"The truth about not having everything you need, not being fully equipped or qualified or allowed is that these limits are the nebula of creative genius. When you have total freedom i.e: no limits at all. You stop trying to make the best of things" - Augusten Burroughs

I'm starting off this entry with this quote from the book that I bought from a recent trip to Indonesia where we spent about less than 3 weeks. It's a book by Augusten Borroughs entitled This is How: Surviving you think you can't. The quote above is one of few points that really sticks with me. The trip this time is truly an eye-opener. We spent a couple days on the first week in Jakarta, and West Java, followed by few memorable days in Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is such an amazing, wonderful, peaceful, inexpensive, colourful, surrounded by culture, history, art and just pure joy. This is where the highlight of the trip has taken place. We also got to visit a family of Mr. Iskandar Waworuntu, who is the founder of Bumi Langit Institute,  a place where his family promotes, nurtures and maintain a balanced relationship between the food that is being cultivated and consumed with the environment and its capacity to produce.  The family has grown their own staples and produces. As much as they can, they have uses these ingredient that they produced to cook their dishes.  

At Pasar Beringharjo where we bought three basket full of flowers before visiting my greatfather's grandma cemetery near Taman Sari Water Castle. 

At Pasar Beringharjo where we bought three basket full of flowers before visiting my greatfather's grandma cemetery near Taman Sari Water Castle. 

Back to the quotes that I mention earlier about being limited, Mr. Waworuntu and his family was using the ingredient only those of locally produced and yet they have created a delightful meal from these limited ingredients. At times we feel in so many ways and so many levels, that we are 'limited', be it time or resources or connections. But seeing limits as the way it was described in the book, makes me see limits differently and embrace it. It is not a constraint but something that could help us aligned ourselves of what we can be capable of and what is not.  Limits also help us to say NO and delegate those to people who are best suited to do them.

So I am in the process of learning to make friends with limits and I am thankful for this trip to once again able to see the wonderful city of Jogyakarta and all its beauty. And thankful for stumbling upon this book while transiting in Dallas, TX.


wheel throwing

This month I have bought myself a wheel! yes, a pottery wheel. I haven't talked a lot about some of my clay work in this blog. It actually has been taking most of my time if I'm not occupied with my day job. Clay somehow has been many times, again and again, find its way to me and I found myself fascinated by this particular material. Making things on the wheel has been favourite activity to pass time, and trust me, I had some experimental phases where my curiosity leads me to metal, plastic and wood shop. 

Unlike other materials, ceramic doesn't really need a power tool to fabricate a product or maybe in some level, yes. But the fact that your fingers and palm become a tool in itself, I think it's absolutely incredible. One of the reason, as I mentioned before, why clay keeps coming back to me or manage its way to me is that clay is one of material that doesn't take a lot to set up. I remember those days when I used to work at the wood shop during my OCAD years, I had to split projects into two parts: things that I can do at home (like sanding and finishing) and things that I have to do at the shop (cutting or drilling) to efficiently finish a project. Motherhood partly also have an effect on this, since I was not able to hang out over an extend period of time at the school shop and had to mostly finish a project at home in between my son's napping time. With clay and ceramic, I'm pretty much can have it all done from the beginning to finishing ready for firing at a small corner in my kitchen. 

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With owning a pottery wheel, now making things out of clay ( mostly vessels) is kind of an addiction. I ended up with a lot of pieces that are ready to bisque fire, unglazed and unfinished. I have been keeping my eye for a ceramic shop that I could take these pieces for firing and hopefully I can fire there in regular basis. But so far, places that I found in the city is too overpriced and makes me think of owning my own kiln. well,  this is all happening too fast, I don't think I'm ready yet for having my own kiln. But we'll see.


Thanksgiving in New York City

This is a very late post of the last thanksgiving weekend I spent with my mother in New York City. I have to say that every time I visit NYC there's always something new and exciting about the city ; it seems like the city never fail to surprise me on every visit.

What makes this visit special was because not only my mother is in town, but I also get to see a good friend of our family who invited us for dinner at their modest yet super cool Williamsburg house. At the dinner, we met our new friend Betty, from My Friend Betty Says, a wonderful lady, a socio-activist focusing on issues surrounding Latino women, also a fashion and lifestyle blogger. She tells us story how she was living across the world moving from cities to cities and how that reflects in a way her son was brought up.  During the night we also got to hang out with amazing people from a sculptor to a textile artist/designer, a baker and a marathon runner! It was a night well-spent!

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We had a day to check out the Open House New York, where historical buildings and places that normally would not be open to public, was accessible during this event. Few architects and interior designers were also participated in this event opened their doors to invite the public engaging the dialogue of their thought process in designing their lovely home. Above picture on the left and right was taken from Steve E. Blatz residence of Steve E. Blatz Architect 

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Visit to NYC is not complete without a stop to the MET

Cottage Weekend in Port Severn, Ontario

One weekend in October we were invited by the family of Cindee and Ron to their most beautiful and quaint cottage the Logpointe Cottages,  of Port Severn, Muskoka, Ontario. This will be our third visit since the summer last year. It was drizzly rained most of the weekend, but that did not keep us locked inside the cottage. Bellow is pictures I took using my ever-handy iPhone5 camera, amazing how handy and reliable, this camera has been to me. For more pictures, please visit my instagram @alarasati

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Last summer we rent one of the Logpointe cottages and we knew then that this is the place where we should go and spend our labour day every year. This year we came back as a courtesy invitation. Away from the city but yet it is only a couple hours drive, Logpointe makes a perfect get-away haven for families. 

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Os·cil·late: to swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm. To waver, as between conflicting opinions or courses of action; vacillate. To vary between alternate extremes, usually within a definable period of time. - merriam webster dictionary. 

This year there's a lot of oscillating, back and forth motion physically, a lot of travelling between Canada and Indonesia . This wavering and the state of impermanence does not bother me as much in the beginning. As we go a long through the year, it was getting really challenging not to be fixated with one location, even more so when I think of Wira. My thoughts were wondering, would it be possible for a family to thrive without to be attached or fixated to something, like a location? 

Above pictures shows of our bedroom in our Toronto Apartment. The thought of leaving Toronto and our lovely apartment that we have built over the years is unbearable at first. Then, we realized that we have to come to a point where we stop and evaluate. It wasn't easy to come to this decision, we took a lot of considerations. One thing that really helped me to come to a decision was the ability to embrace what's going to come and as much as you try to control the outcome, sometimes you just need to let what's in front of you unfold itself.    

Coming back to the oscillation topic, I thought to myself that it wasn't until the the development of agricultural era that human was able to cultivate and gain their necessary needs without having to move from one place to another ( it might not be two places, like in my case) but they do move seasonally according to their needs - nomad; communities are small and intimate. Now, we got the most complex structure within the society with globalization and technologies, but people feel more and more disconnected as this development gets more advanced. People are compartmentalized into activities and schedules. Play and learn, leisure and work are divided. Recently, I have took  an interest in looking at how modern inventions affect the way we see life and noticing how unnatural and almost against our true nature for us to live and thrive within the inventions of modern era. 

People with family like myself often crave the feel of permanence and establishments. People seeking establishments through jobs; a friend told me: "choose this job instead of that, because it has really good benefits and other perks." though the job might not be one that I really like to do. While it's probably good for some people in certain job field, but I don't think it is not for me. It is very unfortunate sometimes that this idea of permanence and establishments are seen as the only way to achieve good living.

 It is probably cultural more than anything,  and I can't say that it applies to everyone in Indonesia, but there I felt less of the pressure to submitting into the idea of establishment. Oscillation was embraced more often and it doesn't matter what your economic situation are. People were more flexible and fluid in accepting the situation that nothing is permanent. 


what could be my last fall in Toronto. 

what could be my last fall in Toronto.