Sunday, January 31, 2010

A New Washer and Dryer!

very exciting!!

Pretty new Washer & Dryer

At last! We bought a new washer and dryer yesterday, and it was delivered (amazingly enough) this morning!

The old washer and dryer were probably well over 25 years. They were here when I bought my condo from Andrew in 1998, and they were here when he bought the condo in 1988. They were still both working fine, so I figured I'd wait until one of broke before we bought a new one.

I mentioned this to my Mom a few weeks ago, and she reminded me how much more energy and water efficient the new models are.


I mentioned the same thing to Andrew, and he cautioned me, warning that I may not want to wait until one of them breaks. What if one of them broke, and it went terribly wrong? Worst case scenario: Our washer and dryer are on the top floor. What if the washer broke, and caused a leak (or flood). Bad news.

So, suddenly, I was on a quest for a new washer and dryer.

I asked my friends on Facebook for recommendations, and got a lot of good advice.

We ended up getting the Samsung 4.5 cu. ft. front load steam washer and dryer. I think we got the Mother of All Washing Machines. ;) It's HUGE (my old washer had a 3.2 cu. ft. capacity, I think) and the controls and functionality are all so cool. Washer and Dryer technology sure has come a long way over the past 25+ years!

We decided on getting white machines, versus the stainless steel. I generally prefer stainless steel for appliances, but decided on white for these because a) stainless steel is harder than traditional paint, and is hard to clean and accumulates lots of finger prints, and b) it was about $100 more expensive per machine. We had also looked at and considered the LG models, which had some fabulous colors that I really loved (candy red, colbalt blue) but since we went with the Samsung, it was only white or stainless steel.

We got a really great deal at Sears. Dick and I really enjoy buying large appliances from Sears - their sales people are always so knowledgeable and friendly, and their prices are hard to beat. I did some online research last week and saw that they were having a 10-20% off sale on all major appliances through this weekend, so I really wanted to make sure that we went this weekend to check it out. We went yesterday morning. As it turns out, they were having a One-day only sale yesterday which gave us an additional 10% off! Score!

Another nice surprise was that they were in stock, and were available for delivery as early as today! Nice! They were delivered this morning at 10:00am, which gave me an entire day to wash everything I could think of to test 'em out!

The delivery guys were pretty amazing. First they took the old washer and dryer out, then brought the new ones in and set them up. All within 30-40 minutes! They had these very clever straps that wrapped over their shoulders, and underneath the machines, which they just lifted and carried down the stairs and out the door. Very impressive.

Out with the old, and in with the new!

What amazes me most (so far) about the new washer and dryer are how very quiet they are. With the old machines, I could hear them from my office (same floor, but on the other side of the house) and even worse: the entire room/house would shake/vibrate whenever the washer was going through the spin cycle. With the new washer and dryer, I don't hear a thing, and I can be in the same room and not feel the spin cycle. Amazing!

So, clearly, I'm a fan so far, and super happy with my new washer an dryer. We'll see how it all continues to go...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"The iPad" - Really? That's the best name you could come up with?

worst. product. name. ever...



This just goes to show that sometimes all of those brilliant engineers and marketing specialists just don't see the whole picture.

I'm pretty sure you could ask any woman on the street what the first thing she would think of when hearing about a product named "iPad", and she would say: feminine hygiene product.

I can guarantee you that (at least before Apple's announcement this morning) no woman who hears of a product called "iPad" would think, "Fantastic, computer gadget! I must get one now!"

No. that's not how it works.

Just say the word "pad" and our minds go elsewhere - somewhere much less fun and exciting.

I haven't even looked into the new iPad yet. I still can't get past the name.

But I'll tell you this, seeing the headline that Steve Jobs calls the iPad “truly magical” and a “revolutionary device” has a whole new set of connotations for me now. :)

Note to Apple: make sure you include smart women into those important meetings when you name those new "must-have devices"!

It just may stop you from sounding like an imbecile.

"The New iPad! Now with wings!"

No surprise: the net has been buzzing with iPad jokes all day.

Here's just one article about Apple's big goof:

Apple's iPad becomes big fat ‘intimate’ joke

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Best Friend from Fourth Grade

When I was in fourth grade, my family lived in Fresno. My sister and I were both part of the "GATE" program (Gifted and Talented Education, apparently), which started in fourth grade. I believe there as only one GATE class per grade level in the city, but I"m not sure. Nonetheless, this means that the kids in our class came from all over Fresno, and most of us hadn't had classes in first through third grades with each other before.

My best friend that year was Julie. I'm don't remember the exact moment that we met, but I do remember that we became fast friends, and we were basically inseparable during that entire school year.

My dad got transferred to the bay area with work, and the day after I finished the fourth grade, my family moved to Milpitas. My family took occasional trips to Fresno over the next few years, and I remember that Julie and I were able to see each other for visits from time to time. We also wrote letters (the old-fashioned kind!) to each other, probably through 7th grade or so.

Alas, we lost touch sometime around Junior High or even High School. I always remembered Julie and had very fond memories of her.

Fast forward to 2007.

On October 3, 2007, I post a blog asking my readers to please let themselves be known. My blog had a lot of regular hits, so I was curious to know who was reading it regularly.

Imagine my surprise when I received the following comment:

This probably sounds very strange, but I used to be friends with you in Fresno, years ago. Do you remember me?

One day a few months ago, I was typing random names into Google and came across this blog! We were in fourth grade together, and then you moved to Milpitas. We wrote letters and sent school pictures for years, but somehow we fell out of touch sometime in high school.

Anyway, I have wanted to drop you a line, but it seemed so "stalkerish" But since you've asked....

I enjoy your blog because you are so joyful and positive about your life - such a wonderful role model.

Julie | 10.05.07 - 9:18 pm

Pretty amazing, right? I sent her an email immediately. We've corresponded via email a few times, have become "friends" on Facebook, and keep up with each other on our mutual blogs.

We even managed a "face-to-face" visit a couple of years ago when Julie lived in Stockton. It was wonderful. What a special friendship - we met for lunch, and ended up talking for more than 3 hours, which was only cut short because I had to meet my family for dinner. I love those friendships where you can be separated for years, yet, when you see each other again, you fall right back with each other. It had been nearly 30 years since we had seen each other!

I feel so fortunate that Julie had the inclination to search for me, and that we have managed to reconnect. I think it's so special to have friends in your life from childhood.

Julie just sent me a photo that she found of the two of us - I assume it's from 1979. I absolutely love it. I don't think I ever had a picture of the two of us together.

Julie and Trina, 1979

Julie and Trina, 2008

Thanks, Julie! I hope to see you again very soon for another visit!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Funny conversation on Twitter....

this made me laugh. If you know me, you know I love Costco! :)

(Bruce is my cousin, for those of you who don't know)

breyeschow: Waiting for the, "You need four new tires." call. (@ Borders)
about 2 hours ago

trinachow: @breyeschow i just got 4 new tires installed today at Costco. :) $70 off coupon through end of the month.
about 1 hour ago

breyeschow: @trinachow you and costco . . . tires, caskets . . . did you meet Dick there too ;-) Already at our shop doing some other work, but thanks.
about 1 hour ago

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Christmas in January

My sister, and her boyfriend, Graham, have both been away from home for almost a year. They left on the first of February of last year, and moved to Las Vegas for work (temporarily) then my sister had another job on the road, which she just returned from earlier this week.

Because of this, they were both away on Christmas. Our immediate family decided to wait until they got home for the 6 of us to celebrate Christmas together. My parents even kept up their Christmas tree, and all of their decorations (inside and out) just for them! (my parents are usually sticklers to putting all the Christmas decorations away before the first of the year, so this was a pretty big deal for them! You can be that they'll start putting it all away tomorrow!)

So, we finally had our family Christmas together this afternoon. :)

Chow Christmas in January!

After we opened all of the gifts, we went out for the traditional Christmas-in-January meal: Baja Cactus on Main Street, Milpitas! Yum!

Dinner at Baja Cactus!

My main present to my sister and Graham was a painting that I've been working on for the past couple of weeks. They just moved into a new home late last year, and are finally having a chance to really live there and settle in. I've been promising a painting to my sister for years (yes, years....) and really wanted to be able to give her one for her new place.

My latest painting

It's a fairly large painting. I forgot to measure it, but I'd say it's around 48" long, and probably about 30" high. It's 3 panels - my first triptic. :)

The two birds in the painting are meant to be her two cockatiels - Crissy and Bonsai. Crissy will turn 30(!) years old next month - we've had her since she was 6 weeks old! Dick and I took care of the birds at our house for the past year while my sister was away. It was nice bonding with them again.

I haven't painted in so long. I'm always amazed once I start a new project, just how much I love the process of painting! Now that I've got my studio set up in our backyard, I'm determined to get out there and paint more often! It feels so great to be painting again!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Party in the Backyard!!

My sister just came back after having been away for almost a year! She
came by today to say "hi" and to pick up her birdies (who have been
staying with us while she was gone).

5 minutes before she came, Bruce and the girls came over for a visit!
It's a big, impromptu party!

We all went to hang out in the backyard for a while to catch up. Big

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Day I got my Palm Tree Shaved...

First things first, this was the status I put up on Facebook this morning:

Trina is so excited that her palm tree is getting a shave today. :) (and is realizing that this sounds like a metaphor for something else, which makes this sound much funnier than it actually is)

It's no surprise that the responses I got back were hilarious!

But, no, really... I had my palm tree shaved today!

Nice, pretty, shaved Palm Tree!

The palm tree that we have in our backyard is probably about 20 years old, and up until about a year ago when we had our backyard done, the poor thing was pretty neglected. Our landscape designers fell in love with the palm tree, and actually based their whole design around it.

At last, our Palm Tree felt loved. &heart; :)

We've been meaning to have it shaved for the last year or so, but never actually got around to making it happen... until today!

The trunk was full of "hair" from the base all the way to the top.

(from the web)
The "hairy stuff" is an accumulation of dead leaves whose leafbases have not fallen off the trunk. Removing the old growth is done solely for cosmetic reasons.

Our gardener, Ann Marie brings her crew to our backyard every 3 to 4 months. I go back and weed/trim every week or so just for regular maintenance.

Today, Ann Marie brought in a Palm Specialist to help her shave the palm tree. It was a meticulous process, and was so interesting to watch. They shaved the trunk sheet-by-sheet - each sheet was originally formed by individual palm leaf. They carefully trimmed each sheet just above the dead growth (as to not damage the live growth) then sliced it off at the base of the leaf stem. (bad description, and probably not accurate.)

The whole process probably took a couple of hours.

I'm so amazed, and so happy with the results. I love the color of the exposed trunk. It will change color (green in the shade, and light brown in the sun) over time, but I think the pattern of the trunk is so beautiful!

Here are some photos of the process:

Before - covered in hair, and wrapped with lights

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 9th Annual No Pants BART Ride Day

So, I've never heard of this before, but a friend of mine just posted this on Facebook.

9th Annual “No Pants” BART Ride Day | San Francisco

The 9th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride will take place on Sunday, January 10th in San Francisco. The whole point to is ride BART without any pants (wear interesting undies and colorful socks) but to act completely normal.

Who knew?

Actually, here's the funny part:

Dick and I were walking around on Castro Street today, and saw a group of men with shirts, jackets, socks and shoes (and probably undies), but alas, no pants.

We just assumed they were some of the regular naked guys who we sometimes see on Castro Street. We figured they must have been a little chilly today, so they wore their shirts, and jackets and socks, instead of only their socks and shoes as usual.

So, I wouldn't have given it a second thought if they were totally naked, but since they had on shirts and jackets, we noticed them.

Go figure.

Gotta love life in the Castro! :)

CA Earthquakes and Sea Lions

Dick and I were talking this morning about all of the recent earthquakes in Northern California this week. There were 3 (I believe) about 3.5 magnitude (or higher) earthquakes centered around Milpitas between Wednesday evening and Friday afternoon. Then, there was the big 6.5 earthquake that hit Humboldt County yesterday late afternoon.

Then, there's the Sea Lions. Hundreds of sea lions used to live on the docks around Pier 39. They all just kind of showed up around 1990, and have hung around ever since, becoming quite a popular tourist attraction.

However, most of them left very suddenly at the end of November. Scientists were baffled as to the reason of their sudden departure.

I figured the sea lions must have known something we didn't.

Well, it turns out that the sea lions appear to have all moved up to the Oregon Coast. Apparently, this summer's El NiƱo event along the California coast pushed up lots of food, including herring, anchovies, smelt and squid.

I mentioned that to Dick this morning, and he asked how the sea lions figured it out.

"Did they text message each other?"

Pier 39 Sea Lion: "FML. This place is full of gay people and tourists."

Oregon Coast Sea Lion: Come on up! Lots of anchovies here! FTW!


I'm still not convinced the move was all about the food. I still say the sea lions were on to something that we haven't figured out yet...

Saturday, January 09, 2010

An afternoon at Nordstrom

I've said it before: the $2.50 shoe shine at Nordstrom in San Francisco
Center is the best deal in SF!

After getting our shoes shined, I noticed this... is the Miami Vice
look (pastel t-shirts worn under short sleeved button down shirts -
with the sleeves rolled up) back in?! Say it isn't so!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hilarious change of plans...

Proof that I'm not crazy

Okay - so my Mom and I have a annual ritual of going to MacWorld together every January. We've been doing this since 1985 - unless I was living out of the area.

Everyone knows that MacWorld SF is always the first or second week of January, right?

I always register early - as soon as I'm notified that registration is open - so I can qualify for a free pass into the exhibit hall (which is the only thing I go for anyway).

Earlier this week, I found my email confirmation printout, and put it in my purse so I wouldn't forget to bring it with me (you need this to get your exhibition badge at the expo).

My Mom and I had planned to go today, Thursday.

When we spoke about it earlier in the week, we both acknowledged that we hadn't seen anything about it in the local news, but figured it was because Apple wasn't going to be present this year (a first) and because of that, there wouldn't be any special keynote speech or special announcements. I chalked it up to being low-key, and was going in with low expectations.

I'll even say that I decided to check on to verify the dates, since I hadn't seen/heard anything about the expo. The landing page didn't have anything, but it did have a list of the 2010 Eddy Award Winners (Mac World Expo award winners, which are announced at MacWorld Expo each year) so again, I figured they were being low-key.

I planned on meeting my Mom at 11:00 this morning for breakfast/lunch, then we'd head to Moscone together. I put a status update on my Facebook account, mentioning I where I was going. Right before I was about to leave out my door, a friend of mine (Thanks, Thuy-Anh!) told me that she thought it wasn't until February.

Now, this news didn't shock me, because I thought this whole lack-of-information-thing. I went back to the site - still nothing, but I thought to look for a section called Mac World Expo 2010.


MacWorld 2010: February 9-13

there it is!

So, I chuckled, and called my Mom - who was already on BART...

"Uh, Mom... I just found out that MacWorld isn't until February..."



So, she decided to just come on over to my house. She hasn't been over in a while, anyhow.

Honestly, this was good timing....

Just last night, I started to watch an Oprah show that was talking about the new show called "Hoarders". I haven't actually seen the Hoarders show, but the footage of it that Oprah showed was enough to inspire me to do a big purge of the "stuff" that's cluttered in my upstairs (extra) kitchen.

Dick and I just did a big clothing/electronics purge this weekend. (10 bags of clothing - just from me) and a whole bunch of old electronics - including the first Tivo Dick had bought about 11 years ago!

So, we're in the purging mood, and who better to help out, than my parents!

My Mom suggested that I call my Dad (who is retired now, by the way) and have him come over to help (he loves to purge/clear out/organize).

Yep - big change of plans for the day, but I have a feeling that this day is going to become so much more productive now!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Our Wii Fit Family

Wii Dick, Wii Trina and Wii Noe!

Dick and I just got a Wii Fit, and tried it out for the first time last night. So far, I really like it!

I know I weigh a lot for someone my height - part of the I'll contribute to muscle (hello - my calves probably weigh 10 lbs. each!) but I can certainly stand to lose a decent amount of weight that I've gained over the past few years.

I've been doing pilates and walking/elliptical machine fairly regularly still, but it's fun to mix it up with things like this.

One of the most fun things that we found on the Wii Fit last night was that you can include your pets!

Yes, little Noe has a Wii character now - a pretty good representation!
She didn't seemed to mind being weighed on the board last night, either. :) (I was carrying her)

We'll see how this goes!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"American Idiot" is Broadway Bound!!

American Idiot Will Rock Broadway's St. James Starting March 24

transcript of conversation between Dick & Trina

I just found out that Dick sent this out to his team, so I figured I can post it on my blog..

Unedited transcript:

I need a picture for a public Windows live blog.
I don't want to use my corporate drone pix - they are too stiff.
I need a basic headshot pic that looks like me, has some character, preferably smiling.
Can you find one and send it to me? Thanks!

Here are three for you to choose from
Do any of them work?

I like the last one (in Vegas, I think), except that there are horizontal bars going through my head :)
Can you photoshop those out? (Just the ones going through my ears)?

Here you go – it’s funny – I never notice things like that until you point them out. :)

Hm. Right ear (left from your pov) looks really weird. The top has a funny shape. Like I’m a mutant elf.

Trina: Mutant elf – check.
Pointy-ears – gone!
(sends new image)

Dick: Also – can you fix the red eye?

Trina: (sends new image)

Dick: Actually, I may end up using the one in the hat. It’s pretty good.

Trina: Dude. You’re killing me....

Dick: Imagine how my team feels.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Day Dinner

Happy New Year!

In the Southern Tradition, we cooked a meal with Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas. We tried something different this year, and made Eastern Carolina-style BBQ Pulled Pork - it was outstanding!

There are several interpretations that I've found for what each item represents. Some say the greens represent paper money, and the black-eyed peas represent coins. Others say that the greens represent wealth, and the black-eyed peas are for luck.

We make some form of this meal each year on January 1st. I've really learned to love this tradition with my husband. :)

My Year according to my Facebook Status

For those of you not on Facebook (or, at least, not my friend on Facebook) you may not realize that I'm on Facebook (embarrassingly) regularly, and frequently update my status.

It's a bit interesting updating my status on Facebook while also keeping a blog. I've realized the my blog has been hurt a bit because I tend to put my more day-to-day-random-thoughts on Facebook now, when I used to publish them on my blog.

Anyhow, I found a neat little FB app that commpiles select status updates from your account in Facebook and puts them all together in a pretty little collage. I have far too many status updates to squeeze into this screen - I think it only made it through February, but it was fun to read through my status updates for the year.

So, again, if you're not on Facebook (and that's you, Mom & Dad), here's a taste of what you're missing. (exciting as it is.)