Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I didn't prepare as well as I usually do for Halloween, with a recent return from NY/NJ and Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm happening days before.  After talking with some friends and family the Northeast that some were determined to have Halloween for their kids, I motivated and put together my costume:

The more impressive part about it was that the girl wanted to wear it as her costume for trick-or-treating. Kind of made me feel cool:

She also tried to collect money for the Red Cross, but I guess a lot of folks weren't interested in donating to a teen girl they didn't know with a homemade container.  But the $4 she did collect is on its way to the Red Cross!

I was glad to hear from my sister that lots of kids were celebrating Halloween in Brooklyn.  And that my nephew was an adorable Curious George:

Back here in SoCar, we made our usual barfing Jack O'Lantern:

but our doorbell only rang twice. Sigh. Now we have about 5 pounds of candy to eat!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Argh, Sandy!

Or Frankenstorm, if you prefer.  Either way, down in South Carolina, we just suffered high winds for the most part.  Unfortunately, my family and friends are pretty much locked in up in New York and New Jersey.  Besides all the crazy flooding and trees knocked down, power is out for my friends and mom in NJ and my friends in downtown Manhattan.  Fortunately, folks in the outer boroughs have power (knock wood!) including my sister with her little ones in Brooklyn.  The hospital that she gave birth at last Thursday had to be evacuated last night as the generators went down--so glad my sister and niece came home last Saturday!

I'm grateful for that fortunate timing but I'll feel a lot better when folks get their power back on.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Feeling more Peyton Manning

Two weeks ago, I was feeling so Jay Feely.  But then the Monday night game happened.  The Broncos were shutout at 0-24 at halftime by the Chargers and by the end of the game, Peyton Manning brought them back to win 35-24.  I'm happy to report that I'm having a bit of a good turnaround this half of the football season myself:

- Michigan State finally won a game and delivered Wisconsin its first loss at home since 2009 this weekend.

- In the last 2 weeks of my football pool I have been short of the top spot by only one game.

- In my fantasy league, I beat two guys who tried to bring it (or at least had no players that were on a bye week).

Gotta say, it's better feeling so Peyton Manning.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Holy crap, what am I going to be for Halloween?

With this busy week, getting my first niece and all, I totally spaced that Halloween is happening in 3 days!  Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I guess I need more Resveratrol

Man, the doctors in New York are a tough crowd.  As I was standing with my BIL last Thursday while my sister was laboring in a triage room (all labor rooms were full), my sister's obstetrician looked at me and asked, are you her mother?  Similarly when I was mistaken for my nephew's grandmother, I just laughed and stammered that I was her sister.  The obstetrician then laughed and mentioned something about how ageless Asian women can look sometimes and that there was an Asian woman that worked in her office and would you believe she's 60?  Surprisingly, I wasn't quite comforted by this, but I guess I should take looking like an impressive 60-year-old as a compliment.

Fortunately, her delivery of my first niece pretty much let me forget the observation that I'm a hand-wringing granny--definitely worth this cutie:

Then yesterday, I got to spend some one-on-one time with her older brother while his parents were at the hospital with the baby girl:

Since I had to fly out this morning, I was kind of bummed I didn't get to see my niece come home from the hospital but I can't complain too much as I got some quality time with both my niece and nephew.  I look forward to next time, when I'll get to spend it with both of them together.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome Josie

Just like her big brother, Josie waited until the Pats beat the Jets to make her appearance:

And she was totally worth the wait. So psyched I was still here when she arrived today and got to hold this sweetness firsthand. Big brother Augie will be so proud.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Had a Ben Affleck-Boston kind of day

A while back, I was raving about Gone Baby Gone with a friend and he said, ugh, what is it about that movie that just makes it look like the sun never shines in Boston?  I had to agree, Ben Affleck's Boston (in The Town as well) always emphasizes its grittier, shadier colors and tones.  On a side note, I am looking forward to Argo - great reviews from friends and pros alike.

Anyhoo, today I was back in the hometown and yeesh, it was such a Ben Affleck-Boston day.  I was running around taking my mom to doctors appointments and one of them had no record of our appointment.  This is annoying in itself, but when you travel to town and cluster appointments so these visits can be taken care of, it's totally frustrating.  I had also left some of the more tedious tasks for today and man, on a cloudy, miserable day like today, I just wanted to get a dozen Dunkin Donuts and call it a day.

Thankfully, the sun finally came out (about 2 hours before sundown) and made such a difference and brightened my day.  I don't usually think of myself as affected by cloudy weather, but combined with a lot of things going wrong, my waistline is lucky that I don't live closer to a Dunkin Donuts.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pats Beat Jets

Today was a great day to sit back, stuff my face, and watch some football:

With the biggest little Patriots fan:

And watch the Patriots beat the Jets:

Of course considering this big little fan has a sibling on the way, this win is hopefully a pattern of another exciting event to happen soon!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday back in NY

Today I got to spend the day with some old college friends (and half of my fantasy football league), when we met up in NY to celebrate Mike's bday.  It was great to see Mike and Tom again and I hadn't seen Joanne in forever.

We started with an awesome brunch at Paprika:

Then hit Salt Bar (where I enjoyed a tasty Lower East Side Car--haha, get it?!), enjoyed an Indian dinner, and got some candy at this neat store called Ame Ame, where they focus solely on candy and rain gear.

We even checked out some of our old residences.  Our first apartment together was this weird setup where the two bedrooms were in the interior of the apartment and had no windows to the outside.  Instead, each bedroom had a window to the living room.  And the living room windows faced the courtyard.  The bedrooms were like caves and miserably stuffy in the summertime (we didn't get an air conditioner) even though we were on the 3rd floor.  Another interesting set up was that the bathroom was split into two rooms.  One had a tub/shower and sink and the other had the toilet and sink.  Pretty handy considering there was three of us.

When we passed by, it looked like the building had been seriously renovated (new door, nice buzzer system)--it looks so fancy and upscale now.  For current residents, I hope they upgraded the apartments as well.

The next place we lived (and where I lived for years after) was on East 9th Street.  I LOVED this place.  The big drawback was that we lived on the 6th floor and it's a walk-up.  Also at the time, the front door didn't lock, so some mornings, we'd have to step over a dude passed out in a puddle of his own urine in the vestibule.  The more unsettling one was the homeless guy who'd sneak in and sleep on the top landing of the stairs--he'd leave his very-specifically-themed p0rn magazines behind with some clothes.   But the location was (and still is) great (and eventually they got a lock on that front door).

Anyhoo, it was a great night of memories and catching up!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday in NJ

Running some errands in NJ and resisted these charming erasers, even though they are soooo me:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Landed in NY

Today I arrived at JFK at 7:45am to take Mom to some appointments and hopefully catch the arrival of my nephew's newest sibling.  After landing, my sister (who due any day now!) and I hit the SoHo Bloomingdale's for a fun event that her mom's group hosted.  All the beauty counters had a fun offer--my sister opted for the more pampering options like the hand massage and hair do-up, I went for the more instructive offers.  I got a matched sample of BB cream at the Bobbi Brown counter, my eyes were made up at the MAC counter, and I got the "perfect pout" at the Christian Dior counter, plus we both picked up samples at other counters.  Department store beauty counters aren't usually my scene but the super nice folks at Bloomie's made it real warm and fun--I loved it!  It was a super fun morning:

Then I caught up with my friend Dan for lunch:

Where we caught up after a brief discourse about the gray hair and weight adjustments from more than 15 years ago:

And enjoyed the BEST ramen at Ippudo:

Caught back up with my sister and her nuclear fam for dinner and to visit Augie's Uncle Justin and Auntie Amanda:

And catch Amanda's turn on 30 Rock as a cigar-smoking girlfriend of Jack Donaghy:

Great day packed with awesomeness!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Feeling so Jay Feely

As I reach the halfway mark of football season, I have to confess that my football season is just falling apart.  I want to scream.  Arizona kicker Jay Feely's two kicks yesterday were the perfect analogy.  Anybody see them?  Jay Feely kicks an amazing (and career-best) 61 yard field goal in the 4th quarter to tie the game 16-16 against Buffalo.  To my friends who don't follow football, that is HUGE, Linda!--35 yards is the "typical" field goal range.  It was shocking.  I remember reflexively shouting, "Hope he likes booty!  Because it's going to be raining booty on him tonight!"  I'm somewhat paraphrasing for the sake of this blog, though Paul did respond, "Hey, maybe not say that in front of your daughter."

Anyhoo, in the last seconds of the game, Feely has the opportunity to win the game with 38 yard FG but he hits the upright and it's no good.  They go into overtime, and Buffalo's kicker makes the game-winning FG.  You can bet Feely was folding up the umbrella--0% chance of a booty storm in his forecast.

For me, where do I begin?  I started out in my football pool in the number 2 spot after the first week and I'm now I'm swimming in the miserable middle.  I'm thisclose to making my picks and then completely reversing them all next Sunday morning.  Argh--and my fantasy league?  I've only won one match-up and it was with a guy who played a player who had a BYE week.  And Michigan State (and the Big 10, in general!).  Oy.

Is it time for March Madness soon?

I know what you're thinking.  There's still more than half a season left.  Jay Feely and I are going to have to shake off the past and move forward.

All right, on to the next week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saturday: Mud Run and SC Philharmonic

Yesterday I did my second South Carolina Mud Run (click link for post with more details and pix).  I'll confess a few challenges for this one, besides shirking running duties.  I arrived back from California late Wednesday night and despite efforts to get up regularly around 6am Pacific time when I was on the West Coast, I think I just made the adjustment to the Eastern time zone in time for the Mud Run.  Though I vaguely remember thinking yesterday morning, I can't believe I'm awake for this and was it this cold last time?

Also on my last night in California, it seems that all the indulgent food I partook in during the week I was there, decided to revolt.  Out of my butt.  Every hour, starting at 1AM.  Around 5AM, I deliriously questioned whether it's better to vomit out of my rear end or my face.  I realize with such clarity, that of course, I'd take the squirts over puking because I get to sit down.  I caught my flight with an ingested dose of Imodium and handfuls of Pepto Bismol tablets and Tums.  After fearfully eating only a banana and 6 Munchkins at the Dallas airport on Wednesday,  I spent Thursday and Friday, carefully trying to get the nutrition and water that drained out of me the couple of days earlier.  Not sure if I got there, as I was gun-shy to eat almost anything but plain rice.

Thankfully, I had a great team, all those concerns went out the window--it was another dirty, awesome time!

And later in the evening, I took the girl and a friend of hers to see the South Carolina Philharmonic:

Since the girl is in their Youth Strings orchestra, I thought it'd be a good idea for her to hear what to aspire to. Plus we know Winkie Goodwin, the guest pianist, so it was thrilling to watch her perform.  Afterwards, the girl said we should congratulate her and treat her to Sandy's for ice cream.  I told her it was a very sweet gesture but I'm sure that the orchestra had other plans for her and that, um...Ms. Goodwin wasn't 13 years old and probably wouldn't dig cotton candy ice cream the way she did.  But I decided ice cream for the girls was a nice way to end the night and we picked up stuff for sundaes on the way home.

Very satisfying Saturday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thanks to all my friends at work

This was a great trip to SoCal, not just for the usual good times with friends and food, but also the significance of being able to join my friends at work in the NAMI Walk.  Given this was such a personal cause for me, I was really moved by the support by everyone at the office.  We ended up being the 4th best team fundraiser!

I decided to update my dancing girl doppelganger on my office door that has been hanging from my surprise birthday with a collage of me with everyone in the office at various events throughout my career at the office.  I can recall the time and event of each picture--whether it was Halloween, an awards banquet, a move day, a gathering, a post-softball game pizza, a happy hour, and some just from this Walk.  I really cherish that I have such good memories with such good people.

I titled it after my favorite lyric from Bon Jovi's "Livin' On a Prayer":

Take my hand, we'll make it, I swear

Which is perfect. Thanks everyone for the NAMI support (and everything else)!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eating in SoCal

I always, always have to hit Native Foods when I visit SoCal.  This time, per Linda, I had to try their new Bistro Steak sandwich.  My usual is their Reuben but fortunately, I had a friend who was willing to try both and we split both sandwiches:

So GOOD.  I wish, wish, wish there was a Native Foods in South Carolina.

Linda made me these awesome crepes with lemon butter (I helped make the butter!). The best part? She just goes for it. We were having coffee and she's like, "let's make crepes--I read a recipe and it looks real easy". And we did. I would have wanted to test them out and then worry how crappy they'd turn out my first time out but they were perfect:

I also had a dynamite dinner of homemade soup and baked bread at my friend, H's, house.  Though I think one of the best aspects was this dynamite tablescape with this awesome origami mobile:

and origami napkin:

I also got to try a new place, Taco Asylum, which featured all these eclectic tacos, like duck and falafel:

And wild mushroom and pork belly:

Always LOVE eating here in SoCal.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SoCal Cuties

I was able to squeeze in a some morning coffee time (of course, never enough time) with my SoCal friend Linda and the newest member of her family, Lola:

Oli loves her:

Don't worry, he didn't choke her

I also got to see this boy who seemed so quiet all the years I have known him and suddenly is the biggest adorable ball of energy and games:

Don't worry, he's laughing, not crying

And I got to see his younger brother again (my goodness, he's growing fast!):

Yes, still excited to see me!

My favorite is when big brother shows me little brother's favorite songs:

I also lucked out and was able to hang out with their parents and see a couple of movies (Pitch Perfect and The Avengers)--of course, separately because that's the life of parents of young kids. Sigh, brings back memories.

Yikes, these kids are growing fast!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fundraising and Walking: NAMI-OC

I was bummed I didn't get to craft before I came to California for a fundraiser but luckily someone's mom offered to bake some crazy delicious cookies so we were able to do a mini bake sale yesterday featuring these amazing cookies with dark and white chocolate and cherries:

And these dynamite coconut shortbread cookies:

I had introduced green smoothies to my friend my last trip out and we made them as fundraisers as green "Go Go Juice" for morning or afternoon pick-me-ups:

They were all a hit!

This morning was the big day as dozens of us from the office with family, friends, and pets, gathered at the Huntington Beach Pier.  It was a beautiful day for a Walk by the beach.

I loved being here for this.

Thank you EVERYONE for your support!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Off to SoCal: Cornflake Krispies for the girl

I'm heading to SoCal in the morning to join my company at the NAMI Walk in Huntington Beach! As I mentioned in my support of the Alzheimer's Walk my company did last year, I'm very personally attached to supporting those (and their families) affected by mental/brain health.  I shared my story, volunteered to be a "virtual"/remote captain, created a fundraising page, and was aiming to craft stuff for the Walk like last year.  But the opportunity to join my friends at work for the actual Walk in Huntington Beach arose suddenly and I definitely could not resist.  So I'm on my way!

I made a batch of cornflake marshmallow krispies (like rice krispy treats but made with cornflakes which is all I had on hand) to surprise the girl with in the morning:

Because I'll be missing her and I know how much she loves these treats.