Friday, June 27, 2008

We are GOING!

Last week Golf got our tickets to Thailand! I was prepared to cringe at the airline ticket, but for it being high season and the fact that supposedly the airlines are charging so much more for travel because of fuel costs, I was surprised that the price was reasonable.

We'll be there for Loy Krathong, which this year, is the 13th of November. This is my favorite Thai holiday and Golf and I really wanted to be in Thailand for this holiday to show it to Aidan. One of my most memorable years was when I went with my Thai friend and colleague (at the time) nicknamed A and we went to Ayuthhaya, the old Thai capital and about 45 minutes north for the festival. There was a carnival, bands playing, Chinese acrobats, a beauty contest (for ladyboys and real ladies) and lots of shopping. A and I made our own krathongs, the small float that has flowers and other greenery and holds three sticks of incense and a candle that is floated on a river or stream - or any body of water for that matter. Needless to say, A's krathong looked far superior to mine, but it was great fun to make.

I think it would be so much fun to show Aidan something similar for his first Loy Krathong.

But before that, there are SO many issues to address in traveling with a small kidlet. The first is keeping him occupied on that tremendously long flight. He's also still sleeping in his baby crib, which he's going to outgrow in less than a year anyway. In Thailand, he will have to sleep in a big bed, either between Golf and me or in his own little bed, depending on what's available. With bathing, Aidan's always had baths in the tub. Thai rooms have mostly showers and so we'll have to teach Aidan how to take a shower.... I mean some of these are minor, but it's still things he's never tried before and can be worked out fine, especially once we 've done it.

Anyway, we're very excited about getting Aidan caught up on speaking Thai and interacting with his Thai relatives. Chai-Yo!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

We're roasting over here in the Bay Area. I live in Alameda, which is in the East Bay, but not inland enough for really hot temperatures. The highest temps we normally get are in the 80F/27C and most homes do not have air conditioning. We don't have an A/C nor do we have a fan that does any good! We have one very small one that doubles as a heater and barely moves the air around. The other one I have is one that Golf bought me that is teeny and it hooks up with one of my ports in my computer! So neat, I'm sitting here with it fanning my face right now! So at the moment it is 89 F/36C. Pretty damn warm for not having any good method of cooling down. I do have a spray bottle I use with my tiny fan. :)

More good news: Golf is currently booking us some airline tickets to Bangkok -- we're going to go for Loy Krathong! More coming...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Considering Condos

Part of the "American Dream" is owning your own home, and yes, I've certainly bought into that notion to some degree. Unfortunately, I live in a part of the US where only 20% of the population can afford to be home owners, so the rest of us rent.

Now we have a worldwide energy crisis looming over us and I think it is only the beginning and the impracticalities of suburbia are quickly becoming apparent. Suburbia, developed around the auto, is not sustainable. Densely populated urban areas, where people own condominiums and flats, where you can walk to public transportation and to shops and restaurants - have all your needs met through walking or biking, is the more practical solution.

I love it that I can walk to the grocery store and to the library and to the park. I'm used to urban living from my time living in Bangkok. I never owned a car there; I used buses, taxis, boats, trains and subways. I'd like to be able to replicate that experience here in the United States. When gas hits $6 or more a gallon we won't be so affected. The Europeans have been living this way for years.

Anyway, several months ago, a midrise condo building was completed in Oakland and it is gorgeous. I mentioned to my mother how I would love living in such a place and her response was that she could not think of anything worse. She's country folk and this kind of urban living is not for everyone - but I am a city girl and I don't think I can ever change. I love it. This building is at the gateway to Chinatown, my favorite place in Oakland. The nearby schools look fine.

Take a look at it and see a presentation of the 8 Orchids at their website - at the beginning of the movie you will see the park with two green slides that I take Aidan to every week when Golf goes to the flea market. Tell me your thoughts about dense urban living and how raising a family in the city compares to suburban influence.

We bought the Mercedes....

...of rice cookers on Sunday. It is the Tiger Corp. brand made in Japan and is the best of the best for rice steamers. Seeing how we prepare rice at the very least every week and at most once a day, it's worth it to have a good quality steamer. I read a few reviews of Tiger brand, and one customer said that they've used theirs for 12 years now!

That being said, our cheap (~$20) Chinese made rice cooker was bought shortly after we moved into our apartment three years ago and the non-stick coating in the bowl was chipping off, causing the rice to stick.

When it comes to electronic appliances and equipment, Golf is a big proponent of buying quality brands and paying the extra money for their durability. For a rice cooker to last over a decade and make quality rice is worth it to me to pay more.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The first day with my vest

My weighted vest arrived today! Acutally UPS tried delivering it last Thursday AND Friday, but we were out both of those mornings, but I'm glad I finally have it.

The fit is pretty good, it's a one size fits most. It's also black, as opposed to the blue picture I posted below and it makes me look like a member of the SWAT team. I was getting a couple of looks from people when I was out today LOL!

I was a bit disappointed when I weighed a couple of the weights. There are 20 of them and each are supposed to weigh a pound. There are 20 little pockets all over the vest to hold these weights, therefore the 20 pounds you haul around for your workout. Well, each little weight weighs only 14.2 ounces instead of 16. Mulitply that by 20 and you get 284 ounces or 17.75 pounds - 2 1/4 pound short of 20! I was unhappy about that.

So today I was going to start out with 10 weights, but since they don't each weigh a full pound, I put 12 of them in there, for a total of 10.65 pounds. The weight of the vest is just over a pound, so we'll round it up to 11 3/4 pounds. I power walked my usual route of about three miles and it felt great! I'm glad I started out with that amount of weight and not more.

When I trekked in Nepal, my hips gave me trouble, especially the right one. That happened again today, very mildly. I'll keep it up to get my body used to the added resistence and see how my hips do. I did get some good cardio breathing and felt like for the first time in a long time, my walk was a real workout.

In all I LOVE my vest, just wish it was the full 20 pounds!