Saturday, January 31, 2009

Note to self: Keep long hair away from open flames...

Well, the bottom line is that everything is fine.

The longer story is that I was doing a demo of our new fire bowl for our architects yesterday afternoon. The fire shows much better at night (obviously) because of the light, and it actually makes me a little nervous when I turn it on during the day because the flames are hard to see.

So, when I was lighting it yesterday, I turned on the gas (obviously higher than I should have) and lit it with a butane lighter.


Yep, I was a little too close when it lit, and it actually singed part of my hair!

It wasn't much - just a little on the side, and I'm totally fine. Just a little weirded out.

Lesson learned: don't turn gas on too high, and it would probably be prudent to sit to the side when lighting...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Today is my sister's birthday! We're having dinner at Roy's tonight to
celebrate. Butterfish and chocolate souffles!!! 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Random & Quirky Things About Me...

There's this thing going around Facebook right now: write a list of 25 things about yourself, and send it along to 25 friends. It doesn't matter what it is, and is meant as a way for your friends to learn new things about you.

I wrote my list today.
Some of them have been seen here on my blog before, but some of them may be new to you.

I realize I haven't been blogging much lately. Between being sick (twice!) with the flu in January, busy with work, and being more active on Facebook, I'm afraid my blog has suffered a bit. I'll try to be better. :)

So, here's my list of 25 things...

1. I’ve been collecting Raggedy Ann dolls and related merchandise since I was two years old. I probably have over 400 dolls.

2. I have been featured (for my Raggedy Ann collection) in a Japanese Raggedy Ann & Andy Fan Magazine, and in a Target the Family magazine (for Target Stores).

3. I worked at John Deere for almost two years. (Yes, THE John Deere with the green tractors!)

4. I had more than 30 jobs between the ages of 16-25. (mostly temp jobs and and instructing guards)

5. Between the ages of 19-23, I moved around the country to audition for and perform with various color guards.

6. I’ve had 5 pet rats (separately) between the ages of 13-28.

7. I’ve never had a cup of coffee

8. I've had my own web design business for 12 years.

9. I have 8 body piercings.

10. My one and only phobia is of balloons. I hate the anticipation of the sudden, loud popping. I will literally walk out of a store if they are inflating balloons. Oprah has the same phobia!

11. I was diagnosed with Axial Myoclonus when I was 27. It rocked my world. It is mostly stable now.

12. I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute with an Interdisciplinary major.

13. I worked at an art gallery and sold vintage animation art. (and collect it, too!)

14. I attended the first MacWorld in January 1985, and I still go almost every year.

15. I met husband on my first and only blind date

16. I love to draw, sculpt and paint in oil and acrylic, but haven’t done any of that in years. I hope to rectify that this year.

17. I have “Xbox Mouth” - I totally curse whenever I play anything on the Xbox. It’s pretty funny, because it’s really the only time I ever curse.

18. I was the President of The French Club for two years in high school, which is ironic, because I can hardly speak any French at all.

19. I once drove from San Jose to Boston in under 5 days.

20. I have a friend who won one season of “The Amazing Race”, and another who has won one season of “Dancing with the Stars”.

21. I had an appendectomy when I was 37 years old (just over a year ago, for those of you who are counting!).

22. my most difficult year ever was 1997

23. one of my very best years was 1998

24. I believe in silver linings

25. I believe in serendipity

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drinks at The Tonga Room

Dick's sister, Kathy, is in town for a few days. We went shopping in
Union Square and Chinatown this afternoon. On our way home, we decided
to stop at The Tonga Room for a tropical drink! Of course, we
experienced a tropical thunder storm as soon as we sat down!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

End Bush. Begin Obama.

This is great. In the wake of the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, some pranksters in SF changed a bunch of the street signs for Bush Street to "Obama".

Bush Street Disappears in SF Overnight

(from this street sign would say "END BUSH," but the signs on Bush Street have been changed to "OBAMA" on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in San Francisco. (Kurt Rogers / The Chronicle)

What an exciting day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My new art studio!

or, "why I'm wearing a perma-grin"...

I just spent the entire day out in the new backyard! Came out here around 10:00, and haven't really been back inside the house yet!

I spent the morning and early afternoon building the new IKEA furniture for my new art studio. It turned out really great!

I just called it my "art studio", but we also have a couple of other names for this room.

I also often refer to it as "The Cabana", meaning an outside building. It sounds so very vacation-y.

We also call it "The Shed", because, according to the City of San Francisco, that's what it is. (We are in full compliance of all City requirements, btw)

Dick likes to call it "Trina's Playhouse". He keeps teasing me because I love this little room so much, and because I was so very eager to get furniture and decorate it. He keeps imagining me having tea parties out here with all of my stuffed animals and Raggedy Anns. (yes, we're kidding - that would be creepy!)

Dick also likes to refer to it as "...soon to be Dick's Man Shack".

This is his way of making sure that I really get out here and use the space - hopefully, mostly as an art studio. (I have no excuse now not to get back to painting!)

He keeps threatening that this space will become his "Man Shack" - complete with cigars, kegs of beers and Playboy centerfolds plastered on the walls. You get the idea.

We finished putting together the furniture this afternoon, and everything fits in really well. I've got a throw rug in here that I can easily roll up when I need to paint, and I pulled out my old collapsible butterfly chair that can also be moved around easily.

Dick also just finished fashioning the two CAT6 cables that we have running in here. Yep - you guessed it - I am writing this blog outside from my cabana! :)

I may never go back inside.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My MINI, the Wonder Car!

This month marks my 5-Year MINIversary, and this little car never ceases to amaze me!

Today, we took a trip to IKEA to furnish my newly completed art studio.

I had the shopping list set before we got to the store. We did a quick trip around the display floor to physically see the products before we bought them, then we went down to the warehouse level to pick them up.

We brought my MINI today, because, after all, between our two cars, it is the larger of the two. We figured we'd probably have to arrange for delivery for IKEA, which I think runs around $75.00.

Here's what we bought:

1 Bookshelf (79" tall, 13.5" wide, 11" deep)
2 Bookshelf Doors (15-3/4" x 17-37-3/4")
1 Work Bench (51" x 26-3/4" x 37")
1 Folding Bar Stool
1 Area Rug

We purchased all of our goods, then started heading to the delivery department. We figured we'd be able to fit everything in my car except for the bookshelf and the work bench.

As we waited in line for the delivery dept, we decided that there would be no harm in trying to fit everything in my car.

So, we took everything out to the pick-up area, where I waited while Dick brought the car along.

Incredibly, we managed to fit it all! We squeezed (literally) the bookcase box through the trunk, and in between the two front seats. It was rammed as far as it could go against the front console. The trunk barely closed.

Clearly, there wasn't enough room for the work bench box to go inside the car, but we realized that it would fit fine on top of the roof. One thing I love about the MINI is its large, flat roof. It enables me to pack a lot more into the car, and also makes it easy to transport stuff on top!

We put the big, flat box onto the roof, then I ran back inside IKEA to buy a set of straps/fasteners to strap down the box through the windows.

Worked like a charm! We went across the Bay Bridge, and made it home just fine, with no crazy incidents.

We're really pleased that it all worked out! We got everything home today, without having to pay $75 and wait a few days for delivery! :)

Fun Billboard

Just passed this fun billboard on i80 towards the Bay Bridge.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


One of the things on my wishlist for the holidays was the Polaroid PoGo. I used to have a Polaroid iZone camera, which I used to call my "sticker camera". It would take tiny instant pictures (1-1/2" x 1") that had a backing that would peel off so that they could be used as stickers. I used the photos in travel journals, but most often in our guest book, especially for Halloween. I used to have our guests take a quick photo with the iZone, then would stick the photo on the page in our guest book next to where they signed their name. We did this for several years of Halloween parties, and it's a lot of fun to look at the crazy costumes that people wore.

The film for the iZone was pretty expensive, and Polaroid eventually stopped producing it. I haven't had any sticker pictures in our guest book for at least two years.

I first heard about the PoGo when it was released last summer. It sounded like a cool product, and the perfect replacement to my beloved old iZone.

Here's the deal: It's a portable Bluetooth device that can be wirelessly connected to a bluetooth enabled cell phone, or connected via USB cable to a camera.

It prints 2"x3" borderless photos in under a minute. It also has a removable backing so that it can be used as a sticker! There is no ink involved - the PoGo works with ZINK technology (zero ink), which makes it water-resistant, tear-proof and smudge-proof. Extra sheets cost $12.99 for a pack of 30. Not bad.

Sounds great, right?

Here's the rub:
It's not compatible with the iPhone

Yep. That's a bummer.

I vaguely remember reading that when I was first looking into the product, but I think I conveniently forgot that fact, hoping that it would become compatible eventually.

Happily, my parents bought me the PoGo for Christmas. We charged it up, and tried it out Christmas morning. We first tried to pair it with my iPhone (because I had forgotten that it wasn't compatible) and it obviously didn't work. What a bummer. I love the idea of printing wirelessly through bluetooth.

We eventually got it to work by connecting a USB cable to my camera. Okay, that's cool. The picture quality is fine, certainly not great, but good enough. Very polaroid-ish. Actually, better than the traditional polaroid prints.

I also was able to pair it with my computer via bluetooth, but, while still kind of cool, kind of defeats the purpose of it being quick, convenient and mobile.

Today, my sister and Graham came over. They both recently got new cell phones. I suggested that we try using my PoGo with their phones. It worked like a charm, and was super cool.

Really made me wish that it would work with my iPhone.

Looking at the list of which cell phones it is and is not compatible with, it's really hard to believe that it's not compatible with the iPhone. Seriously, out of a list of about 48 phones sold at AT&T, only 4 models weren't supported.

It seems that the problem lies with the iPhone, rather than with Polaroid. Just did some research on the web, and found this:

The Polaroid POGO uses the bluetooth OBEX profile. The iPhone does not support this profile at this time.

Here's hoping that Apple eventually releases some sort of firmware update eventually that will enable printing from the iPhone.

Until then, I'll make due by printing PoGo photos from my camera and computer, and other people's cell phones.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Okay, just one picture.... :)

I can't help myself...

I know I said that I didn't want to post any photos of the completed backyard project, but I'm going to cave here.

I really like this photo. I took it last night, which was the first time we were able to turn on and enjoy the new fire bowl.

You can see the fire bowl in front of the curved stone bench with the Japanese Maple Tree lit behind it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

At Last! The Backyard is D.O.N.E.!!!

After 3+ months, the Great Backyard Landscape Project of 2008 is finally done!

We started planning this project way back in October, 2007, started meeting with the architects in January, 2008, had the first clearing of the yard in late February, finalized the plans in July, hired our contractor in August, and began work in late September.

The original target completion date was meant to be in mid-November. Oh, well. Things took longer than initially planned, and that's okay.

Truthfully, the project was pretty well wrapped up by mid-December. We had to wait to schedule the final electrical inspection, which we didn't pass, then had to wait to schedule the electrician to come back to do the work required to pass inspection, then schedule the final inspection again (which we did pass). Got it?

Once we passed the electrical inspection, our contractors were able to finish the interior of the shed. They also needed to assemble and hook up our two gas elements - the gas heater, which will be above the dining table, and the fire bowl.

All of those elements were completed this afternoon! What a joy it was when we realized it was really all finished. It's been a long journey, but very satisfying.

The bottom line: we're extraordinarily pleased with the final product. It's truly amazing, and Dick and I can't believe that this amazing space is ours to enjoy. It's remarkable to think of the amount of planning and work that went into this project.

I decided a while ago not to post pictures of the backyard. I realized that these photos are a little too personal for such a public forum.

If you're interested in seeing photos, I have plenty, and would be happy to share.
Just send me an email, and I'll send you the link.

We're looking forward to many, many years of enjoyment and entertainment in our new backyard! Looking forward to sharing it with all of our friends!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Look who I ran into at MacWorld!

Michael Timbang!

I taught Michael nearly 15 years ago when he was in the color guard at James Logan HS in Union City. Michael works as a photographer now in SF. We hadn't seen each other in at least 10 years (although we do follow each other's blogs).

What a wonderful surprise!

At MacWorld

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Silly Noe Video

Dick and Noe have always played in a way that Noe only plays with Dick, and no one else. He chases her around the house, they wrestle, etc.,

Recently, she started the "lazy wrestle", which means that she would taunt Dick to chase her, then she would flop on the hall carpet. Once he catches up with her, she wants him to rub her back, while she fusses. If he stops rubbing her back, she'll pause her fussing, and will turn around to see why he stopped.

I captured this on video yesterday, and thought it was pretty funny.
What a silly kitty.

Monday, January 05, 2009

At Last! Good Chinese Food in the Castro!

After living here in the Castro for over 10 years, we've finally found a good Chinese Restaurant that delivers!

My favorite Chinese Restaurant, U-Lee, is in Russian Hill, and doesn't deliver. Our other favorite, House of Nanking, is in North Beach, and also doesn't deliver.

Dick and I have tried many, many Chinese delivery places all over the City, and none of them have been very good. That has always surprised me. How hard can it be to find a good take-out/delivery Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco?

Yesterday, we were taking a walk around the neighborhood, and came across House of Chen on Noe Street, just off of Market. We had noticed it before, and had taken a mental note to remember it, but we never had. When we passed it yesterday, I noticed that it had a "As seen on YELP" sign on the front door.

That did it: I pulled out my iPhone then and there and did a search using the YELP application on my phone. (handy app, by the way) The reviews for this place were really good. Apparently, it's been owned and operated by the same family for 20 years. That's always a good sign.

Several reviews mentioned their Sweet and Sour Soup, one of Dick's favorites, and another mentioned their House Chow Fun, one of my faves.

So, we placed our order tonight.

It arrived within 40 minutes, as promised. The food was nice and hot, and it was GOOD! Dick also tried the Tai Chi Chicken, which was mentioned on several reviews.

Two Thumbs Up! We're so excited that we finally found a Chinese Delivery place that we actually like! Let's hope that it lasts!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Lost Vacation

Dick and I both took the past week off from work, planning on a nice, holiday vacation.

Dick and I were both sick all week.

That's a bummer.

Luckily, we didn't have any plans all week. Literally. Nothing on the calendar at all.

The silver lining:

We were both able to relax knowing that there wasn't any work piling up, and we weren't missing out on anything.

We both got a lot of rest

We spent a lot of time at home

We spent a lot of time together

We watched a lot of TV, and movies (speaking of which, watching Netflix Instantly via Xbox Live pretty much rocks)

With the exception of taking Marcel to the vet, and the stress of learning about his kidney problems, we actually had a pretty relaxing week.

So, not the best, most exciting vacation ever, but not too bad either.

We're all feeling better now, but still not 100%. I expect that'll take a few more days or so.

Feeling Better!

I'm thrilled to report that Marcel is feeling better!

Whether it's the antibiotics, the fluids, or the food that's helping... he's definitely feeling better than he was a few days ago! His appetite had dwindled significantly over the past few months (and he had lost 3lbs.) but it seems to be much better now. We're feeding him prescription wet food 3 times a day, plus he's been munching on dry food in between meals.

He's alert, seems happy, and is even walking around the house again! There's a lot of purring, and he seems very content.

I know that the kidneys will be an ongoing issue for him, but I'm just relieved to know that he's not in any kind of pain, and that he seems to be doing quite well, and he's happy again! :)

Back up, and running

It's good to have my blog up and running again! I just just been to the blogger discussion boards and there were several additional reports this morning, followed by a fix by one of the blogger guys. When I checked my blog immediately afterward, it had finally been published after being down for over a week. Yay. Hopefully, this won't be a temporary fix, and we'll be good to go!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

It's not that I haven't been trying!

really, I have!

My blog has been down since New Year's Eve. Or, at least, that's the first time that I tried to publish a post, and it didn't work. I keep getting publishing errors due to some sort of javascript problems. I've done some research via blogger's discussion groups, and it seems there are others (though, apparently, not a majority) having this problem. It seems to only affect accounts who have their blogs hosted on their own domain names rather then on blogspot. Although, this is also not affecting everyone who hosts their own domains, as I've seen several friends who have been successfully publishing to their blogs.

I hope it'll be fixed soon.

Rather than wait until it's up and running again, I figured I could at least continue with my blog posts and hope they'll all be published when it's working again.

Hopefully, that won't be too long.

Dick practicing out on the Putting Green