Tuesday January 30th, 2007

Sunday afternoon and early evening were spent wandering about the downtown area. I tried my luck at some night shots, but it seems they turned out somewhat blurry. I have some reading to do as the night functions on my camera aren't a point and shoot kind of thing. I need to learn about shutter speeds and tripods, apparently. It's a work in progress ... as always. I am happy with the colour, however!

This is my third attempt at a blog today ... life has been busy and time and words aren't coming to me in the form of a computer. Winter camp has started ... it's going to be three weeks of being very busy. Today was bright and sunny and about 20 degrees. The morning was spent basking in the sun and playing soccer with the kids ... there's about 60 of them, total. It made for a fun morning ... left me feeling very warm ... I miss summer.

Winter camp will be great practice for my Chinese. I was a bit sad to stop my two morning classes for the next month, but it seems that the basketball coach and the soccer coach only speak Chinese. I caught some of what was going on today and what I couldn't, I picked up from seeing. I was able to have a quick conversation with the coach and he was quite happy as it seems he doesn't speak any English.

This weekend CKids will be having it's year end party ... it's in a restaurant on the 4th floor of a 12-storey mall ... one of the many storied malls around here. The invitation informs us that we should dress in our best. I'm not sure if I should treat myself to something new, or find something old that's not been seen. I did end up clothes shopping this weekend ... I find myself with a new pair of pants or two and then some!

Looking at the clock, it's best I get away from this thing and finish my Chinese homework. We are making our way through chapter 18. As I've already studied this book, I am remembering that this is the point where frustration took over which turned me off of studying a bit. This time around I feel I'm getting it some days, but most days I feel not so much. It's all about patience.

And with that, I am off ... I have a 13 hour day tomorrow. After four nights of being away from home, it'll be nice to snuggle with the cats.

Friday January 26th, 2007

One box with seemingly endless possibilities. Introducing the newest toy in the house ... what more does one need, really?

Tuesday January 23rd, 2007

The weekend came and went. With it came some good weather and some not so good. Saturday was beautiful ... I spent the afternoon out and about trying my new camera. I gave up on reading the manual from top to bottom ... after 50 pages in, it became a bit of a bore. I will use it as reference for things I can't figure out on my own. In using the camera Saturday, I can see I have a lot to learn.

Sunday rained the whole day which was perfect for our first rugby game. We are calling ourselves the Black Panthers ... our challengers, the She-babs. They've been playing together for quite a bit longer than we have. After an hour of muddy play, it seemed we won the game, 5-0. Awesome!

The week will be busy with mid-terms happening this Friday. Fingers are crossed for mostly passes. Ninety percent is a pass at my school ... a bit ridiculous, I know ... I imagine it must give the kids the idea that there isn't much room for error in life.

And I leave you with, yet, another picture of Datsun cuddling up in the cold ...

He's too cute not to shoot ... what a face!

Friday January 19th, 2007

Another weekend has arrived. It's been a busy day, starting with Chinese class at 7am. We are learning present perfect and, I think this time around, I finally get it! After class I went to the salon for a new cut ... it was muchly needed.

The weekend will be about rest and good food ... what more could one ask for, really? I am thinking about doing some clothes shopping tomorrow ... as I look around and spot the new phone and the new camera and the new cleats for my rugby game this Sunday, perhaps it best that I not run out and spend more money.

I did purchase my flight to Penghu today ... I'll be going for four days. I hope the weather won't be too bad ... people keep telling me that winter isn't the time to go ... I suppose this will be a taste of the vacation I'll have to take this coming summer ...

Rain decided to join us for most of the week ... I've not been out with my new camera ... I've not read much of the manual either. I figure it might be more of a learn as you go process.

I have been watching Lost here and there. I'm currently on Season 2, Episode 16 ... good stuff! I hope to be caught up by the time they are back on TV and available for downloading.

It's time to grab a shower and get ready ...

tgif ...

Disaster ...

... a sudden calamitous event bringing great damage, loss, or destruction ... a fairly good description of my little Levi.

Next week my classes will be writing their mid-terms. In preparation, my co-teacher has prepared all of the written tests to date for the students to write as review. They have been marked and corrected by my co-teacher. I brought them home tonight so that I know what areas to cover before the big day.

Halfway into the papers and what should I feel? My big glass of water all over my pants and some of the papers. I'm not sure what happened, but Levi tore away just after the incident and hasn't been seen since. She loves sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.

The papers will survive and the pants will dry. As the kids have written their corrections in ink, some smudges exist. It looks as though I'll have some explaining to do tomorrow. The kids are aware I have two cats at home ... they probably aren't aware of how disastrous one of them can be.

Half of my tablecloth is soaked wet with water, while the other half is dry. Thank goodness for the dry half being where I placed my new phone and new camera. I would've sent her packing if the water had've landed on either.

Trouble, I tell ya ... trouble ...

Tuesday January 16th, 2007

Today turned out to be as nice as yesterday but I won't be making it to the mountains. By the time I got up and had a nice breakfast, it was early afternoon. After laundry and an hour phone call with Mom ... well ... it's almost time for me to think about getting to school. I need to go to the library before work to exchange some books.

I am on page 30 of my camera manual with hopes of getting more reading done this evening. A picutre of my favourite little guy will have to suffice. I've been trying to get a shot of Levi, but she keeps bumping her head into the camera ... it's a good thing she's got that cute thing going for her.

Gosh, he's an angel! I mean, how could one not fall in love with that face?

Monday January 15th, 2007

I am the proud new owner of a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX2 as shown above ... a sweet piece, indeed! A new camera and no photos, you ask? I am currently on page 6 of a 145 page manual. I am interested to know just exactly what my new camera can do for me.

I have a few hours before heading out for the night so I best get some reading done. If tomorrow is as nice as it was today, I will be heading into the hills to try it out.

It has lots of buttons and menus ... it's a bit overwhelming. Some new photos will be posted soon ... promise ... eyes posted!

Thursday January 11th, 2007

And the weekend is almost upon us again ... in my opinion, the best time of the week! My week was a bit busier than I would've liked, but I guess that's the way it always goes.

I picked up my new mobile on Tuesday night. It didn't come with a memory card so I've not been able to store any music on it as of yet. I plan to pick one up after my private today as there is a Nokia dealer right below my student's office.

The camera on my phone isn't that great, but I didn't have high expectations anyway. It's been four years since I've had a new phone and my old one, as I can see now, is quite behind the times.

I am beginning to see some blue skies out there ... perhaps the day might turn out to be nice. We've been pretty lucky with the weather as of late ... it hasn't been warm, but it's not been terribly cold either. The rain has been staying away and that is the key.

Looking at the time, it's best I hop in the shower and get some breakfast on the go. I have a 10am start which is about three hours too early. With a warm kitty in my lap and a heater on my back, it makes it not overly motivating to want to go anywhere.

Monday January 8th, 2007

Today is a perfect day for turkey soup ... luckily I made some over the weekend! The day is cold as is the house. My small heater has hardly been cutting it the past few days. The weather reads 12 but it feels much colder.

Yesterday, the afternoon was spent shopping around for a new camera. I think I found the one I'm going to purchase ... it's a Panasonic LX2. I'm going to do a bit more research on the net tonight, but I may, perhaps, settle on this one. Chinese New Year is coming up fast and I'll need to learn how to use it before that time.

I also managed to find a new phone yesterday ... a Nokia 5200. It's cute and the price is right.

I saw The Illusionist on Friday night. The movie was alright. The best part was the bottle of red and the two wine glasses we took into the theater. I bet you wouldn't know that a wine glass fits perfectly into the seat cup holder.

It's back to work for me today ... I have class in about two hours. Three more weeks until winter camp starts. After that, it's going to be three weeks of being at the school for about ten hours a day. In saying that, most of the activities for winter camp will involve being out of the school.

The kids will be learning basketball and soccer and one day will consist of going to a snow park and on another, ice skating. I can't remember the last time I've been on ice skates ... should make out to be interesting ... especially since I've only ever worn boy's skates ... renting should be fun!

My friend will be here shortly to enjoy some turkey soup ... I can't wait to warm up. Another sweater it is, for the moment.

Thursday January 4th, 2007

The year is off to a good start ... the weather has been mostly nice and warm. A cold front is on the way, but the sun should be with us ... cold is always easier to take when there's a little sunshine to go along.

The week was busy and fast ... I am looking forward to an easy Friday. I've decided to not hit the Philippines for Chinese New Year. The plane tickets aren't expensive, but I'm not sure I'd be able to travel the way I like to travel so I'm going to wait it out. My mom will be out this year and we plan to do three weeks somewhere. This is a place I certainly have my eye on and three weeks would be plenty to island hop!

I have a few opportunities for the New Year. One involves going to a place I've never been to spend the actual New Year with Morgan's family ... I can't recall the name of the place but it will be a very proper way to spend a Chinese New Year, I'd say.

Morgan will also be heading to 澎湖 (Penghu) for five or six days. I am going to arrange a flight over, but I think I'll only stay for two or three nights. I'm not sure if I'll be able to dive at this time of year, but it may be warm enough with a wet suit ... I'll check it out.

Winter camp starts soon and I've been asked to be at the school every morning for the three weeks it'll be on. I'm the only foreign teacher they've asked to be there for the full three weeks, so I'm kinda happy about that. It will mean stopping most of my Chinese lessons, but the short break from Chinese might be good. It'll be refreshing to get back into it after a few weeks off.

A kitty sits squished in my lap and is purring away like an angel ... she is exactly that. I hope she realizes how sweet she's got it over here ... lucky little.

A glass of wine, two cats and an episode of Lost is in order. I have a 6:30am start ... in looking at the clock ... it sounds early. I am thankful for tomorrow being Friday!
Just in case one were to be a little unclear of the rule when entering a public park.

Monday January 1st, 2007

Last night was great ... it started with a friend coming by my place. After a glass of red wine and some boursin, we headed to a party at his student's house. Upon our arrival, we were whisked away to see the house. One floor, two floors, three floors up ... the fourth floor contained a piano/dance studio/pool table type room with one more staircase to climb. The fifth was a roof top balcony with some swings, a bbq, a picnic table and a beautiful view of Taipei. What a place!

After the tour, we were brought down to the main floor and into the kitchen. The table was full of chinese dishes, sushi and desserts. We were served three different bowls of soup for trying on top of everything else ... unbelievable. We were at YoYo's, his student, until 10pmish. At that time, we caught a taxi to 昆陽站 (Kunyang Station). We decided the MRT would be better than a taxi as a lot of the streets in Taipei were closed off due to the fireworks. The MRT stations were packed with people heading to Taipei 101. We made it to Pete's place around 11:30 ... just in time for the new year.

We were able to see the fireworks from Pete's place ... I imagine that's what Taipei 101 would look like if one were to blow it up. They were pretty cool and apparently sponsored by Sony as they decided to show their name in big flashy lights on each side of the building. The pictures I took aren't anything worth sharing. If you find yourself with ten minutes to spare, check out the link:

Celebrations around the world

Look under Video and Audio News ... Taipei is featured in the video as are a bunch of other countries ... a few of them did it up right!

The night wasn't too late but this morning was. I found myself in bed until noonish ... a great way to spend a holiday Monday. Thai food and a beer in 大湖公園 (Dahu Park) seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon. The sun was out, the skies were blue and the day was hot. I enjoyed the fact that it is January 1st and two men were out in their banana hammocks ... one tanning, one jogging around the pool.

I am going to settle with a movie and two cats shortly ... I have most of the day off tomorrow as well ... it feels like a mini holiday indeed. A trip to the Philippines with CKids is in the works for the Chinese New Year. I am very tempted, but I may stick around so that I can go to 澎湖 (Penghu) with my friendly boss, Morgan. I need to make a decision in the next day or two, so perhaps I best get on some research.

Happy 2007! Hopefully a year full of little work and lots of living.