Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jingle Bell Rock!

This is so cute!

This is a video that I took on Christmas night of two of our nieces. (My cousin Bruce's two youngest daughters)

Dick and Graham (my sister's S.O.) played piano and bass, and sang Christmas Songs. When they played "Jingle Bell Rock" my nieces joined in with a song and dance. (they had recently learned the song and choreography for a Church show)

It just doesn't get cuter than this!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Henry Cow

Dick and I had ordered a magazine subscription to "The Week" for both of our Dads. We placed the orders over the phone, because they had a special that was not available on their website.

We ordered the subscriptions a few weeks ago, and were awaiting the "gift card announcements" that they promised to send us in the mail. They did not arrive before Christmas, so we made our own gift cards to present to our Dads.

Today's mail had a envelope from "The Week". In it, it had the gift-subscription information and cards that we had requested.

Dick's first reaction when he opened it: "Uh-oh..."

I thought, "What could be wrong? How hard could it have been?"

He showed me the gift subscription names:

Richard Craddock
Henry Cow

Cow?! Henry Cow?!

Let me get this right: they got "Craddock" right, but misspelled "Chow"?

So, my Dad will be getting a magazine each week for a year addressed to "Henry Cow".

Sorry, Dad! :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays from Dick, Trina, Marcel & Noe

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Shake it up

Hmmmm.. I just felt two earthquakes within the last 12 hours.

Last night, after we fell asleep, there was a 3.7 earthquake centered in Berkeley. That was at 10:49pm. (yes, I know, we went to bed really early last night)

This morning, just after I woke up, I felt another earthquake at 9:21am. (and yes, that does mean that I slept for almost 11 hours!) It registered at 3.5, and was again centered in Berkeley.

Here's a good page to see earthquake activity.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Five things people don't know about me...

Yikes! I’ve been tagged! I’ve been tagged to write a post about 5 things people don’t know about me...

Okay, Omar... you asked for it:
  1. I Hate Math
    It’s not just that I don’t like math, I actually loathe it. I did fine with math until I took Algebra I in 8th grade. I managed a C- in my first semester, and I flat out flunked out of my second semester. (or, maybe I got a D-) And here’s the thing: I really tried. I stayed after school, was tutored by my Algebra teacher, spent Spring Vacation in the library studying. It didn’t do any good. I just sucked at it. I took Algebra I again the following year, and pulled out an A my first semester (guess something clicked!) and a B or C the second semester. Unlike my sister (the math genius who took AP Calculus in her senior year) I only went as far as Algebra II/Trig. When I went to College, I intentionally stayed away from any math course as long as I could. ( I even took non-mathematical Physics at SJ State) When I transferred to the San Francisco Art Institute to finish my degree at age 25, I had the option to “test out of math”. That is, I could take a math test, and if I passed it, I wouldn’t have to take a math course at all to get my BFA. Mind you, I was 25 at the time, and hadn’t had a math class in about 9 years. Somehow, the Math Gods were with me that day, and I passed the test. I never had to take another math class again.

  2. I've worked at John Deere
    Actually, the more interesting tidbit might be that I had more than 30 different jobs before I was 25 years old. One of my favorite books in my early 20s had a line that said, “Do everything you can think of doing, so you know what you don’t want to do for the rest of your life.” I guess I really took that advice to heart! My first job was at Miller’s Outpost, my second job was as a teller at Bank of America, and my third at Sun Microsystems. Most of my jobs after that were temp jobs around the Mid-West, and in the South Bay. During that time, I was traveling around the country (I lived in Ohio, Southern Cal, Boston and Madison, WI) auditioning for, and becoming a member of various World Class Competitive Color Guards. I rehearsed in the evenings and on weekends, and worked full time during the week days. For the next seven years, I had the most interesting and eclectic set of jobs imaginable: I worked at a Paper Manufacturing Plant, a newspaper, a medical center, I rented out apartments, I did graphics for manuals at LSI Logic, I worked at Radius (Coincidentally, I worked there at the same time that Dick did!), Komag, a Buick Dealership, and, yes, John Deere (where I worked for 2 years). Once I was settled back in the Bay Area, I also worked as at the computer lab at the San Francisco Art Institute, helped to teach a computer course to people with physical disabilities at De Anza College, had a short stint of working with Howard Rheingold at Electric Minds and worked at an art gallery. I also taught at various Middle Schools, High School, and independent groups as a color guard instructor.

  3. The Dream Job that never came to be.
    ..and with all of these jobs under my belt, I never did have the one job that I dreamed of doing for so long.... I wanted to be a Disney Animator. Yep, I was (and still am) a big animation nut. While I was working all of these bizarre temp jobs, I realized that I really wanted to be an artist, and that I loved traditional animation. I came home and studied animation for a couple of years, and then started to dabble in computer animation. (a very new art in the mid-90s) I was fairly good at it, but alas, not good enough. I applied to Cal Arts in Valencia, CA – where many a Disney artist has graduated, and made it to the top 30 out of 0ver 300 applications. But it wasn’t good enough, and I wasn’t accepted. Instead, I took my portfolio to the San Francisco Art Institute, where I started to dabble in Mulitimedia and Web Design. And the rest is history...

  4. I have Axial Myoclonus
    Some of you may know that I have a neurological condition, but most of you don’t know much about it. I don’t talk about it much these days, which is a good thing. It kind of took over my life about a decade ago, but it’s under control now, and I know what to expect from it. Basically, when I have an episode, my body starts to shake or jerk uncontrollably. When I have a bad episode, it exhausts me. The strength and length of the jerks varies, and there are certain triggers that I try to stay away from. Two of the most important factors that I try to control are stress and sleep. I need 8-10 hours of sleep, and I have to keep my stress level down. These are two of the main reasons why I decided to start my own business. I need to have control over when I work (how many hours, what time of day), and what my work flow/production is (what kind of clients, how many projects). I really believe that the decision and ability to have my own business has helped me to manage my neurological condition. I’m very thankful for that.

  5. My One Phobia
    I hate balloons. I have an actual fear of balloons. I have been known to leave a store if they were inflating balloons inside. I will not attend a child’s party if there are balloons present. I just looked it up, and there is an actual phobia called “Ligyrophobia” which is the “fear of balloons popping”.
Hmmm...I have a feeling that people’s list are usually a lot more concise than that just was. Sorry about that. I was on a writing rampage!

My turn to tag!

Let’s see...

Bruce, Christopher, Philip Paula and Kimi!
(these are the people who I actually think will respond)

...and Dick!
I can’t leave my hubby out! (even if the chances of him responding to this is very slim)
C’mon, Dick. Tell us a little something about yourself! :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

We all look the same....

Oh, my. This is a little embarrassing...

I just found this site through Kimi's blog.

It's a site called "All Look the Same". It's a quiz that shows a dozen and a half faces non-mixed Asian-Americans in NYC. The test subjects are either Chinese, Japanese or Korean. The quiz tests to see whether or not you are able to tell the ethnicity of the subject, based solely on a photo of their face.

As some of you may know, I often joke that "We all look alike". Seriously, I've had Kristi Yamaguchi's Dad (and other random people, for that matter!) tell me that I look like Michelle Kwan. I jokingly told him, "Jim, we all look alike! People in the Mid-West used to tell me that I look like your daughter!" (We look nothing alike. And yes, she's Japanese, and I'm Chinese.)

Trina & Michelle - do we really look alike?

Of course, I joke when I say this, but honestly, I just don't pay much attention in trying to guess the ethnicity of people. Perhaps I'm just being naive in thinking that it shouldn't matter, as I see all people as "the same". Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Perhaps that's just a cop-out. Maybe it should matter to me.

Anyhow, it's no surprise to me that I scored very low on this quiz. The evaluation of my score was "hopeless".

I'm a bit relieved to know that Kimi (who is half-Japanese) scored low as well. I'm trying to figure out what this says about us, if anything...

If you have a moment, take the quiz and let me know how you do. It's quite an interesting idea.

After thinking about this overnight, and especially after reading Bruce's blog on the topic, I feel the need to be very clear about something...

What I am saying is that I am not good, or don't try to be good at looking at an Asian person and guessing which ethnicity they are. And, when I say this, I also want to make it clear that I am proud of my Chinese heritage, and that I'm not ignoring it. I just don't make it a habit of trying to guess someone's ethnicity. Just as I wouldn't look at a new Caucasian friend and try to figure out what their original European (or wherever) descent is.

With that said, I'm wondering if the question that this site is trying to suggest is whether or not the average Joe-Blow (say in the Mid-West) thinks that literally, All Asian people look alike. Bruce mentions in his blog that he is often confused with one of a handful of Asians American Pastors in his church. Okay, that would become really old, really fast.

Here's a line from Bruce's post:

When a white person comes up to me and says, "Hey Rodger", mistaking me for Rodger Nishioka" I always want to say, "Hey Chandler, how's Ross?" But alas . . . I do not.

Bruce, just once, and maybe just once, I'd really love for you to say that.

I used to teach 80 kids at a high school in Union City. They were predominantly Filipino. For the record, I had no problem "telling them apart" and knew all of their names within the first couple of weeks. (with the exception being the set of identical twins - always had a hard time with them!)

So, what's my point here?

While it may be true that it's difficult to tell the ethnicity of one Asian-American from another (we are all living in the Great American Melting Pot, after all) that is not to say that "All Asians look alike".

I really don't look a thing like Kristi Yamaguchi.

I think my cat has learned how to tell time....

Marcel, our big cat, has taken to sleeping with me in the morning.

Every evening, when we feed Marcel his dinner, we also set his timer on his feeder to open up at 6:00am for his breakfast. (this prevents us from having to wake up early everyday from his cries of hunger - it only took us about 4 years to figure this out!)

Two times over the past week, I've noticed that Marcel has slept with me, and left the bed promptly at 6:00am. The first time it happened, I heard the Grandfather clock downstairs chime to 6, then watched as Marcel left the bed to go eat.

"Hmmmm...", I thought. Good timing!

This morning, I woke up early, but stayed in bed because I was cold, and I had a big, cuddly cat snuggling with me. I watched as the clock on my nightstand turned to 6:00, and sure enough, Marcel promptly hopped off the bed.

I thought, "Surely, this is more than just a coincidence. His internal clock can't be that accurate. Perhaps he's hearing the sound of his feeder opening up?"

I was awake, and wanted to turn up the heater anyhow, so I thought I'd follow Marcel to his feeder. He was staring at it, as it was mere minutes away from opening. I turned the knob a bit and opened it for him.

Since it hadn't opened on it's own, I know that Marcel did not hear the feeder open before leaving the bed.

Perhaps he's learned how to tell time!
The clock on my nightstand is digital, after all! ;)

When Dick woke up this morning, I informed him that we have a very intelligent kitty!
Maybe he'll teach Noe how to tell time, too!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Holiday Parties and Star-Spangled Breakfasts

Last night, we went to Dick's Company's Holiday party. It was a lot of fun. I saw some old friends, met some new friends, and even met people who I'd never met before who apparently read my blog! ("Shout-Out to Zeke!") I also was recognized as "The wife who plays X-Box!" and was invited to a future Gears of War game.

The Holiday Party

The party was at The San Francisco Design Center. It was a nice venue - big main floor, with 2 additional levels, all looking down to the main floor. There was lots of food, interesting booths (chocolate tasting, henna tattoos, tea-leaf reading, and bonsai trees) and a pretty good band. (Although the Solid Gold Dancers were questionable.)

The "red-shirt" guys

I met someone who asked about my blog, and said something along the lines of, "I'll check in tomorrow to see what you had for breakfast." I think he was kidding, and didn't realize that I sometimes really do take a photo and blog about our meals. ;)

So, without further adieu.....

Today's Breakfast

Dick wanted a "down-home country breakfast" complete with eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits. I have a biscuit recipe that I've only made once before, but I remembered that they were really yummy.

The recipe called for a 3" round cookie cutter. I didn't have anything that fit that description, so instead I opted for a 3" Star-Shaped cutter that I just received in the mail with a Christmas Order. I figured, "Why not? It's festive!"

Big Country Breakfast

Dick was very, very impressed that this Chinese Girl can make a good homemade biscuit. He even said they were as good as Bojangles back home in North Carolina. That's got to be the biggest compliment he could've given me! (but, can they make star-shaped biscuits?!)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bad Karma

A Public Service Announcement

If you're parking in a spot that's clearly too small for your vehicle, DO NOT try to squeeze into that spot by parking so close to the other car that your bumper is rubbing up against it. (especially if you're parked down-hill!)

That's just not cool.

Go find another space to fit your big-ass car.

The karma parking gods will be catching up with you soon.
That's a promise.

Our Saturday Morning

It's Tops! (...and it is, too!)

This morning, I woke up at 8:30 with a craving for blueberry pancakes from our favorite Pancake joint: "It's Tops". Dick and I have been going to this old diner for years - we were drawn in by their marquee which claimed that they had "The Best Hot Cakes in SF!" (I believe it to be a true statement)

So, we headed out at 9:00 (earlier than most folks in SF) and treated ourselves to a yummy breakfast.

After we finished, we decided to take a drive around the City.

We headed into Golden Gate Park via John F. Kennedy Drive. Along the way, we passed the Bison. I love the fact that we have bison in our park!

Bison in Golden Gate Park!

We drove up towards The Cliff House and decided to take a walk along the beach. The beach was really calm and quiet, and was just beautiful. As we walked along the water, we enjoyed watching all of the dogs, big and small running amuck on the beach, having a grand 'ol time!

Ocean Beach

When we came home, I noticed that most of the Ginkgo Trees along our block have turned golden. They stay like this for only 2-3 weeks before they loose all of their leaves for the winter.

Golden Ginkgo Trees

What a nice way to start the weekend. I'm so glad that I had my camera with me to capture these moments.

Friday, December 15, 2006

You never know what you'll find at Costco!

Today, I found an old friend!
...and I didn't have to buy a dozen of 'em

Today, my friend Alice and I did our every-three-or-four-month ritual of spending the afternoon together in Costco. We've been doing this for more than 10 years now - we make a full afternoon out of it. We start by meeting in the food court, order pizza and a coke, and chat for a while. Then we stroll aisle by aisle throughout the entire warehouse - this can take anywhere from to 2-3 hours :)

Today, as I was in the frozen meat section, I looked down the aisle and recognized my friend David Dinh!


Now, here's the neat thing:

David and I went to school together from 6th through 12th grade! We had many of the same classes, and the same circle of friends. I always adored him - he's one of the sweetest guys I've ever known.

David, Trina, Lee & Kimi: Winter Ball, December, 1986

It occurred to me as we were talking that it's been 20 years (!) since we went to the Winter Ball together during our Senior year of High School! I promised David that I'd dig out my old photos from that evening and send them to him. I remember it was a fun night: we went with Kimi and Lee Burrill (we were all pretty close friends). We started out at Round Table Pizza, then went to the dance - I think it was at the Milpitas Community Center. We quickly became bored with the dance, and instead amused ourselves by going out to the lobby to take wacky pictures. (Kimi posted one of them here!) We concluded our evening with a field trip to lovely Alviso. I honestly don't know why we went to Alviso, but we did, and I think we had a good time.

David and I lost track of each other until only a few years ago when Kimi and I managed to reconnect with David and a group of friends. We see these friends once a year or so. This year, they all came to our annual Halloween Party!

Kimi, David & Trina: Halloween 2006

Oh, another thing: David and I live about 4 blocks from each other. It's pretty amazing to think that after all this time, we'd end up in the same neighborhood. The sad part is that we don't see each other very often - again, only once a year or so. We really need to make more of an effort - and we both swear that we will!

When I introduced David to my friend Alice today, I told her that we've known each other since 6th grade, and that we only live a few blocks from each other. When we admitted that we hardly see each other, especially given our close proximity, David quickly insisted, "...and we really like each other!"

I do hope that we manage to see more of David and his partner, Mike. We always have such a nice time with each other. Plus, he was such a great date at the Winter Ball! :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just for the Record...

I my husband! :)

WebTrina Strikes Again!

The bacon vault has been running low, so I've been checking out the grocery adds waiting for Oscar Mayer bacon to come on sale.

The ads came on Tuesday, and lo, there it was: Oscar Mayer Bacon 2 for 1 sale at Safeway.

Dick worked from home today, and I managed to talk him into taking a break to go to the store with me so he could experience a 2 for 1 sale for himself.

We went in with 2 things in mind: Bacon and Christmas cards. (i just needed two)

First we noticed that Cinnamon Rolls were on sale for 4 @ $1.50 each. We bought 4 and saved $7.40.
We also picked up a coupon for an extra $.75 off when you buy 3.

Then we passed by the yogurt. On sale half off. I bought 5, and saved $3.00.

Dick's favorite coffee, Starbuck's Verona was on sale for $2.00 off. Alas, it wasn't 50% off, but on sale, nonetheless.

Christmas cards: we find two, along with a coupon for a free 12 pack of Coke with the purchase of 3 cards. I found another funny, generic card that I know I'll use soon, and picked up our free box of Coke.

Finally, we made our way to the Bacon section. Dick was simply amazed at the 2 for 1 savings. We picked out 8 packages of bacon for the bacon vault and saved $25.96.

We made our way to the checkout, and found we had saved a whopping $41.60, which is the equivalent of 49%.

Impressive, isn't it?
Dick was in awe and amazement as we walked back to the car.

Dick and I had went out to dinner that same night . We went to our local seafood joint, which was serving fresh, Dungeness Crab. Dick had a salad, I had a cup of clam chowder, we split a whole crab, and each had wine. Our dinner came to just under $45. Dick mentioned that it cost as much money as what we had saved at Safeway earlier that same day. So, we owe our thanks to Safeway for treating us to a delicious dinner!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What is Buttermilk?

This past week, I found myself with 3 just-too-old-to-eat bananas in my fruit bowl. I was getting ready to toss them in the trash, when I heard the voice of The Muffin Man in the back of my mind. I realized that I shouldn't' toss the bananas! Instead, I should channel my inner Betty Crocker, and make banana bread!

I had almost all the ingredients: mushy bananas, flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla. The only thing missing was Buttermilk.

Since I've been cooped inside my house most of the week, this was a good reason to get out: I happily strolled along to my neighborhood grocery store and bought buttermilk.

The banana bread was a great success! Christopher came over that evening. He made a delicious comfort-food dinner: meatloaf and mashed-potatoes. We followed dinner with my fresh-baked banana bread for dessert.

That's when Dick asked the question: "What IS Buttermilk?"

As if on cue, Christopher and I both answered at the same time, "Milk. Made with butter...."

(of course, we didn't know at all, and were totally making this up)

This morning, I realized I still had buttermilk in the fridge, and decided to shake up our weekly routine, and made Buttermilk Pancakes! (Yum!)

Again, Dick asked the question, "What IS Buttermilk?"

So, I brought in the laptop, and found the answer:

In the old days, buttermilk was a byproduct of making butter. People would churn and churn and churn. The result of churning milk was butter and liquid. This liquid byproduct was buttermilk.

These days the buttermilk we buy at the grocery store is made by adding a lactic acid bacteria culture to skim or non-fat milk. The milk is then fermented to make modern buttermilk.

Buttermilk has considerably less fat than you would think. Keep in mind that buttermilk is milk with the butter removed. It would be better named "butter-less milk". The buttermilk we have here is 90% water, 5% lactose sugar, a little live bacteria culture and just a hint of butter fat - just enough butter fat to give it that rich, tangy flavor that makes it so great to bake with.

Mmmmm... lactic acid bacteria culture added to fermented milk...

Hmmm... maybe, sometimes, it's better not to ask.

That's okay. The banana bread and the Buttermilk Pancakes sure were yummy!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Redesign of e-commerce site!

I spent the better part of this week working on a redesign and reorganization of one of my e-commerce sites:

I'm really pleased with all of the changes that we've made. I redesigned the site so that it would tie in more to the store's regular (non-e-commerce) site: I also cleaned up the design of the sections and subsections so that it's now easier on the eye.

We reorganized the site so that the U.I. would be more user friendly. We created several new sections, then broke those down into even more subsections so that it would be easier to navigate and find products.

I'm really happy with the new design, and hope that it does well!

If you're planning a wedding, a shower, or any kind of party, you should check out this site. We already have hundreds of items in there, and we're continuously adding more :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fun with Emoticons!

This is SO funny!

Dick and I were just having a conversation over MSN Messenger. I had asked him if he could pick up a copy of Mac:Office for a friend of mine from the company store.

Here's what happened:

Funny, isn't it?
Who knew?

Perhaps this should be their new logo :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Drunk... glass of wine.

throbbing headache...

...yet somehow I seem to play Halo much better when I'm drunk ;)

Trying to keep up...

I'm getting ready to send out our Holiday Cards for this year. Each year, I keep a document with all of my friends and family's current addresses. Each year, I pull up last year's list, then make any changes to reflect the current year.

I don't think I've ever had to make so many changes in one year! I'm not even 1/4 through the list year (more than 100 names/addresses) and I've already had more than a dozen changes! People have moved, babies have been born.... I'm having a hard time keeping track of everyone!

Let's hope these cards make it to the intended recipients!

If you have a new address, please let me know :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Day in the City

This past weekend was really beautiful here in SF. Clear, blue skies, and 65 degrees.

On Sunday, Dick and I decided to go down to Crissy Field for a stroll. It was really gorgeous. There were lots of people strolling along the beach, and the walking paths. Lots of joggers, lots of families, lots of dogs.

The view of the Golden Gate Bridge was just perfect.

We made our way to the fisherman's pier where several people and families were fishing for crab. (It's crab season!)

I couldn't resist taking this picture, and I'm glad it turned out pretty well. I spotted this newly caught crab on the ledge of the pier. It seemed like a Kodak moment to me :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

World AIDS Day

Support World AIDS Day Today is World AIDS Day. I choose to recognize this day by remembering the many friends that I have known over the years who have been affected by this disease. As someone who has been involved in the arts and performing arts for most of my life, I've known too many people who have suffered from this disease for too many years.

I also commemorated this day by re-reading this letter that was written for, and read at my friend Al's memorial service in 2003. This is one small thing that I can do to honor the memory of my friends, and remember the amount of impact that this disease has had on our world.

It is my wish that someday, (hopefully within our lifetime), there will be a cure. Until then, we must continue to remember those we have lost, help those who are currently affected, educate to prevent, and continue to generate funds for research.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Grandparents are Moved In!

Thanks to the power of Barbara Chow unpacking boxes at super human speed, we managed to get my Grandparents all moved into their new place today! (I really don't know how she does it!)

The movers came around 9:15am, and had finished unloading by 1:00. My Mom stayed with them, figuring out where everything should go, while I kept my Grandparents occupied by taking them the town, running errands, and showing them where different stores/banks/etc are.

We left them at 6:30 tonight with a fully unpacked apartment, except for about 5 stray boxes of misc items that they can put away at their leisure.

We're all pretty tired, but happy to have most of this big move done.

We'll all sleep well tonight :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Claude Kitty

As I write this, I am again laying in bed in my old room at my parent's house.

I'm very happy to because my kitty Claude has decided to spend some good quality time with me. He's sleeping at the foot of my bed, making me feel very much at home.

What a nice Host-Kitty!

Grandparents on the move...

Today, we began day 1 of moving my Maternal Grandparents from their duplex in Stockton to the Bay Area. My Mom is their only child, and they've talked for years of the idea of moving to the Bay Area to be closer to all of us. My Mom has done an amazing amount of work this year to make it happen, and they signed their lease for their new apartment earlier this month!

My Grandparents have lived in one half of a duplex for the past 35 years. It is the only home that I can remember them living in. When they first bought the duplex in 1971, they rented out the other side to my parents, and we lived for the first couple of years of my life.

So far, the move has gone quite smoothly, due mostly to the amount of work and organization that my parent's have done so far. The movers came this morning, and packed all of the things that they'll be bringing with them to the new apartment. They are moving from a 2-bedroom/1 bath duplex with a full two-car garage to a 1 bedroom/1 bath apartment with no garage. There is a reasonable amount of stuff that had to be left behind, that we'll be digging through over the next few weeks/months.

We'll be meeting the movers at the new apartment tomorrow morning, and will be unpacking and organizing all day.

I really hope that the move proves to be a good thing for my Grandparents. As much as they wanted to move to the Bay Area, I also realize how difficult emotionally this must be for them. They lived in their duplex for 35 years, and have lived in Stockton for almost 60. The apartment complex that they're moving to is really a fantastic place. It's a city-subsidized senior apartment complex. The rent is amazing (for Bay Area standards) the apartments are nice, and well taken care of, and from what we've seen so far, the residents are very friendly. They also offer many activities - Bingo, Line Dancing, Cooking Classes, Ballroom Dancing, Mah-Jong, etc., (Hey - with all of those fun activities, I may want to move there!) They also offer a free shuttle service to and from the Senior Community Center and the Mall.

Here's hoping that tomorrow will go as smoothly as today did....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A roomful of memories...

At this moment, I'm typing this blog entry on my laptop while lying in my old bed in my bedroom at my parent's house. My Mom and I are moving her parents from Stockton to the Bay Area tomorrow (more on that later) and we need to meet the movers in Stockton pretty early. We figured it would be easiest for me to drive to my parent's house tonight and spend the night here so we can leave early tomorrow without me having to fight the traffic from San Francisco.

I have to admit, it's a bit surreal to be sleeping in this room tonight. I think it's been several years since I've had a reason to do so. I'm laying in my twin sized bed, with the twin-sized zoo-animal print sheets that I grew up with. It certainly brings back a lot of memories! My childhood stuffies are all surrounding me - literally. Most of my Raggedy Ann collection still lives in this room. On my bed the wall is lined with my stuffed cockatoo puppet, Hermie, Mr. Ewok, his pal Papaloo, a Velveteen Rabbit, and a couple of marmots.

Time has pretty much stood still in this room since I moved out many, many years ago. It's certainly comforting, yet surreal all at the same time. The only things that seem to have changed are that I'm older, and I have a computer in bed with me. (something I would have loved when I was a kid!)

Every once in a while, Claude kitty comes walking in. Claude used to be my cat, but came to live with my parents after I moved in with Dick years ago. We never had cats when I was growing up, because my sister is allergic to them. Because I'm having such a blast-from-the-past experience, it's kind of funny having a cat walk in and out of this room :)

I wonder what kind of dreams I'll have tonight?

Good night!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving to Remember

We just returned from having Thanksgiving Dinner at Uncle Bill's house.

It was a smaller crowd than usual (since all of my cousins are away), but we still had 13 people - my Grandma and Grandpa, my parents, Aunties, Uncles, Dick, Dick's Father, Christopher and me.

There were still too many people to fit at one table, so we split into two. Traditionally, the "secondary" table would be called "The Kids Table" where I would usually sit with my cousins. This year, however, Grandma and Grandpa insisted that they wanted to sit at the second table with Dick, Christopher, Uncle Wes and me.

Dick told Grandma, "But Grandma, this is the Kid's Table".

to which Grandma replied, "So, I can be a kid, too!"

(I love my Grandma)

We had the BEST time at our table tonight. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Wes and I told stories about our past trips to China. We're all hoping to go together again in 2008. Grandma and Grandpa told Dick and Christopher about the villages where they grew up, and how they had changed over the years. They told us about their arranged marriage back in 1947. Grandpa was 25, and Grandma was only 15! Dick and I shared stories of our recent trip to Shanghai, and even told them about when I was mistaken as a Chinese Hooker! As I started to tell the story, I could see the look on Dick & Christopher faces: "I can't believe she's going to tell the Chinese Hooker story to her Grandparents!" Sure enough, I did. I figured, we were all having a good time, and laughing.... why not tell them this story! Well, they thought it was hysterical as well! I can't remember laughing so much with my Grandparents!

Later, after dinner, Grandpa enthralled us with stories of his time in World War II. In my lifetime, I can only remember him talking about the war one other time. I had managed to capture just a small bit of it when I did my Family Tree project years ago, but tonight, I heard stories I'd never heard him tell before.

Imagine this: You're a young Chinese man, who just came to the US at the age of 15, having left his small farming village in Southern China. Then, you're drafted to serve in the US Army. He told us a story of how his Commander reminded him to stick close to him during battle so that no one in his own squad would accidentally shoot him, thinking that he was the enemy. (remember, this is World War II, and my Grandpa is Chinese) Fascinating stories. He told so many.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life. This Thanksgiving, I'm especially thankful that I was able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal with my Grandparents and listen to them share the stories of their extraordinary lives.

Happy Thanksgiving.

PS: Did anyone else see my friend Mykail dancing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The day I ate lunch with Dick at his work's cafeteria

It was a momentous occasion!

After 8 years of dating/being married to Dick, I have finally had lunch with him at work!

You may being thinking, "So, what's so special about that?"

Well...I have a running joke going with Dick and several of his work buddies. All the people that I know who work with Dick have, at one-time-or-another had their significant others over to join them in the campus cafeteria. Whenever I mention that I've never been, they're all always quite amazed, and always ask Dick "Why Not?".

Dick's answer to this is a simple, "Why?".

I've certainly had the opportunity to join him for lunch, but when I'm that far down along the peninsula, I usually already have plans to have lunch with my Mom or other friends. I have asked Dick a couple of times if I could meet him for lunch, but he's usually busy with meetings, and doesn't really understand why I'd want to have lunch with him in the cafeteria with him anyway.

So, the joke I have with our mutual friends who also work there is that I will plan to have a lunch date with them, not with Dick.

Dick was planning on working from home today, but realized late in the morning, that he really needed to get into the office for a few hours. He'll be switching offices late next week, and realized that he wouldn't have a chance to pack/organize for the move beforehand. I offered to go with him today to help out, and to also be an additional warm body in case he got caught in commute traffic driving home, and needed to use the commuter lane.

Anyway, we got to the campus right before noon, and Dick decided we should eat before we got too involved in packing. That's when it occurred to me: I was going to eat in the campus cafeteria!

How was the experience? Why, it was quite nice, really. I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of choices offered, so followed Dick's lead, and opted for a simple soup and salad combo.

Unfortunately, all the rest of the guys who work there who I would have liked to have seen were not working on campus today.

I'll have to go back another time! :)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiday Music?

This evening, as I was driving to the train station to pick Dick up, I was flipping around the radio stations in my car (the only time I ever listen to the radio). I was flipping around, and stopped when I heard John Denver & The Muppets singing "The 12 Days of Christmas".

First of all, I have to confess that I secretly love this version of this song. (It's SO Funny!) I also have to confess that "John Denver & The Muppets Christmas" was the first CD I ever bought. (how odd, I know, but it's so darn cute, and it was cheap.)

So, I'm listening to the song, and laughing along with it when I realize: This is a Christmas song. It's not even Thanksgiving yet!

When the song finishes, the radio station says something along the lines of, "Another 30 minutes Christmas Music Set..." Then they listed all of the songs they had just played in the last set. Yep, all Christmas tunes.

So, let me get this right: they're playing ALL Christmas music? NOW?

I guess it's kind of like having the stores start decorating for the holidays in September. No one really waits until after Thanksgiving anymore, do they?

Plus, who am I to talk? I just blogged last week about how much progress I've made with my Christmas shopping....


Sunday, November 19, 2006

8 Years

Today is the 8-year Anniversary of the day that Dick and I met!


Still the luckiest girl ever... :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

NEWSFLASH: I have Gay Friends

My friend, Philip, just posted this particularly hilarious blog. In it, he reveals his recent revelation that he's just about as gay as gay can be.

This comes as no surprise to me, of course. Actually, I even get mentioned as " dear friend Trina, who lives in the Castro and has more gay boyfriends than I do."

Remember: Please don't refer to me as a "Fag Hag".

I prefer to be known as "...and the woman who loves them."

First Friends

When we were visiting baby Sarah at the hospital last night, I noticed that Omar & Lora had placed 3 stuffed animals in her tiny crib. They were so cute, all lined up against one side of her bed, that I couldn't resist and had to take a picture.

Sarah's first friends

It reminded me of all of the "first best friends" that I've seen in my own family. The stuffed animal, or doll that you became especially attached to as a child. The one who went everywhere with you. The one was became worn down, and extra floppy with love. (Just like the Velveteen Rabbit!)

My favorite doll growing up (hands down) was "Raggie". My Mom had Raggie made for me for my fifth birthday. It was love at first sight. She was immediately my favorite doll (and believe me, there was a lot of competition!) and I took her everywhere with me. Raggie still has a special place in my heart, and a special place of honor in my Raggedy Ann display case.


My sister's favorite doll was a floppy little rabbit named Frieda. My sister has had Frieda since she was a baby. Over the years, Frieda has had the wires pulled out of her ears, and her wiskers pulled out of her head, but she hung in there, and still lives in my sister's room in my parent's house!

Baby Tiffini & Frieda 1968

Xmas 1977 - Trina with Raggie, and Tiffini with Frieda

My cousin, Cheri (who is now 22) always carried around a little floppy dog named "Dog-Dog". Dog-Dog, like Frieda became more and more floppy and skinny through the years. I remember Dog-Dog had to have several "operations" where he had to have new stuffing put in him. When we found early photos of Cheri and Dog-Dog, he was so plump, we hardly recognized him!

Cheri and Dog-Dog - 1985

My Mom's favorite friend was a stuffed rabbit named "Tudoy". (I'm totally guessing on the spelling) It's pronounced "Too-Doi" and means "Rabbit" in Chinese. Like all of our other favorite friends, Tudoy became more floppy and worn with age, but that never stopped my Mom from loving him. At one point, she saved Tudoy from the terrible fate of a garbage can! I grew up with Tudoy living on a shelf in my bedroom at my parent's house. He still lives there.

Barbara and Tudoy - circa 1950

I can trace my family's love of stuffed animals all the way back to my Grandma (my Maternal Grandmother). Grandma always loved stuffed animals, and still does.

Grandma Chan (on the right, with her sister on the left) holding a teddy bear circa 1930s

My Grandparents still keep a small collection of stuffed animals on their sofa. (I can see the a-ha moment that you're experiencing! Yes, this is where I got it from!) My Grandma has been known to make little clothes for them (from hand-knit sweaters, to over-alls). Their favorite is a tiny little bear whom my Grandpa named "Half Pint".

Half Pint, dressed in his summer clothes

Here's to all of the soft, and floppy friends that we grew up with. The ones who were always there for us. The ones who we told our secrets to, and cried to at night. The ones who listened to us every day, and made us feel better with a simple smile.

No matter how old, or how young you are, it's good to always remember your first friend.

Who was yours?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Welcome Sarah Shahine!

Congratulations to Omar & Lora! Their baby girl, Sarah, arrived yesterday morning, November 16th.

Dick and I went to the hospital to visit the newest member of "Family Lomar" (or is that now Lomarsha?) this evening. Sarah is just beautiful!

We can't wait to watch this little one grow!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fa La La La La....

It's that time again! (egads, already?)

Some of you may think it's too early to start fretting about Christmas shopping, but compared to my Mom and my Sister, I was feeling woefully behind!

Made some serious progress yesterday and today.

I love the Internet.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My 20th High School Reunion


My 20th High School Reunion is next year!
Yep, class of '87.

go figure.

Now, before you get any grand illusions that I was anything like a rah-rah-cheerleader in High School, let me assure you: I was not. I enjoyed high school well enough, but I was certainly ready to leave when the time came.

I was active in some school activities: I was in the marching band for 2 years, and was even the President of the French Club for 2 years! (how'd that happen?!) I certainly had enough friends, but to be honest, I really didn't love high school at all. I graduated on a Saturday morning in early June, went to a drum corps show that night, and never looked back.

I did go to my 10 year reunion back in 1997. I was very hesitant to go. I didn't stay in touch with many people at all. Actually, Kimi was the only person I was still in touch with, and she lived in Italy at the time! The reunion was held at a hotel that was only a few blocks from my parents house. I figured it wouldn't hurt to go, and if worse came to worse, I could go back to my parent's house for the evening.

What surprised me was that I actually had a really nice evening, and reconnected with many people that I hadn't seen since high school. While we were in school, my class didn't strike me as a particularly close knit group, and we weren't ever organized, so I was thoroughly impressed with how well the reunion committee did in putting together the reunion. It was really nice to see people who I grew up with again, some of which I have managed to stay in contact with off-and-on over the past 10 years.

Anyhow, I got a little postcard in my mailbox a few weeks announcing the 20th reunion is set for next August. I'm planning on going, and hope I can manage to talk a few high school friends (who I'm now in contact again) to come along as well. (they think I'm oddly excited about it, which I have to admit, is probably true.)

The tickets are only $60/person, which is a whole lot better than what I've heard other friends have had to pay for their reunions. Plus, if I buy my ticket before November, I'll get $20 off! (and you all know what I sucker I am for a good bargain)

So I just bought my ticket, chose my entree, and will now try to convince Kimi to attend with me.

20 years.


How time flies...

Musical Memories

This morning, as I was driving Dick to the CalTrain station (I drive him when it rains) we heard a song on the radio that triggered a very funny memory.

We were listening to a station that plays predominantly 70s and 80s songs, and the song was "Heaven" by Bryan Adams.

At first my head-full-o'-useless-trivia thought it was the theme song from the 80s Kevin Costner movie, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". I quickly remembered that that was yet another bad Bryan Adams song from the early-mid 80s.

But I digress...

This song, "Heaven" triggered the memory I had of Kimi and I talking in the bandroom during our freshman year of high-school. We were 13. (and yes, we were band geeks) I remember her coming in a bit distraught because some other freshman student, or possibly a sophomore had declared his "love" for her by referencing this song. Unfortunately for him, Kimi did not return his feelings. Poor guy - she probably broke his 15 year old heart.

I hadn't thought of this story, or this song in many, many years. It really makes me laugh, though.

Kimi, do you remember this story at all?

Isn't it great how music can stir us so many memories of life?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Misha Shahine!

With all of the excitement surrounding the impending arrival of Omar & Lora's baby, my parents wanted to make sure that their first "child" didn't feel left out.

They bought Misha (a cat, not actually a baby) this very cute blue cat tent for the Russian Blue kitty (and a distant cousin of Mom & Dad's kitty, Claude).

Misha seemed to like it a lot, and hopped right in!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Lone Cousin

Once upon a time, there were 5 cousins.

These five cousins were very close, and always enjoyed spending time with each other.

The five cousins especially enjoyed family holidays, where they were always sure that they would be able to hang out with the other 4 cousins. There were games of pool to be played, tournaments of Mah-Jong, and general teasing sessions to be had. They would laugh, and talk, and catch up in the latest happenings of each of their lives. It was a good tradition.

This tradition was upheld for many years.
Even if one or two cousins couldn’t make it (gasp!), there were always at least 3 cousins left to hang out with.

And then it came to be that Cousin #2 got married to the lovely and wonderful Mrs. Cousin #2, and they started their own Thanksgiving Celebration at their own home. They graciously and generously hosted Thanksgiving day for their many friends and church family. The remaining four cousins always understood, but secretly still missed seeing Cousin #2 and Mrs. Cousin #2.

And at times, Cousin #1 was away, trotting around the country with her very cool, albeit far-from-home job. Again, the remaining cousins missed Cool Cousin #1, but always understood.

On rare occasion, Cousin #4 and Cousin #5 would miss a family gathering due to school activities, studying, etc., Again, they were missed, but there were always other cousins to keep the remaining cousins company.

And, it should be acknowledged that Cousin #3 has missed one or two family holidays because she met and married Geeky Guy, and occasionally travels to the fair state of North Carolina to spend time with his family.

But the truth remains: it could always be assumed that 2 or 3 cousins would always be around.

...until this year...

Cousin #1 will be away at aforementioned cool job, and will be spending Thanksgiving in the lovely city of Detroit.

Cousin #2 and Mrs. Cousin #2 will be hosting aforementioned Thanksgiving Dinner at their lovely home.

Cousin #4 and Cousin #5 will be away, having the time of their lives together in exotic Costa Rica.

...leaving Cousin #3 (and her husband, Geeky Guy) to fend for themselves, cousin-less at Thanksgiving this year. (not that the rest of the company won’t be utterly fantastic, but still..... where’s the cousin love?)

You know what this means: more dark meat for me.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving to my fabulous cousins.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Funny Conversation on MUNI

I just got back from lunch and running an errand for my Dad.

I rode MUNI home, and struck up a funny conversation with a guy and his friend on MUNI.

He had mentioned that he had just returned from a two week vacation to visit his family in Ohio, where he had grown up. I asked my obligatory, "What part of Ohio?" to which he replied "Dayton".

Then, of course, I had to go through my color guard ramble, of how I had once lived there, but even weirder, still go to once a year. He actually knew about color guard and WGI because his niece had marched.

So we reminisced about Dayton hot spots a bit: he lived by the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, I lived in Miamisburg, by the Dayton Mall. We had a few giggles.

Then, I asked if he was a regular at 1470 West: the gay bar in Dayton (no longer in existence) where I used to go. (which, by the way, is really the only bar I ever really hung out at).

I said, "You know, 1470 on Dorothy Lane?"

To which his friend said, "Get out! It was really ON Dorothy Lane?!"

lol. I'd never put the two together before...

Anyhow, not only was this guy a regular at 1470, but he used to perform there as well. Alas, it was a little before my time - his day was in the mid-80s.

It was at this point when his friend asked me, "So, did you meet any nice boys in Dayton?"

my reply, "I did, but they were all gay."

friend: "So, you moved to San Francisco...."

me: "...and the irony is that I actually met my husband here."

As we got out at the Castro Street station, I asked the guy if he'd seen the t-shirt at the store BODY - the one that says, "Friends don't let friends live in Ohio".

He had seen it, and had thought to get it.

He thought it would go well with the shirt that his brother-in-law (from Dayton) had given him:

Dayton: It's my kind of town

Perhaps that will be next year's road trip shirt!

You never know where you're going to strike up a good conversation.
It was a good public transportation day. :)

Someone left the cake out in the rain...

I don’t think that I can take it!

I'm going downtown this afternoon to have lunch with Philip, and to run an errand for my Dad.

Yesterday, Philip and I were deciding where to meet and eat. He mentioned that if it's a nice day, we could eat in the park.

This morning, we exchanged emails again. Since it's raining today, we're going to have to find an indoor lunch option.

That's when I remembered the name of the park he works by:

Mac Arthur Park.

Why do I have the burning desire to bring a cake?


Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. I'll be here all day ;)

A note from the Editor: If you didn't at least have a little giggle after reading this post, you're probably too young to get it. And were most likely born after the 70s. And you're certainly not gay.

Cup of Tea?

It's really gotten cold and wet here over the last few days.

I've never been a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy a nice mug of tea when it gets chilly.

My favorites: Peppermint, Ginger-Peach, and Sleepytime :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dick's point of view

I was just going through our pictures from Halloween, and came across this one:

I laughed, because i realized that Dick took this photo. He's so much taller than me, that this is probably what his vantage point is whenever we stand next to each other.

It's no wonder he always teases me about how short I am!

Cute, curled-up kitties

It's tough being a kitty in this house...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween in the Castro

It's 9:20pm, and I'm finishing up some work in my office.

I can hear the helicopters circling above Castro Street.
I can also hear a few loud/drunken people making their way down the street, passing by our house. There are also a lot of loud cars driving up and down. This is usually the loudest night of the year in our neighborhood.

Halloween night in the Castro is SO different from the Saturday night before Halloween.

If you want to see the real Halloween in the Castro, come on the Saturday night before. That's when all of the locals come out. That's when you'll see all the cool costumes, and the real fun crowd. By the time we go around 11:15, the block of Castro Street between Market and 18th Street is still blocked off. There's still plenty of people and fun things to see, but you can actually walk around and See everything.

The last time I went to the Castro on an actual Halloween night was at least 4 years ago, and we went early - probably 7:00ish. It was already plenty packed with people, and honestly, there were more people who weren't wearing costumes, than there were people who dressed for Halloween. The people who come without costume tend to just want to come and gawk, or worse, cause problems. (I'm sounding like an old fogy now, huh?)

For the first time that I can remember, I actually had a few trick-or-treaters knock on the door tonight. Granted, they all came at once (about 5) and they were all older teenagers. I happily gave them candy, as they were all quite friendly, and in the spirit of Halloween! It reminded me that when I was a senior in High School, Kimi, David, Lucian and I went trick-or-treating together! I had almost forgotten! We knew we were "too old", but we also realized it would probably be the last time we'd ever do it! Coincidentally, all 3 of them came to our party this past weekend, all dressed up! I need to find that picture from Halloween, 1986. I'm sure I have it somewhere at my parent's house. (Kimi, do you have one?)

A Halloween Funny

This year was Kimi's first "Creep-o-Rama". I hadn't mentioned to her that we always hire a server for our Halloween parties. Dick and I have found that hiring a server to pour the drinks, replenish the food, and especially help clean up the trash and recyclables is well worth the expense, as it allows us extra time to enjoy the party with our friends.

The server always come wearing a basic "bistro" uniform: white shirt, black pants.

When Kimi saw the server (a very nice guy named Adam) at our party, she naturally assumed his was a party guest wearing a Halloween costume. He was wearing a white shirt, black tie, and black pants.

She said to him, "Hi, are you dressed as a Mormon?"

I love this story.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Xbox Live International!

As I've mentioned before, Dick and I routinely enjoy playing Xbox Live with some of our friends. We play with friends who live in San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. To clarify, these are all friends who are our "real-life" friends - not people who we've met while playing online.

Our friends Reeves and Paula moved to Dublin (Ireland, not the Dublin near Pleasanton) in July. We miss them very much. It took a while for them to get all of the stuff that had been shipped via a slow boat, and then to get things unpacked and organized. A couple of weeks ago, Dick and I played Xbox Live with Reeves for the first time since he's been in Ireland. I have to say: technology is really amazing sometimes. Playing with Reeves in Ireland was no different from playing with him while he was here. For those who aren't hip to Xbox Live, it allows players to play against or with each other, AND you're able to talk to them with a cool headset and mic. It's actually oddly social - we may not be in the same room, but it's a really fun way to spend time with each other - especially when our friends live several miles away (or in another country!)

Last week, I sent an email out to our regular Xbox Live friends saying that Reeves and I had set a date and time for our next game: Sunday, October 29th: 11:00am. (which is 7:00 in Dublin) We had 5 people sign on: Dick, me, Christopher, Mike, and Reeves.

Think about this: the 4 of us were playing in CA while Reeves was in Ireland! It's SO cool.

I asked all the guys to have a photo taken of them while they were playing. I thought it would be fun to illustrate the coolness of the technology.

Xbox Live International!

This shows the 5 players, and our location in the world.

I should mention that:

1) Yes, we do have 3 (count 'em) Xboxes in the house now. Dick really wanted to be able to watch TV in HD in our bedroom, and since the Xbox Live has a built in Media Center Extender, it was the logical solution! We do acknowledge that it's obnoxious for 2 people to have 3 Xboxes.

2) yes, I am wearing my pajamas.
It was early (kind of) and I was still recuperating from the Halloween Party the night before.

3) I don't usually actually play Xbox Live in bed.
Really, I don't. But, I was still wearing my jammies, and it was cold.

4) Christopher intentionally spent the night over here after the Halloween Party so he could be here early to play on Sunday.

5) Christopher forgot to bring his glasses with him. That's why he's sitting so close to the TV. (Kids, don't try this at home)

6) I've never been to Mike's house before, but at least now I know what it looks like! (I tease him about this regularly)

7) Did I mention that Reeves is in IRELAND?! So cool.

8) We played for 3 hours.
Yep, three hours. it's a time suck.
But, it's a social time suck. :)

9) Technology: it's a wonderful thing.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Creep-O-Rama 2006!

Another Halloween, another Creep-o-Rama.

We had our annual Halloween Party last night. Great friends, good food, fun costumes and amazingly warm weather - a great time was had by all!

This year, Dick and I got extra-serious about decorating: we decorated the hallway, the kitchen, and dining rooms as a "dungeon/mid-evil castle". The effect was pretty good - we also dressed as a mid-evil King & Queen (or a knight and maiden).

Dick & Trina in the dungeon

There were some really great costumes this year. Lots of creativity.
Here are the photos from the evening

I think the most creative costume award has to go to Shan, who came as San Francisco's eccentric protester, Frank Chu. The great thing about this costume was that it was so obscure, that people either immediately "got it" or simply had no idea what it was. Shan was a real hit walking around the Castro.

Will the real Frank Chu please stand?

We missed some our regulars who couldn't make it this year because they've moved away, have had kids, or were sick. Although we missed them (too many to name!), we did enjoy introducing a whole new group of "newbies" to Creep-o-Rama!

We're contemplating how long we should keep our new "wallpaper" up.
Barry tried to convince us that we should host a mid-evil dinner for Thanksgiving this year :)

Happy (early) Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Make my Day

I just returned from Costco - stocking up with goodies and booze for our annual Halloween Party!

For the 2nd time in a row that I've bought liquor, I was asked for my ID.

The first time this happened (maybe 6-8 weeks ago) I was caught off-guard, and surprised.

I told the clerk, "I bet you have to ask for ID a lot, huh?"

His reply: "No, I really only ask when it's not obvious if the customer is of legal age to buy alcohol."

I happily pulled out my ID, and told him that he had completely made my day.

When it happened again today, I was once again surprised. (maybe I should buy booze more often!) I showed the clerk my ID, and she said, "Wow. You really look a lot younger!"

There's a compliment that'll stick with me for a while. :)

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the good genes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The night I had a date with my sister's boyfriend...

Not actually as scandalous as it sounds...

Tonight, I had a date with my sister's boyfriend, Graham. Well, kind of...

Dick is out of town tonight on business, and my sister is in New York for a month working on a new show.

My sister was able to score a couple of tickets for us to see "Chicago" starring Huey Lewis.

Yes, you read that right: Huey Lewis.

Yep, that Huey Lewis.

Huey Lewis & the News.

The last time I saw Huey Lewis perform was New Year's Eve, 1995. (or was it 1996? or both?) I remember that they threw a really good concert, and it was a cool way to spend New Year's Eve with my family. They even had Tower of Power!

The show is at The Orpheum Theater on Market. Graham and I met for dinner at The California Pizza Kitchen - it's where we usually go when my sister has a show at The Orpheum. The show started at 8:00. It's only showing in SF for a couple of weeks, and just opened last night, so it seemed to have a full house.

I actually really enjoyed the production. I hadn't seen the stage production in several years - probably 7 years or so. The cast was quite good, especially the woman who plays Roxie.

Graham and I had a really nice time together. We're hoping to see another show or two together in the next couple of months.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Dick just sent me this cool little online Photoshop tutorial that shows how you can take a regular photo, and turn it into a Lichtenstein-inspired Pop portrait.

It looked interesting, so I thought I'd give it a go. It only took about 5 minutes or so, and turned out pretty cool so far!

Here's the original photo that I used:

..and here's where we are so far:

Trina: POP! version 1.0

Not bad for playing around for just a few minutes :)

I've only completed page 1 of the tutorial so far. Page 2 adds color, and line art. That could be cool as well. I'll try that later in the week, and will post the results.

That's the great thing about photoshop: no matter how long you've used it, and how many functions you know, there's always something new to play around and experiment with. When I talk to people who are just learning photoshop, they are generally overwhelmed, and feel like there's no way they'll ever understand the program. I tell them that Photoshop is one of the most unintuitive programs out there. It happens to be super powerful, and a very popular tool, but you do not, by any means, need to feel like you need to know everything that it can do. The only way you'd really know Photoshop inside-out would be if you happened to start using it in version 1.0, learned everything there was to know, and continued to learn every new tidbit with each release. I started using Photoshop regularly in 1995, using version 3.0. I certainly feel confident that I know my way around the program, but honestly, I probably use about 10-20% of the program's functions and capabilities.

A few years ago, I created a little piece that I titled, Noe Warhol. I made it using Photoshop, but using very different techniques than I just used it the tutorial above.

Noe Warhol

Bro's new Pad!

Dick and I went to visit Christopher in his new pad on Saturday afternoon (He had just moved in that morning).

I don't mean to take the wind out of Bro's sails, but I have a few really nice photos that I took, so I hope that he doesn't mind that I'm sharing.

His place is really fantastic - great location, great building, great views...
I think he'll be very happy there!

Anyhow, here's a few picts showing off his new home:

Christopher greeting us to his new home!

The view from the bay window

Boys with Boxes (I love this picture)
Dick and I came to visit at the same time that David and Miguel were there!

Congrats, Bro!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

...and when I say "Pizza", what I really mean is "Salad".

Yesterday, Dick and I were out and about, checking out the new Westfield Mall, in the old Emporium Building. It was getting late, and I was getting hungry. I asked Dick what he felt like doing for dinner, and he suggested, "How about pizza?".

Here's the thing.

When we order "pizza" for delivery, we order from our favorite pizza restaurant, Amici's. But we really don't order much pizza.

We always order the same thing:

(2) Chilled Broccoli Salads (one for Dick's dinner, one for Trina's lunch the next day) yum.

(1/2 order) Antipasta Salad (Trina's dinner): Romaine, Tomato, Red Onion, Green Pepper, Italian Salami, Pepperoncinis, Kalamata Olives and Mozzarella. (yum-yum)

(1) Small Pepperoni Pizza. (of which we each have one slice, maybe two)

So, it cracks me up to think that when we say "Let's order in pizza", what we really mean is "Let's get Salad!".

The thing is, this is really one of our favorite meals! We both LOVE the chilled broccoli from Amici's, and their antipasta salad is one of my favorites. The pizza? Just a little something to have on the side :)

Isn't this the direct opposite of what you'd expect when ordering pizza?

we're so wierd.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Things that happened before Noon on a Saturday

It IS Saturday, right?

1. Woke up at 7:00am on my own accord.

2. Blogged.

3. Walked down to Spikes with Christopher to get a coffee (for him) and a hot chocolate (for me).

4. Met Christopher's movers at 8:15.

5. Talked with my neighbor, Carol, about her walk across Spain.

6. Helped Bro move the last of his stuff downstairs.

7. Tried to move Dick's car, but the engine wouldn't turn over (what?!)

8. Drove Bro to his new home!

9. Came back home.

10. Talked with another neighbor about the new Neighborhood Watch Program.

11. Talked with another neighbor about their gardeners, thinking we may hire them eventually.

12. Bid on, and won, a cool First Edition 1922 Book off of Ebay (Grimm's Fairy Stories, Illustrated by Johnny Gruelle).

13. Help Dick make Breakfast (Bacon, Eggs & Grits)

14. Watched the Daily Show while eating breakfast.

15. Roto Rooter came to fix our clogged bathroom sink (more on that later).

16. Cleared out and aired out Uncle Christopher's old room (*sigh*).

17. A client came over to drop off a CD of photos.

18. The old owner of the downstairs condo called to pick up some important mail.

19. Rearranged the furniture in the front-room upstairs.

20. Blogged.

All this before Noon!

On any given Saturday, the list is usually more like:

1. Wake up
2. Check email
3. Blog
4. Eat Breakfast.

The End of an Era : Bro flies the coop!

The time has come:

After 15 months of happy co-habitation in "His 'n Her Condos", Bro has decided that it's time for him to stretch his wings, and move out into his own nest.

That's right: Christopher is leaving the building.

Crazy, man.

As he likes to point out, He's lived here with Dick and me during our entire married life together. Ha!

But do not fret: he's not moving too far away. Remember, before living with us, he was in Australia, and in Marin before that :)

Bro is moving to a lovely pad downtown. A short Muni ride away.

The movers are scheduled to come at 8:00 this morning to pick up all of his stuff. (Which included several boxes that he's had in our basement for the past 5+ years!)

I woke up yesterday morning, realizing that he was moving out today. It's pretty surreal.

The funny thing is, originally, when he came home from Australia, he was only planning on staying with us for 1 week! After the first week, Dick and I realized that we actually really enjoyed having him here, and offered that he could stay here indefinitely. And, even then, who knew we'd have so much fun?

I'll be the first to admit that it's going to be a bit wierd not to have him here on a daily basis. Never fear, though. We've already planned to have him come back to visit often!

Bye, Bro!

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Battlestar Gallactica

We just finished watching tonight's episode of Battlestar Gallactica.

Have you seen it yet?
It was GREAT!

In my opinion, the best episode of the series so far!

What'd you think?

One Grumpy Dick (The saga continues)

This is frickin' hysterical.

The latest installation of "One Grumpy Dick".

Bonus: Dick updated his blog!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fog Horns

One of my favorite things about living in my first SF apartment (on Leavenworth St in Nob Hill) was listening to the fog horns while falling asleep at night.

When I moved into Eureka Valley, and later to the Mission, I was surprised that I could still hear them on occassion. I mentioned this to my sister a few weeks ago when we were down by the water. She was really surprised, and asked if I was sure that it was actually fog horns that I was hearing. I thought, "They sounds like fog horns. What else would they be?"

Well, here I am sitting in my office in my Eureka Valley home on a clear and sunny day.

...and I can hear fog horns out in the distance.


what else would it be?

is there such a thing as "generic boat horns"?

The End of an Era - Goodbye Tower Records

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not an avid buyer of music. But like most average Americans teens in the 80s, I bought my fair share of records/cassettes from the local store - usually Wherehouse Records in Milpitas. Every once in a while, I signed up for membership for BMG or Columbia House - you know the ones: pay $.01 for 10 albums (and I mean albums) and you only have to buy 5 at the regular price within the next two years.

But every once in a while, that obscure song/record would come along that you simply couldn't find at your local music store. Obscure songs like "Oh, Yeah" by Yello, or "Din Da Da". (I would like to thank my years of color guard for introducing me to non-mainstream music - brownie points for "Name that Color Guard!").

When it came to music of obscurity, there was only one store to go to: Tower Records. If they didn't have it, no one would. We would make the drive from Milpitas to Campbell on the hunt to find the elusive albums. (and again, I do mean album)

When I moved to San Francisco in 1995, my school was a mere block away from the Tower Records store located on Columbus and Bay. It wasn't until I read this article in that I learned that this was the first Tower Records store in San Francisco (only the second in the chain, after the first store in Sacramento).

When we came home from vacation last week, I noticed signs posted on windows of the Tower Records on Market @ Noe Street: "Going out of Business", "Everything on Sale", etc., Dick and I like to go into the store everyone's in a while to browse, and maybe buy an occasional CD, although we never made a habit out of it. Although we didn't shop there very often, it was always nice to know that "it was there".

In the days of, and the internet in general, it was just a matter of time before the brick and mortar businesses like Tower would be forced out of business. It's a shame, really. From my experience, Tower Records were always alive with people: shoppers and employees, and it always seemed like the employees really knew their stuff.

Farewell, Tower Records.
It's like saying goodbye to an old friend.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Madrid Airport

After Dick and I flew into Madrid's Barajas International Airport a couple of weeks ago, I posted in my blog that it was architecturally the most beautiful and interesting airport that we've ever seen.

We were interested in learning more about the airport, but our guidebook didn't have any info at all.

This morning, I read a news report stating that the airport had just won the award of the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize - Britain's most prestigious architecture award.

Apparently, the international terminal had only opened in February of this year.

It's no wonder that we were so taken by it!

Here are a couple of photos that I took of the airport:

the terminal that we arrived in

The Baggage Claim area

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Believe it or Not...

Our friend, Martin, is visiting us from Seattle this weekend.

This morning, I heard him whistling a song that I thought I recognized as the theme to "The Greatest American Hero". Then I thought, "No, that can't be it. Why would he be whistling that song?"

Next thing I know, Dick is asking him, "Dude. Are you whistling the song from "The Greatest American Hero"?"

Martin (who is from Denmark) has never heard of the old television show from the early 80s, but said he knows it from an episode of Seinfeld. Apparently, there's an episode where George sets his answering machine to a song that he sings to the same tune.

In the episode "The Susie", of the popular sitcom Seinfeld, George Costanza sets his answering machine message to the tune he himself made that parodies "Believe It or Not".

Anyhow, Dick and I both thought it was very funny that Martin was whistling the tune, and we both started to sing the song. Somehow, both of us knew all of the lyrics. Martin sat in utter amazement, staring at us.

Early this afternoon, we made a trip out to Best Buy, and started to scan the CD section for a "TVs Greatest Theme Songs" CD, and sure enough, found this CD called All-Time Top 100 TV Themes. The song Believe it or Not (The theme song to The Greatest American Hero is track 31 on Disc 1. We couldn't resist. We bought it, and immediately started to listen to it in the car.

Martin was quite amazed to learn that both Dick and I knew the songs and the lyrics to most of the songs. Random trivial knowledge, at it's best :) Actually, Dick knew more than I did - he was really belting out the songs from the programs from the 60s and early 70s. I did well with mid-70s through the 80s.

I think this will be a fun CD to pop in every once in a while. Believe me, you have no idea how many TV theme songs you have stored up in your head!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Photos are up!

In a moment of rare efficiency, I've uploaded all 400 photos to my smugmug account, and have posted photos corresponding to my blog posts from our trip! The travelouge feels more complete now. I've also put in a couple of other little ditties that I forgot about before, so it might be worth re-reading the blog posts from the trip. (Sept 30th - Oct 11)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

We're Home

We got home about 45 minutes ago. The kitties were both very happy to see us.

The flight from Heathrow to LAX went really well, and took about 10 hours. We watched a couple of movies, ate some food, and actually managed to get a few hours of sleep.

We had a 2-hour layover at LAX, which was fine, followed by a very quick flight from LAX to SFO.

The weather in SF was really nice when we landed - warm/mild, and clear, clean skies.

I just got through sorting through the US Postal mail, and now I'm downloading 3500+ emails to my computer. ugh.

Soon, we'll have a little dinner, play a little Xbox, and watch a little TV.

As always, it's good to be home :)

Happy Kitties :)

At the Airport

When Dick and I travel on long trips, we use our frequent flyer miles to upgrade our tickets to Business Class. (makes a huge difference!) This allows us to hang out at the Red Carpet Club Lounge before flights - also very nice. We're at Heathrow Airport now, at the lounge, and Dick just noticed that they have computer terminals here with free internet access - Yee Haw! :)

So, of course, I had to touch base one more time.

We have a flight that goes to LAX, which I believe is about 11 hours, then a quick layover before flying from LAX to SFO. Not bad.

Hopefully, the flight will go well, and will be uneventful. I'll touch base again once we're back home tonight.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This train is for Cockfosters...

oh, my...

This is what the sign in our tube train on the Piccadilly Line read as we left from Heathrow Airport into London. Dick and I both noticed it, and tried to surpress a little giggle....

The next day, we boarded a train on the Central Line, and they had a sign that displayed the message:

This train is for Barking...

I know, it's all very silly, but we find these things to be amusing :)

We're having a FANTASTIC time in London!

We arrived late Sunday evening, took the Tube into the City, and walked a few blocks to our fabulous hotel, The Cranley. As soon as we got settled into our room, we quickly walked about 1/4 block away to have dinner at an amazing Indian Restaurant that we found when we stayed here for one night two years ago: Noor Jahan. It's seriously the best Indian Food I've ever had.

Monday morning, we woke up early (for us) at 8:00, ate breakfast, and made our way out. We walked through Kensington Gardens, then took a tour through Kensington Palace. They had some really nice exhibits that we both enjoyed: The State Apartments, The Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, and a new exhibit of Princess Diana's dresses and photos. We had a really nice lunch nearby at the Orangery, where I had a yummy fruit scone :)

Kensington Palace

After walking through a bit more of Kensington Park, we decided to head over to Nottinghill to walk down Portabello Road to browse among the cool stores and pubs. We hopped onto the Tube, and made our way to Baker Street. By recommendation of my friend, Andrew, we made our way to 221b Baker Street - yes, the ficticious home of the ficticious Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson. This was our kitchy activity of the day, but we found that it was really fun, and kind of cool! After having our picture taken in costume infront of the fireplace, we took the train over to Bond Street to window shop in all of the high-end fashion stores.

Mr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes, I presume?

After a quick stop back at our hotel, we met our friend, Rob, at "Rules", a restaurant which is The oldest in England. (eating at "the oldest restaurant of..." seems to be a theme in this vacation) After dinner, we made our way to the Noel Coward Theater to see "Avenue Q"! I've been wanting to see this production for such a long time, and I was happy that it did not disappoint. We both LOVED the show. It had us laughing the entire time.

By the way, yesterday (October 9th) was our first wedding anniversary! What a very nice way to spend our day :)

Today (Tuesday) we got out of the hotel by 10:00, and headed over to St Paul's Cathedral. I think that this may be my favorite Cathedral that I've ever seen. It's just beautiful. We climbed the stairs up to the Whispering Gallery in the Dome. We also climbed an additional staircase up to the middle of the dome to check out the view outside. Unfortunately, we got caught in the rain, so we weren't able to enjoy the view much.

St. Paul's Cathedral

We ate a quick lunch at the cafe downstairs on the same level as the crypts. It was called The Crypt Cafe. I'm not kidding. I totally thought that Dick was pulling my leg.

After lunch, we walked across The Millennium Bridge actoss the river. On Philips suggestion, we took the tour of Shakespear's Globe Theater, which was fantastic. We both really loved it. Unfortunately, their last show of the season was last Sunday, so we weren't able to see a performance, but we really enjoyed the tour.

Shakespear's Globe Theater

We walked back across the river, and took the tube to Trafalgar Square, where we posed with the big Lion statues, and drank hot chocolate. We walked through St. James Park, along The Mall,all the way to Buckingham Palace. Then, we walked along the other side of the park towards West Minister. We admired Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament from the outside, then stumpled upon the Cabinet War Rooms. We took the audio tour of this historic place where Winston Churchhill met with military leaders and ministers as war bombs fell overhead.

The Cabinet War Rooms

"Hi, Ben!"

We were pretty exhasted by this point (around 6:00) and decided to head back to our room to relax, have a little dinner, then pack before we head home tomorrow morning.

We just returned from having dinner (again) at our favorite Indian Restaurant. We actually rented this laptop from the hotel, so we could enjoy having the internet in our room. That would explain the length of this blog post compared to the others!

Our lovely hotel

I have plenty of photos to share, which I plan to post to their corresponding posts when we return home. If I'm able, I'll also ellaborate on some of the earlier, shorter posts.

We've had a great time in London, and a really wonderful vacation. The good news is, we get to return to San Francisco, which we always love to come home to.