Monday, December 14, 2009

A Day Fit for a Queen

I turned 40 last Saturday. To many it is just another number, but I always contemplate the previous decade of my life as I enter a new one.

My two best girlfriends, Melanie and Caroline, took me to the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, which was a HUGE surprise in itself. This place is extremely luxurious and gorgeous. It was a rainy, dreary day, so being indoors and cozy was perfect for such a stormy winter day. (Photo is from the website linked above)

I got to indulge in two treatments. All three of us had our first appointment at 10 AM so we arrived at about 9. You get to go into the jacuzzi beforehand or sit in a steam bath scented with eucalyptus. The spa also has something called a deluge shower. You step into this shower stall and sit on a small bench, leaning forward. There's a pipe sticking out of the ceiling and it pours a ton of warm water onto your back and neck, massaging you like you're sitting under a waterfall. It was great!

The first treatment I received was a rosemary body scrub. I wanted softer skin and in addition to getting a great rubdown, the masseuse also gave me a wonderful head and scalp massage. This was while I was stewing in some warm lavender oil with hot, heavy towels draped over me. Oh, it felt divine!

I had enough time to sit in the steam bath for five minutes after this treatment was finished and let the oils soak in nicely. Then it was time for my facial.

I haven't had a facial in this country before. In Thailand, I'd get one once a month or so - I was incredibly spoiled living there. This facial was the same basic style as what I'd get in Thailand, but this one included a pumpkin spice enzyme that smelled just like pumpkin pie. It tingled nicely, and subsided a bit when the steam started.

The technician then picked thoroughly and got all that crapola out of my face and then various creams and tonics were massaged in. The facial included a shoulder and arm massage with hot lavender oil. She put my hands in plastic bags and then put inside hot oven mitts. (that's what they looked like, anyway.) The whole thing was WOONDDEERRFULLLL!!

I took a shower when my facial was done. All the shower stalls have wall jets plus the giant pie-plate shower head that dumps water down like a tropical shower. I felt guilty using all that water, but my shower wasn't long and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Afterward, Melanie and Caroline and I all had lunch together. I had this creole spiced chicken sandwich with roasted pepper on ciabatta bread with a side of bacony potato salad. YUMMY!
Caroline had the burger with the same side salad and Melanie had the blackened catfish sandwich with southern style cole slaw.

What a wonderful, wonderful spa day!!!! Thank you again Melanie and Caroline!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Has it really been three months?!?!

Well, as I had forewarned in a previous post, I'm up to my eyeballs with my online business. I've been writing all about Pixar movies on The Leaping Lamp and it's been keeping me very, very busy. Not only creating new content, but with promoting it on Facebook and on Twitter. I have SO many plans in the works for my site and so please subscribe to the RSS feed for the latest updates.

So if there's anybody out there still reading this, thank you, I appreciate it. Now you know where I've been hiding and what I've been doing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Working Again and Following a New Diet

Today I started work again. School districts have a state mandated English test for kids who speak a language other than English at home. Kids are tested in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. They take this test yearly until they pass it and can be in a "regular" class instead of an ESL class.

So today was my first day of testing these kids. The paperwork involved is enormous and the length of the test for little kids entering kindergarten is far too much. I had to stretch and jump around a couple of times with the little girl I was testing because her attention kept wandering and she was BORED!

Don't tell anybody, but even though Aidan speaks Thai with Golf at home, we are NOT going to let the school know that. Because that means he'll have to take this test every year. Bleh, no thank you.

Other news... I'm trying out this diet: Dr. Grott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet.

So far it's working quite well; I've lost two pounds in three days. Well, today's day #3, and I didn't weigh myself this morning.

My hairstylist told me about this. She had great success with it, because she also cut out dairy products. I don't think I could take out ALL that food, but sugar and flour, yes.

AND I had heard from several people who had had success with simply avoiding sugar!

I eat well by cooking at home with minimally processed foods and have reasonable portions. But I weigh too much and need to take off 17-20 pounds. Then I'll be at the weight I was when I was living in Thailand PRE marriage!

I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Monthly Updates + Facebook

I've been up to my eyeballs starting a new online business. My painting has even been put on hold for now and I miss it. But I need to earn money, and I enjoy creating on the Internet, so once a stream of income begins, then I can get back to painting more regularly.

I still volunteer at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts once a week and today I'm going to my favorite Artist's house an hour's drive away to see her for Open Studios. Open Studios, for those who don't know, is a yearly event that spans two weekends where participating artists open their homes, workspaces and studios to the public. The artist has his or her profile entered into a directory and a place on an area map so people can find them. They set up their space like a gallery to sell their work. It's a way for some artists, who have never had the opportunity to show in a gallery, to become discovered and/or make some sales.

Nowadays, I'm on Facebook a lot more often and I find that making brief comments and updates is far easier than updating my blog. That's why PeekInside has fallen so far behind! I don't plan to give up this blog, since it's been around since my days in Bangkok and is like my living diary. So I'll likely update it monthly or even every couple of months or so. I'm just so busy with other projects that it's not my priority any longer. So look for my profile on Facebook, it's at And if you haven't already, add me as your friend and I shall do the same. :)

I'll sign off for now with a picture of Aidan. Lately he's been into drawing and writing. He went from scribbles to actual pictures in a matter of days, it's amazing. In this photo, his daddy showed him how to draw and color the Thai flag.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I've been reading, reading and absorbing, absorbing strategies, ideas and stories about micro-businesses, online businesses, independent location businesses and art businesses. I want that so badly! I need to find my niche.

You know what I would LOVE to do? Go back to Thailand for a few more years. Let Aidan experience his Thai culture more fully.

And I would work on my own terms. MAYBE teaching art workshops and classes if needed. Otherwise fully promoting my Expat woman's guide and website by traveling around the country and in Bangkok reviewing services and such (I have another idea about that, too), making my art, and showing it in local galleries. That's my dream and fully doable within the next couple of years.

All this would depend on Golf's business, too. His work is more prominent in the United States and I feel my work would be more prominent in Thailand. Funny how that works out!

So in the meantime, I'm painting and building up a body of work as well as trying to get the whole business end of things figured out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Confirming my suspicions

My suspicions have been that I've always been an on the fence non-conformist. And it's easy to be seduced into the status-quo, but if I picture myself making all the safe decisions, I also know I would be drowning slowly in misery and utter boredom. At least I know myself and I apologize if this sounds too cryptic to make much sense.

The purpose of this post is to spread the word about a couple of writings from a blogger and traveler named Chris Guillebeau who has a site called The Art of Nonconformity. I'd never heard of him until I got a blog post in my reader from marketing sensation Seth Godin's site where he mentioned Guillebeau's new manifesto called 279 Days to Overnight Success. The title intrigued me, so I downloaded it.

It offers 11,000 words of free advice on how to create your own success with your own project.

Who It’s For:

Bloggers, writers, online artists, and anyone otherwise interested in creating a new career or expanding their influence using social media. If you want your online presence to grow far beyond what it is now, read and apply.

That's all I needed to read to know that I should download this manifesto and give it a gander. It was teriffic. It gave me some more ideas about my Expat website, and I'm kicking around some ideas for creating another project, both of which I hope to subsidize my art career.

The other manifesto Chris Guillebeau wrote is called A Brief Guide to World Domination.
It's a more generalized piece of writing about how to live a fulfilling life by living and working in service to others. He notes that all the mega-rich give out lots of money to help others, otherwise despite their wealth, their life feels hollow.

A Few Things You’ll Learn in the Report

  • The Two Most Important Questions in the Universe
  • Why Ruling and Changing the World are Interrelated
  • The Clear Alternative to Being Unremarkably Average
  • True Stories from Zen Habits, Kiva, Randy Pausch, and more
  • The Most Important Work We Can Do
  • Life Lessons from My Singapore Airlines flight to Tokyo
What does he mean by ruling and changing the world? Well he doesn't mean it in the traditional sense of the phrase. Download the PDF file and see for yourself.

Chris Guillebeau's writings got me thinking lately, so I wanted to pass on this information to anyone else who might want some inspiration. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Art Blog Updated

Just wanted to let you know that I have updated my Art Blog with my new painting

Worth Savoring Slowly


Subbing, Painting, Squidooing, Volunteering

Gosh, I've really neglected this blog a lot, and I'm sorry for anybody who still follows me on it. I've been quite active on the internet, though.

Like the rest of the world, it seems, I joined up on Facebook a few months ago and then a few days ago I finally joined Twitter, although I don't have much to do on that site, YET. I hope to use it to promote my art down the road later.

In the meantime I've been substitute teaching a lot, bringing in some extra income since Golf's translation jobs have been slow lately. That takes up most my day every day.

Then I've been painting like crazy, I just finished Melanie's birthday painting and I gave it to her yesterday. I will update my art blog about it as soon as I have the photos ready to upload.

Squidoo I've been working tirelessly on. I've got some new lenses up. If any of you reading this wouldn't mind, sign up for Squidoo and then go to my lensmaster page. Scroll down a bit and you will see all the articles I've written and then rate my articles! The higher the ratings, the better page rank I get and the more pageviews I get. It's a stay at home income revenue I've been working on.

I've listed some of the ones I've done already, but the rest I've finished lately are:
Bangkok by Boat
Short Stay in Bangkok?

Right now I'm working on a lens promoting Golf's online shop called Discovery Day Studio, where he sells PDF service manuals for various electronics.

Lastly, I've been volunteering a few hours a week at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, and today's my day to go in. It's a chance to get my foot in the door and get to know other artists and those in the art business. I will eventually (hopefully) get to exhibit there too!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reinforcing what I want with Aidan

Ever since reading The Secret a couple years ago, I've made it a habit of always thinking about what I want instead of what I don't want, or turning a negative statement into a positive statement.

This has filtered down into my parenting technique as well. I'd read somewhere that if you tell a child, for example, "Please don't climb on the bookshelf." The only thing the child hears is "Climb on the bookshelf." and that's one of the primary reasons kids misbehave. They need to be told what to do, as opposed to what not to do.

So I've been practicing and catching myself when I tell Aidan not to do something. I turn it around right away and tell him what I want him to do and sometimes I have to stop and think about it. I've been so accustomed to expressing what I don't want that it can be difficult sometimes to think about what I want instead. If I don't want my child to stomp around on the floor (we have neighbors one floor below us) then what do I tell him I do want? To walk softly please. If I don't want Aidan to put the holly berry he picked in his mouth, what do I tell him? "Don't put that in your mouth?" I used to say that. I now say, "Keep the berry in your fingers." or "Hold on to it."

Having a child to practice positive statements on is great. You have to really stop and think sometimes about what it is you want when it's so easy to think about what you don't want. I'm sure that at some point it will be as easy to express my wants as it is my don't wants. :)

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I had to substitute teach everyday except Wednesday this week. Wednesday was supposed to be the day I enrolled Aidan in preschool but the program had only three slots available! Needless to say, I was unable, so I was moody all day. I had told Aidan how he was going to get to go to preschool - he's been telling me how much he wants to go. What a letdown. Next time I won't tell him until he's actually enrolled.

So besides working I've been still learning Squidoo stuff and I created a couple more lenses:
Tips for Thailand Expats
Medical Tourism in Thailand
Resources for Learning Thai

I now would like to expand and cast a wider net. I've got some more ideas. Eventually I'd like to create quite a few more and make some money. So far I've made 11 cents! Woo hoo!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meeting someone special and Squidoo

I've been laying low on Peek Inside for a little bit now, just haven't had time to catch up. I've been spending too much time on Facebook and working on my Expat Woman's Guide to Living in Thailand website during my free time during the day - which is very little. Next week, I'm making myself available to substitute teach again because the economy is making business slow, just like everywhere else.

I'm meeting someone special next weekend, March 1st. She is an artist I admire greatly and I found out about her through a book I read last year called The Wishing Year, by Noelle Oxenhandler. After reading her book, I visited her website, where I found out about the artist, Carole Watanabe, she talked about often in her book. I went to Carole's website and fell in love with her paintings. Carole had also written a book called The Ecstatic Marriage of Life and Art and so I ordered a copy and was completely inspired by additional works of art and her inspiring words. It was this book and The Wishing Year that pushed me to take the action and return to art; I started painting again because of these two books, so I'm indebted to these two women.

I put myself out there and did something I never have before. I wrote a letter (fan mail!) to Carole, enclosing a color photo copy of my first painting I did. I heard back from her about two weeks later inviting me to give her a call in February. So I did - I called her a few days ago and I was nervous. But we chatted for half an hour and she's a delightful, easygoing person who melted my nerves. She ended up inviting me to come meet her in person! More than anything I want to see her paintings in person and talk to her. She's had so much life experience and has made a success of her career as an artist. What a wise person and mentor to have. That was a wish I had, actually, to have a mentor whose art work I admire and who is also a savvy business person. So there it is - on March 1st, I'm driving to Sebastapol, where she lives, to spend some time and learn, grow, share and be inspired. Thank You Universe!!!

I've been spending time on Squidoo making lenses and it's been fun. I have three made so far and plan to make some more. It's good writing practice and it can even earn some money, too!

Here are my lenses:
Tips for Expat Women in Thailand
Some Western Restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a GREAT Movie

So there you go. I'll update my Squidoo pages as they come. I'm having fun, too!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Painting Photos on Display at my Fine Art Blog

Please go visit my new Art Blog to see the paintings I did for my mother's birthday. Her actual birthday is today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I hope you had a wonderful day.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've been pretty busy, hence my not posting so much on this blog. I now have a Fine Art Blog to document my painting progress. I'm nearly finished with my mother's birthday painting and once she receives it, I shall post photos of the painting, including pictures of the stages of painting.

Then every Tuesday I have my painting class, which I eagerly look forward to every week. In between classes, I work on my painting for the class and I work on my extracurricular painting (in this case, Mom's). So I've been staying up every night til 11:00, working.

I cannot fall asleep right away, of course, because I'm caught up in the grips of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. I'm reading the last book, Breaking Dawn. I read at any spare moment throughout the day - the book's got it's fangs lodged deeply in my psyche! So by the time I fall asleep, it's nearly midnight.

I still get up early, but my alarm is now for 5:45 AM, not 4:45 AM. I don't technically wake up at that time... I stumble into the kitchen and start the coffee machine and lie down on the sofa until the beep beep beep of the coffee maker goes off, telling me it's brewed. It allows me about 20 minutes of snoozing in the meantime.

I've been checking all the links to my expanded book to The Expat Woman's Guide to Living in Bangkok. I've expanded it to all of Thailand and the last few days have been rechecking the web links to ensure they're all up to date.

Then this Thursday, Golf and I are going to record Speak Like a Thai Volume 6, Everyday Conversations. I've been the female native English speaker and Golf the male Thai speaker since Volume 2, Thai Slang and Idioms, so I'm happy and excited to record this next installment.

I've got more in the works and shall blog about it soon, but that's a quick update which explains my absence on Peek Inside.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Recommended Movie

Dad took Golf and me out to the movies last night and we saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If you're considering going, then please do see it! It goes all against our humanness, being born old and growing younger as Benjamin Button ages, and how this movie handles his unique situation in his relationships is emotional. I know this is a good movie when I'm still thinking about the story the next day.

The movie had me thinking about the stages of life we all get to go through and that every human contemplates and experiences as long as they're alive and conscious. Brad Pitt was an excellent actor and of course looked gorgeous as he grew younger. Cate Blanchette was absolutely beautiful and brilliant as usual and I was pleased to see another favorite actress, Tilda Swinton.
Go see this movie!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

One of my first paintings

With all the talk I've been doing about my art and painting, I wanted to finally share with you my second painting I've done on my own. I won't bother showing you the practice works we do in art class unless it turns out to be glorious.

I finished this one last night. It's a ginkgo leaf and I just love how they look when they turn that beautiful golden color and drop like coins around the trees in autumn. It's just absolutely gorgeous, not to mention their unique, fan-like shape. So here it is.

Ginkgo Leaf 1
acrylic on 8x10 canvas board