!