Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy 13th Birthday, Noe!!!

Our little "kitten" turns 13 years old today! We have a teenager in the house. ;)

Happy 13th Birthday, Noe!!

We found Noe in our backyard on 23rd Street on Monday morning, September 3rd, 2000. She had been abandoned by her Momma Cat in the middle of the night during a small earthquake. We heard her mewing in the wee hours of the morning, and found her in the bushes. We left her out there all day, hoping the Momma Cat would come back for her. Alas, she never did, and the baby kitty was alone.

We took her to a 24-vet that evening, and they estimated that she was about 5 days old. This is why we celebrate Noe's Birthday on August 30th. The vet did some tests on her, and told us that she was pretty healthy, and taught us how to take care of a 5-day old kitten. We learned to bottle feed her every 4 hours, and kept her in a small, temperature-controled room.

And here we are, thirteen years later!

Noe is incredibly sweet to both Dick and me. Unfortunately, she doesn't show her sweet side to anyone else (traits of both being a tri-colored cat, as well as a feral) but that's okay. She's very lovey to both Dick and me, and that's all that really matters. :)

Happy 13th Birthday to our kitten!!!
Here are some recent photos of our Noe Cat.

...and in case you want to see just how teeny tiny she was thirteen years ago, here are some photos of Baby Noe during her first days with us:

The very first day we found Noe. Her eyes were still closed, and her ears were folded over.

She was SO tiny - she fit in the palms of our hands!

Dick, bottle feeding baby Noe

Noe is about 8 days old here - eyes are open now, and her ears are up!

she was still SO little!

getting bigger!

Can't stand the cuteness? Want to see more Baby Noe pictures?

Here's the website I made for Noe's Baby Album thirteen years ago. :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

New oil painting: Pool #2

I started my newest oil painting this afternoon.

I actually had a heck of a time trying to figure out what the subject of my next painting would be. I searched and searched through many photos, and just couldn't find anything that moved me. As Dean, my painting instructor, says, "Not all great photos make a great painting". Some photos simply wouldn't translate well to a good painting.

I realized that I had received (thankfully) lots of great feedback on my latest "Pool" painting. I thought it might be a good idea to seek out another piece with a pool in it. It may not be as provocative as the first painting, but at least it would be in line as a reasonable series together.

I dug up a photo from three years ago. We went to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate my 40th Birthday. I took this photo of my sister wearing my colorful sunhat at the pool. I love the colors in this photo, and played with the cropping/composition and came up with this:

original photo

I brought it to Dean today, and happily, he agreed that it would make a good painting. (I had emailed him several photos of ideas earlier in the week, and he had basically nixed them all! I love that he tells me the truth!)

I toned the canvas with a bluish/grey, drew in the grid lines, then did a quick sketch of the outline of the painting.

drawing sketched out on the canvas

I spent some time mixing my colors to be a good representation, without worrying about being too absolute. I then spent about 1-1/2 hours filling the canvas, which I think it turning out well so far. No surprise, but mixing my colors before filling in the canvas is really key.

So, here's where I am after the first session. There's still plenty to be done, but I'm happy with how it is starting off. Always exciting to fill in the canvas and getting an idea of what's to come!

Session One

PS: the faint diagonal lines in the bottom two photos are an element of the taking of the photos, and not in the painting/canvas.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A day in Stockton with Sis and Grandma

My Sister and I drove to Stockton today to visit our Grandma Chow. As usual, we took her out to lunch at our favorite dim sum place.

We tend to over-order every time we come, but today we purposefully over ordered so that we could bring leftovers home. (The food here is SO good, and the price is fairly inexpensive.)

Here are some photos of our lunch with Grandma. :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday's 14-mile training walk - 32 miles for the weekend!!

Sunday's Route

Sunday's 14-mile training walk was a great one! I think it's one of my favorites each year. We walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in the early morning and watch the sunrise. No matter what the weather (Sunday was VERY foggy!) it's always a majestic site and very special. There are fewer cars on the bridge at that time of the day, so you get to experience crossing the bridge in a very special way.

We walked all the way to Sausalito, and back. It's a great walk because there are so few stops along the way. When we walk through the City, we often stop at intersections and stop lights. This walk keeps us at a quicker pace because we have hardly any stops along the way. It's also fairly flat (in comparison to most walks in San Francisco) so that helps keep our stride and pace up as well.

We met at 6:30am, in the damp, cold and fog, and headed out.

The view of Crissy Field, day 2!

The "Welcome" steps at the Golden Gate Bridge Visitors Center

Sunrise through the fog from the Golden Gate Bridge

Linda took this neat photo of me while watching the sunrise on the Golden Gate Bridge. Thanks, Linda!

These two lovely ladies just got ENGAGED right before we passed them on the Golden Gate Bridge! Congratulations!!!

Walking through the fog on the Golden Gate Bridge

We eventually made our way to the other side of the bridge, and had our first break at the Vista Point

The sun rising over a fog-covered San Francisco

a panorama shot of the fog-covered Bay - from Alcatraz to the Golden Gate Bridge

Finally - the sun came out once we walked into Marin!

Monica, Lizelle, Marie, Judy and Beatrice

The Sausalito Art Fair is this coming weekend. We walked through the area where all the tents are set up. It was a little eerie - like a Zombie Apocalypse movie! You know, where it's a place where a lot of people are supposed to be, only.... it's completely empty! (no one gets my humor. Except my husband. I showed him my pictures, and he completely agreed)

Zombie Apocalypse Scene

Hurray - we made it to our 7-mile, half-way point - Mollie Stones in Sausalito!!

The group at the half-way point - Mollie Stones in Sausalito!
photo by Linda Imlay

The sun was out and shining all the way back to the bridge. Unfortunately, none of us thought to put on sunscreen when we left our houses that morning when it was still dark, cold, foggy and wet. Oops! We all came back with various tan lines and burns. :(

Back at the Vista Point - the sun is out, but the fog is still covering San Francisco

The weather was pretty odd at this point - it was warm (warm enough for me to be down to a tank top) but still foggy, and a little humid! It looked much colder than it was.

this photo doesn't quite do justice to the amount of fog that was still lingering as we crossed back over the Bridge

It was a foggy, but unusually beautiful day back in San Francisco. Kind of surreal, really. The air was clear, and it was warm, but there was still a lot of fog. We came back to Crissy Field, and were struck by the vibrant colors of the Bay and the grass, and the contrast of the misty/foggy Cityscape in the background. Reminded me of the old Mac computer game, "Myst". (I'm obviously on some weird Sci-Fi kick!

Vibrant colors and shroud of fog in Crissy Field

with the sculptures, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the fog, it totally looks like a scene out of "Myst", doesn't it?!

We made record time - back by 12:15! What a fantastic weekend of walking - 32 miles DONE!

Sunday's Walk Stats

A bunch of people headed out to Off the Grid (food trucks!) after our walk. I wasn't able to make it this time, but I couldn't help but snap a photo of Lizelle - all geared up, and ready to go!

Lizelle, having just walked 32-miles in two days - prepared with flip-flops and a lawn chair - ready to hit Off the Grid!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday's 18-mile (two loops of 9-miles each) Training Walk

Saturday's first 9-mile loop

Saturday morning's training walk was two loops of 9-miles each. We met at the Transit Cafe in the Presidio at 6:30am. We had a really great sized group (perhaps around 20 walkers) on the first loop. We kept about half when we went out on our second loop.

The first loop took us through the Presidio, out into the Richmond, and just into Golden Gate Park. We had our first break at the Conservatory of Flowers, before continuing through the park to 25th Street. We had our second break at Baker Beach, then went back into the Presidio on our way back to the Transit Cafe.

early morning photo of Crissy Field

We had a nice lunch break at the Transit Cafe, as half of our group stayed to do the second loop. We were told to bring a sack lunch, since we would not be stopping at any grocery stores.

Lunch Time!

Saturday's second 9-mile loop

The second 9-mile loop took us through the Presidio in the opposite direction. We walked down Lincoln Blvd, past the Legion of Honor, and had our first break at the lovely Lands End Visitor's Center. (Home of some of the nicest and cleanest public bathrooms!) The wonderful Sharla volunteered to provide route support on the second 9-mile loop. She bought us a trunk-ful of yummy goodies and water to keep us fueled and hydrated!

View of the fogged-in Golden Gate Bridge from Lincoln Ave

Fresh fruit, delicious Krave Jerky, and Cashew Chews. We heart Costco! (and Sharla, too!)

We spotted a Little Free Library Box (I had recently found another of these in my neighborhood!) on a residential street in the Richmond.

Our second break we at the golf course bathrooms in the Presidio. another favorite!

Sharla's magic trunk of delicious goodies and treats!

We walked 18+ miles total, in really good time! Finished just after 2:15 in the afternoon.

Saturday's second loop stats

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today is my 10 year Bloggiversary!!!

It's hard to believe that it was 10 years ago today that I wrote my very first blog post.

The First Blog Post

I remember it well: Dick must have been working from home that day. We shared an office at the time, and he told me that he was starting a blog, and that maybe I should, too. I had a handful of friends who were blogging already,and figured I might as well jump on the Blog Bandwagon. Who knew I would keep up with it, and would still be blogging 10 years later?!

I originally thought that this would be a fun way to share things with friends and family (okay, mostly my parents) and to just jot down random thoughts. It was well-before the days of Facebook, and this was a neat way of sharing photos and daily happenings. It was also a fun way to document vacations and special events.

Ironically, I've never kept a diary. Somehow, this very public digital medium works for me. Go figure.

I'm still using blogger, just like I did when I wrote my first blog post on August 22, 2003. They've been bought by Google since then. I used to host my blog on my own domain, but my options became a little limited, so I started to host it on their server about three years ago.

It's pretty amazing to think that I've been blogging for a whole ten years. Who would've thought that I'd have so much to say. Granted, I may not actually be saying much, but it's fun to have an online journal with photos that I can reflect back on and share with the World.

It's been a fun ride, and my, a LOT of things have happened in the last ten years.
Some highlights:

I became obsessed with, and bought my MINI Cooper (named, MINI Driver, of course!)

We moved from Dick's Big Yellow House in the Mission to "His 'n Her Condos" in the Castro

Got engaged!

(and showed some early photos from our wedding)

Cartoon Squash Baby! Part One and Part Two! Possibly the most funny blog posts I ever wrote. Long Live Cartoon Squash Baby!

Was mistaken as a hooker in Shanghai (Because, really - doesn't everyone have a hooker story?)

Was on the Home Shopping Network

Went to Vegas (more than a few times

Went to a few WGIs

Read all the Harry Potter Books

Had an Appendectomy

Had our bathroom remodeled

Said goodbye to our Grandpa Chan

Had our backyard remodeled

Said goodbye to our Big Cat, Marcel

Got my haircut

Saw the most Epic Green Day Concert Ever

Helped organize and attended the State Street Review Reunion

Went to visit Dick's Childhood home in North Carolina

Said goodbye to our Grandpa Chow

Turned 40!

Signed up for my first multi-day breast cancer walk, then started training with the Warming Hut Hotties!, and finished my first 3Day Walk

Flew to NYC for one night to see Billie Joe Armstrong debut on Broadway

Hosted a BUNCH of Halloween Parties!

Moved into our new home

Dick's broken knee

Became a fan of glassybaby then proceeded to Introduce all of my friends to glassybaby, too!

Dyed my hair blue

Started Drawing and Painting again, which was the start of my Renaissance Year.

Learned how to make Plum Jam

Donated a whole lotta Platelets and Whole Blood

Hosted some pretty awesome WGI parties

Closed my web design business after 16 years

Got gallery representation for my paintings

These are just a few highlights, of course!

We also did a whole lotta travel in the last 10 years!

travel highlights:

Spain with the Craddock AND Chow families!
Yosemite with the family
Hawaii with a bunch of friends
Rome, Florence, and Venice
NYC and Boston
Dubai for Jimmy and Pavan's Wedding
Tokyo (again!) and Kyoto

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing my 10 year Bloggiversary with me! :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The completed "Pool" painting

oil on canvas
24 x 24 inches

I'm really happy how this piece turned out, and am quite surprised at how quickly it came together. I think it's one of my strongest compositions, and I like that it's a little eerie. :) I think it has an air of mystery behind it: "Is she alive? Is she dead? What's the story?".

The real story, of course, is that this was a photo taken of me by my friend, Catriona, while we were in Hawaii together in June. I was relaxing in the pool - floating in the water, with my toes gripping on the edge of the infinity pool. According to Catriona, I was floating like this for 20-30 minutes! I was so relaxed, and was in a meditative state - I had no idea how long I had been floating. I love that she captured that moment of bliss in a photograph.

The original photo

I loved the photo that she took, and thought it might make a great painting composition. I popped it into Instagram, cropped it, and put a filter to it.

The cropped photo with filter

Today was only my third painting session of working on this piece. It somehow moved so quickly!

Week One

Week Two

Today, I spent most of the time putting a bright blue glaze over the water. It brightened up the piece from the previous session and blended in the blues nicely. I also worked a bit on the pool ledges - clarifying both the shapes and the colors. I did a bit more work on the figure, which I'm quite proud of. I'm really pleased with how the face, hands and feet turned out on this one. I may try to do more painting with figures.

week Three - Complete