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!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weight Loss Update

I'm happy to report that as of today I have lost 11 pounds!!!! Woo hoo! It's most noticable in my face and my boobs are quite a bit smaller. The most dramatic difference is in my face and my boobs are much smaller. I've heard you gain weight from the bottom up and lose it from the top down. So my ass n thighs will stay fattest for the longest time. It's nature's cruel joke. But hey, at this rate, I should be to my goal weight within another two months.

The best part about this weight loss is that I'm not eating anything special, just making my portions much smaller. Like last night's dinner was Masaman curry, made by my talented husband. Thick and rich with coconut milk and spices, it was made with chicken and there was a bit of oil floating on the top. No doubt extremely fattening. But I limited my portion size and also had just one serving of rice, about 1/2 cup. I've also requested that when he cooks in the wok to reduce the amount of oil, which has made no difference in the food's taste or look, so it's not been missed and saves us on our calories and fat.

Yesterday I was also craving sweets big time. I even wrote ice cream on my grocery list, but I did not succomb and I felt great about it afterward. I did have a cup of hot cocoa last night, and that's what I consume when I'm craving chocolate but don't want to give in to a dessert. I simply keep sweet treats out of the house for it is within my power not to buy the stuff. If Golf craves chocolate, I might send him to the convenience store down the street to buy a single serve treat whether it's a chocolate bar or an ice cream bar, so that it's entirely gone when he's done eating.

I'm finally feeling some empowerment about getting my old self back. I miss me and can't wait to meet myself again. Woo hoo!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Somebody's WALKING!!!

Oh boy, it's been awhile for blogging, but what better reason for a comeback than a little video clip of Aidan's FIRST DAY walking! He had done it one time just before Golf grabbed the camera, and he did it for us again and again.

Here's the link to download the movie. It's a big file, so be patient.

Please right click on the link and and "Save Target As" so that you download it first, otherwise it's too choppy to see.

We're a couple of proud parents today! :)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Various goings-on and thoughts and updates

I've been very slow blogging lately for a few reasons. One, I've been having feelings and issues that are too private to my family to voice on a public forum. Those close to us know what's happening, so I needn't elaborate. Secondly, I've been spending any spare moment I have on the computer or reading books learning about investing. It's really the only way I can assure Golf's and my retirement in about 25 years, esp. with him being self-employed -- we have no 401k program, Social Security will be bankrupt and mutual funds will likely not give us a rate of return that will make a difference over the long run. That leaves ME being financially educated enough to navigate this financial river. It's a big bite, but one I'm confident I can handle.

Next is my job situation. I drove 40 minutes on the freeway, in a lot of traffic using expensive gas to purchase a $2 study guide that the county could not mail to me. Don't ask me why. I got there and discovered that because I have a bachelor's degree I may not have to take this upcoming exam! It's the exam to be qualified for a teaching assistant position. Gee, I wish it said that on their website, because I've been sitting around doing nothing about my job situation, waiting for May 12, the test date. So since I don't have to take the test, I went to the school district office to apply for any teaching assistant job that may be available. Now I'm waiting to hear back from them. I understand that summer's coming up and there may not be any jobs available until the new school year begins. That would suck, because I really need to bring in some income.

Next month, I take another exam to qualify to be a substitute teacher. Hopefully between being a sub and a TA, I'll be able to make some decent income -- and the hours are little enough that Golf can take care of the baby and when I get home, I can take over child care duties, so it all works out well. Just waiting to hear back from the school district now, and it's frustrating.

Diet's going well. I've lost 6.5 pounds so far. Just keeping at it!