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2018 and low standards

2017 left me tired to the bones. DD, DH, and I got sick very often; sometimes one at a time, other times all three simultaneously. I can’t remember a period where all of us were completely snot-free and cough-free at the same time. Being sick sucks, but caregiving is a new level of exhaustion; it is endless work with very little reward.

Also, being me, I spent a lot of 2017 worrying about the roads not taken, i.e. life choices I did not make. Just another case of FOMO, apparently, but sometimes those thoughts became so intrusive that I had to stop whatever I was doing in order to finish thinking those thoughts.

And so I came up with the conclusion that 2018 is the year of doing less. Think less, buy less, consume less. Social media pressure us to have an exciting and adventurous life, and a few years ago I might have agreed, but now all I want to do is stay home and watch Black Mirror.

I don’t care about travels and holiday trips, because after such trip one of us always gets sick it’s hardly worth it. I have zero interest in reducing my carb intakes or starting meditation. I uninstalled all of my shopping apps but one; hopefully this year I can get by without buying any piece of clothing. I quit my SCOOP (now Gramedia Digital) subscription months ago because while it’s a cheap alternative for reading, I also feel pressured to read as many books as possible in a month in order to maximize my subscription. Capek ya.

So this year I settle with three goals to focus on, two of them writing-related and one money-related. They’re pretty boring, basically just more writing and less money-spending. But I already decided I’m more than okay with 2018 being an uneventful year.

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Main ke Rimba Baca

Sejak minggu lalu, Amel sudah libur sekolah. Dia sih seneng, sayanya yang basi seharian di rumah. Buat mengisi liburan, kami menginap beberapa hari di Jakarta, dan hari ini saya sempetin ngajak Amel ke perpustakaan anak Rimba Baca.

Lokasi
Ini salah satu (kalau bukan satu-satunya) perpustakaan anak yang mudah dijangkau dari rumah. Lokasinya di perumahan RSPP Cilandak. Gampang dicari sih, tapi tempatnya sendiri ga ada papan namanya. Cuma ada poster kecil yang ga keliatan dari jalan. Jadi dari luar kelihatan kayak rumah biasa aja.

Parkiran ada, tapi spacenya ga begitu banyak. Kalau lagi rame kayanya ribet.

Jam buka
10.00 – 17.00
Saya datang sekitar jam 10.30. Masih kosong.

Tarif masuk
30.000 untuk Amel, 5.000 buat saya sebagai pendamping.
Ga nanya biaya membershipnya. Urang Bogor ga bakal sering-sering ke sini juga.

Kantin
Ga ada. Cuma ada kulkas minuman plus keranjang berisi wafer, cokelat, dsb. Jadi sebaiknya makan dulu sebelum ke sini.

Perpustakaan Anak
Perpustakaan anak ini adanya di lantai dasar. Buku-bukunya dipisahkan sesuai kategori umur.

Di sini banyak kursi kecil, bantal, dan karpet lucu-lucu. Ada boneka Paddington juga lho. Amel langsung kegirangan ngeliatnya.

Tempatnya terang. Ada AC tapi ga gitu berasa. Untungnya sepi, jadi ga gerah.

Berhubung di sini belum ada katalog online-nya (ya iyalah perpus kecil aja kok), kalo kesulitan nyari buku harus tanya sama mbak-mbak pustakawannya. Koleksinya lumayan, kebanyakan buku berbahasa Inggris. Buku Paddington ada beberapa (tetep aja Paddington yang dicari). Buku nostalgia macam Enid Blyton, Astrid Lindgren, dan Roald Dahl juga ada.

Perpustakaan Dewasa
Di lantai atas isinya buku-buku orang dewasa. Saya cuma lihat sepintas sih. Buku-buku mainstream ada lah.

Recommended?
Yes. Lumayan banget ada tempat membaca buat anak yang nyaman dan mudah dijangkau.

Bullet Journaling

Setelah lama tertunda, bulan November ini akhirnya saya mulai membuat bullet journal. Dari dulu sih saya rajin bawa notebook di tas, tapi fungsinya lebih buat coret-coret ide tulisan alih-alih sebagai planner. Kali ini ceritanya saya mau adulting dulu, jadi orang yang lebih organized.

Berhubung saya ga bisa gambar dan tulisan tangan juga pas-pasan, jangan dibandingkan dengan bujo ala Instagram tentunya. Jauh.

In terms of apa saja yang dibutuhkan, I keep it at the bare minimum.

Yang pertama: notebook. Pengennya sih ya beli Leuchtturm 1917 tapi sebagai pemegang prinsip ngapain-mahal-kalo-bisa-murah, akhirnya saya memberdayakan notebook gratisan dari kantor suami yang lama.

Kertasnya dotted, agak tipis jadi gampang tembus. Sampulnya hard cover. Ada tali pembatasnya tapi sayang ga ada pen holdernya. Karena saya butuh banget media buat bawa pulpen, akhirnya bikin sendiri. Modal karet elastis dan benang jarum doang lol.

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Kedua, pulpen. Tadinya saya pakai pulpen Staedtler Triplus, tapi tembus cyin. Jadi ganti ke pulpen Boxy doang. Murah cuma tujuh ribuan. Saya pakai warna hitam doang, soalnya ga mahir memadupadankan warna. Dan pengen ngirit juga lol.

Ketiga, washi tape (opsional). Ini bisa buat pembatas atau dekorasi. Saya pakai dikit doang sih, itu pun hasilnya kurang bagus wajaja.

Lalu isinya apa aja?

Ada kalender dan Future Log buat mencatat acara penting dalam setahun. Future log saya mah kosong karena saya ga banyak acara.

Setelah itu saya juga bikin Cleaning Log buat mencatat kapan tanggal terakhir servis AC, bersihin ruang cuci, dll. Ga usah difoto lah ya, ntar ketauan malesnya.

Selanjutnya ada Monthly Log. Seperti ini penampakannya. Banyakan kosongnya karena hidup saya quite uneventful wajaja.

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Monthly Log

Dalam sebulan saya mencatat Reading Progress. Saya menyediakan dua halaman buat ini, tapi kayanya kebanyakan sis. Lol. Rupanya saya ga membaca sebanyak yang saya sangka.

Reading Progress

Word Count Tracker gunanya buat mencatat berapa kata yang saya tulis dalam sehari. Bentuknya tabel begini doang sih.

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Word Count Tracker

Selanjutnya ada Expense Tracker buat mencatat pengeluaran.

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Expense Tracker

Jurnal ini ga cuma buat mencatat log pribadi saya. Kebiasaan Amel juga dicatat dalam Habit Tracker kaya gini.

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Habit Tracker

Itu semua periodenya bulanan ya. Sekarang yang mingguan dicatat dalam Weekly Log. Awalnya saya bikin kaya gini:

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Weekly Log

Tapi rupanya terlalu lowong, sodara-sodara. Secara saya ga banyak acara dan ga banyak daily goal juga selain staying alive dan menulis 500 kata sehari, yang sudah dicatat dalam Word Count Tracker.

Nah karena layout minggu pertama itu buang-buang space aja, buat minggu kedua saya jatahi satu halaman aja. Nyoba bikin kaligrafi tapi fail.

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Weekly Log

Memasuki minggu ketiga, standar semakin rendah.

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Weekly Log

Terakhir, saya juga punya seksi Brain Dump buat mencatat ide-ide tulisan. Bagian inilah yang paling mirip dengan jurnal saya yang lama. Letak dan jumlah halamannya random aja, tergantung sebanyak apa dan kapan idenya muncul. Gambarnya ga dipajang soalnya rahasia bahaha.

Saya ga bikin Gratitude Log karena not my style ah. Tapi kadang-kadang saya nyelipin quote di bullet journal ini.

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Quote

Rethinking Social Media

I don’t want to be one of those people who said they are fed up with social media and then came back two weeks later, looking down on the rest of us from their digital detox high horse, writing articles like “I left social media and this is what I learned” and posting it on social media.

But it’s been a while since social media has been truly fun for me. 

I’ve always liked Facebook. It allows you to follow and unfollow people without them knowing and while staying friends with them. Sometimes I think it’s the only social site I need. But, how come only old people are still on Facebook now? Where have all my friends gone?

Instagram, apparently. But I often find myself spending hours on Instagram, just mindlessly browsing through stranger’ photos. It’s like the app is designed so that you never leave the place. Ever.

And then there’s Goodreads. To an author (or just me), opening Goodreads is like entering a warzone. I’d get so worked up on whether or not people like my book. How many reviews does my book get today? How many stars?

And so I came to a point where I wondered, what does this add up to? What do I get out of this? Sometimes it feels like I’m doing it out of habit or seeking validation (yay, likes! I still have friends!) than anything else.

So I tried some tips from people who broke up with their phone. Some people switched back to a dumbphone, because apparently dumbphone is the new cool. Eh, a little too extreme for me. Next.

Deleting the apps? I did that for Twitter and Goodreads, but then I’d just find myself opening the sites from the web browser *shrugs*.

Putting my phone in a different room during sleep? Here’s the situation: I usually wake up an hour before my daughter does, but I can’t leave the bed because somehow, her subconscious knows that and she’ll wake up. And asleep is how I like her best (I know, I’m such a bad mom). So without my phone around, I just stare at the walls. Alone. With my thoughts. At 4 am. Nah.

The only trick that works so far (other than STRONG willpower) is to log out of my account after using the app. The need to log in every time I want to use an app prevents me from checking it every 15 minutes.

I still haven’t found the middle ground to this problem (once again, other than STRONG willpower). Like, I still want to use social media once in a while, but not give in to what the developers want, i.e. for me to spend as much time as possible using the apps.

Can everyone just go back to Facebook, please?

If I had a penny for every time someone told me it’s time for another child

There are many ways to respond to someone who says now is a good time to for me to have a second child.

I can smile politely and ignore them. I can go through a list of well-rehearsed reasons on why they are wrong. I can write a book about it and make some money.

But really, most of the time what I want to do is break into a tantrum and cry: BUT BUT BUT, WHAT ABOUT THE FACT THAT I HAVEN’T SLEPT IN THREE YEARS?

As I’m writing this, my toddler is giggling in her sleep, in our queen-sized bed where three is definitely a crowd. So forgive me if I don’t want to share what little space I have with a growing belly or one more human being.

What has been on my search page lately

Well.

Yesterday we had a family gathering event from her school, where there were FOOD. And GAMES.

It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, what’s important is the solidarity–definitely not my motto.

We’re totally winning

You’d think I’d be able to sleep after all the exhaustion from winning. But nope. Why would you go to sleep when you could ruminate over what happened 10 years ago? My brain seems to say.

Anyway. My husband is starting a new job next week. Since his hours will be unpredictable, he will spend most of his weeknights in Jakarta. We have tried this arrangement for a few weeks now, and it went surprisingly well. I think all this time we kept invading each other’s personal space, so it’s nice to have some room.

It’s past midnight now. Better try and get some sleep.

Preschool and Decision Making

With DD starting preschool and me suddenly having uninterrupted time to write my novel, blogging is not exactly on top of my priorities right now. So, a few updates.

DD is in preschool now, three days a week, two hours each day. I sat with her in the class during the first 3-4 days, but after that she seemed to be doing quite well. Of course, please remember I have a low standard, so by “quite well” I mean she still follows her teacher around and was too shy to talk until very recently. That’s fine for me. I don’t really expect her to instantly warm up to the new environment.

I think preschool is a much-needed break for both of us. She seems to be more cheerful and independent; she self-feeds and puts on her own shoes and, most importantly, her tantrums are tamer now.

I, on the other side, have six hours a week to write. It feels so good to have uninterrupted writing time. And, now that I have other mommies to talk to, this is also an improvement to my social life, lol.

Putting DD in preschool feels like a good decision now–at least it’s not one of those parenting decisions that keep me up at night, ruminating: “Is this the right thing to do? Did I just ruin her life?”. But months before that, I used to agonize over the choices, wondering if she’s too young, if it’s just me wanting to have a break from her, and so on and so forth.

In one of NPR podcasts, I heard that we usually feel better once we made an irrevocable decision. This counts as irrevocable, I guess, since we had to pay quite a lot for the admission fee. So once we paid for it, we just don’t look back.

But what interests me now is what happens when the decision is not irrevocable. What with having an overwhelming number of choices (in just about everything in life) and the FOMO phenomena, I often find myself agonizing over the road not taken. There are two types of people in regards to decision-making, if I remember correctly: satisficers and maximizers. And, not surprisingly, I realize I’m on the more miserable team, the maximizers. So it’s not that I’m lousy with making decisions. Instead, I’m just lousy at being satisfied with the decisions I made.

Life Lately: Health Insurance, Emo Songs and Podcasts, and HGTV

‚ÄčAsuransi lewat limit

Sepanjang tahun 2017 sejauh ini, kami sekeluarga sakit mulu. Jangankan tiap bulan; tiap minggu aja pasti ada alasan yang mengharuskan ke rumah sakit: konsultasi, kontrol, tes lab, dsb.

Dari kantor suami, kami dapet jatah rawat jalan sekian juta setahun buat bertiga. Once upon a time, asuransi kesehatan ini pernah ga terpakai sama sekali karena saya dan suami (waktu itu belum ada Amel) relatif sehat. Malah dapet hadiah sepeda karena jatahnya utuh selama setahun. Sepedanya masih ada sampai sekarang, tapi bannya kempes entah udah berapa lama ga dinaikin, lol.

Itu dulu. As I said, belakangan ini kami sering sekali bolak-balik RS. Karena transaksinya cashless tinggal nunjukin kartu doang, saya ga terlalu aware dengan biaya yang dikeluarkan. #adultingfail

Kemudian beberapa hari yang lalu, suami saya ngabarin bahwa total transaksi rawat jalan kami sudah melebihi limit periode ini, lalala. Periode selanjutnya baru mulai bulan Oktober nanti. Which means we better not get sick sampai Oktober.

Emo Songs and Podcasts

Entah karena faktor ga sempet atau gagal move on, koleksi musik saya belum diapdet sejak tahun 2012. Yang mana, bahkan di tahun 2012, isinya adalah kumpulan lagu emo awal dekade 2000-an, gyahaha. Lagu-lagu band macam The Used, Taking Back Sunday, dan Finch pada jamannya dulu sangat relatable bagi angsty teenager macam saya, lol.

Tapi belakangan ini saya agak bosen dengan koleksi musik saya, karena ya itu tadi, ga pernah diapdet. Jadilah saya mulai coba dengerin podcast, dan ternyata … ketagihan.

Berikut beberapa podcast favorit saya:

  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking: kalau ditanya “how are you?”, jawaban umumnya adalah fine, biar ga panjang-panjang. Podcast ini menyiarkan pengalaman orang-orang yang, kalau mau jujur, bakal jawab: terrible, thanks for asking.
  • Secular Jihadists: gengnya salah satu penulis favorit saya, Ali A. Rizvi, dan tiga orang ex-Muslim, ngomongin isu-isu kekinian. Warning: ga cocok buat orang-orang yang gampang merasa agama mereka dinistai.
  • NPR Ted Radio Hour: karena who has the time buat nonton video Ted.  Satu episode isinya highlight dari beberapa Ted talks dengan tema yang sama, beserta interview dengan speakernya. Suara Guy Raz, hostnya, soothing banget.

Ada yang punya rekomendasi podcast Indonesia?

HGTV: is it fake? Probably. Do I love it any less? Hell no.

Buat yang ga tau, HGTV adalah channel dengan spesialisasi di bidang renovasi rumah, berkebun, dsb. Beberapa program yang terkenal mencakup House Hunters, Property Brothers, dan Love It or List It.

Harus diakui saya merasa channel ini agak meng-glorify (apa sih istilahnya) konsep home ownership. Belum lagi rumah-rumahnya yang bikin saya mikir: do you really need that much space? Ditambah lagi, misalnya di program Tiny House Hunter, orang-orangnya selalu mengeluarkan dumb comment macam, “This is so tiny!” Like, wtf do you expect?

Tetap saja, nonton HGTV itu guilty pleasure banget karena I just loooove seeing those beautiful homes dengan open floor concept, granite countertop, dan subway tiles backsplash, lol.

Suatu hari pas nonton Lakefront Bargain Hunt, saya dan suami sama-sama mikir: this is so fake. Jadi, percakapan di programnya tuh berasa scripted banget gitu lah. Dan rupanya memang beredar kabar bahwa reality show di channel ini, well, not so real.

Tapi apa itu lantas berarti saya berhenti nonton HGTV? Haha. No.