Monday, August 31, 2009
Remember a couple of weeks ago Todd went to San Francisco for a training class? Today he took the certification test. It was held at San Diego State University at 8:45am. Todd left very early because he was unsure about the traffic and parking situation. They give you 90 minutes to complete the test, and you had to leave your phone, watch, and all gadgets outside in a locker. About 45 minutes after, around 9:30am, I got an email from Todd. He forwarded me his test results email. Apparently, not only is he smart, he's also very efficient, finishing the test in half the time allotted! The email said, "Congratulations! You have successfully completed the certification exam to become a Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer. Welcome to the Salesforce.com worldwide community of Certified Professionals!" Yaaaaaay! I knew he could do it. Todd loves being on a college campus. He loves the learning atmosphere and being surrounded by academics. His dream is that someone will PAY him to go to grad school in astro-physics so that he could get his Ph. D and be a professor and hang out in college all day long. He was so proud today because despite being 38 years old, he still "fit in" at San Diego State. Well, I say it helps that he looks so smart, and so youthful. :p This is the entrance to the main library at SDSU. Tonight I took him out to dinner to celebrate him being... certified! (Heh heh.) It was also Monday Night Football, so we wanted to go somewhere with a big screen to watch it. Yummy buffalo chicken tenders! Today I was reading Katie the Scrapbook Lady's blog. At the end of every month, she takes some time to "roundup her memories". I really liked the idea, so I am going to do it too! Here's my August Roundup. What books and/or magazines did I read this month? I read the very last issue of Memory Makers Magazine. Also read Creating Keepsakes, San Diego Magazine (the annual "Best" issue where they talk about San Diego's best everything). I am almost done with "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. I've been reading that book for too darn long. There were too many areas in the book where I lost interest. What movies, television shows, plays, etc. did I watch this month? I saw "Ponyo" in the movie theater. It was strange! I also watched SYTYCD all the way until the end of the season when the winner was crowned. I watched "Better Off Ted", my new favorite comedy on TV. Watched several episodes of "Man vs. Food", one of my faves. What fun things did I do with my family and/or friends? Ran with WCRR almost every Saturday at Mission Bay. Ran with SDTC at Miramar Lake, a run hosted by my friend Anne. I went to gym class. I had lunch with some old work friends. Had Anne and Gilbert over for dinner. Had Ashley and Andrew over for dinner. Had a girls day out at Hotel Del Coronado with my good friends from HS Sally and Lara. Had lunch TWICE with my homie Meera. Went boogie boarding/surfing at La Jolla Shores with Sally & Brian. Todd had dinner with Minnie & Mike in San Francisco. Todd went sailing with his coworkers on the Stars & Stripes. Todd had lunch with Terran and Jessica. We went to visit my dad in LA. What gifts did I give and/or receive? Todd and I finally exchanged our 15th anniversary cards, two months after the fact. I gave my dad some Sperry shoes for his birthday. Todd got me a new Ohio State Buckeye t-shirt for the upcoming football season. What special or unusual purchases did I make? We got Rock Band for the Playstation 3. It is an AWESOME game! I have blisters on my fingers from playing the drums so much! What illnesses or health concerns did I have? I got a sore throat but nothing major. Lately my legs feel tired. Not sure if it's from running and working out too much or not. I don't think I've done too much. What were my accomplishments this month? I got 49 of my 2009 layouts printed out 8x8 and put into an album. I also did a 8x8 Shutterfly book. I cooked twice while Todd was gone. I got more responsibilities at work. I learned about chi running and have been able to run faster and stronger. What were my disappointments this month? Yesterday I didn't run very well at all. Sprint really made me mad by charging me $200 for early termination for my sister's phone line (we used to share a plan). Our contract was up already, but they claimed that since she got a new phone a year ago, they could charge us the early termination fee. We fought back and got the fee down to $100, since they refused to waive the whole fee. I hate them. I guess that's disappointment. I'm looking for a good pay-as-you-go plan without having to sign a contract. Anyone got any suggestions? Anything else noteworthy to include? The last two weeks were really hot, while the first two weeks were cooler than normal. There are wildfires going on in the LA area. My scrapping mojo is sort of back.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This evening Todd and I headed to run/rollerblade at Miramar Lake again, because we didn't get to run yesterday due to visiting my dad. We should have known it was a little too hot to go, but we went anyways. And as I've suspected all along, I am not a Kenyan. I do not run well in the heat at all. 3.44 miles and 37:54 later, I was beat and energy-less. I was disappointed in myself, but I'm giving myself a break. I think two things combined to make the run difficult for me: the heat, and the fact that I went there at 6:30pm to run, and I didn't eat an adequate snack beforehand. All useful lessons for next time. Today was the Championship game of the Little League World Series, between Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) and Chula Vista (California). I was in a conundrum as to which team to root for. Chula Vista is a suburb of San Diego, so everyone here was so excited that they made it into the championship game. However, Taiwan is where I was born. One of my strongest childhood memories is how awesome the Taiwanese Little League team was back in the 1970's. Seriously, nobody could beat them back then. They won the Little League World Series title in 1971,1972, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, and 1979. I remember my whole family would get up in the middle of the night to watch the live telecasts from Pennsylvania. The whole country was full of pride for them. I loved those memories. I think it's part of the reason that I love baseball now, and all sports in general. Today, the Chula Vista team won and became the 2009 Little League World Series champions. That's alright for San Diego and alright by me. But the Taiwanese team has a special place in my heart. :) Speaking of childhood memories, we are scrapping about our favorite teacher at the Digi Dares this week. Here is my page: Credits at the Digi Dare site. The Digi Dare team is taking a few weeks off, so you have some time to participate in this one!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We went to visit my dad and his wife Shelly today. We got there right before lunch, and went to lunch together at a Chinese restaurant. After lunch, we went to a newly opened Hong Kong supermarket, where we found all kinds of cool stuff. Such as... octopus jerky. Little spicy fish jerky. We bought some yellow watermelon and longan fruit home. Asian supermarkets have the best fruits! From my dad's street, we could see one of the wildfires burning on a mountain in the distance. Wildfires in Southern California are very dangerous. We usually don't get them until October, but this year was so dry that they came early. In October 2007, Todd and I had to evacuate for a few days from a fire that came very close to our neighborhood. And if you wonder what kind of things we took with us when we had less than an hour to evacuate, here's the list.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Todd and I took a day off today to have a "staycation" with each other in our fair city. I had just recently remembered that back on August 20th, it was my 30th anniversary of moving to the United States of America from Taiwan! What better way to celebrate, retroactively, by spending some time in "America's Finest City". First up was some lunch at the best deal in fresh seafood in San Diego, Point Loma Seafoods. That place is always packed, and today was no exception. Plus today was hot, so the un-air-conditioned inside seating was almost too hot to bear. But we gladly made the sacrifice for our favorite seafood place. I had a calamari sandwich while Todd had a fresh halibut sandwich. Todd loves it so much that he said he wants to come back for his birthday. Next we drove to Old Town San Diego State Historical Park. This is a re-creation of the old town of the city, shortly after the Mexican War of Independence in 1821. There are many buildings that look like they did back then, along with people in period costumes. Shortly after this photo of Todd was taken, the shopkeeper inside the store (who was dressed in 1800's pioneer clothing) told us that the reason the merchandise inside the stores were modern and not museum-like stuff, is because the state rents these buildings out as stores for merchants, so that the state can recoup some of the money from running the historical park. That was interesting and something we didn't know before. Here we were in front of an old adobe house. (I used a lightroom preset by Candice Wong.) Inside an old pioneer wagon. (Used "Old West" photo action by Pioneer Woman.) There's also nice restaurants and courtyards inside the historical park. We had heard about an olive oil store inside Old Town and wanted to check it out. Their main ranch is actually located in Temecula (an hour away), but they have a store in Old Town that offers tasting. Our kind of place! We got to taste their Mission, Fresh Basil, Roasted Garlic, and Picante olive oils, plus their California Pomegranate and Vanilla & Fig Balsamic vinegars. Totally delicious! We bought a bottle of the fresh basil olive oil and can't wait to try it on our pastas. Guess what else was in Old Town? A candy store, much to Todd's delight. He was like a kid in a... candy store! After Old Town, we headed downtown to Horton Plaza to catch the 4:05pm showing of the movie "Ponyo". I don't know if you've taken your kids to see it yet, but it's a really strange movie! It's cute and all, but the plot is really weird and non-linear. I was left with lots of logical questions that were not answered. After the movie, we headed to dinner at Monsoon for some Indian cuisine! We've heard about Monsoon for a while now and really wanted to go. I bought a $25 off $35 coupon at Restaurant.com for $2 during their 80% off sale, so this was really worth it. The decor inside was really cool, with a waterfall and some chandeliers. The food was really good too. We really like strongly flavored Indian food, not watered-down Indian food, and this place delivered. It was a wonderful staycation day, right here in our own city. Plus I got to check off some things on my summer to-do list! :)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Todd had lunch with some friends who used to be his coworkers. Today we worked in the dark at my office building. This is what happens when we reach high temperatures in the high 90's in mid-afternoon. Our local power company San Diego Gas & Electric issued a power curtailment early in the day, in anticipation of the high demand for electricity during the heat wave. The curtailment meant that all unnecessary electrically-powered items should be shut off. Businesses that participate in this curtailment program get rebates/credits from SDG&E. So my company complied and shut-off all overhead lighting. I wasn't completely in the dark, I was allowed to have my desk light on. This heat wave will last until Sunday evening. Yikes! What's even crazier is we had planned to go running (me) and rollerblading (Todd) at Lake Miramar after work. We still did! It was pretty warm even when we got there and got started around 6:20pm. I had planned to run five miles, but decided that wasn't so prudent in the heat, so I only ran three miles. My time was 32:08, which wasn't too bad considering the heat. Todd had a lot of fun rollerblading. He hasn't done it so much this year, but it's perfect for him now that he's injured from running. Despite the heat, the lake was pretty. By the time we finished running it was 7:15pm. We usually go to Chile Peppers for Mexican food after running at Lake Miramar, but decided to try the pizza place called Pazzo's in the same plaza. I had a roast beef sandwich but it wasn't great. Todd had a personal pizza and that was yummier.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Todd made tofu and broccoli with wild rice last night, so I had it for dinner after my gym class. Then I had the leftovers for lunch at work today. Don't get me wrong, I really do like this dish. But after two meals of it, I felt really hungry at dinner time. The tofu/broccoli and the cheeseburger/fries cancel each other out, right?? I feel like I finally have good ideas for my scrap pages again. For the whole summer I've felt really uncreative, like something was blocking my ideas. I used templates to get through that. When I do have good ideas/inspiration, I use a sketch notebook to draw/write them down. Because I know the creative well will dry up again someday, and I'll really need my notebook then! The ebb and flow of creativity is really interesting to me. How do you keep it going? What inspires you? Scrap N Fonts is having their semi-annual $1 sale right now! All fonts and doodlebats are $1! I love it when they have these sales. I love doodlebats. They're fonts, so they're vector graphics (meaning they don't lose details no matter how big you make them), but there's all kinds of great shapes and graphics you can buy. (And free ones too, just google around.) Then you can use each doodlebat character on your layout by typing the associated keyboard stroke for that graphic (the SNF ones come with a PDF cheat sheet), then rasterize (or simplify) it. Then you can use it as a clipping mask! Take this layout as an example: Click here for credits. The graphics on the orange border are all doodlebats. And that big hammer in the middle? It's a free doodlebat font that I rasterized and used as a clipping mask for the blue paper. Isn't that cool???
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Today was not a typical workday. My company is putting everyone through a program which includes a Myers-Briggs personality test and a fun afternoon of sailing. I knew it would be starting at 8am sharp. Unfortunately I was still 5 mins late due to a bit of over-eager exercising combined with an inaccurate traffic report. Cue stares as I enter. Plus I ate yogurt for breakfast instead of popcorn. What an odd day! But eventually I settled in. I had learned a bit about M/B before and previous tests had pegged me as an INTJ. Today's results were no different. 5 of my coworkers (roughly 5% of my company) are also INTJ. In the US, only 2.1% of folks are INTJ making it the third least common type of the 16. Commonly given characteristics of INTJ include:
. Interestingly (to me anyway) the N/S dichotomy between us is something I notice over and over in the way we converse. (I approximate and say "close enough" while she wants a more precise description of things.) So score a win for M/B.
Enough intellectual talk from this morning. After lunch we got to ride on a sail boat! Specifically, the race-winning Stars & Stripes.
The afternoon included a "race" with another boat, the Barracuda. (Somehow I think the "race" was rigged. I did not intend the pun as I don't have that personality type.) We did have an advantage in that the other boat's sails were not in tip top shape. If you look at the edge you can see the patches and a rip right in the center of the photo.
We also passed by a slower but beautiful large vessel, the California.
Too lazy to click the link above? I've got ya covered. The boat weighs roughly 25 tons, 20 of which are under the water. It's 80' long and 114' high. The two sails cost about $150,000 and are only used for about 15 hours by racing crews; a few months for us tourists. With all that weight it was a smooth ride even for a normally queasy person such as myself. And finally, I got to ride it for free today. Nice! Sadly I still don't know which side is starboard.
I never did actually steer the boat. The wind-swept hair is real though.
Ken did steer. As did Raina.
I did take a whirl at grinding. It's a bit different from computer programming - lots of physicality. Grinders on a racing boat make $100k/year and are in great shape. So if you are young and strong and don't want to work at a desk maybe you can check it out. On the downside, the ocean tends to smell worse than an office building. Here's me taking a picture of grinding.
Couple more photos...
The back-of-the-boat social club. (They also helped.)
Some people can't leave work behind...
- Insightful, conceptual, and creative
- Rational, detached, and objectively critical
- Apt to enjoy complex challenges
- Likes to do things his own way
- Usually seen by others as private and hard to know
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Todd was craving some homemade food today, since he ate out all week last week while in San Francisco. So we went grocery shopping today and bought stuff to make four meals this week. First up is carne asada tacos tonight. I made the fresh salsa, consisting of chopped up tomatoes, corn, anaheim chili, garlic, cilantro, lime rind, lime juice, and a dash of salt. I love chopping up the fresh ingredients and making this stuff. And it was something I made up too. The original recipe called for diced avocado, but the one we bought today was still hard as a rock, because we had planned to make this dish later in the week but changed our minds. So I substituted corn for the avocado. Still delicious! Todd was in charge of the meat and the fresh homemade tortillas. Fresh homemade tacos! I spent a good part of today scrapping. Shutterfly sent me a coupon for a free 8x8 photobook, but I have to use it by this Thursday. Since I just printed out some single 8x8 pages, I don't need to make a book with those anymore. So my big idea is to finally make a vacation album of our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii last November. I have two single pages made before already. So today I made this double-page spread. Credits: Template 91 by Yin Designs; Island Adventures & Hand Stamped Alpha by Michelle Coleman; Handy Dandy Dates by Danielle Donaldson; Sandy Toes by Gina Miller; Fonts are SBC Distressed Typewriter & Saginaw.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Our good friend Anne told us she was hosting a San Diego Track Club run at Lake Miramar today, so we decided to go join the run over there instead of running with our usual running club. We did balk a little at the 6:30am starting time. And let me tell you, when that alarm went off at 5:30am today, nobody budged, LOL! However, ten minutes later, we knew we had to get out of bed if we were to make the run, so we begrudgingly did. When we opened our garage door, it was still a little dark outside. And then we got a surprise on our way to Lake Miramar: RAIN! Todd said, "If it's going to rain steadily, I'm not doing it." Raining in August in San Diego is a really rare thing, so we're not used to it. Good thing it wasn't raining hard, or we really would have bailed. When we got to the parking lot, we were still waiting for the rain to stop. We stepped out of the car, and suddenly Anne was waving at us. Doh! We HAD to run now that she saw us! The run actually turned out to be rather easy, because it wasn't hot. We've run at Lake Miramar many many times, so the loop was very familiar to us. Here we are starting out. I actually didn't take that many photos during this run, because let's face it, it was dreary and rainy. I concentrated my efforts at chi running again, using my core muscles to propel my legs and arms, and relaxing my shoulders. It did not feel quite as effortless as last week, but I was still faster than my usual pace, and it did feel like I was making less effort. My fastest mile was a 10:12 mile for mile 3. I averaged a 10:27 min/mile pace for the five mile run, which is really good for me. I'm a true convert to this chi running now! I have Anne to thank, for introducing me to this concept. Here's Todd's stats. He was, as usual, a lot faster than me. However, he did feel discomfort in his right knee still, so he's not fully recovered from his nagging injury yet, despite the two months of physical therapy. :( Here we are, after the run. Talk about keeping it real! Sweaty faces with little dead bugs on them. Gross! Anne was the best run host ever! Not only did she set up the water station, but she also brought frozen fruits as post-run goodies. I had never eaten frozen grapes before, and let me tell you, I'm in love! I love the texture and the sweetness combined. What a great after-run treat! Todd took a picture of me and Anne before we left. To read more about the run today and see a better photo of me and Todd, go to Anne's post here. The rest of today... lunch at Bongiornos: Napped. Watched football. Had dinner at Santana's: It is AWESOME to have Todd home again!