Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday to my Dad!

You may remember that my Mom's birthday was on July 1st. My parents were both born in the same year: 1948. My Dad sometimes jokes that he's married to "an older woman".

This is a picture of my Dad when he was a couple of years old (I assume). It was taken in San Francisco - although it looks like he's in China, doesn't it? My Dad grew up in Stockton, but was born in San Francisco. My Grandma had relatives in San Francisco, and since my Dad was her first baby, she thought it best to have him in SF. He was born in a hospital in Chinatown that was just a few blocks away from where my first apartment in SF was. (I lived on Leavenworth x Washington)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Waiting for FedEx

Our new Litter Robot is supposed to be delivered by FedEx today. According to FedEx's website, it was placed on a vehicle for delivery in SF this morning at 9:19am.

I've been waiting at home for it's delivery all day.

I have a bunch of errands I needed to run. But I just knew that the minute I drove away, the FedEx truck would come knocking at my door.

So I stayed in all day.

I did 3 loads of laundry.

I got some work done.

I cleaned the house.

It's 5:14 pm, and FedEx still hasn't come!
Please come! I really want my package!

Dick will be home around 6:00.
I'm still wearing the sweats that I put on this morning at 9:00am when I was planning to go for a walk (but decided not to, in case I missed the delivery) I didn't even take a shower, for fear of missing the doorbell. I'm am not a very pretty sight at the moment, and I don't even have a new litter box to show for it!

I suppose I could have gone about my business today, and assumed that if I missed the delivery, I could always drive down to the pick up station tonight.

But it's a large, 30 lbs. box, and I just want it delivered!!!

Plus, the kitties are anxious to try our their new litter box.

FedEx Truck! Where are you?


Well, FedEx finally came at 7:40pm. We just finished setting up the new litter box, and introduced both kitties. Here's hoping they figure it out, and use it!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Lets Scoot"

surprise! We just came back from picking up Dick's new VESPA!!

Dick has been wanting to get a scooter to ride around town, and to take to the train station. (perhaps he grew tired of hearing me sing the Sheena Easton song?)

We went to the San Francisco Vespa Dealership last Sunday to test drive, and fell in love with it. Dick decided to get the ET4. It has plenty of power to carry the two of us around town, and even up the hills. It's so much fun, and a lot easier to manuever than his motorcycle - which is good for easy city riding. Dick still plans to keep his motorcycle for bigger drives.

The first thing that I noticed is that the Vespa is a heck of a lot more comfortable as a passenger. The seat is very comfy, and the sitting position is straight up, rather than leaning forward. We also got the little trunk storage case, which doubles as a back rest for me! :)

So, here are the Vespa's first pictures. She's sitting on the front sidewalk right next to my MINI, and Dick's SLK. She has a whopping 4 miles on her at the moment.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


It's been so long since I've posted my last blog that Blogger has a whole new interface.

I finally made the leap, and installed my iPod into my MINI Cooper! I decided to go with the MINI Auxiliary Cable through the dealership. Here's my rationale:

I was going to get the Dension IceLink which cost $220. (that's assuming I'd be able to install it myself). It's a nice product: it has a nice cradle that powers the iPod, and would allow me to use my MFSW (multi-function steering wheel) to control the volume as well as going up and down in the tracklist. However, it was a lot of money, and still doesn't have the functionality to view the song track information from my stereo.

The BMW iPod adapter was another option. It isn't available for the MINIs until the end of the summer at the earliest. It costs $150 plus dealership installation (possibly another $100 or more). It would allow the same control from the MFSW as the IceLink. However, it would be installed in the glovebox, and the iPod's interface wouldn't be able to be used while it was in use. ie: I wouldn't be able to select a specific album from my playlist. In order to specific specific music to be played, i would have to create up to 5 individual playlists that the adapter could read. They would show up as "Track 1" through "Track 6" on the stereo face.

The solution for me (for the time-being at least) was to purchase the Auxiliary Input from the dealership for $39.95. I have read a lot of installation suggestions on the MINI Forums and Dick and I decided that it would be pretty simple to install ourselves.

It literally took less than 5 minutes.

Have I mentioned that I love my super-handy boyfriend? :)

Benefits of the AUX input:

It works will all portable media that have an audio out. I love my iPod, but in case we ever change to something else in the future, we can still hook it up to my MINI.

I can still control the volume from my MFSW, but I can't control the tracks. Omar had the perfect solution for that: I just plugged in the little remote control that came with my iPod. Works like a charm.

Did I mention that it only cost $39.95?

I also got the Belkin Auto Kit ($40)(which charges the iPod, and connects to the iPod via the dock connector) and the Belkin Tunedok ($20), which allows you to hold the iPod in the cup holders. It's a nice arrangement.

Here's a picture of the setup:

I also did a couple of other minor Mods:

I found someone on my forum who was making little glovebox organizer shelves. He made a great design, and the quality is very nice. Plus, he's only charging $20 for them. It made a HUGE difference to the organization of my glovebox. The glovebox is one thing about the MINI that isn't such a great design. it's small, plus everything slides out when you open the door.

Here's my new glovebox organizer:

You'll see that it has a lot of stuff in there:
My owner's manual, a first-aid kit, an emergency tool, napkins, tissue, and my headset for my cell phone.
Notice that little vent on the lower left side? that's an airconditioning vent in the glovebox. If I want, I can put a can of soda in my glovebox, and keep it nice and cool! :)

Last mod (and it's a small one):

The MINI has a fabulously huge panoramic sunroof - which I LOVE. However, I knew that one thing about it could be a minor problem. The sunroof has a small, mesh screen that you can pull closed when you don't want too much direct sunlight. However, the sun can still creep through, and it can get hot during the summer.

I went to Target yesterday, and bought a sunscreen that's meant for the front windshield. It's one of those acordian folding ones that reflect the sun. I trimmed it to size in both sunroof sections, and voila! Plus, I can easily fold them back up, and store them in the nets behind the seats.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Kitty Litter Boxes

(how's that for a fun topic?)

It was bound to happen eventually: our LitterMaid litter box died this past weekend. from what I hear, we're lucky that it lasted as long as it did - over 4 years.

I was getting ready to order a new one, when I read a review about The Litter Robot. We had a lot of problems with the LitterMaid, but just made due: it got jammed often, and would repeat it's cycle until it was manually fixed, the motor isn't as strong as it used to be, and the rake had to be cleaned often. It certainly had it's problems, but it was a lot better than scooping after our two kitties every day!

The Litter Robot claims to eliminate all of these problems. I just read through the testimonials on the site, and it seems as if a lot of the users are people who used to use LitterMaid boxes, and thought this one was much better. It's supposed to clean better, be easier to clean, doesn't require any special waste bins (you can use plastic grocery bags) it's quieter, and more sanitary. It also seems like LitterMaid boxes tend to break down easily (I had to replace Claude's within a year). The Litter Robot comes with a 30-day trial period, and an 18 month warranty. Not Bad. It's pretty pricey, but if it does the job well, it'll be well worth the $$.

Plus, it just seems kind of cool. At first, I thought it looked kind of space-age-y - like the escape pod from Star Wars. I have fantasy visions in my head of Marcel and Noe reenacting the escape pod scene from Episode IV.

I placed my order this morning, and I think it'll be shipped within the next week or so. More later....

Monday, July 12, 2004


When I was at Kaiser this morning, I had to fill out a questionnaire for all of my medical history.

One of the first questions was Marital Status:

Domestic Partner

Hello? where's the box for:
"I'm not married, but I'm not really single either since I'm in a long-term, commited relationship with my boyfriend of over five years"??!!

I think that the last time I filled out the questionnaire (last year) I checked "domestic partner". I thought that was the correct box to check meaning: "I'm in a committed relationship". However, I realize that they might also take it to mean that I am gay, and that may bring about a whole other set of questions. On a side note, I'm very impressed that Kaiser Permanente is forward thinking enough to include "domestic partner" as a choice!

This morning, I literally asked the nurse which box I should check, and she suggested "domestic partner".

So there you go.

I've been labeled.

What a way to start the week

Happy Monday.

I challenge any of you to tell me that you've had a more "eventful" morning than I have so far....

Dick and I woke up at 6:30, left the house at 7:00, and got him to the Cal Train station at 7:15. Then, I made my way to Pete & Richard's house to check on their kitty, Molly. (they are out of town, and there was something about a missing muffin in the house...)

As if that weren't enough excitement for a Monday morning before 8:00am....

I had an 8:00am OB-GYN appt today!

Yep. 8:00am PAP Smear. Now that's the way to start a week!
(should I be filing this in the TMI (Too Much Information) file? Any of you boys reading this getting squirmy?)
Also had my blood pressure checked, stepped on a scale (ugh), and had the routine breast exam.

..and all of this before 8:30am.

I think I can go back to bed now, and declare that I've had a full day.

On a side note, I'm still not thrilled with how much my rates with Kaiser have gone up this year. I mentioned it earlier this year already. This morning was my first time going in for an appointment this year. Turns out that my co-payment charge went up from $15 to $25 this year, PLUS, they charged me an additional $10 for lab fees. (just started that charge in March 2004). Yikes! (sounding like an old woman now) I can remember when my co-payment was $1. (back when I was a teenager) Really! I also remember that in 1998 I was paying $65/month and my co-payment was only $5. Sounds like a bargain now, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Urban Hiking

Dick and I had a very nice urban hike today: we walked from our house all the way to The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. It was quite a good hike - I'm guessing 5 miles or so. We had a late dinner last night with Mike, Bunny, Reeves, Paula, and Omar at The House of Prime Rib to celebrate Mike's bday, and new job. It was a wonderful meal, but I'm afraid we all ate too much! Dick and I both woke up this morning feeling the need for a little bit of exercise! ;)

I really enjoy a good urban hike. It gives us a chance to walk through so many neighborhoods that we wouldn't otherwise see very often. We walked from our house in the Castro, up 17th street, through Upper Terrace, Cole Valley, and the Haight. I especially like walking through neighborhoods on Sunday afternoons, because it gives us a chance to peek into some open houses!

Golden Gate Park is great to walk through on Sundays - some of the main streets are closed off to autos, and the park is swarming with interesting people. While we were at the park, we discovered the carousel, and the Lawn Bowling green! Very cool. I was just talking with my Mom, and she remembers going to both areas when she was a little girl.

We also made our way to the National AIDS Memorial Grove, which I think is one of the most special areas of the entire park; it's so beautiful, and such a wonderful tribute to all whose lives have been touched by AIDS. I've been to a couple of memorial services in the grove, and I can't imagine a better place to pay tribute to our friends who we have lost to the AIDS pandemic.

Friday, July 09, 2004

"Big River"

I just got back from seeing a matinee performance of "Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" today.

What an amazing show. (and, believe me, that's not something I say about a lot of shows) It was so unique: It's a musical, but the cast is a mixture of hearing/non-hearing/hard of hearing actors. All of the actors sign all of the words and lyrics. Some actors only sign, while another character is on stage speaking and singing the role. It's hard to convey how beautiful the effect was. It was very poetic - like watching a dance being sung.

There were some non-hearing/hard of hearing people seated around us in the audience. I just kept thinking of what a great experience this must be for both the performers, and the audience.

There were also several clever details that I thought made the show great: the staging was possibly one of my favorites ever. It was so simple: the props were large (perhaps 10-12 foot) pages out of the book, most with pictures that corresponded some of the poses or actions that the characters did. They would open up some of the pages to present a different scene.

Another detail that I really liked was that the actor who played Huckleberry Finn was non-hearing/hard of hearing, and signing, but that the actor who played Mark Twain spoke and sang his role - which seems so appropriate.

Unfortunately, I think their engagement here in SF ends this weekend, then they move on to Texas. I was really wanting to tell some friends that they should try to see it.

Anyway, that's my not-so-eloquent editorial.

Here's another review that may be more interesting than mine.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

trying out a new kind of patch

I'm trying out the new Neosporin Scar Solution patch. I'm hoping that it works as advertised.

I have a fairly small, but unsightly keloid scar on my right shoulder. It's been there for years. This product is supposed to help "restore the raised and discolored scar to a more natural color and texture". Sounds good to me!

What's a keloid? I actually did a small report on it in Science class years ago. Here's a definition of Hypertrophic and Keloid scars from the web:

Q. What is the difference between hypertrophic scars and keloids?

A. Hypertrophic scars are thick, raised and discolored. Most common places where these scars can be found are chest, back, shoulders, earlobes, and lower face. Hypertrophic scars are usually confined to the site of incision or injury.

Keloids are noticeably thick, puckered, and, may be itchy. The scar typically grows beyond the site of incision or injury, and has the tendency to recur. Most common places where these scars can be found are breastbone, earlobes, and shoulders. These scars are more common in people with darker skin.

Mmmmm. nice. (rolling my eyes)

The product says that I should start noticing a difference in as little as 4 weeks. It also says that I should use it for 12 weeks total.

this'll be interesting :)

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

"Trina" - The Beverage!

This image was sent to me by Dick's brother-in-law, Jeff.

Jeff and Meg (Dick's younger sister) traveled to Spain earlier this year to visit Adrianne (everyone's niece) while she's studying abroad for the year. (do you have the family tree figured out now?)

Who knew? there's a soft drink in Spain called "Trina"! I just tried looking for more info on the web, but this was all I could find (no pictures). It does show a beverage called "Trina" and another called "Trina Pina Colada"!

Hopefully, Dick and I will make it out to Spain later this year, and I'll be able to find some "Trina" for myself.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!!!

Happy Birthday to my Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn't she a cutie?

My Baby Takes the Morning Train....

(anyone else remember that Sheena Easton song?)

Check the time: 7:25am.

I'm already back from taking Dick to the Cal Train Station.

Over the last month or so, Cal Train's "Baby Bullet" train has become available to commute between San Francisco and The South Bay. It's pretty cool, because it chops off about 20 minutes of riding time. Unfortunately, the last Baby Bullet Train that Dick can catch down to Mt. View is at 7:16am at the 22nd St. Station. It'll get him to the Mountain View station at 7:56, then he can immediately catch the MSFT shuttle to campus. (not bad - faster than driving!) There are other trains running at later times, but they are not Baby Bullet Express Trains.

The 22nd Street Station is about 3 miles from our house. If we leave the house at 7:00am, we can get Dick to the station on time. Why am I taking him, and picking him up from the station? Dick used to drive, or ride his motorcycle. The station is in a questionable area, and he had problems with people stealing his helmet from his motorcycle. (3 times in 2 weeks!) We figured it would be safer to just have me drive him there, and not worry about the cars.

It also gets me out and about in the morning, which isn't a bad thing.

Plus, I'm just a good girlfriend ;)

Okay, let's hear it One-More-Time! (it's like a theme-song that plays in my head when I drive Dick to the station)