Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bugs in my bathroom

No, not because I left a window open. There are no windows in the bathrooms. My plants from my flower boxes and balcony are in my bathroom, along with the patio furniture and garden supplies. My orchids are in my bathroom. They're beginning to bloom. It's not right. They're not ready. And they'll be mad when I have to move them back to the cold. Sure they came from out there, but the flowers haven't had time to adjust to the change in weather. I know the minute I put them back out, they'll hate it, and hate me :(

The wood shingles around our place are being stained and sealed. We had to take in all our plants while the work is going on. They said it would take no more than 2 weeks. I think the end of this week makes it three. I wish the work was over already!!

The spiders seem to be happy. No rain and they catch the other bugs that have been flying out of the plants with a couple of tidy web bridges between the large pots of cymbidiums.
Oh, and Barak Obama was declared the 44th President of the United States on Tuesday night. This is major. I am looking forward to seeing what the new administration can do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Waiting and not left wanting

I saw a new (to me) episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, when he and his brother took a trip to Uruguay. There's a segment of him enjoying dinner with Chef Francis Mallman of El Garzon and Mallman was talking about enjoying the wait for love of a woman, even waiting in line. I can empathize. No, not about the waiting for the love of a woman, but enjoying the wait, and also, cultivating the patience to go with it.

Some people may see this is a sign of weakness - waiting for things to happen, for life to happen. But I don't think that's so. Life is already too short as it is. And for the most part, I live a good, happy life. I am in no rush to let it slip by in a blink. I'm all for extending the experiences that I take pleasure in, smelling the flowers (and taking photos of them, too), and cutting short all the hideous moments I'd rather forget.

If I really like doing something, I will do it slowly, like cooking and baking. Sometimes even cleaning. And eating. I normally eat slowly, but if the food is super-tasty, expect me to be the last diner to finish eating. The image of a little kid playing around with sad mashed potatoes and peas on a plate because she hates it - not me. If I had to eat something but did not want to, I'd inhale it so it wouldn't be in my face anymore.

To quote Greg Anderson: "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it." I am slowly working out how I can be less selfish in my effort to slow time down. (Note that many of my preferred activities are solitary ones.) I am finally learning to appreciate that the journey is much more enjoyable when experienced with people I care about. That's another story for another day.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I want to make a restaurant map

from Sam Choy's Diamond Head, Oahu
When I was a kid, I used to have a notebook of all the movies I ever saw. No ratings or commentary, just a simple list of movie titles. I lost track of that notebook, but I do have movie lists on, facebook (using flixster) and Netflix that I am sure overlap and are incomplete. Turns out, when Eric was a kid, he did the same thing, but with books he read.
Now, with the help of Google maps, I want to make a restaurant map to document my food journeys. I am starting to forget things - places, dates, meals, dining companions - that I thought I would always remember.
When will I get to this idea? I'm not sure. But maybe it will be like all the other projects I meant to start but have not... or worse, those projects I have started but have not finished!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A week in San Antonio, 2008

You have been spared the 1300+ photos Eric and I took over the week. That was further distilled into my San Antonio 2008 flickr photo set and here's the abridged version - boiled down into a 16-image mosaic. Thanks again to bighugelabs & flickr. Enjoy!
I'm glad I went. I didn't think there would be much to do, but I found fun ways to entertain myself while Eric was at his conference. Next year's conference will be held in Washington, D.C. We're already looking into hotels, and hehe, my tourist itinerary. Smithsonian, here I come!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shutterbug, clutterbug

Too many photos.
Choking on editing them.
So here's a quick mosaic of fun shots, special things and moments from recent events.

Big thanks to bighugelabs for their handy mosaic maker, and of course, flickr.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Radio Las Vegas

- Best/worst radio ad I've heard in a long time. Brought to you by Longabaugh Law Offices.

I kinda like it the way I remembered it better:
"Just because you had a bad marriage doesn't mean you can't have a good divorce." 

But I guess that's pretty terrible, isn't it?!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pet peeve

I hate seeing temporary stitches on coats and jackets still holding the vents and flaps closed. They just bug. 

I noticed a cute little swingy gray coat on this young woman who was waiting for her Golden Gate Transit bus while I was waiting for my MUNI #5 after work. Her bus arrived and as she walked up the stairs into the bus, I noticed that the little flap on the back of the coat was still closed with that temporary stitch. Everything else about her seemed put together, but why did she not cut that stuff loose? The cute, flirtatious effect obvious from the front was undone but the awkward bunching in the back. Terrible.

I don't see these kinds of things very often, but when I do, I just want to run up with scissors and cut those stitches open. Other things I can't stand along the same lines are wool labels on scarves and wool labels still stitched onto the sleeves, near the wrist, of wool coats. UGH.

Don't be lazy, people. Cut those stitches, and wear your clothes, coats and scarves as they were meant to be worn.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On the company we keep...

"Our Happiness"

On Friday, April 18, 2008, Eric and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I took the day off, to pack for our little weekend getaway to Sonoma (with big thanks to my mother-in-law) and to watch him teach his 6th period Psychology class. Afterward, we picked up some lunch and headed north to picnic somewhere along the way.

I reminisced about how our little picnic at China Camp that day was so much like other picnics we'd had before but different too, evolved even. For one thing, the food was different. Our goodies from Andronico's included a small hunk of emmental, salame, a sweet french baguette, dolmas, greek salad, an assortment of olives and Izze sodas. 13-14 years ago, our picnics consisted of Lucky's deli sandwiches, a bag of Sun Chips and Sprite or 7UP. A few years after that, Eric started making the sandwiches (he's always been the sandwich guy), we'd munch on Tim's Chips and the soda's became Stewart's.

Some people have asked if 10 years of marriage feels a little on the long side and I find that it's been the complete opposite. If anything, I kinda want things to slow down a bit. Our calendar's been quite full these past few years and I wish I had more alone time with Eric. We used to have more consistent Friday night date nights but that's been on hold for a while now.

Things haven't gone exactly as we thought, but even with life's twists and turns, we have managed to make the best of not-so-great situations, with a lot of lessons learned (and help!) from family and friends. That said, I wouldn't change a thing. Maybe I lack imagination but I can't see myself anywhere but where I am now, here - with my best friend/husband.

I chose wisely - and my heart is full with happiness.

ps - I know you'll read this Eric, and hehe, I'm glad you do.
For all those letters you wrote to me that often went unanswered, I can't help but want this blog to make up for some of that.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Dave Clark Five. Because. I have to play it over and over again, my new mini-obsession.
Because of the quirky organ solo and just over 2 minutes long, I really wish they made it a little longer. More organ solo? Not really a big fan, but I'm discovering some good stuff in these oldies. The band was recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, not long after lead singer Mike Smith passed away.

Because (the lyrics are sweet and simple):

It's right that I should care about you
And try to make you happy when you're blue
It's right, it's right to feel the way I do
Because, because I love you

It's wrong to say I don't think of you
'Cause when you say these things
You know it makes me blue

Give me one kiss and I'll be happy
Just, just to be with you
Give me, give me, a chance to be near you
Because, because I love you

Give me one kiss and I'll be happy
Just, just to be with you
Give me, give me, a chance to be near you
Because, because I love you
Because, because I love you

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Uncle John

Dear Uncle John,
I'll always remember you for your Korean War stories, your fondness for wine, coupled with your extensive knowledge of places to eat - anywhere - and your big heart.
You = Illocano, me = Kapangpangan, but we were family after marrying into the Castro/Bernesque clan.

We always yearned for rice at the family parties and sometimes you brought some to share with me.
You would have loved my story about where I had lunch yesterday - the acclaimed hole-in-the-wall on 6th St, near Market called Tu Lan. You've probably eaten there too! I'm sure you would have had a classic anecdote from your many food adventures and we would have had a great laugh.

It was always funny trying to talk Tagalog with you because, you know, we both were both terrible at it.

Cancer really does suck and it took you away from us too soon.

With love,

RIP John Portuguiz
Nov 1936 - Mar 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Auntie Leoning

In memory of my aunt, Leonila B. Castillo, Jun 1942 - Jan 2008.
Auntie Leoning (in the foreground) at my parents' wedding, May 1962. Another aunt, my godmother Auntie Pina, is right behind her, with my grandfather and mom following.

Dear Auntie Leoning,

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to really know you as I grew into adulthood, but I do have fond memories of you from when I was little. You were stern and quiet, always neat and commanding of respect. I'll always remember your apartments, your stuffy, skyblue Oldsmobile, and your petite-ness. A highlight when I'd stay with you was the drive to Holy Angels for Sunday Mass, followed by a Big Breakfast at McDonald's on Serramonte Blvd. at Gellert.

The trees that overlook your old apartment balcony have grown really tall now and the Chinese Cemetary on Callan has been filling in over the years. I can't help but remember the little slices of my past spent with you when I pass those old apartments on Clarinada and Callan. It's a shame we didn't get to spend more time together. Now that I'm older, I think we have quite a bit in common.

With love,

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dear Don

I had many managers during my tenure at Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T and I'll always count you as being one of the best. Always diplomatic and offering good advice and alternative points of view, it was a true pleasure working with and for you. You had a great sense of humor, and your big smile and laugh will be unforgettable. I hope your family and friends take comfort in their happiest memories of you during this difficult time.

Rest in peace, Don.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Happy New Year - It's tax season again!

How it comes with a quickness. Almost like seeing Christmas items for sale when Halloween hasn't even come and gone. The W2s and 1099-x forms are rolling in, signaling tax preparation season is here. I'm still waiting on a few things, the w2 from my old job and the 2nd mortgage interest payment form. Oh yay.

We always file on time and thankfully, get money back. But oddly, the refund is roughly the same amount that we owe in property tax. Plus, this installment of property tax is due on or before April 10, further encouraging us to file taxes early. Oh, and another thing. The first installment is always due on or before December 10 - just in time for the holidays!! Ugh. Isn't that funny?
Stars, Stripes, Lamp
On a different subject - not that I think anyone will read this - but if you've made it this far (thank you!) please vote. Just do it. If you haven't registered, duh, do that first. If you have registered already, you're halfway there! Don't forget to vote - in your local, state and of course this year, the national election. Check these numbers out. Even if you think you're throwing your vote away on someone or something that has a crap chance of winning - VOTE.