Thursday, November 27, 2008

Picassa 3, from Google

Look what I made...great idea for Christmas cards.

I have loved Google's Picassa program for ages, especially their grid collages, but this new collage feature is the best.I have seen a few of these collages around Jakarta recently, all framed wonderfully and have been tempted to make my self learn PS, but Picassa has rescued me!

I can teach you how to care, manage, program and operate most Noritsu machines from the last 30 years. I am well versed in the setup and use of Noritsu's photo editing soft ware, and because of this I am totally unable to use Adobe Photo Shop (well I suppose I could if I tried.....).

This took me under a minute to create and looks wonderful printed. As you can imagine, I take a lot of photos and have physically run out of room/walls/shelves to display them all. These collages look fantastic enlarged and framed; you get the benefit from all the photos in an eye catching wow look.

The best thing about this photo editing software is that it is FREE, and from a known and reliable source. It is also very simple to use.

( I am in NO way associated with google, this is just a personal opinion)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Termite invasion

We were sitting in the dark recently, chatting away about our days when I suddenly realised how quickly we have become used to new ways of life in a different country.

We are in the plague season in our suburb. Surprisingly, in a city of 25+million people, we have about 5 vacant plots of land around us, all covered in thick jungle. I think this contributes to the abundance of critters around here. (I haven't mentioned about another snake in my Jakarta garage have I......mmmm I am trying to block this memory. What is it about snakes and my homes? These links are to the stories and photos about snakes (plural!!!!) in my Australian home)

On dusk about 2-3 times a week we get a swarm of flying ants.
The staff call them rayap, which I translate as termites.
Here are some links.

These critters are attracted to the light, so all lights go off and we sit in the dark for about 15 minutes and then it is time to clean up. The floor is usually littered with hundreds of wings.

We now let the kids get out the bug zappers and they run around zapping hundreds every minute.

Another interesting tidbit from life in the tropics.......

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Imported goods and Electricity in Jakarta.

This is an extract from a great newsletter I receive weekly, anyone can subscribe, it's free and it lets you know about upcoming events.
This is how we find out about some of the fun things to do in Jakarta.
This is the web site:

Hello again fellow Jakartan's!! We are sure that we are not the only ones in Indonesia wondering when the current alcohol-crisis will finish? Rumors have it that there are 60 containers of imported alcohol sitting at Jakarta's port. Apparently customs have imposed an excise tax of 300% per bottle – at which importers can't and will not pay. Trying to buy quality imported spirits is like a quest suitable for Indiana Jones – and when one does have the opportunity to buy some they are forced to pay 4 or 5 times the normal retail value. Wines can be found more easily but again you are paying in most cases 5+ times their normal retail price that you would pay at the origin location. We assume all this means very healthy financial times for the beer companies. In what is supposed to be a free market economy it seems some very monopolistic practices are the root cause here. Further to this, we have also heard that there is already some enforcement of restricting the import of foreign made goods if similar goods are manufactured in Indonesia. This extends to a large range of food items including cheese. (and brown sugar and heaps of other imported foods!!!!!!!!!!!, fruit has nearly doubled in price, I spend nearly $50/week on fruit alone) It is probable that this has been enforced with view to protecting local industries in the wake of the current financial crisis around the world – however such protectionist and isolationist measures could have a counter productive reaction from other countries who may consider retaliatory measures against Indonesian exports. For a country that boasts of a free & open market economy concept and that embraces Western investment and tourism, it surprising that these issues are occurring – and with very little media attention that we have seen thus far. Lets all hope that good sense prevails sooner rather than later. Otherwise a lot of people will be sadly missing having the brandy added to their Xmas puddings this year! Anyway over the next week there is plenty happening around town to enjoy – so celebrate over the next week with your friends around town this week & enjoy what this wonderful (but almost alcohol dry) city has to offer! Anyway bye for now and enjoy the rest of your week!

The cost of living is becoming enormous for us here.
I think our electricity is being stolen, goodness nows how long that will take to get sorted!!!!
We have really cut back our consumption, yet the bill keeps climbing. Last month the bill was 4.9 million Rupiah...just under AU$640.(US$410.)

This is for ONE MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is another thing that the scrooge company that GJ works for doesn't contribute to, we pay all cost of living, tax and majority of education. GJ needs to get into oil, gas , banking or mining, much better packages!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I will be finished uni exams at 11.40am on Wednesday the 19th November.

I might be able to reclaim my life then.

Here is an excerpt from a recent email that sums up my mental state.......

My uni exams start next week and I am beyond stressed, not really even human.......GJ just smiles at me and nods at what ever I say.....clever man!
Nearly 17 years of hard labour (whoops marriage) has taught him well....
It is prohibition here at the moment....all imported food confiscated because of the Chinese milk scandal (not really, it is an election in March and with the financial crisis there is a lack of funds, so every one taking every thing and you have to pay bribes to get it back........). So no decent food and the only thing to drink is cask wine..........
Our list of wants in no particular order:
roast lamb with rosemary
BBQ roast chicken
wine in a bottle
champagne with bubbles
fresh meat
GXXXXXXXX (famous local Indian shop) butter chicken
junk mail
Christmas carols
frankfurters/cheerio's/little boys
real sausages
lettuce that won't kill
shoes.......BXXXXXXXXXX will explain the importance of this one..........
honey beef and beans, yes your mums recipes, still one of my FAVOURITES!
I would like a bit of non mosque loudspeaker time too...if I can mention this with out sounding whingee.......
Speak soon

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Latin Ball, Shangri-La Jakarta

We had a wonderful night at the 30th Latin Carnaval Ball at the Shangri-La Hotel, Jakarta.

I was writing an email to my friend telling her all about the ball and the thing that most sprung to mind as my favourite part of the night was that the ball room was non smoking and the rule was enforced.

It was so nice to have fresh air!!!!!!

The Spanish Speaking Womens Association did some awe inspiring dances, they were fantastic. There was a professional dancer that managed to move her hips in ways that I did not think was possible. I would love to be able to dance like that!

I met a new friend from my blog: Hi James, welcome to Jakarta!

We left relatively early, we had to catch a taxi home and I did not want to be roaming the streets of Jakarta on the night they executed the Bali Bombers.

It is going to be an interesting few weeks in Indonesia now that they have been executed, there are already reports of an angry mob at the burial sites.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

One Word Wonders meme

This meme was from my bloggy friend Kaci at Wipe the Seat.....

I have to answer one word questions.

1. Clothes: Like them, like them a lot.

2. Furniture: I would rather buy furniture than shoes!

3. Sweet: Only GOOD chocolate, never lollies. No sugar added to anything.

4. City. Jakarta now, previously Brisbane and Sydney. On my wish list: China (Beijing, Shanghai), Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, St Petersburg, Vietnam, Boston, Seattle, Canada………

5. Drink: Soda water, water, coffee, white wine. That’s it…..nothing else, oh and at least 4 litres a day.

6. Music: very eclectic… favourites: Ella Fitzgerald, George Michael, Chris Isaac, Robbie Williams, Karen Carpenter (I know very embarrassing to admit, but of her voice is wonderful). I have nearly 9000 songs on itunes, yet I listen to the same stuff over and over.

7. TV Series: Just discovered Weeds, how could I have missed this for so long. I love Torchwood, Lost, Outrageous Fortunes (
New Zealand), Little Britain. I watch all on DVD, with no commercials. I don’t actually watch live TV.

8. Film: Hardly every go to the cinema, DVD’s are available with in a week for less than a dollar.

9. Workout: what does this mean???????????????????? Work, study, kids……when?? Occasionally on my treadmill.

10. Pastries: no, almost never.

11. Coffee: I love it but only instant coffee, Moccona by choice. No cappuccinos, frappothingies lol. Just quality, freeze dried instant. I live in Java…the home of coffee…….yet I buy my coffee in
Australia and bring it here in zip loc bags.

Please consider yourself tagged!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A library tree.

My little classroom is actually an annex/sun room at the end of the library. It is lovely spot, it feels very welcoming and relaxing. Instead of student desks I have a proper table and chairs where we sit side by side in a group.
In September we noticed a a little green thing growing up through the carpet, over the next week it grew 10 cm (4"), we had a tree growing out of the floor!

It became the big tall could our library tree grow?
We wrote sentences and stories about it, we made predictions about its growth and we theorized about how it got there.
Finally our tree got too big and it was in danger of causing damage to the walls and was removed. Our tree had reached over a meter tall.

I have found a new topic to cover in my classes, I try and have a theme per term and get it to cross over to the needs and ages of all students. I work with kids in year one right through to year six.

This term I am doing phonic blends and this week we concentrated on two sounds: au, aw, or and oy, oi.

One of my examples of au was autumn. I was astonished to find that most kids could not tell me the seasons in order or even know what they were.

In the tropics it is hot and wet or hot and dry.

Next week we are doing seasons.

Our school is secular, ie no religious focus at all, and as such there is no craft or lesson focus on Christmas (or any other religions special occasions). No trees, tinsel etc not even Christmas stories/books.

But...if I am doing seasons I might be able to do a few colorful snow flakes....

Jakarta Opera, The Magic Flute

The girls and I attended the opera on Saturday night, Georgie is now a huge fan. Chelsea lasted until 10 minutes before the end......luckily she had her iPod.

We went to a magnificent theater at the British International School, the theater was opened earlier this year by Prince Andrew, we half wished the Prince Charles might come, but no he didn't.

Here is a link to another attendee, with better photos, and a interesting commentary.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween in Jakarta

Halloween is not such a big thing in Australia. The kids love that in Jakarta, the expat community organizes a few parties.
The kids were all allowed to wear their costumes to school on Friday and then we went to another International school for a Halloween disco.
We had Georgia as a grim reaper, Chelsea as a devil and Ben was a pirate during the day and black spider man at night.
I was a biker chick....I forgot to take photos of me...I had these cool sleeves that you can buy in Bali, that are like flesh covered stockings that are covered in tattoos. From a distance it looks like you really do have arms completely covered in tattoos.