Friday, August 31, 2007

Trying to keep my patience

I'm so anxious to get started on my new job. I signed the contract on August 16th and I've read the supporting documents to become fluent in the service I will be offering and brainstormed potential clients. I've got my mobile phone and new number exclusively for my new business.

What I'm waiting for: The company I work for has had email service provider problems and my contact at the HQ (which is out of state) said it wouldn't be resolved until today. Well, no word from him today and now I have to wait until Tuesday before I attempt to call him about it due to the long holiday weekend. He told me that the marketing folders have been shipped, I can only hope he actually did ship them.

Once I get my email address then I can order my business cards. Once my business cards arrive, I will finally have proper sales and marketing materials sufficient to make a sales presentation. I just had no idea it would take so long to get the ball rolling. I am so eager to make a good income for our family and it's incredibly frustrating to be able to do nothing but wait. But I try and make good on my free time by reading such books as Missed Fortune, learning more about the type of business I'm getting into and enjoying my naptime every afternoon! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Toddler classes are EXPENSIVE!

Just talked to a new friend of mine who has a two year old girl. She's going to take her daughter to this tumbling class (toddler gymnastics). The drop in price for a 45 minute class is $15!!!!! If you buy a monthly pass, the cost works out to $11.25. Holy Moley, that's as much as full-priced yoga and you get at least an hour or hour and a half for the yoga. When my new friend asked if I wanted to join her, I said that Aidan already gets plenty of gymnastics experience at the park's playground (in a joking and nice way, so as not to offend).

We never had all these specialty classes for toddlers when I was little. Of course my family lived out in the country and I had plenty to occupy myself. I can't help but think that with every day so new and exciting for a toddler, they will learn and grow just fine without expensive classes. I don't believe they're necessary and while I certainly don't think the classes harm the child, I simply think that it's a sign of hyper-parenting.

Yay, Oprah!

Today will be the first new Oprah episode in months and I'm looking forward to it because I miss her shows. I rarely watch TV anymore besides a few PBS and Travel Channel shows - it's ALL crap otherwise and thank god for Netflix! Oprah's the one indulgence I have, and because she's a good person as well as a good entertainer, I feel good about watching. I sounds like SUCH a stay-at-home mom with my anticipation over OPRAH. LOL!

Speaking of Netflix, if any of you subscribe, send me your username so we can be friends and check out each others' queues! We watched a documentary I had heard about called Maxed Out. It's about the debt problems consumers face and predatory lending practices of banks and credit card companies. It also touches on the national debt and out of control government spending.

In the end, it's about personal responsibility and educating youself. Most of the people profiled were ignorant about money and finances. Those two words, to most people, make one's face pucker in distaste - they don't want to think about it or deal with it. Well sticking your head in the sand while your world comes tumbling down around you certainly does not help either! It's terribly unfortunate that personal finance is not taught in schools. But this documentary did not touch on personal responsibility as much as I thought it should.

Money is central our lives whether we like it or not and we must educate ourselves in its workings so as not to be vulnerable to these huge corporations who reap windfall profits from those who don't know better.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Making More of a Difference - Microloans

I just logged out of my Yahoo Mail account and got directed to the main page where an article caught my eye and I clicked on it. Check out the Yahoo article here - and see the corresponding video as well.

It's about a San Francisco-based company called Kiva who gives us the opportunity to make micro loans to entrepreneurs in impoverished countries via the Internet. It reminds me of, but Kiva is focused on giving opportunity to those in poor countries to have a chance of business success. For as little as $25 you can make a loan with a 99% chance of being repaid. Please see the videos on the website, they're wonderful!

I'm ready to make my first loan (albeit small) and make a difference to a business man or woman who otherwise wouldn't have a chance! What a wonderful way to help eradicate poverty!!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm Employed!

Over the weekend I signed a contract for a sales position. I've got a job that gives me the best of both worlds: Freedom and real estate.

Freedom because I'm employed as an independent contractor and that means I work when, where and how much I want, which is essential when having such a small child still at home. It also means my earning power is limitless and the possibility of a six figure income is very real (and will be real as far as I'm concerned!) And best of all, we don't have to move!!! The reason we were going to move to Sacramento was because I thought the housing market was more robust for first time buyers, but now that's not an issue.

Real Estate is an aspect of the job. It doesn't require a license, but my knowledge of what I learned is certainly helpful. I'll be working more in the realm of taxation. I have a small learning curve, but I'm reading about it as I wait for my new (refurbished) mobile phone I got on eBay to arrive. I was, and still am, too skittish to enter into the residential mortgage market after all the recent news, massive layoffs and company dissolutions. What I'm doing is selling a service that sells itself, really, and is outside the realm of real estate cycles.

In my beginning phase I plan to continue substitute teaching to supplement our income until I get more clients and referrals. This works out brilliantly.

At the end of the day I couldn't be happier! The next few weeks means getting geared up and ready to go. I have to print my own marketing materials and order business cards. It feels great to be able to contribute financially and on my own terms.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mother's Day Photos

Wat Buddhasorn in Fremont. Display for the Queen is set up in the courtyard where performances are also held (we got there too late for that).

Aidan and his Daddy. He was one of several boys sporting an Ultraman shirt.

Aidan with his Mama!

Waiing to the Queen's portrait.

After making merit in the temple.

Happy Thai Mother's Day

Today is the Queen's birthday in Thailand, and the people also make it their Mother's Day. It's a national holiday and I remember the schools would have an assembly or performance for their mothers and then have a ceremony with children showing respect, love and humility to their moms. Every year it would make me cry! So this morning we're going to the regional Thai temple to enjoy some Thai culture and food.

The last week I've been job hunting online. I finally have my real estate license number and have been actively pursuing employment. However, I am feeling doubtful in this dreadful housing market. It doesn't feel like the right time to be entering the RE market, especially the lending industry after so many meltdowns we've heard in recent news. It tests my self confidence - I worked hard for many months to acquire my license and now I don't think this is the right time, so I've been looking into other industries just to see what's available and to find something I could also be passionate about to promote and help people. And make money doing it too. :)

My license is good for 4 years, so I can always come back to it, and who knows what I'll find in my job hunt. The good news is that we may be able to stay here in the Bay Area and still rent (I really love it here) and invest out of state -- we'll enjoy the benefits of ownership, just not here. I'd love to live closer to my parents, but I so enjoy the weather, life and neighborhood here in Alameda. Except for the earthquakes.

Also there was a job opportunity landing in my inbox of a service I never even knew existed! So while I'm seeking guidance, I'm certainly getting ideas too. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"Who I Am Makes a Difference."

I saw this touching story on Karel's blog and felt very moved by it and wish to share it with you.

"Who I Am Makes a Difference."

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in High School by telling them the difference each of them had made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time.
First, she told each of them how they had made a difference to her, and the class. Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon, imprinted with gold letters, which read, "Who I Am Makes a Difference."

Afterwards, the teacher decided to do a class project,to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a Community. She gave each of the students three more blue ribbons, and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony.

Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom, and report to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby Company, and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon, and put it on his shirt.

Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, "We're doing a class project on recognition, and we'd like for you to go out, find somebody to honor, give them a blue ribbon, then give them the extra blue ribbon so they can acknowledge a third person, to keep this acknowledgment ceremony going. Then please report back to me and tell me what happened."

Later that day, the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had been noted, by the way, as being kind of a grouchy fellow. He sat his boss down, and he told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon, and would he give him permission to put it on him. His surprised boss said, "Well, sure." The junior executive took the blue ribbon and placed it right on his boss's jacket, above his heart. As he gave him the last extra ribbon, he said, "Would you take this extra ribbon, and pass it on by honoring somebody else. The young boy who first gave me the ribbons is doing a project in school, and we want to keep this recognition ceremony going and find out how it affects people."

That night, the boss came home to his 14-year-old son, and sat him down. He said, "The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office, and one of the junior executives came in and told me he admired me, and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius. Imagine! He thinks I am a creative genius. Then he put a blue ribbon that says, "Who I Am Makes a Difference," on my jacket above my heart. He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor. As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about whom I would honor with this ribbon, and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are hectic and when I come home, I do not pay a lot of attention to you. Sometimes I scream at you for not getting good enough grades in school, and for your bedroom being a mess. Somehow, tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You're a great kid, and I love you!"

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he could not stop crying, His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, " Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom, explaining why I had taken my own life, and I asked you to forgive me. I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep.

I just did not think that you cared at all. The letter is upstairs. I don't think I need it after all." His father walked upstairs and found a heart felt letter full of anguish and pain.

The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch, but made sure to let all of his employees know that they made a difference.

The junior executive helped other young people with career planning, and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his being the boss' son. In addition, the young boy and his classmates learned a valuable lesson, "Who you are DOES make a difference."

If you want, you can send this to all of the people who mean something to you, or send it to the one, two, or three people who mean the most.

On the other hand, just smile and know that I think that you are important, or you would not have received this in the first place. Who you are does make a difference, and I wanted you to know that.

Isn't this a wonderful story? I'm passing the blue ribbon to you, for who YOU are does make a difference, too.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum

My friend Tabitha has a little girl Aidan's age named Nadya. She happened to have some extra passes to the Bay Area Discovery Museum and invited Aidan and me to join them last Sunday. We took her up on her offer because it is a place I'd not gone to on my own accord, the admission price and distance away being the two main factors. The museum is beautiful set in the gorgeous town of Sausalito just across the Golden Gate Bridge in some old historic army bunkers. The nationally recognized Bay Area Discovery Museum is a one-of-a-kind indoor/outdoor children's museum that offers a full range of programs for children, parents, school groups and educators. Located on 7 and 1/2 acres in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area at Fort Baker in Sausalito, CA, the Museum's unique programs feature hands-on art, science and environmental exhibitions, performances, special events and ongoing educational curricula... all with a focus on fun! (The photo below shows the museum with its red roofs.)

The Bay Area Discovery Museum uses the concept of "home" for exploring the natural and cultural environments of the Bay Area - from distinctive landscape elements and natural habitats to artistic traditions. The curriculum encourages environmental stewardship, which is threaded throughout the Museum through its interactive exhibitions and programs. (From the website)

Aidan had the best time with Nadya and they played hard for a solid 3 1/2 hours. It was a very long day, but I'm so glad we did it. Their exhibitions are wonderful! Here are some more photos of Aidan enjoying himself. I didn't include any of Nadya since I do not have Tabitha's permission. But trust me, she's a cutie! :)