Saturday, December 30, 2006

One of those other tidbits

I stated in my previous post about sharing some more of my thoughts that I've been having. One of them is my plan to create what's called a vision board. Basically it's a way of visualizing your hopes, dreams and goals. I happened to have the TV on a local variety show and they had a guest on talking about visualizing your aspirations and how it really works. I've heard about visualization techniques to reach your goals and manifesting your hopes, and that it really works. This guest has stated that successful people do this regularly. She said it is because you have this quick reference (the vision board) of the images you relate to and you have it in a place that you see frequently every day. This reminds you and motivates you to take those incremental steps daily to get you to your desired goals.

I'm naturally a visual person, and creating such a collage of images would make me feel great (the creative process is such a source of joy for me) and shall motivate my spirit that I CAN do it. It sounds a bit new-agey, but what if it works? It doens't cost anything besides the posterboard and glue. The magazines for clipping images were free, old ones that friends gave or that I had lying around.

Perhaps I shall post my vision board when I complete it and share with you my hopes, dreams and goals for my life.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mewwy Kwismas and a Perfect Storm

We had a great low-key Christmas with feasting on Christmas Eve this year since Anna and Jimmy were going to his parents' on X-Mas Day. They're then off to Vegas for a few days of fun and my other sister and her hubby left for Europe for a few weeks and will be back the 29th. I'm very excited about that trip and cannot wait to hear about it!

Mom had out some decorations and it was very nice since we don't really go all out for XMas the way most people do. We're so happy NOT to be out in the throngs of shoppers and year after year we're grateful not to be a part of that. The time away out in the country has been a nice break and the last five days have consisted of too much food and too little activity. I feel like a complete lump! Part of that problem has been the weather.

It's been rainy and windy and last night was the perfect storm of winds over 40 MPH and lots of rain. I haven't been in a storm that violent in years and it was very loud and forceful. We were planning on going on a day trip but it was rainy throughout that day too.

Letssee -- I've got more to write about and I know my blogging has dwindled significantly since living in Bangkok. Something about daily life here that's not that exciting to write about unless you would like to read about how I'm constantly thinking about finances and worried about our future and what we're going to do to ensure that we're not destitute when we're old. That's mostly what's been on my mind, also working on Discovery Day and taking care of Aidan. Among those three things in addition to daily tasks of running our household, that's all that happens in my life day in and day out so I'm finding that most of it isn't worth reporting. I do, however have some more interesting tidbits to share that I hope to write about within the next few days.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Had a real neat class today

I had a very short substitute teaching job this afternoon. It was an intermediate ELD (English Language Development) class and it was truly global.

There was a girl Fatima and her cousin Nour who were from Syria. Three boys from the Phillipines. A girl from Afghanistan and another girl from Mongolia. One boy names Elvis (!) was from Bosnia. A Vietnamese boy and two other boys from China. Next semester my Thai student Paer will be in this class and also a really fun boy named Soo from South Korea will attend as well.

I had asked the Filipino boys if they had any family back in the Phillipines and if they were OK from that Typhoon Durian that slammed into the islands last week. They were surprised I knew about that. All their families were OK. I asked Fatima from Syria if she was from Damascas and she seemed surprised I knew the capital of her home country. I asked how long she had been in the US and she had said she arrived in June. I asked her if that was before or after the recent Lebanese/Israeli conflict and she said she arrived to the US only a week before that had begun. I looked on a map and saw just how close Damascus is to Beirut. It's much closer than I had thought - I had thought Damascus was much further north.

These kids must not have many people who ask them about their countries of origin, much less know anything going on newswise. Anyway, they were a delight and Fatima asked when I was going to come back again. I hope soon, and I wrote to their teacher telling her I would love to sub for her in the future. :)

Also, when I lived in Bangkok, I saw many Etheopians and from my time eating in their restaurants both in Bangkok and in San Francisco. They have extremely beautiful features and you can see in them the ethnic mix from the influences of North African Arab cultures. I don't know how to describe it, but they have a look that I can identify. I had asked a girl who was a TA in one of the classes if she was Etheopian and she looked so surprised, but said Eritrea. I'd never even heard of that country but after looking on a globe, sure enough, it was right next to Etheopia. I guess it was a province of Etheopia until its independence in 1991. I can't get too cocky, though, because another girl, a bit of a troublemaker in another class, told me something about her home country and I asked where she was from and she, too, said Eritrea. I would have never guessed that! She MAYBE looks like she could be Middle Eastern or Persian, or even Mediterranean....

I have to say that this school I'm subbing for most the time is quite an interesting place and I get my culture fix every week. :) :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Been hooked on The Lost Room

The Sci Fi channel has a miniseries out called The Lost Room starring Peter Krause from Six Feet Under. I love that actor! The storyline is quite interesting and tonight is the exciting conclusion. It came at a bad time though, cause Golf's hooked too, but he's got some translation project due dates coming up soon!

Many other things going on in my head, but don't feel right about posting them here.

Celebrated my 37th birthday yesterday too. God. I'm gettin' OLD! Thanks for the birthday wishes friends and family who sent them. :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thoughts on History

I've been reading a fabulous memoir called A Chameleon's Tale, by Mo Tejani. He's of Asian Indian descent and a Muslim by birth, though not practicing. He was born in Uganda, Africa until the crazy dictator Idi Amin threw out all non-Ugandan citizens in the 1970s. He and his brother were relocated to Britian, the rest of his family in Canada.

I'd never even heard of Idi Amin before reading this book. I'm sure the textbook I had in high school discussed it briefly, although I cannot be sure since it seems most history books in the time I was in school focused mostly on Europe. Recent history was all about the Vietnam War and it was overall so boring and dry, I never paid any attention.

But the way Tejani told his story and related it on a deeply personal level, I was captivated as to what happened to him and his family in Uganda. Then I remember there was a movie out recently with Forrest Whittaker who played some crazy African dictator. Could it be about this Idi Amin that Tejani talked about? I looked it up online and the movie is called The Last King of Scotland. And Whittaker plays Idi Amin. I don't think it's in theaters any longer, so I have it saved in Netflix already. I'd had no interest in that movie before I read Tejani's book!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving at the Grandparents' new place - PICTURES!

Golf just got the photo album up of our week long rest at Mom and Dad's new place out in the 
country.   It was SO nice to escape to peace so quiet you could hear it and darkness at night so black you couldn't see your hand in front of you. Included are also pictures of Aidan's first hike up at Bald Rock. I carried him most the time in the baby backpack because it was a little vast and overwhelming for the tot, but he had a great time and so did we. I can't wait to get out into nature again and go backpacking. I really miss it!
So go take a look at the photo album here!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're at my parents' new home out here in the country and they have a picture window with one of the most beautiful views: Old oak trees atop rolling hills and the Sierra Buttes mountains on the horizon. You can even see the coastal range from here on a clear day. And the stars at night are so incredibly bright! I haven't seen stars like that in years -- maybe since I was in Himalayan mountains in Nepal!

I haven't heard quiet like this in so long either. It's such a nice break!

Well, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I gotta go and stuff the turkey now - a very delicious Southern family recipe: Cornbread Stuffing. MmmmmM!

Enjoy your day. :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Substitute Teacher Workshop

I had a fantastic teaching workshop today, created just for subs! It was free and so very well done. The presenter gave us each a book all about classroom management, behavioral issues to contend with and how to do it, teaching on the fly, being prepared etc. etc. etc. It was very good and I learned a lot. I also found that some techniques I used by instinct were recommended in the book as strategies for class management. Like if a group of students are talking in one area of the class, get closer to them. I've talked to a class and monitered them standing right next to the kids who were talking. Having me right there made them quiet.

Well, I don't teach all next week anyway because we're going to Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving. It will be SO nice to have a change of scenery and give that boy to his grandparents to play with. He's been a handful lately! We'll have internet access which will be essential for watching our auctions and answering any emails. But I'm really looking forward to seeing my sister who lives in SoCal and hasn't seen Aidan in a year! Will write more soon.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Skinny jeans and reminiscing

After I binged on the Halloween chocolate -- cheap, junky chocolate that was far too sweet but still eaten with gusto -- I swore to myself to lay off the sugar and really see if I could lose the last 10 pounds. So far no sweets and I'm using mostly Splenda in my coffee with just a dab of sugar and I've lost 4 more pounds! Gosh, just another 6 to go. So now that means my regular jeans are too big for me now and I'm back in my skinny jeans and while they are slightly snug, they're still comfortable enough to wear all day long. I'm so happy! I've been going through my closet and weeding through all the skinny clothes I wore before I got married and putting them in my drawers to start wearing again and at the same time, putting my fat clothes and some of my maternity clothes in a bag to go to Goodwill.

YAY! It's so good to be back to my old self, more or less. My pregnancy somehow has made me lose more muscle tone. It's very interesting how being pregnant and nursing changes a woman's body in ways that cannot be seen -- only she knows when she feels her own body. Well, bottom line is that I've lost the weight and I'm proud. I'm going to be 37 in just over a month and I've been at the same weight since I was in high school. And I'm almost the same size as my husband again! I feel awful being the heavier one -- the man's supposed to be bigger than the woman, not the other way around!

Yesterday we went to the Thai grocery market and also stopped for a bit to eat and we saw another Thai man with a farang wife and they had a 7 month old baby daughter. We farang wives with Thai husbands are the rare couples. Anyway her name was Shannon and she taught at Rasami International School in Bangkok and she plans to go get her Master's and then go back to live north in Chiang Mai. Her daughter could attend the international school for free. Good deal!

It got me thinking about our future. Golf and I are in a situation where he has more opportunities here and I have more opportunities in Thailand. Ironic, isn't it? If it were just me and I was not married with a child, I would likely be going back to school, too, to get a Masters in Education and then get in with an international school in Bangkok. I'd get them to hire me from here too, as I hear the compensation packages are extraordinary. You can live extremely well as a teacher at an international school. But for now I will just substitute teach and help Golf with our business. I'll consider my next career step once Aidan begins school.

Right now I'm writing an ebook about Bangkok and it's bringing back lots of memories. It sure took awhile, but I do miss Thailand. There are many things about it that I do not miss, but I miss the aspects of Thailand that keep those who have been there coming back again and again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I just can't get the image button to work to add photos! I don't understand this.
So if you would like to see some photos of what this festival looks like in Thailand this year, please look at this link here.

Our pictures from Loy Krathong on Sunday

Since we didn't know anyone there, we didn't stay long. But it was a very nice ceremony and delicious food. We also enjoyed the music and dancing and hope to stay longer next year to watch, but those of us with young children know that they're not a captive audience for long. So here's our photos taken at the temple! I'm so frustrated that these photos did not upload in the order I put them in. They are all out of order and some didn't even upload!!!!

The monks wait with thei Krathongs. A woman lights the main lotus candles. You cannot see very well but there is a Walking Buddah image in the center of the lotus.

The monks chant a prayer and the laypeople hold their lit krathongs and repeat the verses. After the prayer, the monks are the first to float their Krathongs.

Aidan with his new lion friends!

Front view of the temple with a portrait of the King of Thailand.

I've tried to teach Aidan how to stop and smell the roses!

Below are some photos from Thailand from this year's festival. The biggest differences are that the Krathongs in Thailand are made mostly of organic plant material, some can be huge and elaborate, and the festivities take place at night.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is this year celebrated on November 5, 2006.
Loy Krathong Day is one of the most popular festivals of Thailand celebrated annually on the Full-Moon Day of the Twelfth Lunar Month. It takes place at a time when the weather is fine as the rainy season is over and there is a high water level all over the country.

"Loy" means "to float" and a "Krathong" is a lotus-shaped vessel made of banana leaves. The Krathong usually contains a candle, three joss-sticks, some flowers and coins.

In fact, the festival is of Brahmin origin in which people offer thanks to the Goddess of the water. Thus, by moonlight, people light the candles and joss-sticks, make a wish and launch their Krathongs on canals, rivers or even small ponds. It is believed that the Krathongs carry away sins and bad luck, and the wishes that have been made for the new year due to start. Indeed, it is the time to be joyful and happy as the sufferings are floated away.

The festival starts in the evening when there is a full moon in the sky. People of all walks of life carry their Krathongs to the nearby rivers. After lighting candles and joss-sticks and making a wish, they gently place the Krathongs on the water and let them drift away till they go out of sight.

A Beauty Queen Contest is an important part of the festival and for this occasion it is called "The Noppamas Queen Contest". Noppamas is a legendary figure from the Sukhothai period. Old documents refer to her as the chief royal consort of a Sukhothai Kng named "Lithai". Noppamas was said to have made the first decorated Krathong to float in the river on the occasion.

In Bangkok, major establishments such as leading hotels and amusement parks organise their Loy Krathong Festival and the Krathong contest as major annual function.

For visitors to Thailand, the Loy Krathong Festival is an occasion not to be missed. the festival is listed in the tourist calendar. Everyone is invited to take part and share the joy and happiness.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Savings Rant

Oh my god, it's that dreaded, STUPID time of year again to change the clocks back an hour and the entire country (with the exception of AZ and HI) gets flooded in darkness come 5 PM.

Nowadays most people work indoors, and going to work and stepping into an office when its still dark isn't a problem because there are lights you can turn on. It's still daylight AFTER work, too, when your personal life begins.

I don't care if I work in the dark in the morning. I don't want to come home in the dark too. Thailand made so much sense when I lived there. It had no daylight savings. It got dark by 6 PM in the dead of winter and by 7:30 or 8 PM in the summer months. That's not enough of a change in time to make it worth changing your clock and complicating transportation systems and computer programs. Good lord.

And now our Congress, in its infinate wisdom, has passed a law that will EXTEND this stupid time change an extra two months! It will now begin in November and end in March. So we will get only 4 months of common sense. It just pisses me off to no end. Does anyone have any LOGICAL explanation for this that I'm not understanding or seeing????

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Teaching Middle School

Yesterday was a job at a middle school teaching 6th grade core. I didn't even know what "core" meant when I took the job, but it turns out it means History, Reading and Writing. I left the office that morning after introductions and being handed a packet of procedures thinking that this was like an inner city school with altercations every day. You know, precautions to take, detention slips to give out, emergency numbers to call -- certainly good to have, but it sure made me think that disasters happen all the time!

Fortunately my impression of this being a violent school was quickly diluted. I had two class sections three periods each. The first set of students were so much fun and just a dream to teach. They actually behaved well for having a sub in class! The second group were tough to handle. They were a larger group by only about 5 kids, but I guess they came from more troubled backgrounds because they were much more uncooperative -- that and I didn't have a teacher's assistant for that class -- go figure -- it's the class that needed one more.

It's amazing how much more dialog I had, how much more I was able to teach to the kids who were better behaved. Made me think about how I might be able to ensure Aidan gets into a class of well behaved children when he's older. It's imparative to learning!

In any case... at the end of the day, some of these kids from the rambunctious group helped me clean up a little and others even said how much they liked me, that other subs had always gotten angry and yelled at them or sent them to the office. My third grade class said something similar last Monday too. I'm glad I'm so well liked! But I think it's something I learned in Thailand: It does no good to yell and get upset. If anything they feed off that and they dish it out even more! I also give out compliments and positive feedback and smile at them -- a genuine, warm smile. Kids can tell real friendliness!

I think that despite this being tough at times, with some more practice (esp. in classroom management) it should become more enjoyable. This is something I want to do part time, 2-3 times a week to pay for groceries and the minimum payments on our credit cards til Discovery Day brings in a lot more income.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (Episode 1)

I saw this YouTube video promoted on Good Morning America last week and it was just enough to pique my curiousity and go to the site and see the whole thing.

Chad Vader -- Day Shift Manager is about the underachieving brother of Darth Vader who's trying desperately to rule the Empire Foods universe.

Oh my god it's so funny, especially the music. And it's got sequels, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My first day subbing

I had a third grade class in a school that's right across the street from the park I take Aidan to often. I had 2o kids, and well, you remember in school when you had a substitute teacher come in. It was time to act bad!

Well, I certainly never got angry, but I tell ya, I have never heard so much drama, so much tattling on one another, aches and pains, bathroom breaks -- I think I heard EVERY excuse today. I haven't been in a class since just after Aidan was born and Thai kids don't have the English capacity to complain to me or reveal their dramas -- and I don't know if their Thai teacher gets the earful, but teaching here is NOT easier like I had presumed.

I do have to remember that these kids are not in their normal routine with me there and they're going to behave much better with their normal teacher. But MAN! What a day.

At least the teacher set out a well organized lesson plan for the day and I was not lacking in things for the students to do. Quite the opposite -- I didn't have time to finish everything!

So this looks like something I could do twice a week or so until I get more used to it, and also depending on how much translation work Golf gets. He's beginning to get more jobs in now and he's also been ill this week, so I'm needed more at home to help with Aidan. I'll see if anything is available on Friday if Golf's better by then.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My first substitute job is tomorrow!!!

The school district has a great way to get substitute teaching jobs -- through a website! I just love it that way in that I can choose my jobs. So yesterday, Sunday, I decided to see if anything was available and there was -- one for today and one for tomorrow. Me, being the procrastinator and also very nervous about it, decided to take just one job and it would be for Tuesday. The other great thing about this school is that it is right across the street from the park I often take Aidan to, so it's very close by walking distance.

I'm awfully nervous, though. I've never taught in an American classroom, so today I must do some review today.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Our eBay business Discovery Day is finally beginning to take off and we were honored with a hard-earned Power Seller star as of yesterday!! Power sellers are those who sell at $1,000 or more for 3 consecutive months. Whew! We've finally gained entrance into the club! :)

Also, our website is coming along, although by no means is it finished. I work on it any spare moment I can get, which is why I haven't been blogging much. Check out what we have so far:

Monday, October 09, 2006

A weird occurance -- cellular memory?

Last week I had something weird happen. All day one day I had muscular twiches and twinges in my belly, like when you get a twitch in your thigh or arm, you know?

Well, I just happened to look back on my blog to see what I was doing that week two years ago, for the heck of it, no other reason. It was that week that I had found out I was pregnant with Aidan! I told my mother and she asked me, are you sure you aren't pregnant? I said YES - I mean we use protection and all, so I had no reason to believe it had failed. And today I found out I'm certainly not pregnant. But the twitching lasted only a day.

Is this a sort of bodily cellular memory of my pregnancy? Kind of weird. Another weird thing that happened is that I got my period back exactly to the day 9 months after Aidan was born -- February 22, 2006. To the day! Anybody ever go through this too or know anything about what I believe to be a sort of cellular memory? It's almost freaky.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Some baby bragging

Aidan has just taken off with his baby signing! He's doing more every day and it's astounding sometimes that he'll make a baby sign he hasn't seen me do for a few days. What he's been doing for a long time already is the milk sign and he does that when he wants milk, juice or water or food. Basically "put something in my belly" sign. And he does the dog sign (panting) for any living creature, even humans sometimes! He can also do the flower sign (hand to nose and sniffing).

His newest signs are for more and hot. These two, and the milk sign are the most important. I need to look up the sign for dangerous. The rest of the signs let him interact with us and to let him share what he's observing since kids get excited about that.

This boy also has discovered the wonderful world of Tinker Toys! Yes, already our budding engineer is fascinated. I have a canister of some Tinker Toys I bought to resell on eBay, so while Golf was cooking dinner last night, I thought why not make something for Aidan to play with (he had tired of spinning the wheels of another toy car -- he loves to turn things upside down and figure out how they work and to spin their wheels).

I made a thing that spins around with the little green plastic flags and he just loved it! I showed him how to hold one side so it didn't tip over and to spin the spinny part in the middle with his other hand. He did it! I was surprised that he could do something that requires two hands like that, but I showed him and he copied.

His grandma also got him a cute red Radio Flyer tricycle that acutally has 4 wheels -- two set wide in the front and two set narrow in the back -- what would you call such a thing? Anyway, Aidan loves it, especially the bell.

Anyway, I'm just so proud and wanted to share with everyone the progress of my baby, who's not such a baby anymore!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One more sweet picture

My mom also made this precious hat and sweater outfit for Aidan. The hat has two little pom poms on the top attached to a small inch long yarn string. I love the sweater neck, too. It's so cute! His pants, socks and striped turtle-neck are new from Grandma too. This little baby is all ready for fall and winter!

Walking with Grandpa

Here is the most adorable picture of Grandpa and Aidan walking down the sidewalk together.

My weekly update

I've been so busy every day that it seems I've only got time to update the blog once a week now!
Mom's been here since Saturday night to spend time with Aidan and for a change of scenery for herself. It's been SO nice having her here and part of that is because Aidan can spend some quality time with his Grandma and the added perk is Golf and I can get a lot done.

So that's just what I have been doing: Working hard this week. In addition to doing our e-commerce work, I got to clean out Adian's room and rearrange the furniture, which is something I wanted to get done for weeks now. We gave away a huge garbage bag of his baby clothes, but kept quite a few pieces from his infancy as momentos.

Aidan updates: Our baby wants to eat by himself now! He had been refusing food for a few days and Mom said to let him try eating by himself. We gave him a spoon and helped him out and he was happy as a clam! Our baby's growing up! Mom also takes him for walks where he walks down the sidewalk with us, holding our hands, just like a big kid. She took a picture of my dad holding his hand walking ahead of her and it's the most precious thing. That photo is on Golf's computer, so later today I'll get on his and upload it here, it's darling.

Work update: The school district called AND I got an application in the mail to be a sub. There is a meeting tomorrow about it for all applicants, so that will be interesting, so all hope is not lost. It will be good part time income and it won't be dreadfully boring.

Later this morning I'm taking part in a market study for bloggers. I'm getting paid for two hours of my time by a research group -- a woman I'm friends with got me involved. Hey, for about 3 hours of time total (incl. driving time) what I'm being paid is really a good deal.

I plan to buy a bicycle seat today with the money. The FREE bike my sister gave me was STOLEN and the other one we got for free has an easily removeable seat, which got stolen, so now I have no bike to ride. So this means I have to remove the bike seat every time I lock it up. It SUCKS!!! What's wrong with people?!?!!?

Anyway, that's my update for now. I hope to get that precious picture up later today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

7 from the Goal

Weight loss update: I'm nearly there!!! My skinny jeans fit as do my other skinny pants, but they are still a wee bit snug. I can't tell you how great it feels to have my normal body back!!! WOO HOO!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Thai military coup

It's been all over the news and of course Golf and I are watching closely. I think in the end, this is a very good thing for Thailand, as their Prime Minister is NOT good for the country. Gee, can the US stage a similar coup to oust Bush?!? :) But Golf got to chat with his brother online yesterday and it's peaceful, with life as usual, but perhaps more low key. Many schools were cancelled and banks closed, but that was about the extent of it.

My former colleage, Michelle, is still there in Bangkok and is blogging about her experience of it here.

Here is a good CNN article summing up the coup:

Everything you ought to know about the military takeover in Bangkok.

So what happened?
The Thai military seized control of government buildings and television stations in Bangkok in a bloodless coup on Tuesday while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was away in New York attending the U.N. General Assembly. Army Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratglin has been placed in charge of the country as head of an interim military-run Political Reform Council, revoking the country's constitution and declaring martial law as tanks and troops continue to police the streets.

A bit sneaky, wasn't it?
Perhaps, but so far there has been no sign of any opposition to the coup, with military leaders having been received by Thailand's popular monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Thaksin, prime minister since 2001 and one of Thailand's richest businessmen, had become an increasingly controversial figure in recent months amid allegations of corruption and cronyism, despite being re-elected by a landslide in 2005 and enjoying widespread popularity in the countryside because of his populist spending policies, including the introduction of virtually free healthcare for the rural poor.

What is Thaksin accused of?
Thaksin has been using Thailand as a front for his family telecommunications business, Shin, according to his critics. In January he made around $1.9 billion by selling his family's controlling stake to Singapore's state investment company, paying no tax on the sale. Opponents claimed the deal involved insider trading and the sale of national assets to a foreign government. In April, Thaksin staged and won a snap election in an attempt to defuse the crisis, only for the result to be ruled unconstitutional by the national court. A fresh ballot on his leadership had been scheduled for November which Thaksim's Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party had been expected to win.

Tanks on the street, generals on television ... it's all a bit old-fashioned, isn't it?
"Military coups are a thing of the past," Sonthi said recently, with a wink. "Political troubles should be resolved by politicians." But although Thailand (formerly Siam) has been a stable democracy since 1991, it has a long history of this sort of thing, with 18 coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

So what happens next?
The army has promised to return power to the people swiftly and says a new prime minister will be appointed within two weeks. "I would like to assure that the Council has no intention of running the country by itself and will return power, under the constitutional monarchy, to the people as soon as possible," Sonthi said.

What about Thaksin?
Somewhat belatedly, Thaksin announced he had fired Sonthi and ordered him to report to the office of his deputy PM. He also declared a state of emergency and insisted, against the evidence of local reports, that his government remained in charge of the armed forces. But Thaksin was last seen heading for London, where he has an apartment, to meet his family and plot his next move.

So should I cancel my holiday to Phuket?
So far the coup has been unmarked by violence but most countries including the U.S., the EU states and Australia are warning citizens planning to visit Thailand to reconsider until the situation settles down. Those in the country are being urged to stay in their homes or avoid large gatherings. New Zealand told its citizens not to go sightseeing around government buildings. But flights in and out of the country are undisturbed, and organizers of next week's Thailand Open tennis tournament also said the event would go ahead -- so pack your racket.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We're now on the RIGHT path

Remember a few weeks ago how I wondered if I was even on the right path with regard to my teaching and how I ended up with roadblock after roadblock? Well, it's so weird because a few days ago, the universe opened up to Golf and me and a new path was shown to us so clearly and obviously that a person would be a fool not to take it. It's been frightening taking these new steps, but it's more frightening to stay in our current situation than to take some risks that will pay off in the future. I can't say much on what it is we're up to, but this is the reason my blog has been a bit quiet. We're really busy! As time goes on, I will let on to what we're up to. :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Formatting screwed up

Don't know what's up with Blogger's formatting. Hope it's better by tomorrow! 

A very busy week

The whole week last week has been a whirlwind of hard work. Last Tuesday I went to a 
warehouse outlet that sells clothing and such from good department stores. I spent a LOT of money, and 
since I want to get it back by selling it on eBay and hopefully getting a profit, I spent the rest of the week creating the ads, taking photos,  editing the photos, researching the market data to make the best ads I could, then scheduling them for release. I wake up every morning at 5:30 to get some work time in at the computer before Aidan wakes up. Sunday is flea market day and we found some more treasures to sell.

The problem with buying used goods is that there is a chance it is not selling well. Most of the stuff Golf has bought at yard sales is sitting around our apartment because it's not 
selling well at the time, so we keep it til later. I'm purchasing the kind of stuff that has high turnaround. I don't want to keep stuff around in our apartment. I want it out! So we'll see how my stuff goes this coming week.

On a different topic. Bugs. Cockroaches to be exact. We didn't have this problem this time last year. They're in our kitchen and while they are mostly tiny, there are some that are larger, although not the giant size you get in Thailand.  Several weeks ago we had an exterminator come out and spray and put in roach traps 
in our cupboards. The bastards are still here. I keep a clean kitchen. I cook every day so
there's a lot of food around, could that be why? No other neighbor has a cockroach problem. I
keep the floor clean the counter and stovetop clean -- everything. The only food I leave out on
the counter is bananas or other fruit. It's driving me crazy and makes me feel like I'm a filthy
person, especially since we're the only apartment with this problem! Is it because we cook every day? I just don't understand and it's driving me crazy. 

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin's death

I'm just so sad about the news of Steve Irwin's death. He's a good guy, friendly, and he truly cares about animals. My heart goes out to his wife and two children. :( :(

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Little Girl Giant

My sister showed me this video of The Little Girl Giant. It's SO beautiful  -- have the music turned on. It's magic what artists can do....  

Wrong path?

I called the Personnel Technician at the school district today. She said a month ago that I had to wait til today to even call to talk about being a substitute teacher.
Well, first thing she asked was if I had put my name down on a list.
No, I was never told to do so.
Did I have my substitute teacher's permit?
No, just my letter of acceptance, CBEST results and fingerprint clearance (assuming that was ready). sidebar: The permits take 8-10 months to process. Yes you read that correctly: 8-10 MONTHS!
The Personnel Technician said she would put me on the list, got my name, address and phone number, but told me that those who already had their permit would be given priority.
I guess that all I can do now is wait and see and every month or so I'll check back to see if they may need me. I'm frankly stunned that it would be so complicated to substitute teach -- just about everyone I've talked to said that it's highly in demand and that they've had to turn away work. You know when time after time of trying something seems futile, I wonder if this is even the right path to be on. It's taken over nine months just to get where I am NOW. Unbelieveable.

Well, it's both good news and bad... My time as a temp has actually slowed down our income for the month because Golf needs to be able to put up auction listings, not to mention take the photos, wrap and ship the items shop for more items, and spend quality time with the baby and care for his needs. A person simply cannot do all that because the baby needs his Daddy and he's a priority. So our eBay income has reduced a bit this month since I was working for 3 weeks.

Tomorrow is my last day and I can devote myself to my son again. And that will help Golf get back on the ball and we have strategized more on taking turns caring for the baby while we each work on the auctions. I want to start buying my own things to resell under our brand, so with running the business and caring for Aidan, it's very much a team effort.

Thinking about doing this is exciting to me. While the people I worked with at this job were very nice, I don't really care much about corporate culture. Three weeks is enough of answering phones, filing, mailing, this n that. At least the people working here made it a pleasant experience. I don't know what will come of teaching, but my contact at the temp agency is eager to have me do more work for him if I ever need it so that's consoling. At least I now have the time to put forth even more effort to our home-based business. Doing something FUN!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Went to the Fair

Over the weekend we went to Sacramento to stay with my sister and brother in law. It was so nice for Aidan to visit with his Aunt and Uncle! His affection for them both has grown and it was so cute to see him asking to be picked up and to snuggle with them. He's such a sweet, affectionate boy. :) His Uncle Jimmy got some fantastic photos of him at the park. I love
this photo so much that I'm going to get it on an 8x10 and have it framed.

On Sunday we went to the California State Fair and it was so much fun! It has been years since I last went and it was Golf's first big fair and of course, Aidan's first one. There were so many people and it did get hot, but not too bad. I did well with the fair food, no deep fried Twinkies for me, but I did splurge on a jumbo corn dog and an ice cream cone later on (which I shared with Aidan anyway). Jim brought his camera there too and got a ton of pictures. Aidan did so well for being there nearly 5 hours! He'll love it even more in the years to come when he can appreciate it more. I'm looking forward to it! :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Working too hard harms the spirit"

I don't follow the Pope at all, but in light of my last blog entry, I found this article to be quite timely!

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Working too hard, even for those leading the Catholic Church, is bad for the spirit, Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday as he greeted tourists at his summer residence outside Rome.

During his traditional weekly appearance to bless the faithful, Benedict quoted from writings of St. Bernard in the 12th century meant for the popes of his time on the subject of overwork.
Benedict quoted the saint as advising pontiffs to "watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever ... the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the 'hardening of the heart,' as well as 'suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'"
"That warning is valid for every kind of work, even those involved in the governing of the church," 79-year-old Benedict said.
Having had a vacation in the Italian Alps in July, Benedict is spending what remains of August and much of September, in the papal palace in Castel Gandolfo, a lakeside town in the Alban Hills southeast of Rome.
The pontiff will interrupt his holidays to make a day trip on Sept. 1 to a religious sanctuary on Italy's Adriatic coast and to fly to his homeland, Germany, for a pilgrimage Sept. 9-14.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Corporate workhorses

As a temp at the office where I'm working a few weeks, I've been reminded yet again that I never will be cut out for the corporate work style. Hoo boy, these people are ambitious, always going, competetive Type-A personalities. And naturally being competitive, these people seem to compete with one another to see who can work the longest hours. They look at it like a badge of honor in a way. One man who works here says that an 80 hour work week is normal for him because he has so much to do. He said it in a way that was half bragging and half "have sympathy for me".

I just don't understand this sort of mentality. You may or may not love what you do working for some Giant Corporation. My friend works for another giant corp. in San Francisco and she says the mentality there is the same too, so I imagine it's like that everywhere in big cities: workhorses giving 110% 24-7. Yeah, they might get some nice material trappings to enjoy when they have a few minutes at home, so their efforts are rewarded by high salaries. But what a sacrifice! The man who with the 80 hour work week is divorced. Many of these people have no home life or any other life outside work so it's no wonder their family life suffers so. Is the Giant Corporation worth that? These days the Corporation is so quick to lay off workers or cut their benefits without so much as a blink of an eye. And this job insecurity makes the workhorses work even harder, to catch the eye of the Giant Corporation to make sure they are noticed for doing excellent work and showing productivity so they won't get laid off.

I was listening to my favorite talk show the other night and the topic was vacations and why Americans seem compelled to not take their vacations or when they do, they take work with them, even if it's their mobile phone or laptop. They feel like they have to constantly prove that they are committed to Giant Corporation because of job insecurities. Is that the underlying premise of this extreme ambition and commitment to the Corporation?

This is why I'm committed to being in the classroom and being my own boss, (thanks to my husband on that one). If I'm going to be a workhorse, it's going to be for me, not for some Corporation that could fire me on a whim. I can work as long as I want, I won't have to commute ungodly distances, and when I take time off, I'm OFF. I just hope that all these slaves to Corporations aren't burned in the end and have regrets. It sure isn't a life for me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

First day on the new job

So far so good.... I figured out how to get online here at the office and since they don't have much for me to do, I don't feel bad about getting on the Internet.

Well, when I went down to the parking lot this morning to get on my bike, I discovered that somebody had stolen the bike seat!!!!! I mean of all the days to do this, it had to be on my first day of work. What a bummer. I had to take the car and fortunately Golf didn't need it today. We have one more bike, but I haven't tried using it yet so I will try it out tonight. I might also consider just walking. This office is 1.8 miles from home and I don't think it would take me more than half an hour to walk. If I could walk to and from work, I wouldn't have to worry about not getting my exercise! It would, however, take longer to get home, and after Golf's been with that baby all day long, it might be an inconvenience. I'll talk to him about it tonight. But it has been a question about when I would get some time to exercise when I'm working all day long and come home to more chores and most important, spending time with the babe since he doesn't see me all day long. I feel lucky to be living so close though. There are some people here who are commuting a LONG way to get here.

This job will end up likely being a two week gig. That will be just right since the school year will begin right about then and I can get on the substitute teacher's list. The greatest thing about subbing will be the fact that I will be home way before 5 PM and can help out with the kidlet.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Got a temp job

I signed up with the temp agency I worked with at the time I was in the US before going back to Thailand a few years ago. Since they already had my file on record, I didn't have to retake any typing or software tests. Signing up with this agency dredged up the old feelings of sadness that I had when I was back in the US working for them: I couldn't find a fulfilling job (or ANY job for that matter) after my first stint in Thailand. So I had signed up with this agency to bring in SOME sort of wages. I had worked two or three jobs over the 9 months I was back here in the US and at that time I wasn't planning on returning to Bangkok. But the jobs I had were soulless, meaningless cubicle jobs doing menial work, which is what administrative jobs feel like to me. (Not to offend the admin people out there or the secretaries or clerical folks -- these types of jobs are simply not suited to me!)

I had thought that this was the type of job I was destined for for the rest of my life, after having such an interesting and meaningful job in Thailand. It was devestating to me -- these jobs had no meaning. These are the memories I dredged up when I was updating my special office resume to send to the temp agency.

Well, I had to think that circumstances are different now. There is an end in sight: The beginning of the school year means substitute teaching opportunities. And I'm also helping with our business and of course, Aidan is a job too, and a fulfilling one at that! ;)

So I feel much better about it. I start a week long job on Monday that may possibly go on a little longer and it's a short distance away so I can ride my bike. I did not want a long commute. Aidan's going to have a bit of a shock, though, not having Mommy around all day. But at least he will have his loving Daddy there. Golf will have a newfound appreciation for what Stay at home Moms go through when they have husbands gone all day every day.

Four more days to go before I'm out in the working world again.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Nose in books

My blogging has been slow lately because I've been caught up in some very good books lately. They're the first books in months and months and months that I've allowed myself to read for pleasure. I'd had it with reading books on the stock market. Since I have no money in the market and don't plan to until we get EXTRA, then I'm going to enjoy my books again!

Here's what I just finished:
The Anubis Gates -- A time travel book involving ancient Egyptian sorcerers, a body changing werewolf, several ka's or duplicate (cloned) individuals, a woman disguised as a man, and the hero. Got it for 25 cents at a thrift store and it was a great read!!!

Goa Freaks My Hippie Years in India -- A memoir by Cleo Odzer of her time spent on Anjuna Beach in Goa, India. It was one long drug trip and a series of drug smuggling scams. I had mixed feelings on this book. It was a very interesting read because I was more curious than anything about those travelers at that time (the 1970s mostly) who hitched along the famous Hippie Trail from Europe overland into Asia. But what upset me more than anything were the hippies-turned-junkies who had children or babies. Put it this way, such addicted parents are only concerned about their next hit of coke or smack, not the needs of their own offspring that go neglected most the time, I'm sure.

I finished that one last night. And so right away I began Solomon Time, about a British teacher who goes to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific and all about his adventures there living in a remote island village.

When I'm finished with that book, I'll read Indian Summer, by the same author, who goes to Pune, India to teach orphans in an ashram.

I've got some great reading ahead of me!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It takes about six months!!!!

I walked into the School District office this afternoon to apply to be a substitute teacher. The woman there who does the hiring told me that the personnel department is so overwhelmingly busy up until after the school year begins that I won't even be able to call to make an appointment with them until the end of this month! Boy, am I not surprised one bit. It will have taken well over six months from the time I signed up for that CBEST test to the time I sub in a classroom and get my first check. And that's if I get substitute work relatively soon after the school year begins. So we must rely on only Golf's income for another two months or so. I feel so helpless in what I can contribute, so I do my absolute best with our eBay business and taking care of the baby. It's SO FRUSTRATING!

Oh my achin' hip

I was a little too ambitious yesterday taking Aidan on a walk and using the baby backpack. I love wearing the backpack as it burns more calories and gets me a better workout. Plus Aidan likes riding on Mommy. His patience lasts much longer there than in a stroller. So we walked over 4 miles, which is no big deal -- it used to not be a big deal anyway. But by the time we got home I was pooped. I mean Aidan weighs over 25 pounds!

Later that night my left hip started hurting. It's been painful now for the last couple of months and I've been taking glucosamine and controitan tablets hoping it will help. My sister said it helped her hip joint after about 6 weeks. I'm still waiting. I think my hip problem is a result of power walking for the last 18 years.

When I was trekking in Nepal in 2001 I had a hip joint attack when I was a good 5 days hard walk from the nearest town. All I could do was hope it went away and it did, thank goodness. But walking four miles with a baby on your back on flat ground is small beans compared to the hard climbing I was doing five years ago. Can five years really do that much deterioration? I'm so glad I went trekking when I did because I don't know that I could do it nowadays. I could whip myself into better physical condition no problem, but the hip joint -- your skeleton and cartledge -- you cannot get into better shape.

One morning several months ago I got out of bed and the pain was so severe I could barely walk. Fortunately that happened only that one time and it didn't last long. I hope my body doesn't fall apart on me! My consistent exercise regimine has been not only to control and maintain my ideal weight but to feel good! It's for a good quality of life. I hope I won't need a hip replacement when I'm older. Yikes.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Substitute teaching

Our apartment managers are a married couple and Michelle, the wife, is a high school history teacher in a nearby city. I was talking to her yesterday and it turns out she had been a substitute teacher for this school district and she had many positive things to say about it. I had asked her how frequently she was called and she got called on OFTEN. I asked that if she had a free and open schedule (like I do) would she get work five days a week and she said that once you build up your reputation and students and teachers get to know you, then yes, you could end up working five days a week. That was really great news to hear so once I get in the classroom I can finally start contributing to the family income.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More SF Bay Area homes

The Boycott Housing website now has a link to see all the previous homes. The editor's comments are hilarious, but it would make you cry if you lived here and were a renter....

An old classmate

Last night I watched a show on bullies in schools, you know, as preparation for when my own child is older I can know if there is a problem -- if he's the one doing the bullying or if he's being bullied by somebody. Knowledge is power, those poor kids.

Well, it made me think about when I was in 6th grade. That's the difficult pre-adolescent stage and you feel like you MUST fit in and not be singled out for any reason by your peers. There was a boy in class named John Y. and he was always picked on. He was a farm boy and he would come to school in rubber boots with cow shit on the bottoms and he'd wear flannel shirts that were much too big for him.

One day in class the teacher had left and suddenly some kids in class teased the both of us saying John liked me and wanted to go out with me. The whole class was watching and I had to do SOMETHING to keep my dignity! I protested loudly and stood over John at his desk. I yelled at him and pulled his hair so hard I yanked a chunk out. I'm sure it hurt him terribly. :( :(

I clearly remember the incident to this day. I'm not violent, not normally confrontational and would never want to hurt anybody and I always felt really bad about what I did to John. I never apologized to him. The show last night made me feel horrible, again, for what I did.

So I looked up one of those reunion or classmate websites and I also Googled his full name and I THINK I found him. I even think I found his photo -- age him about 25 years, add a goatee to his chin, subtract some hair on his head and it kinda looks like him. If it is him, he's now living in Canada and working as a wrestling coach.

I emailed him last night just to see if it was him. If he replies, I intend to apologize for what I did to him 25 years ago...

Friday, July 21, 2006


We, like most the rest of the US, is in the midst of a heat wave. Since we live right near the water, we don't get the inland temps in excess of 100F, so we're lucky. The heat does create excess air pollution from cars, though, and these days are called "Spare the Air" days and all public transportation is free.

It was free yesterday when I had to take BART into Berkeley for a job interview at the Berkeley English Academy. The director was impressed with my teaching experience in Thailand and was most eager to give me substitution work when the occasion arose. And I'll even get a day's notice! So that will be great in addition to being a substitute teacher here in the Alameda school district. I plan to start the application process on Monday.

So today's another Spare the Air day and we plan to all take a trip into San Francisco since BART is free. It would otherwise cost us just over $12 round trip for two adults!!! We're going to Mission Street to the thrift stores -- there are about three within a few blocks of one another. It was at one of those thrift stores that Golf found a Teddy Ruxpin for $3 that sold for over $100 on eBay !!! So it's our good luck location! :)

We also plan to have a nice, inexpensive Mexican meal too. Yum yum! :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Full throttle

I have an interview with an English Academy in Berkeley whose job posting I answered just over a week ago. I called the person in charge of hiring in a follow-up call and he said that the position had already been filled. DARN! But he did say that they may need substitute teachers and I could come in and talk to him on Thursday afternoon. At least there is still a glimmer of hope.

I'm OK with that -- I would like to begin my application process to be a substitute teacher here in the Alameda school district, and that, coupled with subbing for the English Academy should supplement our income and I wouldn't be away from Aidan for too long.

In the meantime, I've decided to go balls-to-the-wall full throttle in helping Golf with our eBay business. We now mean business and we're going to make something of ourselves. We're determined!!!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Still considering Sac

After more conversation with Golf, we're still considering a move to Sacramento within the next year. With the passing of my CBEST test, I can still substitute teach and Golf can run his translation and eBay businesses from there. We can rent a house or duplex for the same price we pay here and in Sac, we'd have more space for our eBay inventory and a back yard for Aidan. The cost of living is a little bit less there and at least there when we save to buy a home, it won't be in vain.

A news story from earlier this week said that the new median price for a home in the Bay Area is now $750,000!!!! MOST people who live and work here cannot afford to buy and many are leaving California all together due to the high cost. But since my family lives in CA, I do owe it to Aidan to maintain a relationship with them, especially my parents. And a move to Sacramento would make a closer proximity.

Back to housing costs: The same news story talked about a housing boycott by some residents who don't want to bust their buns to pay $4k-$8k per month (or more) for a tar paper shack in the ghetto. They say that by refusing to buy a home, with enough people doing the same, it will have an affect on the market and cause the prices to come back to where they should. I don't know if that will work, but if anything, the website they created is a good place to vent about it. I especially like the house of the day feature.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Unimpressed with Zidane

Overall, I was disappointed with the World Cup final game. It was an exciting game, of course, but I wanted France to win since the all-star captain, Zinadine Zidane, was retiring for good. He was a GREAT player in the previous matches and showed quiet strength during this last match. I never saw him dive to the ground, clutching his leg if he got bumped, hoping for a foul.

But all that changed during the last minutes of the game when he head butted his opponent for supposedly saying something terrible to him. He got the red card and left the game. Nice way to end your career, Zinadine, with the whole world watching and setting an example for kids to follow. I'm very disappointed in you!!!!

Needless to say that despite Italy's reputation for "flopping" or "diving" to the ground, I'm happy for their win. I'm happy for any country's win of the biggest football challenge on earth!

Monday, July 10, 2006

I passed the CBEST!

YAY! I studied long and hard and today I got my unofficial results online. I passed with flying colors -- the reading, math and writing. What a relief and weight off my shoulders. Now I have quite a few more job opportunities. :) YIPPEEE!!!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Taking Aidan for another audition

Last night the phone rang and it was the talent agent. Aidan's got an audition today in San Francisco. I told Golf that if nothing comes of this audition, then I'm thinking about throwing in the towel. This is for several reasons:
  • It costs us $9 per month just to keep his information online. For now, that's $9 that could go for food on the table.
  • We're still using his portrait from when he was 7 months old. We can't really afford to go out and get professional portraits taken of him at this time. I've tried doing some snapshots, but he's so wiggley that they always turn out blurry and the camera's slow. He gets a cute look on his face, I press the button but by the time the camera takes the picture, he's morphed into a different look. I'll try again tomorrow.
  • Travel into San Francisco isn't cheap! It's over $6 round trip for one person. If both Golf and I go, it's over $12!!!! If we drive, like today, it's the expensive gas and a $3 toll.
  • I've talked to another mom whose son she takes to auditions and she said that she's been to many, many of them before getting one gig. I seriously ask myself, is it worth all this time, effort and money? I'm leaning toward NO. I feel we'll just about break even once the 20% agent fee is taken out and taxes too. If I put as much time and effort into my own business, I think I'd be getting greater returns.

Yeah, my baby's cute, he might just have to show his cuteness to people in person rather than in print....

I'm so excited about Sunday's playoff in the World Cup! France vs. Italy!!!! I'm on the French side this time, even though they won the cup back in 1998. I like the guy Zinedine Zidane -- what a name! -- he's 34 years old and retiring for good both country and club. So what a way to go. One more game to go in his career. He's the one who made the one and only goal for France's victory over Portugal yesterday and he also made a goal the game before that.

I hope we get our second disc in the History of Soccer series today. That'd be cool.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

We went to a parade this morning and of course Aidan fell sound asleep by the time the parade came. It was Golf's first small-time parade -- his first one was the Rose Bowl Parade in Oregon -- you can't really top that! But this was a really fun parade despite the baby fell asleep. He did wake up toward the end of our time there and got to see some horses, dogs, bands and old fashioned cars. We had to leave before it ended though, to make it home by noon. Click here for the photos! See the pants I can now fit into! Twenty pounds lost and 15 more to go!!! No firework shows tonight though -- we'll go next year.

Why? Well, the World Cup semi-finals were on, that's why!!! We were rooting for Germany since the Italian team are a bit sneaky, always dropping and rolling like they've been severely injured just so they can get a foul called and a free kick. Buggers. But they ended up kicking Germany's butt the last few minutes of the second overtime! To get in two goals in the space of a minute with that tank of a goal keeper (but handsome in a Heath Ledger way) was pretty amazing. The commentators said that in the streets of Berlin there were upwards of nearly a million people watching big screens. If only the US were involved like that... but the streets of Berlin are quiet now. Let's see what happens in tomorrow's semi-final match with Portugal and France. It's getting exciting around here!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How about that Portugal win!

I'm killing some time before the kickoff of the next World Cup game at noon. Brazil vs. France. That's going to be an intense game and I kinda hope France wins, only because Brazil is such a powerhouse. I like France -- I studied French language for many years and have had French acquaintances in the past -- heck one of our neighbors is a nice French lady named Nicole! Golf wants Brazil to win. Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me, it's all very exciting.

And how about that win Portugal just had over England?!?!?! My English friend Daryll said that England always crumbles over penalty kicks, so when it came to that, I kinda knew that England was doomed. But, according to the commentators, Portugal has not made it to the semi-finals since 1966 -- that's 40 years! So I'm glad for them, even though I wanted England to win. I still like Portugal, they're good people. And at least at the end of this last game, the English were still gentlemen unlike the Argentinians at the end of their game yesterday. Sore losers!!!

Some good news to balance the bad

To balance out the bad news from my entry below, I wanted to tell you that I've so far lost about 25 pounds! I take my jeans out every other day and try them on. My Old Navy size 12 are still slightly too tight to wear, but should fit in another five pounds. My Eddie Bauer shorts, size 12 fit me. And about 4 months ago, I bought a pair of Nike exercise capri pants at Ross, but they were WAY too tight for me, but I got them anyway. Today is my second day wearing them and they fit perfectly and are soooo comfortable! My goal is to fit most of my pants and jeans, which are size 10 or 11. I can barely get my size 10 Old Navy jeans up over my butt and hips, so I still have a ways to go.

I did a mini fast yesterday -- having a smallish breakfast and not eating the rest of the day save for a few nibbles here and there and lots of water and fiber tablets to jump start my weight loss after being sick. It worked, as I lost three more pounds and today I'm eating normally again.

Soon I will be able to wear my closet full of old, but cute clothes! Hooray! I'm on the road back to being normal!!!!

Some sad news out of Bangkok

I keep in touch with my former colleague and friend Michelle from my old school I worked at before moving back to the States. She told me of some sad news that one of the students there, who was not my student but I certainly knew him (and his brother too) had gotten lukemia. He was just a little kid -- grade 3 by this time. Michelle told me in an email today that he had died yesterday. How swift that disease moves. The school will be helping with the funeral and I guess all the teachers will be attending the funeral on Monday.

Now that I'm a parent, I understand the parent/child bond and I just cannot imagine something like this happening to Aidan. Do all parents go through this agony of imagining their beloved child dying or being hurt? I just don't know how the family of this boy copes. I understand that many marriages are hurt by the death of a child, each parent's grief tears him or her apart from their spouse. Then you gotta stay strong for the remaining sibling when you feel like dying inside yourself. How do parents go on, I wonder.

Now believe me, I'm not saying that child free people are unempathetic--not at all--but purely from my own experience as going through a significant portion of my adulthood childfree, and now as a parent, the stories of tragedy that impact families upsets me far more than it used to because I imagine my own baby in the same situation and my heart cries.

My thoughts and prayers are with that family in Bangkok.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

An invitation to dinner

I have another very nice neighbor one floor down who I've chatted with off and on for several months now. Well, she's hosting a 16 year old boy from Spain for the next month and I met him last night. He's very nice and speaks English rather well. I talked to Golf afterward and we agreed it would be a nice thing to invite them both to dinner at some point during his visit, so I went over to her apartment with my phone number.

Well, turns out Aji (or Agee or Ajee!) never has any other ethnic cuisine other than Spanish food -- and I assume stuff like spaghetti and pizza. Golf offered to cook up a nice Thai meal. I love snatching up an opportunity to meet people from other parts of the world. I want to know more about this exchange program he's with. I wanted to be an exchange student when I was in high school but never knew how to go about it. Never even thought to ASK anyone either! Sheesh! But I think it would be a good opportunity for Aidan when he's a teen. I'd love him to spend some time in Europe because he is going to get plenty of exposure to Asian culture with our trips to Thailand in the future, so exposure to European culture would be very beneficial. Not even I have ever been to Europe or the UK but I would really like to go someday. And I will!

In the meantime, I'm going to hopefully get to enjoy the company of a young Spanish boy and our lovely neighbor for some fine conversation and food. :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lazy Neighbors

We've got some funny neighbors next door. You know those little advertisements that businesses hang on your doorknob? Well, we got one for a pizza joint yesterday afternoon but it's still hanging on our neighbor's door. And they've come home from work yesterday, left for work this morning and have come home this evening. Three opportunities so far to take it off and toss it.

I'm really noticing this time and counting the days (and snickering at the same time) because last winter all the apartments got new phone books. It took them over 2 weeks -- 2 WEEKS! -- to take theirs inside (or throw out, don't know which) and it became hilarious tracking their laziness. Day after day of those phone books sitting next to their doormat. I was surprised the apartment manager didn't come by and ask them to do something with them. Anyway, it's quite amusing and little do they know that I'm announcing it to the whole world.

Soccer n Business

The two are both in totally different topics, but I thought I'd combine them in one post.

I have no idea why, but I'm smitten with this World Cup! It's so fun to watch and I feel like I'm a part of the international community when I watch. It's the only field sport I find interesting and I can get into it. When Golf, Aidan and I went to my best friend's house on Sunday, we watched a match on the Spanish station (since the regular broadcast stations weren't airing it -- lame!) and with friends, the fun amplifies many times over. Today is Ghana vs. Brazil. I think it will be Brazil easily. Ghana was the team that beat us last week and kicked us out of the running. Then this afternoon it's Spain vs. France which should be a very good match!

I'm so curious about learning more about football that I put in my Netflix queue a 7-disc series on the history of soccer, plus another series of memorable World Cup moments. I'm NOT a sports fanatic, but this is so fun to me. And I'm even considering taking Aidan to a World Cup, maybe the one in 8 years -- he'll be 9 years old and able to appreciate it more. It's important in our family for him to be worldly and exposed to many cultures. :) And influencing him to pursue soccer would also be a sneaky part of the equation (although he'll be supported in whatever sport he chooses to play).

Lastly, we went to see a business counselor yesterday. This is part of what's called SCORE -- former business owners and executives who volunteer their expertise to help those who wish to begin a small business. Well, the advice he told us was expected: We need to pursue the field of work we are already familiar with for a few more years to save up as much captial as possible.

So for Golf that means trying to get more translation work and his eBay business is starting to take off -- so he'll keep at that. Me, as soon as I find out the results of my CBEST test, that will enable me to pursue ESL teaching and/or substitute teaching. I've still not ruled out a weekend job, but I would like to research more kinds of businesses, which I can do at SCORE's library. There are so many occupations and businesses that one can pursue and these guides tell you exactly how to do it and how much money it requires. I already ran across one that looks very interesting and I plan to research it more in the coming weeks. I may extrapolate on it more as I learn about it as I could chuck it if it doesn't sound doable. But if I keep with it, I'll report more later!

Well -- that's it for now!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pictures from Sacramento

Golf holding Aidan in front of the Capitol building.

Street in Old Sacramento

My sister Anna with Aidan and me on the riverboat in Old Sac.

Baby loves the floor in the Capitol building!

Hope to get a weekend job

I've got one more week to either lose 10 more pounds or break down and buy a pair of new pants. Why? I need to go look for a weekend job at the beginning of July.

I'm going to get a job at a small business to learn the ins and outs of what it's like to run one. In addition to customer service and sales, I want to learn when they put on sales, how they work with contractors, where they get their inventory and how it's ordered. The bookkeeping... things like that. Golf and I are thinking about some sort of home improvement business for ourselves (yeah, and we are friggin renters!) so I'd like to get a job in the same field.

I applied for a home based job weeks ago that looked like it was perfectly suited to my previous experience and I thought I'd be GREAT at this position offered. I was quite confident when I emailed my resume and cover letter. Got the big fat rejection email a few days ago saying my experience was not a match to what they were looking for. What do they want for $15 per hour? A candidate with a PhD??????

This is why I want to own my own business with my husband. I cannot tell you how much I HATE to look for work and deal with the disappointment of not getting anything. We want to be the boss. The biggest obstacle, however, is coming up with capital to fund our business purchase. Right now we're barely making enough money to cover our bills. And that's with Golf doing translation work, eBay work and he also keeps trying out for commercials and modeling (he went to an audition last night). Our eBay business is picking up, though. If I can get a weekend job, then that money can go right into savings but still at that rate, it will take us 20 years before we have enough money (about 20%) to put down on a business. I also plan to work part time during the week if I pass that CBEST test and can get work as an ESL teacher. They make up to nearly $30 per hour, so if I can work 2-3 days during the week for that much, that would be helpful too.

So on Monday we have a meeting with a small business counselor who will hopefully give us a roadmap to our goal. We'll tell him or her exactly where we are and where we want to be and hopefully the counselor can tell us more resources (such as grants maybe?) for funding our down payment on a business.

I can't tell you how tired we are of being in this situation. We're not poor folks. We're educated, middle class people going through a financial difficulty with an extremely strong desire to get out of this predicament. I'll give a report on what our counselor tells us on Monday.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Got back from Sac

We just got back from spending a few days with my sister in Sacramento. The weather going inland is over 100F!!! I worried about keeping Aidan hydrated, but he's a tough little guy and did just fine. It was lots of fun -- my sister's got a back yard and we stripped the baby nekkid and let him run in the sprinkler. So cool, refreshing and free! He just loved it. That night we soaked in the jacuzzi and it really felt as if we were on vacation. A very nice change of scenery and routine.

Yesterday morning before it got real hot, Anna and I showed Golf Old Town Sacramento and we went on board the Delta King -- the huge riverboat turned into a hotel. It's got the big circular paddle in the back. Later today if I have time, I'll upload some photos. Old Sac is the original waterfront town that has been restored and is the tourist center, but fun anyway. Golf loved being a tourist again! We got to stop at the state capital building too and look around inside. Golf took a picture of Governer Arnold's office. Aidan loved the rotunda designs and the mosaic tilework of the floor. On the way back to Anna's we stopped for some British pasties for lunch which was a real treat. Took it home just like fast food -- who would choose burgers or tacos when you have pasties to eat?

So now we're back and it's only going to be in the mid 80s here in Alameda. I'm still not 100% well, just sinus problems with a stuffy and my ears need to pop all day long. I'll be so glad when I'm completely well again!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Been Sick

I had my big CBEST test on Saturday. But before going into detail about it, I'll say that Aidan had been sick for about five days previous to the big day and we even took him to the doctor. He's alright -- just had a viral bug that had to go away on its own, but sure enough he gave it to me.

It started Friday night, the night before the test. I wasn't feeling 100%, and so I was hoping to get some extra sleep before leaving at 8 AM. Well, somebody decided to wake up at 4 AM! We tried for an hour to get him back to sleep, and finally Golf took him at 5 and held him til he slept and they both dozed off on the sofa. When Aidan woke up, I discovered my own symptoms: Sinus pressure, sore throat, runny nose and a headache. It couldn't have come at a worse time since I'd been preparing for this test for a month! Luckily by the time it was time for me to leave, I was feeling a bit better and I rode my bike to the testing site.

I think I did OK -- I know I could have done better had I not been sick. I didn't think to bring any tissues, so my nose was dripping the last half of the test -- had to use my hand! EWW! And it took me the entire four hours for the test. I do hope I passed.

Needless to say, over the rest of the weekend I've been laid out sick. Yesterday I was on the sofa with the TV on all day long and I felt horrible. I haven't had the flu like this for years. Well, the positive thing about it is that I got to watch some of the World Cup matches whereas I would have otherwise forgotten about it since I keep the TV off during the daytime.

I also had to cancel plans with my best friend's family and her neighbors -- we were all going to get together for Father's Day and I just couldn't do it. I just hate to cancel plans because I like to be reliable. We'd even had a bunch of chicken marinating overnight to bring to barbeque. So we had to bake it instead and now we have all this extra food! My poor husband. His Father's Day was spent taking care of Aidan cause I was just too sick to do much. I told him I'd make it up to him later this week. What a wonderful guy he is! :)

Still not feeling 100% today, as I've still got major sinus problems and feel blah. But I hope to get out of the apartment today for a little bit. And my sickness caused me to lose 2 more pounds! Yippee! :) We women always like that side benefit to the misery.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Read about an old acquaintance in a best seller!

For nearly a decade, I was a part of the underground party movement or rave scene in the Bay Area. This phenomenon attracted all sorts of people to it, some of whom were pioneers in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. Since hard science is intimidating to me, not to mention the whole world of computer science and the tech world it's built on, I didn't discuss such subjects with some of my friends and acquaintances because it would just blow over my head. But to get to know some of their histories n stories would have been quite interesting, indeed. I'm just so shy most times and breaking the ice with people isn't the easiest thing for me to do.

With that said, I've been reading a book called The World is Flat, by Pulitzer Prize winning NYTimes columnist Tom Friedman. The book is basically about "the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. " He goes into detail about how this has changed the planet.

Anyway, I was reading chapter 2, The Ten Forces that Flattened the World and am on Flattener #4, Open Sourcing -- Self-Organizing Collaborative Communities and suddenly I'm reading about a person I know!!!! I've got one of his mixed CDs in my techno collection that he gave to me! It turns out that B.B. not only began the rave mailing list I was on in my college years, which I already knew about, but he also began and perfected the most widely used open sourced web server software in existance. I mean, how cool is that! Tom Friendman was interviewing B.B. about his childhood and how he came into computer programming and things, and it was so interesting to read about. That's what made me feel kind of sad, that I had to learn more about B.B. through a nationally bestselling book available to everyone, and I had the opportunity to talk to this fascinating person on many numerous occasions and also, of course, on that mailing list I was on.

Every person is interesting, in my opinion. Everybody has a history and a story to tell and most are happy to share it with anybody willing to listen. I just need to work on my conversation skills.

Friday, June 09, 2006

5 AM

It's much easier to SAY I'm going to get up at 5 AM every day than actually doing it. Woke up at 5:10 and decided to sleep til 5:30. Was just about ready to get up when I heard a little somebody in the next room telling me I wouldn't get any alone time before 6. Oh well, such is mommyhood!

The World Cup

I'm not a big sports fan, but I do know the World Cup begins today, 9 AM our time and it's taking place in Germany this time around. How I wish the United States were more into soccer -- err, excuse me -- FOOTBALL like the rest of the world. It's such an exciting event that not even the Olympics can get to the level of passion that the fans show. So many countries and cultures crazy about one thing -- except us in the States. We're crazy about American football, baseball, basketball and to some extent hockey. The Canadians are the only ones who love hockey too and baseball seems to be loved by Puerto Ricans and the Japanese.

It was so cool living in Thailand where football was the number one sport. People played it all the time in fields and soccer pitches were the norm -- you won't see many baseball diamonds. The influences were everywhere, especially in advertising. The Superbowl was something you could only see on a special cable channel and there was no fanfare around it at all. I liked being in an environment that virtually ignored all sports that America has held in such high esteem and who put football at the top, like the rest of the world.

So I'll watch a bit of the Cup this year and be a part of the world, rather than isolated like an island.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Weight Loss Progress and new scheduling

As of yesterday I've lost 15 pounds!

I'm trying to implement a new schedule while I can: I would like to wake up at 5 AM every day -- approximately an hour before Aidan wakes up -- so that I can get some reading and/or studying done in peace. Well, I didn't get to bed last night til rather late, and I ended up sleeping until 5:45, during which Aidan also woke up, so no alone time. But in the future, that's what I want to do. I'm more of a morning person than Golf and morning time for me has always been more serene and peaceful.

Then what I'd like to do regularly is go on my powerwalks at about 8 AM. Golf's awake by then and takes Aidan to go down for his morning nap and nobody can put that baby to sleep like he can. So I'm hitting the ground hard -- I tend to walk faster when I have no stroller to push. And Aidan's been getting bored on our walks lately. Plus I get more energy the rest of the day.

So far this small shift in schedule should benefit me and Aidan and get more things done.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Aidan's hurt his daddy!

Yesterday Golf was holding his son when that baby jabbed his finger into Golf's eye. Right on the eyeball. He hurt, but not to the point of being excruciating, just very irritated. His eye was bloodshot but not swollen, so that to me was a positive sign that he wasn't injured badly. So last night, it started getting a bit more painful for him and I cut a cucumber slice and he laid down with it and a cool washcloth folded over the cucumber and his eye.

Well, last night at 1:30 AM he woke up to see the time and when he opened his eye it hurt very badly. I got him some Tylonol and tried looking for my travel medicine bag, since I had some medical tape in it, I could put some padding on his eye and tape it so he couldn't open it. I think he needs to rest it for a few days. Well, I determined that the tape was in my backpack in Aidan's closet, so that would have to wait til morning. Poor hubby!!!! I don't know that I can do anything else for eye trauma other than rest the eye. I'm going to ask him if he wants to see the doctor today, but I don't know really if there's anything else we can do.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Whew long day!

I took Aidan to two audition photo shoots for baby modeling. It's his way of working to pay for his college education! LOL! Well, it's true -- about four months ago we signed up with a talent agency since practically everyone who sees Aidan compliments how cute he is (and we agree). So *2* auditions, one in Emeryville and one in Downtown San Francisco. Had to scramble to get to the BART station on time to get to the second one, but we made it and were on time. I'll let you know if he gets the job. Put that baby to work! Yeah! :P

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Aidan's First Birthday Photos

Aidan's birthday photos are now available to see! On it you'll get to see his first birthday cake, all the presents he got and his first haircut! My mom and dad were with us, but Golf took all the photos, so unfortunately, he's not in any of them. Darn, I should have taken some with him and Aidan together.

Click here to see Aidan's First Birthday Photos! :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Saw Davinci Code

While my parents were here to see the baby for his birthday, Golf and I took advantage of their second day here and we saw the Davinci Code movie. I really enjoyed it and felt it stayed true to the book. Although Tom Hanks played Langdon well, he wouldn't have been my first choice of actor to play Langdon. However, in thinking about it, I still don't know who'd be good in that part... The actress who played Sophie did well too and was a beauty.

I cried at the end when he discovered where the Holy Grail lay -- as I did in the book too. Now if only Angels and Demons could be made into a movie. But that book would really get some controversy! But the history of it seems well thought out too. I actually learned much about Christianity and its history from those two books because I wasn't raised in that religion.

Oh and I've never understood why the Catholic and Christian religions are seen as two seperate religions. Aren't they all Christian? Doesn't make sense to me.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Baby

My baby turned one today -- I just can hardly believe that the tiny little person I gave birth to is no longer technically an infant. Always my baby though. He's changed and grown so much from being able to lift his head, then smiling, then rolling over, then crawling, then eating solid food, and now WALKING. This child has taken his first steps 11 days ago and now less than two weeks later, he's doing more walking than crawling.

Aidan got his first taste of birthday cake today and got many clothes from his great aunt and his grandparents. He also got his first haircut which we have saved in his baby book. As soon as I can, I'll get the link up to his online photo album so you can see him on his very first birthday. It's a bittersweet event -- my baby's gone, but is it neat seeing him grow into a boy! :)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Interesting 20/20 show last night

Last night ABC's 20/20 had a great show about the get rich gurus and putting them to the test to see if they worked for average people.

First up was David Bach of Automatic Millionaire fame. His latest book is about home owning, the two greatest premises was that renters stay poor and homeowners can leverage their equity growth and eventually purchase another property and rent out the original, therefore slowly building their assets. His challenge was to take two ordinary families who were renters and figure out a way to get them into homes and he did it! In the meantime, he discovered ways that one family in CA (who had an income of $45K but lived in Fresno) cut costs by not buying $50 video games and putting their daughter into beauty pageants. Good god, how do people spend so much! But they got a home -- a run down fixer, but a home no less. Home prices in the Bay Area have hit a median of $670,000 and that average morgage is just over $3K per month.

Next was Dr. Thomas Stanley of Millionaire Next Door fame who also wrote The Millionaire Mind (both of which I've read) and the story on him basically outlined his conclusions that real millionaires don't drive fancy import cars or live in huge mansions in exclusive neighborhoods. Millionaires are also willing to take financial risks, something that non-millionaires rarely do. In the segment, they even studied the bran of a successful business woman as she simulated stock trading and noticed a part of her brain was activated whereas a person who did not take such a financial risk did not have that part of the brain stimulated.

The last person on was Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame. He's sold 18 books about how rich people thing and go about business, but not one of them tells you exactly how to get there. I read his first book and thought that exact same thing that everyone else does: The book was encouraging and motivating, however if you don't know how to start or what to do, it's useless. The most valuable thing I got from his book was how the rich get their cashflow: They limit their liabilities and buy assets. The assets give them their income and the cycle flows that way. I've listened to his lectures and read a few chapters in more of his books, but didn't pursue further because they all pretty much say the same thing. The rich get financial advice from their attorneys, CPAs, stock brokers and peers. How many average folks even need an attorney or CPA? In the end, this guy is purely a motivational speaker who tells you nothing about the how-tos of becoming financially independent. He's basically a bag of hot air and my opinion of him has been lowered quite alot.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Cramming for the CBEST exam

On June 17th I'm taking a four hour exam called the California Basic Education Skills Test, or CBEST. Passing this exam will enable me to be eligable to teach ESL or be a substitute teacher. I ordered my transcripts from one of the community colleges I attended way back over 10 years ago because I must have 20 units of a foreign language study or English or a combination. At one particular community college, I took many French classes because I wanted to become fluent. I felt I wouldn't be truly educated unless I knew another language. Unfortunately because I never had an opportunity for full immersion, I never became fluent, but I still remember a lot of French. This will help me in my foreign language requirement, although I will likely be teaching more Spanish or Chinese speaking people here in the Bay Area. The thing is that my transcripts show only 19 units of completed English and French. I'm sure I took one more English class at a different community college (I attended three of them!) so I think I'm alright, I just have to request one more set of transcripts.

The frustrating thing is that it will take a long time -- almost another month before the test, then I have to wait an additional month for the results. Then I have to pay application fees and such. It's gonna take at least another 3-4 months.

Well, I'm rather relieved I have about a month to study though. My dear sister Alise sent me a book to study the CBEST and the darn thing is over an inch thick! Good thing too that it's mostly math review because I'm HORRIBLE at math and boy, I have a lot of studying to do in the math section. That's the main thing I'm concerned about. I'm studying any spare moment I can get, which is about an hour and a half per day, more if I can squeeze it in. My investing studies will have to be put on hold for now til I take this test. Undoubtedly the math review ought to help me in my investing studies though!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

I'm so happy to be celebrating my first Mother's Day! In Thailand Mother's Day is in August, but we didn't do anything since Aidan was so little then and we had nobody to help us care for him, so we looked over our balcony at the seafood restaurant across the street as it was being mobbed by families taking their moms out to dinner. We were actually kind of glad not to be a part of the chaos! Here's how they celebrate in Thailand, and here too.

Well THIS year, we're invited to our friends' place Mel and Daryll for some BBQ out in their newly landscaped backyard. Not quite finished, but a nice sneak preview just the same and it will be very nice to hang out with them. Mellie suggested to Golf to make sure he drives home and we're bringing over the wine so it's going to be a really good day! :)

Happy Mother's Day to all you Mommies out there!