Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Day with the Boys

Dick and I had a wonderfully spontaneous day today with David & Miguel!

The fun started at 1:00 (okay, 1:20, 'cause Dick and I were running late) at Dolores Park. The four of us were part of a group of people who participated in a video project for Dance Continuum.

We finished around 2:00, then David and Miguel came over to our house. It was such a beautiful day that we decided that we had to enjoy it with some Mimosas. :)

We took the convertible out for a drive, and went up to Twin Peaks, then down Highway 1 to Fort Funston. There weren't any hang-gliders out today, but it was picturesque, nonetheless.

"The Boys" at Fort Funston

Pacific Ocean from Fort Funston

Next we drove up to Pacifica, and decided to go bowling at Sea Bowl!! All of us said that we hadn't been bowling in years, so the expectations were low. Dick and Miguel started off slowly, I got 6 or 7 pins down, then David came in and had two strikes on the 2nd and 3rd frame. It was then that he told us that he used to be in a bowling league! ;)

Bowling Boys

After 1.5 games of bowling (we bought a 1-hour package) we drove back to SF and went to the Cliff House for Bloody Marys. Yum!

Bloody Marys at the Cliff House


Figuring we'd had plenty of drinks for the day (did I mention the beer during bowling?) we came back home in the evening and grilled some steaks.

It was a wildly fun, spontaneous day!

Thanks, David & Miguel!

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Driver's License!

Hey, remember my DMV appt a couple of weeks ago when I had to renew my driver's license? Believe it or not, my new license came to me in the mail today!

Wow! I was told that it would be 1-2 months (and I know people who have waited that long) and mine came in just over 2 weeks.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I got my new license in the mail today. Technically, my old license expired yesterday, and already had my new one only one day later.

Pretty impressive!

Oh, and remember how I wasn't allowed to smile for my picture?

Here it is:

It's not bad. The picture of my enormous head is huge, but that's no surprise. As for the serious face... well, it's not too serious, at least. I think it still looks like me, so I'll take that. ;)

A Day in Napa

Dick and I had a really nice day in Napa today. We drove around Lake Hennessey for a while, had lunch at Dean and Deluca, went to a few wineries, shopped a little at the outlet mall, then had a wonderful dinner at Bistro Jeanty (YUM!). The weather was just perfect - clear and mid-60s.

I had some fun playing with the Hipstamatic App on my iPhone.

Gorgeous Vineyards

a pond at Hess Winery

a more-dramatic-than-usual photo of Dick looking out a window at Hess

Same photo, but with Hipstamatic

My MINI passed 50,000 miles today!

Lake Hennessey

Dick and I are spending the day in Napa Valley. We took a detour from the wineries and took a stroll along Lake Hennessey. Beautiful!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Wall of Birthday Wishes!

Today is my 41st Birthday. Wow - how did that happen?! :)

There's nothing like waking up to find a wall full of birthday wishes on Facebook! Thank you all who sent me greetings on Facebook, emails, and cards! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to hear from so many wonderful friends. I am a very lucky 41-year-old girl. :)

Dick is a couple of days off from work, and we're going to drive up to Napa this afternoon. I see lots of delicious wine and yummy food in my near future.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fundraising Milestone!!

I just received this email this morning:


We've reached my first goal in fundraising for the 3-Day! The event requires each participant to raise a minimum of $2,300. This is a major milestone for me. $2,300 is a lot of money. I am so grateful to my friends and family who have so generously donated and helped me reach this first goal within a month!

I continue to be amazed and humbled by the support and generosity of my friends and family.

My most sincere thanks and gratitude for all of the donations that you've made. I clearly could not do this without you.

The walk that I am participating in is not until September 9-11th. That gives me plenty of time to continue to fund-raise. I hope to meet my goal of $5,000 by then.

If you'd like to help support me in the Susan G. Koman 3-Day for the Cure 2011, please donate here:

Thank you!

another 5 seconds of fame...

The photo from the WGI party that I hosted at my house was posted on the WGI site today. Fun!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The 12-mile turned 15-mile Adventure!

Today's 15-mile Training Walk Route

WOW!! Today's training walk turned out to be quite a doozy! What was planned to be a 12-mile route turned into a 15-mile walk when we all got a little lost in Golden Gate Park, missed a turn, and added on an addition 3-miles, plus another flight of stairs! It was a GREAT walk, though - again, great weather, great route, a stop at the Andronico's for potato salad, and lots of fun.

We met at 7:00 this morning, and took off right after 7:15.

The Golden Gate Bridge at 7:00am

The walk took us through the Presidio, and once out, we conquered the Lyon Street Stairs. (Killer stairs - TWO long, steep flights!) We continued on along the outside of the Presidio, then over and across Golden Gate Park.

After lunch, we went through the park, missed a turn somewhere (I'm the first to admit that never reference the wonderful maps that Linda carefully plans out) and we ended up going all the way through the park to the Great Highway. We walked through Lincoln Park, and along the Land's End Trail. (more steep incline, and more stairs!)

Carol, Sandy, Monica and Trina

Carol is done with WGI for the season, so we was able to join us for her first walk with the Hotties this season. Yay, Carol!

View from Land's End

We walked through Sea Cliff, back through the Presidio.

Very Cool Art Installations in the Presidio

We made it back to Crissy Field and the Warming Hut at 1:00pm. It was a long one, but we all made it, and I think we all felt pretty great in the end!

Back at Crissy Field!

My GPS tracked us at 15.34 miles. Sandra's GPS had us at 14.84. We'll call it at 15! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken & Waffles!!

One of the guys in Dick's group at work is quite a foodie. He offered to make Chicken and Waffles as one of the cafeteria options for the company today. Dick told me about this last week, and asked if I wanted to join him for lunch today.

"Chicken & Waffles? I love Chicken & Waffles! Yes, Please!"

It was pretty amazing. Apparently, this guy has a side business, with a booth at the ForageSF Underground Market where he sells his amazing Chicken & Waffles. He sells under the name "Angry Man Eats". Check it out!

Now, I've had Chicken & Waffles a couple of time, including at a place actually called "Chicken & Waffles"! This was, by far, the very best chicken and waffles I've ever had!! The chicken was white meat strips, that were so moist, tasty and perfectly crispy. The waffles were made of a more dough than a batter. Really yummy!

To top it off, it also came with an option of a side of Macaroni and Cheese!

Seriously, this was Food-Heaven for me! Fried Chicken, Waffles and Mac & Cheese!

Clearly, this is quite a hit with the work crew. We got in line right before it opened at 11:30. When we left the cafeteria around 11:50, the line was easily 50 people deep!

Chicken & Waffles Counter

Paul, the Chicken & Waffles Guy

The line (it was longer, but wouldn't fit in my viewer!) at 11:50am

Apparently, this guy has served Chicken & Waffles a couple of other times at the cafeteria. I have no idea why he never told me about it before!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Noe and Bubbles

Noe, sleeping on Dick's lap, with Bubbles in the background. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Donating Plasma

It's been almost 3 months since the first time that I donated Platelets and Plasma at the Blood Center. I had no idea that so much time had passed since I went in!

I donated again today, with good success. I made it over the iron-level hurdle with no issues again (thanks to those multi-vitamins). The donation part seemed to have taken a little longer today - about 1.5 hours this time around.

If I understand correctly, they only collected plasma from me today, whereas last time, they collected both plasma and platelets. Not sure why. Maybe they were in higher need of plasma?

Here's the explanation of plasma donation.

And here's an explanation on platelet donation.

Next time I go, I'll ask beforehand what they plan to do. (just out of curiosity.)

Once I was done, I asked how many pints/ounces of plasma had been collected from my donation. I was surprised to learn that I had donated 2 units of plasma today. She said I had an unusually high platelet count for my size, which is why I was able to yield so much plasma. Who knew?

Here's the computer monitor/keyboard which hangs from an arm above the chair that I was in. I watched TV (with headphones) and read a book while I donated.

This is the machine before it was in use for my donation

My plasma donation!

After I was done donating, I went to the snack bar for my requisite doughnut. To my surprise: no doughnuts! Apparently, the Blood Center of the Pacific stopped providing doughnuts a couple of weeks ago!


That's one of the few times that I allow myself to eat a doughnut. :(

Since I had a craving, and I felt justified, I decided to drive to a doughnut store after leaving the Blood Center.

When I mentioned my plans to one of the volunteers (who is disappointed that they no longer offer doughnuts), she said, "But, then you'll have to pay with money. Here, you only have to pay with blood." ;)

PS: I had an apple fritter - much better than the small selection they usually offer at the blood center anyhow! :)

My Pretty Kitty

... because I can't have too many photos of my little Noe. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Zuni Roast Chicken


Our friend and neighbor, Roger, gave us the Zuni Cookbook a couple of weeks ago as a housewarming gift. (Thank you, Roger!)

We love Zuni, and our favorite dish there is their Roast Chicken. It is literally one of our two favorite Roast Chicken recipes in the World that we've tried. (the other one is at Botin Restaurant in Madrid, Spain.)

We were so excited that the Zuni cookbook did include the Roast Chicken with Bread Salad Recipe.

Tonight, we made the Roast Chicken. We'll try the Bread Salad (which I love!) another time - had to make sure that we could make the chicken right, first!

The chicken turned out just as delicious as we had hoped! It was crispy on the outside, and moist, tender and succulent (the recipe's word!) on the inside. Really amazing.

There wasn't much to it. The key with this recipe was to season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper (and add fresh sprigs of herbs underneath the skin) 2-3 days ahead of time.

That was it - no rubbing of oil or butter, no stuffing the cavity with onions, or lemons (which is all fine, but it was interesting that this didn't call for any of those usual ingredients).

In case you're interested, here's the recipe.

Thank you, Roger, for the amazing cookbook! We look forward to trying out more delicious recipes soon!

12-mile training walk

Saturday's 12-Mile Training Route

Yesterday, I went on one of the most beautiful training walks yet with the Warming Hut Hotties. We met at the Warming Hut in Crissy Field at 8:30am - the fog was just starting to lift from the Golden Gate Bridge, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day!

Golden Gate Bridge at 8:30am

The walk was so picturesque, and especially nice on a clear, sunny (but not too hot) day.

We walked along the bay almost all the way from Crissy Field, past Fort Mason, along Fisherman's Wharf (an area much prettier in the morning, when it's not filled with tourists and the stores aren't open yet!), along the Embarcadero and all the way to the Ferry Building.

Golden Gate Bridge from the coast of Crissy Field

The Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero

Our 5-mile/half-way point was San Francisco's gorgeous Ferry Building. It was particularly busy yesterday since the Saturday morning Farmer's Market was also open.

As is tradition with some of us, we took our break at the Acme Bread Store. Lizelle, Tanzeem and I bought Cheese Wheels, Olive Bread and Chocolate Croissants to carry us through the rest of the walk and through the rest of the week! :) Okay, this may negate all calories actually burned on the training walk, but it's so yummy!

Liselle and Tanzeem in line for Acme Bread

On our way back, we went through the Financial District, through North Beach, back through Fisherman's Wharf, and back to Crissy Field.

The Transamerica Building

Ghiradelli Square


By the time we returned to Crissy Field, the fog had made a surprise return! As we got closer to the Warming Hut, the fog crept in, and eventually covered the Golden Gate Bridge so much so that it couldn't be seen!

The disappearing Golden Gate Bridge at 12:40pm

It was a really beautiful walk, filled with sunshine, beautiful sites and great friends. It was also the flattest walk (no stairs, and barely any hills) that I think I've ever been on with the Hotties. I'm sure Linda will compensate for that next weekend!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My DMV Appointment

(no photos for this post - shocking, I know!)

This morning, I had a 10:30am appointment at DMV San Francisco to renew my license. Apparently, it's been 12 years since I've renewed my license in person. You can renew twice in a row (8 years) by mail, but you must go in after 12 years.

I got my renewal notice in the mail about 6 weeks ago, and made an appointment online that day. The earliest day available was today at 10:30am. (I had also checked DMV offices in other cities, but they all only offered the same day.)

So, I went this morning, got there around 10:20, parked my car, and saw a line of people out the door, around the building - probably about 75 people deep. I went to towards the front of the line, near the entrance to the building, and saw that there was another line inside for people with an appointment. I asked the people in front of the non-appointment line how long they had been waiting, and they told me that they'd been there for 1.5 hours.

I was the third person in line for appointments. I made it to the window and got my number (for renewing licenses) in less than 5 minutes. I sat down, and waited less than 10 minutes for my number to be called.

I had my thumbprint taken on a cool little machine, took my eye test, and made sure that my license had my correct address. I also changed my weight, because I don't think that's been changed since I got my license at age 16. (And truthfully, I no longer weigh 115 pounds!)

After that, I went to had my new photo taken.

Here's an interesting thing that I learned today. When the nice lady was getting ready to take my photo, I was smiling as I always do. She told me not to smile, and that they needed a serious photo.


Since when can you *not* smile for your driver's license photo?

Apparently, the Dept of Homeland Security made it a new regulation within the last month. They claim that people's facial features change when they smile.

Um... I guess that's true, but really? I mean, honestly, I'm probably smiling more often than I have a serious face, right?

So, this will be interesting. They said it could be 1-2 months until I get my new license in the mail. Until then, I have a temporary paper one in case I need proof that I've renewed it.

A friend of mine told me that she just got her new license in the mail. She warned me that the photo on the new licenses are very large.

Great - a big photo of my huge head with no smile.

Sounds lovely.

:| <-- Me, with no smile, trying to look serious. ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

A night at the Chow/Hill Household

I'm visiting my sister and Graham at their place tonight. We're sitting around watching TV. This is their nightly routine with the birdies: Crissy sits with Tiffie, and Bonsai sits with Graham. I thought it was so cute, I had to take a picture. :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

WGI San Francisco!

Yesterday afternoon and into the evening, I had 19 wonderful color guard friends over to our house to watch the Live-Streaming Webcast of the Winter Guard International Competition from Dayton, Ohio.

The party was epic! We watched all of Scholastic World and Independent World. All the while, we sipped on Champagne and mimosas, snacked on tasty delights (the likes of which will never be available at the UD Arena Concession stands!), played WGI Trivia, clapped for things we liked, got a little snarky about things we didn't and laughed, and laughed and laughed.

The company was amazing. To be in one room with so many individuals with such interesting and diverse histories in this activity was just incredible. The color guard geek in me was about ready to burst with happiness.

Thank you so much to all who came. As Philip said, "Now THAT is the way to do WGI!".

From L to R: Miguel (color guard newbie, brave soul, and partner to David), David (Miller's Blackhawks, '87 & '89), Kimber (SJ Raiders '87-'90), Eric (SJ Raiders '85-89, SCV), Joe (Freelancers '83 & '84, SVC), Kamryn (currently in James Logan Open), Bonnie (SJ Raiders '88-'91), Lisa (Studio One '85-87, SJ Raiders '88-'89, Blue Devils), Chad (Miamisburg HS '85, Miller's Blackhawks '89-'90, SJ Raiders '90-'93), Eddie (State Street Review '92-'93, Sundowners '95, Madison Scouts) Jay (color guard newbie, brave soul, and partner to Eddie), Freddie (Emerald Marquis '85-'92, 27th Lancers, Cadets), Nikki (SJ Raiders '86-'90), Trina (Sparks '85-'87, Miller's Blackhawks '90, Kingsmen '91, State Street Review '92-'93), Philip (Generis '89, Cavaliers), Diana (Sparks '85-'87, SJ Raiders '88-'90), Lorevic (SJ Raiders '96-'98) WOW!!!

(My Mom and Dad were also here - my Mom took this picture of everyone, and my Dad was out working on my backyard ;) ) Thanks, Mom and Dad!

WGI Live webcast on our TV

The Yummy food spread

Philip toasting with champagne. Instead of leaving the room during a "hot dog guard" (a guard who is not particularly interesting) we instead headed back to the kitchen for another round of champagne!

The gang watching WGI!

David doing the honors of pouring more champagne!