Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back to reality - sort of...

Well, I'm back at work, but once class ends, you can't get me out of the building fast enough! I've got a date with two gorgeous girls that are waiting for me to come home! Woo-hoo! Vanessa is looking lovelier than she ought to - motherhood is definitely agreeing with her so far, no?

Trudi is a lot of fun, so far. When she cries to be fed, her cries are distinctive and plaintive. She's doing the vocal version of "puppy-dog eyes" - and it works! I mean, a few seconds of that and V starts lactating. Intelligent design, indeed. Trudi has a very expressive face, and I love it when her eyes scan my face when I'm talking to her. I know she can't focus very well yet, but she sure knows who I am.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Welcome to the world, Trudi!

Gertrude (Trudi) Marie van Dyck took her first breath on Saturday, December 9th, at 9:09 pm. She's beautiful and I love her so much. The world is a very good place right now.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Last Day Inside

Well, this is it. Our last evening just the two of us (just the three of us, if you count Gustav). Tomorrow our daughter will be born and our world will change forever. I can't wait, and apparently, neither can she. She was very active tonight after V had a glass of egg nog. Check out the video below!

It's a big ad...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just 4 Kicks

Look at the top of Vanessa's belly and you'll see 4 kicks/punches. Someone wants out!


Vanessa's belly moves pretty independently by now. Hours of entertainment!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is it just the eye of the beholder?

I swear, V is getting more beautiful by the day. She's like, engorgeous.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Taiwan Beer Commercial on TV now

My Taiwan Beer Commercial is now in rotation nation-wide. I saw it for the first time on Friday on the AXN channel, and again on Channel V. Have a look for yourself - here's the 30 second version:

and the 20 second version:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

North American English has a new logo!

We've been running our school now for over a year, and business is stable, so we figured it was time to change the school's signage. We officially changed the name from H.P. Jacobsen's English Classrooom (Jiang Haozhe Yinggyu) to North American English (Beimei Yingyu) when we first bought the school, but we kept that information quiet - we didn't want to spook the parents into leaving. A year later, everything is running smoothly. Our word-of-mouth is excellent, and the parents are very relaxed and confident with us, and vice versa.

We went to Randy Bennett, a professional graphic designer living in Taichung, and a friend of Andy Ings, the boss of Lado Management Consultants and one of my good friends in Taiwan. After a couple of weeks of back and forth consultation, we have the following basic designs and a bunch more variations on the theme. Randy can be reached at randybennett(at)hotmail - I highly recommend him.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Drivers

Well, yesterday, the day after we picked up our new used car, the 95 Chrysler Neon, the fuel pump died. Crumb. More money.

So this afternoon we decided to go for a drive to the coast. We got on the highway and drove down the north-east coast for a bit. It was getting dusk, so we decided to stop along the road and sit on some big rocks overlooking the ocean. We were standing on a monster rock, about the size of a house, when all of a sudden a huge wave hits the rock and completely drenches us with spray. I mean, in one instant we were soaked to the skin. We were never in any danger - the wave was well beneath us, but this one wave had so much force that the spray just went straight up - and then straight down. We looked at each other and started laughing. Our plans for an intimate seafood dinner on the coast were gone - instead we drove straight home in our dripping clothes, showered, changed, and had dinner in Taipei instead. It was a fun day.

Below is a pic of our new car. Well actually it's a pic I found on the internet, but it looks pretty much exactly like ours - same colour of red, same general condition - ie not a scratch on it. It's an American car, so I have some issues with the design of it, and the shocks are so soft it feels like I'm driving a cruise ship, but the air-con is strong, the engine purrs, and it gets better mileage than our VW Jetta did (But not as good as the Honda Civic!) Anyhow, we got it for a song, so I'm pretty pleased.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Islam vs. Christianity

This song is not a rebel song. This song is Sunday Bloody Sunday

Another blast from the past. The 80s had some awesome music...

Goodbye Xiao Bai!

Well, we've been doing the "buy-a-new-used-car two-step". Our Honda's air con gave up the ghost finally, after months of operating whimsically. We wasted no time in buying a VW Jetta, which is a pretty nice car, except for the fact that it doesn't have power steering, which drives Vanessa nuts. So, we made an offer on a 1995 Chrysler Neon that was for sale in Taoyuan. Hopefully this will do the trick. In the meantime, somebody else has put down a down payment on the Honda Civic, so we'll be unloading that in a few days. I have to say, I'll miss that car. Sure, it wasn't much to look at, but it was reliable, and Vanessa and I had a lot of fun with that car. It even had a name - Xiao Bai, or "Little White". I hope our Chrysler is as much fun, but I doubt it will be. We'll see. Anyway, goodbye, Xiao Bai! And thank you!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Father's Day - Almost

Tuesday, August 8th is Father's Day in Taiwan, because 8/8 is pronounced "ba ba" in Mandarin, which is very similar to Baba, the Mandarin word for Dad (different tones, though). Anyway, Vanessa and I took her family to Flavor, a Swedish restaurant in Taipei. I had already dropped V off at her parents' home in Sanchong earlier in the day, so I took the scooter and met them at the restaurant. As soon as I got there, I got a whiny five minutes of complaining from my mother-in-law and sister in-law:

Them: "You brought the scooter! Aiya! How wil Zhen-zhen (Vanessa) bring her maternity clothes home?"

Me: "Don't worry, I'll think of something"

Them: "But what can be done?!"

Me: "Don't worry, I'll think of something."

Them: "But you brought the scooter! What are you going to do?!"

Me: "I'll figure something out. Let's eat dinner!"

Them: "But it's hard to carry things on the scooter! How can you bring things back?!"


Them: "But there are two bags of clothes!"

Me: ~getting on the damn bike and riding back to Xizhi to get the damn car~

By the time I got back to the restaurant forty-five minutes later, they were finishing their appetizers. I ordered a glass of white wine and then another. Dad referred to adogah (big-nose foreigners) only once in the conversation, so huge progress on that front.

He did manage to complain loudly about the appearance of the shrimp and avacado salad, saying it looked disgusting. This in a restaurant about the size of my living room. Vanessa asked Dad if maybe he could say it even louder, as perhaps the boss didn't hear it from the other end of the room. Dad then warned me that the shrimp salad lacked strong flavor, and Mom helpfully suggested that "that was the way they (us Swedish people? Canadians? All people who are not Taiwanese?) liked it. ~groan~ Despite Dad's warning, I thought the salad was delicious, and for all of his kvetching, Dad still managed to clean his plate faster than anyone else at the table. He then got up and went for a walk.

My meal came last, since I arrived last - a pork chop with basil and cognac sauce that was really very good. Even though my dish had just arrived, the minute Dad finished his dinner he was out the door to go nap in his new Mitsubishi minivan. The rest of us stayed around the table, and I listened to V's plans for zuo yezi, the month-long post-birth recovery period, while her sister prattled on about superstitious nonsense. The apple cake with vanilla sauce for dessert was excellent. The whole meal only set me back 4k for six people, but I was the only one drinking, so we got off lightly.

It was a very good meal, and the only suggestions I would have would be to make sure the restroom (which was spotless) had handsoap, and to serve milk or cream with the coffee, instead of those horrid white-coloured vegetable oil "kreamers". There was a convenience store right around the corner, so I went out to get my own milk for the coffee. Oh, it also doesn't look right to serve only half a cup of coffee. They should fill the cups, or else use smaller ones. Half a cup makes the customer feel short-changed.

All in all, I would highly recommend Flavor. Their address is Sanmin Road, Lane 107, No 8, Taipei, close to the Minsheng East Road Section 5 traffic circle, and their telephone number is (02) 2769-1971. Click here for the map.

Tonight's dinner made me realize that I need to get a BlackBerry when they come out in Taiwan next month. Yes, I know it would be rude to use it at the table after dinner, but my rudeness would be just one out of a long litany of tableside transgressions that our family dinners seem to invite. Vanessa pointed out that in a few months I'll have a baby to fuss with, so maybe I'll just do that - I'll be the great father instead of the anti-social guy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Taipei After Dark

These images have been gathering dust on my hard drive for a long time. Although I'm certain I've seen them on other Taiwan blogs before, one more time can't hurt.

Man, Taipei sure ain't what it used to be!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We're back!

Vanessa and I flew into Taipei at 4:45 this morning, cleared customs and immigration quickly, got into the car Vanessa had arranged to pick us up, and made it home in record time. Things are very windy here - Typhoon Kaemi arrived in Taiwan roughly the same time we did, but a little further south. Our landing was a little precarious - wobbling from side to side and dropping and rising by several metres very suddenly, which made for a lot of white-knuckled passengers, but otherwise everything was fine.

Heh - we even managed to bring a lot of stuff home with us, including boxes of books and two jars of mom's dill pickles. At security check-in in Toronto, the guard wasn't too happy about these mason jars of pickles in my carry-on luggage - only labelled foods (read: store-bought) are normally allowed. I told him that they were my mom's dill pickles and his eyes softened a bit.
"Would you mind eating one now, sir?"
"My pleasure!"
After he heard the crunch of me eating the pickle he looked thoughtful. "My mom makes some pretty good food, too. Ok, you can go."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Janice's Birthday Party

Today was Janice's 29th birthday, so we had a big celebration. Kris and Peter made scores of absolutely sensational kebabs, beef, chicken, pork, and vegetarian, Mom made her famous potato salad, and of course there were also great hors d'oeuvres and salads . Dad had us well stocked with wine and beer, and to finish everything off, there was coffee and Napoleon Torte!

Jer and Janice had invited some of their friends, great people who over the years I have been fortunate to count as my friends as well. Matt Tiessen and his girlfriend Petra were there, Joel Regehr and his wife Vania, Tom and his wife Kelly, Pierre and Maritsa, and their 20 month old daughter Vania, Grandma, Paul and Hilde Tiessen, and of course everyone in my family. It was a great evening, and I think everyone had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday Janice! We all love you!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blue Mountain

Vanessa and I took off for a few hours to explore the area. I especially wanted to show her Blue Mountain, where I had done a fair bit of skiing when I was a teenager. We took the chairlift up to the top, and then had lunch in the Village at Blue which is being developed by the same company that did Whistler.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Georgian Bay Party!

We had a good time today. Jer and Janice and a bunch of friends came over for dinner. Present were Joel and Vania Regehr, Tom and Kelly Enns, Pierre and Maritsa Shantz, and their little girl, Vania, and of course our whole family. The food was great - Tom had brought over some fresh whitefish which we cooked over the barbecue, and of course there were salads and vegetables, etc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Baby shopping and lunch

After breakfast, Mom took us out to some baby stores to get some stuff for the baby. Clothes, a chair for infants, some blankets, etc. I took a look at some strollers as well. Of course the guy in me wants to get the biggest, most high-tech stroller available - something like this:

Or this:

However, Vanessa will probably want to rein in my aspirations and get something affordable. ~sigh~ Women just don't get vehicles.

After the shopping, Vanessa and I took Mom and Dad out to lunch, to Solé on Erb Street. Vanessa and I shared the soup of the day (she can never finish whole orders of anything it seems), she had linguini tossed in a baby clam and tarragon rosé sauce with roasted garlic, red onion, sweet peppers and shiitake mushrooms garnished with seared jumbo sea scallops, and I had wiener schnitzel. Dad had roast beef on a spinach salad with a buttermilk dressing and garnished with necatarines and blackberries, and Mom had the calamari. We had a nice bottle of Italian white with our dinner and cappuccinos after. The grand total, with tip and taxes was $130, which was pretty reasonable for the level of service and quality of food.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Saturday at home

Today was a nice day. The weather was warm, and the evenings pleasant. Vanessa and I have been enjoying Mom's Volkswagen bug. Convertibles were made for weather like this.

As you can see, we're continuing to eat well!

This is Vanessa and Peter de Sousa, Kristine's boyfriend. They've been going out for over two years already, but I hadn't met him until this week. He's a nice guy, and it's been good getting to know him.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Niagara Falls

Yesterday Vanessa and I went to Niagara Falls with Mom and Dad. V wanted to ride on the Maid of the Mist. We did that, and it was fun, but I'm good for a few years before I need to do that again.

It's great seeing the ethnic diversity in Canada. On Centre Island, I saw Hasidic Jews sharing a roller-coaster with Muslims and their veiled wives, and at Niagara Falls I saw a dreadlocked six year old kid with skin as black as coal holding hands with a blond kid with impossibly fair skin. They looked like they were best friends. They could also have been subjects for a Benetton commercial.

Canada also has tons (Ha!) of fat people. Now anyone who knows me knows that I'm not exactly slender. Hell, let's face it - I'm fat. In Canada, however, I fit right in. In fact, I'm average, or even smaller than average. It's kind of disgusting, but the sheer abundance of foods here, the lifestyle of convenience which everyone lives, and the incredible selection of foods means that waistlines here aren't going to get smaller anytime soon.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Centre Island

Vanessa and I went in with Dad to Toronto this morning. He had to finish up a few more shows of Saturday Afternoon at the Opera at the CBC, and we were wide awake at 6:00 am, so we decided to go in with him. Once there, we went to Centre Island and rented a quadricycle for two. It was fun and the weather was perfect. See for yourself!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Summer Evening Barbecues

Last night was fun. My parents invited us along to a barbecue at John and Arlene Groh's place. John and Arlene Groh are old family friends from Rockway Mennonite Church, as were the other guests there: Lorna Sawatsky, Marg Reimer, Marg Janzen, Chris Brunk, Henry and Irene Schmidt, and of course Mom and Dad. It was a cool evening, but the food was good, the wine kept being poured and the conversation was great.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Taipei's Terminal 2 is a big improvement over Terminal 1, but it still can't compare with major airports in the west. And I'm not sure how well local food is being represented either - gruel and dishes? Mmmm (insert Homer Simpson drooling sound)...

Our flight on Eva was great in that we arrived safely and with all of our bags. It was terrible in terms of food and service though. No individual video monitors, too-small seats, surly service, no magazines, and the meals were really awful. Neither V nor I took more than one bite of the food served, it was that bad. By the time we got to Vancouver, we were both pretty hungry. We had just exited the plane when V said, "I wonder if there's a Tim Horton's here?" It turned out there was, but then V saw an A&W restaurant with poutine on the menu and her mind was made up - we shared an order of poutine and a large root beer. It's funny - she's become more Canadian than me! I wonder when that happened?

Monday, July 03, 2006

We're outta here!

Well, last day of school was Saturday, we've paid all our bills, cleaned the house, packed our bags, and now we're waiting for the limo to take us to the airport. Jaboney is going to be house-sitting for us and taking care of Gustav, Mitch, and Babs. We'll be gone for three weeks, and we're both happy to be out of here. It's been a hectic couple of years, and we haven't had a vacation in a looong time.

This is going to be good.

I love science

Who knew that Diet Coke and Mentos could be educational?

Be careful, however. Some people have made the mistake of trying to duplicate the results internally! Video below: (Not for the squeamish!)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hard Gay

Meet "Hard Gay", Japan's latest super hero!

Hard Gay Social Improvement

Hard Gay Social Improvement

Friday, June 23, 2006

Grouchy no more?

The last three weeks I've been constantly tired and irritable. Hacking cough, fatigue, bloodshot eyes, pounding headache, aching joints, sore throat, poor sleep patterns, and depression. As soon as one symptom went away, another one popped up - same song, different malady.

But today I feel better. I didn't cough at all last night, so I'm sure Vanessa will be happy too. The previous night I had a protracted series of coughing fits and she moved back to the bed she had been sleeping in for the last couple of weeks. ~sigh~ I didn't want to infect her with what I've got of course, but I'm not used to sleeping alone anymore. Last night felt better. I slept better with her snuggled up against me, and I didn't cough, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I apologize to anybody I've been pricklish with the last couple of weeks. It wasn't you, it was my crappy health that was making me such a grouch. I resolve to be healthy, happy and productive starting today. ~cough, cough~

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Taiwan Beer Commercial

A couple of months ago, some of my wife's colleagues from the advertising/production company where she used to work approached her with the idea of shooting a commercial about foreigners who live and work in Taiwan, AND drink Taiwan beer. I qualified.

Anyway, it's finally ready. It's a two minute web commerical, but depending on "consumer response" they might make it into a TV commercial. I'm not holding my breath, though. The commerical can be found on the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Monopoly website, 3rd film from the top, or you can watch it below, where it's hosted on google video.

The commercial is a little cheezy, I'm not entirely happy with my Mandarin, the script was mediocre, they failed in their promise to make me look "slimming", and the production is kind of sketchy in places, but whatever. Anyway, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I think I'm finally getting over my damn cold. My eyes aren't as red as they were a few days ago (completely bloodshot on Saturday), and my head doesn't ache anymore. I still have a nice resonant cough, but I hope that's on its way out, too.

The car is acting up. ~sigh~ Looks like we need a new radiator, again. Also new brake pads, and a new right headlight. Fortunately parts for an old Honda Civic are pretty cheap, but I'd be happier if I didn't have to pay anything at all.

I'm hungry now, and there's not a lot of food in the house, so I might just reheat some pancakes that are in the fridge. Not a great dinner, but at least it's something.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Absolute Sexy!

Last night we went to Luxy. Rock Idea, the company behind my beer commercial was having a PR event to promote Absolut Peach Vodka, and they gave us 70 invites to Luxy, with all you can drink vodka cocktails. We went and although I'm still under the weather with a cold that I can't seem to shake, and Vanessa couldn't drink because of being pregnant, we still had a good time. Anton and I kept busy plying each other with girly-drinks, and V and Trudy had a good time as well, I think. V was looking particularly fabulous last night as the pictures below (taken by Joyce) will attest:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What's Up in Taiwan? I am!

Last week I did an interview with What's Up In Taiwan, a site that does weekly podcasts of individuals around the island. Nice guys - you can hear the interview by clicking here.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

May 10, 2006

Dear Anthony & Vanessa,

Well the devotional booklet came again and I want to enclose a few lines. The other day, Anthony, when you phoned we were disconnected and you could not finish. But you got the message of your coming baby finished. Congratulations! I talked to your Daddy on the phone today and he told me things were fine. I was so glad and thankful. I wish you all the best - a healthy baby. You are in my prayers a lot. God is so good to us & we must trust Him in every area of our lives.

I had a very nice time with your parents when they stayed at my house, during the Centennial weekend here in Winkler. Your Dad did a very good job of conducting the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

We have had some nice weather. Now it's a bit cooler. Your Uncle Ted has quite a bit seeded - wheat is done, starting on the beans. Auntie Marge was over on Monday planting some flowers for me. The cukes and tomatoes we will do later when all the danger of frost is past.

Love you a lot & nothing will change that - Grandma

Monday, May 01, 2006

Chronic & Narnia

Lazy Sunday
Lazy Sunday, Wake in the late afternoon
Call Parnell just to see how he's doin'
Hello? What up Parn? Yo, Samburg what's crackin'?
You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? NARNIA - man it's happ'nin'
But first my hunger pangs I'll stick it like duct tape
We'll hit up Magnolia and mac on some cupcakes
No doubt, that bakery's got all the bomb frostings
I love those cupcakes like McAdams loves Gosling
Two no six no twelve - baker's dozen!
I told you that I'm crazy for these cup-cakes cousin

Yo where's the movie playing? Upper West Side dude.
Well let's hit up Yahoo Maps to find the dopest route.
I prefer Mapquest. That's a good one too!
Google maps is the best. True dat, double true!

68th and broadway, step on it sucka!
What ya wanna do Chris? Snack attack, motha-f%&*a!

Yo stop at the deli, the theater's over-priced,
you got the backpack, gonna pack it up nice,
don't want security to get suspicious,
Mr. Pibb and Red Vines equals crazy delicious!
I reach in my pocket, pull out some dough,
girl acted like she never seen a 10 befo'
It's all about the Hamilton's baby!
Throw the snacks in a bag, and I'm ghost like Swayze.

Roll up to the theater, ticket-buyin while we're handling,
you can call us Aaron Burrs, from the way we're dropping Hamiltons,
Punks in our seats Movie trivia's the illest
What friends alum starred with Bruce Willis?
We answer so fast it was scary
Everyone stared in awe when we screamed Matthew Perry
Yo quiet in the theatre or it's gonna get tragic
We 'bout to get taken to a dream world of magic

The chronic-what-cles of Narnia!
The chronic-what-cles of Narnia!
The chronic-what-cles of Narnia!
The chronic-what-cles of Narnia

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The ones I'll miss...

Life is a little less frantic and stressful without TAITRA, but the last couple of weeks I've been getting e-mails from students who were sorry to see me go. Apparently management at TAITRA didn't sugarcoat my reasons for leaving and told all the students what happened, more or less. The support and positive feedback I've been getting from the students has been amazing and gratifying. Here are just some of the messages I've been getting:
Dear Sir, it's Nora. It's so surprising that you quit. Although you may be still sad or mad (I am not sure...maybe both), could it be possible for you to come back? At least, come back to teach us, Group 1. Our group has discussed and we really want you to come back. Concerning the mean mail, we feel so sorry that it hurt your feelings and even angry at the bad effect, your leaving, done by that darn mail! There are more supportive persons, only there always come out disturbing opinions, instead of good points. I feel regret that I did not express those good point to support you in time. Would you come back? At least, come back for us, Group 1. We do expect your Negotiation & Job Search courses. We deem you a good teacher who always pays much attention to find out our weakness and reminds us of further improvement. During today's Group 1 discussion, we think we all make good progress in Presentation. We support you, we do.
Sincerely, Nora
Don't care about what the crazy person said!! I think most of students of ITI 17th are supporting you. It's really a pity for us. I learned a lot from you, thank you very much for all of your effort. I still hope you could come back.
Take care, Bill Hsu
Hello Anthony, Wie geht es dir? I am quite sad that you won't come back to teach us. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot. I hope we still have other chance to meet each other in the future. Thank you and take care! My mobile no.: 0952-XXX-XXX
Regards, Tina
I really don't know what to say in situations like this because frankly, it's plain BS. I was totally pissed off which is not an uncommon reaction for me especially for something like this, hehehehe. Just wanted to let you know that Group 1 has asked me to tell you that we miss you very much, and it was a total shame because we're all looking forward to the Job Interview classes as well as Negotiation. God, I am so frustrated because I seriously wanted you to teach those classes. We have your back though it's a little late for all that, but you have our support all the way. You were an amazing teacher because you let us know what we did wrong without any extra-bullshit... Thank you, dude...i hope to see you some time ok..? Hey, fyi, my number is 0960-XXX-XXX. Love ya~
Always, Dee
I'm sorry that you got a terrible mail written by an asshole. I can't believe that we have such a terrible classmate! Anyway, good luck. :)
Dear Anthony, I’m Kate. You wouldn’t know how shocked we were when we heard the news this morning. I don’t know who wrote that stupid letter and its stupid content, but I think it’s really awful to do such a thing. We were looking forward to your Job Hunting and Negotiating class……. It’s a pity for us not having you. >_< Anyway, I just want to tell you that you really taught us a lot. I don’t know what other groups think but I (and most of Group 1) think you are a GREAT teacher. Please don’t feel bad because of that crap. We’ll miss you……(can’t you consider about going back for our class? I mean only for Group 1? Since Group 3 doesn’t care.)

It's nice to get mail like that. It makes me feel that my efforts weren't totally in vain, and that there are still a lot of good, earnest, eager students out there. I'm choosing to remember these good students, and am hoping that the good memories eventually obscure any bad ones.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Blip on the Radar

The day after we did the home pregnancy test, the doctor confirmed V was pregnant, but he couldn't find the baby. Considering how early we discovered the pregnancy, that's not a surprise - the baby was just too small.

However today, just six days later, the doctor found what he was looking for. The baby is where it's supposed to be, and we're relieved. This is the first of many hurdles we need to pass, and so far all is well.

The doctor also presented us with this, our first image of our baby. I'd like to say that this photograph has brought the pregnancy home to me and made it real, but I can't. For all I know this is an image of Chinese MiGs invading our airspace. The doctor has assured me it isn't, so I guess I'll take his word for it, but I'm not closing my mind to the possibility.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Reckless Abandon

Life is good. Between our school and my morning job at TAITRA I'm a little too busy, but oh well. Actually, TAITRA is pissing me off somewhat. Most of the students there are great, but some of them are there to get certificates without doing any work. Fine by me, but when a student takes the podium to give a presentation that they took straight of the internet, without even using any of the physical presentation skills I taught, I'm going to have something to say about it. Actually, what I said was "Ok, you don't need to finish. Please take your seat." You'd think I had just slapped them across the face, to see their reactions. It's not a very political move, but to hell with it - I'm not going to tolerate blatant cheating. If they at least went to the effort to be subtle about it! If I were allowed to fail students, I think things would be better - we could set at least some rudimentary standards. The way things stand now, however, if a student pays and shows up for at least the first half of the session, he gets his certificate. ~shrug~ I'm just glad I'm not tied to that place. If my job satisfaction were to be limited to my TAITRA experiences, I'd be be checking out the want ads hourly!

On a more personal note, Vanessa and I have decided to no longer worry about "being careful". We're ready to put our family planning into God's hands and see what happens. I think it's not as daunting a prospect as it once was. V's cycle has all the punctuality of an Italian train, so we've already had a few false alarms. The last time I was faced with the prospect of a possible pregnancy, I realized I was pretty unconcerned, which surprised us both, I think. This got us to thinking that if we want to have kids someday (we do), why not now? Will there be a better time? What are we waiting for? Since we couldn't really think of a good answer to those questions, we decided to let nature take its course. V thinks it'll take a while, but I'm telling her she's not even going to have a bikini summer. She's amused by my confidence in my virility and her fertility, both unproven, but we'll see what happens.