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.