Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Google Earth

Yesterday I downloaded Google Earth and it's SOOO fun and interesting! I'll likely spend more time on it today too than I should. I went to Bangkok and I found the two schools I worked for and my and Golf's apartment building. You can place mark it, like a book mark, so that everytime I go to Bangkok, those places will show. It's interesting to see where we lived in relation to the rest of the city and the places we went to often, like Siam Center.

I also looked to see where the Royal Family lives, for in real life, the Chitlada Palace is fenced off with armed soldiers and while our school went on a field trip there, we only went to the area where there were national projects being conducted, not the living quarters of the Royals. So I got to see the whole thing from a satellite view. So interesting! I also visited Egypt and tried to see the Taj Mahal in India. That part was blurry. I think that today I will visit some places I have not yet been but want to go see.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yard Sale finds for eBay!

I went onto Craigslist this weekend for a listing of neighborhood yard sales and I went to one on Saturday and two yesterday and I found some nice things!

On Saturday I found a nearly new queen sized comforter for $8 that I might be able to sell for $10-$15 on eBay. An Indian scarf with beading on the corners for $1.50 that I will list for $3-$5 and another smaller one I bought for 75 cents that I can try to sell for about $3. I also found a pair of nearly new Liz Claiborne pumps for $6 that I will try and sell for $10.

Sunday was the motherlode though. I had seen an ad that said they were selling a special first edition of a Larry Fraga Christmas ornament. I don't collect ornaments and have never heard of Fraga before, but I did a quick eBay search of his name before heading to the yard sale and his ornaments are highly collectible. The average price they sold for was between $40 and $60!

I was ever hopeful that the ornament was still available by the time we got there. Since it was Sunday, it meant that her yard sale was going on yesterday too and we got there about 11:30 AM, two and a half hours after she opened up.

But what luck! I saw the ornament and snatched it up. She had more of the same design and wanted $20 each for them but was willing to negotiate. I ended up purchasing 2 for $35!!! That's what haggling for prices in Thailand did for me, to not be shy about haggling a little bit. I didn't want to be insulting and offer even less, but I thought a $5 discount would be fair.

So I'm going to hang on to these ornaments and not list them til about November when more people look on eBay for nice ornaments and hopefully I'll make a nice profit! And today I'm doing a more leisurely search of Larry Fraga Designs. I imagine I'll learn a lot when I pick up stuff at yard sales to resell.

The last yard sale we went to I found a set of six small decorative spoons in a small case and I could tell they were real silver because they were tarnished. They had an "Italy" stamp embossed on the back of each. The woman selling them said they were at least 35 years old. Hmmmm... real silver and made in Italy. How much? $1!!!!! This just added a few hours later: I just now found an ad on eBay for the exact same spoons and the seller is asking $10 so I've got it on my watchlist to see what happens. This is so much fun!

Lastly, I found an old set of a brass knife, fork and spoon with resin handles that were chipping a little. What was special was that they were Thai! Each utensil was topped with a traditionally styled Thai angel and the set came in its original box. I got it more for us, since the handles weren't in the best condition. Also only $1!!

Yard saling's gonna be fun this year!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Date day

Mom and Dad came over yesterday and during the afternoon, took Aidan to the beach to play in the sand. That was Golf's and my opportunity to get out for a few hours and enjoy ourselves. We didn't want to see any movies -- nothing is out now that looks appealing. Not til May anyway, that's when Davinci Code comes out! I couldn't think of anything, so I just came up with going to the bookstore to hang out, read at our leisure, and get some coffee. It was nice and inexpensive date.

However, upon returning to our car we saw we got a parking ticket!!! We were so careful to make sure we got back in time before the meter ran out. The guy giving the ticket must have been sitting by our car waiting for the last few minutes to tick by because we saw his little truck down the street after we got in. We got there literally less than a minute after he left. And our cheap date got an added $35. Sometimes I think when I really try to keep costs down, something comes along to screw it all up.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Oh the humorous irony!

We had signed up Aidan with this modeling agency so that if he were to do any commercials or printed advertisements, he would get some money for his college fund. Ya know, put the baby to work now! LOL! Well, our agent might be waiting for Aidan's work permit to come in, so there haven't been any calls yet for hime.

However, in the same time frame, Aidan's agent has called twice for Golf! Some clients were looking specifically for Asian men, and well, my husband is a handsome man! :) So he went to his first audition in San Francisco yesterday and while he's not so confident about it since he didn't know what to expect, he said he should do much better at the second one he has this coming Monday. If there is this great of a demand for Golf, then we might get him a portfolio put together. It's a great way to make some quick, easy money.

Who knows, I might be the wife and mother of two actors and models! LOL!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Getting on the ball

OK, so yesterday I finished my resume and converted it into a PDF file, and my writing sample is finished. Golf had found an ad on Craigslist for an antique store owner needing someone to write descriptions for their inventory they are putting online, so I applied for the job and I also posted my services in the small business section. Hopefully I will get a bite! My youngest sister had been pretty successful doing webpage design from her home and had some steady business by just word of mouth, so hopefully within a year I will also have a steady stream of business.

I'm also going to get on the ball and learn how to sew a simple pillow for this Ebay business idea I have while I wait for my Ebay book to arrive. Mom's loaning me her sewing machine, so today I must look on the internet on how to make your own pillow. I'm really going to give this a try.

Golf yesterday also went to see David Bach in San Francisco. He's the author of the Automatic Millionaire series. He was giving a talk promoting his new book The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner and the book is very encouraging (I read about half of it last night) because there are so many first time homebuyer programs out there to help you get into a house. Even the cable guy who came to our apartment on Wednesday told us he owned two homes right here in Alameda. He told us that Alameda offers a downpayment assistance program. I never even knew! Now if the cable guy can do it, so can we!!!

So Golf and I are extremely motivated to get our income UP Up UP and keep saving so that within two years we will be able to afford a morgage payment. Because we won't have a problem saving, it's the monthly payment that may be a struggle. We're gonna do this, though, come hell or high water!!!!

New Photos Uploaded

Golf has posted the latest photos of Aidan here. There are many pictures of when we went to "Wee Play" at the Veterans Building in town. For $5 (or free if you help clean up, which we did) our little one gets to play with many different toddler and baby toys and interact with other children. Aidan just loved it and we plan to go once or twice a week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Parental visit, another work at home idea

Today's the last day my parents will get to see Aidan before they truck off to Nevada in hopes of finding their permanent retirement home. It's really sad that they got priced out of expensive California. But the Reno area isn't too far of a drive, and they're looking for a place in the country, which will be very beneficial for Aidan to learn about when he visits.

A few days ago, as I was writing some product descriptions for some Ebay ads, I realized I loved doing that! People have complimented my writing in the past and I enjoy describing things, situations, places, feelings, etc. so this seemed like the perfect work at home opportunity. Already Golf saw some ads on Craigslist needing product description writers!

So the last few days I've been taking more photos of things we have in our home and have laid them out in Word in a sort of simple catalog fashion, with descriptions of them. When finished, I will convert it to a PDF file. Then I'll update my resume and start putting myself out there. Doing this along with Ebaying ought to bring me enough income by working at home to feel useful!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Catching up and the work dilemma

I haven't been blogging much because some of the things going on are not things meant to be shared in a public forum. I'm sure you all get situations like that, and it rules your life for a few weeks, then mellows out a bit and life goes back to normal.

I will get into a little bit of it: the back to work dilemma.

The pros are that the two branches I can focus on are in self employment and I would make my own hours and be able to still mother Aidan properly. And since Golf is self employed, he can also be flexible with his hours and Aidan would never need a non-parental caregiver, which is very important to me. Nobody will make sure he's properly taken care of better than family.

The first option is to become a real estate appraiser. The study option I've chosen is an online course I can take from home and it will take several months. I would then find a mentor (an appraiser in the field with enough experience and a willingness to train me). On a part time basis with a 2000 hour requirement, it would take me at least two years to finish my apprenticeship and earn 100% on the jobs. As a trainee I'd get 50% or maybe even 40%.

The housing bubble is a concern for me. I don't want to go through all this training and then find out there are no jobs out there, with a glut of fellow appraisers out there fighting for the ones that are out there. On the other hand, I've heard that in the Bay Area, a bubble and slowdown in the market is less likely than in other parts of the state or country. It's a gamble.

The next option is to try starting a small business and sell on Ebay. I've already got some used CDs up for sale to try it out, and Golf has some Thai handicrafts he attempted to sell a few years ago that I plan to photograph and put on Ebay. I have an idea for a product line, but I have to learn how to make it -- it envolves sewing and my mother has lent me her sewing machine. But I don't know how to use it! So I'd have to practice to get any good because, of course, I want the product I'm selling to be quality work.

I could also expand from there, as there are books all about how to find wholesaler sources and buy and sell on Ebay and make a decent living.

Neither option is a guarantee of success, but then again, no job or career is. Especially when self employed. But I have to do something, and I'm trying Ebay first since I won't have to leave Aidan alone before he's weaned. You never know, I might get lucky!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Got a haircut!

I got my first haircut since moving back to the USA in August!!! It was so long and straggly and I got lucky and found a very good salon. I spent $50 all together with the tip and it's worth every penny. Every woman has to have a good hairdresser and for me, $50 is an OK price to pay for looking good for another 6 months.

I'll see about getting a picture taken and put it up.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Getting started on Ebay

I've been spending the last few days cruising around Ebay, getting comparison prices for things similar to what I want to sell. I've got some old CDs, a few of them quite rare, that might fetch a good price. As a matter a fact, I saw listed a CD sampler that I got free with a purchase about 9 years ago and today that sampler is going for $60! Wow! However, there are no bids on it and it's 28 days before the auction ends. Should I price my same sampler similarily? My gut tells me to price it lower and see what kind of bidding I get. Afterall, I am also brand new at Ebay and have no customer feedback. Any Ebay sellers reading that can give me tips?

I also have a business idea to sell some things on Ebay and this week I would like to price the materials needed to construct the items I'd put up for sale. It's a side income that I'm exploring and could have some potential.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Academy Awards

This is the first year in I don't know how long that I decided to watch the Oscars. That's only cause it's raining out and there's nothing else to do today.

So what happens? The cable goes out. It went out exactly at 5 PM and it's now 5:20. It sucks. At least all the boring awards are given out at the beginning!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Discussion forums

I came across a web board forum for real estate appraisers yesterday and what I read greatly discouraged me: The competition is fierce, you have to find a mentor when you are a trainee and they're hard to come by, we may be obsolete by using automation programs such as, and it's one tough road to hoe.

I didn't know what to think after reading that stuff. But Golf and I had a talk and he made the point that no job in the beginning is easy. And he's right, it takes years of hard work to make a career profitable. The only exception was when I got my teaching certificate to teach English abroad. I got the certification and schools were anxious to hire me. After a few years of experience, I got a cush job at a very good bilingual school making very good money for that profession. My first few years paid much lower, though.

Next, I have to think that these people posting on this web board might be big whiners. I know that if I had found (for English teachers in Thailand) before taking my certification class, I would have likely been scared off from even taking the course -- you'd think that all schools in Thailand sucked and treated their teachers horribly with very low pay. Well, in many cases that's true, but also many teachers in Thailand are just plain whiners and do nothing but complain, and they also complain on the web forum. I have to think that the same situation applies for the appraisal web forum.

A positive attitude can take you a long way and free you of many of the obstacles that would otherwise come up. I'm not ready to give up before even getting started. :)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

No nursing home for me...

Got this in my inbox today and got a chuckle and a serious thought at the same time:

No Nursing Home for Me
About 2 years ago my wife and I were on a cruise through the western Mediterranean aboard a Princess liner. At dinner we noticed an elderly lady sitting alone along the rail of the grand stairway in the main dining room. I also noticed that all the staff, ships officers, waiters, busboys, etc., all seemed very familiar with this lady.
I asked our waiter who the lady was, expecting to be told that she owned the line, but he said he only knew that she had been on board for the last four cruises, back to back.
As we left the dining room one evening I caught her eye and stopped to say hello. We chatted and I said, "I understand you've been on this ship for the last four cruises".
She replied, "Yes, that's true."
I stated, "I don't understand" and she replied, without a pause, "It's cheaper than a nursing home".
So, there will be no nursing home in my future. When I get old and feeble, I am going to get on a Princess Cruise Ship. The average cost for a nursing home is $200 per day. I have checked on reservations at Princess and I can get a long term discount and senior discount price of $135 per day. That leaves $65 a day for:
1. Gratuities which will only be $10 per day.
2. I will have as many as 10 meals a day if I can waddle to the restaurant, or I can have room service! (which means I can have breakfast in bed every day of the week).
3. Princess has as many as three swimming pools, a workout room, free washers and dryers, and shows every night.
4. They have free toothpaste and razors, and free soap and shampoo.
5. They will even treat you like a customer, not a patient. An extra $5 worth of tips will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.
6. I will get to meet new people every 7 or 14 days.
7. T. V. broken? Light bulb need changing? Need to have the mattress replaced? No Problem! They will fix everything and apologize for your inconvenience.
8. Clean sheets and towels every day, and you don't even have to ask for them.
9. If you fall in the nursing home and break a hip you are on Medicare; if you fall and break a hip on the Princess ship they will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

Now hold on for the best! Do you want to see South America, the Panama Canal, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, or name where you want to go?Princess will have a ship ready to go. So don't look for me in a nursing home, just call shore to ship.

PS - And don't forget, when you die, they just dump you over the side at no charge.