Friday, November 30, 2012


From the amount of alcohol I bought at Costco today, one would think that I live in a household full of lushes. (and maybe I do, but none of us are admitting it)

The bottles at Costco are HUGE, but are at such a good price. ($29.99 for Jack, $28.99 for the Bombay Sapphire and $45.99 for the Grey Goose) They are each 1.75L. I put a "regular-sized" bottle of Jack Daniels next to them to give an idea of scale.

It turns out that I can go through the Costco-sized bottle of Jack Daniels in roughly a year. Who knew?

The Grey Goose and Bombay Sapphire are shared between Dick, our Gay Boyfriend, and other guests.

Everything in moderation - I promise! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I finally got around to having my latest oil paintings framed. I used the same white-washed ash oak frames that we have on a few other pieces around the house. They are a very nice, neutral frame that seems to go well on everything. :)

I took the above photo in my dining room. When I finished taking it, I looked around and realized that my house is starting to look like an artist's studio - like an actual artist lives here, or something. :)

Not sure if this is what Dick had in mind when he was so supportive of me taking up painting again. ;)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Progress on the Dolores Street Painting

Back home, and back to painting!!

I think I made some good progress on my latest painting. Today was "block" day, where Dean had me mix about 6-8 different colors and block out large areas of the canvas with each color to fill the canvas. It's surprising to me how much of a difference that makes, and how quickly that happens.

I did tweak a few lines here and there, added an extra palm tree, and put a little more detail in a couple of the buildings. So far, I'm liking how the painting is turning out to be slightly abstract. I hope to keep it that way by not getting to specific with details.

I'm loving the size of the canvas: 36" x 24". I've always enjoyed painting large. It feels more freeing to me.

there's a light shining from the right side, so that side of the canvas is slightly washed out.

here's the painting with the reference photo next to it. Dick prefers the composition of the original, so I may have to paint this twice to see how they each turn out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas is Coming!!

Home from Dubai, and immediately reminded of how much we love our City/neighborhood.

It seems as if tonight was the annual Castro Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. There was a large crowd gathered by the tree that we passed on our way to dinner. Around the corner, and a couple of blocks down, we saw Santa and an Elf hanging out in an SFPD pickup truck, presumably waiting for their Grand entrance. :)

The were nice enough to smile and wave to me for this picture. :)

Home Sweet Home

Home is where our happy kitty is. :)

Our last flight went very well - it was on time and we managed to get some good sleep.

As much as we always enjoy our vacations, it's always nice to come home again.

The challenge for the rest of the day: try to stay awake until a reasonable time to try to adapt to time zone. :)

Starting a flight right!

What better way to start an eleven-hour flight than with a mimosa. :)

See you on the flip side!

The Lufthansa Lounge at the Frankfurt Airport

Hands Down: this is the best airport lounge we've ever been to! We have a 6-hour layover here in Frankfurt before our flight home to SFO. I think we're both kind of excited that we got to spend so much time here. At least, we certainly don't mind! :)

This place is awesome! It has all the stuff you'd expect, only better! Free Wi-Fi, power outlets for multiple countries, really good food, and the best hot chocolate! :)

The best part: private showers. Seriously! That was a first for us, but after a 7 hour flight, and before another 12 hour flight, it was so amazing.

We just finished watching a movie (the new Spider Man - really good!) and we only have about 1/2 hour before our next flight boards. That 6-hours went quickly!

Thanks, Lufthansa!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The lounge at the Dubai Airport


We were even able to have a late dinner here.

Bonus: free WiFi :)


Our last adventure in Dubai was a quick jaunt over to the Atlantis Hotel/resort also on the Palm. It's less than a 5 minute drive from our hotel.

First things first: we walked in the door and found a "Gold to Go" machine, also called a "Gold ATM". Yep, with the convenience of a vending machine, you, too can spend several hundreds (thousands) of dollars on gold jewelry. Crazy!!

Lora and Sarah checking out the gold machine

gold machine details

We spent most of our time at "The Lost Chambers" Aquarium at the hotel. It was awesome! The theme behind the entire aquarium was that it was replicating the ruins of the Lost City of Atlantis. Very well executed, and cool! The displays were incredible, the main tank was HUGE, and we saw a lot of fish that I had never seen before.

For my color guard/State Street Review friends! ;)

Th isphoto was taken by 6-year old Sarah! Quite the photographer!

Old Souk/Spice Souk/Gold Souk

Sounds like a Dr. Seuss book, doesn't it?

Today is our last day in Dubai. With all of the wedding celebrations done, we spent part of the day out and about in the city. We went to the Spice Souk (also known as the Old Souk) and the Gold Souk. The souks are in the older part of town, which was very interesting to see.

Unfortunately, all of the Spice Souk vendors were closed when we were there (around Noon), not sure why, but that was a bummer.

The Gold Souk was interesting enough, and pretty to see. None of us were really in the market to buy anything, but we did go into a few stores to look at the merchandise and inquire about the prices. The price of gold is so high right now, so I don't think the haggling opportunities are what they used to be here. (because, yes, I did try!)

The rest of the souk was pretty much as I expected. Lots of textiles (clothing of various types) and lots of men asking if you wanted to buy fake handbags or watches (no thank you).

I'm glad we went to see another part of Dubai.

Gold Souk

Today's gold prices

a typical store front in the Gold Souk

some dot come flip flops - too bad they didn't have any for Hotmail!

the entry to the Spice Souk

which was closed :(

walking around the rest of the souk area

Yay, Gelato break!

we did manage to find one vendor with a little bit of spices for sale

We had about 1/2 hour before our driver came back, so we walked across the busy street to look at the boats and get a lay of the land

an air-conditioned bus stop! (my friend, Rose, had just told me about them!

Entrance to the Souk

Looking at the newer parts of Dubai from one of the older parts

another panoramic photo

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Final Wedding Event: The Reception

Last night was the final wedding event for Jimmy & Pavan's wedding: The Reception!!

Oh, what a night! In one word: Massive!

The reception was held at The Asateer Tent the Atlantis The Palm Hotel on the Palm Jurmeirah Cresscent.

The reception was nothing short of amazing and gorgeous. The decorations/lighting/design of the "tent" were just gorgeous! There were enormous peacock flower arrangements, crystals, and chandeliers everywhere!

Of course, I took many, many photos - they don't quite do it all justice, but they will help convey the enormity of the event.

Dick and Trina, dressed in our formal ware

Most of the gang dressed and ready to go!

Congratulations, Pavan and Jimmy!

The gorgeous entryway

...followed by the magical hallway

Leading up to the main room

the exquisite peacock center pieces

One of the (many) buffet tables

shot of the room. I think there were about 80 tables

another peacock centerpiece

One of the two giant peacocks on the center stage

Enjoying the evening!

dozens (hundreds?) of lights!

Close up of the giant peacock

part of the gang

detail of the lights

The always photogenic Reeves and Paula

Trina & Dick

Lora & Omar

Dan & Nicole

Dennis, Maf, Ossa, and John

They had a photo booth (white screen backdrop) with lots of props that took digital photos which were automatically printed and sent to you. We had a ton of fun!

Group Silliness!

I think the Dubai lifestyle is starting to rub off on me..... ;)

They also had the rickshaw (which rode Jimmy to the ceremony in the morning on display and available to take photos

Dick riding Trina around Dubai!

The Cake

Soon after dinner and cake, the music was pumped up, the drummers started to drum, and the dancing started again..... and we got even more silly. :)

Reeves, giving Dick a big hug!

Lora and Paula whooping it up!

Jimmy, the Groom, and Dick

Making our exit at the end of the night

Final group shot back at the hotel (I think it was almost 2:00am!)

Congratulations again to Pavan and Jimmy on your marriage and your amazing wedding celebration! We are all so grateful for the opportunity to have shared it with you!! It was the event of a lifetime, and one I'll always remember!