Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day Trip to Point Reyes

Golf had a bunch of work to do yesterday, so I planned a day outing for Aidan and myself. I wanted to take Aidan to the real ocean because he had only been around San Francisco Bay, particularly in Alameda. He'd never seen the open ocean in all its glory.

I wanted to go to Point Reyes National Seashore. The last time I had been there was at least 20 years ago on a camping trip with the family and Mellie came along too. I wanted to show Aidan the lighthouse there, since I think he would be impressed. So I packed us a lunch and we took off for our destination.

By looking on the map I thought it would take maybe an hour or so to get there, but in all it took just over 2 hours! The fog was lifting when we crossed the San Rafael bridge - clear at the coast! COOL! This time of year it usually clears up by late morning.

However, once we got nearer to the ocean, the fog came back with a vengeance and by the time we reached the lighthouse it was so thick with misty fog that you couldn't see much of anything. It was a tiny bit scary driving in that when you're on a narrow road and signs on either side of the road warn you of the dangerous cliffs. So I inched along at about 15 MPH not caring if the car behind me got impatient. Let them!

But the ocean was impressive and the cliffs were beautiful once we arrived. We had to climb down hundreds of narrow stairs down to the old lighthouse. The fog horn was sounding off in intervals.

Aidan got to go onto the lighthouse and was impressed with it all around. We also got to see some resident deer up close.

When the lighthouse visit was done, we ate lunch in the car. We had just enough time to visit one of the beaches before we had to head back. The unexpected time it took to get there gave us less time to hang out before hitting rush hour traffic back in the Bay Area.

So I gave us about 50 minutes to explore a nearby beach. It was still a bit foggy but starting to clear up a little bit so you could see some scenery.

I was impressed and astounded at Mother Nature today. I have never seen the waves so huge, and I mean that sincerely! Signs at the beach warned us not to swim or even wade in the water because of the rough surf and sure enough it was not an inviting ocean on that day.

The only unfortunate thing that happened was that my trusty old hiking boots fell apart. The rubber soles corroded from the salty air and sand. I felt sad because these boots went with me on my Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and through many hikes and adventures. I may see about getting them resoled because they're good leather and extremely comfortable, just a little bit heavy.

Dad even bought Aidan some new hiking boots so we can take more hiking day trips. I love getting into Nature and being in the outdoors and want to share that with my son in a big way. Golf ain't into it much, he's an indoor man.

Anyway, it was a fantastic way to end the summer holidays. Today is catching up on chores, tomorrow is the day the kids come to the Thai Temple to receive their certificates of course completion and then Monday Aidan starts Grade 1 - with the teacher I requested, too! Life is great.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Catch-Up

It's hard to believe that school has started for many Bay Area districts on Monday. I've never heard of school starting in mid-August! Aidan doesn't start kindergarten until the 29th, so we've got about a week and a half left and in that time we'll visit my parents for a long weekend before school starts as well.

Aidan has been going to his Thai language and culture school at the temple in Berkeley four days a week and he's learned a lot. This year's teachers are fantastic! They give out homework and demand excellence from the students. The kids work hard. They also want to make sure the kids know how to stand for the Thai national anthem properly. If the etiquette is never practiced, it can never be learned!

On Sunday the 14th, the temple celebrated Thai Mother's Day and this photo is from that ceremony. Aidan impressed everyone when he said in Thai that his loves me the most in the whole world. He speaks flawlessly for a boy his age and his exposure to Thai. Aidan's love for his father and Golf's insistence in speaking only Thai has made Aidan fully bilingual. It's absolutely wonderful!

Golf had his citizenship test on the 8th and he passed it with no problem as I knew he would! He's now awaiting the notification of when his oath taking will be. Next on the agenda, once he's officially an American, is to get his new passport and research ways to do some government translation projects.

On the 9th I began working at the testing center, testing incoming kindergarteners with their English and it's been fun working with such cute little ones. Aidan is so much more grown and mature in just a year, it's amazing to compare.

So now I'm working only in the mornings rather than sticking around for afternoon sessions. This is because I want some time to work on my websites! My online earnings are now replacing what I would have earned working full time at the testing center. YES! So now I've decided to only use my substitute teaching permit for the CELDT every year. No more substitute teaching. Not that I did it much last year anyway - I think I did it twice.

My plans are to get a new laptop within the next few months. This one is already about 3 years old, which, by technology definition, means it's out of date! But I'm going to give it to Golf to replace his Toshiba laptop which is about 6 1/2 years old! Yeah, he needs an update much more desperately!

I've been out promoting Stroller Envy, putting out a press release called All-Terrain Strollers Hot Sales Items this Summer. I invested quite a bit into this release, so we'll see how well it does over time. I also wrote a couple of guest posts for a blog called New Parent Tips. The first is called Top 3 Disney Cars Toys for Your Toddler for The Leaping Lamp and the second is called Trending Now: Convertible Strollers. I've been quite pleased with how much I've been writing for other blogs. I've got another new article due to Shopaholic Mommy tomorrow.

I tried out FaceBook ads for The Leaping Lamp and got about a hundred new fans, and for both sites, I've become more active on site blogging which seems to have boosted traffic. It's been both fun and enlightening with how much work marketing your product takes.

Having my own business has been one of the best expressions and journeys of self-growth I've ever been on. I've learned so much, both about business, online marketing and humanity all at once - it is quite an education in and of itself. I'm grateful for the experience. The feeling of taking matters into your own hands and creating your own economic reality on your own terms is utterly priceless.

Speaking of which, I'm a big Dave Ramsey fan. How does that relate? He's got a movement he's started called The Great Recovery. He believes that The Great Recession can be healed and it starts from the bottom up rather than the top down through government jobs programs. I agree with him because I'm doing it myself.

He talks about "God's way of handling money" and while I am not a Christian I feel that these principles hold truth. The debtor is slave to the lender. I've always felt this way. Save your money, sacrifice now for better returns later. Always felt a connection with that. Ramsey can be a bit controversial, but that makes him entertaining. He's uplifting and positive, most of all, and he cuts through all the BS that you hear every day from our so-called leaders in office. BLEH!

So that's what's up for now. I should update more often so that I don't write so much next time!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Always Moving Forward

Suddenly three weeks has gone by and I realized I haven't updated my personal blog! The main reason is that I've had some articles published elsewhere on the web that I want to bring your attention to, but had to wait until they'd been released.

First let me start with a little story. I was reading the SBI member forums of one web entrepreneur who started in 2009, just like me, and she has two websites, just like me, but unlike me, her websites are earning her $10k in monthly income! It made me feel a bit like a fool because my websites aren't yet earning 1/10th of what hers are, but I must realize that my niches are different.

My Pixar site simply doesn't have the commercial intent that her sites do, but I think that over time, it will earn a higher income, though not a powerhouse of income.

Her story also inspired me, to know what the possibilities are. She gave some valuable tips that I implemented right away and I hope that these little tweaks will make a difference.

On Tuesday I had my first major press release unleashed upon the media around the world! Actually, in January I had published another one, but it was quite limited in its distribution compared with this one. I shelled out some serious cash for this release, and I've yet to be able to measure the results, but from what I understand, such press releases are always worth the investment. The article is about the popularity of all terrain strollers and the title is All-Terrain Strollers Hot Sales Items this Summer.

It hasn't generated the extra links I was hoping for, but at least I have a good link from PRWeb.

I've also gotten some media inquiries from the article, one from a lifestyle show in Florida. I thought that was pretty cool, except that as the conversation moved forward, I was told that I'd have to pay over $5,000 to "insure" the show that I'd show up for the interviews for the show segment! Whoa, I don't think so! Even if I had that kind of money. You'd think that simply the opportunity to promote your product or service would be motivating enough! I'd never heard of this practice before.

Lastly, I just had an article published over at Shopaholic Mommy about the Contours line of Kolcraft strollers. The new tandem Optima is exciting and the entire brand is surprisingly good quality for prices that are almost too good to be true.

While you're on her site, you should check out the other deals and topics she writes about. It's quite helpful, entertaining and interesting.