Yearly Archives: 2010

Lola learns how to "roll over"

Thought I’d try a video blog post this time!

Don’t mind the big dork in the film, yeah the one in the pink sweater. Kevin says it sounds like I have a lisp…I swear I don’t! Maybe this will end up being my only video blog post, hmmm…

Jessieโ€™s graduation from SF State University!

The moment had finally come for Jessie’s graduation from SF State! She graduated with a BA in Political Science and my mom & her boyfriend Steve, her roommate Jessie and her boss Deanna were all there to show our support and cheer her on (as she went on stage three times!) The ceremony was specific for the PS Department, so lucky for us we didn’t have to sit through 7,000 names being called. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I know it hasn’t been easy for Jess to get to this moment but I know that she worked her rear off to make it a reality and I honestly could not be more proud of her. Tears were shed and her name was hollered as loud as I could and it was not only a big moment in Jessie’s life, it was a big moment in mine too. I love you Jess and am so so so so very proud of you! YOU DID IT!!!!!

A short video of Jessie going up on stage to receive her “Student Leader of the Year” award…well-deserved!!!

Anxious to finally get her degree!

She did it!!

College graduate sisters!

(Part of) her cheering squad!

After her graduation we all went out to dinner at You See Sushi (one of Jessie’s favorite sushi restaurants) and on the walk there we spotted a cute Vespa that we encouraged Jess to jump on for an impromptu photo shoot (with that cute outfit she was wearing we couldn’t resist!)

I Photo Shop’d that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

At the restaurant we presented Jessie with some cards, one being from me and my mom. It was a card that you could record a message in so we recorded a really goofy message and I had to videotape Jessie’s reaction while she opened it…enjoy!

Girl Scout weekend

The time had finally come for my niece’s 5th grade Girl Scout Junior troop to come up and visit San Francisco! We have been looking forward to this trip for over a year when I was still their troop leader and we all had a fantastic time together!

Judith (my sis-in-law), Dorothy (my mama-in-law), Katelyn (my niece) and 8 other Girl Scouts and their moms arrived to San Francisco Airport on the morning of Friday 5/7. I met them at the airport and we then BARTed our way to their hostel (a super cute place if anyone’s interested in staying in a hostel in the city) to drop off luggage.

The girls in front of their hostel

We then rushed off to eat some lunch at Mel’s Diner (a well-known diner in SF that had so-so food) and then made our way to Golden Gate Park

Milkshakes at 10am? Sure!

The group really wanted to go to the California Academy of Sciences so that’s where we spent the afternoon.

Golden Gate Park
K. and the frog having a face-off
My favorite part of the CAS: the 4-story rain forest

These frogs cracked me up! They seemed to be such characters, kind of reminded me of little Buddhas ๐Ÿ˜‰

V. and the beautiful jellyfish
This sea star seemed to be laying out on a beach sunbathing
The awesome albino alligator!
V., K. and Katelyn messing around (it’s what they do best!) This beast of a display was for their “Extreme Mammals” exhibit

I have to admit, I was a little worried about being their tour guide since Kevin’s usually the tour guide when visitors come out and we generally don’t take public transportation with visitors–so though I’m super confident when it comes to the route I take everyday for work (2 buses + BART) it was a little worrisome to make sure we got on the right bus (and made sure all 18 of us got on/off at the same time!) But the first day went super smoooooth and I was pretty proud of myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some funny moments riding the bus with the group–the girls absolutely LOVED riding the bus and were sad when we told them to sit down because the bus was getting full (they loved hanging onto the poles and swinging around); some young guys decided to sit down amongst the 9 girls and after they figured out who they were sitting next to (a bunch of giggling girls) it was funny to watch their facial expressions change.

They even enjoyed waiting for the buses at the bus stops…

A bunch of little monkeys!
Good friends V. and A.
This photo shows their level of excitement really well…bunch of nerds! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For dinner we went to a real local treat…Chevy’s Mexican restaurant (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing voice? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) We called it an early night because we had a loooong day ahead of us!

On Saturday morning I made my way to the hostel to meet the group so we could make our way to the Golden Gate Bridge for the Girl Scouts’ annual Bridging event! When girls in GS graduate from one level to the next they call it “bridging” so the Northern California GS organize a huge event so that girls from all over can “bridge” across the Golden Gate Bridge. Our girls graduated from GS Juniors to GS Cadettes (6th-8th grade). This event attracts over 4,000 girl members (that’s just girls we’re talking about!) and is put together really well. The GS hired shuttle buses to take troops across the bridge into Marin County and then we all hiked our way back across the bridge back into SF.

Excited for yet another bus ride (driving across the Golden Gate Bridge)
The gorgeous ladies of Troop 3933!
It sure makes you think when you’re crossing that bridge and only have the water below and the huge metal structures surrounding you and the wind is blowing like crazy!
It sure doesn’t look like 4,000 Girl Scouts were crossing the bridge but believe me they were!
My beautiful niece, happy to be bridging to Cadettes!

I made an announcement as we approached the end of the bridge, that once they crossed the line they would no longer be Girl Scout Juniors but instead become Girl Scout Cadettes, so I took a few photos of them as they crossed:

B., Katelyn and K. running across the “finish line”!
V. & A. crossing in style
J., S. and M. crossing as a unit
Say hello to the newest Girl Scout Cadette troop in Long Beach!

After our trek across the bridge we were greeted with a festival for the girls–tons of booths with activities for the girls to participate in.

B. & K. with a vintage GS uniform

Katelyn & Judith taking a break
A GS tradition is making “swaps” that represent your troop and “swapping” them with other troop’s to create a collection. This is Katelyn’s hat decorated with her swaps (that was probably on 1/3 of them!)

After the event it seemed my luck with being the tour guide started to run down–I didn’t know how the heck to get us back to the hostel! Our misadventure included–walking up a huge staircase and then finding out that we had to go back down the stairs (oops!), stalking a park ranger and waiting for him outside the restroom so that we could ask for directions (awkward!), then walking a mile and a half to get to the darn bus. My excuse was that I never come to this part of town! Oh well, at least we eventually made it back safe and sound.

That night we met up with Kevin and ate at the Cheesecake Factory on top of the Macy’s building in Union Square. The group was so huge we had to get split up but it ended up being really nice spending time with Kevin and his mom Dorothy for an evening.

Overlooking Union Square: Judith, J., M., S. and B.

Sunday morning Dorothy and I made our way to the hostel to meet up with the group for their last day in the city. We went downtown to wait in a 20 minute line to take the famous trolley (I hadn’t done that since living here so it was nice to do).

The girls and the trolley
The blue skies in downtown
A group of men from Dockers pants were walking through the area with roses for all the moms out there in celebration of Mother’s Day (how cute!) So here’s a photo of all the moms with their roses.
Dorothy and me on the trolley (proof that I was there that weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
Some of the girls got to ride on the outside, this is M. en route to Ghirardelli Square

The trolley took us right to Ghirardelli Square where the group split up for a bit and our little group enjoyed some delicious Ghirardelli ice cream treats (yes even at 10 in the morning!)

Katelyn getting ready to enjoy their sundae
Dorothy and my sundae (amazing!!)
The happy tourists ๐Ÿ˜‰

We then walked to Fisherman’s Wharf (have I told you how much I love that place? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and I am happy to announce that I finally saw the bushman!

The troop spent their last afternoon on a bay cruise and since I didn’t see the point in forking over $25 for me to do something I could day any ol’ time, I said my goodbyes at Fisherman’s Wharf.

It was so so so so nice spending a weekend with my family and with those crazy 5th grade Girl Scouts…I really miss spending time with them every other week at our troop meetings. Those girls mean a lot to me after being their troop leader for two years and it was so great to feel connected to them with this trip.

Dog beach and Indian pizza=The best Saturday!

This weekend was Kevin’s first weekend working (which is going to be a very regular thing from now on!) so Lola and I were on our own for the first part of Saturday. What better way to spend a warm, sunny Saturday than a day at the dog beach! We visited Crissy Fields a time or two before and I knew that this was the best place to wear Lola out. ๐Ÿ™‚

On our way to Crissy Fields

Lola and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

She isn’t much of a fan of the waves but she sure loves water so was happy when we found this shallow, calm spot.

Wet dog!

Happy dog!

An exhausted pup

After Kevin’s long day at work we decided to try out a new place to eat: Zante’s Pizza! I had tried their Indian Special Pizza a few months ago at a get-together and have been raving about it ever since to Kevin, so we thought it was a great night to check it out.

Hands-down the BEST pizza ever!

Kevin’s fancy coke

The best pizza EVER! Indian special pizza included: spinach, cauliflower, eggplant, green onions, curry, tandoori chicken, lamb and prawns. Amazing!

Whoever the next lucky visitor to SF is can request to come here and we will GLADLY take you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lola’s best friend

Our friend Carleigh came over on Friday night for some carne asada, wine and doggie play time! The three of us went to Millikan HS together and we’ve reconnected in the past few months since we moved up to SF where Carleigh has been for a few years. Her boyfriend Scott had to work late so couldn’t join us for dinner ๐Ÿ™ but Carleigh and their adorable dog Bailey joined us for a fun night!

Our appetizer: chips and salsa!

The veggie fajitas cookin’ away!

Carleigh provided dessert: cranberry tart and peanut butter delicacies!

Lola and Bailey had met a few times before at St. Mary’s dog park. But this was the first time that Lola ever had a doggie visitor to her home and she was the perfect hostess!

Gettin’ acquainted

These two played NON-STOP for at least 3 hours straight. They were such good friends! Did you notice the two glasses of wine (me and Carleigh) and the jug of milk on the counter (Kevin)? haha

Here’s a video of them in action:

The two of them would lay down for a few minutes and take a quick nap (but they had to be laying straight across from each other to make sure the other wasn’t up to no good!) and then one of them would get up and encourage the other to start playing again, so funny!

We absolutely loved having Carleigh and Bailey over to our place and we’re so happy that Bailey and Lola became such good friends!

Time travel on the cheap!

A friend of ours sent us this video and I thought it’d be great to post it on our blog! It’s a video taken from a streetcar just days before the big earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. I travel these same tracks everyday for work and I pass by the Ferry Building clock tower (where the streetcar in the video is headed) each day, so it’s amazing to see what it all looked like over 100 years ago (especially knowing that this was taken only 4 days before the big earthquake).

And you’d think that the streets of SF were pretty dangerous for pedestrians, cars and buses today…but just imagine living back then! All I gotta say is that the guy at 2:36 had a death wish, haha.


Maya’s farewell–Part II

Maya’s got one week left in the Bay Area ๐Ÿ™ and I was so happy that she was going to be in the city tonight and wanted to spend some time with me! She’s been staying out in Sacramento with a friend so for the night she stayed in a hotel in Union Square because tomorrow’s the final walk-through with her former landlord. She checked in and I went up to see the room for a few minutes. The hotel is called Hotel Diva, awesome! It was a little out of control…they even had complementary “Diva” temporary tattoos! haha

Maya was very excited about her King-sized bed

And I was a little excited about the fire escape that we had access to!

I felt compelled to ask Maya to take a picture of me on it. Don’t ask.

We walked through downtown for a bit and then decided to eat at a very high-class restaurant…Del Taco! Being from Boston and this Del Taco being the only one in SF, she had never been before! We used to talk about going there after work, so what better way to send her off to the East Coast than a trip to Del Taco? haha

She’s only had Taco Bell in her life, so did I make a convert outta her?? You gotta ask her. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We then decided to have a little bit of dessert and we enjoyed two choclate-covered and chocolate-filled eclairs from Beard Papa bakery in the Westfield Mall food court (that is the most posh food court I’ve ever been in!) The eclairs were nothing short of amazing.

I’m hoping to spend a day with Maya and her friend Katie out in Sacramento at Katie’s new apartment over the weekend, so check back for “Maya’s farewell–Part III” coming soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lola, the newest homeowner on the block

So we’ve had Lola for 9 months now and we still hadn’t gotten her a dog house. 95% of the time it’s been fine but for those gloomy rainy days, we’d have to leave her inside while we were out. For the time Kevin’s been unemployed it would work out because he was at home until 2:30pm and then I’d be home at 5pm so it was only a few hours of being left alone. But two times in particular we’ve left her outside when we thought the weather was going to be fine and it ended up raining on our poor little girl (and one of those times it was hailing!). So now that Kevin got a job, we could finally seriously look into buying a dog house!

This morning I went on Craig’s List to see what was available. When I searched “dog house” in San Francisco, two popped up and one happened to be for a medium-to-large dog, they were open to suggestions for price, and they were in the Portola District (the same neighborhood we live in!) So I e-mailed him and he got back to me right away and we set up a viewing for 3:30pm. Turns out not only do they live in the same neighborhood…they live 5 houses away!!! So I literally walked down the street with Lola to check out the dog house. Amazing!

Luckily the dog house was just the right size and when I offered them $30 they accepted! I think it was meant to be. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I spent a good 15 minutes in the backyard with her trying to get her into the house and after using the techniques that I learned from our dog training at the SF SPCA, now when I say “Go to your house”, she goes in and lays down! I should be a dog trainer.

So now Lola’s living it up in her new dog house!

Don’t worry, she really fits in there. She’s just lounging in this photo!

Positive reinforcement works, folks! Rewarding her for going in and laying down, then repeating. It’s not rocket science! ๐Ÿ™‚

The happy homeowner

I tried to lay down next to her so I could take a picture with her head sticking out but before I could snap a good photo, she knocked me over with kisses! haha

Kevin’s new job!!!

Yup, you read that correctly…Kevin got a new job!!! He interviewed last week at Pet Camp in SF and on Friday he went in for a trial run to check out the job. Yesterday he got the phone call that we’ve been waiting for offering him the job!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It has been such a huge relief and I couldn’t be more proud of him!

He started this morning and is there as I write this blog post. He’s their newest Pet Care Technician and he’ll be feeding & exercising the dogs and, of course, pickin’ up dog poop! hehe One of the coolest perks of the job is that we get 2 weeks of free boarding if we go out of town and need a place for Lola AND he gets to bring Lola in to work with him!!

This morning before his first day of work we went to celebrate with breakfast at Just for You cafe in the Dogpatch. We hadn’t been since Brianne & Brian’s visit in October and had a delicious celebratory meal together.

Congrats, Kevin!!!!!!

Lisaโ€™s visit to Long Beach

I just came back from a fun-filled time away in Long Beach! Kevin unfortunately wasn’t able to go because of school (he has to clock in and out so he can’t just skip class!) so he and Lola were holding down the fort while I was away.

Wed. 4/21
After a full day of work I left home at 6pm for the drive down to Long Beach! I made it in record time (3 minutes shy of 6 hours) and it was the best drive down the 5 yet! I generally leave in the wee hours of the morning and though it’s beautiful seeing the sunrise, there’s nothing quite like the way the green, rolling hills look when they’re bathed in the golden light of the setting sun (wow, I guess I’m more of a poet than I thought! haha) I was pretty blown away with how beautiful it was and I just wish I stopped for a few minutes to take some photos! I got in right at midnight and went straight to bed after a quick reunion with my family dog Lukey!

Thurs. 4/22
I woke up bright and early and went to breakfast with my mama and my second mom Diane! Diane suggested we try Brulee, a fairly new breakfast/brunch/lunch spot off PCH/Loynes Drive in Long Beach and we were definitely not disappointed! The food was absolutely delicious with very reasonable prices and super friendly staff.

After breakfast my mom and I went shopping a bit (I needed to buy a dress for the wedding I was going to that weekend) and I worked from home for a few hours in the afternoon. Then that evening we went to dinner with Allen, a Chinese student who is renting a room from my mom while he attends CSULB. We went to Cho Dang Tofu House restaurant in Cerritos, one of my favorite restaurants ever! The soup comes out boiling and you get an egg that you crack and cook right in your bowl! It comes with a steaming bowl of rice and a ton of little dishes full of yummy treats (kim chee, seaweed, etc.) And to top it all off, they have soft-serve ice cream available at the end of the meal, included in the price! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best. Dinner. Ever!

Cracking an egg right into my soup. Mmm mmm MMM!
Me and Allen after a delightful meal

Fri. 4/23
I took it easy Friday morning trying to catch up on some sleep and get rested up for the big Girl Scout camp out weekend! The main reason I went down to LB was because of the Junior Jam GS camp out that my niece’s troop was participating in. I was the co-leader with my sis-in-law Judith for the past two years and as 4th grade Juniors last year we participated in Junior Jam in ’09 so we had to participate as 5th grade Juniors this year as it’s their last year as Junior Girl Scouts! And of course I had to come down to be with them. The girls didn’t know I was coming so it was a big surprise for them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Junior Jam is a camping skills competition weekend, so they competed in a ton of skills like putting up a tent, first aid, fire-building, knots, lashing, emergency preparedness, GS know-how, compass and trail signs, etc. I think it is such a great event where 500 Junior Girl Scouts come together to demonstrate their knowledge with these type of skills. And on top of that, a High School GS troop is the one that puts on the event every year! It’s quite amazing.

So Friday night we set up camp, had dinner, and the troop participated in a camp-wide night games which was kind of like “Amazing Race”.

The girls were in love with the doggie door in the tent (okay, I know it’s not really a doggie door but it looks like it!)

Sat. 4/24
We woke up bright and early to eat breakfast (mmm breakfast burritos), decorate our campsite (the weekend’s theme was “Jammin’ Holidays” so our troop’s theme was “birthday”), and get ready for the competition!

The girls were up bright-and-early and wanted to check out the pond
We woke up to a wonderful surprise…squirrels got into our birthday cake! haha
I had a few of the girls pose in front of the huge decorations they had for the camp out, I told them to pretend they were part of the scenes.

The troop named themselves the “Party Bashers” for this camp out (last year it was a music themed camp out so our troop’s theme was the 80’s and the girls named themselves “The Crazy 80’s Ladies”, they sure are creative!)

That’s one good lookin’ donkey! ๐Ÿ˜‰
We created a little birthday scene with the girl’s stuffed animals, too cute!

And now for the skills…

Patiently awaiting their turn
They had to use their lashing skills to make a table
Performing a flag ceremony, good job ladies!
Putting up a tent
Tying knots

The girls did a fantastic job with the skills, I was so proud of them! After eating lunch with the troop I had to leave early so didn’t stick around for the campfire that night or the awards ceremony the next morning. But I found out that the girls placed 5th!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Saturday afternoon I tagged along with my mom and her boyfriend Steve and their friends to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale! The Renaissance Faire is one of my absolute favorite things to do so I couldn’t pass up the offer to go with them while I was in LB! We had a fantastic time and it was great spending the afternoon there until they closed…definitely the way to go to beat the crowds and still enjoy yourself!

My mom trying on a ribbon/flower headband, so pretty!
Steve’s grandson Christian…watch out Cap’n Jack!
A young Renaissance man checking himself out in the mirror
Give him a few years and Christian will have the biggest smile on his face ๐Ÿ˜‰
Pirate mama

They have the prettiest masks there!
Christian wanted to ride the swing so I got to tag along ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s just to the right of me.
Little Robin Hood
My head was too big for that hole, haha
My favorite thing to get at the Ren Faire…fruit ice!!
Christian sizing up the Giant
Christian and Steve showing the mini Giant who’s boss
Christian on the dragon swing (he’s third from the front)
It was Pirate Day at the Ren Faire, can’t you tell?
Beautiful horse!
I absolutely love all of the costumes! And they all play their characters so well too.

Christian climbing a tree

Saturday night I got together with our good friend Brianne and her sister Laura & Laura’s friend Kylie. We had some snacks, had some laughs, and played some fun games (our favorite past-time!) I was so happy we were able to get together, Brianne and Brian are two friends we miss so much being up here!!

Sun. 4/25
I had another early morning because I wanted to squeeze in as my visits to people as possible! The morning I spent a few hours with my in-laws Dorothy and George (with a short-but-sweet visit with my bro-in-law Thomas too!). It was great catching up with them and I really do miss our talks!

Mid-morning I drove out to my friend Kim’s house to visit with her and her three monkeys (I mean sons!) Kim and I are training for the half-marathon together (check out our running blog here!) and we hadn’t seen each other in about SIX YEARS! It was SO GREAT catching up with her in person and seeing her boys (who are a blast!)

Jacob (3) and David (12)
Kim’s dad came by on his motorcycle so Jacob and David got a ride back home while Connor (2) watched them drive off!

After a few hours of hanging out with her clan ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had to rush back home to get ready for Evon’s wedding! Evon and I were in a sistahood at Redlands together (Wadada Wa Rangi Wengi or WRW) and she married her wonderful fiancee Russell! I was so honored to be a part of their special day and it was so great reuniting with so many of my WRW sistas! I carpooled with my good friend Alison and her husband Seth and it was so nice spending some time with them!

They got married at the most beautiful Catholic church I’ve ever been in!
The lone lit candle
I love stained-glass windows. Beautiful!
The newlyweds, congrats Evon and Russell!!
Nialta and Linda

The reception was a few miles away at a reception hall and it was gorgeously decorated and we had the most amazing spread waiting for us! The crazy thing is that that was only the first course of over SEVEN courses!!

And each table came adorned with a bottle of whiskey and vodka…

Danica getting us started with the Grey Goose
The reception was so much fun! In the first 10 minutes of the bride and groom showing up, her guests had her up in the air!
The happy couple’s first dance
The cake. Being on a Sunday night we had to leave by 10pm, and they hadn’t even gotten to the cake yet! It sure was gorgeous though…
Me and the BEAUTIFUL bride!

Alison, Caroline (a bridesmaid) and me
Me and Sneha (who flew in from NYC)
Meenal (who flew in from Antigua!), me and Alison

Mon. 4/26
Monday wasn’t too eventful except for the 6 hour drive back up to SF! And yes, even with the LA traffic I hit going up I made it in exactly 6 hours…I guess it pays only having one person and making only one pit-stop during the drive! I had a wonderful reunion with my Lola and after a power nap that evening I stayed up until 11pm so that I could see Kevin when he got home from school! ๐Ÿ™‚

I had such a wonderful trip, thank you all for taking the time to see me and spend time with me!