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.