Monthly Archives: April 2010

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!

Run, Lisa, Run!

Alright, blog world, I’ve got an important announcement to make…are you ready? Okay, here it goes…I’m going to run my first half-marathon this year!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kimberly, a friend who I used to work with at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and I have decided to train together for the Long Beach Half-Marathon in October (on 10/17 to be exact)! She’s still living in Long Beach so we’re going to be training long-distance together. We’ve already been at it for a few weeks, so I thought it was about time I made the official announcement on here. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’re both avid bloggers (one of her other blogs about her adorable sons can be found here) and so we decided to make a blog together about our journey! We’re working on updating it more, so right now it might look a little bare in terms of posts. But hopefully you’ll all become followers over there too!

I’ve been running with Lola three days a week and this past Friday I asked Kevin to go along with me and to my surprise he said yes! We went to Golden Gate Park to run along the trail.

I gotta get him in workout clothes more often! ๐Ÿ™‚

Two sweaty, happy folks

We decided to reward ourselves with a DELICIOUS lunch at San Francisco Meats & Delicatessen. We’d been there once before and remembered how freaking good their sandwiches are so made the drive from GG Park to Ocean Avenue just to get our hands on a couple of their sammies…and boy were we happy we did!

I got the smoked turkey on Dutch Crunch bread with everything on it…mmm…

Kevin got the hot salami with pickles, lettuce and mayo on a sourdough roll

At least we worked out before eating there, I guess it’s better than us just driving over there without working out all day…right?? ๐Ÿ™‚

On Saturday night we were invited to a housewarming party for some new friends of ours. Terri and Scott are friends of Mika and Matt who we met through our friend Cynthia from Long Beach (Phew! That was a mouthful) They recently bought a new home in Concord (just past Walnut Creek) and we had a great time at their shindig. I didn’t take any pictures at the party, but Mika, Kevin and I took a quick trip to Baskin Robbins (Mika’s pregnant, so she was our excuse, haha) and lo-and-behold what do I find….?

Lisa’s Hot Dogs & Burritos shop!

Now that’s an interesting combination…

Anyone interested in trying my house-dog?

Their reviews look pretty good on Yelp, so maybe next time we go visit Terri & Scott we can have lunch at my hot dog shop. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jessie’s 28th birthday

On Thursday 4/15 for Jessie’s 28th birthday we celebrated in style at Morac, a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant + hookah bar.

She was thoroughly enjoying herself, if you can’t already tell ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jessie’s roommate, Jessie P.

Jessie and Susan (friends since high school)

The birthday girl even provided her own cupcakes! And boy were they delish!

After dinner a few of us decided to keep the fun evening going and went to The Mint karaoke bar.

Jessie and her roommate Jessie P. dancin’

Lisa R. singing Sean Paul’s “Shake that thing”

Ryan and Charlotte singing No Doubt’s “Spiderwebs”

Jessie and I decided to sing a duet–“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. When we got on stage and the lyrics popped up and the music started to play we noticed that the music was a lot slower than we imagined…then realized that instead of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell duet version, we chose Diana Ross & The Supremes much slower version (click the links to hear the difference between the two)! Luckily we were brought up on oldies so quickly figured out our mistake and I think we pulled it off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ain’t no mountain high enough, baby!

And we ended the evening with a Sister, Sister! photo shoot ๐Ÿ˜‰

Feliz cumpleanos mi hermana tan linda!

Maya’s farewell–Part I

My co-worker-become-friend Maya (who we’ve bonded over our love of game night, good food, and funny, too-inappropriate-for-blog-world television one-liners) has decided that she’s had her fill of California and is moving back to Boston in the next few weeks! ๐Ÿ™ Her last day at work was Monday 4/12 so after work a few of us got together at The Red Jack Saloon up the block for some drinks.

Gin and tonic, please!

Sharla and Maya

Cybele, Sharla and Maya

Me and Maya

There should be lots more celebrating in the next few weeks, it’s going to be a bittersweet farewell!!

Spring is here!

We have been thoroughly enjoying the delightful spring weather (well, up until yesterday that is!)

Last week we took care of some gardening. The weeds were overgrown and taking over! We showed them who’s boss…

And we even found a cute little critter (we think it was a salamander!)

On Friday 4/9 we made the most of my furlough day and took a trip to Fort Funston, which is basically dog heaven.

Lola enjoying the views off the cliff

Let’s just say we kept our eyes on the sky

The extremely steep climb down the cliff to the beach! It was kind of comical watching the dog walkers trying to walk 5+ dogs on leash down this hill (or back up the hill).

Lola is a huge fan of the water, even the cold SF ocean water!

Lola’s one happy pup!

And then we had to climb back UP the hill…

A very satisfied Lola (she rarely sleeps in the car, so we knew we did a job well done)

On Saturday 4/10 Jessie hosted her first-ever Game Night (right up our alley!)

It was a potluck and we feasted that night!

We brought just a few of our many games–Balderdash, Taboo and Apples to Apples.

Cathy trying to get Team Intuition to guess her word, and Josh ready to “zap” her if she said one of the off-limits words.

Kevin, Jessie P. and Lisa R.

Jessie working hard to get her team to guess her word! And can you tell I loved being the “zapper”? ๐Ÿ˜‰

A reenactment of some fun Taboo moments

Jessie’s game night was a total success! Good games, good food and good company. ๐Ÿ™‚

Momโ€™s visit

My mom and her boyfriend Steve came up to visit Thursday 4/1 – Monday 4/5 and we had a really great time. It was the first time my mom had come up to see our new place in SF and it was a great chance to get to know Steve better as well. They drove up on Thursday and that afternoon after hanging out with Kevin and me for a little bit, Kevin had to go to school so the three of us went out exploring the city.

We drove through Bernal Heights (a really cute neighborhood near our apartment) then drove through Diamond Heights and stopped to get a gorgeous view of downtown.

Kevin’s usually the tour guide for our visitors, so it was interesting being put in the driver’s seat and when I asked them “So what do you want to see?” they replied “Whatever you want to show us!” I know one of my favorite places in the city is Golden Gate Park, so that’s where we went!

We took a stroll around Stow Lake (one of my favorite spots in GG Park)…

The local sun-bathin’ turtles
Me and mom near the waterfall on Strawberry Hill
Mom and Steve in the Golden Gate Pavillion, a Chinese pagoda on Stow Lake

After our romp through the park, we decided to indulge in some delicious Peruvian food in the Mission at Mi Lindo Peru. My mom and I had actually been to this same restaurant years before when we came up to visit Jessie (long before Kevin and I had even considered moving to SF!)

This is a fantastic restaurant with extremely good food. My good friend Claudia (who visited me last summer) inspired in me a great love for Peruvian food. Our visit to this restaurant reminded me that I need to ask her for some of her recipes to make some at home! ๐Ÿ™‚

My mom got Inca Kola (kind of like cream soda)
I got Aji de Gallina (chili chicken in a cream sauce)…I really need to learn to make this at home so I can have it whenever I please! ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday through Sunday Steve was out visiting his niece’s family in San Ramon, so my mom stayed with me and Kevin those nights. On Friday I was able to get out of work early to spend some time with mom and Jess that evening. We hung out and talked for a couple of hours then vegged out and watched about 5 episodes of “Modern Family” (have you seen that show?? It’s HILARIOUS!) It was just like old times, the three of us cracking up so hard we could barely breathe kind of moments. That night when Kevin got home from class we went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants, CaliPhoNia (Vietnamese)…sooooo good!!

On Saturday afternoon, the four of us ventured out of the city and drove down to Santa Cruz. Jessie’s the only one who had been there before, and it was such a cute little beach town (definitely reminded us of Long Beach and Seal Beach).

Jess and mom doing the tango in our backyard

We had a little photo shoot on one of the cliffs overlooking the beach…

America’s Next Top Model, Jessie

We then drove down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

My mom treated us to a ride on the Giant Dipper (the 6th oldest roller coaster in the US, by the way!)…

We had an AWESOME time on the roller coaster (can’t you tell by the photo? haha).

After braving the roller coaster we treated ourselves to some typical carnival food–Jessie got garlic fries, Kevin got cotton candy, mom got funnel cake and I got a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone…YUM!!

Those are some satisfied carnies! haha
My childhood favorite: chocolate-dipped ice cream cone

Kevin ate so much cotton candy his tongue turned into sugar!
The cone says it all…

On Easter Sunday we drove out to San Ramon to meet Steve and his niece Michelle’s family (her husband Steve and their kids Morgan and Melissa).

Spring is here!
Morgan (6 yrs. old) showing off his magic tricks (he was good too!)
Melissa came out in her princess gown and quickly got tangled up in some balloons and her tiara, in true princess fashion ๐Ÿ˜‰
And then she proceeded to tattoo herself up with Easter stickers

To celebrate in true Easter-style we ended our evening at The Mint, a karaoke bar in SF, and the sushi bar next door, Sushi Delight. The Delmar girls all love karaoke, so Kevin and Steve just cheered us on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A few of the songs that were sung that evening…

Apparently, I really get into it. Me singing John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good” (my signature karaoke song, haha)
Mom singing “Can’t Take my Eyes off of You”

Jess singing “Angel Baby”

Jess and Mom dancing along to Dean Martin’s “Luna Mezzo Mare”

My mom will be back in town for my sister’s graduation from SF State so we’re looking forward to some more adventures next month!