Thursday, June 30, 2011

Clean Glass, and Bird Deterrent

Henry and Barb Chow swooped in again this afternoon, and helped me with several projects in the backyard. (We are all enjoying their retired lifestyle very much!)

The first project of the day was installing a drip irrigation system on my balcony to water my lemon and lime plants. We had gone to Home Depot yesterday to buy all the parts, and today, they taught me how to install it all. Very cool stuff! My plants will be very happy now. :)

We also washed the glass walls around my balconies. I bought a cool extending window washer thingy at Costco yesterday that did the trick. It can extend 12 feet or so, which enables me to clean the outside of the balcony walls pretty easily.

Dad, washing the balcony glass

I need to clean the glass walls because I think/hope that I found a solution to my Bird-killing house problem. The blue tape solution seems to have worked - no dead birdies since I put it up, but let's face it - not the pretties solution. Also, there is noticeably less bird activity in the backyard over the last couple of weeks, so I think it was a seasonal thing that only lasted a couple of weeks earlier in the month.

Anyhow, I found these decals on

Here's house they are supposed to work:

WindowAlert decals help prevent wild birds from accidentaly striking windows. Each decal has a special coating that reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but birds see it as a brilliant glow - much like a stoplight. To the human eye, the decals appear as frosted or etched glass.

So, we took off the blue tape, cleaned the glass, then affixed the decals. Believe it or not, it took 4 of us to put these on. Two to hold a string level, one to do the measurements between each decal, and one to put the decal on. Very complicated! Next time, I think we'll get a pattern (like leaves or birds) that can be put up without having to worry about accuracy!

The final product looks pretty good (better than the blue tape, at least!). We'll see if it does the job.

If you look closely, you can see two decals on the glass - pretty discreet, so that's nice.

You can see one decal on the top right reflecting the sun

Fingers crossed that these decals work, and deter any more birds from flying into the glass!

Thanks for all of your help today, Mom and Dad!! We really appreciate it!!

The Dick Report - 8 weeks minus 1 day

Tomorrow will be 8 weeks since Dick's surgery on his patella. His recovery continues to go well.

Dick started Physical Therapy this week. His first appointment was on Tuesday, and his second was today. His therapist was quite pleased and with the progress of his recovery so far. Today, Dick was able to bend his knee to 130 degrees. (For context, his other knee bends to about 145 degrees. 120 degrees is considered functional.)

Dick is able to walk around our house without using his immobilizer. He still wears it when outside in public as a precaution and for additional support. (It also helps to alert people that he has an injury.) Just this week, (yesterday, actually) he is also able to go up and down the stairs (without the immobilizer) one step at a time (versus having to put both feet on each stair before going to the next).

The therapist sent Dick home on Tuesday with a group of exercises that takes him about 20 minutes to complete, to be done twice a day. She added a few more to the list today.

Today, she had Dick ride on a stationary bike for several minutes. She has also ended each session with electrotherapy.

Dick has another appointment with his surgeon next Tuesday. We're hoping that he'll be out of the immobilizer soon, and that he'll be given the "okay" to drive again. :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Speakers & Why I love Groupon

A couple of weeks ago, I received this Groupon Deal. The deal had a photo of a flat screen TV with some cool looking, low profile speakers.

Dick and I had been trying to figure out what to with the speaker system in our main TV room. Our new house came wired for 2 front wall speakers and a low, center speaker. (it also has 2 ceiling speakers for the rear.)

The wall that our TV is on is huge, and frankly, it dwarfed our 46" Samsung LED (which looked quite huge on the wall in our old home). Many of our techie friends who have come over have informed us that we needed a larger TV. :)

The other problem is that the wires for the speakers in the walls are all about 6" off-center for no apparent reason. Very odd. We centered the TV to the un-centered speaker wires, which wasn't really working. Also, we had small, boxy speakers that looked really funny mounted to the wall, so we decided to keep them on stands, and not use the speaker wires in the wall. This worked well enough, so we planned to have a painter come in to stuff the then-unused speaker wires back into the walls, and patch over them.

Our huge wall with our dwarfed TV, and non-centered speaker wires coming out of the wall

Well, procrastination paid off.

When I received the Groupon, I forwarded along the photo to Dick.

the photo that changed everything

Dick loved the look of the speakers in the photo, so we decided to go to the store to check them out. The speakers are by KEF, and are part of the T305 System. We really liked the look of them, and the quality was great.

I hadn't bought the Groupon yet, because we didn't know enough about the product before seeing it. Once we were there and decided to get them, I was able to buy the Groupon right then and there from my phone! We paid $75 for $150 of merchendise. Awesome!!

We decided to install the speakers yesterday. We decided to center the TV to the wall, and have the speaker wires moved over so that they would also be centered correctly. We realized quickly that this is a task that we'll have to hire a pro to do (drill through the walls (drywall on top of plywood, with insulation running between the studs) and fish the wire to the new spot. In the meantime, we mounted the speakers, and draped some of the speaker wires to where they need to be (until they are done properly).

We're super pleased with the result!

The TV size looks much better now - it no longer looks like it's floating in the middle of the wall. It's nicely anchored by the 3 speakers surrounding it. We left enough space between the 3 speakers for a larger TV if we decide to get one. I don't think we need a larger TV now. (Not sure if Dick agrees with that or not!)

The full wall - with properly centered TV and new speakers

The new speakers are GREAT! The low profile looks fantastic, and the sound quality is SO much better than what we had up before.

Profile of the mounted speakers

We still need to have someone help us move the wires to the proper location, but we're really happy with how the new set up looks! I'll try not to procrastinate on having getting the rest of the project finished now. :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another 13 miles = 33 for the weekend!

Today's route - correct route, incorrect mileage

My GPS went beserk again today. I made sure that the GPS signal was strong when we left this morning, but it got very confused when we went down into the basement level of UCSF's rec center to use the restrooms for our first potty break. I don't think it ever recovered after that. It seems like it got the route correct, but really messed up on the mileage.

For the record, most of the other GPS devices had us between 13-14 miles today.

It was a doozy of a walk - especially after yesterday's 20 miles! 13 miles, with lots of long hills.

We all survived, and I'm really happy to have not added to any blisters or Plantar Fasciitis problems. Yay!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

20-mile training walk!

Loop 1

Loop 2


This morning, the Warming Hut Hotties met at 6:30am for an 18-mile training day. Our leader, Linda, had planned it to be two loops of 9-miles each, returning to the Warming Hut after each loop. This allowed some walkers to do just one of the 9-mile loops, or gauge how they were feeling in between the two loops before committing to the second.

We had quite a crew today - around 35 walkers for the first loop, and roughly 25 for the second. We also had wonderful route support today, provided by the Fabulous Lizelle and Sharla. Thank you both for the awesome route support!

Each loop today was fairly similar - each going through the Presidio, through different parts of Golden Gate Park, with Andronico's market as our mid-point/snack point for each leg.

I managed to make it through both loops without too much consequence - just very tired feet in the end. :)

I had done some online research about my faulty GPS app on my phone (after it had me starting in random places for the last 2 walks) and discovered that I needed to make sure that my GPS had a strong signal before starting. Lesson learned. Today, it seemed fairly accurate.

Speaking of GPS devices, although mine is certainly not the most accurate/reliable, 4 out of 5 walkers who had GPS devices today had us clocking in at around 20 miles in total today (rather than the expected 18). So, it wasn't just me. It was a general consensus. ;)

Tomorrow we meet at 6:30 for another 14-miler.

Meeting at the Warming Hut at 6:30am

The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

View of the bridge towards the end of Loop 1

The stats for Loop 1

The stats for Loop 2

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blast from the Past Coincidence!!

Trina & Yoon Joo

I had the most amazing, serendipitous blast from the past moment this evening: Dick and I were in Japantown for dinner, and decided to try out a Shabu Shabu place that we've been meaning to try for a few years. We sat down, and immediately after, I heard someone call my name.

I turned around, and came face-to-face with a lovely woman who I have not seen since 1993! Yoon Joo!!

I taught Yoon Joo way back in the Fall of 1989 when she was a freshman at Saratoga HS. I think I also came back to help with the guard the following Fall as well, and stayed in touch with the group through her Senior year, which I believe was 1993.

We managed to reconnect over Facebook a couple of years ago. Yoon Joo (who also goes by Vivian now) keeps up to date on Facebook, and said that she recognized me right away!

What an amazing coincidence - neither of us had ever been to this restaurant before, and yet somehow, we both decided to go tonight at the same time.

Yoon Joo lives in the Richmond District in SF, and is a student at the Academy of Art College. Now that we've actually run into to each other, we've promised to try to set up a time to get together again for some quality catch-up time! We have a lot to catch up on!

I figured she was probably around 18 years old when I last saw her, and it's been about 18 years since then. Wild!

Great seeing you this evening, Yoon Joo! Looking forward to seeing you again soon!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

C'mon Inn

Last week, before we left on our trip, Dick and I changed our flight to come home a couple of days earlier than originally planned. (his knee is still recovering, and is stamina is still pretty low.)

We decided to stay in Bozeman, near the airport for our final night, so we wouldn't have to wake up too early to catch our flight in the morning.

We did a little research online and found rave reviews for a hotel called "C'mon Inn". Seriously, the name cracked us up, and since it was well reviewed, we had to do it!

It turned out pretty nice. Our room was huge - we had a king bed, an eating area, a bar, a fridge and microwave, a large LCD TV, a sitting area, and a large bathroom, complete with an enormous jet tub right in the middle of the room. ;)

To top it off, the hotel had 4 jacuzzis in the center atrium, a water feature (complete with lots of stuffed animals) and a large pool area. We didn't use any of the amenities, but they were fun to look at.

And yes, we did have dinner at the Outback Steakhouse next door last night. I had never been to one before. I had fish (mahi mahi) - does that count?

Oh, did I mention the self serve automatic pancake machine in the breakfast area?

I'm telling you: the C'mon Inn has it all! Yee-Haw! ;)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Faithful!!

Today, we drove through Yellowstone again with the sole purpose of seeing Old Faithful.

We were really lucky - we found a good parking spot, didn't have to walk far to reach the viewing area, and waited about 5 minutes before Old Faithful erupted!! We overheard other people who had been waiting for over 90 minutes, so we felt fortunate.

We saw some more wildlife today, but alas, still no bear. :(

We drove out the West Entrance of the park today, on our way to Bozeman. It was a gorgeous drive.

Big Sky Country. I can certainly understand why people love it out here so much. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Congratulations, Martin & Celeste!!

The Happy Newlyweds. Congrats, Martin & Celeste!! We love you, and wish you a lifetime of happiness.

Monday, June 20, 2011

An Afternoon in the Saloon!

This afternoon, I met "The Boys" at the Saloon - the name of the bar at the place where we're staying in Montana.

We had a great time - we had some drinks (including my new fave: a "Jack & Ginger"), played a little video poker, played a little bar shuffleboard, and even a video shooter/hunting game. :)

Fun times with the boys in the saloon. Yee Haw. :)

The many terrains of Yellowstone

We were amazed at how many different terrains (and temperature changes) we encountered during our 5 hour driving tour of Yellowstone Park today. We had it all: gorgeous, wide open (and green) fields and mountains, streams, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, 6' snowbanks, and amazing geyser springs!! It was all very cool, and so beautiful!

"Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam..."

"...and the deer and the antelope play..."

Greetings from Montana/Wyoming! Dick and I flew into Bozeman, MT yesterday. We're staying in Chico for a friend's wedding tomorrow.

We went to Yellowstone National Park early this morning. Our friends are getting married in the Chapel there tomorrow. Dick has the honor of being the Best Man, so he needed to be in the ceremony rehearsal this morning.

After rehearsal, we drove around the park for a few hours. It was gorgeous, and unlike anything we've ever seen.

We saw lots of wildlife including Buffalo (or Bison?), deer and antelope. Unfortunately, no bears.

The big excitement of the drive came when 3 Bison decided to walk along, then cross the road. :)

Thanks to my Mim and Dad for taking care of our house and our kitty while we are away! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bruised/Black Toe

Uh oh.

I've managed to either bruise my big toe under the nail, or it's "Black Toe", something apparently not uncommon for people who do long-distance training.

I first noticed that my toe nail was really sore after last weekend's 28-mile walk. It felt fine the next day, so I had high hopes of it not manifesting into anything. A few days later, I started to see the discoloration. Bummer.

The last time this happened to me was 20 years ago when I was still in guard. I blamed it in the Boot Dance in State Street, 1992. Eventually, my whole toe nail fell off. Yes, quite pretty. ;) it grew back several months later. I don't remember any pain associated though, so if it has to happen again, I'm hoping for the best.

This time around, it could have been caused by my brave/stupid decision to wear new shoes on a 28-mile weekend. (although, really, it felt fine during the entire walk.) A fellow-walker friend just posted a link that suggests that black toe is caused by not getting enough electrolytes or low sodium during long distance training. I'll try to work on that.

Hoping this thing manages to heal without my losing my nail!

Tales of the City - The Musical

Yesterday, I went to ACT Theatre with my Sis, Graham and Mike to see the new "Tales of the City" Musical. It was neat seeing the production - a new interpretation of the first two books in the series. I thought the actors were very well cast. It's currently running through Mid-July. Will probably see it again with Dick, once he's a bit more mobile.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughtful Nephew

My 13 year-old nephew, Peter, is on vacation in Hawaii right now with his youth choir from North Carolina. I'm sure they are having an amazing time!

Today, he sent me this picture via text message from his phone!

He sent the picture, along with a message that he was in a mall in Hawaii.

How sweet is that?

He knows that I love Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, and he was sweet enough to notice these, take a photo, and send it to me - all while he's hanging out in Hawaii with his friends.

Thank you, Peter! What a thoughtful young man you are. :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Girls' Afternoon!

I had a GREAT afternoon with my Sis and our niece (Cousin's daughter, in case you are confused), Evelyn.

We did some fun shopping on Polk Street, and found some great finds at the thrift store.

After, we met Graham at Max's Opera Plaza for some yummy ice cream sundaes.

Super fun afternoon! Thanks, Sis and Ev!! Looking forward to doing it all again soon!!