Monday, September 29, 2003

back from vacation...

..and back to the normal routine.

Dick just went back to work after being on vacation for 2 weeks! I didn't blog much because we were too busy running around SF!

I'll try to recap some of the highlights:

Beach Chalet - it was really hot a couple of weeks ago. Dick and I decided to start our vacation by cooling off by the beach. We went to The Beach Chalet for dinner. Unfortunately, it seems the rest of the City had the same idea. We ended up waiting for a table for 1 1/2 hours! Dinner was good, but we were ready to come home and go to bed by the time we sat down!ti

Dick's bday dinner - we had a small cocktail party at our house, then went over to Timo's for dinner. Yummy tapas food. That's tapas - not topless.

We spent one day in Union Square. Did a little bit of shopping, and enjoyed a stroll through Yerba Buena Gardens.the My favorite part of the gardens is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It's just beautiful, and so well done. What an amazing man.
We met Jim and Cynde for drinks at The View Lounge (the top of the Marriott Hotel). Great view up there- hence the name. As the story goes: The Marriott/View Lounge opened on the morning of the 1989 earthquake. All but one glass was broken!

We spent a lovely afternoon visiting The San Francisco Zoo - we saw baby Flamingos, teenage penguins (they are a shiny silver instead of black, and don't have any stripes/rings yet) and watched "the big cats" eat. There were two lion cubs - born in February.

We also checked out the recently renovated Ferry Building! The building is gorgeous, and the new businesses seem to be doing quite well. We found a terrific produce stand, and bought some delicious heirloom tomatoes. We also went to a butcher and bought some porterhouse steaks that we grilled that night. Lora met us at the Ferry Building, and came over for dinner. Omar was in Japan for the week. We had a great dinner, and topped off the night with a rousing game of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit

Dick and I went to Lucca, our neighborhood Italian Deli, and picked up some salami, and cheese for a Picnic at Golden Gate Park! We drove around the park, discovered all of the tucked away lakes, and ended up spreading out our picnic blanket in the Botanical Gardens. We ate, took naps, and read. it was very nice and relaxing.

We tried to visit the newly restored Conservatory - it had just opened the Saturday prior, but i was closed on Mondays! too bad.
Instead we went down to The SF MOMA to see the Marc Chagall exhibit.

Last Tuesday, we ventured to the East Bay for the afternoon. We went to 4th street in Berkeley to the Crate and Barrell Outlet & Dansk outlet. We've been meaning to replace our drinking glasses. The last set of glasses we had had chips on the rim - apparently, they weren't dishwasher safe! I started to feel silly warning our guests to watch the rim of the glass to make sure they didn't cut their lip!

We met my sister, Tiffini for lunch at Fenton's Ice Creamery in Piedmont. That was delicious. They could quite possibly have the BEST ice cream shakes I've ever had! (and that's quite the statement, thank you)

Last week, we bid a fond farewell to Dick's 1992 Honda Accord. The poor car had been neglected for several months now, and it was time to find a new home. After he attempted to sell it to the local Honda dealership (where they offered Dick a shocking $500), Dick decided to donate it to the San Francisco SPCA. That made our kitties happy. It's a great organization, and we're happy to support them. We're elated that we're finally down to 2 cars and 1 motorcycle between the two of us. No more worries about street parking!

Painting the Interior of the House
Well, we didn't actually get around to the actual painting process, but I'm happy to report that we did manage to select the colors that we'll be using. Our good friend and interior designer, Richard Robertson came over and helped us select colors for the office, master bedroom, front room, parlor and hallway. It's a lot of paint, and a lot of colors! we're very excited.

Last Friday, we spent the day up in beautiful Napa Valley! The only set plans we had was lunch at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville. We had a delicious dinner there a couple of years ago, and lunch was just as good! Along the way, we came across The Napa Premium Outlets. We didn't have any plans to shop that day, but decided to stop because we had some spare time before lunch. Oh my! We did lots and lots of shopping. Dick is now a huge fan of the Barney's New York Outlet. After doing some major retail therapy, we made our way to the Beaulieu Vineyard. Dick is a member of their wine clubs. One of the perks to being a member is that you are able to reserve a tasting table where you can sample their premium wines free of charge. It's a nice service, and the wine was terrific!

Saturday, September 27th was Grace's 3rd Birthday! Grace is Dick's youngest neice. Happy Birthday to Grace! Dick tried to call, but the birthday girl was taking a nap.

Omar and Lora adopted a kitty on Saturday from the San Francisco SPCA!!! We're so happy for them! they adopted a 6 month old blue cat - perhaps a Russian Blue mix like Claude. The name he came with is "Elliott". Last I heard, they are not certain whether or not he'll be keeping that name. Congratulations to the Shahine Family!

We went to the Folsom Street Fair yesterday. It was a gorgeous day (probably mid-70s) so it was completely packed! i think it may have been the most busy I've ever seen it. Lots of good people watching, although it was kind of hard to see through the thick sea of people.

Yesterday was Vivian's Birthday! She turned 24 - what a youngster! :) We helped her celebrate by going to The House of Prime Rib for dinner. Mmmmm. Great Food. I'm most impressed by Vivian, because she's the only girl I know (and a tiny one at that) who can eat her whole meal, and even manage to ask for seconds. Impressive.

And of course, there was LOTS of Ghost Recon throughout the week. Oh yeah.

Wow. turns out we did a lot more than I thought! Dick had a restful vacation, and got to enjoy the wonderful city where we live.

And now I must get back to some of my daily routines. I just returned from my morning walk, which I haven't done in a couple of weeks (my own fault of course). Feels good to get some exercise again! I've been feeling awfully sluggish lately - been eating such great vacation food!

What a great couple of weeks. Thanks, Dick!

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Another car name...

How about "MINI Driver"?

my sister thought this was much funnier than "Alice Cooper"

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Server down...

My server was down all day. Actually, most of it worked - my site was up and running, and I was able to access it via FTP. However, it wouldn't let me write over files, which is how this whole blog thing works!

Blog is back up, and all is fine in the world ;)

New car obsession...

Yep. Pretty much obsessed about the new car. My poor friends and family have to endure months of me talking about my new car before it's even delivered (which isn't until December/January).

Truth be told, I've ordered the car with the dealership, but the order hasn't even been sent to MINI yet. The dealership gets an allotment of orders they can submit every few weeks. My order is sitting in the queue. After the order is submitted, I think it'll still take 3-4 months before the car is actually built and delivered.

This has, in once sense, worked towards my advantage. I have a few weeks "cushion" to make any changes to my order before it is sent in. So far, I've already changed both the interior as well as the exterior colors! Pretty major, huh?

Here are the new specs (because I know you care):
(exterior) British Racing Green
(interior) Cordoba Beige Leather (it's a black and beige combo - pretty sporty)

Here's something funny I just thought of. (these are the things that cross my mind at 6:30am)
I think I'll name my car: "Alice".
get it?
Alice Cooper....

I've never named a car before, but that's pretty funny.

It's almost as funny as Andrew's car, "Betty".
"Betty" is Andrew's new red car. It's a Ford.
Betty Ford.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Ew... Spider!

Ewwwww. Yuck!

I found a big, white, spider nested in our window blinds this morning. Ick! We have these little honey-comb blinds in most of our windows. I noticed the shadow of the spider last night. I thought it was dead, dead dead. So I chose to ignore it until I could point it out to Dick.

Turns out the spider wasn't dead! It had just spun a web around itself and settled into the honeycomb. Dick almost pulled it out with my tweezers. "NO!! Don't use my tweezers!!!" Instead, he used a cotton swab and scooted the spider out. It fell to the floor, and Dick squished it. SPLAT. Ick...

I ran screaming away like a little girl. Embarrassing, but true.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Today's Drawing Session....

Went back to the Drawing studio this morning for another 3 hour session. Although I still enjoyed the experience, I was not very pleased with my final product today. My 1 minute studies were pretty good, and I thought I was on a good roll. However, most of the 5-15 minute sessions were pretty uninspired. I did one decent 20 minute sketch, but that's about it for today.

Oh well. I guess these things take time to build up again, don't they? Dick said that when you've been away from doing something for a while, you're usually pretty good the first time at it again, but may slip a little the 2nd time. That's what happened today. I hope next week is a little more productive for me!

Friday, September 19, 2003

Opus is coming back!

My Mom just sent this to me: Opus Saves The World - The goofysweet penguin from Bloom County returns, and the Sunday paper might actually be funny again.

My sister found this: Opus the Penguin Back In the Funny Business

How exciting for comic fans everywhere! Is there anyone else out there who loves the "A Wish for Wings that Work" Xmas special as much my family?

"I'm a Rhinoceros!!!"

"You're a PIG! P-O-R-K ...... You know, the other white meat!"

Monday, September 15, 2003

Late night out....

Late for us, anyhow. dick and I just returned from seeing our friend and neighbor, Dietrich, perform at the bar "Parkside" (on 17th and Wisconsin). He was fantastic! The program tonight (a group of performers) was called F*cked Up music for F*cked Up People. We saw about 4 performers, who were all quite good and talented. Dietrich was great! He did everything from an old Ramones tune, to a special blend of Brittany Spears and Abba. (My favorite Abba song even "Lay All Your Love on Me") You know the one:

I wasn't jealous before we met,
Now every woman I see is a potential threat,
And I'm possessive, it isn't nice,
You've heard me saying that smoking was my only vice,
But now it isn't true,
Now everything is new,
And all I've learned has overturned,
I beg of you,
Don't go wasting your emotion,
Lay all your love on me.

:). That brings back some old memories to me. Does anyone else out there remember The Freelancers' Color Guard, 1983? I'm reallly dating myself, but I loved that show! Plus, Erasure did a cover of that song several years back. Wow. My old gay-bar hopping days are coming back to haunt me.

Usually, we don't have the energy to go out this late (not that 11:30 is terribly late, I admit) on a weeknight, but lucky for us, Dick is on vacation for the next couple of weeks. We're going to San Francisco for our vacation! There's actually a lot we want to do and see here: the Conservatory just reopened in GG Park, the Chagall Exhibit at SF MOMA, etc.,

Oh, on a side note: we were playing "Ghost Recon: Island Thunder" or "GRIT" on Xbox Live tonight. Very fun - especially since we were able to download a New Map! Very cool.

Alright. Time for bed now. Goodnight.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

It's 4:05 am - why am I awake?

For some reason, I opened my eyes about an hour ago, and realized "Wow, I'm wide awake". No particular reason. Perhaps it's the weather - it's been pretty hot lately, although it's cooling off now. Could be because today is Dick's Birthday. We're having some friends over for cocktails in the evening, and I have lots to do.

Hmmmm... don't you hate it when this happens? it kind of messes up your whole sleep pattern. Actually, this is the 2nd time in the last 3 nights, so I'm not sure what's going on here. I was up from 4-6am Friday morning. I decided to be productive that morning, and finished working on my G.E. Website for the month.

I suppose I could blame my insomnia on too much Xbox. We've been playing a lot of Ghost Recon, Island Thunder lately. It's a great game, albeit, pretty violent and graphic. My accupuncturist used to tell me to make sure I wasn't working/playing on my computer for at least an hour before going to bed. Makes your mind race too much. Imagine how much worse video games must be for my sleeping capability.

Speaking of Xbox: My Xbox gamertag: Noe Cat (not the most threatening-sounding gamer name in the world, but it works) :)

Just realized I haven't seen my cats since I've been awake. they must be sleeping. Aren't they supposed to keep you company when you're awake in the middle of the night? Isn't that one of their "cat jobs"?

Happy Birthday, Dick!

Happy Birthday to my "techie-honey" - (as my friend, Willo would say).

Saturday, September 13, 2003

In case you missed it last time...

It's hot! (again) SF Gate shows the current outside temp to be 93 degrees out. We live in the Mission district. Usually, we're about 5 degrees hotter here than most of the city. I'll let you do the math.

Good thing Pete & Richard are in Amsterdam. (hi guys!)

Gettin back into the creative spirit of things!!!

Oh yeah.....
I'm painting again....
I'm drawing again....

Wow - it feels so good to be creating again!!! Willo came over yesterday, and we spent the afternoon painting away! So much fun - I'm really looking forward to doing this more often. My friend, Sharon, came over a few months ago and got me back into the painting swing of things. It had been over 4 years since I'd last painted. Bad, bad, bad. I'll see if she wants to come over and paint with Willo and I - we'll have painting parties together!

I love to paint in our dining room. there's so much natural light in that room. If it's nice out, I can open the French doors to the backyard and get some fresh air in. Plus, we have the stereo speakers hooked up in the kitchen, so we can Jam away to some music as we paint! :)

This morning, Willo and I met for a 3 hour Life Drawing class. It's at SOMA Arts here in the City. Boy, that was FANTASTIC! what an opportunity! It's only $5.00/session, and they allow walk-ins. There were about 20 people there. One of my favorite things is to just watch other people, look at their individual styles, and learn from all of them. Everyone was so nice - the age range was probably from college-age to over 60. Great variety. I'm hoping to make a weekly habit of it.

I'm a bit rusty still. I realized it's been over 8 years since my last Life Drawing course. Life Drawing was my favorite course over at De Anza College. Lee Tacang was my instructor for over two years, and was one of the best instructor I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. Anyhow, I was a little concerned when I first sat down and drew some quick 1-minute poses today. EEK! I started feeling better about 30 minutes in, though. Some of my favorite techniques (ie: smudging charcoal) came back to me, and then I just let loose, and started to have fun. I met some really nice people today - they were all very encouraging, and told me to make sure to continue. What fun. I think I've been missing this part of my life for a while. Just never made the time to do it again.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Sorry for the lack of blogs...

wow - it's been days since my last blog. I'll try to not make a habit out of that. Truth is, I wasn't feeling well earlier this week. Just a little bug. Nothing major. Mostly tired - I slept a lot. Not a whole lot to report, which goes along with the lack of blogging.

Lots of stuff happening this weekend, though! Tomorrow, my friend, Willo is coming over to PAINT! Very exciting! Time to break out the easels and acrylics again! Even more exciting (to me, anyhow) is that we're going to go to a Life Drawing Class together on Saturday! I'm psyched. Bought a new pad of newsprint paper yesterday. I'm sure I'll be quite rusty (haven't drawn in about 8 years!), but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. here's my old drawing portfolio. I'll let you know how the whole thing goes.....

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Check out my little heart icon in your browser url window! I can see it in Mac OSX Safari, and Netscape, but not on Internet Explorer. Can't seem to see it on Windows XP IE either. Oh well. If you can see it, it's awfully cute! :)

Saturday, September 06, 2003

I just ordered a NEW car!

Yep, you read it right.

I just ordered a new MINI Cooper!!! WOW!!!

About a year and a half ago, Dick walked into the room and proclaimed, "I know what your next car is going to be." He showed me a little brochure that was in the New Yorker Magazine for the new MINI Coopers. I was fairly familiar with the car - not that I had seen any in person yet, but I recognized it from our Xbox game "Project Gotham". Of course, Dick was right. The more I looked at the MINIs, and learned more about them, I realized that it would be the perfect choice for me: they're small (perfect for parking in the city), good gas mileage, economical, sporty, and most of all, they're CUTE!

In all honesty, the whole "cute" factor worried me a bit. I was afraid that I was completely enamored with the car based scrictly on the cute factor, and that I was overlooking all other practical matters. We test drove one earlier last year (yes, almost 1 1/2 years ago - I'm not an impulse buyer). I LOVED everything about it except that it didn't handle hills terribly well. Here's the problem: I live in San Francisco. There are lots of hills. I prefer to drive an automatic in the city, so I don't have to worry about the hills/parking. MINI only makes an automatic option on the base model, not the Cooper S model that has a larger engine.

Last weekend, I thought I'd better check the rest of my options. I looked online, and decided to check out the Acuras and Hondas. I liked the Acura RSX a lot - it's the replacement for the Integras, and we all know how much I love my Integra (see posting below). I liked it, it's a good car, it is in the same price range as the MINI,..... but I didn't LOVE it. I also didn't find anything that I liked at Honda.

So then, I did my homework on the MINI Coopers again. I had only been to the San Francisco dealership so far, and didn't have any great experiences to speak of. They were always busy, and quite frankly, weren't very helpful at all. Even when we test drove through them, they really didn't take the time to go over any features/specifications. not impressed. When I expressed my concern about the automatic/small engine to one of the sales guys, he had the gaul to tell me, "Then you should learn how to drive a stick." Grrrrr. It turns out that most MINI dealerships charge a dealer mark-up fee of $1,000 for the base model, and $2,500 for the Cooper S.... because they can! I realize they're popular cars, but that's a lot of $$! I found out that East Bay MINI in Pleasanton is the only MINI dealership in this area that does not charge any mark up at all. (good to know)

Dick and I had such a great experience at East Bay MINI today! Our sales guy, Matt, couldn't have been better. He told us more information in the first 5 minutes than any of the sales people in San Francisco had told me in the dozen or more times I've been in the last 1 1/2 years. Matt was full of information, and gave great suggestions. Dick and I were able to test drive both models: the Cooper, and the Cooper S. That was great fun! I seriously considered the Cooper S for a while, figuring I could deal with the stick thing in the City with time. However, Matt suggested that the automatic would be better for city driving - something about how the Cooper S engine wouldn't be able to reach it's full potential in city driving, and the clutch would burn out quicker. PLUS, the order time for a base model Cooper is 4 to 5 months, whereas the order time for the Cooper S is 12-15 months!!!! Granted, I'm not really in a rush, but I think I'd like my car within a year! :)

I gave them a $1,000 (fully-refundable) deposit, and ordered my new car today!!! Here's the scoop:
MINI Cooper: chili red with white roof and mirrors, Combo #1 (premium) (includes Automatic AC, Dual-Pane Sunroof, Leather Cruise/Multi wheel, on-board computer) CVT (automatic transmission), Sports Seats in Panther Black Leather :), auxillary Input (for MP3 players, etc.,) and an outdoor cover. Phew!

My MINI will be ready in 4-5 months. What's that - sometime around January?

Friday, September 05, 2003

The Amazing 15 1/2 year old car

I love my car. It's an amazing car. My car and I have been through so much together.

Yes, I've had my car for more than 15 1/2 years. How many people can say that? I've had it since I was 17 years old, and now I'm 33! I love telling people that I've had my car "My entire adult life". I can also say that I've had it for (almost) half of my life. Wow.

For those of you who don't know, my wondercar is a 1988 Acura Integra. I got it in January, 1988, during my first year in college. It was also with me throughout my entire "professional" color guard career: In September 1989, I drove it across the country to Dayton, OH. "We" lived there 9 months before driving back to Milpitas, CA in April 1990. In Fall 1990, I moved down to Southern Cal (Garden Grove) for a few months, and drove back and forth with it several times. In Fall 1991, Mykail and I packed it up our lives and drove to Boston, MA! Wow! We didn't stay long. November, 1991 we drove from Boston to Madison, WI (via Dayton, OH to celebrate Thanksgiving). My car and I lived in Madison until May 1993 before driving back to the Bay Area. While I lived in Madison, there were several side trips made to Chicago, Dayton, and even the Raggedy Ann & Andy festival in Arcola, IL.

I moved back to the Bay Area in May 1993. I started teaching the color guard at Logan HS in Union City, CA. I also started to take my first art classes at De Anza College in Cupertino. I commuted almost everyday from Milpitas, to Cupertino over to Union City, then back to Milpitas. My poor little car was really racking up the miles.

My car was able to take a bit of a break in the Fall of 1995 when I moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. I lived about a mile from school, so I left my car at my parent's house for a few months. When I started to work for Abbe Don in February 1996, I brought my car up to The City. Now it was a City Car! Street parking, steep hills, parking tickets, towing.... I was living in Nob Hill at the time - my car and I would circle the neighborhood countless times looking for a parking spot. We moved to Eureka Street in the Castro in August 1998. My car was pretty happy there. We had street parking, but I was usually able to find a spot on my block, or even in front of my house. Last year, I moved in with my wonder-boyfriend, Dick. Dick's house has a driveway! Happy car.

My friend, Andrew, and I used to joke that we were the last two people in the "my car has nothing automatic in it" club. That is to say, no power locks, no power windows. Andrew forfeited his membership to the club last year when he bought his new red Ford, "Betty". ...and then there was one...

I'm constantly amazed at how long I've had my car, and how well it continues to run. The only major things I've ever had to had replaced were the radiator, and the muffler. (both in Madison - I blame it on the weather) However, a friend recently pointed out that my car is showing it's age: the speedometer shakes continuously, the trunk doesn't stay open, the rear-defroster no longer works.... all these things that I keep forgetting about, or just choose to ignore. Even my mechanic, who has been servicing my car for 15 years. has been throwing me hints every time I see him. "Trina, it's time to start looking for a new car..."

Alas, I realize that the time has come to start looking for a new car. It makes me very sad to think of "giving up" my little red Integra.

I've started to look for a new car, and I think I've decided on what I want. But, more on that later. This post belongs to my 1988 Integra. I salute you, my faithful friend. Thanks for all the memories.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Happy Anniversary Noe!!

3 years ago today, we found our little Noe abandoned in our backyard. Dick calls her our "Lucky Dragon Cat". She was born in the (Chinese) Year of the Dragon, and we always think of how lucky she was to survive her first few days/weeks. Look how tiny she was!

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


Wow - talk about a guilty pleasure. Here I am, eating a old-fashioned glazed donut, and drinking Sleepy Time Tea. Mmmmmmmm. I can't remember the last time I had a donut, but for some reason, I've had a craving lately.

I had the hardest time deciding between the old-fashioned glazed, and (my real favorite) an apple fritter. I think I made the right decision. Truth be told, I'm not even hungry - just felt like munching on a donut. The old-fashioned is much smaller. If I had actually bought the apple fritter, I'm certain that I would have felt obligated to eat the entire thing in one sitting.

My friend, Sheri, emailed me last week telling me how many Weight Watchers points my carrots/hummus lunch was. Better not ask her about the donut! ;)

Monday, September 01, 2003


How crazy is this? Our local PBS station isn't going to televise DCI until OCTOBER 5th. October! DCI finals were August 9th. Considering that two of of the top 5 corps, including the one that WON is here in the Bay Area, that seems ridiculous.

In truth, I haven't even been to a live show in ages - perhaps 10 years or so. I still have several friends who instruct though, and I'd really like to see their programs.

I think I'll have some sort of gathering to watch it in October. It'll be fun to have some of the old guard friends over. (old in the "how long I've known them" sense, not in the "how old we're getting" way) Plus, you know, take advantage of the new HDTV Plasma! :) Will keep you posted...

Apparantly, I've become "mainstream"

does it mean anything that I started my blog a week before this article came out?