Thursday, September 29, 2005

Updated photo album

Golf has updated our photo album: Our recent visit to Jack London Square in Oakland where we went to a bookstore and farmer's market, my sister Alise's visit and lastly, some pics of Golf's family and my friend A at the airport in Bangkok saying goodbye from Aug. 26th.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Some books

Yesterday we went to Jack London Square in Oakland to get some shopping done. Our first stop was at Bed Bath and Beyond to get a shower caddy. Then it was off to Barnes and Noble. I haven't been there in years! While I believe in getting 99% of my reading material from the library, I wanted a few books to keep for myself. One was a book about portion control called The Portion Teller. The #1 reason for weight problems is not what you eat but how much. This is so true, and it goes over in detail what real portion sizes should be, instead of these collosal servings that are offered in grocery stores and restaurants. So my weight loss strategy is to eat really good quality food and eat real, smartsize portions of it.

The other book I got wasn't for me, but for Aidan. When I grew up, my mother read us all the Mother Goose nursery rhymes, so I bought a book for my son, The Original Mother Goose. What prompted me to remember was a radio show I was listening to very early on Sunday morning and the guest was discussing the origins of these much beloved rhymes. Like Ring Around the Rosy is all about the bubonic plague! I found an internet site that also discusses the history of these rhymes and it's called Lost lyrics, history and origins of old nursery rhymes .

We ended our visit with shopping at the farmer's market there. It was huge and Golf's first time at a farmer's market. Very cool. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Early morning thoughts about child behavior

Somebody small woke me up at 4:30 this morning, and after nursing, he was awake and alert. It was 5 AM. OK, so up I get and I put the coffee on -- I may as well stay up. He just now went to sleep and it's now 6:30 and since I've had some caffeine, I can't go back to sleep, so I may as well blog! I can take a nap later on this afternoon, if he lets me. :)

The last few weeks I've been getting caught up on American TV. My parents have decided to pay for our cable TV, so I've been watching it (more than I should, really!) and I discovered the much publicized show called "Supernanny" in which a British Mary Poppins-like nanny comes to households whose children are out-of-control naughty. These kids are horrendous acting, but the underlying theme I see this nanny employ to these families is to get on a daily routine, do activities with the kids, be firm and follow through with discipline and set high expectations.

I don't think I was ever horrible as a child, neither were my sisters, and my mother will be a great source of wisdom for raising Aidan to be a good boy, or at least one who is in control and respectful. Bottom line is that parents must provide structure and routine for the little ones and follow up on discipline. I'm hooked on Supernanny so I can know how deal later on as Aidan gets bigger.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Last night in the wee morning hours Golf and I were jolted awake when our entire apartment jerked and it made a loud noise, like someone dropped an entire sofa in the living room. I had a feeling it was an earthquake and sure enough, this morning I heard on the news that it was. It was a 3.2, near Oakland, which is about two miles from where we live.

My heart was racing hard and when I finally fell asleep again, I dreamed of THE BIG ONE and how our apartment complex would collapse since we're on the third floor and would I get to my baby on time. Or what would happen if Golf were working in Berkeley when the big one hit. How would he call me? (We have no cell phone and who's to say that would work anyway?) How would he make his way home if the streets and freeways and the tunnel to Alameda were ruined? No communication and no way home, I wouldn't know if he were dead or alive. Hmmm... much like what happened with many of the hurricane victims who could not find their loved ones, sometimes their own children. I could not imagine....

So it got me to thinking about preparing an earthquake kit. Even just a little something for the apartment and the car. You can never know and it will surely happen here sooner or later.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My sister's visit

My middle sister (I'm the eldest of three girls) came over all the way from Santa Barbara since Tuesday and she had to leave on Thursday morning. It was SOOO lovely to see her again. The last time I saw her was April of last year and for just as many days when I was visiting from Thailand. It was so cool because she had lost like 90 pounds and looked fantastic! A few days of visit in just as many years is a shock when you see how much someone you know so well and love so much has changed. It's been subtly like that with all my friends and family who I haven't seen in so long. We're all aging and it's an interesting process to witness, from our physical bodies to our outlook on life. Kinda neat.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

One Year Ago Today I got

My big fat positive pregnancy test! Aidan's officially just over a year old now. Hooray!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Updated photo album

Golf updated our photo album. Got some fatty pictures of me, but it inspires me to lose the weight! Included are some area shots of the downtown part of the neighborhood that was on our walk today. We're holding off on the stroller for a little while cause Aidan gets upset. I think he's still a little bit too small for it and still prefers to be close to mommy, so we do the snuggly. Hey, it's an extra 15 pounds of weight, good for buring extra calories!

Home made yogurt & other culinary bits

Yesterday I made my first ever home made yogurt with my new yogurt machine. It took about seven hours to make, and this afternoon for a snack I had my first jar. It was OK -- a little tart to my liking, but the texture was good. Unfortunately, when I boiled the milk, it had boiled over and even scalded, which does affect the taste, so next time I'll be extra careful. I imagine that something like making yogurt takes practice to become good.

Today I'm also making my first beef stock with some left over rib bones I have. I'll have it on a nice slow simmer for five hours to give me some really tasty brown stock for recipes in the future. I love this new cooking adventure!

I'm also excited to see my sister who lives in Santa Barbara. She's coming tomorrow. Before she arrives, Golf agreed to come to the farmer's market with me and I would also like to bake some fresh coffeehouse style scones with dried organic cherries. I hope she likes them! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

I got a free bike!

Golf, Aidan and I were just returning from our walk to the shopping center and noticed that our other (quiet) neighbors had their own bikes out getting ready for a ride but one of their bikes had a sign on it that said FREE. And it was a perfectly good, nice looking bike. It needs a new tire and likely a tune up, but hey it's the best deal there is! So today I'm going to go buy a bike lock. It will now be SOOO convenient to run to the store, library or farmer's market without having to ever take the car and it will take a fraction of the time as walking. What great luck that the universe has provided for us! We haven't driven the car in about two days now. :)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The fan drowns it out..

Our neighbors were noisy again. I'm just going to have to resign myself to the fact that I'm not going to be able to fall asleep until 10:30 every night, even though I'm ready for bed by about 9:30. I feel thankful that the first few months with Aidan, I went to bed with him at 8:30 and we had concrete walls that kept out neighborly noise and could actually sleep. Can't hang anything on the walls, though. So I tried out the fan we have to create a white noise and it worked out well enough. Kept out the smaller noise, but the big bumps and bangs are just going to have to be tolerated . I despise the fool who designed this apartment comlex. Who puts a kitchen right next to the master bedroom for chrissake?!? I wish I could wear earplugs but we have to be able to hear the baby when or if he wakes during the night. I was nearly ready to move our bedroom into the living room and put our livingroom into the bedroom I was that irritated and upset, but that's no way to live.

At any rate, today was Aidan's doctor's appointment and all went well. He's officially 15 pounds and well within the healthy range. The pediatrician spent a good portion of time with us asking and answering questions and examined the baby well. Poor thing got three shots and now he's taking a nice long nap. Luckily we won't have to return until he's six months old. Hard to believe he's already nearly four months!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Explored the farmers' market

OK, so I can't own a house, but I do get to live in a cool metropolitan area that is very vibrant. And boy do we have a variety of farmers' markets! The local one here is only a mile and a half from my home, so I walked there while Golf took care of the baby. It's so fantastic! Next time I'm having them come with me. I bought beets, okra, white, yellow and purple onions, some organic heirloom tomatoes, basil, peaches, nectarines and plums. Now I've got to go find a good recipe for beets that I can make besides borcht, although I LOOVE borcht!

The joys of apartment living

Golf and I woke up at 4:45 this morning, not because of the baby, but because of our neighbors. We have extremely thin walls, and they keep the oddest hours. Their kitchen and bathroom are right next to the master bedroom and we hear EVERYTHING. They clatter plates, stomp around on the floor, beep the microwave buttons, slam cupboard doors and talk loudly. No consideration whatsoever. Golf was PO'd to the extreme and even knocked on our wall. Lot of good that'll do, these people are clueless. He plans to talk to the apartment manager today, as a few weeks is all we can handle of this. Then the baby woke up and after nursing decided it was time to stay awake, so I got up with him at 6 AM and now the coffee's just about ready. Letting Golf sleep some more. Those of you living in houses, count your blessings.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dontcha love automated menus!

Yesterday I could have pulled my hair out. I'm filling out an application for Healthy Families, a low cost health insurance program for children. I needed to call to ask about income verification, since our situation is different with all my earnings being done abroad and dh is self employed. I call and get the dreaded automated menu. Press one for this option, press two for that option. I rarely push those options -- I wanna speak to a PERSON. It drives me crazy.

Then I am put on hold because "all the representatives are busy helping others" and it ended up that I HAD to leave a voice mail message. I hate doing that. I want to speak with a person TODAY and I don't mind waiting to do it. This system gave me no choice and now I have to wait up to two days for assistance getting this done. It sucks.

I also tried calling this local health care clinic to see if they did vaccinations for babies, since Aidan's four month well baby appointment is coming up and he needs his next round of vaccinations. Well this place, nobody answered the phone and the voicemail was already full so I couldn't even leave a message! I tried about four times to call and got the same thing. This clinic's address was just over a mile from home, so I took Aidan for a walk thinking if nobody is answering their phone, perhaps I could talk to somebody in person. Aidan was in a grumpy mood and cried and screamed the whole way down. It sucked. I got there to an empty building!! They'd moved! I asked the dry cleaning lady next door what happened and she said they moved but didn't leave a sign saying where their new location was. What a waste of time. But at least I got some exercise despite Aidan's crying.

I decided to just make an appointment with a pediatrician that takes our insurance (with a HIGH deductible, so his well baby appt is out of pocket anyway) and got him in for this Thursday. It will be AT LEAST a few hundred bucks so I hope that Healthy Families calls me back.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Cooking and meal planning

Before moving here I would daydream endlessly about all the lovely meals I would cook and how I would experiment in the kitchen.

I still plan to do that, but once we are more settled and I get more of my kitchen gear. In the meantime, I never realized how difficult it is to do meal planning! Cooking is the easy part -- it's deciding what to eat and then going and acquiring the ingredients that's the more difficult part. And I plan two meals a day, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is nonexistant for Golf and for me it's always fruit and yogurt, a no brainer.

But I end up going to the grocery store every day to get the things I need to make something that day and I neglect what I intend to prepare the next day, so another trip is in order. Any suggestions from any at home chefs out there? Maybe it's something that will work itsself out over time. I hope so because the daily trips aren't economical, even if I walk because I end up buying more than I need sometimes.

We think he's teething....

Aidan's been drooling for weeks now and the last few days he's been terribly fussy and grumpy during the day. Yesterday I took him for a walk in his new awesome stroller and while the day before he was angelic, he cried and SCREAMED the whole way. I thought at first that continuing walking with him might soothe him and make him feel better, but 15 minutes later, it was obvious it wasn't working so we headed home. One lady even emerged from behind her hedges she was trimming thinking she heard a distressed cat! LOL! No, it's just a baby!

We tried swaddling him last night -- something we have not done since moving. We did this because the night before he was waking up every three hours, while in Bangkok he slept through the night. Sure enough, last night he only woke up once. At least the swaddle keeps him feeling secure and in a familiar comfort.

So with all the night wakings, drooling and fussiness, my mother suggested that he might be teething. He will be four months old in a few weeks, so it's not out of the question. I've been offering him teething beads and my finger to knaw on, so I hope that will help my poor baby. He's even been getting real tears when he cries and it breaks my heart to see that. :(

Friday, September 09, 2005

Back on!

Today's the day we're supposed to get our own internet -- I'm still piggybacking for now. Yesterday I couldn't even go online because the only computer adapted for wireless is my DH's laptop, which he was using all day long for his job.

Aidan and I went exploring yesterday. Since Thailand has no libraries, I was really hankering to get a library card and get some books that have been on my Amazon Wish List. I walked out of there with FOUR books! Hooray, I just love to read and the library is easy walking distance. Just strapped Aidan in the Snuggli, a backpack with a few diapers and room for books on my back and off we go!

Alameda has some BEAUTIFUL old victorian houses. The homeowners here realize their value and have kept them up nicely. Last evening while dinner was cooking, I took Aidan out in his new stroller and went exploring around the neighborhood. He was so quiet and alert, just looking around. We accidently stumbled upon the rich neighborhood -- gorgeous mansions with immaculate flower gardens and lawns. Wow. I love looking and imagining. Today we'll see what else is out there.

I think my weight should come off fairly quickly now. I'm quite active and love exploring! My pants are already grtting looser.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Checking out the neighborhood

I went on a little walk yesterday to check out more of our new neighborhood. We're very close to the library, which I would like to go to today once my parents arrive. We are also about a 15 minute walk to the historical downtown area on Park Street and there are all sorts of cute shops and restaurants. I can see Golf and I taking the baby for a walk and stopping off for a coffee or a burrito or something. I think there may be a natural foods store near there too, which would be great! I don't want to have to drive all the way to Berkeley to get to a natural foods store. I also need to find out about the farmer's market. There's supposed to be one here in Alameda. If worse comes to worse we can go to the one in Jack London Square in Oakland, which isn't far.

I'm still getting the hang of meal planning. Cooking is easy -- it's the planning of what to fix that's difficult! I'm finding I have to go to the store every day and that can't be good. Well, I've never cooked for a family before and neither Golf nor I have cooked in over a year, since we didn't have a real kitchen in Thailand. Like all new adjustments, it will just take time.

And adjusting is what I'm going through right now. It sometimes feels overwhelming because I am living a completely new life. This is the first time I'm not working outside the home and I'm also living in a new apartment in a new city. It's all positive, but sometimes I need to take a few deep breaths and know that it will start to become familiar soon, just give it a little time. Believe me, I am happy!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Sneaking on the internet with various things to share

With so many wireless connections around here, we have managed to 'piggyback' onto a network until we get our own internet service, which is supposed to begin on the 9th. Wow it feels great to be back online!

Our apartment is coming along nicely. We've had to buy many things, but that was expected and incorporated into our budget. I think we're actually doing pretty good. It feels like we are finally settling in, thanks in large part to my parents who have helped us out tremendously not only with their physical labor but with their big pickup truck they have for hauling their 'retirement home'. Comes in handy when going to IKEA! There is still more things to buy for our home, mostly small stuff and I plan to do some of that shopping today. I still have to take the car. I don't want to start the major power walks until Aidan's stroller arrives and the nearest shopping center is exactly one mile away, so two miles round trip. Great distance for a trip to the store and get some exercise in at the same time.

My best friend has also said she wants to help us with our move back in and she and her husband are kicking down some cash -- so I suggested we meet at IKEA next weekend to go sofa shopping. She has a small pickup too. Thank you Melanie and Daryll! :) :) My family and my friends have been such a blessing in our return.

My youngest sister just got back from her first Burning Man! She'd been wanting to go for years but has always held off and this year she went for it. I went to Burning Man 10 years ago and again in 1996 and 1998. Back then it didn't have the fame it has today, especially in 1995. There were only about 5,000 people then. The advantage Anna had to going this year is that the reputation of BM has attracted artists from all over the world to come install their works, which can be extremely impressive, whereas when I went, there was more of an underground feel to it, like a special secret, but the artworks and camps were less elaborate (but still impressive to me).

Thoughts on Katrina are much like yours, I imagine. I cannot imagine what it's like and am also in disbelief at the disorganization of our government to react appropriately. American citizens should not be suffering and/or dying like this. Now that I'm a mother, I feel even more compassion for those who have children, especially helpless babies. I nearly cry when I see mothers with their babies trying to get out of this devestated area. This is a terrible, terrible thing that has happened.

And that's all I want to say about the Katrina catastrophe because everything else has already been said to the point I'm numb to it. I still listen to the news and listen to talk shows about it because it's my way of acknowledging the people who are suffering since I cannot do something myself.