Monday, April 30, 2007

A New PR

I went running at lunch today and ran a 5K (3.1 miles). At the end, I got surprised by Lance Armstrong again! His voice came on my iPod and said, "This is Lance Armstrong. Congratulations! You've just recorded a new personal best for one mile!" How cool! It's probably not my personal best EVER, but it's my fastest mile since I got the Nike + iPod from AJ. I was super-stoked! This is only 2 days after I got a big congrats from Paula Radcliffe on Sat, when I ran 5.55 miles at Miramar Lake, my longest run yet since I got the Nike + iPod.

Shout-out to William

I just wanted to acknowledge my friend William, who comes to my blog and leaves witty comments. I really appreciate that he reads and responds to my rants and raves. His wife Catherine is one cool gal too, and their toddler Thomas is one cute lil' dude. William and I go WAY back. We've been friends since we were 12 years old at Foothill Middle School. There were years where we lost touch, but through class reunions and other friends, we got back in touch. By God's grace and miracle, William became a born-again Christian in college. Since then, we've had even more to talk about. Something even cooler: William's dad and my dad were in the same civil engineering class at National Taiwan University and they were friends! Some people are just meant to be friends. I wish William and Catherine lived closer to us so we could hang out more often. You can go visit their blog, there's a link to it on my left sidebar under "Friends Who Blog".

Here's a pic of me and William enjoying hot dogs from Top Dog in Berkeley, CA. Todd's band The Northstar Session played at Blake's in Berkeley last year, and William was nice enough to come out and see the band. He was excited because it was his first night out after Thomas was born. So he "lived it up" with us and had a hot dog, a beer, coffee, and saw the band. We had a fun evening chatting and hanging out.

Cleveland Browns the darlings of the 2007 NFL Draft

We usually have a NFL "Draft Party" every year in April when the NFL teams pick the best of the college players to be on their team. Over pizza, caramel popcorn, brownies, and soft drinks, we and our friends AJ & Meera would usually celebrate our teams the Browns, the 49ers, and the Chargers picking "early". (The worst teams from the previous year pick early. The winner of the Super Bowl pick last.) This year we didn't have our party, but we celebrated the picks via cell phone with each other. But I digress. The hated rival of the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders, got to pick #1, because they were the worst (32nd) team in the NFL last year (hee hee). They picked quarterback JaMarcus Russell from LSU. Next up was the Detroit Lions. They picked wide-receiver Calvin Johnson from Georgia Tech. Todd was really relieved at this point, because he thought both of those guys were over-rated, so it's like the Browns got a #1 draft pick. The Cleveland Browns picked third. They picked left tackle Joe Thomas from U of Wisconsin. They considered Brady Quinn, the celebrated quarterback from Notre Dame, but picked Joe Thomas to shore up the offensive line. Todd thought it was a good pick and was satisfied. Low and behold, Brady Quinn, who was thought to be a top 3 pick, hadn't been picked by the time the 9th pick came around. Everyone thought the Miami Dolphins would pick him at #9, but they picked Ted Ginn Jr, wide-receiver from THE Ohio State University instead (yay!). That was a huge surprise to everyone, including Quinn. After that, Brady Quinn kept getting passed by team after team. All of a sudden, we've finished 21 picks already. What did the Browns do? They traded some picks with the Cowboys, who were supposed to pick at #22. And with the 22nd pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, ladies and gentleman, the Cleveland Browns picked QB Brady Quinn from Notre Dame! With the first round of the NFL draft concluding, the Browns have already shored up two major positions on offense. What a turn of events! The Browns became the darling of the NFL Draft, being rated the #1 biggest winner in the draft by ESPN. We're excited as well. :-)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I could go vegetarian

...IF I ate at Sipz everyday! Yesterday I had lunch with Todd and his friends from work: Amy, Mike, and Chris. Amy is a vegan and she took us to this restaurant in a strip mall in Clairemont Mesa called Sipz. At first when Todd said we're going to a vegan restaurant, I was a little skeptical. But when we got there and I realized it was pan-Asian fusion, I started to get excited. They even have vegan boba tea there. We sat down and perused the menu. Many items are not just vegetarian, but also vegan (no dairy, no eggs). Each dish comes in a big bowl, kinda like in Italian restaurants. There were lots of noodle dishes, both stir-fried and soups. I love noodles of all kinds! But alas, I went with the Spicy Thai Fried Rice: long grained jasmine rice stir-fried with bell peppers, onions, peas, carrots, basil, and "chicken" strips to a spicy garlic flavor. It was yummy. Todd got the spicy basil with "chicken": stir fry with snow peas, baby corn, baby bok choy, straw mushrooms, celery, and carrots in a light basil sauce. Amy got the Spicy Ginger Tofu, Mike got the Lemongrass Delite, and Chris got vegan eggless chow mein noodle bowl. We ate our lunches and it was all delicious. I could be vegetarian if I ate stuff like this all the time! For dessert, Chris bought some vegan chocolate chip cookies and shared with us. On the way back to work, Amy told some funny stories. She has two boys ages 10 and 3, and they're both vegetarian (one is vegan even). The boys have NEVER had cow milk, any kind of dairy, nor meat. The older boy brings his own lunch to school, but he has seen the school lunch menu and can categorize the menu items into the basic food groups, because he knows what he can eat and what he can't eat. The only item he couldn't recognize by picture was eggs sunny side up! He had only seen eggs in the shell before, so he had no idea what the picture with the yellow circles surrounded by white circles was. I thought that was really funny. Then Amy said she asked the younger boy what he wanted for Christmas, and he said, "I want Daddy to be a vegan!"

Eternal Quest for the Ultimate Flip-Flops

I'm always on the lookout for the perfect pair of slip-flops. Maybe it's a San Diego thing... the flip-flop is a wardrobe staple here. And not just for summers, it's year-round. The quintessential flip-flop goes with everything in your wardrobe: jeans, skirts, shorts, capris, etc. The ultimate flip-flop also has to be lightweight, cushiony, stylish, and provide arch support. Most flip-flops don't fulfill all of the above categories... until NOW! I was at Sports Authority last night buying some running clothes when I came upon these... Teva Olowahu. I tried them on and it was like walking on clouds. I've never had a pair of flip-flops that provided so much cushion and arch support before, let alone such a cute style. Don't just walk; run to the store ladies!

Friday, April 27, 2007

That's My King!

This past Easter Sunday at my home church Maranatha Chapel, our pastor Ray Bentley showed this 3 minute video entitled "That's My King!". It is visuals paired with a snippet of a sermon delivered by Pastor SM Lockridge (now deceased). He was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, a prominent African-American congregation located in San Diego from 1953-1993. The words of his sermon really touched my heart on Easter and brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to share this video with you.

New avatar or not?

I like the cartoon girl on the left sidebar, I think she resembles me pretty well. I have also created other avatars of myself. Maybe you can help me pick your favorite one. This one is my Yahoo avatar: Of course, I'm tailgating at a football game! I like this one because the clothing style is very similar to my clothing style. Casual t-shirt and jeans and a little hooded sweater over the T. Photobucket.com now lets you create your own avatar and you can link to it from your blog or website. These are mine. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting This is the small one. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Medium one. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Animated one - listgirl getting ready to throw a fastball! Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Listgirl at the beach in SD Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Listgirl hanging out at the beach What do you think? Which one is most "me"???

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Peavy strikes out 9 in a row

and Padres still lose to D-Backs 3-2! Pitcher Jake Peavy was one consecutive strike-out short of Tom Seaver's record of 10, set back in 1970 (year I was born!). In total, Peavy struck out 16 batters in 7 innings. Wow! But ace closer and major league saves record-holder Trevor Hoffman gave up a 2-run homer while trying to hold on to a 2-1 lead. I'm bummed they lost, but what a great performance by Peavy! This is why spring and summer is so great. This is why I love baseball.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

America's Finest City - this is why I live here


From time to time, Todd and I will take a day off from work and just have fun together. There's less tourists around town on a weekday, and restaurants and attractions usually have less people. Since people come to San Diego for vacations, we just take a vacation in our own town. I must admit that I get jaded or take San Diego for granted sometimes, since I've lived here for 7 years now. Like all San Diegans, I complain when the weather gets below 60 degrees. When it's not sunny or blue skies, I want to write city council and "get my money back". Sometimes I forget that the beach is just 15 minutes away. That's why we love it when we play "Tour Guide" to our out of town friends/family, because we re-discover our fine city for ourselves and remember why it's so great to live here. People who live here seem to have "San Diego pride". They talk favorably about their city to other people. They complain about cost of housing and traffic, but you can tell they have a deep-seeded fondness for SD. That really wasn't the case when we lived in Ohio.

So, on Monday 4/23, we embarked on our "Aventura de Las Turistas". First stop was lunch. We had heard about a new restaurant in PB (Pacific Beach for those not from San Diego) that's famous for fries. It's called Belgian Frie. Just don't call them "French" fries, because they're Belgian! We were so excited because there were parking spaces everywhere in PB. This NEVER happens on a weekend! We walked in and studied the menu on the chalkboard for over 5 minutes. Just the choices of dipping sauces for the fries was overwhelming. We finally settled on our order. Todd got meatball sandwich with marinara sauce. I got smoked sausage sandwich with peppers & onions. And of course, we got an order of fries to share. I also felt that it was a moral imperative that I order the Belgian hot chocolate. You know, to get the WHOLE Belgian experience. I wouldn't wanna jip myself of that! ;-p

Our food came and we were so excited. Only to be disappointed a few minutes later. Our sandwiches seemed mediocre, and the fries seemed only alright compared to the hype. I guess we expected the fries to be more special because the restaurant does have "Frie" in its name. But the Belgian hot chocolate was the best hot chocolate I've ever had! Todd stole some from me because he was jealous. They topped off the hot chocolate with whipped cream and real Belgian chocolate. Delicious! It's worth going there again just for the hot choco. Don't get me wrong, the fries were pretty good, just not super-special good. While we were there, we noticed a pregnant woman who came in and ordered JUST the Belgian fries. I guess it hit the "weird craving" spot! Then a young college-aged couple came in and also ordered just the LARGE order of fries (you get 2 sauces with the large order). Apparently, people order fries as their main meal. So next time I go, I'll get hot choco and fries as my whole meal.

After lunch we walked around the boardwalk at the beach. I took a picture of the "Ocean Blvd" sign, because we were after all at the ocean. While I was snapping the pic, a homeless dude rolled up on his bicycle and offered to take a picture of the two of us, so we graciously accepted. He said he used to live in Hawaii and has lots of experience taking photos for people. He took a nice pic of us with Crystal Pier in the background. We walked around a little more, enjoying the sunshine and breezes. Then we got back into the car and headed to nearby Sea World.

We paid for a full-priced one day ticket and got the "Fun Card", which allows us to go back as much as we want until Dec 31, 2007. This promotion ends on 4/30. We got the tickets with NO line, and got into the park with NO line. I love Mondays at Sea World! As soon as we entered the park, we ran to the Sea Otter exhibit. Sea otters are my favorite at Sea World! I love watching them play and groom and eat. They put the food on their tummies, swim around, and eat it. Also, everyday at 11:00 am, they have Tube Time. That's when the otter-keepers give the otters long tubes with frozen fish/crabs/shrimps in them. The otters swim around with them, and bang out the food by slamming the tube against rocks. It's so fun to watch. I've stared at the otters for like half an hour before. We were too late for "Tube Time" on Monday, but I watched the otters for a long time anyways. Then we went to see the dolphins play with a basketball. This one playful dolphin actually "dribbles" the basketball under water with his nose! We watched the "Clyde & Seamore" show, the "Pets Rule" show, and saw the Manatee, Polar Bear, and Beluga whale exhibits.

What I love about having the season pass is that you don't feel like you have to go the whole day. You can just go for a couple of hours and leave. We left around 4:15 and drove home. What a great day and what fun we had, despite the fact that I got sunburned on my head.

I made two digital layouts from our fun day. I couldn't decide which was better, so I'm just showing both, since it's MY blog and I can do it if I wanna. :-)


Fortune Cookies

Over time, I've collected some little notes from fortune cookies that I've gotten at restaurants. I only keep the ones that are either funny, odd, or I like. Here are some:
  • "You are admired for your adventurous ways."
  • "Life to you is a dashing and bold adventure."
  • "You will have many friends when you need them."
  • "A good way to keep healthy is to eat more chinese food."
  • "An optimistic attitude is half of success."
  • "Your observations are useful to others."
  • "You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability."

What are your favorite fortune cookie sayings that you've gotten?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shadow Proves the Sunshine

I have an interactive calendar on my computer desktop that I downloaded from American Greetings. Today, April 24th, is "Ambivalence Day". How odd. How NOT me. So I instant messaged Todd and told him about it, how I couldn't believe there is a "Ambivalence Day". He said, "Maybe you should sit this one out". My husband is so funny! He makes me laugh all the time. He knows that I'm the antithesis of ambivalency. We try to celebrate the wacky days, like "Talk Like a Pirate Day" on 9/19, or "Peanut Butter Lover's Day" on 3/2. But I feel strongly that I need to sit out this "Ambivalence Day". Get it? I feel strongly... hee hee. On Sat I was on the phone with Sally, making plans for the day, when she was describing the day so far, and she said, "It's good to be alive!". What a great thing to say, and what a great attitude to have. I've been thinking about what she said for a few days now. You all know about the recent passing of my mom. Even though I'm not sad all the time, I still have melancholy moments/days when I just miss her and it's hard to pull myself out of it. What Sally said inspired me to make my "It's good to be alive" list. It's Good to be Alive:
  • when I walk outside at lunch, enjoying the sun, extremely blue skies, breezes, listening to John Mayer on my iPod.
  • when Todd and I take a day off from work on a weekday just to enjoy each other's company and make it a point to have fun together. (More about yesterday later!)
  • when I get an email from a friend just to say hello.
  • when I make plans for the future without fear, knowing that God is in control.
  • when I cry and aknowlege sadness.
  • when I drive to work with my sunroof open, blasting Switchfoot.
  • when I finish a digital layout and it looks good.
  • when I learn something new that I didn't know before.
  • when I sit so close to the field at Petco Park that I can smell the grass.
  • during football and baseball season. (and March Madness)
  • when I tell Todd, my dad, my sister, or a friend something and they completely understand.
  • when I find my favorite things on sale.
  • when I see monkeys, sea lions, or sea otters play.
  • when I run at Miramar Lake, listening to John Mayer.
  • when there's ice cream or chocolate, or both.
  • when I put makeup on and it looks good.
  • when that pair of skinny jeans fit (okay, so allow me two vanity entries).
  • when I get waken up by the rain in the middle of the night, knowing that I'm safe and sound and protected inside my home.
  • when the orange cat walks by my window.
  • when I can do the headstand in yoga without help (this only happened once).
  • when I can run faster & longer at 37 than at 27.
  • when I help someone else in secret.
  • when Fred next door brings us his fresh home-roasted coffee beans.
  • when we scrap our healthy-cooking plans and order pizza ;-p

I'm sure there's more, so I'll add to the list when I think of other stuff. It's still good to be alive when things aren't going so well. If we didn't have "downs", then how would we have "ups"? Like the Switchfoot song says, "shadow proves the sunshine". Also, Todd has a t-shirt that says, "Without rain there wouldn't be any rainbows". That's really interesting to me, philosophically.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Todd on KUSI: YouTube video

As promised from my previous post, here's the footage from Todd's appearance on KUSI's "Inside San Diego" show with Kim Divine and Matt Thompson.

I got a big "Congrats" from Lance Armstrong

My friend AJ gave me the Nike + iPod sensor a few weeks ago. The sensor goes on/in your shoe, and then you attach a little device to your iPod Nano. You calibrate it by running a set distance, and it knows how long your stride is. Then every time you run with it, you can see your distance, pace, and total time. I've been using it for about 3 weeks, and it's fun to see the graphs and charts on Nike.com when you sync up the iPod. The iPod has a voice that tells you your progress, such as "one mile completed", "halfway completed", "400 meters to go", etc. Today I ran 5.45 miles at Miramar Lake. At the end of my run, a voice suddenly came on and said, "This is Lance Armstrong. Congratulations! This is your longest workout yet!" I was pretty stunned. Was not expecting that. How cool! Although, it's only my longest workout since obtaining this device. My actual longest workout EVER was 26.2 miles in Honolulu, Hawaii on 12/10/2000.

Colorstrology

A digital scrapbooking website led me to this site. You can put in your birthday month and day, and it tells you "your color" and what it represents. Mine (March 11) is "Winter Sky", a pale blue. The description was "YOU were given a rare combination of artistic creativity and financial know-how. It is a wonderful gift to be able to create your dreams while building a financial structure to support them." Okay, so far so good. Then it went on to say, "It is important that you share your talent and your wealth with others because it is the sharing that will bring you some of the most worthwhile blessings." That's pretty good. Then it went on to say some mumble jumble new agey stuff and got less interesting. Nevertheless, it's pretty fun. What's YOUR color and description?

Taste of Hillcrest

Yesterday was our annual tradition of going to the Taste of Hillcrest with Sally. We parked at her house and walked to all the restaurants. 3.3 miles, 23 restaurants, and 4 hours later, we were happy and stuffed! Here's the run-down.

We first went to the Bamboo Lounge at 12:05, and they told us the bartender wasn't ready. What?!?! So we skipped it and went to Lucky Buck's, which was a Mexican restaurant. They weren't "ready" either. How lame, I must say. If you signed up to participate in the Taste of Hillcrest and you know it starts at 12:00, you should have your food ready! I don't have time to eat at all 37 restaurants as it is, so I'm not coming back to your restaurant later! Bad first impression! Here's the list of places we actually ate at.

1. T Deli - ham & swiss sandwich on warm sourdough. Big thumbs up from Todd and Sally. I thought it was pretty good, but it's still just a sandwich in the end.

2. Baja Betty's - we loved it last year, we love it again this year! They were ready, and the spread was nicely put together. We had a carnitas taco with cilantro, onion, pico de gallo, and hot sauce. And they put out small cups of margaritas! Here's Sally & I at Baja Betty's. Two thumbs way up!

3. Mama Testa Taqueria - choice between small carnitas soft taco or crispy beef taco. Pretty yummy!

4. Amarin Thai - shrimp peanut paste on cracker; tangy cabbage salad; and pad thai noodles. It was alright. We all thought the pad thai was kind of tasteless.

5. Ono Sushi - another perenial favorite. Udon stir-fried noodles with mushrooms & veggies, chicken fried rice, and sushi roll pieces.

6. Bacione Ristorante - served same food as last year - rigatoni with creamy tomato sauce & mushrooms. The sauce tasted good.

7. Taste of Szechuan - we skipped it last year thinking how could it be good Chinese food. But Todd's friend Dave really likes the restaurant, and usually Dave has good taste, so we tried it out. They served chicken with asparagus on rice, and crab rangoon. Well, I must say the chicken dish had great flavor! We declared it a winner.


8. Crush - they have strange food here, probably because it's really more a hipster bar than a restaurant. They served up roasted vegetables baked in goat cheese, with balsamic vinegar on melba toast. It was pretty good but I don't like goat cheese, it smells funny.

9. Corvette Diner - slightly disappointing meatloaf sandwich.



10. Kemo Sabe - turkey wrap - seems not so special considering it's Kemo Sabe. Todd liked last year's Brownie-ala-mode better.

11. Bombay Exotic Cuisine of India - this was our favorite restaurant in SD, until they moved across the street and changed chefs. They served chicken masala tikka or banana curry over rice. It was pretty good. But Indian food toned down for the masses. We like the spicy faire.

12. Sushi Itto - peel & eat edamame, chicken teriyaki skewer, stir-fried noodles, and sushi roll pieces. It was decent.

13. Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro - enjoyed the atmosphere and saffron curry chicken over couscous with raisins & chickpeas.

14. Urban Mo's Bar & Grill (formerly Hamburger Mary's) - what?! I had not idea this placed changed names. They served the same buffalo wings as last year though. But the full-sized pink lemonade was new, and it hit the spot.

15. Brazil by the Hill - a traditional Brazilian dish - beef with black beans & rice in a brownish sauce. Also, a little cup of thick chocolate mousse! That was yum-O! Todd tried the chicken with onions, but I was getting full.

16. Ortega's Mexican Bistro - they expanded their restaurant to twice the size it was before. They served up carnitas tacos with gaucamole and pico de gallo. It was fair but not great. However, Todd and I have been there 2 or 3 times before, and we loved the filet medallions and Baja lobsters there.

At this point we decided to take a break from food by clothes shopping at American Apparel. Bad idea. A fitted cotton-spandex polo dress just doesn't seem quite so attractive when your tummy is bulging out from eating.

17. Pizzeria Arrivederci - thin-crusted pepperoni pizza was pretty good.

18. Afghanistan Khyber Pass - the three of us actually ate here for the first time one week before Sept. 11th, 2001. At that time we thought it was delicious. Afghani food is similar to Indian food, with curries and basmati rice. They served up the Afghan version of chicken curry (kinda orangish) and spinach saag on basmati rice. It was fairly yummy.

19. City Delicatessen - Todd looks forward to this every year. They serve up brownies, lemon bars, and chocolate mousse cake. Well, you can only choose one. Todd & Sally went for the brownies and I went for the lemon bar.

20. Whole Foods - the deli at this health food grocery chain is actually really good. They served us vegan tempeh curry with nuts (very yummy) and cabbage salad.

21. Chipotle Mexican Grill - yes the chain - we were stuffed by then, so we each got a different kind of taco and Sally put them in her purse to eat for dinner later. Sally got a barbacoa taco, and she said "barbacoa" in a very spanish accent.

22. Robeks - a smoothie shop - we each got a small cup of passion fruit smoothie.

23. Ben & Jerry's - the last stop in our whirlwind international food tour - Todd had "Turtle Soup", I had "Triple Caramel Chunk", and Sally had "Cherry Garcia".

We ambled back to Sally's house with big smiles on our faces and vows to skip dinner.



Saturday, April 21, 2007

Music autoplay poll for you

I have the music on my blog set to auto-play, so that when you come to my site the music automatically starts. Some people might not like it because they're on dial-up and it takes too long to load. Others might not like it for other reasons. Please vote in the box on the left sidebar and I'll take your opinions into consideration. If you vote, maybe you can explain the reasons for your vote by leaving a comment to this post as well. Thanks!

Friday, April 20, 2007

My identity in God

Lately I've been pondering about my identity in God. We all know that it's not easy to live in this world. People reject us, and sometimes for unknown or unfair reasons. Sometimes we try to "do more", or perform even better, just to gain someone else's acceptance or praise, or even to make ourselves feel better. As we get older, we start to lose our looks, and some people may start to suffer a crisis of identity at that point too. A lot of us may feel insecure about what others think of us. Some of us have the fear that maybe we're just not "special" enough. I think everyone feels this way from time to time, it's a normal part of the human psyche. Then I think about who I am to God, and I instantly feel special and uplifted. God cares about each of us equally. He cares enough to make us each individually different and special. He cares enough to make us in His image. He cared enough about us to send His own son Jesus to die for our sins. We don't have to "perform" for God, because our salvation is once and for all. If God loves me so much as I am, then it becomes a lot harder to feel down about myself. I feel free to be myself without pretences in front of God, which in turn gives me the confidence to be myself to other people as well. God's already seen the worst in me and still loves me. People aren't as forgiving, but maybe we should stop caring too much about what other people think. After all, their standards are arbitrary, God's standards are absolute. The first three chapters of Ephesians tells us what our true identity is in Christ: "blessed, chosen, predestined, given, redeemed, forgiven, included, marked, been made alive, saved, raised up, seated with, created, brought near; they are fellow citizens, they are members, they are being built together". That's good enough for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Two girls, edamame, spa, and froyo

Yesterday I took the day off and spent it with my best girlfriend. She had an orthodontist appt and was running late, so we called ahead to pre-order our food at Nozomi, while driving down there. She talked to them, and we didnt' know what the sushi rolls were called because we didn't have the menu with us. She had to describe the rolls we like, and the guy took our order. When we got there, our food was ready for us. The service was extra-friendly, and the guy said the edamame was on the house. After lunch, we had our appointments at the spa at 1:00. We both got therapeutic massages with Brigit, who was a very nice woman. She's good at what she does, that's for sure. We drove away feeling like jelly. I liked the place, because it wasn't pretentious and didn't make me feel out of place. I usually don't go to spas because I feel out of place there. I don't spend a lot of money on beauty products and treatments, and I don't consider myself a high-maintenance woman, so I feel weird going to a spa. But this experience was great, probably because my friend was with me too. On the way back we stopped to get frozen yogurt. I got coconut yogurt with crushed almonds, and she got strawberry. The young guy at the counter kept smiling at us, and he gave us 4 stamps on the frequent buyer card and told us it was double-stamp Wednesday. So this morning, upon reflecting on my day yesterday, it occurred to me that we got treated very nicely by men while we were out. The two of us. I never get such friendly treatment and so many "freebies" when I go out with my husband. And usually I don't when I'm out by myself either. Why is that? I think I have a theory... Men aren't extra-nice to a woman when she's with a man. That part is obvious. So they don't go out of their way to give you extra "freebies" when the woman is with a man, because the man might get suspicious, or feel jealous or whatever. When a woman is out by herself, the men don't get extra-friendly either, because they probably fear that the woman will get creeped out or get extra-on-guard if they are overly friendly. But when it's two women together, they are very friendly and offer stuff on-the-house because it's harmless and fun for them. The women won't be creeped out because they're with their girlfriend. I also noticed that when I'm with a gaggle of girls, like more than 3, that we don't get extra special treatments then either. Probably because the men know that with THAT many girls, it's too much to offer free stuff, and we won't appreciate the extra attention as much. So, the lesson here girls: go with one other girlfriend to get friendly treatment and maybe some extra freebies! This has happened to me more than once. I think there's a correlation there! I did find out an extra-special secret too! There's a reason that I am not revealing my friend's name and the secret today, yet. You'll have to wait a couple more weeks for me to talk about it. :-p

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die

Or should it be "20 Hamburgers that cause you TO die"? A couple of years ago, GQ magazine came up with this list. Since then, it's been on Oprah and a bunch of other talk shows. I like lists like this purely because I like food and I like lists. :-) The only one on the list I've been to is #15 "The Counter" in Santa Monica. The build-your-own-burger there IS very good, and the french fries, onion rings, and apple pie milkshake ARE delicious. Locally, a place similar to this called Cheeburger Cheeburger opened in Carmel Mountain. So a couple weeks ago, Todd and I went and tried it. It was pretty good, but it wasn't The Counter. For cheap burgers, nobody can beat In-N-Out. Of course, the burgers have thin patties there, but it's not quantity that counts, it's the quality. In-N-Out has ruined all other fast food burgers for me. I dunno if I'll get to go to any of the other burger joints on this list, but it's a fun list. And if you live somewhere closer to one of these, you should take it upon yourself to check it out and report back to me. It's a moral imperative!

The REAL safety pup

I found some pictures of the REAL safety pup... I look nothing like him! ;-p

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wonderpants

Over the weekend, while visiting my dad, I went to Nordstrom Rack and found a pair of Lucky Brand Jeans for $40. I tried on one size bigger than my normal size, because I've gained 3 lbs in the last two months. I had spent some time "emotional-eating" after my mom passed away. Now that I've gained 3 lbs, I'm more careful with what I eat again. I'm not fat by any stretch of the imagination, but this is my "fat" period, nevertheless. I'm still within my range of acceptable weight, which is 115 lbs +-3lbs. But when I'm at the lower end of the range, I feel the most energetic and athletic. Anyways, the Lucky Jeans fit, but a little loosely. It was a good deal for Lucky Brand jeans, and they didn't have my normal size anyways, so I bought it. I wore it today and I felt SO skinny. So the secret to feeling thin is to buy bigger pants! Wonderpants I tell ya! Ha ha. Of course, I can't keep buying bigger and bigger pants just to feel thin. I know with healthy eating and my regular exercise schedule, I'll be back at my "good" weight in a few weeks.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Two more digital layouts

I created a couple more digital layouts tonight.
This first one is from our trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in December 2005.



This one is from last year's Taste of Hillcrest.


North Shore layout


I haven't made a digi-layout in a while, and I didn't want to spend a long time on it. So I used one of Kellie Mize's layout templates at DesignerDigitals and ScrapGirls' "Hana" papers and came up with this. Todd and I were on Oahu for a couple of days in December, prior to meeting up with my parents on Maui. We drove to the North Shore's Banzai Pipeline, where they were having the big wave surfing competition Pipeline Masters, the last competition in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. December is big wave season on the North Shore of Oahu. Speaking of Hawaii... Don Ho died this weekend! Sad... long live "Tiny Bubbles"!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Todd on KUSI's "Inside San Diego"

On Friday morning, Todd, Kim, and Matt played on KUSI's "Inside San Diego" show. They played Kim's song, "Home". I thought they sounded really good. The video's not up yet on KUSI's website. I'll link to it once it's up.

That darn MSIE 6.0

This weekend was the first time that I'd noticed that the right side of my blog completely falls off when viewed in MS Internet Explorer 6.0. I was really bummed because that means my friends who are still using MSIE 6.0 probably don't even see my cool Scrapbook and other stuff that's on the right side bars of my blog. It's a "bug" in MSIE 6.0, in the way it interprets "boxes". So, to see my blog in all it's glory, the way it's supposed to look, with 3 columns side-by-side, you'll have to upgrade to MSIE 7.0, or use Mozilla Firefox. If any of you know the html code to fix this problem, feel free to email me or comment directly on this posting.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Padres vs Giants

Last night Sally got tickets to the Padres game versus the Giants from her company. They were $38 field level seats! I took our big zoom camera there and took some cool pics. Padres won 4-0. Barry Bonds came within a few feet of hitting a really long home run to centerfield. Check out this picture I got of Barry Bonds! We brought our own food from Mama's Lebanese Deli in North Park (yum!), but going to the ballpark reminds me of hotdogs, nachos, sausages, etc. I found this list of best ballpark foods across the country. Yea! The fish tacos at Petco Park ranked #8! Woo hoo! Here's another take on ballpark foods from USA Today. Obviously, I haven't eaten everything at every ball park I've ever been to. I'd love to go to AT&T Park in SF and get the garlic fries! (Note to self, put on this summer's to-do list...) Hmm, I just realized after looking at these pics, that Todd, Sally, and I all wore "Padre blue"! We didn't even plan it!







Safety Pup spared from a side-swipe!

Todd calls me the "Safety Pup" sometimes, because I'm a big practitioner of defensive driving. When I drive I look way ahead and scan for possible problems on the road. When I'm on the freeway I try not to be parallel to any other cars on my left or right, so that I have an "escape route" if necessary. So... this morning I was driving to work on the local roads. I was about 40 feet from an intersection, and I had the green light, when suddenly this oncoming car from the other side of the road looked like he was making a left turn straight into the intersection. He had a protective left turn light, so he clearly ran the red light. I saw this happening from afar, so I hit my brakes and started honking at him a few times. He stopped in the middle of the intersection and I passed by without being side-swiped. I saw it was an elderly gentleman and his wife, and he clearly did not realize that he had run a red light. Phew, the Safety Pup was spared! Another topic... so I finally got into work and went down to the cafeteria to get some regular coffee and scrambled eggs. I noticed that Adriana, the woman that works in the cafeteria, was drinking a $4 gourmet coffee drink from the gourmet coffee bar next door! Is the 89 cent cafeteria coffee not good enough for those that work in the cafeteria? It's good enough for me! Don't get me wrong, I've gotten the gourmet coffee drinks every now and then, so maybe I caught her on one of those rare days. But in general I pride myself in not being one of those who must have my daily-$4-Starbucks-grande-almond-soy-latte-sugar-free-extra-hot-with-two-shots-of-expresso people. Not that there's anything wrong with that (to quote from Seinfeld), but I don't choose to spend money that way. David Bach, the financial advisor guy who wrote "The Automatic Millionaire", calls this the "latte factor". Everyone has a latte factor which can make a huge difference in retirement money down the road. I'm a "Safety Pup" when it comes to retirement money too. I don't want to be caught old, sick, and poor. I'd rather err on the safe side and have too much money in retirement than not have enough, so I make sacrifices now in order to get there. Yes, God can have other plans for me, and should I go see Him before retirement, the money would go to my beneficiaries, which is okay by me. I don't hoard. I just plan ahead. I've heard other people say to me, "well, I'll just work until I die." Well, you can PLAN to work until you die, but it doesn't mean that others will hire you, or that you won't be too ill or disabled to work. What happens then? I plan ahead. My title of "Financial Planning Analyst" at work comes home with me too, I guess. Hee. So this posting kinda makes me sound like I don't have any fun... but if you've read my blog entries, or you know me personally, you know that's not true. I'm a safety pup when it comes to driving, retirement, information security, identity theft, and probably a few other things. But I'm not afraid to live life and enjoy what God's given me. I'm not afraid to jump into friendships with people, even though sometimes they hurt my feelings. I wasn't afraid to fall in love, and look where that got me! I wasn't afraid to grow closer than ever to my mom when she was ill, knowing the possibilty of her leaving us and going to heaven. And she did. But now I have no regrets. So I figured out that what I am afraid of is living with regrets... the "I should have's", or "I shouldn't have's". I try to live my life so that I won't have to look back with regrets.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Skydiving Video

On the right side of my blog I've added my 2005 skydiving video. I still think it's pretty cool, hee hee. If you want to watch it, please pause the music player on the left first by double-clicking on the "II" pause button. Otherwise the audio in the video clip will interfere with the music on the left. Enjoy! By the way, the dive took place on March 6th, 2005... 13,000 feet (and falling) over Perris, CA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

SD's Ethnic Dining Scene

The Belgian Frie? A restaurant specializing in Belgian "french" fries??? Being a connosseiur of french fries, it will be my sworn duty to check out this french fry restaurant in PB to make sure it's okay for everyone. ;-p I've said more than once that I love food. There are many new ethnic restaurants opening in San Diego. We're going to the annual Taste of Hillcrest again in a couple of weeks. We've gone for a few years now and it's a great way to sample all the great restaurants in Hillcrest. This KPBS webcast describes the SD ethnic restaurant scene, and profiles many ethnic (Belgian, Moroccan, Australian, Ethiopian, French, Afghan, Turkish, Vietnamese, etc.) restaurants.

Running the AFC Half

Todd and I are planning to run the America's Finest City Half Marathon in August. He's never run more than maybe 5 miles. I've done the whole 26.2 mile marathon, but it's been 6 years and since then I've only run 5K races. So we'll be starting at about the same place. Training will be 3.5 months starting in May. I got a weekly training schedule from Runner's World and we'll be following that. I'm looking forward to running it because the course is beautiful and scenic. I also found a website where you can plan out running routes and it tells you exactly how many miles it is. And if you put in your current weight, it'll also tell you how many calories you'll burn for the run based on the mileage. It is so cool and I've been playing with it to plan out some running routes. You can save your routes by the way. I've also mapped out some of my regular running routes and now I know the exact mileage. Isn't the web fun? You stumble onto all kinds of cool stuff.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tuxedo Cat

We have this stray cat that hangs out in our backyard sometimes. She's black with some white on her chin, chest, and paws. Because of her coloring, I call her the "Tuxedo Cat". I thought I was being clever, but my husband found this in Wikipedia. Can you believe it? I guess all black and white bicolored cats with low grade spotting are called "Tuxedo Cats"! And I thought I was being original... bummer!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Learning HTML and CSS

Ok, I've been fixiated all weekend on changing my blog and making my blog look nice. I've learned so much from trial and error. Now if my family or friends want me to design a blog for them, I can do it!

I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today;
I know that He is living whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He's always near.

Chorus

He lives, He lives,Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives,Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho' my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.

Chorus

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.
Chorus
Words and Music by Alfred H. Ackley
© 1933 Homer A. Rodeheaver

Will work for carrot cake!

Last night TT played at Borders El Cajon with Kim Divine. They didn't have very nice PA equipment there, but they played the gig well and they sounded decent enough. At that particular Borders, they not only give musicians free coffee & tea, but I got a carrot cake for free too! I gave the barista my Borders gift card to debit, and she wouldn't accept it.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Projects

It's spring and the flowers are blooming. After mom passed away we helped Dad replace the old broken blinds on a couple of windows. The old broken blinds could not be opened so you couldn't see into the backyard. With the new blinds, Dad could open the blinds and see the beautiful and colorful flowers he planted in the backyard. It is refreshing to the soul.

These last few weeks Dad has been organizing the house quite a bit. I think it has been therapeutic for him. The house is nearly all organized now, and it is as he likes it. I brought a bunch of mom's clothes and costume jewelry home for keepsake.

Which leads me to grandiose organizing plans for myself. If my stuff were ever organized all at once, I might faint! From all the stuff I have, you can tell I live a full life. There's sporting goods, old school books and notes, cards and keepsakes from everyone important in my life, photographs, negatives, all my hobby things (knitting, soapmaking, jewelry making, scrapbooking, just to name a few). I just read an article in Real Simple magazine that keeping too much clutter in your house is like having emotional baggage. You should only surround yourself with stuff you love.

My Ambitious Organizing Plans:

  1. My desk in the home office.
  2. My bookshelves in the home office.
  3. My CD collection. There's music that I never listen to anymore. I should either have a garage sale, sell them on eBay, or give them away
  4. My photography stuff: cameras, tripods, flash memory cards, batteries, product manuals. ALL my photographs, photo books, negatives, etc.
  5. My books: how-to's, cookbooks, writing books, knitting books
  6. Magazines. Ugh, so many to throw away. Ever try to throw away magazines, only to be lured in by the headlines and before you know it, you think you need to keep every useful article in them, "just in case you visit the Florida Keys some day", or "just in case you want to visit that restaurant later"? UGH!
  7. Media supplies: envelopes, folders, notebooks, hanging file folders, printer paper, vellum, printer photo papers, etc. Wow.
  8. Toys & Games: you'd think adults with no children don't have much games, but we do.
  9. Clothes in the "other" closets.
  10. Extra pillows and bedding. Guests can only use so much. Pillows and bedding take up a LOT of space!
  11. All my sundries. I'm a sucker for nice-smelling lotions, body butters, sprays, etc.
  12. Gift-wrap papers, gift bags, gift tags, gift boxes.
  13. Scrapbooking stuff. I converted to digital scrapbooking about a year ago. I still have tons of paper scrapping supplies. They're nice to look at and to make cards with, but I doubt I'll ever use it all.
  14. Soapmaking supplies: pot, stirrer, scents, oils...
  15. Knitting & crocheting supplies: yarns, needles, yarns yarns and more yarns. Project books. Finished scarves, hats, other projects.
  16. Drawing supplies, finished drawings, pencils, charcoal, huge clipboard, coloring pencils, crayons, coloring books. I love them all but they take up room.
  17. Beads, string, clamps, etc for jewelry making.
  18. Cross stitching stuff: floss, fabric, designs.
  19. Stuffed animals.
  20. My purses. Don't ask.
  21. Candles. I used to love them and people kept giving me candles for every occasion as gifts. Now I have too many.

There's more, but this list is enough. Why do I have so much stuff you ask? Because I have many hobbies. But also because they're all symbols of "possibilities". That's what makes me happy and give me hope. I COULD play with all this stuff and create something beautiful and useful. It's like the joy of window-shopping too. You can imagine the possibilities of what you want to buy, and get joy out of it without actually buying it.

Listgirl is tired from making this massive list. She's off to take a nap now...

But, before I go, I'll share with you this layout that I had started last June before my mom got sick... I finally finished it this week.


Monday, April 02, 2007

With Hope

I went running this morning, and put my iPod Nano on "shuffle". Out of like thousands of songs, this one came on.... "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman, from the album "Speechless" This is not at all how We thought it was supposed to be We had so many plans for you We had so many dreams And now you've gone away And left us with the memories of your smile And nothing we can say And nothing we can do Can take away the pain The pain of losing you, but ... We can cry with hope We can say goodbye with hope 'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no And we can grieve with hope 'Cause we believe with hope (There's a place by God's grace) There's a place where we'll see your face again We'll see your face again And never have I known Anything so hard to understand And never have I questioned more The wisdom of God's plan But through the cloud of tears I see the Father's smile and say well done And I imagine you Where you wanted most to be Seeing all your dreams come true 'Cause now you're home And now you're free, and ... We have this hope as an anchor 'Cause we believe that everything God promised us is true, so ... We wait with hope And we ache with hope We hold on with hope We let go with hope I had totally forgotten I had this song. It seemed totally new to me. I used to love Steven Curtis Chapman. I listened to the song and cried all the way home. But at the same time believe that it was a special comfort from God to me as well.

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