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.