Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Peeling Ginger

I just taught my Grandma a new trick!

She was peeling ginger with a knife (as she has surely done for well over 70 years.) I asked her if she had ever tried peeling ginger with a spoon - something I learned from an online video within the last year or two.

She immediately put the knife down, picked up a spoon, and started laughing! She had no idea she could use a spoon, and it was so much easier!!

We had a good laugh over it.

I love that I just taught my Grandma a little something. :)

My Grandma's toilet seat

Every time I come to visit my Grandma in Stockton, I always giggle a little bit whenever I see her toilet seat in the guest bedroom.

My Grandma's brother brought this toilet seat from Australia years ago as a gift to my Grandparents. They've had it for well over 10 years, and it still cracks me up.

I'd describe it in full detail, but then I realized that a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, here's two thousand words for you:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A day in Napa with the Boys

Dick and I spent a wonderful day with David, Miguel and Spencer celebrating our Gay Boyfriend's bday in Napa Valley.

The weather was absolutely perfect - warm, sunny, but not hot. We started off at V. Sattui for wine tasting and a picnic lunch. After, we spent a good amount of time at Joseph Phelps Vineyard, where we hung out on the veranda for a couple of hours (while tasting 8 different wines). We finished our day at Rutherford Hill.

Lots of sunshine, delicious wine, and great friends made for a fantastic day. :)

passed out on the drive home at the end of the day

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bro!!

Happy Birthday to my Gay Boyfriend!! We celebrated this evening by making homemade pizza. Yum!!

The pizza was really amazing. Dick went so at as to say that it was the best pizza he's ever had! :)

Homemade pizza tip from GB: whole wheat frozen pizza dough from Whole Foods. It's on sale this week: 2 for $3.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Update on the orchid plant

February 17, 2012

You may remember that one of my orchid plants from last year started to bloom last month, after having had no flowers for several months.

I'm still amazed that this plant is alive at all, let alone that it has sprouted a new branch with 6 full blooms now!

None of the other orchids that I have from last year are nearly as happy, but they are still all alive. :)

To recap:

The growing orchid plant in December

First bloom - January 9, 2012

Happy 32nd Birthday, Crissy!!

This bird never ceases to amaze me! Crissy turns 32 today!

32. That's over twice the age that we were told that cockatiels live. We've had her since she was 6 weeks old! Amazing.

Here's the most recent photo of Crissy that I have - taken about 3 weeks ago on my sister's birthday. Crissy is on the right, Bonsai is on the left. My sister is in the center. ;)

...and just for kicks, here's another photo of Crissy from two years ago when she celebrated her 30th birthday!

Happy Birthday, Crissy! You've got a whole lotta spunk, girl! :)

The AIDS Quilt in the Castro

Last night, I had the emotional experience of viewing part of the AIDS Quilt, which is being shown in the Castro for a short time. (through Monday, February 20th)

I had seen portions of the Quilt before - in the late 90s - but this display was much larger than anything I had seen.

Here is a great article about the history of the AIDS quilt, and this exhibition from the Bay Area Reporter (B.A.R.): Castro AIDS quilt display elicits tears, gratitude

The most emotional moment for me was finding the name of a friend of mine on the large and beautiful quilt representing the San Francisco Gay Mens Choir. Al Nichols, you are missed, loved, and never forgotten. <3

I spent at least 30 minutes talking in depth with a volunteer named Joanie Juster. Joanie has been a volunteer with the quilt since 1988 - sewing quilts, stitching them together, and coordinated reading the names at this exhibition (and others). Joanie shared some moving stories with me that she has experienced over the past 24 years.

Although a very emotional and sad experience, I am so glad that I was able to see these parts of the quilt in this exhibit. I think it is so important to honor those who we have lost and to share this history with everyone.

(from the B.A.R. article:)
The main exhibit at 2278 Market Street, the location of the old Tower Records, will be open to the public free of charge from noon to 8 p.m. through Monday, February 20. (Donations are welcome.) Additional locations of the exhibition include Under One Roof (518A Castro Street); Catch Restaurant, where the quilt and Under One Roof were initially housed (2362 Market Street); Bank of America (501 Castro Street); and Body (450 Castro Street). Joanie Juster, who helped coordinate the reading of the names on Sunday, said that people are welcome to read names when they visit the main exhibit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet..."

For some reason that I can't explain, neither Dick nor I had ever been to see a production at the San Francisco Ballet - until last night! I love ballet, so I really can't explain why we hadn't been before, but we sure made up for it last night!

My friend, Philip, works at the ballet, and he recently told me about their 2012 season. He highly recommended that we try to see "Program 2", which was premiering last night, Valentine's Day! As lucky would have it, I noticed last week on Facebook that the SF Ballet was offering 2 for 1 tickets for opening night, so we jumped on the opportunity and bought tickets.

Philip had specifically told me about one of his favorite pieces, Chroma, which was the first piece last night. It was AMAZING! One of the best live performances I've ever seen. I loved everything about it.

Here's an excerpt from their website:

Also part of last night's program was the world premiere of "Beaux" by Mark Morries and "Number Nine".

I enjoyed all of the pieces very much, but "Chroma" was the one that really stayed with me.

Program 2 will be performed through February 25th.

I'm hoping that this is just the start of us getting out to see more ballet performances!

Oh, one more thing: The War Memorial Opera House (where the Opera and Ballet perform) is in Civic Center, directly across the street from San Francisco City Hall. Last night, in honor of Valentine's Day, City Hall was lit in red! We walked out to the balcony last night to admire it. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Of all of the holidays on the calendar, this is the one on which we clash:

He who doesn't believe in Valentine's Day. He who rolls his eyes. He who told me within the first few weeks of us dating that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark Holiday. He whose proudest Valentine's Day moment is when he flew to Japan 12 years ago, crossing the International Dateline, therefore skipping over Valentine's Day altogether.


She who loves all things Raggedy Ann. She who loves little hearts - especially the ones which say "I Love You".

So, every year, I give my love a Valentine, and every year he rolls his eyes just a little bit. It doesn't bother me, though. I understand where he's coming from, but I won't let that stop me from giving him a card! :)

This morning, as Dick was making me breakfast, I gave him his annual Valentine. And for the first year, I got a genuine smile. I finally found the perfect Valentine's card for my husband.

You see, every weekend, we make breakfast for each other. Dick's "Big Country Breakfast" in which he makes scrambled eggs, bacon, and grits, and I make homemade biscuits. It's one of our favorite things to do together, and is one of Dick's very favorite meals.

The Valentine's Card I found for him has a Valentine's Breakfast on the cover. What better way to express my love to him. :)

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

My favorite point-of-view so far....

This is the best article/blog/opinion I've read about the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle yet! Helen (an 82 year-old blogger), I am giving you my own personal standing ovation! Kudos!

Pink Razors

I think Helen & Margaret are my new heroes. :)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Where I stand: I will no longer be supporting the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation

Dear Friends and Family,

I want to thank you all again for supporting me and donating towards my participation in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60 mile walks over the last two years. The experiences that I’ve had while training, fundraising, and participating in these events have been incredible.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the news related to The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation that happened last week.

Without going into too much detail, last Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation made a decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides much needed screening and care to the under-insured and uninsured. The decision outraged many Komen supporters (including myself) and caused a huge amount of backlash against the Foundation. Early Friday morning, just over two days after the news broke, the Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed their decision.

There are plenty of news articles relating to last week’s decisions.

Here is a recent one from the Huffington Post

Here is a copy of the statement that was released by Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors

I am still so upset an discouraged by this whole fiasco. To say that I am disappointed with the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a major understatement. After giving the matter much thought, I have come to the decision that I will no longer participate in any Komen events. Although I'm glad that Komen reversed their decision, I question the sincerity and long-term ramifications. The damage has been done in my mind - too little too late. We've also learned a whole lot more about them in the past few days. I no longer trust them in the way that I would need in order to continue walking or raising funds in their name. I think that at best, Komen bent to political pressure, which I am already upset with, and totally disagree with. At worst, they are taking a political stance which is even more upsetting. I don't know what would need to happen for me to reverse my decision. I'm very proud of what we have all accomplished in the past, but I can no longer in good conscience support this Foundation. It makes my heart hurt, but they have given me no choice.

I have always told you, my friends and family who have supported me through two walks, and two years of training, that you were in the journey with me. You inspired me, and kept me going. I made a promise to all of you that I we were in it together. That promise was what made this decision clear – I couldn’t ask for you to support a cause/foundation that I no longer trusted.

At this point, I'm not sure what I will do moving forward. My team, The Warming Hut Hotties, will be having a meeting in about a month for an open discussion. It is my hope that we will be able to move forward together and find another worthy cause to train, walk, and raise money for. If we’re unable to agree on a solution together, I am determined to find one on my own. There are plenty of great causes out there that need our support.

I thank you again for all of your support over the past two years. I hope that we’ll be able to find another deserving group/cause to support together soon.

With deep appreciation and gratitude,

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Glass Blowing Class, Part 2

This evening, I took the second part of a glass-blowing class with my Mom and Lizelle. My Mom, Sis and I took the first class together way back in late December, 2010, and Lizelle took it a few months ago.

In the level 2 class, we learned to make compression marbles (with colored flowers on the inside) and small glass vessels.

The level 2 class was great fun, and more of a challenge for all of us.

We had a great time, and were proud that none of us left with any burns. :)

I've discovered that the best use of my little container is as a stand for my marble. :)

We're thinking about practicing by renting some studio space. We all plan to take the level 3 class together soon. :)

Thanks, Mom and Lizelle! Super fun!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Komen apologizes for 'recent decisions,' pledges to continue funding Planned Parenthood

Komen for the Cure just released the following statement from Nancy Brinker and the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors:

We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives.

The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not.

Our original desire was to fulfill our fiduciary duty to our donors by not funding grant applications made by organizations under investigation. We will amend the criteria to make clear that disqualifying investigations must be criminal and conclusive in nature and not political. That is what is right and fair.

Our only goal for our granting process is to support women and families in the fight against breast cancer. Amending our criteria will ensure that politics has no place in our grant process. We will continue to fund existing grants, including those of Planned Parenthood, and preserve their eligibility to apply for future grants, while maintaining the ability of our affiliates to make funding decisions that meet the needs of their communities.

It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause, slow down and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies that hurt the cause of women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation across the country over the last few days to help us move past this issue. We do not want our mission marred or affected by politics - anyone's politics.

Starting this afternoon, we will have calls with our network and key supporters to refocus our attention on our mission and get back to doing our work. We ask for the public's understanding and patience as we gather our Komen affiliates from around the country to determine how to move forward in the best interests of the women and people we serve.

We extend our deepest thanks for the outpouring of support we have received from so many in the past few days and we sincerely hope that these changes will be welcomed by those who have expressed their concern.

My thoughts:

First of all, my head hurts. Seriously. This has been weighing on my mind and my heart for the past 3 days. It's been a roller-coaster of emotions. In the words of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox", this is a Cluster-Cuss.

I've got to step away and pull my thoughts together. My initial reaction is that this announcement is just Too Little, Too Late. The damage has been done. As my friend, Grant says, "The decision to change seems to be more based on the public reaction than thoughtful reasoning."

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Where I stand: The Susan G. Komen Foundation pulling funds from Planned Parenthood

As many of you are aware, I've participated as a walker and fundraiser in the Susan G. Komen 3Day for the Cure for the last two years. This year, I planned to walk again to support a cause that I believed in. To say that I am disappointed with the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a major understatement. I do not agree at all with their decision to stop awarding funds to Planned Parenthood. I have been trying to wrap my head around this for the last 24 hours, and I'm still not sure how this decision will affect my personal involvement going forward. Two days ago, I was excited about planning fundraisers to help meet my $10,000 goal. Today, I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to continue to participate at all. At this moment, I feel that I can not continue to support an organization who made such an important decision that I am so adamantly opposed to. This is a big decision, and I'm trying hard to give it the proper amount of time, thought and research that it deserves.

My position on this issue has become more clear to me as the shock wears off and I have had time to have good discussions and really think about it. I think that at best, Komen is bending to political pressure, which I am already upset with, and totally disagree with. At worse, they are taking a political stance which would make me even more upset. The wheels are turning now, and I'm determined as ever to fight the fight. Stay tuned....