Monday, May 22, 2006

Wedding planning...the date...

So in my post before, I had mentioned that I was waiting for the monk to pick us an auspicious date(s). Jit returned my email with two dates that were good...March 4th and March 22nd. But emphasizing that March 22nd is better for us for health and travel in our future, so the 22nd would be better.

Now the irony birthday is March 21st. I turn 30 next year. So, going with the theme and the best auspicious date the monk had picked...I am going to get married on the day after my 30th birthday. I'm just going with the flow here, I have no qualms about it.

So that's it, now we have a date...March 22, 2007! Mark your calendars :)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My new bike!!!

So I've been wanting a bike for..oh...most of my life. When I was a kid, I got my sister's hand-me-down, which was rusted by the time it got to me. I didn't use it much. So I rode it around when I was about 5 or 6 years old...

In 2004 at age 27, I found myself in a city surrounded by mountains in Peru called Huaraz. So tempted to do a bike tour, but knowing better...I didn't do one. I spoke with a local guide, Holmes. He had me hop on his bike, which was waaaay too big for me, and gave me a push..I instantly jumped off, fearing the worst of injuries in front of the Plaza full of gringos basking in the sun...

Last year, I decided to rent a rickety old bike in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the Ecological Reserve. It was, after all, only $2/hour. What the heck, why not..see if I could ride a bike. I was really wobbly at first, and for a long time..but then I got the hang of it. Soon after, I was coasting by the waterfront, with the city of Buenos Aires seeming distant. I was so excited that I *could* ride a bike!

Biking in Buenos Aires

So for the longest time, I had been bugging Sean, for various occasions..birthdays, anniversaries, etc etc..that I wanted a bike. I told him that I didn't want anything special. I told him..a $20 Goodwill bike will do...

Today, we were out and about around town. We picked up another skateboard at Academy (so that we can both skateboard at the same time instead of taking turns). We checked out the bikes there. Besides the little kiddie bikes, they started at above $50. Ouch. We then hit up a pawn shop nearby, where we found bikes costing up to $900!!! Wal-mart was the same as Academy. On our way home, we went to a former CVS-now turned Goodwill (there are a few of those in Cedar Park), and had quite the luck. Sitting in front was a purple bike marked $15.99, with today's date on it. Heck, that's better than the $20 I had in mind to spend on a bike! It's a Murray "Mountain Climber" 10 speed bike. It had two flat tires, so Sean, handy as he is, got out his air pump that he can hook up to his car's adapter, and filled the tires, took the bike for a spin...yup, it was perfect. Well not perfect, but for $ was a good bargain.

We took it home and Sean set off to work on it to fix it up for me.

Sean fixing up my new bike

I hopped on it in our cul-de-sac, super wobbly like I was in Buenos Aires. I rode it around a little bit, to test out the seat height and whatnot. Then later in the evening, I went to pick up the mail from the mailbox (about 1 mile round trip - slightly downhill going, slightly uphill coming back). And I have to say..damn, I am so out of shape!!! When I got home, I was drenched with sweat and my upper legs were burning..from 1 mile!!! Pathetic!

But that's okay. I'm happy. I have a new bike :D

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wedding planning...the beginning...

So I've finally buckled down and started to think about my wedding. Well, at least contacting the planner and whatnot.

If you don't know already, I'm planning on getting married in Thailand next year. I found a lady just outside of Chiang Mai who does Lanna Buddhist weddings for 'farangs' (foreigners). I was a bit leary, since all I had was a website. But then I found a couple from New Zealand who had used her services, and contacted them directly. They raved about the services and loved it.

A few days ago, I contacted Jit, the organizer, of Thailand It was more of an initial'm interested in having my wedding in mid March of next year...

So we exchange a few emails back and forth, and she tells me that what Thais do is to get the birthdates of the couple, and have a monk look at the dates and pick a wedding date for you that is auspicious. Little things like this...I have no clue on..I'm so farang! So I sent her our birthdates...I told her that we'll be doesn't have to be in long as it's next year, so we can save up...So now, I'm just waiting to hear what the monk has to say. :)

Now, I'm starting to get excited! And you know what, there is no way that I'm going to stress over my wedding. I think it'll be fun. We want to ride on elephants after the ceremony..hehe.

We're going to do the Royal Package for a little over $3000, which includes...

This is the most lavish Thai Buddhist wedding available, for the truly romantic and demanding. It is ideal for an exclusive wedding with from zero to twelve invited guests (easily expandable to 99 guests - for extra charges of course)

Our Royal Lanna wedding is designed around a wedding we provided for a members of an old Lanna Royal family: It includes

Morning offerings to monks on the street using my home as the offering point. I will escort you and your bride to the morning market to select foods and flowers for monks.(special foods you bring from back home are always a welcome treat to add to the offering)

Hair dresser services for bride provided.

Receive formal monk blessing a temple by highly revered monk or monks depending on temple choice. Which of course your wedding party is of course invited and encouraged to attend.

Merit making of offering monks food in morning, birds and fish release to release at temple which is said to encourage good luck in the couples future.

Open Thai bar for all guests, to try some local Thai whiskies and beers as well as some unique local herbal drinks. I will not be held responsible for hangovers - but we make sure they get home safe!

After the knot tying ceremony, the Lanna evening wedding feast will include a selection of entertainment Traditional Thai ethnic dances preformed by a local Thai dance troupe.

Classical Northern Thai musicians at venue of course.

Later if preferred western cds may be played on the stereo. If any special songs are requested for dancing or sing to please bring or asked before hand if we have them.

A Lanna feast where you set the menu! Sample menu here. Totally changeable to suit guest tastes

You partake in setting off Traditional Fire balloons "KomLoi" to remove bad luck (May not possible in February March or April depending on fire hazard)

Your bride to be is treated to a "Spa treatment" or traditional "Thai massage" the day before the wedding.

We will also arrange for a manicure and pedicure for the bride.

Two Vans and drivers at you disposal the whole wedding day till midnight in case you or your guest wish to make use of them, at anytime.

Wedding attire for bride and groom ( "handwoven" silk extra)
Thai jewelry for bride

Use of traditional Thai style attire by your guests

Decoration of wedding venue with seasonal fresh flowers.

Traditional Thai flower arrangement and garlands as part of ceremony and for the nuptial bedroom.

Professional Photographer services over 300 picture proofs in 4X6 inch size. You also get to keep the negatives so you can make as my prints back home as you like! Or the more popular option now the countless number of photos taken on digital and copies of the CDs so no hassles with negatives and proof.

A website from the digital photos will be provided if desired and you choose digital.So any friends may see a number of your wedding photos before you return.

A Video Photographer to provide a life time record that you can show your friends and even your children or grand children. We normally provide a edited DVD of your Lanna Wedding.

The evening is capped off with a professional Thai fireworks display!

Wedding night accommodation for the newly weds, at the wedding venue (if desired).

Fruit platter and bottle of French Sparkling wine in honeymoon suite.(Champagne upgrade available or other beverages if preferred)

First morning as married couple, very simple breakfast including a great selection of tropical fruits and epicurean delights. or what ever you prefer for breakfast. Just tell us indavance.

Couple receives Thai massages in the morning on the private balcony of their teak hideaway if desired.

Return transport to city next day at your leisure.

I mean, holy crap! I won't have to do much planning, no stressing, and damn..that's a bargain, even with the weak US dollar on my side. I'm sure if I did something in the states, it would cost us 10 times is why I'm combining the wedding/honeymoon.

So what does a Lanna wedding entail? Here's a rough itinerary and idea...

Your wedding starts early in the morning, like all Thai weddings at about 4:45 am

We will pick you up and I will take you to the morning market, where we will choose the food and floral offerings for the monks. Then we will go back to my house and prepare the offerings and give the offerings outside my house (shop). Don't worry, I will instruct you in the proper procedure of monk offerings and explain it all to you. Then when all the offerings are given and any blessing are received, we will relax and try some of the Thai delectations we found in the early morning market. This can, if you wanted, all can be done on your behalf. We really find most couples find it is worth the early morning.

Then you will return to your hideaway, where you can relax or rest. I will return later, with the hair dresser. Best you and your guests have a late brunch or an early luncheon as we will pick up you all about 1:00 pm, to go to the temple for a formal ceremonial Buddhist blessing of the wedding. At the temple we will release the nine fish and birds for merit. From there we head off to the wedding venue, where the knot tying ceremony will be preformed and the couple will arrive about 4:00 pm by what ever mode of transport they have chosen

Then the wedding parade will begin. Followed by the knot tying ceremony, all finishing about dusk in time for some garden photos hopefully.

Then the feast begins! Offering your guests the rare opportunity to experience real Lanna Thai cuisine served in true Lanna style. (Sorry mom they made me eat with my fingers) Of course we have Thai dancers and live musicians too.

The evening of drinking, eating and enjoying is highlighted by a professional pyrotechnics (fireworks) display to celebrate your wedding.

After dark your guest are welcome to partake in the traditional releasing of fire balloons for luck and prosperity (Except in dry season, as we are in the mountains)

Then more conversation and time together before the guest are returned to the city by the vans so the newly weds may relax and enjoy the start of their new life together.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Turning tricks

We had an early morning today...woke up around 5:30 am, drove down to the docks to meet Kevin at the boat at around 6:30 am. Oh, the crazy things you'll do to get nice water. We went to pick up Stef, Karen, and Chris at Walsh Landing, fueled up, then hit the water.

I was the third person to go. The water was nice..not too horribly cold. Sean took my huge ass fins off last night, so my board would be really skaty. That worked out fine, since I wanted to practice surface tricks today. I had Kevin slow the boat down so that I took a slapper to the water, it wouldn't hurt as badly.

I got up, tested the finless board, went behind the boat, practiced bouncing to build up my ollie skills. I was all over the place at first. Did a few little (miniscule) ollies behind the boat. I got a few surface 180's, but since I suck at riding switch...I'd switch back pretty quickly or fall in. So I came up switch once, and rode that way for a little bit. It was like learning all over again, the akwardness, learning how to stand and position yourself. I got the hang of it for a bit, then did another surface 180 to return to regular.

Sean and I had watched some of the lessons of The Book, the wakeboarding instructional videos last night. I so wanted to do a backside surface 180, since I can ride cuffed...I've tried it before only to eat it bad. But I really wanted to get it down. So I went for it...well, I don't know if I can do a backside surface 180...but hell, I can do even better, a backside surface 360!!! Yup, that's right, I ended up doing a BS surface 360 instead. I did about 4 of those and didn't eat it. I felt golden. I stopped so that I wouldn't get all cocky and confident and eat it then I went back to practicing surface 180s and riding switch.

Everyone had one good run today before the water got shitty. I didn't go out a second time, since it was too choppy for me.

Sean and I stopped off at Sail and Ski this afternoon to pick up some goodies. I got a pair of Hyperlite 1.2" P Wing fins for my board. The stock fins are 1.7", and catch everything...which may have hampered my previous BS surface 180 attempts..maybe. So I'll try those new puppies out manana en la manana!

My trick list is building...(but that doesn't mean that I land em 100% percent!)
- adjust board shorts/ride one handed
- 1 wake jump - healside
- 1 wake jump - toeside
- touch the water
- ollie
- ride switch
- surface 180
- backside surface 360

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I wanted new clothes... I started's what I've made over the past few weeks...

Skirt 1 - Batik napkin short skirt

Pattern: modified version of New Look 6207 - E (shortened, changed waistband, added extra stitching)
Made out of two batik napkins (along with food stains!) I got from Savers. I added natural colored muslin to make up for the extra cloth I neede to make the skirt. I sewed muslin to the sides and bottom of the napkins, cut them to size, then sewed the skirt. I also used a strip of muslin for the waistband.

Skirt 2 - Swimsuit coverup skirt and bikini top

Pattern: New Look 6357 - B

Skirt 3 - Vintage duvet cover skirt

Pattern: New Look 6207 - E
I bought a vintage duvet cover from a local thrift shop for about $4 and turned it into this skirt. I added a natural colored muslin waistband and liner.

Skirt 4 - Pac-Man vintage bedsheet skirt

Skirt 5 - Thai silk skirt

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shameless plug for a friend!

Just posting this ebay auction for a friend in Singapore...check it out. Anyone in need of a 19th century Chinese dressing screen?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fucked ankle....argggg!!!

The title says it all...

We've had some crazy storms lately, so we haven't been able to tell what the weather is going to do, and all of the forecasts have been off. Stef just got the boat back recently (it'd been in the shop), so we haven't been wakeboarding in a few weeks. We've all been antsy to get to it.

The storms rolled through during the night. We woke up to fairly sunny skies. Sean called Stef to see what it was like down there. We set a time to meet up at Stef's at noon to go wakeboarding.

It was amazing how relatively smooth the water was. Amazing. Not too many boats out. I had two really good sessions. Getting better at jumping and trying to get the progressive edge going on. Had quite a few heelside one wake jump attempts, a few ollie attempts, and one or two toeside jumps as well.

Needless to say my second session ended before I wanted it to. I did a heelside one wake jump, missed the landing, the front of my board caught the water, and I flew in face forward. Now the the crash into the water didn't hurt...

Usually when I take a face plant, I fly out of my bindings. This time, my feet got hanked less than half way out, so my ankles were flexed, and that's how I fell in. My ankles were a bit sore from that..not too bad, just a bit sore. Like they'd been sprained or popped out of the joints.

I'm doing okay throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Fast forward to now, 9:47pm..I'm blogging here, with a pack of HEB frozen strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries on my ankle (we don't have ice yet), which rests on a chairpad on top of a small file box. The pain in my left ankle just seems to get worse and worse by the moments (my right ankle is fine, thankfully!). As of now, I can no longer walk normally at all! At first, I managed to step lightly on my left, and hobble around. Now, I'm fully hopping on my right...soon, I'll be sick of hopping, so I'll just be dragging my own ass on the floor...

Yeah, I guess this is my first real wakeboard injury. The time I split the inside of my heeled up pretty quickly. Well, I can't get injured if I don't play, and if I don't play, and don't have all goes with the sport. The veins on my foot have popped out and shown themselves, too. Well, hopefully it's a sprain and won't last too long...

Well, I'm going to be productive and do some sewing. I don't need my left leg to do that...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Climbing at the Sanctuary by Georgetown Hospital

Last Sunday, Sean and I decided to try out a climbing area we've never hit before. We got the Austin Rock book by Sean O'Grady. In the back of it is a section titled Georgetown Hospital. Being that we are in Leander, and Georgetown is just a jaunt in the country eastward and not too far...and the fact that we decided to sleep in...we decided that Georgetown would be the spot.

We got the directions from the book. Parked in the Georgetown Hospital parking lot. At first, we were like..where is it? So sans gear, we walked to explore. We walked up to the back of the hospital, going towards the antenna. We passed by a loud piece of machinery, some sort of condensation machine, possibly, then back by some delivery trucks, then found the trailhead. We found another parking lot closer, so we moved the car and parked there instead.

Sean with the hospital behind him

The trailhead literally was right behind the hospital. On the bright side, if anything happened..the hospital was right there! We followed the trail down the canyon, which was not too far at all. And there were the walls. We took out the book to establish our groundings. And sure enough, right there, right off the trail, was The Sanctuary, the main wall.

The Sanctuary

We walked around a bit..Sean went one way, I went the other. I went the less trodden path. I could have used a machete to hack my way through the overgrown bush. There was a nice traversey bouldering problem further away. And I'm sure if it were cleared, you could have made something out of the walls (although relatively short, so maybe some bouldering problems?). I made my way back to the Sanctuary and explored the boulder across from the Sanctuary.

I could have used a machete

The boulder across the way looked difficult on the side facing the Sanctuary. On the other side, though, it looked fun. Easy, but fun nevertheless. There is a crack that goes vertically, then diagonally. Cracks are always interesting to explore.

Sean found the Pulpit area, where two other climbers were at. We decided to park it at the Sanctuary and explore the routes. We decided to start on Good Book, a short 5.9. It looked interesting. It didn't look *that* bad. But what a bitch of a route! Sean lead it with many rests and falls. Pulling the bulge near the top was the difficult part of the route. Neither of us are really good at pulling bulges, and could use some better technique on them.

Needless to say, if he had that much trouble leading it..I was going to toprope it that day. Well, it was an interesting 5.9. I'd call it a rather difficult 5.9 if you're not 6ft tall. Seriously. I love outdoors because there are more features. But this route gave me nothing to my short (dis)advantage.

Cleaning and setting up a rappel off of Good Book (5.9)

Sean took the easy way up to take this photo (don't worry, I'm slinged in to the chains, off belay)

I struggled in a few spots, short limbs, interesting maneuvers. I finally got to the evil bulge. It took me a few tries. Well, more than a *few*. And finally, I was able to mantle with my left foot kicked out over the bulge, kick my right foot up slowly...there wasn't really much to grab onto over the just had to stay close to the rock and bring your body over it..then finally..once I was on the bulge, it really turned out to be quite a nice ledge (a bit sloped).

Rappelling is fun, too :)

We moved on to Narthex, a 5.10 according to the book. Sean attempted the lead. Getting to the first bolt was simple. All hell broke loose after that. The moves after the first bolt were pretty stout. After many, many tries, we decided to drop a toprope on the route to check it out.

Sean taking the easy route up to set up a toprope on Narthex

Sean rappelling off of Narthex

Sean set up the toprope and rappelled down. So it was my turn to climb/toprope the route. 5.10 my ass!!! Now, it may be a 5.10 for someone 6ft tall. But for little ole me...I made my way up to where the first bolt was simply. Piece of cake. After that...there's this crimp that Sean can reach (he's 8 inches taller than me). It's a great crimp...if you can *get to it*. I tried, tried, tried. Nope, I'm still a few inches from reaching it.

Dyno time! So the only way I'm going to reach that damn crimp is to dyno for it. Ironically enough, I've been working on a V3 at the gym where I have to dyno to a go for it..*miss*...go for it...*miss*...I tried many more times till I finally got the crimp and landed it. Woo! I got to the point where I got the crimp with my right hand, work my left hand over to the other side of my right hand to grab the crimp where it's better (I couldn't dyno that far), what? The next move was a dyno for Sean, even, who is 8 inches way in hell...not many features to work it...I had to give in after that. I had worn my fingertips pink after dynoing for the crimper...

Sean got on Narthex and had a hell of a time through the cruxes of it...needless to say, we got off that route..we'll revisit it another day...

We headed over to the boulder by the Sanctuary, but facing the opposite side (aka the easy side). The boulder has anchors all over the top of it, so we dropped a toprope in the middle of the crack. We both climbed the crack, the face, and to the left of the crack. It was..pretty damn easy. Fun nevertheless.

Heading out...

After that, we decided to head out..after tons of mosquito bites and a chigger bite in my crotch area (arg...squatting to pee sucks!)...I was done. It was good to explore the area. Next time we know what we're in for. And what's good is that it's not even that far from home..maybe about 20 minutes out...