Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Folding tables, go-backs galore

I was sad and disgusted when I walked into the Gap at the Flood building. It was a little after noon, the place was mobbed and I was taken a-back at the mess, everywhere.
I'm not used to the mess. I mean, yes, I was at one point part of the flock who made the mess. I forgot what made us do this, but for a few years, Eric & I would unfold things just to screw with the store. They did something bad and we took it out on them at every store we could.

I was on a mission to find short sleeved heather gray t-shirts in large for Eric. Easy peasy right? It's the GAP. Their empire is built on jeans and t-shirts. I figured that was upstairs and I thought to mill around downstairs first, to see if there was anything that caught my fancy. Unfortunately, the mess caught my eye. Three older women commented they couldn't be 'productive' in there, as they too scanned the room at the clothing carnage that lay all over the place - sweaters in mounds on the tops of the tables, folding tables overflowing with things that haven't been folded, too many fixtures too close together, people were bumping into each other just to get around the store.

I understand the want, the need to put out as much stuff as you can out onto the selling floor but if the presentation isn't there, it's actually counterproductive. I haven't worked in retail in over 10 years, but I remember the days of endless folding and straightening, restocking and cleaning out dressing rooms. Mindless & Sisyphian it was, but it helps customers find what they need and may even attract them to what they want.

I was so grossed out, I quickly made my way upstairs, hoping to find better conditions on the men's floor. I was wrong. I seriously considered getting a job there just to help out, that day. Three folding tables around the jeans, t-shirts and the kids area filled with clothes and most employees either at the cash wrap or manning the fitting rooms. After about 10 minutes of rooting around the t-shirts, I found the style and color but not the size I needed. I had to tippy-toe to reach a stack of t-shirts (no one around to see me put that stack back all messed up) to see if what I needed was there. Nope.

Still sad and disgusted, I walked to the Post/Kearny store. Clean, orderly, calm. Found the t-shirts and I even found a couple of things for myself. While the mess was virtually non-existent and there was a greater worker:customer ratio, it seems like the sales associates aren't as friendly as I remember them. They used to work like they were on commission. Now they work like they can't be bothered.

Friday, December 1, 2006

The feasting continues

And the drinking too. Last week was constant eating, but I don't feel like I've overdone it this year, like I know I have done in the past.

I took 2 hours off at the end of my shift today so Eric & I could start happy hour early. After running some last minute things at the post office, we were off to drinks at the Marriott's View Lounge. We haven't been in some time and thought it was time to go posh again for some cocktails and nibbles and to see how the City's looking from up there.

No nibbles, as it turns out. We ordered whiskey sours, a cheese plate and some pate but the kitchen guy was not there so our server comp'd us another round of whiskey sours instead. I can't believe we ate the whole bowl of peanuts and party mix. Our original plan was to have dinner somewhere in the Castro but that was too far to stagger to. The second round was much stronger so we needed to eat somewhere nearby.

I offered up Lulu or Buca Di Beppo, but even that was too far for Eric, and Buca's fun with lots of friends. Lulu just has lots of people we don't know and it's noisy. Eric is always ragging me that I've eaten there with others and not him, but he wasn't interested tonight.

On the way to dinner, we stopped at Needless Markup for the annual fruitcake. Eric likes fruitcake so we've been buying one as a part of our Christmas season rituals. Plus I get a tin when he's done. He grew up on the big generic bricks from the supermarket and I introduced him to the good stuff. One year, I waited too long and they ran out so I bought a rum cake instead, which was good, but wasn't the same. My thing is egg-nog. We'll spike it with anything we have on hand, anejo rum, bourbon, whisky. We still have some Black Label left over from Jennifer & Pepe's wedding (from 3 years ago!) and now we're using that.

Anyway, after the shopping (I was secretly hoping they'd be giving samples of something, anything to nibble on, but they weren't), we hobbled over to E&O Trading. We ate there once with friends many moons ago and tonight, they were closed for a private function. So Cafe De La Presse was our restaurant of choice. Neither of us have eaten there but I'd heard good things from our friend Mary.

Eric ordered another cocktail and I had a glass of wine. We had 3 yummy courses (I had onion soup, duck salad, and profiteroles for dessert) and coffee. Our server was very nice and the place was just filling up as we were leaving. It's funny, we like eating pretty early, but that's so we have time to chill and savor the evening's activities before going to sleep.
This past Sunday, we had an early dinner at the Buckeye for Uncle John's birthday. I also had soup (butternut squash) and duck (roasted with an awesome mushroom bread pudding), a slice of coconut cream pie and tea for dessert. Dinner at 5, home by 8, time to unwind and catch up on some crap TV before the start of a new work week.

Now Eric's asleep (he has to get up early to proctor the SATs) and I'm taking photos of the tops of wine bottle tops.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Not sleeping... again

My long weekend is winding down and I'm insane for not resting. It's gone by so quickly, I feel a little cheated that I didn't spend it exactly the way I wanted. Don't ask me what I wanted exactly, though, because I really don't know.

All I know is I've had a headache for most of the day, even through a friend's birthday party. I think it's just PMS. I've also been working on getting photos sorted and printed into photo books as gifts - it's taking forever. Well, one book will have about 128 photos. The other 38. I'm anxious to see how they turn out but first I cropped and enhanced, then sorted and now I'm uploading.

As I type, the photos are still downloading to flickr.

And it's now 2:19am.
I'm not tired but I know I will be if I don't sleep and I've been up late these past few days also. It's time to catch up on sleep again.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Why ___ when you can ___ ?

Sleep when you can cry? Eat when you can work?

No, nothing's wrong. At least nothing major. Eric's been in Chicago since Wednesday and he comes home today - so it's wrong that he's away from me.

When he's not home, I turn into ultra slob. I don't make the bed, I let dishes pile up, stay up really late/early watching TV and eat bad food. I've been working through lunch too. Fast/convenient food makes this possible. Lunch these past few days was chili cheese fries on Wednesday AND Thursday and a bag of Fritos and Cheetos on Friday. I occupy myself as much as possible so time 'passes quicker' and less time to think about Eric being away. This is wrong and now I'm tired, hungry and sleep deprived.

Yesterday, my mind was completely diverted at work. Mostly because I was operating on 4 hours sleep. I seriously had trouble thinking what my next step was while doing my daily duties. I watched a double feature at home: a bootleg copy of Da Vinci Code and, on IFC, Once Were Warriors. I was actually intrigued by Da Vinci Code, I really didn't know what to expect because I hadn't read the book and am unfamiliar with the characters. I thought the pacing was nice and Paul Bettany is a scary motherf-cker.

I think I put the movie on just before midnight and afterwards I was pumped and awake so I stayed up for Once Were Warriors. If that wasn't a downer. I turned off the TV at 3am, drained and upset. I admired Beth, played by awesome Rena Owen, for her strength and love for her family but it was getting really hard to believe she could love her awful bully of a husband Jake, played by Temuera Morrison, familiar to me as the guy who played Boba Fett in the Star Wars prequels. But that blind love exists and unfortunately, for the family, it resulted in tragedy. Then I was off to bed, only to wake up at 7am to get ready for work. My eyes were so puffy from the crying and the lack of sleep.

Now I'm getting ready for a football game - Stanford VS Oregon. I've never been to a college or professional football game. This should be interesting. Heh, and I have to make the bed, put the dishes away and collect all the mugs and glasses I've left in every room of the condo.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Why does Tim Allen make movies?

I think I'm going to ask Mick LaSalle. Not because I think he'll know but he might have a funny answer. So I emailed:

"Why does Tim Allen make movies? Out of fairness, I haven't seen any of them. I've only seen about 2 episodes of Home Improvement. He was great as Buzz Lightyear and I hear Galaxy Quest is funny.
But I just don't get why anyone would see, say, Jungle 2 Jungle or The Santa Clause.
If I were to rent one of his movies, what should I start with?"

I can't believe there's a Santa Clause Part 3 movie coming out. I didn't even know there was a Part 2! I just don't get the appeal and the trailers for his movies are just lost on me.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Celebrity sighting!

Well, a Filipino celebrity sighting. At the newly super-sized San Francisco Centre, housewares department in Bloomingdales.

Shortly after my sisters, my niece and her school friends finished eating lunch, we made our way from the Food Emporium to Bloomingdales. I already took some shots of my shopping party and some of the food we ate and I was now on the prowl for anything fun and interesting to shoot. I found a crumpled piece of paper stuffed in a coffee cup amongst the fine china table settings and snapped that up. It was close to the escalator and and soon we'd be on our way up to the next level.

Apparently, my sisters had already been whispering they had just spotted Eric Quizon. (Later on, I'd learn that my sister Jing didn't want to say anything to my other sister Marivie because she didn't want her craning her neck and gawking at him, but too late, she recognized him on her own.) I did a quick double take, camera in hand, and nodded in agreement and caught a bad blurry shot from over head. We got off the escalator and I said I'm going in for a closer shot and wanted everyone to come with me.

We made our way down the escalator and missed them again, Eric and his companion were being attended to by an employee. It seemed that Eric's companion was receptive to what I was up to but I didn't want to be separated from the rest of gang and look like a dodo all by myself on this mission. So up the escalator we went again. I tried to take another photo, and this time, he noticed and waved up to me. I took that as a sign that it couldn't hurt to just approach the guy and ask his permission to take his photo. And down the escalator I went a third time, with Marivie in tow. The other gals had gone off to find and use the facilities.

Marivie started feeling really self-conscious now, saying she looked so blah and wished she wasn't wearing what she was wearing. I said I didn't care. He wouldn't remember us and he's probably happily surprised that folks over here recognize him. We had approached the two at the cash wrap and I said hello, held out my hand to introduce myself and he did likewise. I introduced my 'Ate' (pronounced 'ah-teh', meaning older sister for non-Tagalog readers) and I asked if it would be ok if I took a photo of him with my sister, seeing as she recognized him. He ok'd it and I snapped it up. I showed it to him, thanked him and bade them both have a good day.

Off we went, still giggly and eager to show the others the photo. After a few hours of weaving in and out the mall, we ran into Eric and his companion again. He recognized us, we exchanged waves and good-byes and continued on. That was actually fun!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday night date nite

Someone at work either threw away or ate my half-eaten burrito from yesterday. I intended to eat the remaining half today but it was gone by lunch time. I purposely put it in the clean 'fridge, where people actually label their things and keep perishables at a minimum, thinking my food would be safe. I was wrong. I should have stuck with the icky gross 'fridge, the one people are afraid to open because it may never close again and may unleash some biological hazard out into the office.

I didn't have any money and I only have a half hour for lunch. I already spent 15 minutes of it screwing around on the net (thinking I'd nuke and eat for the remaining 15 minutes). But there was simply no time to get to the ATM, get new food, and eat. I was determined to find my leftovers but gave up when I only had 5 minutes left before I had to 'clock' back in. I usually pack a breakfast bar but I was rushing out this morning so I didn't have anything to eat in the morning either.

I was delirious by 3:30PM. The hunger headache set it. I was trying to hide my irritability, trying to stay productive and helpful but it was getting really tough. Every question was stupid (in my head) and I took on several 'unsolved mysteries' just to get people away from my desk.

Too proud to ask people around me for money, (I couldn't even buy a candy bar - I left my coin purse at home!) I toughed it out until dinner. An early dinner. Eric met up with me after work and we walked over to Beale Street, where a few of our Friday night dates have begun (happy hour!) but tonight, it was packed. We thought about eating at Schroeder's, Perry's, Tadich, Chevy's, Fuzio, anything nearby really because I could have eaten pigeon at that point. Bocce Cafe in North Beach was the choice... at least for 10 minutes. After tramping through the Transamerica Redwood Park to visit the froggy fountain and creepy bronze children, we saw the House of Nanking and decided to give it a try.

I don't know anyone who's actually eaten there, but we ate at Chef Jia's once (next door) many many moons ago and that was hilariously disgusting. Not that the food was gross, it was so-so, the orange chicken was bitter with orange pith-bitterness but everything else was a not out of the ordinary for Chinese food. We did, however, see rats scurry up exposed plumbing pipes and a seemingly chronic, hacking cough was getting louder and louder from the kitchen. There were only 3 other people in there with us, while a crowd, in the rain, continued to queue up for House of Nanking.

We were promptly seated, our drink orders taken immediately. We peruse the well-worn plastic-covered menus. Everything seemed straight forward. We're not the kind of diners to make ordering an ordeal so if we do have questions, we normally don't ask. We just surprise ourselves when the food comes out, hoping to remember the ingredients on the menu so we can identify what we're eating. On tonight's menu: beef with string beans, combo fried rice, Nanking sesame pork, an order of fried pot stickers as an appetizer, hot tea and a can of Sprite.

My hot tea was pretty, it looked like potpourri floating on top with the tea leaves at the bottom. It was served in a clear glass stein-shaped mug. The string beans were snappy and a nice shade of green, the beef, tender. The basil was a pleasant and unexpected flavor. The fried rice was nice, with shrimp, beef and chicken as the main stars of the combo. The pot stickers with peanut sauce was nice too, mainly for the peanut sauce, which was just right - not goopy or sweet or salty.

The Nanking sesame pork was the interesting dish - thinly sliced fried & sauced sweet potatoes on one side of the platter, hunks of some unidentified green squash/melon in the middle and the pork on the other side, sprinkled with sesame seeds. From what I can tell, the pork was thrown around in cornstarch and quickly fried, forming a mound of intertwined ribbons of meat. Eric remarked at it's flavor, porky in that pork rind way, nice and crisp. It wasn't until we were half way through the dish, we realized it was bacon. BACON. I like bacon, and I've eaten all kinds of pork parts, but it was completely unexpected. It was tasty, but hell, it's BACON. It'd have to be boiled or burned to be gross. Deep fried-battered bacon - a first for us.

The table was too small for our food and the platters overflowed onto a neighboring (empty) table. I thought it was neat that there weren't any soy sauce bottles on the tables. The chef must be confident that everything is going out perfectly seasoned. Or the tables are simply too small to accommodate condiments. I certainly had no complaints. The other odd thing, we noticed a lot of the tourist folk eating straight from the platters, forgoing the individual plates. It's family style, right? And rice, some tables had no rice! But I think that's just me. I need rice. I miss rice and get sad if I go more than 3 days without it. Some people are potato people, others are bread or pasta. I'm a rice girl.

If there is a next time, the appetizer will be left off. It was quite a bit of food. Our server asked if we wanted to take home the leftovers but we declined, to make room for dessert (macarons) and tea at home. We walked over to Tower Records to bid farewell (and buy some CDs) before taking the bus home.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tower Records memories

This past Saturday, Eric & I went to may parents house after dining with my family for my mom's 73rd birthday. The Filipino Channel or GMA (another Filipino satellite channel) is usually on, so I end up watching (and 90% understanding!) really emotionally draining soap operas while Eric finds something to read or talks computers with my brother and brother-in-law.

After showing everyone this crazy photo from Sports Illustrated, he moved on to the Sunday paper. He read about Tower Records closing up shop. Not just the one at the mall, but all of them. It was just a matter of time I suppose, as Musicland and The Wherehouse have been gone for quite some time now.
I must admit, I haven't bought anything from Tower in a while, for all the reasons it probably went under - internet downloads, big-box store competition, Amazon. My last CD 'purchase' was actually at a Barnes & Noble because we had a gift certificate to burn through. Eric was going to Tower's Classical Annex, perusing Opera but he hasn't bought anything in a while either because they're so pricey. And it's just not convenient for me to go to Tower. The VirginMegastore or Amoeba are easier to access from where I live.

I remember going as a kid, perusing the aisles when records and cassettes made up most of the stock. I'd go with my brothers or sisters right before the school year started because they'd give away calendars and book covers. Not that I liked that kind of stuff (Nagel-esque), I still liked Care Bears and Smurfs, but hey, the stuff was free. I moved onto postcards when the calendars and book covers were no longer being offered.

Tower Records postcard details

As poor college kids (well, not really, we just usually blew the money on good food) Eric and his friends and I would go to the nearest Tower Records or nearby bookstore to walk off dinner amongst the aisles. Not a whole lot of buying, but there was a lot of looking and wishing to buy stuff. One midnight, I remember going with my brother to buy The Beatles Anthology 1 when it was first released. There was a small line and it didn't take long to get our copies. The year before that, we'd bought The Beatles Live at the BBC albums - he'd bought vinyl and the CDs and I just bought the CDs. He still hasn't opened them. But his collecting habits and our shared love for all things Beatles are a story for another day...

Anthologies & Live at the BBC

Tower Records will be gone, but not forgotten.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The perfect setting

I'm not the first to point this out but it still makes me laugh that in most furniture catalogs, especially the high end kind, there are no people. There are picture frames, they might have pictures of people, but they're usually of prints of plants or sailing ships, shadow boxes of corks, sea glass or seashells. Where are the people? There's something wrong with that.

The rooms are perfectly accessorized... or are they? Homes and their rooms are for people and a pet or 2. Where are they? Too busy making sure everything looks perfect they don't want to sit and rumple a cushion. I can see why they furniture folks do this, they want you to see yourself in their things, for you to imagine yourself lounging on that fabulous chocolate brown leather sofa with the luxuriously soft chenille throw near your foot just in case the cool breeze wafting through the open french doors is a little too chilly and you're too lazy to close the doors.

My co-workers were talking about furniture shopping yesterday and Deion* asked Denise* where she's been looking for her dining room set. She said Black Sea Gallery. Deion did a double take and replied laughingly "Black Z-Gallerie?!" We all had a laugh (they're both African-American) and he continued to ask, jokingly, where it was and what kind of stuff they had that was different from the regular Z-Gallerie. After the laughing, they continued to talk and compare prices between what they'd seen so far from Scandanavian Designs and Williams-Sonoma.

I want to see people in these rooms. But I bet the marketing folks don't want to have to pick through the 'types' of people that should be in these rooms for fear of offending or excluding anyone. So it's definitely easier to leave everyone out.

*Not their first names, just their middle names!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

3+ years later

I finally got some photos up from a trip to Peru on flickr, along with some bits of ephemera I recently photographed with a borrowed digital camera. (Someday, I will have one!!) I blogged about it on friendster last year and I thought I'd follow up the blog with photos. Just took a little longer than I thought. I made the same statement about some Yosemite photos from this past spring. There are just so many photos! It's hard to choose, but some are up on flickr too.

The photos are temporarily housed in a photo album. My goal, as with all my travel photos, is to get them in my scrapbook, incorporating the bits of paper I've accumulated on the trip. Currently, I think I am 6 years behind. Some travel photos aren't even in a photo album, just in photo storage boxes or online with the Kodak Gallery.

Got my 'work' cut out for me. There just aren't enough hours in the day to organize my memories!

Fall music collection

New (to me) music of the moment - Zero 7 & the vocal stylings of Jose Gonzalez. Zero 7 just played the Fillmore and were also on Jay Leno and I totally shrugged off the performances. I'm not really sure why, but I didn't really pay attention to when they were going to be on because I just started listening to them.

Eric downloaded some songs he thought I might like and well, I do like them! I've also been listening to Keane's new album and after listening to the up-tempo songs over and over again, I've finally found the beauty of the slower songs like "Atlantic" and "A Bad Dream," along with one of their older songs, "Bedshaped."

So, now I'm learning about Zero 7 and that lead to more songs from Jose Gonzalez as well as other vocalists Zero 7 has collaborated with. I'm stuck on Jose. His website has a nice sampling of songs. I thought I could listen to "Today" over and over again, but the flavor of the month just might be "Heartbeats". His voice is dreamy and the music is so clean, not fussy and just easy to enjoy.

This time of year, when school starts, when the days are getting shorter and the weather begins to turn cooler, is when I want to listen to stuff like this. An old staple is Amplified Heart from Everything But the Girl, but this season, I'll be adding Jose Gonzalez, with or without Zero 7, to my 'fall collection'. To keep me from becoming completely pensive and melancholic, I've been interspersing some Gnarls Barkley and Paul Weller/Jam songs to my current playlist. I could have gone in for the overkill by adding some Cristina Branco but I think that would just bring me to tears, partly because of the nature of Fado, but mostly because, I don't understand Portuguese, so it gets frustrating to feel sad about a song and not know why.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

New 'puter & long term memory storage

At last, I have my own computer! A new one at that! Not handed down, tweaked and altered by either my oldest brother Joe or husband Eric. And not from questionable origins (one of my previous computers still had the "Property of St. Mar..." label on it, complete with the cable loop that a chain would probably go through to keep the computer tied up to a desk.) I feel I've 'earned 'this computer, even though it was Eric who earned most of the $$ for it. I've lead my brother and husband to a few fun, diverting computer-related things over the years and now I can explore for myself.

So, what have I been doing with my new computer? Learning mostly. I haven't been around an Apple this much since the 4th/5th grade. Making room in my little head for Apple commands is also interesting - it's been hard to shake the Windows way of organization. But mostly, it's been a big toy, where I've been surfing, enjoying Flickr, especially Guess Where SF.

Eric & I can now be in the office at the same time without me pestering him to read my emails or check the bills. It sure makes things on the Internet look pretty, the monitor is bright and big. It is eating a big chunk of real estate on my desk, but that's ok. It seems pretty light and easy to move if I do start on a big art project.

It also cost a pretty penny but they upgraded it for free from 160GB to 250GB. Seems like I need it, with all the photos & music I've already got on it. But I'm terribly conscious of space and I can't help get rid of things I don't want/need on the computer. Now if only I could be so conscious regarding the every day objects around me in my home. It's just so hard to throw real - tangible things away!

Speaking of resisting the urge to toss out seemingly usesless things...

My current mini-obsession on Flickr is a new group I've joined called "
Ticket Stub and a Story." It's got me searching through my collection of paper odds & ends for my most memorable ticket stubs. And I'm working on scanning them to share and well, wax nostalgic. I can't believe I was 12 when I saw The Last Emperor. Who the hell did I go with? I think that was with my oldest brother, Joe. If he had a tail, it was me. That's a story for another day, though. Remind me to tell you about The UFO & John Morton someday, along with all kinds of other useless information I've picked up from him over the years.

Hehe, I guess it's hard for me to 'delete' trivial information too.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Unleashing cute-ness

I was wandering down the aisles of the Walgreen's at the still-being renovated Westlake Mall and found myself wanting to buy school supplies I don't need. New boxes of crayons, reams of binder paper and lots of pens. I even squeaked "I want glue!" to my niece. She told me to buy some if I needed it and I said I already had that same bottle. (Elmer's if you must know.)
We thumbed through journals and composition books, binders and note pads.

I'm sure every school kid has gone through this anticipation of buying new school supplies and clothes for the coming school year. And for a few minutes there, I really wanted to buy everything I saw, and thought wow, I want to be young and in school again, when all I had to worry about was getting good grades and waking up early enough to catch the bus. Alas, my time has passed. The next time I go back-to-school shopping won't be soon, but I do plan to go back ... someday.

While it's hard to resist the letter or notebook sets at the Sanrio store of one of their oh-so-cute characters, I've been a good girl the past few years and have only bought a wallet or 2. I still have stationery sets and stickers from 5-10 years ago and anyone who knows me knows I barely pick up the phone, let alone write letters. Perhaps someday, I will bequeath these paper things to my nieces and nephews. Err, on second thought, I'm a grown up now and they're still kids. I think I'll ship them my stuff before school starts. No one can enjoy the cuteness as long as the supplies are holed up in my closet - in the dark, contained and unused.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Pelicans

Pelicans are neat, especially when they fly in a big group. I'm not sure about this but it seems like they have a 'pattern' of flapping their wings while they're in formation, using a domino effect. The bird in front flaps while the others behind glide, then just as soon as it stops, the next bird flaps and as it's about to stop, the bird behind him begins to flap and so on and so on.

We went out to visit family at my parent's house in Pacifica. Eric usually drives out along the Great Highway and there was a group of pelicans, about 4 or 5, flying along the beach. As it turns out, my nieces and nephew were out eating dinner with my brother and a family friend out in Japantown. So no one was home, but I got to see pelicans! After eating Mexican food in South City, we made our way back towards Hwy 35 and saw a large group of pelicans flying, about 20-25 of them. They looked like a string of black origami birds in the sky. I kept watching until I couldn't see them anymore.

I like watching them fly. I've seen a bunch of them up and down the coast but I haven't been able to get any good photos of them. This past Saturday, we took the kiddies down to Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39 and oook! A bunch of pelicans were flying low and near the piers. I finally got a shot, not the best, but at least it was a lot of them and they were flying. The photo is missing about half the group in front. They flew by so fast and I was using the zoom feature, I couldn't quite locate them through the viewfinder fast enough.


Monday, July 3, 2006

A trip of firsts

Link
Camping only lasted 5 days, 4 nights at Calaveras Big Trees. We got chased out of the campsite by thunderstorms, and we headed east and south instead of going home, staying at Mammoth Lakes for 2 nights and then continuing south along Highway 395, eventually getting to Bakersfield (staying one night) before heading on home. All in all, Eric covered over 1500 miles on this trip, mostly new stretches of highway, along with revisits to some past favorites.
I could not have experienced or seen as much as I did without Eric. I navigate while he pilots. And he's an excellent pilot.

Our poor Soobee (our green Impreza Subaru wagon) is covered in bug slime and dirt and I can't wait for him to get all cleaned up again. It was hot this year, reaching over 100 degrees in the surrounding Sierra Foothills.

Some highlights - Ebbett's, Monitor & Sonora Passes (first time through Sonora Pass) in one day was awesome. The town of Dardanelle officially had a population of 2 according to the town's sign. Pickle Meadow, with the West Walker River running through it seemed like an idyllic place for cows in the high country. Then we saw Marines training in the MCWTC - Marine Corps Warfare Training Center as we approached Sonora Pass. Watching clouds form and turn a perfectly blue sky into one filled with grey thunderheads was kinda scary and intriguing at the same time.

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park turned out to be a great sidetrip. Photos (of which I have yet to develop) just don't capture the enormous rock with more than 1300 grinding holes, used by Miwok Indians for grinding acorns and other seeds into meal.

Uncomfortable and interrupted sleep due to wild animals (a yipping fox, a heavy breathing stag) wandering around camp along with the sound of giant pinecones crashing through branches before hitting the ground really hard was something I don't remember ever happening before. Twisted Oak Winery has a great view surrounding area (and a great sense of humor). Columbia State Historic Park was nice and relatively empty, as we visited on a Monday. But damn, it was hot. Yummy candies to be had at Nelson's candy shop.

Onto Mammoth Lakes we continued. The high mountain meadows between the East & West Walker Rivers was unexpected, with grazing cows no less. The drive was awesome along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada as the mountains seemed to get sharper and taller. Definitely have to explore that area again, as we only got a glimpse of a few lakes and did 1 hike. The hike through Devil's Postile National Monument, from the Postpile to Rainbow Falls was hot and tiring for my out-of-shape self but well worth it. The road for the shuttle buses going in and out of the Reds Meadow Road has just been cleared 2 days before our visit. Apparently 2005/2006 was the heaviest year for snow on Mammoth Mountain - over 50 feet of snow! Best guacamole I've ever tasted - Gomez's. Biggest biscuits I've ever seen with a biscuits & gravy breakfast was at the Breakfast Club cafe - 2 hand sized biscuits with a bowl of gravy on the side. Next time, I'll just have half an order.

How the scenery changes (or doesn't) going south on 395 was surreal and made me feel really small, riding through the Owens River Valley, surrounded by the wall that is the Eastern Sierras on the left and more distant mountains on the right. Stopping at Manzanar National Historical Site was so emotional, it was hard to fight the tears as I went through the interpretive center.

With so much highway covered, I don't think I've ever seen so much roadkill. Ever. I lost count as animals became unidentifiable, some just smears. We joked that we could give directions using roadkill markers instead of signs.

We finally made it to Bakersfield (via Hwy 14, then 58). As we were resting and watching TV in the hotel room, we heard a loud crunch and immediately made our way onto the balcony, which happened to face an on-ramp to Hwy 99. It was the first time we'd seen a car catch on fire. My theory - a red pickup truck hit the silver car near the gas tank as it was making it's way onto the freeway and the impact caused it to spin toward on-coming traffic. The passengers quickly got out as the left rear of the car burned quickly. Tires popped. The horn wailed until it died. The fire grew larger until the whole thing was engulfed in flames. CHP showed up and then a fire truck came and 3 firefighters took turns hosing the car down.

Other surprises in Bakersfield? Home of the Drillers (Bakersfield High) - apparently Bakersfield is the 4th largest producer of oil in the US and oil pumps were interspersed on bare hillsides and agriculture fields.

From Bakersfield, we continued on what seems like a very less-traveled Hwy 58. We passed through towns that we'd only seen signs for off Interstate 5 - like McKittrick & Buttonwillow. I always wanted to visit the Carrizo Plain because of the crazy shows of wildflowers in spring. But it's summer now and hot rocks, brown grass, oak trees and oil pumps and pipes welcomed Soobee into the winding road through the Temblor Range onto the Plain.

The wildlife seemed bored, as we drove by squirrels on the opposite side of the road sitting on the asphalt. Ravens had to be chased off the road (nearly hit one) and alas, the first road runner I've ever seen (first one for Eric in California) became a fatality, along with a squirrel. It was heartbreaking but there was no way to avoid them, especially with a speedy Porsche (that's been on and off our tail since Bakersfield, and passed us 2x) right behind us.

And so Hwy 58 ended at Santa Margarita and we connected onto Hwy 101, and then home.

Now, if I only had a map that I can trace our journey on and include here. All in all, it was a great trip, one I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Where do you summer?"

Patrick Stewart (snooty chef) interrogating Steve Martin (wacky weather guy) who wants a reservation at the exclusive L'Idiot, in the movie LA Story.

Generally, I summer at home, in San Francisco. Like most working folks, I work year round and well, vacation time in huge chunks (2 weeks or more) is hard to come by when you work for a huge corporation. I'm not one to carry over vacation time from the previous year just so I could be off for a month next year. Plus, I'd be afraid to leave my work for others to handle for more than a week, which bothers me on a couple of levels. But that's a story for another day.

This year, my 2nd week of vacation will be spent camping at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. The 1st week was spent at home with a few days away in Yosemite. Eric & I have been to Calaveras before, but that was about 7 years ago. We try to alternate a big vacation (something that involves a popular tourist destination, plane tickets, rent-a-car, etc) with a modest car camping trip and/or a few mini-weekend getaways. Last year we went to Oahu, this year it's camping. Next year, Hawaii again (a friend is getting married out so we're turning it into a vacation) and who knows the year after that, but most likely somewhere in California or at least in the continental US.

Random car trips to nowhere are fun during our 'off' years. That's another reason to go on the cheap every other year or so, to save up for the big fancy vacations. We can head out pretty much north, south or east, at least on some road we've never been on, and we'll be content just to make the journey to a place we've never been to before. I've been highlighting an AAA map of all the roads Eric has driven for me since 1995, and it impresses me every time I look at it. Some roads are more memorable than others, usually because they are such unique experiences.

For summer reading, I will be dragging along my copy of Nasty Bits. I made it to Anthony Bourdain's book signing this past Saturday and got my copy autographed. I'm really looking forward to getting this much needed break. Woowoo!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Flower report


A flower spike and 1 flower bud! There would have been a second one but it shriveled up :( I took a chance and hoped these back bulbs from 2 dendrobium hybrids that have long gone would flower. I moved one to the window sill in the kitchen and the other outside to the balcony. I figured, since my dendrobium kingianum started flowering once I set it outside, maybe the greater temperature range is what these guys needed too. Oddly, the plant I kept inside is making the flower, the one outside does have a healthy 'eye' that might produce a flower. When I potted these bulbs, I'd already lost the tags, so until they flowered, I didn't know what color the flowers would be. One of the original plants had pink/white striated petals and the other was a deep red-burgundy color, very velvety looking. That's the one above. The last time it gave me a flower, I fiddled with it too much trying to stake it and I broke it. It had 3 flowers. Argh... and that was about 4 years ago. Just as I threatened to toss it, I saw it had potential and now, it's about to flower! Sometimes, I think these plants really do hear me...

Other orchids about to bloom: paphiopedilum, miltonidium, epidendrum. My Den. Mingle's Sapphire is fading and I harvested the last 2 cymbidium spikes from my balcony. The aphids were going rabid (it's so satisfying and, at the same time, disgusting to squish them by hand) and the few blossoms I saved, I made a mini-arrangement with a floral frog pinholder and a tealight candle holder.

Non-orchids in bloom: african violet. I need to repot again, it's 'neck' is getting long. My peace lily just did it's thing, spewing out all kinds of powder all over the stereo.

Updates: paphiopedilum, miltonidium, epidendrum now in bloom!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Flickr fun!

I've been having lots of fun putting photos up on Flickr and nosing around to see what other folks have been doing for ages. OMG - so much to see!

So many photos are up so quickly. No need to wait for film to be developed and then scan the photos. Folks just come back from a day at the local street festival or vacation and boom - the photos are up! It's so fast and seems so simple.

I want a digital camera, but I don't need one. Until I get one, I'll wander through my photos and scan the ones I want to share, use the one my husband borrows from the school and continue taking photos with my pokey kit.

I'm also working on getting photos on an archive disk from Kodak Gallery so I can bombard my Flickr account with more photos! I'm just waiting to hear back from them regarding the CD they send, if they're copy-protected or not. They shouldn't be, seeing as the photos are mine to begin with. But you never know and I want to make sure before plunking down $50-something dollars for 1700+ photos.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Sick & Twisted in the past

I have to thank Dave Burns (wherever he may be!) for taking Eric & myself to our first Spike & Mike Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation back in 1991. Cheap, gross, disturbing and at the same time entertaining, going to the animation festival was fun during college. We went again a few years later, I think it was in '99 and the atmosphere wasn't the same, probably because we'd gotten older. The number of pot smokin' vagrant-looking kiddies appeared to have sky-rocketed and they seemed extra dingey and rude. Plus the only memorable thing I saw was Billy's Balloon by Don Hertzfeldt.

The most recent animation show we went to was, oddly enough, called the Animation Show in 2003.

Below are a couple of barf bags and program covers from long past tours of SMSTFA from my "collection" of ephemera. On the Vomit-Glossary barf bag, from left to right, top to bottom:
GAG - BARF - PUKE
TOSS THE COOKIES - LOSE YER LUNCH - SPILL THE OATS
TECHNICOLOR YAWN - PLAYING THE WHALE - DRY HEAVE
LAUGHING AT THE GROUND - TALKING TO THE TOILET - DRIVING THE PORCELAIN BUS






Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Another marvelous month of celebrations closes

Memorial Day weekend was great, as was the weekend before that. I spent lots of time with family, especially with people I haven't seen in ages! There were all kinds of celebrations this month - birthdays (mine included muahaha!), Mother's Day, my niece's baptism, my parent's 44th wedding anniversary, my cousin's engagement party, my husband's cousin's graduation from high school, a retirement potluck at work - the list of events seemed endless!

Above - May 26, 1962
My parents - Rose & Tito

Below - May 26, 2006


But tomorrow is June 1st - the start of another month of celebrations and food fests! Lots of June birthdays coming up, especially in the beginning of the month.

Note to self:
Anthony Bourdain
Sur La Table
June 17th

I should get going on
The World is Flat but I know Nasty Bits is going to be better reading material for our upcoming camping trip at the end of the month.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A memory of the Naked Guy

The news broke yesterday that the former Cal student known as the Naked Guy (Andrew Martinez) died in jail. Now it's on Yahoo news and I saw it again on the Today show this morning.

He'd been there since January on charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

I saw him once. A bunch of my friends and I we're attending Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Animation Festival out at Wheeler Hall. He was in attendance but wasn't completely naked. He had boxer shorts on. Everyone whooped and hollered when he walked by, but from what I remember, since he had shorts on, it wasn't really a big deal.

I didn't know he got expelled from Cal. From what little the news has said, it sounds like things went down hill from there though. "Officials are investigating the death as an apparent suicide." He was only 33.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

No longer waterproof

My rain jacket is no longer waterproof. It's a few years old and has been through a number of washings so it was just a matter of time. But today was the day I realized it's no longer waterproof.

Today was also Bay to Breakers. Eric & I have watched the 'woo' people stagger their way down Fell St. since we moved to the neighborhood, but this year we decided after breakfast to just get the house in order and then go to the museum. We wanted to see the International Arts & Crafts
exhibit at the De Young. After breakfast at the Pork Store and chores, we were on our way. The last (or so we thought) batch of laundry was washed and dried and the rain was coming down lightly. I think it was a little after 1PM. We donned our jackets and hats and didn't bother with umbrellas.

The rain was steady but light... until we passed the Conservatory. Then it poured and didn't slow down again until we got to the museum. We were headed in what seemed like the wrong direction. Some costumed Bay to Breakers participants were huddled under trees, waiting for the rain to pass. Others had umbrellas and beers in hand and we caught a few people remarking how the rain sucked. Of course, there were also folks who just didn't care and were determined to have a good time regardless of the rain, like pirates singing their way up Stanyan or the 'cave people' pushing the wooly mammoth through the Park as a 'caveman' was balancing on its back.

We were worried the museum wouldn't let us in. We were SOAKED, front and back, our jeans heavy with rain and a few darker shades of blue. We weren't dripping anywhere, since we were retaining all that water. Our socks and shoes were drenched and of course, our shirts underneath our jackets.

Eventually our jackets did dry off, but underneath, we were still pretty damp. If was it was still raining when we were done, we were going to take the bus home. But the rain stopped and we'd just missed the bus so we ended up walking home. We shopped for dinner and came home at around 5PM. Still damp, down to our underwear, we ended up doing another load of laundry.

It's almost the end of May. What an odd time to shop for a new rain jacket.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Clocks

Tick-tock. Shopping. An American past time? It was the day after my birthday, my 31st birthday. Time passing. My Swatch watch band broke. I need my time fixed. I was on a schedule, didn't have much time to linger at my favorite shops. Needed to be home by 5PM. Tick-tock.
For a few years now, I've been taking myself out on my birthday. Just me, wandering the city, usually playing tourist. I've taken photos of various tourist spots, ridden the cable car and museum hopped.This year I went shopping, mainly window shopping but I did get some rug pads, a new watch band, and candy - household essentials of course.
These are a few clocks in the Union Square - Market Street area. There are 2 others I wanted to take a photos of, but one was broken and another I totally forgot about and when I remembered, I was already on the bus home.





Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's all about me!

Statue atop the Admiral Dewey Monument, Union Square, San Francisco. May 10, 2006.

I can't say that my birthday celebrations started last Friday, but I like to think it did. Eric picked me up from work and we walked to North Beach to have dinner. We walked up and down Columbus and settled on the original US Restaurant (Fresh & de-lish seafood platter for 2!. Then we took home some amaretti & macaroons from Stella Pastry & Cafe to have with tea for dessert. We caught the 30 to the Marina and wandered through Chestnut before taking the 43 home. It was festive, being Cinco de Mayo and all, so folks were spilling out onto the street from the bars and restaurants. A mariachi band was even playing in front of one of the restaurants!

My 'birthday' day on Tuesday the 9th was great, filled with simple pleasures and easy, non-hectic fun. Bread pudding with whiskey sauce. A new orchid. Smith & Hawken gift certificate. Leisurely gin & tonics and a de-lish charcuterie platter before a lovely dinner with Eric. 2 DVDs - Pride & Prejudice and Better Off Dead. (I forgot I have an Amazon wishlist!) Nice voicemails, emails and a few birthday cards wishing me well. It was a nice walk back to Market St. to catch the 38 and then another nice walk home.

The celebrating continued on May 10th as I took the day off.
Wednesday was a bright spring day, warm and still. I cleaned off my desk and filed and sorted through mail. Then I went downtown and treated myself to a hot link from hot dog stand, some See's Toffee-ettes & window shopping. It was a beautiful day to be out and about. I took photos of clock faces in the vicinity, most being on Market Street. I'm still screwing around with them, along with a gob of Yosemite photos so you won't be seeing them for a while, but I liked the way the monument turned out. Then Eric & I had a yummy dinner at my parents' and watched Munich with my brother Joe. (Yes, I know, not a happy film, but I've been wanting to see it since its release and I just never got the chance, until it came out on DVD, as with The Passion of the Christ, which I just saw on Monday.)

The birthday celebrations extend through Saturday. Tonight was a little reception for the Butterfly Exhibit at the Conservatory (membership to the SF Parks Trust was a gift to myself so I can visit the lovely plants anytime I want in the next year). Friday, Eric & I have dinner & Cobb's Comedy Club (Rex Navarrete is in town!) with some of my AT&T friends and finally, Saturday night, we have dinner with my in-laws. Woowoo!

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Rent-a-bag

Yes, you too can look chic with designer handbags that may be out of your budget by becoming a member of Bag Borrow or Steal. Here you can browse and borrow bags and purses at varying levels of memberships and prices. Afterall, "Your dream bag awaits."

If you can't afford it, just look like you can! Ladies won't need to devote closet space for handbags they only occasionally use. With others using the bags, it'll look like you've owned the bag forever, like you've broken it in!
Should you tire of a certain trend, you can always return it for another one.

Wow! What will they think of next?!

Tangent... Just being nosey, I wanted to see how exclusive BB or S's lineup is and looked to see if they offered an Hermes Kelly Bag, which they do not. Then I googled for Hermes Kelly Croc and I came across Fgirl's Flickr account. I don't know who she is but her profile has her as a TV host and producer, former magazine editor. Interesting that some of her contacts chose to represent their profiles with pictures of handbags, one a Louis Vuitton and the other an Hermes. The bag obsession continued with her other contacts and their photos. These are the elite in the Philippines, so I suppose it's understandable they showcase their material wealth like pop and sports stars showcase theirs here.

It's a little odd. Fashionistas should love BB or S, but at the same time, the elite and luxury status of certain items seem diminished, knowing that it's now accessible to anyone. Looking at the selection though, they may want to invest in more unique, classic designs, not just the trendy ones.

ps - Jane Birkin, the inspiration behind Hermes Birkin bag, has recently ditched the thing for a kilt accessory! Read on.

Monopoly Here & Now


Hasbro is updating the Monopoly game, replacing the old Atlantic City Street names and landmarks with names and places from around the country as their flagship version of Monopoly. I was watching Nightline last night and it must have been a slow news night for this piece to make it on. Of course, Atlantic City residents are upset, but oh well, such is life. Besides, the tycoons of the early 21st century don't hang there like their 20th century counterparts did.

Voting continues through May 12.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yosemite thaw

Moss-covered rocks and trees at the parking lot near the base of Bridalveil Falls.


Closer to the base of the falls, ice was holding fast to tree branches and leaves.


Bridalveil Falls

More photos from my recent Yosemite mini-vacataion to come ...

Sunday, April 9, 2006

April celebrations

Friday was a fun evening - happy hour at the Sugar Lounge with friends I haven't seen in a while, 2 of who just celebrated their birthdays in March. We were to get together on St. Paddy's Day but plans broke down and we postponed it until this past Friday.

The bar had the fabulous Hendrick's Gin on hand so I had 2 G&Ts and a Mangopolitan. We then got hungry since the happy hour food was long gone and walked over to Frjtz, where I had a Stella and a crepe. Since it was wet and cold and we hogged up the large seating area under the big umbrella, I figured no one else would possibly attempt to sit back there, so we were all thoroughly loud and raucous. But I was wrong and a couple of other parties of 3 or more ended up back there. One group even ate with their own umbrellas in one hand, fork in another when the rain really started coming down.

Family celebrations started on Saturday. After my friend's baby shower (where Eric and I cooked lumpia for the crowd) we headed over to my mom's for left over longanisa & sinigang. My sister drove up from Vegas with her kids and one of my niece's friends for their Spring Break. My other sister flew up from AZ for the weekend. And my sister in Hayward also came over with my brother-in-law and my niece. With a couple of family friends, we were all together to celebrate my brother's birthday (April 10) and to visit with my mom, since she's recovering from her surgery. My dad's birthday is on the 21st - another celebration to look forward to!

Fabulous food on Sunday: pancit palabok from Red Ribbon, bistek, lechon kawali & sisig from the House of Sisig. I heard their sisig was yum and I agree. But Ihaw Ihaw's is pretty dang good, with more grilled taste. I made a couple of batches of chocolate chip cookies and bought the birthday cake from Goldilocks. It always feels weird when I'm being served in Tagalog and I reply in English. So at the end of the transaction, I made sure to at least say salamat to the nice lady behind the counter. I took some photos of all the fun and food but I have to develop and scan the film before I can share.

The kids are probably bored out of their wits at my parent's house. We'd love to play tourist with them in the City but we're not off this week. Instead, we'll try to get them to join us for church services for the Easter Triduum out at SI with us. That's really going to go over well with a couple of sophomore girls, one 7th grade tween and a 5th grade boy. I doubt, if they do decide to come, it'll be the highlight of their SF Easter Vacation at grandma & grandpa's house. But it can't hurt to ask.

My 8th wedding anniversary is coming up on the 18th - same day as the Great SF Earthquake of 1906. It's pretty hard for Eric or me to forget our wedding date. 5 more days of toil in the office and then I'm off for a week. I can't wait. Activities include going to Yosemite for a couple of days (the Ahwahnee here we come!) and waiting for our armchairs to get delivered.

And then wooo! My birthday is next month! But this post is about April celebrations so we'll end it right here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pile drivers are neat & LOUD

The pile drivers are in full swing after work, at the construction site a few blocks away from my building. A few days ago, only one was going, but now there are 2, pounding away at the pilings. The pounding makes the ground shake a little, even from a 1/2 block away, where I wait for my bus. (I wonder if these things register on some seismograph somewhere ...)

It makes listening to my iPod fairly difficult. But the noise is somewhat hypnotic. And I can't help but turn towards the site and watch. The rhythmic pounding is hard to resist.

One driver is faster than the other- sometimes they're in unison and the next moment, the pounding is off time and then they're back in unison again. Puffs of gray/black smoke hover over the drivers. The smell of burning fuel - like diesel or something - is strong when walking alongside the site.

I think the old timber pilings are still on-site, off to one side, while the new concrete ones are in neat piles in a couple of different places. I remember them pulling the old pilings out. It reminded me of carefully plucking hair, something that requires a gentle strength, just enough force to get the whole thing out in one piece without tearing it.

The photo - The construction site I walk by everyday, at 301 Mission. I wait for my bus near the big tree in the background.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

"It's all about the information!"

Sneakers. I love this film. It's funny, smart and scenic (I also have a thing for watching movies based in and around San Francisco, even if the story is just so-so. Remember Sweet November? It's a crazy premise but that movie inspired me to take up knitting and well, the City is cool in it). Anyway...

One of my favorite lines from Sneakers: "It's all about the information!"

Ben Kingsley's character Cosmo to Robert Redford's Marty:

"There's a war out there, old friend, a world war.
And it's not about who's got the most bullets.
It's about who controls the information:
...what we see and hear, how we work, what we think.
It's all about the information."

The current war may seem to be about who gets dibs and control over oil or about spreading the US 'brand' of democracy and defending freedom, depending on who you ask. But it's also about the manipulation of information, how it is gathered & manufactured, the use of mis-information and who controls it now and in the future. There's so much information out there and at the same time so much that's not made public - who or what are we supposed to believe?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy World Water Day!

Water, it's a good thing. Remember my post about the glass being more than half empty? We are SO lucky to have running water, hot & cold, pretty much whenever we need/want it.

For more info on World Water Day (who knew?!) follow this link. And happy World Water Day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Survey markers

Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park. Elevation: 7214 feet above sea level. 2001.

Oahu, Hawaii. Elevation: Sea level. 2002. (brightened for readability)

Shelter Cove, California. Elevation: Sea level. 2004.

There's a construction site near work and the engineers were out, surveying and measuring. It made me think of these survey marker photos I have. Definitely better resolution with the top marker, easy to read it's a USGS marker. The glass ones are US Coast & Geodetic Markers. $250 fine for disturbing the Yosemite one, $250 fine or imprisonment for screwing around with the glass ones.

I tried to locate an online catalog for the thousands of markers out there and instead stumbled on this article about geocaching. I wouldn't want to get into that kind of thing, but rather just take more photos of the markers themselves and leave the trinkets and treasure for 'geocachers'. No need to get fancy with the GPS devices, I'll stick to finding them by chance, while on vacation.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Music I like in commercials

Band - Song - Company

Badly Drawn Boy - All Possibilities - Target

I put myself on his record label's email list a while back. Not sure why, since I can't just hop in a bus and take in a show in Manchester this weekend. But some interesting sounds are coming from other bands under the Twisted Nerve label that are worth a listen.

The Postal Service - Such Great Heights - Kaiser Permanente (amongst others)

I'm a new Death Cab for Cutie fan so I just had to eat up The Postal Service stuff too. Fun! Helps me pick up the pace when I walk from the bus terminal to my building in the morning.

Someone asked me a few weeks back what kind of music I like and I named these two bands as being in my most recent favorites. I don't listen to the radio much and am not sure if they get a lot of airplay but I can now refer them to some commercials on TV.

What I'm sick of ...

Oasis - All Around the World - AT&T/SBC

Puke - partly because it's just been played out way too much, throughout the Olympics and now as the AT&T brand is being hammered into everyone's heads. Which kinda helps me out with work - I'm tired of saying "formerly known as SBC" to make sure people don't hang up in my face thinking I'm soliciting new business from existing customers. Oasis = Oa-sucks as an old on-line buddy once called them. They were a big fave of mine when they started out but the brotherly hate between the Gallagher brothers was just too much for me and the music was no longer interesting. Kinda like Creed.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Oops

I guess it was bad timing posting about chocolate this past week, seeing as it's one of those things Catholics tend to give up for Lent.

Hmm ...I did skip lunch on Friday and only had dinner as my main meal. I've skipped meals before, I think I can do it a couple of times a week during the next 30 some-odd days!


On second thought - Does giving up procrastinating count?!?

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Enjoying chocolate


The recipe: The Joy of Cooking's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. The chocolate: Guittard Semi-Sweet chocolate chips. I just made/baked 133 2" semi-sweet chocolate cookies for my mother-in-law's picnic on Saturday. I'm not a big chocolate fan, but I've been cultivating a taste for good chocolate, trying to get outside of my comfort zone. I aim for creamy or fruit desserts at the end of a meal and if chocolate is involved, I prefer milk or white (I know, technically not chocolate).

Guittard is yummy. If you ever get a chance to get their stuff, pretty tasty. About 6 years ago, my friend Mary gave us a 10 pound bar of the stuff. It was HUGE. She has a friend that works for them and it was hilarious trying to eat that 10 pound candy bar, let alone store it. It was a slab we chipped away at little by little. We never finished it, it was just way too much. I try to get their chips wherever I see them, but Eric always eats them before I have a chance to bake them into something. These chips we got at Safeway in Daly City. Albertson's (at least the one near home) doesn't carry them anymore. I buy white chocolate ones so I could make a cranberry/white chocolate chip ones for myself.

I tried Guittard's fancy nibs for homemade chocolate ice cream during summer and wow, nice flavor! Earthy, chocolatey, not sweet but not bitter. But it was a little on the gritty side. I thought I was doing something wrong when I was melting the chocolate but the grittiness is just there (last time we were at the Buckeye, their homemade chocolate ice cream was gritty too!!) probably because they don't want to overprocess the cocoa, is my guess.

On the high end, I really like: Pink Champagne Truffles from Charbonnel et Walker or Champagne truffles from Teuscher, Lavender Vanilla & Rose Caramel from Recchiuti (must try the Spring Jasmine next!).

On the more affordable end and always del-ish: See's Candies. I grew up on their Victoria Toffee, Scotch kisses, Summertime & California Crunch, things with nuts or soft fluffy caramel-y fillings. I'm a nuts & chews girl at heart and I really dig their Rum Nougat and Divinity. I also really like their Key Lime Truffle. They have so many yummy things to choose from, I know I haven't tried them all. As for Ghirardelli, I like their milk chocolate squares with the caramel filling.

Halloween or everyday convenience store chocolates? Mr. Goodbar, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Toblerone are all yum (see, I like nuts!). I'm learning to like chocolate as a stand alone confection, no nuts or fillings involved, especially dark chocolate. It is like wine, so many different varieties and flavor pairings. I just have to try them all to figure out what I like.

Whoa, huge flash of lightning followed immediately by a long roll of thunder. I'm getting off the 'puter now!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mixed reaction

I talked with my mom today. Her surgery was postponed, which she was happy about. She told me she was really nervous the night before, didn't sleep well at all and this morning her blood pressure was off the charts. As it turns out, surgery was postponed because she has an infection which needs to be taken care of first. Hopefully the antibiotics she's taking now can stave off any thing new that may come along within the next few weeks, especially with all this cold, wet weather.

The new date is March 20. She sounded in good spirits and now she gets to do/go to all the things she had planned for this week, including a wedding on Saturday as well as my mother-in-law's 60th birthday picnic. So I'm glad she can go party, but at the same time, I was hoping she could get the surgery over with and be on the mend sooner than later.

The photo: Anemones growing in the flower beds outside of the Conservatory of Flowers, from my recent visit. I bet all this rain's got them wet and muddy now.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Family, Friends, Flowers

I was looking forward to the Pacific Orchid Exchange last weekend. Instead, I had a good time catching up with family (Woowoo! Sleep over with Ate Jing & Ate Marivie and my niece Ria at my parents!) and friends (hola Nancy, Art, Matt & Matte) and eating lots of food (Lucky Chances, Little P.I., Millbrae Pancake House, The Slanted Door) while taking in some culture too (visiting the new de Young museum and catching up on some TFC - the Filipino Channel).

Yesterday, Eric told me about the Orchid exhibition at the Conservatory of Flowers. Fr. K (a fellow orchid enthusiast) at the school told him it was actually a nicer exhibit than the POE, so I walked on over a little after noon to see it for myself.


Ever been in a greenhouse in the middle of the day? I hadn't until yesterday. Sauna city. My glasses fogged up the minute I walked in. I was hot and sweaty for the whole 2 hours I was in there. It made me realize how sad my indoor orchids probably are because they need more humidity and heat. For the most part, the displays were well done, bright and uncluttered. But I wished more of the plants had their tags in plain view. It was difficult identifying some of them.

I always wanted to take my mom to an exhibit or the home and garden show but it's hard coordinating schedules with her. She and I have a common love of plants, especially orchids. Last weekend, she walked me out to the backyard to show me some of the blooming cymbidiums and showed me a cattleya that's surviving, even though she neglected it and thought it was on its last legs. I took these photos, thinking she would like them. She goes to hysterectomy surgery tomorrow. I was going to see her today but I think I've picked up a cold (the phlegm has started to thicken along with an itchy/scratchy throat and lots of sneezing) and I don't want to be germy around her.





Sunday, February 19, 2006

I remember when . . .

October 11, 2004. I was celebrating my 5th year with the company - Woowoo! I ordered the cheesy pen/pencil set and my company pin with the diamond chip! And then, 2 days later, they announced the office would be closing and the work is going to move to Anaheim. The job hunt was on - for anything, anywhere! I was on Craigslist a lot in those days, getting side-tracked by all kinds of things: naughty photos, people looking for dates, things for sale, etc.

I was looking for admin/customer service type things and I came upon a position with Flamingo International. I didn't go for the job but I really liked their website and their services intrigued me. Their researchers have some interesting papers available online and well, they do also offer up Space Invaders if you want to shoot some little aliens. I interviewed with Room & Board (phone interview with their HR lady in Minnesota, what a great accent!) but then I decided I really didn't want to work weekends. Plus, they weren't sure where their warehouse was going to be and I really needed to know if they were going to put it somewhere I could easily get to via public transportation. But I really liked their furniture and we finally bought a new couch and coffee table from them just before Christmas. Design Within Reach was cool too and they did respond to my resume but by then I'd already found another job within the company.

I still remember those stressful times and how I chose to de-stress by wandering the web.

ps - shameless plug for my sister, Ate Marivie. She sells fabulous candles for Gold Canyon Candles. She started selling a few years back when she was still living in Arizona and now she's back in the Bay Area, my distributor is closer to me now! Beats all kinds of other candle brands out there, hands down IMHO.