Saturday, December 31, 2005

How to overcome jetlag in a jiffy

We've figured out the secret of how to jump back into a time-zone after flying across country...

Play Ghost Recon 2 from 9:30pm - 12:25am.

the adrenaline will keep you up for sure!

btw, we just completed the LAST map on GR2! (Badlands Fortress!)

Friday, December 30, 2005

San Francisco Restaurant Reviews

We just found this site today:

It seems like a great site so far, and could come in really handy in the future :)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

"Go West"

sing it, just like the Village People. (or perhaps the Pet Shop Boys) You know you want to!

We've been in Chapel Hill, NC visiting with Dick's family since Christmas morning. We've had a very nice visit, and will be returning to CA this afternoon.

We took the red-eye flight out of SFO (around 11:00am) and landed in Charlotte, NC at 6:30am. Turns out that this is the way to fly around Xmas whenever possible. The flight was full, but we had the option to upgrade to First Class (The second Xmas miracle, according to Dick). There were lots of kids on the flight, which was interesting, but it seemed to work well for everyone. Most kids that I saw were dressed in their jammies, which was really cute, and made me wonder why I wasn't wearing mine.

Right around midnight, I glanced out the window, and I'm pretty certain that I saw a tiny red light off in the distance. (Rudolph, perhaps? Santa?) We both slept pretty well on the flight, although it was only 4.5 hours long, so we didn't have a solid night's sleep by any means. We arrived to Charlotte at 6:30 am, collected our baggage and rental car, and drove into Chapel Hill at 10:15am - just in time for Xmas breakfast.

We've spent some really nice quality time with Dick's family. Xmas morning and evening were especially fun with his nieces and nephew. While we were out here, we squeezed in a visit with our friend, Kristi, and her two little girls, saw a movie (The Chronicles of Narnia), walked around the UNC campus, and even saw a Tar Heel Basketball game! For those of you keeping track, and I'm proud to announce that "The Curse has been Reversed! That's right, we went to watch a UNC Basketball game LIVE, and they won! It was a landslide victory, which Dick was fairly confident about, but nonetheless, we were very happy that they won. Now perhaps Dick will let me watch the games on TV with him.

The weather here has been extraordinary, and it seems as if we've missed a bunch of rain in SF. We've had sunny skies, with temps in the high 50s to mid-60s out here.

This morning, we're meeting Dick's family for an early lunch before heading back out to Charlotte.

We've had a great time out here, but it'll be nice to be home, sleeping in our own bed, snuggling with our kitties.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! (and to all, a goodnight)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Christmas Miracle

Dick and I are leaving on the red-eye flight tonight to go to North Carolina to spend the holidays with his family.

Today began with an amazing breakfast - gingerbread spice pancakes from a mix that Blane gave us last night, and Bacon that my sister bought for Dick. (YUM) Since we already celebrated Christmas early with my family, and we won't be home for Christmas tomorrow, we decided to open our gifts to/from each other (and Christopher, and the kitties) today.

After we opened gifts, we drank some nice mulled cider, and sat in the TV room.

That's when the Christmas Miracle happened.

Noe decided that after 5 months, she would hop onto Uncle Christopher's lap, and take a nap with him.

It surprised (shocked!) us all, and that's when we realized that it was Noe's Christmas present to Uncle Christopher.

Here's a picture I managed to take right before Noe curled up and fell asleep. (we didn't want to freak her out by taking too many pictures)

Look how sweet :)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Living in the Castro

I was buying a little gift for our niece this afternoon at Under One Roof on Castro Street. (great place for gifts, by the way, and all for a good cause!)

I was deciding between the flower-power rubber duckie, and the glow-in-the-dark duckie (Our niece loves rubber duckies), and turned to ask Dick for his opinion. I searched around the store twice, but he was nowhere to be found. One of the store volunteers noticed me, and asked if I needed assistance. I told him, "I think my husband left me."

He replied, "Yes, that happens a lot in this neighborhood."

I'm telling you, my life is a sitcom.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

(What a pain in the...) Rear-Ended

Dick usually drives his Vespa to the CalTrain Station, but when it rains, I drop him off in the morning, and pick him up on the evening.

I picked him up this evening, driving his car. I didn't have my glasses (which I wear only for night-driving, and keep in my car) so I asked him to drive home.

It's been raining all day long here, and was still showering (lightly). We were driving westbound on Cesar Chavez Ave when the car in front of us stopped suddenly, we stopped, then...


Yep. Got rear-ended by the car behind us.

Here's where it gets good: we were rear-ended by an uninsured taxi driver.


We got all the info we could (his name/address/license/phone, cab company & car license plate) then called our insurance agency when we got home.

There's a lot of things to sort out, but the places we need to bring the car to will be closed tomorrow (for Christmas), and we're leaving this weekend for North Carolina.

We'll just make due until then, and made appointments for when we return next week.

What a pain...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Check to see if you have unclaimed $$

I just read this article in in which the State Controller urges SF residents to check whether the state is holding any of their money in the form of unclaimed property.

I had received what looked like a piece of junk mail yesterday from a company who claimed the state owned me $$, and would charge me a $22 fee to go through them. It seemed suspicious, so I chose to ignore it.

Until I read the article today.

So, I clicked on this link, typed in my name, and voila! It turns out that the State of California really does owe me money! (It's from a gig I did with San Francisco State University years ago)

So, check it out. There may be some extra cash waiting around for you!

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Doing the happy Snoopy dance

It's a week before Christmas.

I have completed and sent out:

115 Holiday Cards


80 Thank You cards (from the Wedding)

All Christmas Shopping, wrapping and sending is complete.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Cattle Call


I spent the afternoon helping out at the gallery today.

I left at 6:00 - just in time for commuter time on MUNI.

I guess it's good that so many people are taking public transportation, but really, it was packed!

writer's cramp

I've been writing out our Thank You cards all day.

I'm so accustomed to typing, that I forget how easily my hands can cramp up from writing constantly.

I find it's helpful to take occasional breaks by typing on my computer. (hence this blog entry)

Makes me wonder how I ever wrote out school reports/papers before the age of word processing.

I think my hand is going to fall off soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


a.k.a. "More joys of city-living"

This morning I noticed an used condom, and condom wrapper on our front porch stairs.

Everyone say it with me now....


yep, that was a joy to pick up (with a plastic bag) and toss away.



...and that's all I have to say about that.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Merry Christmas!

(read yesterday's post, and you'll understand why I'm 2 weeks early)

We had a really wonderful day.

Dick, Christopher and I spent the early afternoon preparing for dinner. We made Butternut Squash Soup, Prime Rib, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. It was all really yummy! It was my first time preparing a "family holiday meal" at our home, so it was really special.

The Christmas Spirit has kicked into high gear, and I'm feeling much better now!

We ate, hung around, opened gifts, ate some dessert, then Dick and Graham played Christmas Carols on piano (Dick) and bass (Graham). That was very cool. I told my sister several months ago that never in my wildest dreams as a kid did I ever think, "Someday, maybe my sister and I will both date musicians, and we'll listen to them play music together...."

This was such a nice kick-off to the Holiday Season.

Happy Holidays to All!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

O (artificial) Christmas Tree, O (artificial) Christmas Tree

Christmas is coming early this year.

In fact, it's coming to our house tomorrow.

My parents are taking a 3-week Cruise (!) this month, and will be leaving before Christmas Day. This will be the first time in all my 35 years that I will not be with my parents on Christmas Day. Although I'm very excited for them (they are going to South America and Antartica!), I have to admit, that it's going to be weird not to have them here for Christmas.

Because of this, we (my immediate family - Mom, Dad, Sis, Graham (Sis' Boyfriend), Dick, me, and our Gay Boyfriend) will be getting together to celebrate tomorrow evening. We'll have a big dinner over here, listen to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and open gifts with each other.

Let me tell you, having Christmas 2 weeks early is a little stressful! It's no wonder I was a stress-monster all week.

The (artificial) tree is up and decorated, the gifts are all bought, wrapped, tagged, and sitting pretty underneath the (artificial) tree, the Holiday Cards are out, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, etc.,

We're all set!

I have to admit that for some unknown reason, I'm just not in the Christmas spirit yet. It's usually one of my favorite times of the year, but it seemed to have crept up on us unexpectedly this year, and I'm a little bit caught off-guard. Maybe it's because we were so busy with the wedding planning, and aftermath, maybe it's because we had to get everything ready early, maybe it's because I haven't been to Union Square since it's been decorated, maybe it's because we don't have a real honest-to-goodness Christmas Tree, maybe it's because the cats pee-ed underneath the (artificial) Christmas Tree...


oh well. I'm sure the Christmas Spirit will come flying in, full-force tomorrow! I'm sure we'll have a splendid time.

...and if all goes well, the cats won't pee under the (artificial) Christmas Tree again.

Christmas 2005 Revelation #1
Maybe I'm in a Christmas funk because we have an artificial Christmas Tree!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

This week just keeps on getting better

Remember the problems we had last year with the cats peeing under the Xmas tree?

We gave them the benefit of the doubt, and figured it was because we were bringing a live tree inside the house. The cats were marking their territory, probably because they smelled other animals on it. (even though we always rinsed the tree down before bringing it in the house.)

Once push came to shove, we realized we were in the situation of deciding between a) continue with the problem year after year, b) buy an artificial tree or c) no more Xmas trees. :(

It looked grim.

My Mom and Dad bought an artificial tree from Costco a few years ago. It's really nice - very realistic looking, and pre-lit.

So, this year, we bit the bullet, and went to Costco in early November to buy a tree before they ran out. (thanks much to Sherilyn and Grant, who gave us a Costco Gift Card as a wedding gift! Thank You note coming soon, Bear, I promise.)

We put the tree together on Sunday evening. It's very pretty. It's seven and a half feet tall, and covered with 1500 lights. pretty.

I thought we were doing well. I checked the tree a couple of times a day, and didn't find anything...


(you see where this is going, don't you?)

Yep, someone decided that they needed to mark the tree tonight. :(

This week is seriously getting on my last nerve, and it's only Tuesday.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Better steer clear of me today.
I am in a sour mood.

and it all revolves around photos, and stupid people.

(I realize there are much more important things in the world to worry about, but that's what's got me going at the moment)

On the plus side, Costco had 4 pints of yummy gelato/sorbet for $10 :)

Extreme Frustration with Kodak Easyshare Gallery

Since I'm on hold, waiting for a supervisor, I may as well blog about this experience, and get the word out...

This is extremely frustrating:

3-4 weeks ago, I placed an order with Kodak Easy Share Gallery (formerly oFoto) ordering some prints from our wedding, as well as our Thank You Cards. (the thank you cards will be a card printed with one of our photos on the cover)

I received the order within the next week or so. The photos came out fine, but the cards were quite bad. The color were off (we looked green - I call it our "amphibian photo") and the image quality was horrible (grainy).

I called Kodak customer service, explained the situation, and was told to return my order for a redo. It took two weeks for me to get my new order because they waited until the original order had been returned to them before they would submit the second order. Plus, they had it shipped via regular USPS, so it took 2 full weeks for me to receive the reorder.

Which would have been fine, except...

When i opened the box with the second order, the quality and color hadn't improved at all.

At this point, it's been 8 weeks since our wedding, and I'm getting really anxious to get these Thank You cards out. I doubt that any of our guests have said, "Hmmmm.... not Thank You Card from Trina and Dick yet..." but I'd really like to get this last task done, and let people know how much we appreciated having them come.

I thought I'd call Kodak back, just to let them know about my displeasure, and a very nice woman helps me who suggests that I give it one more shot - she says that the color should be fixed, and they would send it 2nd-day. I should receive the order within a week.

Okay, I've waited this long, I can wait another week. I doubt my friends and family will think ill of me they receive a Thank You Card a week later...

I figured I'd just wait another week, see how the next set turns out, compare the two (because I won't send back the second set until I get the third) and then sit down to write this the cards out.

Then the emails came.

2 emails - 2 different orders.

The first email states that my order for 97 4x6" prints has been shipped.


I check out my order history, and it seems like my entire order (97 prints, and a large set of cards) was reordered. The cards have been ordered, but not sent. But the photos that I haven't ordered are on their way - Fed Ex 2nd day.


Whatever. I get extra prints. I'm sure I'll find something to do with them.

Then I get the 2nd email.

It seems as if they've placed the entire order TWICE! Only on this one, they cancelled the card order (presumably to place the order yet again) but check it out they're sending me yet another set of the 97 4x6" prints (that I didn't ever reorder) again and this time, I'm getting charged $10.99 for Fed Ex 2nd day shipping!


So now, I'm getting two sets of prints I didn't order, I'm paying for the shipping, and the card order which I'm anxious to get has been received, but not processed yet. Oh - and it shows the shipping method as USPS.

First thing I do this morning is call the lovely people at Kodak EasyShare Gallery.

The first person I speak with (because she's never heard of the person whose name I wrote down from Saturday) is very nice, and understanding. Unfortunately, she tells me that reversing the charge is above what she can do, but that she'd transfer me to another department to speak with someone there. She warns me that I'll have to be on hold again, and oh yes, when I ask, there are no direct lines that anyone can give me, so I have to walk through the annoying automated service process each time I call, which takes at least 3 minutes before I can be connected with a live person.

She transfers my call. I'm on hold for 5 minutes. I get disconnected.

What the Frack?

So then I have to go through the heinous ordeal of the automated system again, and finally get yet another agent.

I explain the entire situation (again) and am now getting quite frustrated. (Getting disconnected on a Monday morning with do that to you.)

Again, this woman is nice enough, but apparently, there's not much she can do.

Here's what she offers:

She can't reverse the Shipping Charge ($10.99) for the first set of 97 prints that I never ordered, but she *can* credit my account for $10.99 that I can use for shipping on my next order

Um, ex-squeeze me?

I've been a customer of oFoto for at least 5 years, this is my 3rd time resubmitting an order that your company keeps screwing up, you're sending me prints that I didn't order - twice, and let's not forget, you're charging me for 2nd-Day shipping for the prints that I didn't order.

and you expect me to be happy that you're crediting me $10.99 to my account that I can use for shipping on my next order?

Do you really think that after this experience, there will actually BE another order?

Yep, that's when I lost it.

This was after i asked, "Couldn't you at least credit my account with a buttload of free prints, or something?"

She tried to pacify me with a credit for 50 free 4x6" prints.

Okay, that's better, but funny, at 15 cents a print, that still doesn't cover the $10.99 that you've charged me in error!

Clue phone.

That's when I take out the big guns.
That's when I say, "I need to speak to a supervisor. And don't you dare transfer me - I've already been disconnected once this morning".

The supervisor comes on.
I explain the situation again. I'm sick of hearing it myself. It's so ludicrous.

She explains that there's nothing more they can do, offers her apology, then pulls another $10.00 credit out of her ass.

Oh, and I can also keep the extra sets of prints.
That's nice. I can keep the two extra sets of prints that I didn't order, and you won't have to pay the shipping charges for me sending them back to you.


I give up.

Okay - I'll take the $10.99 shipping credit. And the 50 free prints, and the extra $10.00 credit.

Just send me my Thank You Cards.

Now, of course, I'll probably get the cards sometime next week, and they'll probably be the exact same as the other two orders.


So, for those of you who came to our wedding two months ago I send my huge apologies that you haven't yet received a Thank You Card. Hopefully, it'll be on it's way sometime this month.

Please don't think ill of me.

Blame it on Kodak's Not-So-Easy-Share Gallery.
(grumble, grumble)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Going to the airport

Gettin' ready to drive to the airport to pick up my hubby!

I missed him


Friday, December 02, 2005

A Day at the Circus!

Wednesday evening, I got a call from my sister offering me last-minute comp tickets to the new Cirque du Soleil show, "Corteo". The tickets were for Thursday's 4:00pm show here in San Francisco. My sister also had the idea to offer tickets to my cousin Bruce and his family, so I gave him a call.

Bruce and his wife couldn't make it, and we decided that a Cirque show may be a little scary for Abigail, but my 9-year old neice Evelyn could make it :)

Surprisingly, Evie has never been to a circus before, so this was a big treat for both of us. I explained to her that Cirque du Soleil is a French Circus, and not a "traditional" circus with animals and clowns. Personally, I'm not a fan of a traditional circus anyway. It probably has something to do with my family witnessing an acrobat fall to her death during a circus when I was in second grade. (don't worry Mom and Dad - no scars here! ;) )

Bruce and Robin dropped Evie off at my house after school, and we drove to the Big Top! Once we got there, we loaded up on popcorn, cotton candy and soda, then headed into the tent.

We had a lot of fun, and we both enjoyed the show. I thought was a good Cirque show - I'm lucky enough to have been to several, and I thought that this one offered a lot of new ideas and acts. I especially enjoyed the acts with the trampoline beds, and the jugglers. (gotta love a good juggler!)

Evie and I took a few pictures of our adventure. This is my favorite one. Check out that stash of sweets that she's holding onto! I asked her if we would get in trouble for getting all this candy - she assured me that it would be okay! What kind of Auntie would I be if I didn't spoil her a little and load her up on sweets at the circus?