Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Happy Birthday Honey!

Today's my dear sweet husband's 38th birthday!! We'll be laying low again this year, and you can read about our wild time last year in Bangkok. LOL! It's worked out really well being married to another Saggetarius! Saturday I'm hosting a combo birthday for Golf (30th) Carolyn (Dec. 5th) and me (12th). We'll have some good food pot-luck style, and an ice cream birthday cake and in the early evening we will walk down to City Hall a few blocks away and see the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Should be fun! I've never been to such an event.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Got the table

How I do love Craigslist! Saw a card table for sale on Sunday for only $20 and last night we met the seller at Trader Joe's at a nearby shopping center and made the transaction. I'm on my way to starting my business! I've been brainstorming company names and once I make some inventory, I'll have a webpage desinged. Career coaches always say to do what you love and the money will follow. On the other hand, the term "Starving Artist" is for a reason. I like to look at what I do as half art, half craft, and appealing to most people, so I think it's more a matter of good marketing and getting my pieces out there. Baby steps, baby steps -- get everything in place and soon I can begin to actually produce! I've got so many ideas, I'd better get to the sketchbook!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

So much to read, so little time

I've got some books lying around the apartment waiting for my attention. Something tells me not to spend as much time here and get to reading! Here's what's tugging at my sleeve, crying READ ME!

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (on page 100-something)
Baby Signs
The Millionaire Mind
The Complete Crafter's Guide to Collage
Creative Collage Techniques

The Collage Techniques is a library book, so tomorrow I've got to go and photocopy the important parts before returning it. I have to strategize my reading: Start Baby signs in a few more months, peek at my collage books whenever I can so I will know what to do once I get all my materials, and Harry Potter at night before sleeping. Millionaire Mind will have to wait til Harry Potter's done. Whoever thought that books could take on the characteristics of triage! But when I've got a demanding infant, any spare time is prioritized.

FINALLY getting serious about weight loss

Thanksgiving was GREAT and I didn't eat so much that I hurt myself, as I've done yearly in the past. But my mother said something very simple that hit home with me when I complained again about the fact that I have not lost one pound of pregnancy weight and Aidan's already six months old. She simply said I need to quit eating so damn much. Well, OK. I'd been so concerned about my milk supply and not sure how much was OK to eat, but apparently it didn't sink in that if I wasn't losing weight it was because I was eating more than necessary.

So now I'm serious and I'm cutting down on my amounts. I'm keeping a food diary so that I'm accounting for everything that goes into my pie hole. I draw 8 circles for glasses of water and throughout the day I X each circle to make sure I get enough. I continue with my power walks.

My goal is five pounds per month, and that should put me at my pre preggo weight by the time Aidan's a year old. Of course more weight is always good, provided it isn't too drastic and won't hurt my milk supply. So here I am declaring my intentions in public and now I have to be held accountable for my actions. I hope to report biweekly on my progress.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well I have all the veggies and cornbread prepped and later this morning I have to bake the apple pie, then pack a BUNCH of things, bathe the baby and then we're off to Sacramento for the holiday. It's going to be great fun!

I've got so much to be thankful this year.
I'm very, very thankful for my husband, for without him, my life would not be what it is today. He gave me my son and so much fulfillment and happiness.
I'm thankful for my baby and his health. I cling to him with gratefulness and relief when I see unfortunate tragic stories of others.
I'm thankful for our smooth transition from Thailand to the United States and our luck in finding a nice place to live.
I'm thankful for the work my husband gets so he can enable me to stay at home and take care of Aidan.
I'm thankful for our health insurance situation that came about recently. We will save hundreds of dollars every month as a result.
I'm thankful the rest of my family is healthy and happy.
I'm thankful that my sister-in-law in Bangkok has just gone through surgery for breast cancer and has pulled through OK. I hope and pray she will continue her road to recovery and that the cancer has been stopped.
I'm thankful for all the help my parents, sisters and friends have given my family. I'm very grateful.

I could go on and on, because I'm really grateful for so many things. But I'll stop there because those are the most important for me right now.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

HP Review and Baking Day

Let me start this post by saying that Harry Potter was fabulous! You can tell the need for a PG13 rating when you see this film and it's amazing how fast these kids have grown up. Ron Weasley has got big broad shoulders now! In my imagination, I thought of Voldemort as scarier looking, but if they made him scarier in this film, a PG13 rating would not have been possible. I'd say the best scenes were the Quiddich World Cup (They captured the excitement of the event on a grand scale) and of the Dragon event for the Tri Wizard Tournament. This shouldn't give anything away if you've read the books already. On a sidenote, the previews for children's movies all look like crap. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but today's humor geared toward kids sucks!

So today and tomorrow are Baking Days. I'm making southern cornbread dressing and apple pie and also some rasin walnut scones to take to my sister's house. She's hosting it this year and there's supposed to be 12 or 13 people there! WOW! It will be the first time Aidan will meet his uncle Bill, great-aunt Annie and my sister's husband's mom, dad and sister. Golf has yet to meet his brother in law or aunt in law too. It'll be very interesting and fun. I'm going to bring my new trivia DVD game: Name That Tune 80s edition. It's supposed to be for my birthday next month, but seeing how many of us will all be together, then I want to take advantage of that situation.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Movie time!

Golf and I are very excited to get to go see Harry Potter this afternoon! My mom and dad are coming over to babysit and they'll be here in about an hour and a half. I've already pumped milk, but a disappointing three ounces. I haven't pumped since living in Bangkok, so I think my body's not used to it anymore. Aidan also has some pureed squash I cooked for him yesterday and his rice cereal to keep his tummy full while mommy and daddy are away ENJOYING ourselves. :)

We need a little break. Do babies go through a growth spurt at 6 months? Aidan was up last night and the night before at precisely 11:30 and it took us a good two hours to get him back to bed. I nursed him til he fell asleep and tried putting him back in his crib, to where he promply awoke and made sqeaky door sounds. Then Golf tried for 45 minutes and finally got him down. He woke us this morning at 5:15. But after nursing him he fell back asleep and we all stayed cozy in bed til almost 7:30. Thanks for that little bit of mercy!

Incidently, Golf has updated the photo album with the latest and the greatest. :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

My goals

It's been a relatively quiet week, hence my quiet blog. I've been doing more research, thinking and strategizing my goals for starting my own artisan business. I bought a book on collage, and I check Craigslist nearly every day for a small table, some sort of stacking tray storage space for my paper collection and I just ordered a catalog from an art supply company. I'm going to have to invest some money to start up with, and that's no problem. I'd like to get set up by the end of January. That's my goal.

This is not the best handicraft to get involved with living in an apartment. I'm going to have to set up in my bedroom and hope and pray that it doesn't get messy enough to ruin the carpet or the walls. I can't let this hold me back from trying, though. I may even get a small table and have Aidan join me when he's a toddler.

The biggest challenge, as any parent knows, is getting enough time to do this. I can only squeeze in small snippets of time between caring for the baby and getting housework done or cooking. Housewifely duties makes for a full plate already. I may do much of my work during the night after Aidan goes to bed, however, the lack of natural light is the biggest drawback. If I can't do much work until Aidan gets older, then getting into my artwork will have to wait until then. I can just use these first years to practice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sharing some pictures

This isthe front of the Fremont Thai temple we went to for the Loy Krathong celebration last Sunday. It's much better than the one in Berkeley -- bigger with more space, more trees and more of a temple feel to it. Many families were there with their kids and I met another couple just like us; farang mother, Thai husband and 1 1/2 year old son who was adorable! I hope I see them again, as it would be fun to get to know her and her family.

The celebration included a dance number by costumed girls from each region of Thailand: The north, northeast (Issan), central Thailand, and the south.

This is what the inside of the Fremont temple looks like. I've always LOVED the murals.

After enjoying some lunch, Golf got this picture of Aidan that's so sweet. He was so excited the whole time, kicking his legs and squealing. :)

A photo of some of the floating krathongs in the fountain. We didn't float one this year, but we will next year. The biodegradeable ones like the kind I had a few years ago (pictured below) are the best.

Aidan having a GREAT time swinging with his Daddy. He laughed and laughed. He's going to love playgrounds!

I found on Craigslist a used walker for only $15 and Mom and I picked it up yesterday. It rotates, so that Aidan can still actually walk around and the seat turns around too. He LOVED it and was happy to spend a lot of time in it. He could never tell it was not brand-spanking new and frankly I was glad it didn't have the battery operated beeps and other electronic sounds. I prefer bells and squeaks made by the baby, not a battery.

Teaching Aidan to sign

My mother talked Golf and I into teaching Aidan how to sign. It didn't take much persuading, because after reading about it a little bit and asking for other internet parents for their input, we discovered how beneficial this form of communication is. Mom bought us the Baby Signs book and here are the benefits in brief, as written on page 18:

Our research studies, founded by the National Institues of Health, have revealed numerous benefits for families and for babies. Using Baby Signs:

* Reduces tears, tantrums and frustration
* Allows your baby to express needs and share his or her world with you
* Enriches interactions with your baby and strengthens the parent-child bond
* Reveals how to smart your baby truly is and gives you a window into your baby's mind
* Helps your baby develop language skills and speak sooner
* Builds a positive foundation for your baby's future emotional development by helping her express her feelings in a constructive way
* Jump-starts your baby's intellectual development, resulting in a higher IQ in elementary school
* Boosts your baby's self-esteem and self-confidence

We will likely start Aidan in a few months, when he's closer to nine months old, but it all depends on what the books recommends too. I've only read the first 20 pages or so, so I don't really know much as of yet. I'm very excited about starting Aidan on this learning endeavor!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Loy Krathong celebrations

This coming Wednesday, November 16 is the Thai celebration of Loy Krathong. Since most devotees can only make a celebration on a weekend, the Fremont Thai temple is holding a ceremony on Sunday, so we're going to go and check it out. Last year I went to a party by the river in Bangkok. It will be really neat to see how Thais in America celebrate vs. in Thailand. Report coming tomorrow!

This photo was taken in 2003 Loy Krathong, a few months before I met my husband and the year before the post I linked in my above entry. My Thai friend, A and I went north to Ayuthaya where we purchased the materials to make our krathongs. At midnight we floated our cares away with our krathongs down the river. Each krathong is made from banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks, a candle and the floating bit is the cross-section of a banana tree stump.

Can hardly wait to get my pre-preggo body back, just like that!

Friday, November 11, 2005

My sweet baby

Aidan is at an adorable stage. Just yesterday he started what seemed like the beginnings of separation anxiety. Golf was holding him and I went into the kitchen to wash dishes and he got upset when I went beyond his eyesight. He did it again today. When Golf holds him, he just stares at me with his huge, dark sparkling eyes and looks SOOOO cute. I fall in love with him more every day. Golf says when I hold him, he stares at him the same way. He's getting so strong and can roll across the room and is well on his way to crawling.

homemade foccocia!

Yesterday I'm began the process of making Skillet Rosemary Foccacia. Check out the recipe here! It could be a very delicious vegan bread, if one uses sugar instead of honey. I used honey. I'm about to pop it into the oven!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I'm an anime character -- I like it!

You have a dreamy soul. Dreams always sweep you off
your feet, and your almost permanently in a
fantasy world, dreaming up loads of fictional
scenarios. You tend to have an almost blank
stare, and you are a very shy person. You may
need to start paying a bit more attention,
because if you continue to dream and think so
much, you could get into trouble.

Element: Air
Colour/s: White, pastels
Animal/Mythical being: Butterfly, fairy or even a

What type of soul do you posess? (Anime pictures and fairly lengthy results)
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I'm now Mrs. P!

We went to the Social Security office today to change my married name and get the baby his SSN. The wait was hardly anything, a pleasing surprise, and Aidan was a good boy. Processing our request went smoothly and now we just have to wait for a couple weeks til both cards come in the mail. I've gone from Ms. S with seven letters to Mrs. P with sixteen letters and five syllables! WOOO HOO! "Just call me Mrs. P!"

Voting and getting things done

Yesterday was the California special election and I did my civic duty. And when I woke up this morning and turned on the news, it looks like the majority of voters in California felt as I did and defeated all of Ah-nold's propositions. I was a little surprised at the outcome, but it sure makes a statement.

I found a card table on Craigslist yesterday for only $10. I need a small table to start my collage work, but don't want to pay $35 to $40 for a new one. This lady was selling one and she lives in San Leandro, only six miles away. However she called last night at 6:45 PM and the only time she could be home to make the transaction is after 6 PM, not a good time with having a baby. AND with the rush hour, it would take me a good 45 minutes just to get there. Bummer. I will just have to keep looking. I also need a flat file cabinet to store all my papers, so I'm looking for a good deal on the internet for that. One small step at a time.

In about an hour and a half, Golf, Aidan and I are leaving for the social security office to 1. Get Aidan's SS card and 2. to change to my husband's last name. I couldn't change my name while living in Thailand because of my passport and thought it would just be easier to wait til we get here. Then sometime next week, I need to go to the DMV to do the same thing. I hope I can keep my old picture. I don't want my fat self on it. And can I give my pre-pregnancy weight and just tell them I'll be at that weight within the year???? I shutter to think I'd have to give my current poundage.

Let us hope for no long lines at the Social Security office!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday Madness

Time again for Monday Madness

1. Sometimes I wish I could just turn invisible -- what a lucrative career THAT could be!
2. If I could take a long weekend to New York City, I'd be very happy. (Anywhere further would be just a quick recovery from jet lag before heading back home, assuming it's 3 or 4 days.)
3. The world would be a better place if more people would just be more polite to each other -- I see far too many people being rude to one another.
4. One of my greatest qualities is optimism.
5. The one thing about me that I need to work on is procrastination.
6. Happiness is a choice you make (if you're not clinically depressed, of course!) that and good, quality chocolate.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A visit to the Hoopla House

Yesterday Golf, Aidan and I went to my best friend's house, which she and her hubby named the Hoopla House. Do any of you readers name your homes? I lived there with Mel n Daryll for about 8 months or so before I decided to move back to Thailand. It was great seeing the changes they have made, and how many things have stayed the same. Aidan was a good boy and even took about an hour nap, allowing Golf and I some pure adult time. I helped Mellie pick out a colorful, bright sari from her closet to wear to the ashram for the Diwali festival that night, and Golf hung out with Darryl and both talked about emigrating to the US (Daryll is from England). It was a warm, sunny Saturday and I hope we get to see more of them.

Later on this morning we're meeting up with my other friend at the Oakland farmer's market at Jack London Square. The days have still been warm and sunny, perfect weather for meandering outdoors and seeing some boats go by.

We should be back in time for lunch and have a mellow rest of the day. I might take a power walk with Aidan later this afternoon. Aidan's been better about his stroller so I've been exercising more vigorously to try and get rid of some of this fat. It feels great, although I've gotten a little out of shape from the months of not being able to get a good workout. I should be back on track in a few more months of this regular routine.

OK, so then tomorrow my parents come for the day, then on Tuesday my sister's coming out for a visit and I also have to go vote (California special election). That means that my trip to the Social Security office will have to be on Wednesday. My week is suddenly busy and also Golf's got a huge project coming in. That's it for now! :)

Really pleased with it

My home made yogurt rocks!!!! Yesterday I tried using a tablespoon of yogurt as my starter instead of this expensive freeze dried starter that I've bought in the past at the natural foods store. Today my yogurt is better than any of the other batches I've ever made. Hooray! It's great when the less expensive option is actually better. I'm enjoying it with my homemade apple and pear whole wheat scone.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Setting goals and making plans

It's so easy, especially when I stay at home all day taking care of Aidan, to not set goals and get things accomplished. So far we have lived here two months and I haven't changed to my married name, nor gotten Aidan his Social Security number. Since both require a trip to the S.S. office, I will plan to do this next week. Monday. If I just say next week, then the whole week will go by and suddenly Friday will be here (hmmm, like TODAY!) and then the whole cycle starts again. Then I need to go to the DMV and then my bank. Gosh, getting a name change is quite a pain and much has to be done! I think that's why I keep putting it off.

Next, I need to set goals and just do it for my collage dream. I need to acquire a cheap card table to work on. I need to visit a thrift store and get an old sheet set to spread on the carpet. I need a clamp-on light. I need to get some adhesive and brushes. I need to practice with cardboard (before moving on to canvas). If I just look at one step at a time and say I'm going to do ONE thing on a specific day, then suddenly at the end of a month, much can be accomplished.

I've never been an ambitious person, but I can get out and do something. My living abroad is an attest to that. I just need to put my mind to it and get going! Once the inertia is started, the effort is minimal, and the rewards are huge!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


I have two best girlfriends. One friend, M, has been in my life since 1989, so that's (getting out the calculator) 16 years! WOW! We're making plans to have Aidan and I, hopefully Golf too (providing he doesn't have any work projects), come out to her home, where I lived with her and her husband for a nine month period before returning to Thailand back in 2002. I've only seen her twice since moving back home but at least we chat on the phone.

My other friend, C, has been my friend for about 11 years. Right now she lives not far -- in Oakland. But she's tired of her studio apartment and neighborhood and is looking in Alameda too! It's so exciting to know that she will be even closer. She came over for dinner last night, something we like to try and do about once a week. If she ends up living nearby, then we can even powerwalk together on the weekends.

Now I have a new friend, D! I met her a few weeks ago, actually. She's a next door neighbor with a baby boy who is a month and a half younger than Aidan. Yesterday we walked to the farmer's market, a weekly thing, and we've taken walks around the neighborhood and had an iced tea and snack at a local deli once. She's so nice and what's also great is that our talk about babies is only about 25% of our conversation. But if one of us has to back out of plans because of a grumpy or napping boy, then we totally understand. She was going to be moving to Las Vegas in the near future, but that didn't pan out, so we're both happy she's going to be next door for awhile more.

I'm so lucky to have such great girlfriends!