Saturday, December 29, 2007

House of Nanking

Hanging with the tourists in a line 20 people deep at 2:15 pm! (but we
found a parking spot 1 block away, and put 10 quarters into the meter
(for 1 hour!) and I refuse to leave!!)

update

Since I've had so many people ask, I should explain why we were at the House of Nanking.

It's a great, whole-in-the-wall Chinese Restaurant on Kearny Street - on the edge of Chinatown and Little Italy. It's a different kind of Chinese Food - not as traditional (to me) as my other favorite Chinese Restaurant, U-Lee.

Dick introduced me to this place years ago. We both love it, but we don't go very often. It's pretty far away, and in an area that's fairly difficult to park. It has also become very popular amongst the tourists, as it's featured in many guide books. Because of this popularity, there's usually a line wrapping outside. (and that's even AFTER the remodel that they did a few years back that more than doubled their space!)

If you go, I highly recommend the House of Nanking Chicken (served with yams), and the Baby Pea Shoots. (something that wasn't on actually on the menu until we went this time - when I'd been before, it was what the owner recommended to us). I'm sure everything on the menu is very good, but honestly, these two dishes are SO good, that it's the only things we've tried!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Buying don tot in Chinatown

Andy & Dick wait in line at Golden Gate Bakery

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Noe's new favorite spot

Underneath the sink, on top of the heated floor, in the new bathroom.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Official: I'm having one of "those" days.

..and the only thing that's helping me keep my cool right now is that I have to get ready to go out for a client meeting in 10 minutes.

In a nutshell (and because I have to leave):

sometime this morning: some ass let his big dog poop right in front of our stairs, so I had to spray it down so people wouldn't track it into our house by accident (getting grumpy)

1:00: find out Mykail isn't coming home for Christmas. :( (sad)

1:45: painter comes to finish touch ups (yay!)
He asks if I want him to bring the cans of paint back into the basement. I offer to do it instead.

While I'm down there, I drop two containers of paint (that I was using for quick touch ups). Both containers break, and spread paint all over the basement floor, and on my clothes. (over-the-top grumpy!)

This is not the end of the world by any means, but really, I want to scream.

Update:
I've made it to my meeting in time but realized while I was on MUNI that I didn't get all the paint off my hands, and my black sweater has cat hair all over it. OY.

Update to my update:
Client meeting went really well. Nice people, and we hit it off.
I stopped at "Hot Cookie" on Castro Street and got a chocolate cookie on the way home. :) I'm fairly convinced that a chocolate chip cookie can make almost any day a little better.

D'oh!

Oh man, I hate it when I do things like this.

Like most people, when it starts to get cold each winter, Dick and I will turn on the heaters on both floors (2 condos, 2 furnaces). Both furnaces are pretty old, but the one for upstairs is really old. For the last couple of years, when I tried to turn on the upstairs heat, it wouldn't work, and we'd have to go down to the basement to light the pilot light, and that would get it up and running. While we're down there, we also remember to change filters. :)

About 3 weeks ago, it started to get really cold, so we turned on the heat, but nothing happened. We went to the basement, lit the pilot light, tried to turn it on again, but still... nada.

When we moved the switch on the thermostat, we could hear the little "click" that you hear when you know it's turning on, but nothing was happening. We fiddled with it for quite some time, then figured that a) the thermostat was broken and needed to be replaced, b) the furnace was kerbusted and needed to be replaced, or c) all of the above.

I asked my contractor for a recommendation for a heating company, and got an immediate referral. (always nice) When I called the company, they were booked solid (because it's the beginning of winter, and everyone is calling them now!) and I had to wait more than a week for an appointment. Which is fine.

So, the repair guy came out this morning. I told him the situation. He came upstairs to check out the thermostat first. He turned it up all the way. (I had tested it by turning it up to 75 or 80 degrees, but not all the way up to 90)

Before we headed down to the basement, he asked to use our bathroom. While he was in there, I started to smell that familiar smell that the heater makes when it's blowing warm air up the ducts for the first time in a year....

What, really?

So yeah. The heat was working again. And all he did was turn up the thermostat.
...and we've been freezing our tushes off for the past 3 weeks.

Duh.

He was super nice. Since he really didn't do anything, he offered not to charge me, even though I knew that the company had a minimum 1 hour charge. He also offered to take a peek at our furnace to check it out. He said it was at least 30 years old, and that we should plan to replace it soon.

Anyhow, it was a funny story, and I really appreciate that he was so nice and didn't charge us. You know they'll get our business when we decide to replace the furnace!

Cozy Kitty

This is where I found Noe yesterday as I was heading out: on the bed,
between the pillows, and underneath the comforter. It's a good life.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More than meets the eye...

robots in disguise

Last night, Dick and I watched the movie Transformers

I had heard it was a pretty good movie, but we were both surprised how much we both really loved it! Okay, not the best movie ever made, but some good entertainment!

I remember hearing about the movie before it came out thinking, "Seriously? A movie about a toy line from the '80s?".

Actually, what really cracked me up was realizing that I although I never had the toys, and never watched the cartoon, I learned enough from watching TV ads for the toys in the 80s to remember that Megatron was the leader of the Decepticons. That's some pretty serious toy commercial brainwashing!

Anyhow, GREAT special effects, a fun action-fill story, a decent cast, and some surprisingly funny dialog. What a fun film!

Monday, December 17, 2007

taking a break

After a busy last several weeks, I decided to take a mental health day today. (one of the big perks of working from home!)

Here I am, sitting in an empty theater, with popcorn and a coke in hand. I'm waiting to see The Golden Compass, which I've been looking forward to seeking for awhile.

I've never been to see a movie by myself before! No real reason, except that I don't often go out to see movies in theaters. It's pretty cool, though - I'm really glad I'm doing this. What a nice treat.

Bonus: before I left the house, I remembered that I had an AMC giftcard! Woo Hoo! ;)

Friday, December 14, 2007

You swooped me? I'll swoop you right back!

Some of you may know that I'm a fan of ebay. According to my ebay stats, I've been a member since January 14. 1998. Wow - that's a long time. Being a collector of a few different things, I often follow auctions to see what things are going for, and I will occasionally participate in one as either a buyer or a seller.

When I'm serious about trying to "win" an auction, I do my best to "swoop" in during the last minute or few seconds of the auction. You know the drill: you wait until the last few minutes, constantly refresh the browser, watching the minutes/seconds count down, then, during the final 60 seconds or so, you put in your bid, hoping that once you've completed all of the steps, you will have come out victorious! It's all very exciting - just as they intend it to be. :)

Last weekend, I was trying to swoop on a particular item. My theory: bid as high as your comfortable paying, and if you get it great, but if you don't, you can't feel bad, because you already decided what your limitations are. So anyway, here I was, swooping at the last second with my high bid, my bid is accepted, and I'm the high bidder. But wait: there are a few mere seconds left. Refresh one more time, and damn, someone named "iluvebay" swoops in and wins the auction. (okay, that wasn't really their ebay name, but you get the idea.) And then you curse out loud: "Damn you, (insert ebay name here)".

This happens more often than not, which is okay, because I still follow my rule of knowing how high I'm willing to bid, and not to be to upset that it goes higher.

So there were two more auctions that I was following ending this afternoon. These were both similar items to the item that I "lost" last weekend. (I always try to remember that these things do have a habit of coming back up for auction if you're patient, and wait it out.) I did the swoop again, with about 45 seconds to go. Again, i was the high bidder with a few scant seconds left, then...... "Sorry, you've been outbid".... by the same person as last weekend! "Damn you, (insert ebay name here)".

8 minutes later, the second auction was ending. "Okay, (insert ebay name here)I'm on to you now!" This time, I waited even longer - perhaps 25 seconds before the end. Hit my submission, and....."Congratulations, YOU are the high bidder." Refresh once more, and it is verified that I had WON, and yes, the bidder-who-shall-not-be-named tried to swoop me once again, but I managed to be one up on them this time.

And now you know the crazy antics that I will go through to win an auction on ebay. It's quite hilarious, actually. Dick has watched me in the process a few times, and he gets all into it, too.

Just another day-in-the-life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thanks, I needed that!

With Dick up in Seattle for the night, and Richard down in Milpitas for his new job, Pete and I decided to get together tonight to hang out and relax.

The plan: Pizza (Chicago-style, even!) and "Elf".

First things first: the pizza was outstanding! One of the best I've had. It was indeed Chicago-style, but without as much cheese as I've had before. The sauce was really well seasoned, and it was chalk-full of goodies!

Secondly: "Elf". Pete has been telling me about this movie for years now - well, at least 4 years, since it only came out in 2004. I just never got around to seeing it.

I really enjoyed the movie - I think it was exactly what I needed. It was hilarious - I laughed so often! Plus, I didn't know it was directed b Jon Favreau. I love that guy.

If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. It's a very charming and funny holiday movie. Plus, Pete found it at Best Buy for only $10! You can't beat that!

Thanks, Pete! It was a great evening.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Giving Thanks, Moving Forward, and Finding Humor

First of all, I want to thank all of you who have sent emails, comments, and cards to me and my family in regards to my Grandpa's passing. I can't express how much your notes of love and support have meant to us.

In my 37 years, this is the first time that I've lost a close family member. That fact still amazes me, and I do not take it for granted. With this in mind, I've always been one of the people writing cards of sympathy to friends, offering them my condolences, wanting to do whatever I could to help in any small way. It never felt like enough.

Now I know that these emails and cards that I've received, phone calls, and hugs that I've received are SO much. I want you all to know how much strength and support you've given to me. I've always known how fortunate I am to have so many wonderful friends and family members: the best support system I could imagine.

I haven't had a chance yet to respond to any of your emails - I hope to start doing that tomorrow. Please know that I've received them, and loved reading every single one of them. They warm my heart.

Yesterday, my Mom, my Grandma and I went shopping for an urn in which to keep my Grandpa's ashes. None of us had ever been through this before, so we didn't really know what to expect. My sister had called my Mom earlier that day to remind her that Costco.com sells funeral items: coffins, urns, etc., (I'm sure I've blogged about that before!) So my Mom and I checked out Costco.com, printed out the urn selection, and brought it with us for comparison.

We went to a place in Downtown San Jose which (apparently) has a large selection of urns in stock. This gave us a chance to get a feel for what's available, what the sizes are, shapes, colors, etc.,

To make a long story short, we all agreed to go with one of the urns on costco.com. Now I realize that this may sound odd, but really, it's perfect.

My Grandpa would have gotten a kick out of knowing that we could buy this from Costco. I can hear him chuckling now. :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

In Loving Memory of Choo Chan

January 22, 1917 - December 7, 2007

I realized fairly early on that blogging was a therapeutic resource for me. There were times when it really helped me to be able to put my thoughts "out there" to share with others (whom ever that may be). I'm counting on this to be one of those times.

My Grandfather, Choo Chan, passed away this morning.

Although I am extraordinarily sad about this, I'm finding great comfort in thinking about all of the great memories I have of him.

Simply put, he was one of the best people I've ever known: he was kind, generous, loving and had a great sense of humor. He had an even temper, and always had a smile on his face.

He lived for over 90 years. He was married to his wife for 60 years. He loved his wife, he loved his daughter, and he loved his family.

He loved hot dogs and custard donuts.
He made the world's best Egg Foo Young.

He owned and operated his own Shoe Repair Shop in Downtown Stockton. He ran it for 50 years.

He was kind and generous: he would give money to the local "hobos", but only after he had figured out a way that they could work it off somehow so that they could retain their dignity. These same hobos referred to my Mom as "the shoe repairman's Daughter" and would watch after her as she walked to and from elementary school.

My Grandpa had a great sense of humor. He was always laughing, and always teasing. When I was young, he used to tease me by saying he was going to take some of my Raggedy Ann dolls. I believed him, and bought him a Raggedy Andy of his very own.

He used to call me "Chili Bean"
He used to carve the turkey for Thanksgiving, and would always sneak a few pieces to me.
He would give my sister and me $1 for every "A" that we showed him on our report cards.

He used to pick up these little plastic banks from McDonalds that were shaped like garbage cans (a McDonaldland character, at the time). He would save all of the pennies that he could save from his store, and he would present these banks to us, full of pennies when he saw us.

He loved animals, and all things small and cute.
He and my Grandma have a small brown teddy bear named "Half Pint". Grandpa would bring him to sit on their bedside table every night when they went to bed.
He would call anyone or anything small "Big Shot".

He used to walk me to the 7-11 by his house to buy me a Slurpee.

He couldn't pass up a deal. If he found a really good sale, not only would be buy one or two - he would usually buy something like 10!

He enjoyed shopping at Costco.

He liked gadgets.

One of my most recent favorite memories was when I showed him my iPhone. He was very impressed with everything it could do. He asked me how much it cost. I was embarrassed to tell him, because he was so frugal, and I was afraid he would think that I spent too much money. After I told him it was $600, he turned to my Mom and said, "That's not bad. I thought it would be $1,000! Barbara! You should get one, too!"

My Grandpa was one of the best men I've ever known. Everyone who knew him loved him.

I can't express how lucky I feel to have had 37 years with him.
He had a great life, and he knew how to be happy.

Goodbye, Grandpa. I will miss you, always.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Everyone looks great in this jacket!

I just got an email from my friend Barry, who had just finished reading my blog post from yesterday.

It turns out that Barry has a Chinese jacket very similar to the one that Dick wore to the Holiday Party Saturday night. Barry's was custom made for him in Beijing! (just a little further away than San Francisco Chinatown, where Dick bought his jacket.)



Here's a photo of Barry looking dashing in his jacket. Note that Barry is holding a doll - that's Hitty. Hitty belongs to Andrew, Barry's partner. Hitty travels all around the world with Barry & Andew. In this photo, she's wearing a custom made Chinese Silk Dress! (Hitty's wardrobe would make Barbie jealous.) You can view all of Hitty's Travel Photos Here.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Holiday Party at the Asian Art Museum

Dick's company's Holiday Party was this past Saturday Night. It was held at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. What an amazing venue that is. It's the second time in the last 5 years that the party has been here, and both times, the parties were really top notch and amazing! Really great food, open bar, and live entertainment (acrobats and musicians). Plus, the building itself is just gorgeous. The museum exhibits were actually open to us during the party, but unfortunately, Dick and I ran out of time, and didn't have a chance to see any!

While Dick's family was in town over Thanksgiving week, we brought them to Chinatown for shopping, and dim sum. I took them to Dragon Seed, the store where I had my cheongsam made for our wedding a couple of years ago. It's a really neat store, with all kinds of beautiful fabrics and clothing.

While we were there, Dick eyed a really beautiful men's silk Chinese-Style jacket. He tried it on, and it was a perfect fit - so much so, that his family and I all agreed that he had to buy it! That's when we remembered that the company Holiday Party was going to be held at the Asian Art Museum this year, and it would be the perfect event to wear it to.



Dick's jacket was a hit - he had many people compliment him on it during the evening. I wore a little black dress, along with one my my Chinese-Style jackets that actually complimented Dick's jacket quite well. :)