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.