Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Oh my Darling, Oh my Darling..."

"Oh, my Darling Clementine...."

I am hooked on these little fruits! I started eating them after Bikram Yoga a few weeks ago - my instructor keeps a bowl of fresh fruit available to eat after our sessions. I would grab a clementine and bring it home with me, and eat it right away. They are super sweet and satisfying, and so easy to peel.

Last week, I bought a HUGE bag of Clementines at Costco. I have no idea how many were in the bag, but I would guess 30-40. Well, they're almost gone! I've been eating 2-5 a day. I'm pretty amazed that I'll be able to go through the whole bag. Who knew?!

from wikipedia:
clementine is a variety of mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), so named in 1902.[1] The exterior is a deep orange colour with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines can be separated into seven to fourteen segments. They tend to be very easy to peel, like a tangerine, but are almost always seedless. For this reason they are sometimes known as seedless tangerines; the clementine is also occasionally referred to as the Algerian tangerine.[2] They are typically juicy and sweet, with less acid than oranges.[1] Their oils, like other citrus fruits, contain mostly limonene as well as myrcene, linalool, α-pinene and many complex aromatics.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Today's painting session: a furry friend, mixing pigment, and making progress...

I had a painting session a little earlier this week, and what a great session it was!

First of all, I was greeted at the front door by a very friendly and cute dog named Lukie! Dean and Jose are dog-sitting for a friend, so I got to hang out with a furry friend all afternoon.

Lukie on my lap!

Today's lesson revolved around color again. At the end, Dean taught me how to mix pigment with linseed oil to make paint! Super cool! When mixed directly from the pigment, the colors can be darker and richer than out of the tube. We mixed a yellow ochre and a black. We also made a glaze out of the mixed black and brown paints.

mixing the yellow ochre pigment with linseed oil

black and yellow ochre - very different textures

adding liquin to a little black to make a glaze

I started off glazing the entire background, and the pots of my painting. This helped to change the tone of the whole painting, and it now is much more accurate to the tone in the original photo. The darker colors in the background really helps the foreground to pop out a lot more. I also did more detail work on the main figure, as well as the counter on which she's working.

I was very pleased with the amount of progress achieved this afternoon. I felt it came a long way from the last session, and is looking much more complete. There's still plenty to do - next time, I'll work on the secondary figure to give him just a little more definition, and work on counter items more.

Always exciting to see the progress!

Woodward's Garden Painting: Session 5

Saturday, February 23, 2013

San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt!

Tonight, Dick, Spencer, Miguel and David and I participated in The Annual San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt!! Dick and I had heard about it last year, and were intrigued! We weren't able to participate last year - either because we heard about it after the fact, or perhaps we already had plans on the date.

From the San Francisco Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt site:
The Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is a unique urban sleuthing adventure played on the streets of Chinatown, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill on the night of the annual Chinese New Year Parade. Treasure hunting teams have four hours to solve sixteen clues leading them to obscure landmarks, forgotten architectural delights and vestiges of San Francisco's colorful past. Players can come with a team already organized, or can join like-minded hunters at the event; it's a great way to make new friends.

Familiarity with San Francisco geography or history is useful, but is not required. The clues, or puzzles, are designed to test various skills: map reading; knowledge of popular culture, current events, science or literature; crossword puzzle solving; cracking simples codes, etc. Everyone on a team gets to contribute, and must collaboratively agree on what they think is the correct solution to each clue.

The challenge (and the fun) does not end there. The team must go to each of the mystery locations they have identified and search for landmarks referred to in the clue. Sharp eyes and close collaboration are required to spot the markers indicating they're in the correct place, and on the right trail.

Each clue leads to a specific site in the one square mile playing area, where teams search for a secret item which proves they correctly solved that clue. Teams solving the most clues in the shortest time each receive prizes and earn the right to gloat.

The date of the Treasure Hunt fell on Spencer's Birthday this year - what a fun way to celebrate.

This is the Year of the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, so team names were suggested to coincide with snakes.

We all pondered the name for a bit, and Dick came up with: "Trina and the Tetrataenia".

Dick's explanation of our team name:

Tetrataenia is the sub-species designation for the garter snake commonly found in San Francisco. The full name of the San Francisco Garter Snake is "Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia."

Also, "Tetra" means "four".

So, you could read this as "Trina and the SF garter snakes" or "Trina and the Four Taenia," although the latter really doesn't make any sense.

To add to the fun, several friends from my walking group had also formed a team! (actually, they had invited me to participate, which was really nice, but I realized that this was on Spencer's Bday, and that we would be having a separate team.) The name of their team: "The Hisssy Fitsss". :)

The Treasure Hunt started at 4:30, although we had to get there early to sign in, and collect our maps.

We then had to wait until 4:30 before they would start issuing out the clues.

Apparently, there were thousands of participants in the Treasure Hunt. We waited in line to get our clues. Luckily, I was both in the front of the line, and had a low team number, so was able to get our clues as early as possible.

Here's some strategy that was written on our clue handout:
Strategy: Winning teams often solve some clues and plot an effective route before setting out, taking geography and the parade route into consideration. Each team should have a Coordinator, a responsible person who will safeguard the score sheet and ensure that team members don't get lost or separated or eaten by dragons.

They also announced in the rules that a team must always stay together (within 25 feet of each other, I believe) and that the only method of transportation to be used are your feet.

The clues were pretty challenging - and we were in the beginner's division!!

The thing about the clues, is that they are broken down into different sections. The first part helps you solve the street/alley/landmark that you must go to. Once there, you continue to work on the rest of the clue. You wouldn't be able to figure out the entire clue by reading it, without being in the correct location.

Here's an example of one of the clues:

Find a school board in the alley named for what thousands will be seeking in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. 65 feet to the west what is the 6-letter word above "strict"?

That was one of the simpler clues.

Here's another:

(The side of a ship that's not right +s+a dentist's work place)
Find the woman who still carries a torch. Just to the west, a "First" was "Founded Here". What is the four digit number following 7-29?

There were 17 clues in all. Some showed photo as part of the clues. We divided the clues between team members and each tried to figure out 3 clues, with 2 additional left for whoever was able to figure their clues out first.

We managed to get (the first part of) 15 clues. We decided to go from there, as we didn't want to spend much more time working on the first part of the clues, without starting the actual hunt. We mapped out the clues that we had figured out, and also figured out how to go around the Chinese New Year parade route! Unfortunately, I forgot to map out one of the last clue locations, so we never made it there. :(

We also took a detour when Dick's phone told him that the location of the Hornblower Cruise was in an entirely different place than it ended up being. Next time - we'll double-check our clues/maps before we set out!

In the end, we think we ended up finding and answering 14 of the 17 clues. Not bad for our first time!

My friends, the Hisssy Fitsss, managed to find ALL of the clues! Great job!!

Actually, one of the best parts of the evening was when we were going towards our last clue at the (correct location of the) Hornblower Cruise. Our team was walking on the sidewalk of a street, and another team was on the sidewalk across the street. Turns out, it was the "Hisssy Fitsss"! SO FUNNY! We hadn't seen each other all evening, but when we did, it was towards the last clue! Very Amazing Race! :)

The Treasure Hunt ended at 9:00. We managed to get our clue entry in around 8:55pm. It really did take up all the time that was allotted!

Linda, of the "Hisssy Fitsss" mapped out their route, and figured they walked around 5.5 miles. I forgot to turn on my GPS (which would have been handy) but I'm assuming we walked about the same.

It was a ton of fun, and I'm hoping we can do it again next year!!

Team "Trina and the Tetrataenia"

There I am, towards the front of the line at 4:30!

a great photo by Miguel during the treasure hunt!

"The Hisssy Fitsss", celebrating victory after the hunt!
(photo courtesy of Linda)


Scores were posted!!

Trina & the Tetratania placed #54. :)
Not bad! We got 14 our of the 17 clues!

The Hisssy Fitsss placed #18!!!

There were 91 teams in the beginners level.

Not bad for our first year!

Busting out the iron for the first time in 9 years!!

There are many services that webTrina provides, but ironing is not one of them.

I never iron. I don't buy clothing that requires ironing. Dick once asked me to iron a pair of slacks for him, but apparently, I did it all wrong (there were no wrinkles, but apparently, no creases either!), so now he irons his own clothes.

What's most hysterical about this, is that I actually have a blog post documenting the last time I ironed...from 2004!! Even funnier: both times, I didn't actually iron clothes. Just place-mats.

So, if you ever come over, my pants may not be perfectly creased, but my place-mats will be nice and pressed! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pots and Pans day on my Woodward's Garden painting

Well, I didn't get as much overall done on my painting today, but I did manage to start a pretty important component: today was "Pots and Pans" day on my Woodward's Garden painting. :)

The original photo that I'm basing this photo on is very dark, and a lot of the detail in it is lost. On of the things that Dean has taught me is how to use technology to help us see more detail. He opened the original photo in iPhoto and adjusted the brightness/contrast/levels to help me see more information. This was especially helpful for the pots and pans, which are so dark in the original photo. I also decided to eliminate one of the pots to help the image read better.

Here's the original image:

Here is a close-up of the pots and pans in the lightened version, showing much more detail.

The painting at the end of today's session:

I have to wait for the paint to dry, but I plan to darken the tone of the pots and pans during the next session so that they match the tone of the rest of the painting better. Once I do that, and refine them a bit, the pots and pans should fit in a bit more.

I also spent a little bit of time adding the third figure (seated in the background).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Uh-oh. Sewer Problems


We came home in the early afternoon and discovered that the cover to the vent/sewer line from our house on the driveway/sidewalk had been lifted from the guck/liquid/sewage underneath.


We had assumed that this had happened because of the large amount of rainfall that we had earlier today. Thought the drain might be clogged, and in need of a cleaning.

I called Roto Rooter, who was able to come within a few hours.

Jessie, the Roto Rooter guy pushed his professional grade snake down the drain, and discovered early on that this was not a simple fix. He was able to get the snake down 15 feet or so (so far from our house, towards the main line) but he thinks that the main sewer/drain pipe might have broken/collapsed under the street.

If this is indeed the case, and it away from our property line, it would be the responsibility of the City of San Francisco, rather than us.

I put in a call to DPW (the Roto Rooter guy told me to tell them that this should be considered an emergency) and they are planning to send out a team either later tonight or first thing in the morning.


In the meantime, we've been told to use water (or anything that drains water) sparingly.

I'm really hoping that this is able to be fixed soon.


sewer line update: I *think* the problem has been resolved. I've been told that the DPW came out this morning and unclogged the drain, and that it should be fine now. (the frustrating part was knowing that they had come out, but hadn't let me know what the problem/resolution was.) I've been told keep an eye on the drain/system - hopefully, it's all okay. I'm going to take a shower now, and test out that theory. ;)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sophie visits "Sophie"

Alisa and Sophie dropped by for a quick visit today. Sophie came to drop off my Girl Scout Cookie order (along with handmade origami Thank You cards). It was also the first time that they were able to see the oil painting that I had done of Sophie in her ballet costume. Alisa had taken the photo from which my painting was based.

By Alisa's suggestion, we took a couple photos of Sophie in front of her painting. I hope she liked it! :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A visit with Sal!!

Sal was in town this weekend for the first time in several years. It was the first time that we were able to all get together (Sal, and my family) since my wedding over 7 years ago.

It was so nice to hang out all afternoon at the Chow House. We had a great dinner at Baja Cactus.

Thanks for the visit, Sal! Hope we can do it again soon!!

Happy 33rd Birthday, Crissy!!!

Hard to believe, but my sister's cockatiel, Crissy, is 33 years old today!!!


Our family adopted Crissy when she was a young 6-week old hatchling. Can't believe she's been with us for so long. My sister was immediately Crissy's favorite, and they've been together ever since!

BTW, the average life span for a cockatiel is 15 years.

My sister's other Cockatiel, Bonsai (seen on my Sis' shoulder) is over 25 years old. We adopted him from a friend of a friend, so don't know how old he was when he came to us, but he's been in our family for about 25 years.

It must be all the extra special love that my sister has always given them. They get cereal or oatmeal every morning, and rice, pasta, and whatever else is on her plate for dinner. They have apple juice every day, although Crissy used to be partial to white wine. :)

Happy 33rd Birthday, Crissy!!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

House of Prime Rib

Viv and Chris are in town for a visit, so we rounded up the old gang (miss you, Omar & Lora!) and headed out to the House of Prime Rib!!

This place just doesn't disappoint. In fact, no matter how good I think it'll be, it's always even better. So yummy!

In true fashion of the old days, Dick, Viv and Chris all finished their meals, and were served seconds. :)

What a great evening. Great friends, great food. Viv, Chris, Shan and Shoko, so glad we were able to make this happen.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Good progress in my oil painting of Woodward's Garden

I had another painting session today, and I think I made some good strides on my latest oil painting.

The first think I did was to mix large batches of the wall color, then make a darker, and darker version of them. This enabled me to repaint the walls and have the colors and tones be (more or less) even. That helped tremendously.

I worked on the main figure next, adding some red into her skin tone, which gave her a much better complexion, and warmed her up. I continued adding some color and lights and darks to her, and to the guy behind the bar. Dean came in and helped me a bit with adjusting both figures a bit, which made a tremendous difference. It's amazing and so helpful to watch him - he adds just a stroke here or there, and big changes happen.

After the figure was worked on, I worked on darkening the tone of the entire painting a bit more. It made a big difference.

The last thing I added today was the pot rack. This was a biggie, because if the angle is wrong, the whole thing would look incorrect. It was good timing, as I had my second lesson today on linear perspective, so this was good practice. :)

The first thing I'll work on during the next session is to add the pans/pots to the pot rack. That should be fun.

I'm feeling like I made good progress on the painting today - a bit of a breakthrough. Hoping it continues next week.

There's a first time for everything...

awww...Today, Dick gave me my first Valentine in 14 years. (but who's counting?) :)

What more would I expect?

The conversation in our house this morning when Dick saw what was on the kitchen counter:

Dick: "Hey! The new cable modem arrived!"

Trina: "Yep - but look: there are other things, too"

Dick: "Cool! Gummies!"

Trina: "Uh, yeah, and one more thing..."

Dick: "Oh, a Valentine. how nice...." (rolls eyes)

Not that I expected anything more. :)

Happy Valentine's Day! :)

A Facebook Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!!

It appears that Facebook doesn't know my husband very well. This message popped up on the top of my Facebook page this morning.

What Facebook doesn't know is that my husband is adamantly opposed to Valentine's Day. That doesn't stop me from giving him a Valentine's Day card every year, which he then rolls his eyes at. That's generally the extent of our Valentine's Day celebration. (for the record - I'm perfectly okay with that. As Dick says, "Everyday with me is Valentine's Day") :)

Now that I think about it, Facebook may be on to something. Dick doesn't care for sweets, but one thing he does love is gummy candy. Maybe I'll have to surprise him with a bag of gummies with his valentine this year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

An evening at my Sister's house

I had dinner at my Sister's and Graham's house tonight. I don't come to her place very often, so it was a very nice treat!

I had to take a photo of her very funny garbage can. The lid automatically opens when you are in front of it. Our Mom made it even better by adding the eyes!

I also had a nice time visiting with the birdies. Crissy turns 33(!) this Saturday, and Bonsai is over 25!!

We all had dinner together, then the birds went to play in the kitchen drawer, then we all sat at on the sofa together. :)

Thanks, Sis, Graham, and birdies for a nice evening! :)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Woodward's Garden Painting: Session 2

I had my second session with my newest oil painting yesterday.

It was "fill the canvas" day, where I mostly just filled in the canvas with blocks of color. The color is actually quite off (especially the ceiling/top of the walls - ignore that, please!), but it does get the basic idea across of what the scene is. Once the paint dries, I'll be able to go back in a put in more proper colors.

Dean actually started the session off with the most lesson on Linear Perspective. The math part of my brain (which I turned off after high school) was hurting by the end, even though technically, there was no math involved. :) It was a great lesson though - I learned about horizon lines, and 1-point, 2-point, and 3-point vanishing points.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

What is the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk?

It's a new year, and we're getting ready for a new walk!

Linda, the Board Chair of In Our Lifetime, has been busy working on the new website for the 2013 Immediate Impact Walk! Registration will be opening soon!

Linda has also put together this fantastic video describing what the experience of the Immediate Impact Walk is like. It's beautiful, and quite inspiring!

What is the Immediate Impact Breast Cancer Walk? from In Our Lifetime on Vimeo.

If you're interested in joining the 2013 Immediate Impact Walk, let us know! It'll be an experience you'll never forget! :)

Monday, February 04, 2013

I'm a Platelet Producing Machine

I donated platelets at the Blood Center again today. I generally try to go once a month or so. As a platelet donor, you can donate every two weeks, versus every two months for whole blood donations.

I've been told just about every time I donate that my body produces an unusually large amount of platelets. We don't know why, but my platelet count is consistently high.

I've been donating platelets for two or three years now (and started donating whole blood seven years ago). Since my platelet count is so high, they usually set the machine up so that I donate two units of platelets in roughly an hour. From what I understand, most people donate one unit of platelets, and that donation will usually take 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hours.

Today, I was informed that I'd be doing a triple unit donation. To clarify, this means that my platelets will be able to be used by three individual patients!! Very exciting! The donation took about an hour, as usual. I'm not sure how the process is changed in the machine, but they base it in your platelet count from your previous donation (in my case, four weeks ago).

I'm so happy that my platelets are able to generate so quickly, and are able to be used by those who need them. It's such a great thing to be able to do. :)

Super Bowl Super Bummer

So, yesterday evening was the SuperBowl. I don't watch football. Growing up, I was the only one in the family who didn't. Just didn't get that gene.

However, the San Francisco 49ers were in the SuperBowl! I'm all for city team spirit, and would have loved to have seen the 49ers win! On a personal note, I know how happy it would have made my Dad, a 49er Faithful, probably since the 50s, SO happy to see his team take it all the way again.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

Dick and I were invited to a Super Bowl/Birthday party at Pete and Richard's house. For all the reasons above, we were very excited, and I managed to sit and actually watch the whole game. I sat next to Dick, who had to explain a few things here and there to me, but for the most part, I had a good general idea of what was going on.

Here we are, being spirited in our 49er colors!

I'll state the obvious, that the first half was pretty heinous. It was quite shocking, and I'm sure an embarrassment for the team. Then, right after the halftime show (Beyonce was pretty freakin amazing!), we all watched in shock when the Ravens made a 100 yard touchdown from the opening kick. (did I say that right?)

This is when I started taking to Facebook.
This is what I posted right after the Ravens scored their touchdown right after the second half started:

The bizarre power outage happened soon after that, right?
So, then we waited and waited, and I wrote another post:

Eventually, the lights came back on, the game commenced, and exciting things happened.
That was when I had a realization:

Obviously, I was doing something that was helping the team!
Word of my influence on the 49ers ability to play well began to spread, and other friends on facebook started to post about it, too! (This was actually from Pete, who was sitting mere feet from me, but we both thought it was pretty darn funny)

I can't remember exactly what happened next, but I think we had a bad play, that would have penalized us somehow, but a flag was thrown, and the play was somehow reversed. (this is how much I understand football)

Coincidentally (or was it?) I had accidentally spilled a small bit of wine on my lap during that play. Once I had that cleaned up, I refilled, and all seemed to go well again!

...and the 49ers kept on playing, and they were scoring, and doing so much better than in the first half! Word spread like wildfire, and more Facebook friends from all over were encouraging me to continue drinking!

Suddenly, we were down to the last 2 minutes of the game, and the 49ers were only 10 yards away from making a touchdown!

Sadly, it was not meant to be. All that wine consumption, and it didn't help the team win in the end. :(
I put the wine glass down, and started chugging down the water.

Even though I did all I could do, apparently it wasn't enough.

By bedtime, the wine had caught up with me, and it wasn't pretty.
That's right - I took one for the team, and I'd do it again! ;)

It really was a very exciting game, and it's really too bad that the Niners couldn't pull out that last touchdown in the end.

Thanks, Pete and Richard, for having us over for a very fun party. Thanks to all my friends on Facebook for the fun comments and posts. It was fun watching the game with you.

And one more thing: Dad, I'm very sorry that your team didn't win. They had a great season, and I'm sure they'll be great again next year!!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

We gathered with our family tonight in Stockton to celebrate Chinese New Year. We're a week early, but when you're gathering 20+ people, you go with the date that works best for everyone. :)

My Auntie Lani brought this yummy cake. Here's a photo of Grandma and some of her Grandchildren and Great-Granddaughters. :)

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Year if the Snake/Serpent!

Friday, February 01, 2013

A visit with the Timbangs

I had the nicest lunch/visit this afternoon with the Timbang family!

Michael and Leilani were both students at James Logan High School when I taught the color guard there in 1993-1995. They were sophomores when we first met. Leilani was in my flag line, and Michael was a rifle - a group of hilarious and big-hearted guys who I've always been very fond of. These were two very special members of our color guard family.

Sometimes, I'm just amazed at how life works out, and the friendships and relationships that develop over the years.

Leilani and Michael started dating, and have now been married for almost five years!

They had their first baby, a beautiful baby girl, just 3-1/2 months ago. Today was my first chance to meet Cyan.

When I first saw them, Michael was talking to Cyan while she was in her stroller. He explained to her how many, many years ago, her parents spent many, many hours with me. :) He also told her that we have known each other for 20 years now, which is more than half their lives! Egads! How did that happen?!

We had such a nice visit, and got caught up with each other's lives and families.

We acknowledged how helpful Facebook is as a tool to stay in touch with our day-to-day lives.

It is simply a joy to see two people who I have loved since they were teenagers, now as grown adults, and to meet their baby daughter.

It's a wonderful life, indeed. :)

Thanks for the visit, Mike and Lani! Can't wait to see the three of you again soon. xo