Yearly Archives: 2009

David’s visit from Illinois

Our good friend David (whose wife Erin I met while studying abroad in Nicaragua and she was one of my bridesmaids) came for a weekend visit from Rockford, Illinois and it was so great to see him! He flew into SFO late Friday night so we picked him up and spent some time catching up before hittin’ the hay.

On Saturday we dropped him off at the SF Conservatory of Music…David is a trumpet player and is going to start a Master’s program in the fall and one of the schools he’s applying to is the SF Conservatory; graduate applicants are given the opportunity for one free lesson with a professor so he took advantage of it and was able to visit us at the same time! ๐Ÿ™‚ David was at the school pretty much all day so Kevin and I just hung out around the house and then late afternoon we headed over to our friend Maya’s apartment for some holiday cheer. We made holiday cookies (chocolate chip, gingerbread and peanut butter/chocolate cookies) and watched “The Santa Claus”. David joined us later for some Serrano’s pizza and to watch “Sleepaway Camp”, a horror movie (great holiday film, eh? haha)

On Sunday we did some sightseeing…the “poor man’s Lombard Street” , Potrero Hill’s Community Garden, Golden Gate Park, Haight/Ashbury, the Castro, the Presidio, and Golden Gate Bridge (Kevin and I are becoming pros at sightseeing! ๐Ÿ™‚ ) We had lunch at Jay’s Cheesesteak in the Mission which has great sandwiches and a ton of vegetarian meat options. Then that evening we went to Cafe Divine in North Beach (delicious mochas!!) to see the SF Conservatory professor that David met with on Saturday perform with his jazz quartet, The Mario Guarneri Jazz Quartet. It was a fantastic show and I think David’s inspired us to become monthly regulars.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well with David’s regional auditions in January and that everything falls into place so that they can move out here to the Bay Area! ๐Ÿ™‚

Potrero Hill Community Garden, a beautiful, quiet retreat in the middle of the city


The “Poor Man’s Lombard Street”…they say it’s more crooked than Lombard, and it’s nowhere near as crowded so it’s become our go-to when entertaining visitors ๐Ÿ™‚

Proof that David was here, haha

The Mario Guarneri Jazz Quartet at Cafe Divine

Visitors, cookies and kitties!

Thursday 12/3

One of my friends from Redlands came up to visit! Megan was my roommate freshman and senior year and is now going to grad school in Kansas City, Missouri. She made a trip up here to visit her friend Cori and they made a day trip to SF so met me after work. We made our way to the Mission to eat at the Pi Bar (Megan was a Math major so when I found out they opened up that bar I sent her an e-mail about it so we planned to go there together when she came to visit. They’re known for their authentic NY-style pizza and although I’m not an expert I have to say that it was damn good! Just be forewarned…the large pizza is a laaaaaarge pizza! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We then decided to make a stop at Anthony’s Cookies across the street for some delicious homemade cookies. The minute the door opens we were overcome with the smell of snicker doodles…delish! The cookies were warm and gooey and definitely hit the spot. Megan & Cori had to hit the road to make the long drive back to Cori’s place near Stanislaus so we said our farewell at the BART station. Their visit was definitely a great mid-week break!

Posing in front of the cable car

Megan in front of the Pi Bar

Saying our farewells at the BART station


Friday 12/4

The Student Government Association at the university I work for hosted a holiday party for students, staff and faculty so my co-worker Maya talked me into going and I’m glad I did! Kevin went as well as Maya’s friend Katie and we thoroughly enjoyed the free food and two free drinks at the 330 Ritch bar (don’t be fooled by the name, the bar is located at 360 Ritch Street…don’t ask). Maya and I were some of the only staff there so we enjoyed blending in with the PhD students. ๐Ÿ™‚

Maya and Katie

Me and Kev

Saturday 12/5

Jessie and I set up a play date for Saturday morning since she had to work (she’s a nanny to four adorable boys) so me and Lola met them at Dolores Park for some play time. The boys were smitten with Lola and spent almost the whole time playing with her. I think we all won that morning–the boys got to play with a doggy, Jess got a bit of a break with work, and I got my “kid fix”! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sloan being a good boy and eating his bananer

Brandt (L), Sawyer (M) and Colby (R)

Jess and Brandt

Sloan, the future ball player, throwing the ball (while Lola anxiously waits)

Before the train came we took advantage of the cool background…the boys are natural models!

After we dropped the boys off at their house me and Jess went to pick up Kevin and then we went to the SF SPCA to look for a kitty for Jess! She wasn’t really expecting to take one home that night but she fell in love with a little cutie so filled out the paperwork and within a few hours was the proud new mommy of a kitty! He’s a six month old bundle of joy and the name they gave him was Mars and I helped extend the name a bit to Marzipan (so Jess named Lola and I helped name her kitty!) He is a total cutie and has already brought a lot of happiness to Jessie’s life. ๐Ÿ™‚

The proud mama bringing her baby home!

What a cutie!

Thanksgiving weekend

This year, Thanksgiving was filled with a few “firsts” for us–first time we haven’t spent Thanksgiving in Long Beach, first time hosting the gathering, first time talking with family via video chat…but although it was filled with very new experiences, we had a really great time.

Growing up, my family was extremely close with the Julian family (Diane, Dave, Matt & Brandon), so they decided to come to San Francisco and spend the holiday with us. Brandon arrived from Humboldt (where he’s earning his degree in Early Childhood Education, should be done this winter!) earlier than the rest of the gang so he stayed with us Tuesday night. Then on Wed., Dave, Diane and Matt arrived after the long drive from LA around 11:30 so we decided to get a bite to eat. Matt had seen Cali Pho Nia which I’ve blogged about previously and was craving Vietnamese so we all enjoyed a great lunch together. That afternoon we watched a family video of us kids (the two Julian boys and the three Delmar kids) putting on skits, showing off our Halloween candy loot, and dancing the Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show…awesome! The video definitely gave us some laughs, watching ourselves dancing away in our 80’s and 90’s clothes, haha.

Thanksgiving morning Diane woke up not feeling so hot ๐Ÿ™ but she was a real trooper and came to our apartment early anyways to help cook! We popped open a bottle (or two) of champagne to help us get through the hours of cooking and enjoyed some amazing appetizers that Diane and Jessie provided…

Mid-morning Kevin and I had a nice time chatting with his family via his and his brother’s PlayStation 3 gaming systems (I guess they are good for something! haha) We’ve done it a few times before but it was really special doing it on a holiday when we weren’t able to be with them in person.

Brandon cuttin’ up the sweet potato fries while Jessie and Matt keep him entertained with their story-telling.
Jessie, Matt and me

Early in the afternoon my mom and Kevin surprised us with another video chat session, this time with my mom, my Aunt Tina, my Uncle Joey and Luke the family dog! ๐Ÿ™‚ We had a great time talking with them with the video streaming, it felt like they were right in our living room with us!

Jessie and her friend Kimberly who joined us for the holiday
Kevin and Dave (and Lola) anxiously waiting for the food to be done
Entertaining ourselves as the turkey finished cooking, playing a game that Brandon told us about called “Pictionary Telephone” (so much fun!)

So what was on the menu, you ask? Well, let me show you!

Mmm, mmm, mmm! Part one of the amazing meal
I had to put a special picture of Kevin’s homemade dinner rolls (and not just pour-out-the-box-and-mix-with-water kinda homemade, I’m talking yeast-and-rolling-out-the-dough-and-letting-it-rise-overnight kinda homemade!

And to finish off the meal…plenty of desserts! Kevin and I were in charge of the desserts and Jessie’s friend Kimberly brought the berry pie for us to share as well. We made two pumpkin pies, capirotada (Mexican bread pudding) and a tiramisu trifle dessert…delicious!

The day after Thanksgiving, instead of spending our time standing in lines with the rest of the world, we spent a quiet morning at home and then met up with the Julians at the SF Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) which Kevin and I hadn’t made it to yet. We went specifically to see the Richard Avedon photography exhibit but enjoyed the other exhibits as well.

Trippy.
I don’t think Kevin was too impressed, probably thinking “I could’ve done that”, haha
Kevin wanted to call this one “Pucker Up, Buttercup” and I couldn’t agree more! haha
One of my favorite pieces about African-American novelists and literary figures

Now onto the main exhibit!

He had tons of amazing portraits of both famous and not-so-famous characters. Here are my favorites…

One of my favorites, Janis Joplin

Louis Armstrong (I’ve been listening to his music a lot lately)

Marilyn

The Beatles

Malcolm X

The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1963. I had researched this group for my senior thesis on black and white women’s experiences during the Civil Rights Movement (one of my favorite time periods in US History), so this was really exciting to see.

After spending a couple of hours in the museum we made our way to Union Square to get a bite to eat at a small Italian cafe before heading out to see the Christmas tree lighting. After 30 minutes of holiday songs by the boy’s choir, one of the American Idol losers, and some church chorus group they finally lit the tree to everyone’s enjoyment! Then the streets flooded with people wanting to get home and I’ve never seen it so packed. Even though I joke about the annoying show they put on before they lit the tree, it was a great way to get in the holiday spirit!

Diane and Matt
Matt, Brandon and Kevin
The tree

The Julians’ last night in the city we decided to introduce them to the wonderful world of Goood Frickin Chicken which Kevin and I frequent. As expected, the Julians loved the food there and we had a great last night together hanging out like old times.

We had a really great weekend spending time with family friends and now that we’ve got a taste for the holidays, the countdown to Christmas in Long Beach has officially started! We’ll be driving down either the 18th or 19th and can’t wait! ๐Ÿ™‚

A thank you to our visitors, anxious puppies, and Golden Gate Park

Howdy folks!

I just had the best surprise a few minutes ago and that prompted me to get my butt on here and write another post…a few weeks ago I added a map to my blog to show where people are logging into our blog (you can see it on the right column) and lo and behold we’ve had quite a few hits from all over the world! Of course, Southern California has the most hits but I believe I can make a shout out to a few people outside of CA that I think have been visiting: Erin in Illinois, Sneha in NYC and our farthest visitor ever…Shige in Japan!! It’s so amazing to know that people are actually interested in what we’re up to and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to read our blog! Also, there’s someone who logged in from it looks to be Nebraska or Kansas though I’m not sure who it is…so post a comment if it’s you so we’ll know who you are and can thank you properly! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll update about Thanksgiving in another post later this week but a few things that we’ve been up to since my last post…

Lola’s been acting up a lot lately and it started to really get to me and put a damper on things. Kevin leaves for school between 2-3pm every afternoon and I get home between 5-6pm so Lola is left outside for a few hours a day. Each night when I’d get home, I could expect to be greeted by an excited Lola but also a nice pile of crap that she tore up while she was alone. I’ve come home to a bag of charcoal torn up and strewn across the yard, the hose pulled off the stand with a few holes added to it, her water and food bowls torn up to shreds, and the best yet…her doggy bed torn up and the stuffing all over the yard. It was getting extremely difficult being happy with her in the evenings after having to clean up her crap and knowing that money was just being chewed up and spit out each day.

So one night last week when I came home to a bag of wood chips torn up I decided to Google the issue and see if I could find any solutions. Come to find out…she has anxiety problems! (Go figure…) Each time we would leave her, she’d get separation anxiety and would act out as a result. The most eye-opening part of my research was that us humans were the ones causing the problem in the first place. Something I found extremely interesting and also quite sad is that separation anxiety is the #2 reason why dogs are put up for adoption and euthanized…the dogs seem unruly and just plain ol’ “bad” and so are given up…but in reality the humans are the ones that need to be trained to fix this behavior. I found two great articles on this topic (links here and here) and Kevin and I have been working really hard this past week to help Lola with her anxiety problems. It really seems to be working…she’s getting more used to being by herself even when we’re home (so that when we do leave it’s not such a shock to her) and she’s starting to calm down before and after we leave so that our leaving is not such a big deal anymore. Tonight we were actually gone from 1-7:30pm and when we got home not a thing was torn up! ๐Ÿ™‚ So far, so good!

Last weekend on Saturday we decided to take a trip to Golden Gate Park and have a picnic lunch. We went to a part of the park that’s pretty quiet and off-the-beaten-path (on this map, we were near number 25 in the key) and spent a great few hours in the sunshine, enjoying our sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies, and playing fetch with Lola. We’re trying to take advantage of the sunny days because we won’t see many of those for a while come December!

Lola anxiously awaiting Kevin to throw the ball for her

A very tired and happy Lola
Hanging out with mom

Our pretty little girl (who thinks she’s a model with that pose, haha)

Updates

This past week has been pretty stressful for me at work because it was our university’s time for review by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Luckily they’re allowing us to continue to run a teacher credential program (thank bajeezus!) though we have a few things we need to improve on, luckily nothing in my role is affected by that. I also came down with a bit of bronchitis (fun!) though luckily it wasn’t as bad as I’ve had it before and thank goodness it wasn’t the dreaded swine flu!

Lately we’ve been laying low over the weekends and just hanging out at home with Lola. On Saturday we had Jessie and the LOST fan group come over to our place for our mini-marathon (four episodes). Then that night we decided to take the BART downtown to walk around Union Square. Last week they put the large Christmas tree up and also the ice skating rink so we went to check those out and then got some yummy ice cream (even though it was pretty chilly last night!)

Kevin and I both have really enjoyed moving up to SF where living green is not only a part of the general public’s consciousness already but it’s also integrated into the law (where plastic shopping bags are forbidden to be used in major grocery chains and composting was just made the law for residents and businesses in October). Every year Green Festivals are hosted in major cities across the U.S. and this year’s SF Green Fest was this weekend so Kevin and I spent a few hours there today. There were tons of booths with different organizations and companies that are committed to sustainable living and they had great free samples and handouts. There were food booths and demonstrations and speakers and a lot of great information was being shared. Our favorite part was learning about the home composting system called the Worm Factory which seemed like the easiest and quickest way to home compost we’d ever heard of before.

When we got back to our neighborhood we decided to stop off for a late lunch to one of our new favorite spots called Cali Pho Nia. They have got some of the best bun (vermicelli noodles with veggies, a choice of meat, and fish sauce) I’ve ever had (bun [pronounced ‘boon’] is my favorite Vietnamese noodle dish ever and their grilled beef is the absolute best we’ve ever had!)

Not much else is going on in our little world…next weekend we’re going to visit our friends Stacey, Jay, Isabella and Tasi (see previous blog post about visiting them here) and we’re looking forward to having some visitors during Thanksgiving which is going to be a lot of fun. So we might not have much to blog about for a bit but don’t fret I’ll be sure to update again when there’s something worth updating you all about!

Hope all is well with you!!

Here are some cute photos of Lola to bring a smile to your face! ๐Ÿ™‚





A week of Halloween festivities

I had a great Halloween week! The weekend before Halloween (Fri. 10/23) Jessie and her roommates hosted a pre-Halloween bash at their apartment. This year I dressed up as a gypsy and Kevin put on his annual gory wound makeup.

Me and my wounded husband, haha

The yummy spread!

Jessie the go-go dancer and her roommate Jessie the cat

At the party we spent a lot of time talking, laughing, drinking, eating and dancing away to some great tunes. Then a group of us (Lisa R., Cathy, Jessie, me and Rebecca–pictured below) decided to keep the evening going and went to a couple of bars in the area.

Bus ride to The Mint

On Halloween night, Kevin and I were invited to hang out with our new friends Maya (my co-worker) and her roommates Katie and Lizzie. We went to their apartment in Noe Valley (a really cute neighborhood a few miles from us in SF) to pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters and watch scary movies (we watched Sleepy Hollow and Grindhouse Planet Terror). I was just happy to have a second chance to wear my costume! Kevin decided to go as Kevin Halloween night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Trying to get into character!

Katie had some sparklers so we decided to go out front and light ’em. I mean, who doesn’t like sparklers??

My first birthday spent in SF

My 26th birthday was the first one while living in SF and I had a really wonderful day. I went to work that day and nothing terribly exciting happened at work. But when I got home there were some beautiful flowers on the kitchen counter that Kevin got me. ๐Ÿ™‚ This went along with the iPod Touch that he got me the night before (thanks Kevi!!)

We met up with my sister that night and went to Yo Yo Sushi for dinner (yummmm!) It was very reasonably priced for a sushi bar in SF and the sushi was delicious!


Then we decided to top off the evening with some yummy crepes from Ti Couz (Jessie had taken us here a couple of times during the last few years when we’d come out to visit and it is fantastic!)
Kevin got a fruit-filled crepe, I got chocolate mousse (but he heard me wrong at first so got me a Nutella-filled crepe with bananas on top and when I told him that the order was wrong he gave me my chocolate mousse and let us keep the crepe!), and Jessie got a crepe flambe.


So are you drooling yet? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had so much fun spending my birthday with two of my favorite people in the whole world. Thank you two for celebrating with me! ๐Ÿ™‚

October trip to Long Beach

Kevin and I had a great time back at home and can’t wait to go back!

Thursday 10/15
We landed in Long Beach early Thurs. AM and Kevin’s mom Dorothy came to pick us up. Kevin went to visit some friends at Yamaha where he used to work so Dorothy and I went to lunch together at Grounds Cafe (they have delicious sandwiches!) That afternoon we hung out with Kevin’s family and then that night we went to spend some time with my mom. We went to dinner at Lola’s Mexican Restaurant (they have the BEST cilantro salsa I have ever had and great molรฉ!) and had a lot of fun just spending time with my mama.


Friday 10/16
We took it easy Friday morning and just hung out around my mom’s house visiting with my family’s dog Luke (who’s an old fart now!)

Then my mom took Kevin and I on an adventure in Little Saigon–Chinese massages! My mom’s a big fan of getting these so for our birthdays last year she said she’d take us so we finally made some time to do it! It was quite the experience. We enjoyed it a lot and felt pretty refreshed (and a little beat up! haha) afterwards. We treated ourselves to some Vietnamese noodles and soup afterwards at a small cafe in the shopping center.

After that adventure (thanks again mama!) we went with Kevin’s parents to our nephew’s high school football game to see him perform in marching band. Josh is a sophomore at Mayfair HS and he just started band this year playing the trombone.

Josh is the one in the middle wearing the glasses

We met Kevin’s sister Judith and our neice Katelyn there and had a fun time just hanging out at the football game!

Dorothy, me, Katelyn and Judith

George, Kevin, Dorothy and me

After the halftime show we went to spend some time with our friends Brianne and Brian (the ones who visited us a few weeks ago). We went to eat at Lucille’s BBQ (one of our favorite restaurants!) and then went to hang out at their apartment. We got to meet their little kitty named Eva (sooo cute!) and we watched “I Love You, Man” which was quite entertaining (yay Jobin! haha) We used to spend a ton of time with them because they lived only a few blocks from our old apartment, so it was great feeling like old times again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday 10/17

Saturday morning we went to visit my Aunt Tina and had a great visit with her. She’s looking really great and was in the greatest of spirits when we saw her (it’s been a long while since I updated her blog, but in case you’d like to see it here’s the link!) She’s actually going to get her tracheotomy removed soon and will have a wheelchair that she can maneuver on her own in the next couple of months! She’s making amazing progress and I know that she’s only going to continue to improve by great leaps and bounds. ๐Ÿ™‚

That afternoon we spent some time at the Edmonds’ home having a barbecue. Dorothy made my favorite ribs ever and it felt like old times again hanging out in the backyard with Dorothy, George and Thomas.

That night came the long anticipated Oktoberfest! We had gone three years in a row while living in LB so wanted to continue the tradition while we were in town. Kim, Frank, Alison, Seth, Brian and Thomas joined us to drink some beer and do the chicken dance. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kevin, Brian and Thomas (pretending they’re too cool for the chicken dance!)

Alison & Seth (good friends from Redlands)

Kim & Frank (Kim’s a really close family friend)

Bet you can’t guess what we’re doing…

We’re such German-wannabe nerds!

Me ‘n Kev

The group

Sunday 10/18

Sunday was our last full day in town and Kevin’s family hosted a joint birthday party for our neice Katelyn (her birthday was Oct. 11th) and mine (my birthday was Oct. 20th). Sarah, Rob, Judy, Lisa, Brian, Brianne and the rest of the “regulars” came to celebrate.

Yummy cookies with funny Katelyn-designed quotes written on them

Kevin, Judith and Thomas

Rob & Judy

Katelyn opening up her gift from me and Kevin. We didn’t have any gift bags so we put it in a Christmas stocking. As you can see, she was pretty excited about the stocking itself…then she opened it up to find a pair of socks (haha, gotcha Katelyn!)…then she was pleasantly surprised to see a real gift inside. ๐Ÿ™‚

The birthday girls

That night we went back to my mom’s with Brian, Brianne and Thomas and spent time hanging out with my mom. We had to hit the sack early that night because of our early AM flight the next day.

Overall we had a wonderful time back at home! It was a bit strange having not been back in three months, not having a car to drive ourselves around, and thinking of Long Beach as a vacation spot for us after having lived there all of our lives. Thanks to everyone for chauffering us around town and taking the time to hang out with us! When we’re down for Christmas we want to see more of you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Long Beach bound

Hi everyone!

Kevin and I are VERY excited to be making a trip down to Long Beach this upcoming weekend after 3 1/2 months away! Lots of fun events planned–seeing our nephew Joshua perform in the halftime show at his high school’s homecoming game (he plays trombone in the marching band), staying at my mom’s house over the weekend and all the crazy fun that is sure to ensue, seeing my family’s dog Lukey, a BBQ with the Edmonds family, meeting the newest member of the Lord family (baby Dylan born 9/24 to our good family friends Celia and Chris), a joint birthday party with my niece Katelyn who turned 10 years old last weekend, and of course Oktoberfest!

We’ll be jumping on a plane early tomorrow morning and be in Long Beach through Monday morning. My sister Jessie’s going to be watching Lola over the weekend and I know they’re going to have a great time, so hopefully she’ll want us back by the time we return home! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hope you all are doing well and if we don’t get to see you this weekend, we’ll be in town for a longer period around Christmas so hopefully we’ll meet up then!

Lots of love,
Lisa

Trip to Alameda & Oakland

On Friday 10/9 I had the day off from work and Kevin had the night off from class so we decided to take a road trip to Alameda & Oakland near where Kevin has classes. He had driven by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park, Arrowhead Marsh many times before but didn’t have much time to visit so we took a day trip there with Lola. It’s a really pretty area and a nice, peaceful retreat in the middle of the city of Oakland.



A good ol’ egret

There was this very strange piece of artwork (at least that’s what we think it was) right in the middle of the grass area so Kevin decided to climb up it with Lola. Watch the video here:

Lola, like a little kid, playing on the whale playground toy

Though I don’t think we’ll be driving across the bridge just to go to this park again, it was a nice get away from the city for a change!

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