Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quiet Times

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and enjoyed the company of family and/or friends!

Kevin and I had a holiday function downtown Friday night so we celebrated Christopher's birthday on Christmas Eve with this delicious ice cream cake...
Christmas morning seemed to be strangely calm.  Even the crazy dog mellowed out for a few minutes.    
We opened our gifts and then had a huge breakfast!

The biggest disappointment of the day was realizing that Christopher's new Kindle Fire cannot stream video or music unless the device is physically located in the U.S.  UGH! UGH! and UGH!  He can download books and reading material from Thailand so the device is not completely useless but he was really looking forward to being able to watch movies and some tv shows.  I spent a few very frustrating hours trying to get him set up before I (what else?!?) used google ("using Kindle Fire overseas") and found out the cause of our problem.  I have found several blogs and chats discussing this issue and there are some "jail breakers" I am trying but I haven't had any luck yet.

My biggest hope is that I can somehow get our Virtual Private Network in sync with the Kindle so the streaming function works.  I tried using the VPN a few times and, once, for a VERY brief moment, we were able to stream a video so I know it can be done. Since the Government of Thailand monitors and blocks a great deal of internet traffic, we set up a VPN in our home.  Basically, although we are in Bangkok, the VPN service assigns us an IP address that is based in San Francisco so it appears that is where our computer & wireless router are physically located. Using the VPN allows us to stream radio stations, movies and television through our computer and the iPad. Without the VPN, these would all be blocked by the Government.  Another benefit is using the VPN for certain on-line retailers. For example, Macy's does not recognize our Thai IP address and won't let me place an order on-line, even when I use our APO address (which is just like shipping to an address in the CONUS). However, if I log on to the Macy's website using the VPN, I can place an order and have it sent to our APO address because they see me as being in San Francisco. Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed that we can get this straightened out. Also, if anyone has any suggestions, please pass them on.

We went to Mass on Christmas evening which was a novelty for us. On the last Sunday of each month, a priest comes from our church downtown to say a Mass out in Nichada. This year, we were lucky that Christmas happened to fall on the last Sunday so we did not have to trek downtown. However, going to 5:00 Mass meant that I got a late start on dinner. We didn't eat  until almost 8 pm but it was so good that no one really complained.

After the craziness that was our Christmas, we are enjoying rest and relaxation! Kevin has been to the driving range several times and he went to golf yesterday with a group from work. The kids have been all over Nichada with their friends - riding bikes, swimming and having a lot of sleepovers. We are going to the beach tomorrow and will return January 2nd.

If I cannot post again until we return, I hope you all have a very safe, happy and healthy New Year!

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