Friday, October 21, 2011

Shake it Up!

I have an irrational fear of earthquakes. Not good for someone who lives only a few miles from a very active fault line (the Hayward Fault Line).

Yesterday we had not one but TWO earthquakes right about 4.0 on the Richter Scale. The first one was at 3:46 PM it rattled some of our things, and it happened BOOM! Just like that. Usually I can hear it coming a second or two before it hits. This one gave no warning and it was a jolt rather than a roll.

The second one was at 8:16 PM and I was standing on the sidewalk outside. It felt like one sharp jolt as well,  but Golf was up here in our apartment on the 3rd floor and he said it shook worse than the one in the afternoon. He was putting Aidan to bed when it happened.

I can't help what happens to me when an earthquake hits. My heart beats so fast it feels like it's going to explode out of my chest. My whole body shakes and my legs get so weak I feel like I'm going to fall down. After the 2nd one hit last night, I could not sleep. I put my headphones on and listened to late night radio until 5 AM, my usual wake up time.

Today I bought some earthquake preparedness items. 3 gallons of water. I'll put them under Aidan's bed. 4 cans of tuna. A 6-pack of ramen noodles. Plus we have some other canned food in the cupboard, but it's a start. We just don't have a whole lot of room. We already have candles and batteries. I feel a bit more prepared today.

In other news, my site got Panda slapped again. For those not into SEO, that means that Google changed its algorithm again last week and my best baby strollers site got hit hard. Over 50% drop. It sucks! But there is nothing I can do but continue with my good work.

I have decided to take it up a notch and do more stroller reviews myself. I've ordered a really cool new stroller and it ought to be here early next week. I will use it out over a period of a few days, see if any of my mommy friends with babies want to try it out and then make a YouTube video.

In the meantime I've been busy writing articles. A new opportunity presented itself earlier this week and I got to post an article on The article is called Brand New Strollers for 2012. I'm really excited about this blog and it's got some great information on there.

Then I just had my bi-weekly article published on  This article is called Chicco Expands & Improves Stroller Selection. There are lots of changes and new stroller models coming out late this year and beginning next year. Lots of stuff to write about!

So despite my business shake up and the literal shake-up of California, I'm excited about the direction my business is going. I know things well shape up again soon.

Monday, October 03, 2011

New Green Smoothie Combo

When Aidan was in his school at the Berkeley Thai Temple yesterday, I discovered that a local Berkeley Bowl natural food store was just two blocks away. I went in without any intention to buy anything, just wanted to pass some time before lunch.

Berkeley Bowl is famous for abundant produce, cheap produce with many different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Often times prices are half of what you'd pay at a Safeway or Lucky grocery store chain and even farmer's markets!

So I ended up buying a big grocery bag full of yummy produce to have for dinners and for my green smoothies.

Today's smoothie I tried something different. I bought some raw flax seed meal. Flax seed has lots of Omega 3 fatty acids that help combat bad cholesterol and has lots of fiber! So I put a scoop of that into my smoothie today.

For greens, I saw something there I'd never seen before: green pea sprouts! And for only $1.89/lb! I paid $1.89 for the 4 oz tub of little clover sprouts, so the same price for 4 times as much sprouts was such a deal, so I got about a pound of it to use as my main green vegetable for my smoothie today. So total was combined clover and sweet pea sprouts. While at Berkeley Bowl I bought a type of organic kale I'd not seen before, but it didn't go into the smoothie today. I plan to try it out later this week!

The rest of the smoothie was made up of:
  • frozen pineapple and strawberries
  • 1.5 cups of unsweetened organic soy milk
  • 3 scoops of whey protein vanilla shake mix
  • a few sprinkles of steevia extract sweetener
This makes enough for two breakfasts. The sprouts give a very strong flavor and I couldn't consume it all in one go. I had half, took Aidan to school, got back from my powerwalk and now I was just able to finish it.

With it being October already, that means I've been drinking green smoothies on a fairly regular basis for 10 months now. Knock wood, I've hardly gotten sick and have been feeling healthy and fantastic!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Work Updates & Planning a Thailand Return

Wow, three weeks already and now we're in a new month! I was dreading October's arrival a little bit because I was wishing for September to stretch on a few more days. Why? Because I was so disappointed in my earnings! My stroller site's traffic was like a roller coaster, up then down, up then down, and all the while trending slightly downward. BOO! Turns out quite a few business owners experienced the same phenomenon.

Because of this and past experience of my sites falling prey to Google's algorithm changes, I need a more diverse income, so I've decided to pursue my old job in Bangkok when we return to Thailand. Originally I was adamant about not doing anything but working on my sites, but I think that earning a local currency with an occupation that is high in demand is smarter, just in case my income gets slashed in half because of a whimsical change on Google's end. Once I get my income WAY up will I decide it's time to cut back on teaching.

So here's the plan: Currently I've been working mornings to administrate the annual California English language learner's test within the local school district. So far my team and I have finished two middle schools with one more to go. That should be done in about a week and a half. After that, it's full throttle with my websites, writing as much content as possible and starting site #4 in about four months.

Then come January I will contact my former employer in Bangkok and discuss coming back, when, negotiate pay and Aidan's tuition. I'm confident I'll get hired back on since the director said he would welcome my return, plus I've stayed in the education system, more or less, in the six years I've been away.

Before January, I'm getting Golf's and Aidan's passports updated.

I've told my husband that he will be in a unique and valuable position in Thailand because he is so fluent in English and familiar with western ways. He's been disconnected with any network in Bangkok because he's lived in the US for so long, and it's important to have connections to find any decent employment for Thais.

I told him he could probably find work at the US Embassy or through one of the businesses at the American Chamber of Commerce Thailand since he is a US citizen now. He needs to just promote himself and attend some events.

Overall, he's not nearly as excited about returning as I am. I will miss my friends and family here, but I've always thrived in Thailand and had a thoroughly enjoyable experience there. I always felt my opportunities shined brighter abroad and it will be my chance to shine again for a few short years. Golf prefers life in California. It's all a compromise!

So that's it for now. Here's expecting that October going forward will bring on more fruitful abundance!