Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing in a new Decade

Today is the last day of the year 2009, and indeed, the last year of the Y2K decade.

A few of my friends on Facebook have posted photos from NYE 1999, showing what they were doing as they entered the new millennium.

I dug into my archives, and found a photo of me and Dick, taken on December 31, 1999.

Trina & Dick
December 31, 1999

We had a low-key evening at home with Pete & Richard, and Mitch and his brother, Bruce. We made dinner at home, then ventured out on MUNI to the Embarcadero to watch the fireworks. Funny thing is, once we were there, we decided it was all too crowded and crazy for our taste, and we took MUNI back home well before the clock struck Midnight.

Tonight, we'll be having a low-key evening at home with Pete and Richard. We'll be making dinner at home, and honestly, will probably retire before the clock strikes midnight. Some things never change. :)

It's interesting reflecting on the past decade, and how things have changed.

Dick and I had been dating for a year at that time. Since then, we've each moved a couple of times (and yes, that does mean moving in together, and eventually setting up house at "His 'n Her Condos"), we've added some furry companions to our family (We got 3 cats in 2000 - Claude now lives happily with my parents, Marcel sadly passed away just this last March, and little Noe is still as fluffy, spunky, and funny as ever), we did some wonderful travel (London, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Granada, Seville, Madrid, Shanghai, Tokyo, Alaska, Hawaii, etc.), got married, and created many, many wonderful memories with family and friends, old and new!

Overall, a pretty fantastic decade for us. It's amazing just how much can happen in 10 years when you take a moment to think about it.

Happy New Year to all of my friends and family out there.
Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2010!

April, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Green Day Collection

the perfect way to top off my Green Day year.... :)

I just discovered that iTunes just released (okay, on December 22nd, so I'm a little late) The Green Day Collection!

What does that mean?

Well, it means that you can now buy every single song, album, bonus track, video, etc., in Green Day's long history.

Why would you want it?

Well, if you're like me, you won't necessarily want to buy the whole thing (and for $99.99, it's not cheap, but frankly, for all that it includes, it's pretty inexpensive), but you may need to pick up a few songs here and there. I own most of the albums - I think I'm missing their very first, and perhaps one more in the middle, but I'm pretty well covered. However, this did give me the chance to buy some bonus tracks that I don't think were available before.

Hearing Green Day cover The Clash's "I Fought the Law" is pretty awesome. :)

They also do a cover of "Like a Rolling Stone". Fun stuff!

I need to start a new blog label devoted to Green Day. I seem to devote a lot of posts on this blog to them. ;)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from my parent's house!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Very San Francisco Christmas (Eve)

I admit, I haven't been in much of the Christmas Spirit this year. With my Grandfather's passing, and following the period of mourning, we decided not to put up our Christmas tree, or even decorate for Christmas at all this year.

We've done a couple of things over the last few days to try to get into the Holiday Spirit: We watched "Elf" the other night, went down to Union Square yesterday to look at all of the Holiday Decorations, and had a really nice dinner at Pete & Richard's house with Blane last night.

Even so, I was still feeling the Holiday Blues this morning. To rectify the situation, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, and specifically, to walk to "The Christmas House" on 21st Street.

This is Tom and Jerry's House in Noe Valley. No, I don't know them personally, but they have their names on the huge stockings on their house. :)

I love walking to their house during Christmastime. It really has a magic about it, and you can just see how much love goes into putting this all together year after year.

Dick, bringing the perspective

We stopped by Dolores Park to take in one of our most favorite views of the City. It's always so beautiful, but even better on a cool, clear day.

View from Dolores Park

On our way back home, we decided to stop by Harvey's on Castro Street for a drink. :)

As if a drink at Harvey's wasn't reason enough to make me happy - they were also showing "The Empire Strikes Back"! :)

Darth Vader at Harvey's

Hello, Bloody Mary!

One last picture to wrap up our walk around the Castro on Christmas Eve:

Here's a night shot of our neighbor's house. They add a little bit to it each year. Always makes me happy to see.

Happy Christmas Eve, to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


it's always a fun time in Trina's Playhouse!

I'm still loving my cabana out in the backyard. I thought i had finished furnishing it, but i had a couple of people (including my Dad!) suggest that I should look for a small ottoman to put out there.

So, I've been on the hunt for the last few months, and hadn't found anything...

...until today.

Today, I hopped inside the new (to me) CB2 in Union Square, (fun store, but the way) and found the perfect ottoman!

Actually, it's called a "Pouf"! Gotta love that!

It's round, and comfy, and green - perfect for the Cabana. :)
Plus, it fits in with my circle motif I have going in there. Who could ask for anything more?

Bonus: I have yet another reason to keep saying "Pouf". ;)

Now, I do believe that my Cabana is fully furnished. Come on over and hang out with me. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Well, Cuss Me!

I've decided that I'm going to take a cue from the "Fantastic Mr. Fox" movie (which I loved, by the way. You should see it) and I'm going to use the word "Cuss" instead of any actual 4-letter cuss words when I feel the need to use expletives.

I generally don't swear much at all (except if I'm playing Xbox), but every now and then, I do feel the need. :)

Some examples:

"Cuss Me!"
"Are you Cussing Me?"
"Don't Cuss with Me!"
"What the Cuss?!"

...and my personal fave...

"Cluster Cuss"

(seriously - go see the movie!)

Why am I feeling the need to say this now, when it's been 2 weeks since I saw the movie?

It's because I just got home after spending the last 3.5 hours of my life sitting in traffic! "Cuss ME!"

I left Stockton at 3:00 this afternoon - hoping to beat the fog and the traffic (or, at least most of it). No go. There was a really bad accident of the big-rig nature in Stockton, and it took me 1 hour to get out. It should usually take about 15 minutes.

By the time I was in the Bay Area, I also got stuck in regular Friday night traffic, and Bay Bridge craziness.

It was bad.

Under normal circumstances, even with a little bit of traffic, it should only take 1.5-1.75 hours.

Oh, and did I mention that I stopped off at Tracy to grab a hot chocolate from Starbucks? Oh, and instead of putting in my one shot of peppermint, they decided to put in one shot of espresso instead. I try to avoid caffeine in general, and the hot chocolate was already pushing it, so by the time I made the discovery that it wasn't right, I was already at the Costco getting gasoline. I drove back to Starbucks to have them fix it. Good thing. That wouldn't have been pretty...

But I digress...

With my new, cleaner, cuss-free plan, I do believe that this blog is now officially rated PG-13.

It may even be PG...

Who the Cuss knows?


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Green Day: Rock Band!

oh, yeah, baby! Just call me Billie Joe!

'Green Day: Rock Band' Coming In 2010
Version of the popular game will feature songs from the band's entire career.

I admit it: If I didn't already own Rock Band, I would buy it just for this. :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dinner at Grandma's

I'm back in Stockton, spending time with my Grandma. Here's tonight's
dinner. Yum!

Monday, December 07, 2009

In the news....

adding another minute or so to my so-called 15-minutes of fame...

Check it out! Andrew and I are quoted and photographed in this news article about the Fantastic Mr. Fox exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum!

Fantastic Mr. Fox Trots Through the City

Just another example of being in the right place at the right time. :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie


Chicken Pot Pie!

Wow! Dick and I just made what may be my most favorite recipe that we've made yet!

While we were in New York in October we had some fantastic little chicken pot pies at the Boat House in Central Park. I think this was the first time that I realized that it was a dish that we both enjoyed so much, and something that we should try to make someday.

We've been doing a lot of cooking since then, especially out of the cookbook Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I had bought this cookbook for Dick years ago (he's a big Jacques Pepin Fan) and we've used it for a couple of recipes, but never really paid much attention to it. We watched the movie Julie and Julia a few months back, and were completely inspired. As this is the only Julia Child cookbook that we currently have (we'll be fixing that soon) we decided to dive into it, and have been trying out several recipes. We've also been recording and watching the Julia & Jacques Cooking At Home series on PBS which are on the air again.

Anyhow, we finally tried the Poached Chicken in aromatic vegetables recipe last night. It's fantastic - it's a whole chicken, leeks, celery, carrots, baby onion several different herbs, and white wine. Very simple, very yummy.

As much as we enjoyed this recipe, one of our favorite parts that are mentioned both in the book as well as on the TV series is that you can use leftovers from this dish to make two other dishes: Chicken, rice and vegetable soup and Chicken Pot Pie!

After dinner last night, we portioned off the amount of chicken, vegetables and broth that we'd need for the Chicken Pot Pie that we planned to make tonight, and used the rest as soup for lunch. Really yummy.

This evening, I made the dough (I used to make pies with homemade pie crust, but it's been a long time) and boiled done broth to start a roux. The roux was pretty simple - butter, flour and a little bit of cream was added to the condensed broth.

The chicken pot pie was SO good! It turned out just as good (or better!) than we had hoped! Success!

...and pretty, too!

This recipe is a keeper for sure. I can't wait to make it for company! :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

A Fantastic Day with Mr. Fox & Andrew

Thanks, I needed that!

I spent the early afternoon with my friend, Andrew, today. Andrew and I have many similar interests: Raggedy Ann, Animation Art, children's literature & illustrations, animated films, etc.,

Today we went to see the movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox" at our local theater. What a great film - if you enjoy Roald Dahl books, or enjoy and appreciate stop-motion animation, I highly recommend it.

The best word I can think of to describe it is Charming. Everything about it: the story, the style, the music.... it was all indeed, "Fantastic".

After the movie, we walked over to the Cartoon Art Museum to see the Fantastic Mr. Fox Exhibit. We did this several months ago when we saw the movie Coraline. We're so lucky to have the Cartoon Art Museum here - they always have such good exhibits, like both of these, and how wonderful to see them right after seeing the films!

The Fantastic Mr. Fox exhibit features two sets from the stop motion animated film, “Flint Mine – We Took Everything” and “Farmer Scale Yellow Door,” which include puppets and props used in the film’s production. Very cool. The detail on the characters was so amazing!

Fantastic Mr. Fox set and props

After the museum, we walked over to Jeffrey's Toys to see if they had any movie-related merchandise (they did not) or Raggedy Ann dolls (they only had two small dolls). While we were perusing through the store, we spotted a little wooden doll who, shockingly, was a cross between Raggedy Ann, and, well.... me.

Hilarious! We just *had* to get it, so Andrew offered to buy it for me. :) I figured she could live in "Trina's Playhouse" in the backyard. :)

Trina with Wooden-Trina

One of Andrew's hobbies is that he has a little wooden doll named Hitty, who he takes around the world with him, and takes pictures of. Hitty is quite the World Traveler, and the girl has a much larger wardrobe than I. :) Here's a link to her very impressive photo album.

Today, she was sporting her little Fox Hat, which she wore when taking a photo with Mr. Fox.

Andrew taking a photo of Hitty and Mr. Fox

While we were writing for a train in the MUNI station, I decided to take a photo of Hitty and her new wooden friend, Trina.

Trina and Hitty at the MUNI station

It was a fun afternoon, and a nice break for both of us. Thanks, Andrew! (and thanks to Hitty, too!)

Green Day With the 'American Idiot' Cast, '21 Guns' -- Song Premiere

Here's a recording of the cast of “American Idiot” singing “21 Guns” with Green Day!

I really liked this version during the show, but I have to admit, as I listened to this version, my heart skipped a beat when Billie Joe's voice rang in. *sigh* :)

Oh, and here's an article about it on Rolling Stone.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Photos in my Grandpa's Wallet

I'm spending a couple of days with my Grandma - keeping her company,
and trying to help out around the house.

I brought my computer and scanner along with me, hoping to have time
to scan a lot of old family photos at high resolution.

I'm going through a box full of photos from the last 60+ years. Pretty
amazing. Some of them I had scanned about 15 years ago for my Multi-
Media Family Tree project. At the time, scanners and computers were
much slower and I didn't have the time or drive capacity to scan them
at high res. So now, I'm going back and rescanning as many as I can.

I just found a little packet of wallet sized photos that my Grandpa
kept in his wallet. I never knew he had this.

In it are photos spanning back to 1947. He had photos of his Mother,
his Great Grandmother, his wedding to my Grandma, a portrait of her,
his kids (as kids in the 50s), each of his Grandchildren, his Great
Granddaughter, and a family portrait from 1982.

I'm pretty overwhelmed learning that Grandpa kept these photos with
him all the time.

How is it I keep finding reasons to love my Grandpa even more than I
already did?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Muppets Sing Bohemiam Rhapsody

Two great things that go great together...

Oh, how I love the Muppets!
They always make me smile. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introducing "Chico"!

I've been meaning to post this picture for a few days.
When I was in Stockton last week, my cousin, Bruce, drove up with his three daughters (who I refer to as my nieces, which I understand can be a bit confusing).

Chico is the latest member of their family.

You see, Youngest (Bruce likes to keep the names of his daughters private, so he refers to them as Eldest, Middle and Youngest) has been wanting a pet dog for a while. Unfortunately, Bruce's current position requires him to travel a lot, and the family agreed early on that they would not be able to get a new pet until after this position ends (next summer). Poor Youngest - she has had a pet dog and a pet rat, but she wasn't quite old enough at the time to really enjoy them. Now that she's older, she's ready to have a pet, but will have to wait a bit longer.

The compromise:

Chico is a stuffed-animal life-sized dog that Youngest convinced her Mom to buy. He's adorable, and apparently, goes everywhere with them (which is why I had the pleasure of meeting Chico in Stockton). Chico is always waiting by the front door when the family comes home, and he rides in the back seat, with his head between the two youngest girls when they go out for a drive. He even has his own collar! He's clean, cute, obedient and always happy! What more could you want from a pet?

I told Bruce that he only needs to really worry if we ever see Youngest taking Chico for a walk around the neighborhood. ;)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gift Exchange Name Generator

At last! I've been looking for something like this for the last couple of years.

I believe that both my family as well as Dick's family plan on drawing names for our Christmas gift exchange this year.

In the past, we drawn names out of a hat, but that doesn't always work because sometimes someone draws the name of an immediate family member that they were already planning to buy a gift for.

Today, I did a search on Bing, and came up with this:

Free Name Drawing Utility

It's fantastic, and very easy:

Step 1: type in all of the names of the people involved

Step 2: Add Constraints (you can lay out rules or constraints for individuals who shouldn't buy for each other)

Step 3: the list is generated!

Handy Dandy!

It was Eleven Years Ago, Today...

Dick and I never celebrated any anniversary dates until after we got married, but I always remembered that the first time we met was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, 1998.

We met through our mutual friend, Alice, who passed our phone numbers to each of us, and we went on what I like to say was the first and only blind date I ever went on.

We met at the Tully's on Castro Street (at 4:00pm), but after Dick found out that I don't actually drink coffee, we made our way across the street to The Patio Restaurant where we hung out for a couple of hours. I remember we talked about Macs vs. PCs, Star Wars vs. Star Trek... you know, things every couple talks about on their first date. :)

I never really paid attention to the exact date that we met - only that it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I just looked at my calendar to see what date it actually was, and what do you know? It was Sunday, November 22nd! :)

So, today in every way, is the 11th Anniversary of the day that I met the man who would later become my husband. &heart;

It's too bad the Tully's is no longer there. It's now a cigar/smoke store. The Patio has been closed for years, but has been under construction lately, and is threatening to open again soon. :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kitten Ball!!

Dick and Noe are playing "Kitten Ball" - in which Dick does the Heisman Pose and Noe does her best impersonation of a football. ;)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Observing Chinese Mourning Traditions

I believe I am correct in saying that my Grandmother is the person in Stockton who people in the Chinese community call to ask questions about traditional rituals regarding births, weddings and funerals. My Grandma is a wealth of information, and these traditions are very important to her.

My family and I are learning about many of these traditions, trying our best to follow all of them. Some I knew about, and many I didn't.

I know that these traditions may be different for different families. These are the traditions that my Grandmother and my family will follow in honor to mourn the death of my Grandfather:

For the next 30 days, we will not wear anything with the colors red, or pink. We also must not wear anything with floral prints.

We will not attend any kind of celebrations for the next month: no parties, weddings, or social gatherings.

For the 3-days of funeral-related events, we will not wear watches or jewelry. (wedding bands are acceptable.)

I spent the day in Stockon today. My cousin and my niece (my cousin's eldest daughter) assisted our Great Aunties in assembling the red and white envelopes. The white envelop contained a piece of hard candy as well as some denomination of money. (in our case, a quarter.) The red envelope contains money as well.

The envelopes are given to people who will come to the house to pay their respect. They must eat the candy before they leave - the sweetness of the candy is meant to take away the bitterness of the death. The money is meant to be spent on something sweet as well. It must be spent, and not saved.

We had quite an assembly line going between the 6 of us, and assembled about 750 envelops in total. They will also be distributed at the funeral.

I am proud that my Grandmother continues these traditions, and honored that she is passing them along to each of us.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Loving Memory of Chuck Chow

March 7, 1922 - November 18, 2009

Chuck Chow

The world lost a great man today.
My Grandpa, Chuck Chow, passed away peacefully late this morning, surrounded by his loved ones, at the age of 87.

My Grandpa lived an extraordinary life - it was very full, very fulfilled, and full of love.

Grandpa celebrating his 87th Birthday with his children, his wife, and his Great-Granddaughters

I'm not sure if my Memory or knowledge of his life is entirely accurate, but this is how I remember it:

Chuck Chow was born on March 7, 1922. He was adopted by a family in a small Chinese Village in Southern China who did not have a son. He was raised by his mother, his Grandmother and his Great Grandmother. He went to school, and worked in the rice fields of his village.

He was the first person to leave his village in the early 1940s at the age of 16 or 17. He came to the United States after having found someone in California who he paid to "sponsor" him by claiming he was related. He changed his surname to that of his sponsor.

He moved to Stockton, California, and quickly found a job to earn money. He wasn't in the country very long before he found he was drafted to serve in the US Army during World War II. He was trained in Hawaii, then went to fight in the war. One of his commanders warned him to stay near him so that his own squadron wouldn't accidentally fire at him, mistaking him for Japanese.

Chuck Chow serving in World War II

After the war, he was stationed in Tokyo, Japan to work at the Imperial Palace.

When he finished his service in the military, he returned to California, then travelled back to his old village in Southern China where he took part in an arranged marriage to my Grandmother, May. She was only 16. He was 23. They had never met before they were married.

Chuck and May Chow, 1947

Chuck and May moved to Stockton together where they raised 4 children: Henry, Billy, Lani and Wesley.

Chow Family, 1953

Chow Family visiting Disneyland, 1961

My Grandfather worked as a butcher at the local Central Mart Grocery Store. He retired in the late 80s. He stayed in touch with, and always sent back money to his family's village in China.

My Grandparents were very active in the Chinese Community in Stockton, and was especially active within the Chow Association.

Proud Grandpa with Tiffini and Bruce, 1969

My Grandfather was a world traveler, and loved going to new places and learning about different cultures. My Grandparents took their first trip back to China, and their villages in Southern China in the early 80s. They took all of their children to their villages in 1987, then took another trip with their children, and 3 of their Grandchildren (including me and my sister) in 1992. When we were there, we were able to see the village that my Grandfather grew up in: the fields he worked in, the small room where he went to school, and even the tiny room in which he was born. We saw the new school building which he had helped fund, as well as the new village gate. We also met his mother, and were able to celebrate her 90th birthday with her, their village, and all of the neighboring villages.

Wesley, Chuck and Henry in front of Grandpa's Village Gate, 1987

Chow Family in China, 1992

Last year, in March of 2008, at the age of 86, my Grandparents were able to go on a trip with their two youngest Grandchildren, now in their 20s, to share their villages with them as well. My Grandfather loved the trip, was incredibly active, and walked the entire time.

My Grandfather shared his life with all of us by showing us where he came from, and the sacrifices he made for all of us by being brave enough to move the United States at age 16 to truly live the American Dream. I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that he has opened up for all of us.

My earliest memory of my Grandfather was probably when I was 3 or 4 years old. My family was living in Modesto, CA, and my Grandfather was visiting from Stockton. I remember that he brought two pairs of training chopsticks with him to teach my sister and I how to properly use them. One pair was pink, the other was blue. They were made of plastic, and had tiny little Chinese figurines on top of each stick. I remember his patience with me as he tried to explain the proper technique to a 4-year old.

I'm chuckling to myself as I recall another story from just a couple of years ago. My sister and I tried to visit my Grandparents every few months to take them out to lunch, and them run some errands (usually at Costco) afterward. We almost always had dim sum for lunch together. There was one time a couple of years ago when my Grandfather noticed that I was holding my chopsticks incorrectly. He had to teach me all over again the proper technique! :)

Whenever my sister and I would come for our weekday visits, we were able to observe one of my favorite and most endearing habits of my Grandfather: Every weekday at 3:00, he would drive to the Mall to meet his friends. They would go to McDonald's, order a senior discount coffee, sit down, and people watch together. He did this for years. Sometimes, I would call my Grandparents house in the afternoon, my Grandmother would answer, and she would always say that my Grandpa was "at the Mall". The memory of this still makes me smile.

Grandpa, Tiffie and Grandma ordering Dim Sum, 2008

My Grandfather lead a very full life - he was very active - socially, mentally and physically for more than 86 years. He really only slowed down due to his medical problems over the last few months.

My Grandfather was married to my Grandma for more than 62 years. On their 60th Anniversary, the entire family (that's 20 of us in total!) went to Las Vegas for a few days to celebrate together. What a great time it was. It makes me so happy knowing that we were all able to do that together.

Grandpa and Grandma celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary
April, 2007

My Grandfather was a great man. He shaped the lives of his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He allowed us all the ability to lead great lives full of opportunity and love.

Just a few months ago, at the end of August of this year, the entire gathered together to have a professional portrait taken. The last time we had a full-family portrait was in 1982 - we were long over-due. My Grandparent's children and grandchildren all chipped in to have the portraits taken as a gift to Grandma and Grandpa. I cannot express how glad we all are that we were able to have this done while Grandpa was still here with us.

The entire Chow Family (minus Cousin Bruce), August 2009

I am eternally grateful to have been able to have had my Grandpa in my life for over 39 years. He is tremendously loved, and will be forever missed.

Goodbye, Grandpa. I will always love you.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Case of "The Mystery Gift"

A couple of weeks ago, right after Dick and I returned home from our vacation, Dick received a package in the mail (or was it UPS?). In it was a copy of the book "One Fantastic Ride".

Apparently, this book was just published. We had first seen it while we were in one of the Sports stores on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill while we were there in October. Dick picked it up, read through it a bit, and looked through the photos. He considered buying it there and then, but remembered that we were on vacation, and that it would add to the weight of our luggage.

I reminded him that the holidays were coming up, and that this would make a great suggestion. When we saw his family that night, we mentioned the book, and one of his sisters told us not to buy it.

We were home for only a day or so before he received it in the mail.

It came only in the cardboard box - no invoice with the sender's name, and no gift card. We figured one of his family members were really on top of things, so Dick emailed his Dad and his two sisters, thanking them, and asking which one of them sent it.

No one responded.

So, we figured, that maybe they forgot to respond?

I was exchanging emails with one of my sister-in-laws, Kathy, today, and remembered to ask if she had sent the book. She said she couldn't take credit. She asked Meg (Dick's other sister) and found out that she hadn't sent it either. Kathy suggested that perhaps her daughter, Adrianne had sent it to Dick, and to ask her.

I emailed Adrianne and asked her if she wanted to claim the title of "gift giver" but she said it wasn't her, either. She suggested that perhaps the publisher had just heard how much Dick loves UNC. :)

That made me laugh, because when I mentioned the book to my parents a couple of weeks ago, they suggested that maybe the school sent it to Dick because they know how much he loves their basketball team. :)

So, it's still a mystery. Dick has had enough time now to read the entire book, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Does anyone want to take credit as the mystery gift sender?

Thank you to whoever it was!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Good Day/Bad Day

Today was one of those mixed-bag kind of days:

I found out in the early afternoon that Dick's building at work 9and all of the buildings around it) were without power. Apparently, it had been going in and out all morning, but the last time it happened, it lasted for hours.

so, that's not good.

It's hard to work on computers all day without power.

Dick called me around 1:00 telling me about the power outage, and asking if I was free for lunch. His boss was in town (from Seattle) for meetings all day, but since they couldn't get any work done without power, they decided to come to San Francisco for lunch. He asked if I would be able to pick them up from the Caltrain station.

I picked them, and we headed to the Ferry Building for lunch.

We had a very yummy lunch at Slanted Door!

Very good.

We had parked in a metered spot on the Embarcadero, and had until 3:00 - which gave us about an hour for lunch.

A few minutes before 3:00, I offered to run down to the car to check on it (or feed the meter), but we were just finishing up, and were waiting for the bill, so Dick and his boss both agreed that we could all wait, and we'd only be a few minutes late, and I'm sure it'll be just fine....

You know where this is going, right?

We get back to our car at 3:05, only to see a line of tow trucks on the Embarcadero, and yes, there's my MINI before towed away in front of our eyes.



We all three failed to noticed the "No Parking after 3:00" sign hiding behind a tree a few cars down. Now, I will say this for the SF towing company they are very efficient. Go figure.

So, we get the information about where we're supposed to pick my car up, and take a cab across town....

I walked in, was helped right away, was asked for the make/model of my car, gave them my drivers license, they look up my car, and print up my bill:

SF Admin Fee - Excluding Tickets: $155.75
$ - Extra Dolly or Flatbed Fee $43.75
Tow - Passenger Vehicle: $174.25
Passenger Storage Vehicle: $0.00

Total: $373.75


..and you know there's more coming...

She gives me my receipt, directs me to the car lot, where I had another guy my receipt.

He tracks down my car (which really, was there for less than 5 minutes) and brings it to me...

...with a parking ticket on the windshield:

Parking Ticket: $83.00

Grand Total: $456.75


So, there you have it. One of those days.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Dinner with the Timbangs :)

Michael & Leilani

Tonight, I had a wonderful evening with two friends that I hadn't seen in a very long time.

I taught Michael and Leilani way back in 1994 and 1995 when they were both sophomores (and later juniors) in high school! I was one of their color guard instructors at James Logan High School. I can't believe that was 15 years ago.

After I finished teaching, I moved to San Francisco, and they finished high school, went to college, started their careers, etc., Oh, yes, and during that time, they also started dating (they were friends in middle school and high school, but didn't date then) and they got married last year!

Through the wonders of the internet (blogs and Facebook) we have reconnected over the past year and a half or so. It's been so wondering reconnecting with them, and learning more about them and their lives.

Michael and I ran into each other in January of this year at MacWorld. We figured it must have been at least 10 years since we'd last seen each other. It's probably been about that long since I've seen Leilani.

We've been trying to figure out a time to get together since then, and we finally managed to do that tonight! Yay!

I really loved sitting down and chatting with them for a couple of hours. It's funny how we've all stayed in touch now via blogs and Facebook, but there's nothing like seeing each other face-to-face.

Thank you for the visit, Michael & Leilani. What a wonderful treat it was. I'm looking forward to seeing you both again soon!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Creep-O-Rama 2009

... and so it begins...

Greetings from the Bat Cave!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dick's Halloween Work Day

Most people know that Halloween is Dick's favorite Holiday. He loves dressing up in costume, decorating the house, and all thing spooky and scary.

Each year, Dick's work place throws a huge Halloween Party for employees and their families. I started going last year. Since we don't get any trick-or-treaters at our house, this is my only chance to see lots of cute little kids dressed in costume.

A couple of years ago, Dick's admin, Kathy, appointed Dick as the Emcee of the Party - meaning he welcomes people, tells them the schedule of events, but most importantly - he gets to Emcee the kid's Halloween Parade!

They set up a little stage that each kid crosses as Dick announces what they're dressed as. It's pretty cute - you can tell that all the kids are always really excited when it's their turn to cross the stage.

This was the first time I've been able to watch Dick emcee the parade. I was so impressed! He knew so many of the names of the kid's costumes - Disney Princesses, Sesame Street characters, Power Rangers, Curious George, etc., Pretty impressive for a man without kids! (of course, he's a big kid at heart, which goes a long way!)

Pirate Dick

Starting the Party

The Costume Parade!

Coolest Cake EVER!

One of Dick's work colleagues, Greg, MADE this cake and donated to
their work's giving campaign auction earlier this week. Isn't it
amazing?! Everything you see here is edible!! (the board's base is
styrofoam, but us edible on top.)

There's more to the story (and there was another, larger cake book)
but the short of it is that Dick gets to take this home with him
tonight, and we'll be serving it at our Halloween Party tomorrow night!!

Amazing job, Greg, and thanks to all who donated to the auction!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Puke on the Porch

This is a new one.... kind of...

Last night, Dick and I were watching TV in bed around 10:30pm. Suddenly, we all (that would be Dick, Noe and me) heard a strange noise downstairs. Dick and I walked cautiously down the stairs, to see what it was. That's when I saw it...

Someone had (and please excuse the visual) projectile vomited across our porch and onto both of our front doors. (we can see this because our front doors have glass panes, top to bottom.)

Yeah, that's super gross.

After living in the SF for 14 years, I thought I'd seen it all: we've had drunk people knock on our door late at night asking for booze, drunk people stumble into our Halloween Party, used condoms found on our front porch (triple-ewwww!) and yes, have even had someone puke on the porch before.

But, this was the first time that someone walked up our stairs, stumbled around our porch, and somehow managed to puke onto our front doors.

That is all kinds of gross.

We figured there was nothing to do about it last night, so we went back to bed.

This morning, first thing I did was throw on some grubby clothes, armed with rubber gloves and water hose, and cleaned up the porch and doors. It took an hour, but I was very thorough.

Silver lining: The front porch area has been needing a good spray down/cleaning for a while. :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Visiting Chapel Hill

We've been in Chapel Hill, visiting Dick's family since Saturday evening. After all of the running around we did in NYC and Cullowhee, it was really nice coming here to just relax and visit.

Most of our plans this week revolved around getting together with family and eating. :) As always, we've had some great meals of great Southern Food and lots of Sweet Tea.

Dick's sister, Kathy, recently adopted two little kitties: Cricket and Maggie. They are adorable, and so much fun!

Trina and Peter with Maggie and Cricket

The weather has been gorgeous while we've been here. It's been in the mid-70s over the last two days! On Monday, Dick and I checked out a 9-hole golf course just outside of Chapel Hill. It was beautiful! We rented some clubs, and spent the afternoon playing golf. It was a beautiful course, and lots of fun to play! It was also very quiet - no one else was playing near us, so we never had to wait, and were never rushed at all. Very fun.

Dick playing golf

As I mentioned, we spent a lot of time with Kathy's new kitties, so I took several photos of them. :)

Cricket and Maggie hanging out on my lap

Dick meditating with cats

Today, we ate at "Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe", then walked around the UNC Chapel Hill Campus a bit.

Dick at The Old Well

It's been a wonderful vacation, but it's time to go home tomorrow morning. It's been such a nice, and varied trip! Hard to believe we've been away for so long. It'll be nice to be back home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dick's Childhood Home: Part 2

You may remember my post from August when we learned that Dick's childhood home was for sale. The house is in Cullowhee, NC, which is obviously quite far from San Francisco.

When we found out that we were going to be in Cullowhee, we checked to see if the listing was still up. It wasn't. :( We were a little bummed that we came so close to having a chance to see it.

Whenever we're in Cullowhee, we always drive around and go see Dick's old home. I know he's considered knocking on the door once or twice, but never did.

We drove by Thursday morning, and were surprised to see the "For Sale" sign still posted!

For Sale - Dick's Childhood Home

I wrote down the number of the listing agent to see if it would be possible to take a peek inside the house while we were in town. I left him a message, explaining the situation. I asked if it would be any trouble for us to see it - obviously, if it were a problem at all, we'd understand.

He was very nice - he said the house had sold, but would be closing in about a month still. The current owner still lived there, and she would be happy to have us come over at 9:30 Saturday morning.

Well, it turned out that the current owner (who is selling the house) is the same woman who had purchased it from Dick's father back in 1992. When we knocked on the door, she opened it with a smile, and asked if Dick was Richard Craddock's son. :)

Dick told him that he had lived in the house with his family from 1972 until he moved away to Chapel Hill in 1984. His Dad had stayed there until 1992.

She was very sweet - letting us walk around the house, taking photos to share with Dick's family. Dick told her stories about each of the rooms, and when the addition had been built. She showed us the different changes she had made, and told Dick how much she truly loved living there.

I took several photos (of course).

Dick standing on the new (to him) deck on the upstairs addition

This is the handwritten note that Dick's father had written and left for the new owner way back in 1992. It expains how various things in the house work. That owner had saved it all this time, and plans to pass it along to the new owners.

Dick standing in his childhood bedroom

One of the funniest moments of our visits happened when Dick was standing in the room which used to be his bedroom. The current owner's eyes lit up as she remembered something, and closed to door - on the back of the door was a decal from Duke University. It appears Dick was a Duke fan when he was a child - something he would never admit to now! :)

What a wonderful opportunity it was for Dick to have the chance to see his childhood house again. It's not something that many of us will ever have the chance to do.