Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ninja Warrior - Real Estate Agent

While at Mom and Dad's they introduced us to this Japanese game show called Ninja Warrior where contestants come from all walks of life. Obstacle courses challenge Olympic gold metalists! Stage one is where most of the weeding out of contestents is done and where it's funniest. They all dress up in their work uniforms, this guy being a real estate agent...

Ninja Warrior: Makoto Nagano

This is the only person to have made Total Victory through all the obstacle courses, out of 2,400 people over the years! At the time of this video, Makoto was 34 years old and a fisherman. He practiced all his moves on his boat.

This video doesn't have the subtitles, it's straight from Japan, but you don't need them.

Nagano should be a movie star, he's really handsome on top of being very ninja-like! Be amazed at his physical prowess...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Aidan's Birthday Pictures

May 22, 2007 Aidan's 2nd birthday!

It was so difficult to choose just a few photos because they're all so cute! That's a mother's dilemma always... I had to weed out the best out of hundreds and hundreds that are on our digital camera because it's time to send them out to print.

I made him a yellow cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. I used a 60% cocoa Ghirardelli chocolate bar in this frosting. It turned out really good!

Aidan even knows how to blow out his own candle!

Of course his birthday cake tastes really good.

Then he got his favorite gift from Daddy - a noisy helicopter! At first he was leery of it, as you can see from the picture, but after a few minutes he LOVED it. Anything mechanical, this boy loves.

He also got a Thomas the Tank Engine blanket, Elmo sandals, 2 tank tops and a pair of shorts. His Aunt got him a Target gift card and I plan to get him some new shoes (already grown out of his old ones within a few months!) a booster chair since he now hates his high chair, and a training potty. If there is any money left, I will get him some more learning toys.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby!

My little baby turned 2 years old yesterday! How time has flown by.
We were at my parents' house and they have such a slow connection, I thought I'd wait to blog about it today instead. Aidan has entered his terrible twos, though. I mean in the last week and a half or so, his attitude has gotten explosive and he gets very upset fairly often.

Here we go -- the full ride into toddler tantrums and Class-A fits. When we went on a nice day outing the day before his birthday, he squalled for nearly a solid hour. Looking back in retrospect, it was more because he was so tired from the day before due to no nap. How were we to know, though?

He's so smart and very interested in any type of mechanical device, engine, vehicle, boat or aircraft. If it has an engine he's into it. Show him a horse or a cow or a bird and he'll make the animal noise for it and then that's it. His daddy got him a battery-operated helicopter and he can't put it down!

Language-wise, Aidan isn't speaking a whole lot of real words yet, but he's trying to repeat words when you ask him to, whether it's in Thai or English. He understands both languages well and my goal is to enroll him in an elementary school that offers Chinese language classes too. There's no reason this boy can't be tri-lingual. He can repeat the (English) alphabet when I go through the letters one by one, but still has trouble with C, K, F, H, J, S, W, X and Z. One cute thing: when he repeats the letter Q, he touches his eyebrow, and eyebrow in Thai sounds like the letter Q. So cute!

I plan to get him some ABC books and maybe some shapes books and some GOOD crayons with a gift card my Aunt sent to him for his birthday. My goal is to teach him his alphabet, colors, shapes and numbers by this time next year. Let's see what I can do with him! I just finished a book called Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers--and How You Can Too and found it to be very interesting, despite a few negative reviews. For me and our family, a slightly watered down version of the concepts outlined in this book should be healthy for Aidan as he learns. I'm not going to be some academic dictator or a "helicopter parent" as it goes completely different than my and Golf's easy going personalities.

Anyway, Aidan's birthday photos are coming either tonight or tomorrow - or by the end of the week if I'm swamped since I have to substitute teach tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Daddy's little boy

Aidan has really taken to his daddy the last week and a half or so. A big part of that is because Golf is a bit of a kid himself, so he LOOOVES to play with Aidan. They play all sorts of physical games together and Golf is much more animated than I am in his facial expressions, words and actions. I'm a lot more mellow - and Golf is opposite - he's very high energy.

Golf's also recruited his son in his love for Ultraman, especially the new Mobius. If you're unfamiliar with Ultraman (and my readers in Thailand certainly ARE familiar) Ultraman is a Japanese superhero. Golf grew up with the show and LOVES, to this day, Ultraman. He brought over many Thai dubbed older versions of the show and watches them with Aidan and Aidan loves it. Aidan has a couple of Japanese super hero tee-shirts from Ultraman, Masked Rider and Gundam. He got them before Aidan was born and that baby's just now beginning to fit them - talk about planning ahead! It's kind of cool that Aidan's the only kid on the playground with a cool Japanese superhero tee shirt on - I've always loved things that are not mass market normal, and it the USA, Ultraman is unique. Go to Thailand, he's everywhere!

So what I'm good at is reading books to Aidan and going on walks and taking him to the park, but it still doesn't feel very good when Aidan throws a tantrum when Daddy leaves the room and he's left with Mommy to entertain him. I know it's a phase and if anything Golf's getting back some good feelings he lost when Aidan was very small and ONLY wanted me and screamed and cried when Golf went anywhere near him. That was tough for Golf, so now I'm glad that this bond is growing very strong. I do love my guys.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Subbed for a class of beginning English learners

I substitute taught at the local high school for the first time last Thursday, Friday and today. I used to think that high school wouldn't be my thing, since I've only taught younger kids, but these last three days were fun!

It was a class of beginning English learners, most of them Chinese students. There was one Mongolian girl, two Korean, two or three (I can't remember) Japanese, three from Honduras and one Thai girl. I got to speak with the Thai student quite a bit (in Thai) and it also made some of the other students curious about learning some simple Thai phrases. I learned a little about her life: that she'd been in the US for about a year and she was living with her mom, Auntie and step-dad. I asked if her step-father was a farang and she said yes (fortunately most Thais don't mind nosy questions, so I asked away!) She had also said she was from the Issan area, and that tipped me off to ask if her step dad was farang, too. Her English was pretty good.

Actually, for beginners, these kids did pretty darn good. They'd easily be intermediate level in Thailand, but here they must speak English a lot more. Like my Thai student, since she was the only Thai she had to speak English with her Korean and Chinese friends - and likewise with them.

It was a pleasureable way to spend three days (and get paid too!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Golf and I had a meeting with a mortgage broker today, to talk about investing in real estate and planning for our future. I told her I was also studying to get my real estate broker's license and she said that I don't need my broker's license, just my salesperson's license! Oh my god, and here I've been studing EVERY DAY for the last 3 1/2 months!!! Luckily I chose the cheapest course material, which set me back just over $300 instead of the $400+ price tags I'd seen for the same course.

The salesperson's license is only one course and under $12o. I can take and pass the exam relatively easily, and heck, I can even apply for a brokering position as I'm getting my license. I may start job hunting the last week of May.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I officially know Thai better than French

At the park today I met a grandmother with her grandson and when I started chatting with her, she said she only spoke French (en franciais, bien sur!). I studied French for about 4 years in community college back in the late 80s and early 90s in addition to the two years required in high school. It was my dream to become fluent in another language, because in my opinion, that was the mark of a truly educated person. Trouble was, I never created an opportunity for myself to study abroad in an immersion program, and once my studies finished, I no longer practiced French.

Then I spend nearly 4 years in Thailand, and marry a Thai man and hear spoken Thai every day. Although Thai, in my opinion, is infinately more difficult to learn than one of the romance languages, I've been around it more intensely in recent years.

So I chatted with this grandmere francaise, and my brain kept getting French and Thai words mixed up, making it difficult to speak to her. It was amusing but frustrating and I tried to tell her what was going on. I'm glad I had an opportunity to speak French today, and even though I could not speak it very well, when she spoke to me, I understood 90% of what she said.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Another exam finished!

I completed my Real Estate Economics final exam yesterday and passed it! When I started that text, I was dreading it, thinking it was going to be excruciatingly boring, but in fact it was quite the opposite! Sometimes I couldn't wait to pick it up to continue my reading. I'm very pleased to know that a profession I've chosen to pursue is interesting to me, for it's a sign that I'm sure to do well. How I wish I was interested in business and economics 10 years ago, my career choices would be very different and if you had told me even 5 years ago that I'd find economics interesting, I'd have laughed! Funny how people change...

Now I've begun the law course and I've approached it with even more dread, but I want to get it done and who knows, I hope to be surprised with this text as well. I've scheduled myself to finish the day before Aidan's birthday on the 22nd.