Thursday, February 28, 2008
We have a really great, and unusually large backyard by San Francisco standards. The poor garden has been neglected for almost a couple of years now, ever since my gardener was mean to me, and fired me. :)
We stopped regular maintenance after that, as we knew that we eventually wanted to completely redesign the space. We decided to do the bathroom remodel first, then concentrate on the backyard.
We've hired a landscape architect team, who have come to scope out the site, and have presented us with some initial design ideas. They also suggested that we clear the backyard sooner rather than later so that we can all get a better sense of the space.
So, today was "Demo the Backyard Day" at "His 'n "Her Condos".
I hired a hauling company who came in with 9 burly men and one enormous dumpster. They came in at 8:00 this morning, and had finished by 2:00 this afternoon. Pretty amazing stuff.
Along the way, they offered to haul away anything else that we wanted to get rid of. I've been wanted to get rid of a few dozen very large boxes that I've kept in the basement for the past 4 years since the move. What is it about moving that makes you think that you should keep all of the "good" boxes that you may need someday in case you need to move again? Several of these boxes were also the ones that came with every large piece of electronics that we bought or had at the time: CPUs/monitors/printers/scanners/etc., Did I think I'd ever need to return these? Sheesh!
I've realized that they're more of a fired hazard than anything at this point, so I decided to get rid of them all! It was very therapeutic. They've been taking up so much room in the back of the basement, and I was trying to figure out how/when i was going to get rid of them. (A lot of them have Styrofoam peanuts or blocks in them, so I wouldn't be able to recycle those.) So, I rolled up my sleeves and braved the scary dark back section of the basement this morning, and brought them all out to be hauled away!
Anyhow, the hauling team was just amazing, and finished the job in 6 hours.
Here are some before and after photos. What a difference!! :)
Monday, February 25, 2008
Apparently, it's been declared that the month of March will be Moustache March at Dick's place of work. Dick just sent this email out to a few of his fellow co-workers:
Me: Oh, by the way, next month is Moustache March
My Long-Suffering Wife, Trina: huh??
Me: Moustache March. A bunch of guys in the office grow moustaches.
Trina: Great! You already have a moustache.
Me: Actually, I have a goatee. Here’s what I look like in a moustache (shows Apple employee badge from 1986)
Trina: Do I get a say in this?
Dick, circa 1986
The funny thing is that the conversation that Dick wrote was pretty much verbatim of my reaction.
Oh, my. It's going to be an interesting month.
I'll keep you all posted.
(I just made him promise that he wouldn't grow out his bangs)
I had heard a little bit about it in previews, reviews, and even Kimi's Blog. Oh, and I see it even won the Academy Award last night for "Best Song".
I really enjoyed it as I was watching it, but it's one of those films where the more you think about it afterwards, the more you like it even more.
It was heartwarming, a bit melancholy, romantic, subtle and inspiring. You can tell it was a low budget film (filmed in only 3 weeks!), but that quality only enhances the experience of viewing it. It made it seem so "real". I checked afterwards to find out that the two lead actors in the film were indeed the song writers/musicians for all of the music. That's cool.
I just looked it up on imdb.com and found some really great trivia about the film. My two favorite tidbits are that the "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy" song was totally improvised and spontaneous, and not meant to actually be in the film.
My other favorite tidbit that I found out after reading was this:
(minor spoiler for those care...)
There is a moment when the guy asks the girl whether she loves her husband. She responds, "No. I love you." However, her response is in unsubtitled Czech, so the man does not understand her. nor do audience members who don't know the language.
I also love that the two title characters don't have actual names. The credits only list them as "Guy" and "Girl".
This film reminded me somewhat of "Before Sunrise", another movie that I've always loved.
If you liked that movie, see "Once". You'll really enjoy it.
(Sis, I'm talking to you) :)
Oh, look! Here's the trailer. (how handy!)
Way back in mid-December, I returned some items that we'd ordered from the Restoration Catalog. The items were needed for our bathroom remodel, but the shipment of these items were delayed, and we didn't get them in time to use them in the bathroom. (they were the sink trap/supply kit.) We ended up buying something else, so I returned them to a Restoration Hardware store, rather than paying extra to have them shipped back to the company.
I returned 6 towels, (2 of each size, and the color didn't go quite well enough with our bathroom) one H2O Supply kit, and one P Trap Kit.
The guy at the store told me that he would send these items back to the warehouse, but warned me that it may be a few weeks before the refund/credit showed up on our credit cards statement. Because of this, I made a mental note to check our credit card statement periodically so make sure these credit were posted.
One credit (for the towels) showed up on 12/28. Not bad.
Another credit (for the P Trap Kit) posted on 1/2.
I never saw the final credit (for the H20 Supply kit) post at all.
I kept all of my receipts, and jotted down the dates that each credit was made.
Last night, as we were paying bills, I checked the credit card statement one more time. Nothing.
I figured enough time had passed, and it was time to give Restoration Hardware's customer service line a call again.
I just called them.
They agreed that the refund had never been sent, and that they still owed me $225 (plus tax) for the last item.
That's a lot of dough.
They are processing my request now, and say it should show up on my credit card statement within 4-5 business days.
Just another example on why it's so important to keep up with things, and follow up.
I could've easily forgotten about that return, and assumed that it was done right. That would've been a lot of money down the drain (pun somewhat intended).
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
I got this funny email this morning from my friend, Andrew:
I knew that name rang a bell. The Schoenhut company (makers of wooden toys including Quacky Doodles & Danny Daddles) produced a series of simple dolls based on clothespins. They were called the Pinn Family. The mother's name was Hattie Pinn (there was also a Bobby Pinn, etc).
Isn't that funny?
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I just launched another site this morning!
This site is near and dear to my heart. One of my wonderful neighbors started a business last year of creating pins and pendants out of vintage buttons. I really love her products.
I was really happy with how this site design turned out.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
It appears as if one of our favorite local restaurants went out of business at the end of last year.
You may ask, "If it's one of your favorite restaurants, why would it take you 3 months to figure out that it's closed?"
The answer is very simple: Powell's Place was the place to go for Soul Food: Fried Chicken, Greens, Yams, corn muffins, etc., You know, the kind of food that you can only afford to eat a couple of times a year.
But that does remind me of a funny story:
When my Mom and I went out a couple of years ago for my first fitting of my wedding dress, and my cheong-sam, we went out for lunch first. Her choice: Powell's Place. While we were eating our fried chicken, I told her, "You know, there's something really wrong about eating fried chicken right before your first fitting in a wedding dress!". Funny.
Good bye, Powell's Place. We'll miss you.
As some of you may know, one of my web clients of several years is Kristi Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation. I've been working with the foundation for over 5 years, both on their web site, as well as helping with some administrative tasks, and also with the silent auctions during our fund raising events.
About a month ago, I was asked if I could work on a project that would launch towards the end of February. I was told that Kristi was being considered as a contestant for the new season of Dancing with the Stars. We had to keep our project under wraps until the official announcement was made.
Well, the announcement was made last night, and we launched our new site.
I'm really happy with how this site turned out. We managed to come up with a nice site design, and got it up and running in a short amount of time.
I've never watched Dancing with the Stars before - I've only seen a few clips here and there. I'm looking forward to watching this season. It'll be exciting to watch and root for someone that we actually know!
Monday, February 18, 2008
That was brutal.
After 3 hours, I just finished uploading a new site.
I can not believe how much I hate Network Solutions right now. I've never had a client use them for web hosting services before, and now, I'll dissuade anyone who is ever considering them.
Here's what happened: a few weeks ago I put up a temporary "Coming Soon" kind of placeholder page up. That took something like 20 minutes.
Anyone who has ever FTP'ed files up to a server knows this should take a matter of seconds. Not minutes, and certainly not tens of minutes.
So, my client called Network Solutions after I had that bad experience (I had told him to dump them, and to switch to another web hosting service). Well, Network Solutions claimed they were familiar with it, and that their servers were down, and that it almost never happens... blah, blah, blah.
I've been working on this site intensely for the last 4 weeks, with the intention of launching it tonight at 6:00pm PST.
I wasn't thinking. I should have tested the FTP connection earlier today. I should have uploaded all of my images files, and all of my secondary files. I shoulda,woulda, coulda...
But I didn't.
Instead, I waited until 6:00 like a fool, expecting everything to upload within a couple of minutes.
These are not large files. We're talking 200k files, and 4k thumb nail files. The thumb nail files were taking longer than 5 minutes each! I was about ready to pull my frickin' hair out!
The good news: my Hubby is a total rock star. We had friends over this evening (to help celebrate the launch). Dick fixed them all drinks, then, when we all realized that this was going to take me a while, Dick called in an order to our fave Thai restaurant, when out to pick it up, served it, AND cleaned up. All the while, I was sitting with my laptop, staring at it through glossy eyes.
Everything was finally up by 9:00, and we had an official launch.
That was brutal.
Worst. Web. Hosting. Service. Ever.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Nonetheless, this is still post-worthy for any of my blog readers who haven't seen it yet!
It looks great! Can't wait!
I took MUNI to the Civic Center Station (and actually had a nice visit with my neighbor, Michael, along the way). I arrived at City Hall right before 10:00. It was really gorgeous out, all sunny and clear. I think City Hall is such a beautiful building - plus, I got to watch a bunch of senior citizens practicing Tai-Chi in front of City Hall.
Anyhow, I finally made my way to the cashier to get my resident Golf Club. (Aditya, have you gotten yours yet?) It was quick and simple, but unfortunately, I forgot that I'd have to take a picture for it - not a pretty thing at 10:00am if you're not expecting it!
While I was there, I remembered to ask if I could also buy a SF Parking Meter Card. I've been meaning to look into this for quite some time now. I don't drive and park in the City very often, but when I do, I'm reminded of how expensive meter parking is, and how many quarters is takes! It's usually 10 minutes per quarter - that adds up fast, and you're lucky if you have enough change. These new(ish) debit cards allow you to just insert the card into the meter, and it deducts the amount automatically - no change required. They sell them in increments of $20 and $50.
So, that was my morning. Very productive. (Especially since Dick and I went out to the driving range at 8:00 this morning.) I even made it home in time for my Fed-Ex delivery! (With 10 minutes to spare!)
Now, on with the rest of the day!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Here's the thing: Dick and I have been together for 9 years now.
When we first started dating, we passed by a window decorated for Valentine's Day, and he stated right there and then, "Just so you know. I hate Valentine's Day."
He says he see it as a Hallmark Holiday (which it is), and doesn't feel like he should have to celebrate a fake holiday. Now, before you think he's a total scrooge, and completely unromantic, he'll also say that, "Everyday with me is Valentine's Day!". :)
So, no, we don't celebrate Valentine's Day in our house, and I'm okay with that. I still manage to slip him a Valentine's Day Card every year, which I know he secretly appreciates.
Here's the really funny part: During the first two years that we dated, Dick was literally out of the country on Valentine's Day. I teased him that he was avoiding it. The truth was that he was away on business in Japan. In fact, I think that one of those years, he managed to bypass Valentine's Day all together through the wonders of the International Date Line!
Well, true to form, Dick is away again this year (he's up in Seattle for business, but will be home late tonight). I'm pretty sure he plans these trips well ahead of time. It's become an annual joke between us.
My color guard friends and I used to get together on February 14th and celebrate "Single and Unattached Day". There were the usual heart-shaped cakes with a knife stabbed through them, and tales of woe and bitterness. Good times.
Even though I am no longer single and unattached, I still have a lot more experience celebrating "Single and Unattached Day" than I have celebrating "Valentine's Day".
So, to all my friends, attached or not, I wish you a "Happy Single and Unattached Day!".
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Disneyland's “House of the Future,” opened in 1957, is shown in this undated photo. Now, Disneyland is planning to build a new “House of the Future” that could feature such things as desks that act like giant touch-pad computer screens, futuristic cell phones and gaming units.
Full article on MSNBC.com.
This is cool. I remember seeing the original "House of the Future" only in books and photographs. It was torn down before my time. It'll be interesting to see how this one turns out.
At first, I thought they were reviving the "Carousel of the Progress" show/ride, which was always one of my favorites. It has such a great nostalgia thing going for it.
Actually, now that I'm reading this article I guess the ride/attraction that I'm thinking of originated at Disneyland, but later moved to Disney World, which is where I must have seen it. All I know is that when we went to Disneyland last May, I was so disappointed that they had replaced the innards of the cool circular theater with the two-story, static exhibit, Innoventions (I thought it was really boring.)
I finally picked some up last week. On a side note, I found it odd that my local (smaller) grocery store had it, but my emi-local ginormous Safeway did not.
I had seen a segment on TV recently (okay, I admit it - it was on Oprah!) that mentioned the nutritional benefits of Steel Cut Oatmeal.
Steel Cut Oatmeal takes a lot longer to cook than my regular 3-minute Quaker Oats. The recipe on my can called to let it come to a boil, then let it simmer for 30 minutes. I remember hearing that the longer the oatmeal takes to cook, the better it is for you.
I made the Oatmeal for the first time this morning. My verdict? I really liked it. I really liked the texture, and I really liked the taste. I added my usual milk, brown sugar and cranberries to sweeten it. It was really good.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tonight I decided to treat myself. We're all out of leftovers, and I've been craving sushi for a long time now. For some reason, Dick hasn't felt like sushi lately.
Anyhow, I decided to go to one of our favorite neighborhood spots, "All Seasons Sushi".
I love this place: great sushi, super friendly staff, plus they sat me at the sushi bar and gave me some miso soup while I wait for my order!
I hadn't been here since they remodeled. It's really nice!
Monday, February 11, 2008
One of my favorite little dittys of Facebook is the Status Updates. Essentially, as a user, you share your current "status" (what you're doing, what's on your mind, random thoughts, etc.,) with your other Facebook friends. I update mine regularly, just for fun, and I really enjoy "watching" what my friends are up do at any given moment. (I know, it's all pretty Big Brother-ish.)
This afternoon, I refreshed my Facebook home page, and saw a status update for my cousin, Bruce.
Bruce is hanging at Queen Malika Cafe, a new discovery! 8m ago
Queen Malika Cafe is a fab little crepe/coffee shop less than 2 blocks from my house.
Now, of course, I still can't do the simple thing of picking up a phone.
Instead, I open iChat (which I know Bruce uses) and find him online to ask, "Are you at the Queen Malika on 18th St. in my neighborhood?"
and he replies, "Yes, come on down!"
So, I grabbed my purse, and headed down for a nice, quick visit with my cuz. It was great. I always enjoy having the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with anyone in my family, since our usual family gatherings are always so large, and it's hard to have a substantial one-on-one conversation with anyone.
Anyhow, this whole story cracked me up. Bruce surpassed me years ago as far as techno-geekiness goes, so it only seems appropriate that this is how we communicate to have a spontaneous hook up.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
The weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. I'm guessing low 60s, which is just perfect, especially considering all of the rain and cold we've had lately.
We made it out of the house both days to enjoy the sunshine. Yesterday, we took a walk around the neighborhood, and down towards Dolores Park. The park was packed full of people - you can just tell that everyone was just craving to be outside in the fresh air. Dick and I walked down 18th Street to have a snack at Bakery Tartine. Yum. As we walked down 18th, I laughed when I noticed the incredibly long line outside of the Bi-Rite Ice Creamery. Clearly, this was the first warm, sunny day we've had all year, because people were standing in a line 20 people deep for ice cream! :)
Today, we walked over 17th Street, and up to Buena Vista Park. I love this park. It's so spacious, and woodsy. It makes you forget that you're in the middle (quite literally) of a big, urban City.
I took these pictures during our urban hike, because I thought it made it look like we were "hiking" somewhere outside of the City.
This is one that I took at the top of the Park. You can see The Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
This weekend was also the first time all year that I was able to open all the windows, and let the house air out. It's nice turn the heater off, and let in some fresh air.
Looks like we'll be enjoying weather like this all week long!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I started playing golf about a month ago. Dick has been playing about a year and really wanted me to pick it up. I admit, I hesitated a bit because, you know... It's golf. Nothing against golf at all, it's simply not a sport that I ever saw myself playing. (Because I play so many sports. :)
I went to the driving range twice, using Lora's old clubs that she loaned me. I did okay- better than I thought I would. Dick was so excited that we bought a set of clubs (and cute shoes!) for me.
I tried my new clubs at the driving range about three more times before braving Golden Gate Golf Course last week.
I did fine- not bad in my book for a beginner- I was hitting 6-8 swings on every hole. I'll take that.
Today I went out with Dick, Andy & Aditya. (previously, I'd only
braved playing with Dick). It was my third time out on a course.
I played my regular 6-8/hole (still happy with that!) but today, miraculously, on the third hole, I made par!!!!
That's 3 swings!!!!
I'm reveling in the moment, as i'm not expecting for that to happen again anytime soon! :)
Friday, February 08, 2008
When putting away leftovers, put the sauce in the container first, covered by the starch (rice/pasta). It's the opposite of what you think you'd do, but here's the thing:
- the sauce won't get soaked up into the starch while it's sitting in the fridge. This leaves you with more sauce once you're eating the leftovers later!
- tip the container over onto a plate, and your meal is in the right order (starch at bottom, sauce on top). You can heat it while still in the container, or after you've put it onto a dish.
I've passed this tip on to other people over the years, (my sister, Christopher, etc.,) and they all seem amazed that they'd never thought about it before.
Try it next time you have some saucy leftovers. :)
You should know that the BofA building on the corner of Castro and 18th street is a really gorgeous old building. Now, while I appreciate that BofA needs to put up a sign letting customers know where they are, I really think they went overboard on this one.
The signs go around all 3 sides of the building. They are bright red and have that really cheap plastic look about them.
Don't they know that in this case, less is more?
Way to deface a building, BofA.
Rafa had never been to the U.S. before, and was very open and excited to try out some traditional "American" foods. We met in the Castro first - I told them that we'd meet by the big rainbow flat on the corner of Castro and Market. You know, THE Flag. The one that's always flying. Except for yesterday.... I assume it was down for the filming of the movie, "Milk". But still, that struck me as very funny.
So, lucky Rafa. I tried to explain that we don't usually have Hollywood movies being filmed in our neighborhood, but that they had very good timing! We walked around the Castro, stopped at Spikes for a coffee, then down to Dolores Park and back. It was such a nice, sunny day yesterday. For lunch, I drove them down to the Cliff House, where we had a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean. Rafa decided that he really wanted to try a Hamburger and fries. Most of you probably know that I don't eat Hamburgers very often - I usually opt for a garden/veggie burger, or a turkey burger. But I realized that the Cliff House would probably make a really nice burger, so I figured, "Why not?" and ordered one as well.
As we were eating, we discussed other foods that were typically American. Andrew had suggested to Rafa that he try adding Bacon to his Hamburger, and explained how different Bacon in the U.S. was, compared to bacon in Spain or England. Once we were on the topic of Bacon, we quickly started to discuss typical American breakfasts, and how Rafa had never had pancakes. That's when we decided that I would take them out to breakfast at It's Tops this morning, before they left to drive to Monterey.
What a nice visit we had. I hope that they enjoy the rest of their trip just as much as I enjoyed spending time with them.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
We have a lot of rats in my family - both my Mom and Dad, my cousin, Cheri, and my niece, (my cousin's daughter) Evelyn!
3 generations of Rats - Evelyn, Barb, and Cheri
The Sign of the Rat
Being born under this sign determines many talents, as well as other characteristics that may not be so commendable. Rats are very lively and need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. They can be calm and perceptive, but sometimes their brains can cause a mental restlessness, tempting them to take on too much, only to discover they are unable to meet their commitments. Rats are blessed with one of the best intellects going. Add to their intelligence a curiosity and a bright imagination, and they seem as sharp as a needle.
My family got together for our annual Chinese New Year celebration this past Sunday. For the first time in the last few years, we held it in Stockton at my Grandparent's house. It was really nice having it back there again.
I got a refresher course on Mahjong - it's been several years since I've played, and I really wanted to pick it up again. Now, if we could only find the Mahjong set that everyone *claims* belongs to me! :)
Grandma had been preparing for the Chinese New Year feast for several days - cooking for 20 people! We all did what we could to help, but really, Grandma had it all under control. Unfortunately, poor Auntie Lani was sick this year, and couldn't join us, so we were down to 19.
A whole lotta Chow
(photo courtesy of my cuz, Bruce. Thanks, Boo!)
It was a really nice day, and, for whatever reason, one of my favorite "Chinese New Year" celebrations in memory.
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
I quickly went to look out my window and saw a car making a quick u-turn, then stopping just up the street from my house. When I looked out the side window of the bay window in our front room, I saw that someone was lying in the middle of the street.
I put my shoes on, grabbed my cell phone, and ran out to see if there was anything I could do to help. There were already 2 good samaritans there: one was his phone with 911, the other was trying to convince the fallen bicyclist to remain lying down.
I found out from of the of drivers (the one who did the quick u-turn) that he was driving down our street, and that the bicyclist was speeding behind him (probably 3-35 MPH). He saw through his rear view mirror that the bicycle's front wheel began to wobble, and that the bicyclist had lost control, and flipped up off his bike, and landed hard on the street.
The poor guy. You could just tell that he was really shaken up, and probably in shock. We tried to keep him down on the ground, but he was adamant about wanted to stand up. Eventually, we got him to sit down on the stairs of a nearby stoop until the paramedics came. The fire fighters, ambulance, and police came within a couple of short minutes, and took him away to the hospital.
Dick and I have always commented on how quickly people drive up and down our street. We're a bit of a thorough way between 17th Street and Noe Valley, and sometimes, people just tear down the street. I think they forget that they are in a residential area.
A neighbor and I talked at the accident scene, and he was thinking about calling the City to see if we could put up speed bumps or caution signs. Not sure if that's possible or not, but it would certainly be helpful.
Luckily, there weren't any cars involved in the bicycle accident today. According to the driver who was in front of the bicyclist, the bicyclist ran through the stop sign at the top of the street, and was tearing down the hill when he lost control.
Slow down, people.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Saturday, February 02, 2008
couple of weeks ago. I've left messages with Caltrain's lost and
found, but so far, no luck.
This morning, we drove down to Fillmore Street to Mrs. Dewson's Hats
. My sister had worked with Mrs Dewson a few years ago when she
worked on the show, "Crowns".
Mrs Dewson has had her shop on Fillmore for over 35 years. It is THE
place to find a hat in San Francisco.
After searching for a while, Mrs Dewson was able to help Dick find the
perfect hat. :)
Friday, February 01, 2008
Oh no! I forgot that yesterday was my MINI's 4th MINIversary!
I can't believe I've had her, "MINI Driver", for four years already.
Seems like just yesterday that we picked her up from the dealership!
I think this also means that my extended warranty has expired! Hmmmm. I should look into that!
I suppose one of these years, I'll stop talking about my MINI so much, but it probably won't be this year. :)