Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sis!

Happy Birthday, to my amazing Sister!!

We had a nice, casual celebration at her home tonight. She ordered in BBQ from her new favorite local BBQ place (which serves North Carolina style pulled pork!), and my parents brought an ice-cream cake from Ben & Jerry's!

In between dinner and dessert, Dick and Graham serenaded us with some jazz. :)

A surprise visit!

Kimi and Manuel!

This afternoon, Dick and I were taking a walk around the neighborhood, when we had a most pleasant surprise.

As we were talking with my friend, Greg (who had just come from seeing our Open House at the Condos) on the corner of 19th and Castro (which was also a pleasant surprise), I heard someone calling out my name.

I looked up, and there's Kimi and her husband, Manuel, in their car at the Stop sign!

What a surprise!

Kimi and I have been long overdue for a visit. I don't think we've seen each other since the summer.

They were in town today having lunch with a friend, then came by to do some shopping in the Castro. They were just getting ready to leave and go home when Manuel happened to spot Dick and I walking down the street! Nice timing!

They hadn't been to our new home yet, so we invited them over for a quick visit and some tea.

We had the best time! It was so nice to share our new home with them, and also to sit down and catch up a bit.

Thank you, Kimi and Manuel for coming over today. I loved seeing you both!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

End of an Era

"His" and "Hers" plaques that we had on the front doors of "His 'n Hers Condos". My parents and sister gave them to us as our house-warming gifts 7 years ago.

As much as I LOVE our new home (and believe me, I do!), it's a little bittersweet for me to announce that our beloved condos are now on the market, and will be having their first open house tomorrow (Sunday, 1/30 from 1-4pm). We've had a LOT of great times and wonderful memories there over the last 12 years, and now the Condos are both available to host years of wonderful new memories for new owners.

We've had a LOT of work done on both condos, both inside and out, within the last two weeks, and I think they look GREAT!

Here's the website with all of the info:

If you, or anyone you know if interested in buying a fantastic condo (or two!) in San Francisco's fabulous Castro neighborhood, please check it out!

Trina and Dick in front of "His 'n Her's Condos, May 2004

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Donating Platelets & Plasma

Be extra nice to me. I spent 2 hours donating blood today. :)

here I am, all cozy in my blankets, donating platelets and plasma, while wearing headphones and watching TV

As you may know, I try to donate blood every 2-3 months, and have been doing so for about 5 years.

Today, I tried something new. Once I had made my appt with the blood center online a couple of days ago, they called to ask if I would be willing to donate Platelets and Plasma instead.

They explained the process to me. There's still only one needle stick, but I'd be hooked up to a machine that would separate the Platelets and Plasma in my blood from my blood, then the blood (along with some saline) is returned to me. They told me that the entire process could take up to two hours. (versus 20 minutes or so for whole blood donation.)

Here's the explanation from the American Red Cross site:

During a platelet donation, a small portion of your blood (less than one pint at a time), is drawn from your arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to you. After the donation you can resume your normal activities, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise that day.

A single platelet donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need. In fact, some platelet donations yield enough platelets for two or three therapeutic doses. By contrast, it takes about five whole blood donations to produce a single therapeutic dose. Many patients who need platelets are undergoing chemotherapy or organ transplant and have weakened immune systems. A platelet dose from a single donor reduces the patient’s exposure to multiple donors and is therefore preferred by many physicians.

The blood center told me that platelets and plasma are in much greater demand right now than whole blood. I had the time this afternoon, so I figured I'd give it a try.

From the donor's end, the process was very much the same: check blood pressure, temperature and iron level, then sit down in a nice chair, arm propped on the arm of the chair, and needle in the vein.

The chair was extra-lounge-y, and they covered me with blankets and warm pads. Apparently, the donor can get quite cold from this procedure. I'm guessing it has something to do with the saline entering your blood stream?

Anyhow, I was comfy-cozy in my blankets. They also swung an arm with a computer monitor with a keyboard above and in front of me so that I could use the internet, watch movies from their library, or watch TV. It was kind of like flying first class - without the liquor. ;)

The entire procedure took about 90 minutes, I think, not including the paper work and checking my vitals beforehand, and the time I needed to rest in the chair after.

It was a good experience, and I'd gladly do it again and maybe make it my new regular routine.

Another difference - with whole blood donation, the donor needs to wait at least 8 weeks before donating again. With Platelet and Plasma donation, it's only 4 weeks.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mom's Mailbox Slot Bag

My very clever Mom came up with an ingenious way for us to collect our mail (which comes through a mail slot in our garage side door). We were trying to figure out a way to fashion a basket or a bag to catch the mail so that it wouldn't fall and spread out on our garage floor.

We had done a little research online and didn't find many options. One idea that we found was the Snail Sakk which was a nice, simple idea, but seemed pricey with its $30 + shipping price tag.

With that in mind, my Mom hunted for the perfect bag.

She settled on a plastic zippered pouch that was used to store linens.

She velcro-ed the top of the bag to the door (underneath the mail slot opening) using secure double-stick tape, then velro-ed the bag's flap above the slot.

The bag is clear, so I can easily see if the mail has been delivered, and all I have to do is un-velcro the bag's lid to retrieve it.

All for the cost of a couple strips of velcro!

Thanks, Mom! Works like a charm! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My parents and I had dinner tonight at Firefly.

I ordered the Tuna entree, and ate about half. I asked to have the leftovers wrapped so I could bring them home with me.

This is the container that was brought to me with my leftovers.

I stared at it for a few seconds before asking, "How did you know that my name is 'Trina'?"

(the reservation was made via Open Table, and that account is under Dick's name.)

The waitress replied, "Oh, I can see how it looks like "Trina", but it actually says "Tuna".


That alone was worth ordering the tuna!

As a funny side note, my friend, Sheri, has called me "Tunie" since Junior High School. Back in the day, I had a sweatshirt with my name in iron-on letters across the front. When she first saw it at a distance, she thought it said, "Tuna".

Monday, January 17, 2011

New paintings up

We recently bought a new painting from the Adler's Gallery and it was just delivered and hung today. As a painter, it takes a lot for me to love a painting enough for me to want to buy it and hang it in my home. The two paintings on this blog post met the criteria. :)

This painting has a great story: Dick first saw it towards the end of September, and really loved it. At the time, we were still living in the condos, with no idea that we'd be moving any time soon. He loved this painting, but it was too large (56" x 48") to fit on any of our walls in the condos. Instead, we selected two other smaller paintings that we really liked.

Fast forward 6 weeks when we decided to buy the new house (which has nice, large art walls!). We realized we would actually have the wall space to accommodate the painting that Dick really loved. At the same time, we got a call from the Adlers saying that someone had just come into the gallery, who was very interested in one of the pieces that we had already purchased. (The Gallery was having a 2-month show with all of the paintings by Kelly Reemtsen, and all of these paintings had remained in the gallery during this time.) Long story short, we sold back the two paintings, bought the one that we originally loved, and the Adlers were able to sell the two paintings to new clients.

Win-Win-Win. :)

So here she is in her new home. I thought we were going to name her "Bubbles", but Dick is still deciding. She looks great!

I had bought this next painting a few years ago from a local artist was selling a few pieces at Dolores Park. The top Northwest corner of Dolores Park is probably my favorite view of San Francisco. This artist had painted this piece on the back of an antique window (a technique that I love, and would love to try someday) and it is a painting of that gorgeous view from the park to downtown.

It was the first time I had ever bought from a local artist. I love everything about it. The medium, the technique, the composition and the colors.

This painting never found the perfect location to hang at the condos, and I'm so happy to have found the perfect spot (I think) for it at the new house.

It's not exactly traditional, but I hung it outside in the covered area of our front porch. I like how the window aspect if it plays with being on the outside of a building. It's a fun juxtaposition. :)

We hung it with security hardware so that it is locked in place, and can't be removed by any passers-by.

The house is really starting to feel like our home now. We hung most of our art over the weekend, and it really makes a difference. We've still got to put up our family photos, which we'll try to do later this week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I got a lovely surprise in the mail today! Paula and Reeves sent us a House Warming gift from Seattle. :)

Paula got me addicted to Glassybaby - beautiful glass candle vessels handmade in the Seattle area. She brought one for me when she came to visit us a couple of years ago, and I've been hooked ever since.

I went up to Seattle last August, and Paula brought me to the Glassybaby store in Madrona where we were able to watch the glassblowers make the Glassybabies.

The name of the particular Glassybaby that Paula and Reeves selected as our housewarming gift is called "Love". Seems perfectly appropriate, doesn't it?

It's a gorgeous Red, with hints of orange and yellow when lit.

Thank you, Paula and Reeves! I love our new Glassybaby! :)

Wooden Trina "Loves" the new Glassybaby!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Toto Washlets are Back!!

Behold! The Toto Washlet is Back! Warm Butts Unite!

When we moved to the new house, we had a few friends ask if we were taking our fabulous toilets with us.

Now, this may be a very strange sounding statement to those of you who have not been to our house before, or who have not heard me talk about our fabulous toilets.

It's true: we had fabulous toilets at His 'n Her Condos.

What makes them so special?

Why, they were both Toto toilets, equipped with Washlets!!

What exactly does that mean?

Here's my blog post about our first Toto Washlet over 3 years ago. Basically, it's a Japanese-brand toilet that has several features: It has a built in bidet (for both front and behind), a dryer, and yes, it even has a heated seat. All of these functions are controlled by the toilet remote. Yes, my toilet has its very own remote control. ;)

Now, I'll admit, it's a funny thing to get so excited about. I mean, really - how many people talk about their toilets?

But it is a wondrous thing, and I've had many people over who will agree. :)

Oh, sure, we had plenty of non-believers at first. Both of my sisters-in-law were skeptics. Understandably, too. I mean, who pays this much for a toilet?! But they came out for a visit, and they both admitted that they missed our toilets once they returned home. :)

Anyhow, we'll be bringing over one of the washlets from the condos. (the other was a rounded toilet, versus elongated, and all of the toilets in the new house are elongated.) We just bought a few more for the rest of the bathrooms.

The last time I ordered one, I found a local plumbing supply store that sold them for 30% off retail. That was a pretty good deal.

Last week, when I finally got around to price-comparing online, I found that has them for 49% off retail! Woo-Hoo!

Warm Butts for Everyone!

The Washlets were delivered today, and Dick has already installed two of them. Go, Handyman Dick!

We've been in the new house for 3 weeks already, and I have to admit that we both missed our Toto Washlets! :)

..and remember: All Your Butts Are Belong to Us!

Friday, January 07, 2011


Introducing Seymour!

If you know my Mom, you probably know that she has quite a penguin collection.

Trina is to Raggedy Ann
Barb is to Penguins

So, it's not as is my Mom actually needed another penguin, but when I saw this little guy in an antique store on Polk Street last week, I couldn't resist. I mean, just look at his cute little face, and his adorable eyes. My Mom didn't have another penguin like him at all, so clearly, he needed to go live with her.

My Mom named him Seymour. A good choice, I think.

Does anyone else think of J.D. Salinger's Seymour Glass whenever they hear the name "Seymour"?

"See More Glass!"

Welcome, Seymour Penguin! I know you're going to love life in the Chow House. :)

Mom and Seymour

Thursday, January 06, 2011

First Visit!!

My Dad's recovery from his Hip Resurfacing surgery is going very well so far. We closed on our new house the day after his surgery (three weeks ago) and today was the first day that he was able to come to visit us at our new home! He's been having regular Physical Therapy sessions, and is now able to navigate stairs without problem. The main level of our house is only accessible by stairs, so he had to wait to come until he knew that the stairs wouldn't be an issue.

My parents also brought my Grandma (my Mom's Mom) up today, too, so it was the first time she has had a chance to see the new place.

They brought dim sum for lunch, which is always a treat.

Thanks, Mom, Dad and Grandma for the delicious lunch and the nice visit today!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Parking Elation!!

In my 15+ years of living in San Francisco, today was the first time that I went to Costco, filled my trunk with my purchases, drove home, and.... parked in my own garage!

This statement may not mean much to you if you've never lived without parking in an urban area, but to me, this was practically Nirvana. For the last 15 years, I've had to find a spot nearby, or double park, unload my groceries onto my front porch, carrying as much as possible each time, close my trunk, lock my car, unlock my front door, turn off the house alarm, then bring all the items into the house (usually first into the front hallway, then later into the kitchen). Not a huge deal, and I certainly got used to it, but, oh, was it nice to park in my garage, close the garage door, then bring my stuff into the house. :)

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Window Shades

Most of my new window shades were delivered and installed this morning. Yay! I had forgotten how much simple window shades can soften up a room.

I'm a sucker for Hunter Douglass Silhouettes. We had them at the condos, and really loved them. They aren't cheap, but I did manage to save a little bit of money by ordering them through Costco (of course!) and also got an additional Costco rebate card with my order as well. :)

I had also ordered some room darkening Duettes Honeycomb shades for our bedroom, but they haven't come in yet.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

My 2010 according to my FB Status

I don't use many apps on Facebook, but I used this one last year, and liked it. It's kind of fun to see a few of the status updates that I posted on Facebook throughout the year.

One of my favorite things about having kept a blog for the past 7 years(!) is that it's a nice record of day-to-day activities - some interesting, some not, some funny, and many things that may have been forgotten otherwise. :)

I probably post at least one status update on Facebook each day, but after they drop from my wall, they are forgotten - never to be seen again... until this handy little synopsis. :) Plus, my parents (who aren't on Facebook) might enjoy seeing a few of the things that I've posted on my wall over the last year. ("Hi, Mom and Dad!")

Last year, I edited some of the status updates that the app chose (I think they put them in chronological order last year, so it wasn't so random, and not as interesting). This year, the first pass brought up some fun tidbits from throughout the year, so I decided not to alter it at all.


You know an ant raid is bad when you take a photo and you can actually *see* the line of ants from a few feet away!

So far, the new house has been wonderful. We've had a few bumps along the way so far: the faucet handle in the main shower broke off the first night, the door handle to one of the bathrooms was broken, which we didn't notice until it was closed from the outside, and couldn't get back in (had to call a locksmith for that one), the tankless hot water heater has had to be restarted a few times... but the one problem that's been recurring, and really, the most annoying of all (to me, at least) is the ANTS!

We've spent 12 nights here so far. I'm going to guess that at least 8 of those nights, we've woken up in the morning to an ant raid *somewhere* in the house. First, it was in my office (ground level), next, it was by the sliding glass door on the main level (where the ants had found a barely open bag of cat treats), then the kitchen counter, the kitchen pantry, back to the kitchen counter, and again, the kitchen counter...

Clearly, we have a problem here. I've been getting (and using) all kinds of advice from my Facebook friends - most notably using windex and ant baits. Both seem to work, as the ants definitely leave the areas for the most part, but they keep coming back to the kitchen counter.

I think it's time to call in the big guns. I'll try to get some exterminators out sometime early this week.

This morning's ant raid was by far the worst: it wasn't just a trail of ants - it was more like an army of ants. We're started to liken the ants to the Orcs from the Lord of the Rings series. There are so many of them, and they just keep coming!! I'm beginning to think that there's a little orc mine underneath the foundation of our new home.

I guess you may be wondering what the ants are attracted to? Now, I'll admit that they have found a couple of things - the kitty treats the first day, and a couple of days ago, they found a barely opened bag of brown sugar. So there's that. But really, since then, we've been very fastidious about making sure they can't get into anything. Tupperware and Ziploc bags are our friends. Today's heavy duty raid lead from the base of the counter, up the side of the counter, across the counter, and into... the sink. Hundreds of ants swarming around my kitchen sink. With nothing in it. Really - I made sure to scrub it down last night after we cooked dinner. Stupid Fraking Ants!

Now granted, I know it's ant season - it's cold and has been raining a lot lately - especially last night. But still, I'm done with these ants.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Day Dinner

Tonight, we followed our annual Southern Tradition of making Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas for dinner. We made it tonight with Eastern Carolina-style BBQ Pulled Port. It was yummy!

Dick and I have been making the same meal (plus or minus the BBQ) on New Year's Day for several years now. The greens represent wealth, and the black-eyed peas are for luck.

Happy 1-1-11! Here's to a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!