Friday, August 31, 2007

Ahhhhhh.... much better!

We both feel better now...

The Big Bathroom Remodel of 2007!

it's been a long time coming!

At last! The time has come!
We're finally remodeling our bathroom!!!

This month marks that 9th year since I've moved into my condo. The bathroom has always been a bit of a sore spot, and something that we've been wanting to update for a long time.

In order to fully appreciate the magnitude of the situation, I present to you:

Diagram A: The Before Pictures

Yes, it's true: not the prettiest bathroom in the world.
It is, in fact, quite ugly.

Let's start with the layout: it's a tiny room. It's just under 5' by 10'. The configuration is quite bad. It works fine for me, but for anyone slightly larger, there's a lot of maneuvering needed to get to the toilet, the sink, or even in the shower.

Next, let's talk about the brown tile. It's brown. And not only that, it turns out it's not actually tile at all! Rather, they are individual thin sheet of metal designed to look like tile. We found this out when we were moving back into the condos 3 years ago. Our plan was to paint the tile over in white to at least brighten up the room until we were able to remodel. The guy who was doing it told us he didn't recommend it for two reasons:

1. the tile wasn't real tile.
2. there was potential water damage underneath said "tile" in the shower.

So we axed that idea, and briefly considered having new tile installed.
The tile guy came over to inspect our bathroom, and suggested that this wasn't a good idea either.


Because the plumbing job was so bad, that you wouldn't want to put any money into this bathroom unless you're doing a full gut-job.

So, there you go. We didn't have much leeway when we were moving back into the condos, so we decided to put this project off until we had settled in.

In the meantime, I lined the interior of the shower with plastic shower curtains. I did this so that we would not add to any water damage problems under the faux tiles.

Christopher used to refer to this shower as the Alien Autopsy Room. I admit, it is really ugly, and you have to carefully find the openings through the shower curtains in order to get in our out of the shower.

After we moved into the condo downstairs, that became the main shower and bathroom. When Christopher lived with us, he and Dick used the downstairs shower, while I continued to use the upstairs one. Even though it's ugly, and I have to shower in the Alien Autopsy Room, I think I must have some strange, sentimental attachment to it. But, I have to admit, the downstairs bathroom is a much more pleasant experience. One of the previous owners (and a friend of mine) had remodeled it in the mid 90s. He had gutted it, and had it rearranged to a much more usable configuration. Dick and I always knew that we wanted to do something similar to the arrangement upstairs when the time came.

...and now, here we are!

We've been working with an architect/design team for the past 3 months, and have come up with some really nice solutions for our tiny bathroom. We're rearranging the placement of everything to match the downstairs bath, and having a large shower, rather than a bathtub.

Here are some early 3D renderings of what the bathroom will look like. We've made some changes since then (different sink, tile shapes and colors), but the basic design remains the same.

We've hired a contractor, and they are starting today! Today, they are blocking off the work space, and taking out the fixtures. Next Tuesday, they'll start the major demolition.

Our contractor is projecting 6-8 weeks, with a good possibility of it taking less time. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I love my kitties, but sometimes....

what on Earth were they thinking?

Yes, I love my cats. You all know that.

Every once in a while, they do something really bad, and I just can't understand just what was going on inside their little heads.

I bought a couple of new throw pillows for our sofa last week. I didn't think anything of it, and we've had them for more than a full week now.

When I was eating breakfast and watching TV this morning, I smelled that all-too-familiar smell.


someone had decided that they didn't like the new pillows, so they pee-ed on it, which also meant that they pee-ed on the sofa! And not just any sofa - the really nice sofa - the one with the fancy material that would stain easier than most.

So I did what I always do in a time of crisis: I called my Mom.
she gave me some good suggestions.

I blotted the sofa with dry towels first, then blotted the with a wet (with water) rage to try to dilute the urine. Then I blotted it again with dry towels. Finally I sprayed an odor-eliminating product that's supposed to be good for pet accidents.

It's all been drying for a few hours now. I won't know how bad the stain is until it's dry.

The topper is that today is Noe's 7th Birthday. I don't know if I'm supposed to sing to her, or fuss at her. :(

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

That's pieces, please, not square feet.

As we prep for the Big Bathroom Remodel of 2007 (coming soon!) I've been busy finalizing the orders for fixtures, tiles, contractor bids, etc.,

I just got the tile quotation from my designer sent to her from the tile company. We had provided an actual order sheet detailing the exact amount of pieces we need.

Apparently, most people put their orders in factors of square feet, not by individual pieces. Because of this, they assumed that when we said Quantity Needed: 600, they thought we meant 600 square feet. What we really meant was: 600 individual tile pieces.

The humor of this is found when you know the size of our bathroom: it's a little less that 5' wide by 8.5' long. That's it. It's a tiny little San Francisco bathroom.

When I saw the quotation from the tile company, all I could see was the order for 4,800 tiles - for only one of the tile styles that we need. That's eight times more than what we need!

Anyhow, the error for that item, and a few others have been fixed. The new quote should be less than half of what the original estimate was. lol.

... and this is why you should always double check an order before you place it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goodnight, Moon.

As I've mentioned before, it's not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night.

This morning, I woke up around 1:50am. I figured I might as well get up to watch the lunar eclipse.

The eclipse started at 1:51am, and became total at 2:52am. (how handy for me!)

I put on my robe and slippers, and stepped out to watch from in front of my house. (grabbing my trusty, rusty camera along the way, of course)

I stayed outside for the entire hour. It was pretty cool. It was very clear and still out tonight, and I was actually able to watch the motion of the eclipse easily. It helped having my camera to document it. (not the most professional photos in the world, but it certainly gets the point across.)

For the record, my neighborhood is very quiet (but well lit) at 2:00-3:00am.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Furry Happy Monsters

..'cause now I'm on a YouTube muppet kick...

I've heard the song before, but never saw the video.

I've always loved R.E.M. but they just got even cooler!

Oh, Who are the people in your neighborhood?

These are the people in my neighborhood!

As Dick and I were walking in our neighborhood today, we stopped at the corner of Castro and 18th Street. (Which according to Philip, is "arguably the gayest intersection in the gay neighborhood in the gayest of gay cities.")

We looked to the corner where the BofA building is, and there were 4 fellas dressed in full pink bunny suits waving madly at anyone who would wave back. We couldn't figure out why they were there, they just seemed to be happy to be wearing bunny suits, carrying white roses, and waving at passers by on the corner of Castro and 18th.

Oh, here are the people in my neighborhood...

Ah, yes. Just another day in the neighborhood!

"They're the people that you meet,
when you're walking down the street,
they're the people that you meet
each day!"

..and now, because I have the song in my head, here's the original Sesame Street version with Bob (Bob was always my favorite!):

Help Save The Wall!

this is one of the best office pranks I've ever seen...
...this is the only office prank I've ever seen.

This is just hysterical.

You can help, too! (the money really does go to a good cause!)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

28 People

Dick and I just came home from watching my friend, Ayumi, perform with her band, 28 People. They had their first gig at Brainwash, here in SF.

Brainwash is a pretty cool place. I've only been there once before, on some random field trip nearly 12 years ago with one of my new genres classes at SFAI. Is it a laundromat? Is it a cafe? Is it a venue for live bands? The answer: YES.

The show started at 8:00, but we knew that 28 People wouldn't be performing until 9:30, so we planned to get there around 9:00 to get a good seat. The venue was pretty packed with fans/friends. It was a really great atmosphere, and reminded me again of why I love living in a City. How often do you have a chance to go to a cafe/laundromat and listen to your friend sing in a band?

We both really enjoyed 28 People's performance this evening. I absolutely loved Ayumi's voice. It's really beautiful. My first impression was that her voice, and some of the music reminded me of the Cranberries from the mid-90s. (Dick had no idea who I was referring to, so I don't have any one who can agree/disagree with me.) Dick (who knows a lot more about music and bands than I do) thought that the band was quite good, too. We bought their CD tonight, and plan on seeing them again!

Congratulations to Ayumi, and to her band, 28 People!

28 People perform at Brainwash

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tonight's Dinner


Tonight's dinner was one of the prettier (and healthier) meals that I've made!

Artichokes, Summer Squash, and wild rice.

...a little red wine, and you're good to go!

You don't SPAM Raggedy Ann!

There's just something so wrong about that!

About three years ago, Dick helped me write a guestbook for my Raggedy Ann Collection page. It's been running pretty smoothly since then, and hasn't had any problems.

until yesterday.

Within the last 24 hours, my Raggedy Ann Collection Guestbook page has been hit about 30 times with SPAM!

Who sends SPAM to Raggedy Ann? That's just wrong. Like she's really going to click on your blackjack site, anyway....

I just took out all the bogus entries. We'll see how today goes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hands-Free! opposed to "free-hands", which is a color guard term...

I love technology!

Dick has a Motorola wireless bluetooth headset that he bought last year, but hardly uses. I've had a heck of a time over the years finding a good hands-free device for my cell phone while I'm driving. My old cell phone didn't support bluetooth.

...but of course, my fantabulous iPhone does!

I tried it out this weekend, and it worked great! Today, I drove to Pleasanton to meet my Mom, and decided to call my sister on my drive home. It was wonderful. Really good clarity (on both ends) and finally, a earpiece device that fits in/around my ear, and stays put!

I realize that this isn't new technology by any means, but it's new to me!
I LOVE it!

So, there I was, driving comfortably hands free, and approaching the Bay Bridge. That's when I realized that I was having a double-hands-free day! I drove Dick's car today (mine in in the shop, getting the key scratch repaired) and his car has not yet had it's first initiation over the bridge with our new FasTrack device!

Woo Hoo!

It's a non-stop, hands-free day!

Laughing at myself

because sometimes, it's all you can do...

This is what i get for waking up at 5:30am, and changing in the dark!

I *just* realized (at 9:45) that I put my pants on inside-out this morning!
OMG. That's hysterical.

in my defense, they are sweat workout pants (there's a difference!) so it makes it a little easier to understand. :)

Guess it's time for some caffeine!

Early Bird in the Sleepy City

My Dad spent the night at our house last night. He had to be somewhere in the City at 6:30am this morning. Figured it would be a lot easier to go from here than to drive up from the South Bay in the very early morning.

I woke up to drive him. We left the house at 6:10am, as the sun was rising. Along the way, we stopped at the bagel shop on Castro Street. I think it opens at 6:00. We were there so early that they didn't even have the bagels in the display case yet. (But my Dad's bagel was piping hot!)

empty bagel shop

I told my Dad that San Francisco is a very sleepy City. We always notice this when we come home from vacation, and we're up earlier than usual. If you're out before 7:00, you'll hardly see any activity at all in our neighborhood.

San Francisco is a Sleepy Town for such a big city. We go to bed early (you'll be pressed to find a restaurant open past 11:00pm) and wake up late.

Castro St. @ 6:15am

Monday, August 20, 2007

Put a little South in your Mouth

This Chinese girl may become a Southerner yet!

It may not look like much here, but we made the best batch of Chicken & Dumplings last night! We have an awesome recipe from the Mama Dip's Cookbook. We've made it a few times before, but this was the best batch ever! We finally figured out how to get the consistency just right.

Talk about a simple recipe:
1 whole chicken
1/2 stick butter butter
1 sage leaf
1 can chicken broth

Mmmmmm....Chicken and Dumplings!

We made it last night, plus we'll have enough for dinner tonight, and another meal during the week. That one chick goes a long way!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Giving Thanks

...and it's not even Thanksgiving yet...

I must have done something pretty extraordinary in a previous life to be deserving of the life that I'm living right now.

I'm feeling very blessed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Heading back home

After several lovely, family-filled days in North Carolina, Dick and I are packing our things, and getting ready to head back to SF. We've had a really nice visit with the whole family - including an afternoon with Dick's Uncle, Cousin, and his family as well.

We fly out of the Raleigh/Durham airport this afternoon, with a layover in Chicago. Apparently, Chicago is experiencing some delays in and out of the O'Hare. Our first flight has already been delayed, so we called UAL, and arranged for a back-up flight, in case we miss our connection. One way or the other, we should still make it home sometime late tonight.

Here's a nice photo that I took during our visit with Dick's extended family. We had a lovely lunch at Dick's Mother's 2nd cousin's house, along with his Uncle Gilbert, and Gilbert's son & family.

...and just for kicks, here's a photos of Kathy's adorable little kittens, Dusty & Jack :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

best. cross-country. flight. ever.

Greetings from North Carolina - where the temperature is 100+ degrees, but the humidity level is surprisingly low. Dick and I are here visiting his family in the beautiful Chapel Hill area.

We took a red-eye flight last night, which left SFO at 11:15. We had an hour lay-over in Chicago, then another flight from Chicago to Raleigh. Through the modern miracle known as Tylenol PM, we both managed to sleep almost the entire flight! Dick slept about 6 hours - from take off to landing on both flights. I read for less than an hour on the first flight, and slept the rest of the way.

When we arrived in RDU at 9:15am this morning, we both felt relatively rested, considering we had just flown all night.

We even had a great rental car experience! Dick is a preferred member with Avis - this means that the shuttle dropped us off directly at our car, and (even better) the key was in the ignition, with the engine started and the air conditioning on!

After we picked up our rental car (an enormous Chevrolet SUV!) our first stop was Bojangles for a biscuit and sweet tea. (when in Rome...)

We came to Dick's sister's house, took a quick nap, then met both of his sisters at Mama Dip's for lunch!

We're getting ready to go visit Dick's father at his new apartment now, then an evening with the entire family. Should be a lot of fun.

More later!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I can hear the fireworks...

Dick and I are sitting upstairs in our office right now. We can hear the fireworks that just started outside.

I said, "I bet Barry Bonds just hit a home run".

Sure enough, when I checked, this was the breaking news headline: Bonds hits career home run No. 756, breaking Aaron's record.

I love that I was able to figure that out because I live here, and heard the celebratory fireworks.

I heart San Francisco.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The High School Reunion Update

Well, that was a lot of fun.

I didn't get home 'til 4:00am!

My day started with a 3 hour lunch with my old friend, Meronea. We me at Max's Cafe in Palo Alto, ordered lunch, then talked, and talked, and talked. It was great - just like old times. It's wonderful to see an old friend after nearly 20 years, and have an instant connection with them again.

Meronea and I were best friends from 6th grade through 8th grade. We did everything together. Even in 8th grade, Meronea was beautiful and statuesque at 6'2". I of course, was considerably shorter at around 5'0. My algebra teacher, who was also the jr. high basketball coach used to call us Mutt and Jeff.

Meronea & Trina (I was standing on my toes in this photo!

After having lunch with Meronea, I drove back home to SF and had a little more than an hour to dress and get ready for the MHS Class of '87 20th Year reunion. I drove to Kimi's house first, to visit with her family and to pick her up.

Just as we always did when we were in high school, we took a picture of the two of us all dressed up before leaving.

all dressed up, and ready to go!

We made our way to the reunion around 6:45. (check-in and cocktails had started around 6:00.) We checked in and received our little badges with had our name, year that we graduated (there were two classes represented at the reunion) and our senior year picture. This was very smart on the reunion committee's part: it made it a heck of a lot easier to recognize people!

There was a lot of saying "hello" to people, then looking at their badges to read their name and their photo, then looking back at their faces. Usually, that was followed by, "Oh, yes! I remember you! How are you?". But I have to admit, occasionally, I had to say, "I'm sorry, I don't know if we've ever met..." We had a class of around 350 students, I think, so this isn't surprising. But, the best story out of all of this was when I met a guy named Mike who was (apparently) quite popular in school because he was a jock (he played football and basketball). For the life of me, I couldn't remember him, which was fine, because he couldn't remember me, either. We hung out a lot during the evening (with Kimi, too) which was pretty entertaining. He kept asking me what all kinds of questions that made me realize that I was pretty dorky in high school: What groups were you in? Who did you hang out with? What did you do on Friday and Saturday nights? Did you ever go to any parties? The answers: I was in band, I hung out with Kimi, I went to color guard practice on weekends, or played Trivial Pursuit at my parent's house, and I never went to any of the cool parties. Geez, what a square.

Some highlights of the evening included reconnecting with a few old friends who I've known since 5th grade: Jon Jon (who now, of course, goes by "Jon") and Steve (who was my square dance partner in 5th grade). I also had wonderful reconnections with Rolondo and Byron.

The evening was a lot of fun, but it was also very surreal and a little overwhelming. I realized that people's physical appearance change a lot more between the 10th and 20th reunion, than they did between graduation and the 10 year reunion. As Kimi said, it was actually fun to see everyone, though forced and awkward, but since everyone felt that way it didn't matter.

I also realized that everyone feels insecure in high school, and thinks that everyone else is much more cool and together than you ever felt yourself.

Rolo's wife, Rolondo (Rolo), Mike (my new high school friend) & Kimi

Trina & Jon Jon

The party ended at midnight, but a group of 30 or so hung out until they kicked us out of the ballroom at 1:00. A few people had rooms in the hotel, so we went up to hang out up there afterwards. Kimi and I left at 2:30am. That's probably the most "partying" we ever did with anyone in high school!

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Today is a big day!

I'm having brunch in Palo Alto with my best friend from 6th-8th grade. I managed to find her on the web a few months ago, and we've been planning to get together ever since. We haven't seen each other since we were in high school. I'm very excited to catch up with her!

Tonight is my 20th High School Reunion! Oh, my! Really can't believe it's been so long. Kimi and I are going to go together - it'll be very Romy & Michelle. I went to the 10 year reunion, and actually had a lot more fun than I was expecting. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone tonight. Should be a good time!

Milpitas High School Class of '87

Friday, August 03, 2007

MyHeritage Celebrity Look-Alike

Okay, this is hysterical.

I just found out about the MyHeritage Celebrity Look-Alike Match off my cousin Bruce's blog. He had mentioned that he was worried that he would be matched up with every Asian Celeb in the database. Well, lucky him: he got matched up with Robert Downey Jr! (not bad, cuz!)

So, I thought I'd give it a try. I know it largely depends on which photo you upload, but I decided to just go with the most recent front-on photo that I had from my night of picking up Harry Potter at Safeway.

So, I upload the photo, waiting to see what it comes up with...

..and what it comes up with as my highest match lands me in hysterics:

With a match of 76%: Michelle Kwan

This cracks me up.

I mean, I knew that.
I've been told this on more than one occasion.

I even blogged about it before.

I've had the side-by-side comparison:

But, I didn't think that that was would be the number one choice for this program, too!

After it tells you of the #1 choice, it also gives you a few others.
The others? Well, they are, in fact, the "every Asian Celeb in the database" that Bruce was talking about. I don't even know who any of them are. Do you?


Here are Dick's matches.
(Robert Downey Jr. seems to be popular!)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bedtime Story

I just walked into the bedroom and found Dick and Marcel reading a book together. Couldn't resist taking a picture. :)

Dick just started reading Harry Potter Book 4. It's one of Marcel's favorites.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mean People Suck

and bad karma will come along and bite them in the ass...

Poor little MINI Driver has had a really bad day!

I drove down to Milpitas to spend the afternoon with my Grandparents this morning. I stopped off at Costco for some gas along the way. When I got out of my car, that's when I saw it:

someone had keyed my poor little car!

There's a line going from the front wheel well all the way across the door to the gas tank.


To make matters worse, as I was driving around the South Bay with my Grandparents this afternoon, my car's tire pressure sensor light came on.


When I first checked the tires, they seemed to be okay, but at least I was forewarned to watch over them carefully.

About an hour later, I brought it to a gas station to check the pressure, and by that time, the rear passenger tire was noticeably low. I figured I must have a leak, and thought it best to have it patched and repaired before driving back to SF.

So then I had to make my way to the local Firestone in Milpitas. Luckily, they were able to take me in right away, and the wait time was estimated at only an hour or so.

My poor car.

When I get it back, I'm going to give it a nice bath and try to wash away all the badness of the day.

Since I didn't notice the car scratch while I was at home, I didn't think to check Dick's car, or the neighbor's cars. I hope that nothing happened to them.


Well, it just got a little worse: Dick's car, and my neighbor's car (the green MINI that parks right in front of Dick's car) were also keyed last night. That blows.

Perspective: As Dick would say, "This is why we have insurance". Considering I've lived in San Francisco for 12 years, and I've never had a garage, it's kind of a wonder that's this has never happened before.