Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out and about...

Dick and I decided to get out for a bit and enjoy the sunny, clear (but cold!) day. It was great to see the sun after all the rain we've been having.

We decided to do something that we usually wouldn't do on a weekend (because some things are too busy on weekends versus weekdays.). We headed out for a stroll around North Beach.

We had a great time walking around the neighborhood. We probably only go down there once a year or so, because it's across town, and parking is usually tough. We strolled down Jack Kerouac Alley, which I hadn't seen before. Not sure how that's possible, as I've passed by that area several times in recent years. It was a great space, and I really loved all of the quotes/poems that were engraved in the alley street. very cool.


Jack Kerouac quote within the alley

Our main purpose for driving across town to North Beach was so that we could have lunch at House of Nanking. We probably haven't been in a couple of years. The food was as good as ever (we always order the House of Nanking Sesame Chicken and the pea shoots), but the ambiance had changed since we were last there. They "fancied" it up a bit with the decor, which was nice, but I kind of missed the "hole in the wall" ambiance that it used to have. They also served fancy tea. Really, all I wanted was a pot of Jasmine Tea. Instead, they brought us each a mug with one of those those beautiful tea flowers in it, and charged us $6/each.


House of Nanking


Fancy Tea

We drove over to Polk Street and strolled around my old 'hood for a while, then decided to drive through Crissy Field, and cross over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was such a beautiful, clear day, that we couldn't resist.



It was so nice to spend an afternoon outside in the crisp, clear air! Rain is likely to come back over the weekend, so I'm glad we got out while we could!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Glass Blowing Class!!

I took a break from unpacking/organizing the new house today and took a really cool Glass Blowing Class with my Mom and my Sister!

My sister signed us up for a great deal on Groupon a couple of months ago. We signed up for a 4-hour Glass Blowing Class at Revere Glass School in Berkeley. It was fantastic!

There were only 4 student spots for each class, so it was just the three of us, one other student, and the instructor. Really nice 1-1 instruction.

I'd never worked with glass before, but I've always wanted to try. The experience was really fantastic and interesting. I think it may be the most technical art form that I've tried yet. It took a little bit to get the hang of the technique, but I managed eventually. I can certainly see how one's technique would improve over time and experience, and how it could become easily addicting!

I spoke with the owner of the studio who said the Groupon campaign was very successful for them, and that they plan to offer another deal in March of 2011. We'll look for it! (we paid $99 for a 4-hour class, which would usually cost $220)

I look forward to going to the studio again and learning (and creating!) more!


Mom and Sis heating the glass tubes


Mom's technique



our instructor demonstrates how to blow a glass ball


my creations from the day

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mykail is here!!

Misha Mouse came out to spend Christmas with our Family!! Merry Christmas! :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spare Tire

I'm at Costco right now, having a flat tire patched on my MINI. Did I mention that our crazy week of moving started with Dick and Christopher noticing my MINI had a flat on Saturday morning when they were piling in the first boxes from the kitchen? Lucky for me, the took it all in stride, and put my spare on for me so we could keep going until I could get it fixed.

Today is the first free time I had to get it done. I got to Costco at 9:00, just before they opened and was first in line. Yay! My MINI is getting her shoe patched up right now. We'll be on the freeway again for Christmas morning! :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Home, Day 1

I need to come up with a catchy name for the new home. "His 'n Hers" Condos was such a great name for our last home. Any ideas? (I guess you'd have to see it first!)

Our first full day in the new home was certainly a busy one. Here was the schedule of events:

Alarm System installation between 8-10; New furniture delivery between 9-11, and Washer/Dryer installation between 12:30-4:30.


New Furniture delivery!

The delivery guys from Room and Board came around 10:00 this morning, and delivered some new pieces of furniture for us. It all looks great, and it's so nice that we were able to have it delivered the day after we moved in.

The guy from the alarm company came around 10:30, and was here for 5-6 hours. It was a big job!

We hired a guy from Sears to come to hook up the washer and dryer that we bought earlier this year. We also bought new pedestals for storage space underneath them so he attached them to each unit. He was here for about 2.5 hours.

The locksmith was supposed to come this afternoon to change out the locks, but he was running late, so we rescheduled until tomorrow. I figured it was okay if my entire list didn't get accomplished today. ;)

While all this was going on, Dick was very busy: he set up all of the media electronics in our new media cabinet, and most impressively, he set up all of our shelving in the garage so that we had enough space to fit everything that was in our basement (Christmas/Halloween/Garden/Misc.,)! We now have plenty of room in the garage to put one car, Dick's scooter, plus the garbage/recycling/compost bins! Yay!



Moving Day!!

Yesterday morning, 5 strapping lads from Flat Rate Moving Company came and moved our entire household of stuff (which includes backyard furniture, potted plants, and a 1/2 basement!) to the the hill to our new home!

And when I say that they moved us up the Hill, they did it in many unexpected ways. The new house is only 1-1/2 blocks away from the old house. Rather than making a 3-point turn (or more) with the big truck on the street at both houses, they put the truck in reverse, and drove it up the hill (they said the truck has more power going in reverse than driving forward, anyhow). That was unexpected! Since the truck was full, some of the guys just walked up the hill carrying various things that were easier to carry, than pack. These guys were really amazing. If you are in need of movers in the Bay Area, I can't recommend them highly enough! Thanks to Brian and the crew for an amazing job well done!


here they are moving one of the BIG Chinese cabinets down the stairs of the condos


You can't really get the effect here, but here's the truck driving up the hill in reverse!


Brian and Heath - still smiling after several hours into the tough job!


Dick and Trina - very tired, but finally moved in!



Noe checking out the new digs!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Test Drive in the New Home

Wooden Trina (and friends) did a test drive in the new house, and spent a night in it before us. They seem happy here. :)

Packing Day!!

This morning at 9:00, five guys from the moving company came to pack up our house. Amazingly, the finished at 12:30! They said it was really helpful that we had already packed and moved our kitchen. :)

Tomorrow is moving day, which will be a long one. It'll be very helpful that the new house is only a block and a half - it'll give them a lot more options as far as loading and unloading.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I've got two full drawers!

We had to take a picture if two of our favorite kitchen drawers!

Behold: the Spice Drawer, and the Coffee/Tea Drawer! These are things that make us happy. :)

We've moved into the Kitchen

We spent the day packing and moving the kitchen! Christopher came over at 11:00am, and we were working hard til 6:00. We've moved everything over and set up the new kitchen. It's so nice to have the kitchen done!! It really makes a home a home. :)

Thanks, Bro, for all of your help! Really appreciate it!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

New House!

I've had some exciting news to share over the past month, but wanted to wait until it was official: Yesterday, we closed escrow on our new home!

Most of you know how much Dick and I *LOVE* our current home, our "His 'n Her Condos" where we've lived together for almost 7 years. I've own my condo (the upstairs unit) for over 12 years - I moved here just a couple of months before I met Dick, so this building has been a part of our lives the whole time we've been together.

As much as we love our Condos, there's sadly one major feature that it lacks: parking. In the 15+ years that I've lived in San Francisco, I've never had a garage. Dick and I have found two parking spots within a block of our house that we've been renting for a couple of years now, which helps a lot, but alas, our building does not have a garage. We've looked into having one put in, but that would require losing at least one, maybe two of the rooms in the bottom condo, and that's not something that we want to do at all. Our condos are 102 years old, and we'd love to be able to keep them as true to their original building as possible.

We weren't really looking for a new home, but Dick and I do enjoy spending most of our Sunday afternoons walking around the neighborhood looking at Open Houses. We found one just a couple of months ago that met all of the criteria that we'd love in a house. Among the things on our wish list: garage, a view and a location that would be in the same neighborhood.

This house meets all of those criteria. It has a large garage, big enough for one of our car, Dick's scooter, and storage. It has a lovely view of Downtown San Francisco. And (almost best of all!) not only is it still in our current neighborhood, it's even on the same street! We're only moving a block and a half up the hill!

We closed on the house yesterday, and our agent dropped off the keys.


Keys to the new house!

Dick and I went in yesterday evening to take care of a few preliminary things. I started to line all of the kitchen cabinets (I'm turning into my Mother) and Dick started to work on the wiring for all things associated with the TV in the family room.


Dick is in Geek Heaven

We invited Pete and Richard over, ordered in some pizza and toasted the new house with a lovely bottle of wine. (Thanks, Pete & Richard!)

The next few days are going to be crazy busy. We'll start moving some stuff this weekend (we plan to move the kitchen tomorrow, and most of the electronics on Sunday), the movers come next week to pack us on Monday, then move us on Tuesday.

We're very excited about our new home, and can't wait to share it with all of our friends and family! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vacation Mode

4:00, and all is well.

Here's my Dad doing one of his favorite pass-the-time activities: playing solitaire. :) it's a good way for him to pass the time.

Dad's Hip Resurfacing Surgery

My Dad had a hip resurfacing surgery this morning at 7:30am. The doctor came out around 10:00 to tell us that the surgery went well. There was one unexpected glitch- turns out my Dad's hip socket is turned towards the back, rather than the front. Nothing major - he just had to adjust a few things to compensate. I asked if it was hereditary (it's not) 'cause that would certainly explain a few things about me and my (lack of) dance skills. ;)

They just brought my Dad into his room at the hospital. It's very nice - private room. He'll be here for two nights.

So far, he's feeling fine. :) He's wide awake and hungry. ;)

Thanks for all the the well wishes - we all really appreciate it.

More later as he progresses...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Another casualty of the Great Purge of 2010

Just another example of me holding onto things longer than I should...


The Mac OS 9.1 Startup Window

This is my first laptop - my Apple Macintosh PowerBook G3.

I got it during the first year that Dick and I were dating, in 2000. He had a discount with Apple at the time, and was able to get me a good deal. :)

In its day, it was the coolest computer around. In fact, I remember bringing it to a client meeting soon after I got it, and the client was immediately impressed with my very cool computer. :)

I don't remember this laptop giving me any problems at all, and I used it for many, many years. I think I got another laptop in 2004 or so. It was a BIG deal for me to get a new one because at the time, it meant I had to make the switch from SCSI and serial ports to USB. I was a pretty late adopter to all of that stuff ('cause I hold onto computers longer than most, I suppose) so that switch meant that I had to but new printers, scanners, keyboards, etc., It also meant switching from Mac OS 9 to the whole new Mac OS X operating system. Too much change! :)

After the big switch, I wasn't ready to let go of my faithful PowerBook G3. There were very few times that I can remember having to go back to it for files or fonts that for some reason hadn't been transferred over to my new machine properly. I just wasn't ready to let it go.

But, today is the day.

I've been keeping this Power Book underneath a little shelf that houses my current MacBook Pro (on top). It hasn't been turned on for years. I still have the AC Adapter, and even (luckily) found an old Norton Utilities Disk that I could use as a Start-up disk and I'm currently wiping my old drive.

So long, my faithful PowerBook G3! You served me well! Thanks for all the good times.

Oh, and I should also mention that I'm finally getting rid of my old Palm V, too! ;)


My Old Desktop - seeing it one last time...


Wiping the drive!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why I am a new fan of AAA



I've had a piece of mail sitting on my desk for about 3 months. (this may explain my need to purge, but I digress...) The mail was from AAA, and it was an offer waive the $17 enrollment fee. I've been meaning to get to this and become a AAA member for months (this limited time deal expired in mid-September) but for some reason I never got around to it.

...and boy, did I feel stupid about never getting to it today.

Early this afternoon, I went to our garage and tried to unlock my car from the remote on my key. Nothing.

I unlocked my car by physically inserting my key into the lock on the car door. When's the last time you've done that?

I tried to start my car, but... nothing. Nothing at all.

Apparently, *someone* (who shall remain nameless) forgot to turn off the lights when we came home Thursday night. The battery was dead.

Luckily, Dick was getting his car from our other (rented) garage space, and was driving up the block towards me. I managed to signal him, and he pulled his car inside the garage my car was stuck in.

We hooked up our jumper cables, but alas, just a click, and nothing more.

Again, and again, and again...

We figured the battery was probably dead.

So, as I've mentioned, I've been meaning to join AAA for just such an emergency. We figured there was no time like the present.

I signed up online (although I no longer had a code to waive my enrollment fee) and immediately called them to see if they could send someone over to check my battery. At this point, we assumed that a new battery may very well be order.

We had read on the AAA site that it would take 2 days after enrollment to be able to use our membership. That would be okay, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

And I'm glad I did! The nice woman at AAA (Dottie was her name) was oh-so-helpful and friendly. I told her that I had signed up for my membership no more than 5 minutes earlier, but she said that would be fine. She called a tow-truck in my City, and told me he would be here in less than 15 minutes.

The AAA truck came, the guy took out his heavy duty battery charger thingy, and voila... my engine turned over on the first try!!

AAA - FTW!

He suggested that I drive my car around for at least 30 minutes before turning off the engine (which I did), had me sign a piece of paper, and was on his way.

So there you go.

I have plenty of blog posts with rants about companies and bad customer service.

It's so nice to write a post about a GOOD customer service story.

Thank you, AAA!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Great Purge of 2010!!

The Great Purge of 2010 is in full-swing!! I'm being fairly ruthless this time. We moved into "His 'n Hers Condos" almost 7 years ago. I'm getting rid of anything that been in our basement since then that we haven't used or missed.

Dick and I made two trips in my MINI to the Goodwill donation center over the weekend. My parents (the Wonder Parents) came yesterday and today and helped me clear out 3 more carloads in their Rav4. They also brought home a full carload of stuff that they wanted to sort through, give away to friends, etc.,

There's a really good reason why we're going through such a serious purge right now, but I'll have to wait a few more days to spill the beans. :)

I came across some really funny items today that I couldn't resist taking photos of before sending them off.


Cell phone, circa 1995

Here's a cell phone from 1995 or so. It wasn't mine - it was actually my ex-boyfriends. I think he gave it to me when he bought a new one, in case I wanted to have one (I never did use it). It's just so old and HUGE!


Sony Walkman, circa mid to late 1980s

My old Sony Walkman! Wow. I can't even remember when I first got it, but I'm thinking mid to late 80s. It was cutting edge technology at the time. :) I thought it was ironic finding this today, as I remember reading that Sony just stopped making the Walkman earlier this year.


My Tomato!

This was my Little Red Tomato - it was my trusty camera all throughout high school and through ALL of my color guard years - both marching and teaching, I think. I had it for YEARS, and really loved it. Lots of memories with this little camera.


Jaws!

My parents had kept a few boxes of our childhood toys in our boxes. (My poor parents - I'm sure they were hoping they'd eventually have Grandkids to give these toys to.) One of the toys in the box was this old Jaws game that I remember getting as a Christmas gift in 1977.


Green Day Ticket Stub 1995

One of my favorite little finds today was this ticket stub from a Green Day Concert in 1995. My sister and I went to see them together in Berkeley. This was the third time I had seen them in concert that year. I have some amount of pride that I have physical proof of being a Green Day Groupie way back in 1995. I also love that the tickets were only $10!

There's still a lot more purging to do within the next few weeks. As one of my Facebook friends said, "OMG! How much stuff have you been hoarding?" :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Beef with Intuit

This is not the best way to start a Monday...


I use Quickbooks for the Mac as my accounting program for my small business. Doesn't everyone?

I don't use it for much more than writing invoices and receiving payments. Pretty basic stuff.

The last time I bought a copy of Quickbooks was (apparently) 3 years ago, when I bought Quickbooks Pro 2007 for the Mac.

I bought a new MacBook Pro a couple of months ago, and ever since then, when I launch Quickbooks, it told me that I need to register my product online and until I do, I have 15 times in which I can access my account. Presumably, after I register it, the 15-uses limitation goes away, and I'm free to use the program that I paid for 3 years ago.

Seems simple enough. (Except for the fact that ALL of my other software programs work just fine on my new mac, and I don't need to re-register ANY of it.)

So, this morning, it seems I was down to my last 8 uses or so. When I clicked to register (Which i've done before) it gave me the error that it was unable to launch the registration application (or something along those lines) then it quit out of my app altogether.

Fine. I'll call Intuit Customer Support, and have them register my app so I an use it again. Not a problem, right?

So, the customer service guy tells me that my version of Quickbooks isn't compatible with my new OS. Mind you, it worked fine over the last few weeks after I couldn't register it - it just opened the app and told me I had X amount of times I could still use it without registering.

Customer service outsouced-from-India-Guy tells me that I'm going to have to upgrade to the latest version - Quickbooks 2011 for the Mac.

The price: $229.00.

Um... excuse me?

First of all, that's the upgrade price (turns out there is no upgrade price - you buy the full software each time you need to "upgrade")?! He then offers me a 20% discount plus will throw in one month technical support.

Fine.

In the meantime, I look up Quickbooks on Amazon.com, and find this review:


owned Quickbooks 2007 for Mac and have used it for years. I am a registered user with Intuit. For the past few months, I got a message that I needed to register the product and that it would be good for only 30 days. This made no sense since I was a registered user and the "register online" option did not work. Finally, one day while I was working, I quit the application and tried to relaunch it. The message came up and would not launch. I called Intuit to help with the registration. I got a tech support in India who had passible English. He confirmed that the product was registered. He asked what system I was using. I was up to date with 10.6.4. He said that was the problem since Quickbooks 2007 was not being supported in 10.6, but only with 10.4 and 10.5. and would not work. I told him that it does work in 10.6 and I have been successful with it for months since upgrading to 10.6. He clarified that it would work only 15 times in 10.6 before the registration would not work. I found this to be incredible. This means that Intuit has written script to make the software not work after 15 times with the newer operating system. In some ways this seems illegal to me. It is one thing to say software is not supported with newer systems, it is another to purposefully make it not work when, in fact, it does work. I use Quickbooks basically as an accounting program and not for creating tax returns. As such, I don't need the most recent version. The tech person further stated that I had to buy the 2011 version and that it, too, would not work after 2014. Again, I'm flabbergasted. Intuit is purposefully making their software not work after a specific period of time. I am livid. I bought the newer version since I had to complete records for a number of clients but felt I was being forced to buy something I did not need due to planned obsolescence.

In general, 2011 seems identical to 2007. I don't need the newer features. I did notice that during reconciliation that often the program added incorrectly.


So, according to this review (and I'm experiencing ALL the same problems) Intuit will make my copy of Quickbooks obsolete after 3 years of using it. I don't think it mattered at all that I just updated my OS - this would have happened in 3 years, regardless. (Yes, I did verify that with service rep guy on the phone).

So, now I'm pissed off. However, I have a lot of stuff on my plate at the moment, so I just roll with the stupid, expensive upgrade.

Here's the thing: like the amazon reviewer above, I only use Quickbooks for two simple functions: invoices and receiving payments. I don't *need* to upgrade every 3 years for additional updates, etc., I am not given a choice, though, if I want to continue using it after 3 years.

The kicker: yes, I get one month free technical support, but after the first month, I will be charged $24.95 AUTOMATICALLY to keep that service going, unless I cancel it before. (Which you bet I'll be doing)

Let's recap:

After 3 years of buying/using this product, I can no longer access my files without "upgrading" for $229.95.

I will also be automatically charged $24.95/month unless I put a note in my calendar to cancel it before the first month is through.

Seems like a huge racket to me.

I admit, I'm playing the game, though. I don't have the time to try to figure out another solution at the moment, and just need for my accounting software to work.

At some point, (after my 3-year lease is up next time) maybe I'll explore other options. Maybe I'll go back to writing my invoices manually in MS Word like I did 15 years ago.

I hate crap like this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter 7!



Here we go again!

This morning, I saw the 11:30am matinee showing of Harry Potter 7 with my parents.

Ever since the very first Harry Potter movie came out, my family and I (whoever is able to make it) have gone to the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland to see the movies on their premiere day. We've also done the same for each of the new Star Wars movies and any of the Pixar films.

The theater is so great in so many ways: it's an gorgeous, old theater, but with updated systems so the screen, sound and even seats are new-ish. One of the biggest perks for us is that even though we go on opening day, this theater is never busy (not really sure why). This morning, I arrived 45 minutes before the first showing, and I was second in line! Can't beat that.

The movie was fantastic! We all really enjoyed it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Warming Hut Hotties Training Video

I know it's been almost two weeks since the last time I posted! Sorry about that. I have a lot of photos and thoughts to post, but somehow, they never made it up.

We had a Warming Hut Hotties Reunion gathering last night, which was just wonderful. Linda, our fearless and amazing leader hosted the gathering, cooked amazing food, and even found time to make memory videos of the 3 Day walk.

Today, she posted yet another video - a compilation of photos from the 24 weeks of training before the event. I joined the group the first weekend of August. I think most of these photos are from the period of time that I was with them.

It gives an amazing summary of the walks we did, stairs we climbed, and gorgeous sites that we saw. Waking up, and getting started as early as 6am, walking anywhere from 12 miles to 20 miles a day.

Thank you, Linda, for everything that you've done and continue to do for this incredible group - I'm so proud and happy to be a part of the Warming Hut Hotties! :)

2010 Training from WARMING HUT HOTTIES on Vimeo.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Love Thy Neighbor...



My neighbor Carol just delivered a homemade apple pie, made from apples from the tree in her backyard. Yum!

Baseball and Homemade Apple Pie! It's going to be an All-American night!

And on that note, be sure to get out and vote tomorrow!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Creep 'O Rama 2010!

Last night was our annual Halloween Party, "Creep 'O Rama"! It was Spooktacular, Spectacular!

It was a smaller crowd than usual, but that didn't stop us from having a really fantastic time! A great time was had by all, much alcohol was consumed (22 people, 10 bottles of wine and 24 bottles of beer - oh, my!), and fantastic costumes were thoroughly appreciated!

Dick, Christopher and I did a costume trio this year. We did a Social Networking theme. I was Facebook, Dick was the attention getting/trying to stay relevant My Space, and Christopher was Twitter.


Twitter, Facebook and MySpace

Each of our costumes had a "schick": I had stickers that I put on everyone and everything that said things like "Trina Likes this", or "Cool Costume!" or "LOL", etc., I had had a bag full of farm animals (a cow, sheep, pig, etc.,) that I tossed at everyone saying, "Superpoke"!


Facebook





Dick was "My Space" - trying to remain relevant, by wearing flashing lights, honking his horn, and trying to make sure that people didn't forget him. hilarious.


My Space

Christopher was "Twitter" complete with a little stuffed bluebird (who really did tweet!) and a megaphone so that he could "retweet" what everyone else was saying. On his back, he wore a sign that said, "Follow Me".


Twitter

Each of us wore white boards that we wrote and changed our status on. Or, at least, that was the intent, but I kept forgetting to write anything new!

We were a big hit on Castro Street, which was big fun. The three of us were stopped several times to have our pictures taken. ;)

We had several really great costumes at the party!

Here are some of the highlights:


Richard and Pete as creepy spiders!


Creepy Blane as a spider with an egg sac (ewwww!)


Shan as Max Headroom!


Philip as the Jolly Green Giant


Bunny & Mike - our 70s couple


Moshabar, Tanzeem & Will


Sharon & Kevin


David and Miguel as Batman & Robin


Lynn & Kathy


Michael (and Mike) - another 70s guy!


Graham and my sister, who didn't actually wear a costume, but get appreciation credit for coming! Actually, I told Graham that he could be a fourth in our costume since he was wearing a shirt with "SPAM" on it. ;)

Thanks so much to all who came! We had a really great time this year!