Monday, January 30, 2012


Over the past two hours, I seem to have developed a stye on the bottom of my left eye lid. So weird! I started to notice a little irritation just after dinner, and by the time I got home, Dick was able to see the swelling from a distance.

Dick recognized it as a "Stye", which he said he's had as a kid. I don't know if I've had one before or not.

I may have it checked out by my Doc tomorrow. Apparently, it should heal on it's own, but could take several days. Otherwise, I may be able to get an ointment for it.

I leaned two new things this evening: what a Stye is (at least, that's what we're assuming it is) and that I must not be very vain if I'm attaching a close up of my eye/face on this post. ;)

Back from the doc. Good news: it seems to to be the kind of stye that occurs from an ingrown eyelash. Need to keep putting a warm compress on it, but it should be gone within a a couple of days. Because of the way it occurred, it's not contagious, which is great. In other news, I've gained weight since my last visit a year ago - boo. Silver lining: the doctor complimented my bicep muscles, so I'm going to pretend that it's all muscle weight from the working out I've been doing. ;)

Happy Birthday, Sis!!!

Happy Birthday, to my Sis! We celebrated with yummy Tuna Melts at Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, followed by a Ben & Jerry's ice cream cake at home. :)

Here's a picture of my Sis, enjoying her ice cream cake, with the Birdies (who are enjoying their rice and pasta). :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the dragon!!

We went to Stockton Saturday evening for a (slightly) early celebration with the family.

Earlier that day, I did my annual routine of going to the bank and asking for brand new $5 bills. Sometimes, they have them, sometimes they don't, but when I explain that I need them for Chinese New Year, they always understand, and do the best they can to accommodate.

In our culture, it's traditional for married couples to give red envelopes (Lai See) with paper currency in them (the dollar amount can vary) to all of the children in the family. I think it's extra good luck if the bills are new, but I could be making that up. ;)

In my family, the recipients of the Lai See can be of any age, as long as they aren't married. For example, I still received Lai See in my early 30s before Dick and I were married.

As we were driving to Stockton this weekend, I assembled all of my Lai See. I told Dick that although this may sound funny, this is one of the things in life that reminds me that "I'm married". I know it's a little thing, but for so many years, I was a recipient of the Lai See envelopes, and now I'm one of the ones passing them out. It's hard to explain.

Anyhow, I passed out my Lai See to my cousins, my cousin's daughters (my nieces) and my Sister and her boyfriend (because that always makes us laugh).

Happy Year of the Dragon, everyone!
May it be filled with Good Health and Good Fortune for all! :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Trans-Pacific Art Show at the Bay Street Cafe

Kimi designed this beautiful postcard to promote the show

The inside of Kimi's flier

Last night, I helped set up an art show which, for the first time, included some of my own paintings!

Earlier this month, on January 1st, my friend Kimi asked if I would consider participating an a Trans-Pacific Art Show that she participating in with five artists from Japan. She had been contacted via twitter by an artist in Japan who, along with 4 others, were interested in sharing their art with artists here in the Bay Area, hosting a show here, then having the Bay Area artists send art to be shown along with the Japanese artists in Japan. Kimi already had 4 bay area artists, including herself, but was looking for one more.

Something I haven't mentioned here on my blog is that my New Year's resolution this year is to get back into painting. (there! I put it out on the internet. that makes it real!) I was a little apprehensive to accept at first, as I'm really quite rusty and perhaps a little gun shy. Not to mention that the opening reception for the art show was already scheduled for January 21st! Kimi suggested that I could simply display some of my old paintings (and when I say "old" I'm talking 15+ years old!) and not worry about producing anything new. It was such a generous offer, and really, what better way for me to get back in touch with my artistic side!

I chose 4 different pieces from "the archives". I don't consider these my strongest paintings (those are living in my house, or in the houses of my family members), but they are decent examples of some of my work. :)

We met at the beautiful Bay Street Cafe in Fremont, (where the show will be on display for 3 weeks) to set up yesterday around 5:00. We had a lot of help (thanks to Lotfi, Davin, and the rest of the crew) who brought in metal/grid walls to hang the art from. There was a lot of individual pieces, so it took a while to figure out where everything would look best. It took about 4.5 hours or so, but were quite pleased with the end result.

The opening reception is tomorrow night, Saturday, January 21st from 6:00-9:00pm.

Bay Street Cafe
4000 Bay Street
Fremont, CA

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the opening reception, as my family had already planned our Chinese New Year dinner for the same evening.

If you're in the area, please stop by. There are some really nice pieces of work, and the Bay Street Cafe is such a lovely venue.

Thank you, Kimi for offering me the opportunity to partake in such a neat, artistic collaboration!

here are some photos that I took after we finished setting up last night:

one of Kimi's large paintings displayed in the front of the cafe

the back left shows smaller pieces by a Japanese artist. Another large canvas by Kimi is next to it. One of Rica's paintings is in the front

on the left (the red ballerina painting) is one of mine called "To Newt, with Love" (it was created in 1995 during the time when he was largely responsible for cutting funding to the National Endowment of the Arts). to the right of that painting are bags by a Japanese artists, ceramics on the shelf by Yukie and another painting (masks of my face) on the right.

another shot of the small paintings by a Japanese artists, and Kimi's painting

on the left is a piece by Kimi, the middle is mine, and smaller pieces by another Japanese artist

one of my oil paintings next to a display of Yukie's ceramics

a closer shot of Yukie's ceramics and my creepy mask painting

a closer shot of my Ballerina/Newt painting, and the bags by a Japanese artist

Lovely oil paintings by Chiori

tired artists after we finished hanging the show at 9:45 last night

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My first marathon medal

You may recall that I participated in my first half-marathon last month. I walked the Las Vegas Rock n' Roll half marathon with Jason.

Yesterday, I received a rather heavy package in the mail. I opened it, and found a medal commemorating my completion of the half-marathon. It came with a note apologizing for the delay in my receiving the medal, and how the organization was sorry and understood how frustrating and disappointing it must have been to not receive the medal at the finish line.

In all honesty, Jason and I weren't aware that we were supposed to get a medal at all. Actually, I think we knew that we could pick up some sort of congratulatory gift after we were done, but we were both too tired and cold to even think about standing in another line. Later that evening, we were in an elevator to the parking garage with a few other participants who mentioned to us that the event had run out of medals. Again, we were tired, and didn't think much of it.

So, anyway - I received my medal in the mail yesterday. It's a pretty medal - fairly large, and ornate, but honestly, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with it. It's not like I have a trophy room in my house. ;) I think the only medals I've ever "won" before were my WGI medals from my color guard years. I worked really hard (20 years ago) for those medals, so they mean a lot to me, but even they are living somewhere in my old room at my parent's house.

So, what to do with this?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hey! I know that pretty pink butterfly!

Hey, that's Monica!

I checked my mail today, and found a lovely surprise! My friend, Monica, is featured in a beautiful photo on the cover of the brochure for the 2012 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer!

Monica is a fellow Warming Hut Hotties teammate, and has participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk for the last couple of years. She has become a dear friend who I have had the privilege to walk and train with.

This photo was taken during the Avon Walk in San Francisco last July when a bunch of Warming Hut Hotties went to cheer on the walkers (Walker Stalking). We all wore out deeleeboppers and butterfly wings. :)

I really love this picture of Monica (and our teammates in the background). She looks so beautiful, and it really shows the spirit of the event.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's my Ebay-Anniversary

would that make it my "Ebayversary"?

I just got an email from ebay congratulating me on my 14-year Ebay anniversary.

Wow. 14 years.

January, 1998.

Seems like such a long time ago.

I remember when I first started using ebay. I was working at a vintage animation gallery at the time, and told the owners (my friends) about it. They told me all the reasons why a company like ebay would never make it.... and look at it now.

As a collector, I have mixed emotions about ebay. (Mostly good.) For good or for bad, it has made it much easier to find things - whether it be collectibles, vintage, clothing, electronics, etc.,

My personal experience on it has dramatically changed two types of collections that I have:

It has taken away the thrill of "the hunt" that I used to have for finding vintage Raggedy Ann dolls and collectibles. I can find some great deals still, but frankly, I've largely stopped collecting because all of the things I used to have to hunt for at antique stores, have become too available now on ebay. In a way, it took the fun out of collecting. This is also caused the Raggedy Ann collectible market (see - you didn't even know that this existed!) to drop down significantly in value and interest. (or, maybe the interest may have waned anyhow, but I think ebay had a significant impact on the "value" of collectibles.) Now, I mainly focus on finding original art now by Johnny Gruelle (creator/writer/illustrator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy). His original art pieces remains very elusive (he passed away in 1938) and rare, and it combines my interest in Raggedy Ann and fine art.

I also noticed a significant change in the value of animation art (cels, limited editions, and especially sericels) after the popularity of ebay boomed. Again, it's quite possible that the animation art scene may have become not as popular and "valuable" after the hey-days of the early 90s, but nonetheless, the market became over-saturated with animation art (especially the non-production art) after ebay and the internet in general.

Don't get me wrong - I still LOVE ebay. I've found many great items and deals on their site over the past 14 years. Things I never would have found on my own accord. Actually, one of my favorite things I love about browsing on ebay is discovering things (again, perhaps Raggedy Ann or Johnny Gruelle related) that I had no idea existed before, or thought was nearly impossible to find. Even if I'm not interested in buying them or owning them myself, it's always fun to see "what's out there".

Friday, January 13, 2012

Spontaneous lunch with Sheri!!

This morning, just before 11:00am, I received a text message from my friend, Sheri (who lives in Southern Cal, and has been traveling to the East Coast for work a lot lately).

The text said:

Totally random and last minute.... am at SFO airport. Do you have lunch plans?

What?! Really?

To make it even funnier, we had just talked on the phone Tuesday evening, and she made no mention of coming to the Bay Area later this week!

So, I was caught a bit off-guard, but quickly rearranged my schedule so that I could see her! We only seem to see each other once every 1, 2 or 3 years or so, so it's always a treat when we can make it happen.

Sheri actually goes by Sherilyn, but we've known each other since we met at Jill Freeman's birthday party in 6th grade. So, that's about 10 years old. She was going by Sheri then, although I call her "Bear" and she calls me "Tunie".

We weren't in the elementary school, but we did go to Junior High and one year of high school together. She moved down to Southern Cal after our Freshman year. :(

We were really good about staying in touch, though, which has been wonderful! I guess we've known each other for roughly 30 years now. wow.

Anyway, we had a great lunch. We went down to the Castro to Anchor Oyster Bar where we scarfed on oysters and shared a crab burger and an crab/shrimp/cheese open face sandwich. And, of course, I couldn't send her on her way without stopping at Hot Cookie for a bag of cookies to take on the road. (she's got a conference to go to North of Marin this weekend.)

So, that was my wonderful, spontaneous lunch with my dear old friend, Sheri. Between seeing her today, and spending the day with Kimi and Cindy a couple of weeks ago, 2012 has been a great year for seeing old friends. :)

The Purse Tree

The Purse Tree

Okay, between this tree, and The Wishing Tree, I sure have found some interesting trees in my neighborhood in just the past month!

We'll call this one "The Purse Tree", as it has old purses hanging from its branches, filled with soil and plants! Clever! I actually happened to be passing by (taking a photo) when one of the owners of the house opened his garage door. I inquired about the tree - he told me that his partner has been doing this for a few years, and that they also hang the purses from their backyard fence as well.

He had two suggestions if you are interested in trying this yourself:

1) Use bags/purses made of synthetic materials. (they will last longer.)

2) Punch a few drain holes at the bottom of the bag/purse so that the water can easily drain.

Let's see what other kind of interesting trees I can find around the neighborhood! I'm on a quest now! :)

Glassybaby Fundraiser Total

GREAT NEWS!! Just got the total tally of money raised from my glassybaby fundraiser last month. The total from the event at my house was $372.60, and the total from the online orders was $225. Grand total: $597.60. Such a GREAT start to my 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure fundraising! THANK YOU to all who came to my event and ordered with my promo code online!! (glassybaby is not legally able to tell me who placed orders online, so I can't thank you all individually.)

A very special Thank You to the glassybaby company, and all of the wonderful people who worked so hard to make this fundraising event a great success.

I’m hoping to host another glassybaby fundraising event in the late Spring or early Summer. Stay tuned! :)

Monday, January 09, 2012

I am not an orchid killer after all! :)

Well, this is a first (for me)!

I've received a few lovely orchid plants as house-warming gifts last April. They all kept their pretty blooms for a few months - I think the last one fell in October or so.

I've never had good luck with these plants, but with so many (4 in total) I felt compelled to do my best to take good care of them. I called my friend, Andrew, who gave me a simple tip (water them once a week) to try to keep them alive and (hopefully) bloom again!

I've had a few orchid plants in the past, and invariably, they end up looking like "Stick Plants" (as Spencer calls them) and eventually die (I think) and get the boot.

This time, I'm determined to see what will happen if I make a habit to take care of them regularly. They are all doing relatively well - the individual plants are healthy and growing, but for 3 of them, there's not much more going on.

...but ONE of them has re-sprouted!!

I noticed about a month or so ago that a second branch had started to grow off of the main branch, and soon, small little buds started to grow!! Woot!

The fact that I haven't killed these plants is already amazing enough, but the fact that one of them has started to sprout buds again just amazes me!

The growing orchid plant in December

Today, I noticed that the first orchid flower had sprouted - hopefully, the first of many!

Welcome, first orchid flower of the second round!

I know this isn't really a big deal, but I'm really getting a kick out of it! I'm hoping the other plants will learn to follow suit. (although, they aren't looking nearly as likely to bloom anytime soon.)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Blue Hair! (aka: my artistic mid-life crisis?!)

Today, I did something that I've been wanting to do for a very long time, but had never quite worked up the courage to do: I dyed (part) of my hair blue!!

Seriously, I've been wanting to do this for years!

Here's the thing: I've never colored/dyed my hair at all. Ever.

The reason that I was so nervous was that I thought that once you colored it, then you'd have to worry about roots/growing out, and that you'd have to keep coloring it until the end of time. I figured I'd just wait until I had enough grays come in (and believe me, they are!) and that I'd start coloring it then, but until I absolutely had to, I planned to wait it out.

A couple of days ago, I started to get into an artistic groove. (more on that soon!) I been determined to bring more art and creativity into my life - I plan to paint more, and just try to be more creatively inspired on a day-to-day basis.

That's when I remembered that I've been wanting to dye a blue streak in my hair for years, and why not just do it now.

So, I called my hair salon yesterday, and made an appt for this afternoon.

And there you go: 2-1/2 hours later, and the beautiful Mariel gave me the exact shade of blue that I've seen in my mind's eye for years.

I really love it so far. We'll see how it goes. I'll probably also have to re-touch it every few weeks, so we'll see if I have that in me (I'm generally a pretty low-maintenance hair person). I had already considered this, but after posting a photo of my new do on Facebook a couple of hours ago, I had several friends request that I change it up to hot pink for the 3Day walk this year. That would be fun!

So, here's to trying something new, stepping outside of the box, and bringing on the creative juices! :)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Welcome, Toby the Cat!!

Happy Mom, Happy Kitty

My Mom and Dad have been thinking about getting another furry friend (of the feline purr-suation) for the last several months. They have been trying to decide whether or not to adopt kittens, male or female, single or two siblings....

and then...

Monday evening, they got a call from their neighbors. Their (adult) son and his girlfriend had found a stray kitty outside of their apartment complex who, besides being very hungry, had an abscess on his chest that needed to be looked at. They brought him to a vet, where he had a procedure done to treat the abscess, as well as medication for de-worming, de-fleaing, etc.,

They needed place for the kitty to stay for the next few days before his follow-up appointment on Friday. They couldn't keep him in their apartment (they already have 2 kitties, which is the limit in their complex) and his parents (my Mom and Dad's neighbors) already have a kitty in the house who doesn't react well to other felines in the house.

Lucky for this little kitty, my parents were happy to take him in to foster him for a few days. They kept him in a bathroom where he could rest and recuperate from his last several days/weeks.

Of course, my parents (especially my Mom) became quite attached to him very quickly. She named him the very first evening (which was a sure sign that he had already won her over) and has been pampering him with love for the last 4 days.

I went to visit yesterday to meet this special little guy. He's a wonderful kitty. The vet thinks he's about 3 years old, and in relatively good health. Besides the abscess, he has a few scratches - probably from getting into fights with other outdoor kitties. He is quite handsome, but more importantly, he's a love-bug. He is happy and comfortable with all people, and is constantly purring. To show just how comfortable he already is in his new surroundings, he's already rolling over on his back, asking for belly-rubs!

And so, my parents made the decision today that they are going to keep Toby (formal name is "Tobias") and make him the newest member of the family. What a lucky little guy - he certainly came to the right place! :)

Welcome, Toby!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

A great way to spend the first day of the New Year!!

I had a wonderful, wonderful afternoon at Kimi's house today. What a wonderful way to start the new year! Our old friend from grade school through sophomore year of high school, Cindy, was in town for a visit! Cindy lives in MN and was in the area visiting family for the holidays. I'm so happy that she was able to squeeze in an afternoon visit with us!

Cindy and I haven't seen each other since (we think) the summer after we graduated from high school. Well over 20 years!

We reconnected 4 or 5 years ago when Cindy sent me an email out-of-the-blue. I think she must have done an internet search for me and came across either my blog or my web design page. We have since kept up with each other a bit more via Facebook.

It's been great keeping up with each others lives virtually, but nothing compares to a face-to-face visit. You'd have never known that it's been 20+ years since we last saw each other. We just fell right back into each other, and we all had a wonderful day.

I also had the great pleasure of meeting Cindy's baby girl! I've been looking forward to meeting her for such a long time.

How wonderful it was spending the afternoon with these two wonderful friends.

The more friends I reconnect with from the past, the more I realize how strong of a connection we all have with each other. How wonderful to be in each others lives again.

Kimi, thank you so much for hosting today's festivities. The sushi, miso soup, and squash were delicious. Cindy, tell your sister that she makes a mean coffee cake. :)

Here's to old friends, near and far.

Here's to a wonderful New Year...

New Year's Day Dinner

New Year's Day Dinner: North Carolina style pulled pork, blackeyed peas, and collard greens. Happy New Year!!

New Year's Eve!!

Happy New Year's Eve!! We had the Boys over for a gay night of food, booze, charades and fireworks! :)

Happy New Year, 2012!!