Monday, September 30, 2013

Episode 1, Fall Season 2013

With the exception of SCANDAL, all my fall tv shows have started their new season. Here are some of my thoughts:

CASTLE - Castle is about bestselling author Richard Castle observing a NYD station for his book. In return, he gets to help the department solve their cases, be friends with Esposito and Ryan and get involved with Det. Beckett.
This season opens with Beckett no longer in the police force (now with FBI) and no longer in NY. And she's also engaged to Castle. With this scenario on the season opener I wonder:

• Where does Castle fit into this FBI set-up, when he can no longer actively participate in solving crimes.
• What will happen to Esposito and Ryan?
• Will Beckett eventually move back to the police force to be near Castle?

Likewise, will there be storyline for Alexis (Castle's daughter) now that she's off to college and bringing boys home?

PERSON OF INTEREST - I must defer my thoughts and comments on this show for another time. I need to rewatch the premier because for some reason I was multi-tasking when I saw it and didn't get hold of the gist of the show.

ONCE UPON A TIME - One episode is not enough for me to tell where which direction this show is going. I am fully aware that there is a spin-off called ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND, I don't know if somehow the two shows will intersect again, like in the past. One thing I know is that Sunday's premier was not powerful enough to catch my full attention.

THE GOOD WIFE - The writing continues to be good. The acting is solid as usual. I feel that this show will continue to gather good ratings and the writers will throw us a curve ball. What will happen with Alicia. Will she leave with Carey. Is Carey still leaving with the group? I am excited to see the rest of the show this season. Good job on E1.

REVENGE - Jack knows Emily Thorne is really Amanda Clark. Nolan refuses to be geek god after brief stint in the slammer. Ashley is finally shown the door out. Will Amanda get her revenge soon? Who shot Emily Thorne?

HAVEN - This Syfy mainstay opened ahead of network shows. It has plenty of questions to answer, like where is Audrey Parker? Is she stuck in purgatory-like niche? How will she find her way back to Haven? Well for that matter how will she regain consciousness of her Audrey Parker identity? If she remembers who she really is, which one of those personas will she remember? Is there going to be a happy ending for her and Nathan? What about Duke? So many questions, awaiting happily for answers.

HOSTAGES - This is a new one this season, despite the fact that I have no more room in my evenings for another serial to follow. The preview attracted me. I like Toni Collette and Dylan McDermott, they are both good actors. And I like any show that has something to do with the White House or the POTUS. So far, the first show was meaty. I hope the writers are able to sustain this kind of writing the whole season.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sleep like a cat

I love watching her sleep.

A former student and now facebook buddy doesn't update her status much, but when she does it's always imploring the high heavens to give her sleep. I think she's insomniac.

I don't have a problem with sleeping, thank heavens. Despite all my many ills, perceived and real, difficulty in sleeping is thankfully not one of them.

However, once a month, coinciding with female hell time, I experience difficulty in sleeping. It doesn't fail to happen, once a month, at that specific time.

So the specific time happened to me on Sunday night into Monday this week. I've already seen replays of the Giants game earlier that evening. I've also seen a show I've DVRd. I still couldn't sleep. Emma (see picture) who sleeps in between my legs was also getting affected. Finally she left her spot and walked up to my belly and looked me in the eye as if to say, 'GO TO SLEEP, SO I MAY SLEEP TOO.'

It's really funny. So when the tv turned itself off (we put timer on tv when we go to sleep) I let it be. I thought that I could easily fall off when the distraction is gone, but it wasn't to be.

The ugly thing about laying awake in bed while everyone's sleeping is that you hear funny noises. Some scary noises too. Or perceived noises?

Thankfully in this house where we are living now for 4 years, I have yet encountered the house to "breathe". In my previous place, the townhouse which was relatively newer than this house I'm in now, squeaks and creaks at night. So when I get those once-a-month insomnia, it was very disconcerting.

Also as if it timed itself, Monday was a day off for me making my lack of sleep a nonfactor in my Monday.

As if to reward myself for my lack of sleep, I spontaneously got a massage.

All's well that ends well.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ooops!

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First off happy fall season to everyone.

In my mind I have already posted a few entries here. And when I came to check on this blog, I'm even surprised that the "entries" weren't here. LOL. I am definitely losing my mind.

On Saturday, the last full day of summer, we tackled the job of cleaning out the garage and getting rid of stuff that we don't need. We only managed to one side of the garage, the left side due to the fact that we stayed in bed until nearly 12 noon. It was a rainy day, bed weather, so we stayed and watch some cooking shows on tv.

I found 2 boxes that contained the cards and letters that I received over the years. In the past I have been saving all of them for the time when I can figure out what to do with them. However, we barely have room to move in the garage, let alone use it for what it is as a carport.

My mind may have been clouded by the dust I've been inhaling, the cobwebs in my hair and whatever smells that are mixed in there - Emma and Buster pee there for instance, just to be naughty.

Anyway, I dumped all these mementos in the garbage bin. As I was doing that I was having second thoughts, but I knew that had I kept them I wouldn't find time to read them again or for that matter figure out a way to keep, use, or store them. They would be gathering dust.

Because I was keen on getting one side of the garage organized (we have more elbow room now) I didn't read the letters and cards, I just dumped them.

A couple of days later I still think about those letters and cards. I may have been rash in throwing them out. Or was I?

I don't know, for now I know how my heart feels. It feels like it had made a boo-boo.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Money Talk

Last night I came across a phrase that I haven't heard before. Nor have I thought about before. Money autobiography.

Basically it's a term that describes about how you think about money, feel about money, use money, etc throughout your life.

I was very fascinated by the hand out that was given to us; and while at the meeting I kept to myself (like I always do), the questions were very thought provoking.

Money is a very sensitive subject. I know I am very private about it. I don't discuss with anybody how much or how little I make. I remember my mother getting really furious (exaggeration I know) one time when she inquired exactly how much I'm making. I think the question was brought about by me lecturing her how to save money. I know, my fault. How dare me to lecture her on budgeting and using money the right way. This is a woman who managed to feed her family and send all her children to college and not get buried in debts with what little she has to go on.

And so during this outburst, my mom said that she cannot understand how her children turned out to be tightfisted with money and how we don't share with her how much money we make. (She has money of her own, she was nosey about how much we make.)

It shocked me to the core that I wasn't willing to share how much money I exactly make. My husband knows how much I make and I know how much we make during tax time. Only then that we look at our finances that closely.

During the rest of the year, I believe that we live within our means. I do feel that most of the time we even live below our means. I am thankful that he is very disciplined with our spending. If I'm in charge, we'd be in credit card debts by now. I don't go to the malls, stores very often, because I don't like too much crowded places and the HVAC in dep't stores give me congestion and headaches so I stay away. BUT on those rare times I go in there, I am very prone to impulse shopping. My past has shown that I have many purchases that were donated to Salvation Army that were not used. Many still were hardly used, they were brand new.

So with this new awareness of money talks, I am going to reflect on how I feel about money, how I use it, how I feel about sharing it and how generous I can be without feeling the pinch.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are You Ready For Fall?

Three more days and we're officially in Fall Season. Well, when kids returned to the classrooms and the freeways got jammed again, it felt like Fall Season, but our weather here has been more summer like, very typical of our Indian summer.

Anyway, I'm trying to digest this fact. I'm not ready yet. All summer long I have been telling myself to pull out the box in the garage where the fall (halloween and thanksgiving) decorations are stored so that I can decorate on time.

But it's only three days and I haven't located the box yet. I know I am disorganized like crazy.

But I am ready for fall.

With Fall, comes cooler weather, boots, jackets, sweaters, scarves. Hot chocolate drink before bedtime. Soothing jasmine tea. Piping hot coffee.

Likewise, my fall shows are coming back. Person of Interest, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, The Good Wife, Castle, Haven, Big Bang Theory.

I'm also very ready to move on from summer. Summer has been a heartbreaker for me and I'd like very much to just leave all the aches and pains of summer with summer.

What are you looking forward to this fall?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Kind of Day


My kind of Sunday really. The weather is 79F. There is a little breeze. The washing machine is running. I've done the ironing. May do a bit of vacuuming later tonite. Presently watching the Giants while tinkering with Flick'r. And most importantly I'm in the same room with my cats, who are making the most of Sunday sleeping. Buster is by my foot, while Emma is comfortably in dreamland at the bed.

So how are you spending your Sunday?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oh Giants, My Giants


It is the second week of September. The baseball season is winding down and I've only blogged about the Giants 2013 season here once. And only two pathetic lines saying the Giants were opening their season at Chavez Ravine (LA Dodgers) and they lost their first game of the season. I even ended that paragraph with it's only one game. Meaning I was hopeful that despite a lost to begin their season that it was after all only game 1 of 162.

That was the full extent of my Giants coverage this season. Pathetic isn't it? Add remiss to that as well.

I remembered about the Giants last night while watching their 10th inning win over the who-the-heck-were-they-playing again? Anyway, because the game was quite exciting for a no-bearing game, I was reminded to check my Giants posts this year. That was when I found out that I made one mention of them on an April post this year. That was all I wrote.

Unfortunately for the Giants, after highest of highs last season, their 2013 was dismal. The Giants resigned 2012 heroes back to the fold in Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence, and Angel Pagan. Of the three, only Hunter seemed to earn his paycheck. Marco Scutaro was on and off, in and out, was hurt and wasn't as effective. Angel Pagan was effective until he got hurt and needed to stay on disabled list for a long time.

The starting rotation that was unbelievably effective in last year's post-season seemed to completely forgot to pitch. Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum - they showed no sign of the brilliance of the past post-season. I'm not 100% sure about Vogie, but I believe all 3 have contracts expiring at the end of this year.

If I were the Giants, I'd resign none of them. Barry Zito already has made money off the Giants with that incredulous contract he signed years ago. Vogelsong on the other hand has his peak and I don't think he'd be able to go back that high again. Tim Lincecum is a tough problem. He had 2 lackluster seasons, but he's once the face of the franchise and this year had shown glimmer of his old brilliance with that no-hitter against San Diego. But if I were the Giants, I would beg off resigning him.

As a fan, I would like the Giants to resign Tim Lincecum. While his stuff as a starter is no longer there, he is a great reliever. He still has nasty stuff in middle relief. Plus, it would really be weird if he dons a different jersey.

As a Giants fan, I would have no problem releasing Barry Zito. While his work in the community is unparallel and noteworthy, he simply doesn't have the stuff to be competetive in the field.

For Vogelsong, as a fan my loyalty remains, but as a fan I also would like my team to field a strong crew that will be able to compete for 162 games and beyond. This is after all a business as well. The fans come when the product is effective.

It's sad to see them go, but it's time to shake up the team.

Other players that need to go Gregor Blanco is one. While his defensive skills are without doubt, his offense is lacking and dismal. And if the Giants resign Hunter Pence (please do) then they only need one outfield post for next season. Are there any in the farm system that can come up and patrol the left field?

I am very pleased with the recent development of Brandon Belt as an offensive punch he's been expected to be since his arrival in the majors. It took him long enough but he's finally showing what the management was excited about. I would like to see more offense from the other Brandon - Crawford. I would like him to be a double barrel threat. I am expecting him to get Golden Gloves very soon, if not this season.

I hope that the adorable Panda would take his physical conditioning seriously. He lost time this season with injury and while that has nothing to do with his weight (or maybe it does) he needs to be in fighting/playing form. Please Panda do something.

It's really hard to complain about Buster. In fact I have nothing to say against him. I just hope that with a longer time off this season he can stay rested longer and return next season fresh and healthy and ready to take home more accolades and awards.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The heat, the bridge and a little wine tasting.

In short, a little update.

Last week was all hot and humid, and by the end of the week it was still hot and no longer humid. Thank heavens for little mercies.

It was too hot to do anything on Saturday, so after driving mom to her errands I watched some movies on tv. There was a weekend marathon of Harry Potter, which ABC Family channel has periodically throughout the year. Each time, I find myself rewatching the movies over and over.

On Saturday afternoon they were showing the Sorcerer's Stone, the first one, my fave of all. When ABC does a marathon, they usually skip the first movie, for reasons I don't understand. As a fan of the movies, it gives me a kick to see the characters again when they were very young and cute.

Even the hubby who dislikes staying home on the weekends sat and read newspapers and whatnot. I didn't realize that he had plans later in the day.

We drove off at quarter to 5. Unbeknownst to me we were meeting up with his carpool buddy and his wife and we'd have a walk to the new bridge date.

When we got there, the hubby called him and he was already walking on the trail about 10 minutes ahead of us. We encountered heavy traffic, that's why it was 5:30 by the time we were starting our walk.

The path/trail starts just outside of Ikea in Emeryville and winds under freeway and beside freeway lanes. The path was well paved and very popular. We had many companions walking that afternoon; many more pedalling ahead.

Then we reached a point where we could see where the path would curve and apparently that's where the beginning of the bridge path is, but it was already closed. The sign that says dusk to dawn at the beginning of the trail meant something. At 6:00 pm for now the trail is closed for pedestrian. Bikers have no restrictions. We heard that later on they would make the trail accessible 24/7.

Sigh! From Ikea to the bridge is 2 miles, very doable. Not difficult at all. We'll try again someday.

When we got back to the parking lot, we both decided to browse at Ikea, while the other couple decided to grab a yogurt and go. We stayed and I was most tempted to buy something, but since hubby was with me (and the thought of long lines for paying) it was easier to resist the urge to spend.

Spend we did however for food as we were quite hungry. We split a meal of chicken tenders and fries. All I want is fries anyway, been craving for them lately.

By the time we finished eating, we were hoping the traffic to the city would ease up a bit so we could do our mandatory first drive over the new span thing. Thankfully despite all the traffic, we were able to cross the beautiful span in less time than what I feared. After all, it's past 7 PM.

Since we crossed the bridge anyway, we might as well go to Embarcadero and take photos. We found parking easily and snapped a few shots. Afterwards we took a short detour to Treasure Island for more shooting. Hubby did the shooting. I was using my smart phone, he brought his camera.

We got home nearly 10 pm, and the house was still hot.

Sunday was going to be in the 90s here; but we weren't going to be home all day. Our friends invited us to a wine tasting in Napa; and we told them we're taking them for early dinner once the wine tasting was over.

Napa was hot, but it was beautiful, as always.

Our first order of business was light lunch so that we won't be tasting in empty stomach. Our friend found this Mexican grocery store with a little taqueria at the back. Their specialty is carne asada so the hubs and I split a super carne asada quesadilla, while our friends split a carne asada burito. It was a good spot for these dishes. Affordable too. We ate at a picnic table behind the store with views of the vineyard. So very Napa valley!

We went to 2 different wineries for wine tasting. On the first one, where we have reservations, we took our time and sampled about 6 wines. I like only 2 of them. We sat in the garden underneath the umbrella and have fans on us; it was a hot day, but the garden seating was inviting. I didn't melt, although I was sweating like a pig.

The second winery was all spur of the moment. We finished tasting at the first winery and found that we had so much time to kill before the restaurant would open. Our friends like this second winery and they have been tasting here for years. The good thing about it also is that the tastings are free. So few of the wineries nowadays offer free tastings. I begged off this time, but when it was time to taste the port, hubby just had to make me sip. Glad he did, because it was a good port. It's the best wine I've tasted that day (not including the wine we brought for dinner).

Another stop we made was at Dean and Deluca, a gourmet food store. I really like browsing here and tasting. We left empty handed.

We arrive at the downtown area with plenty of time to go before the restaurant opens for dinner service, so we walked around the riverfront, giving tour to our friends who often visit Napa but don't come to this side of the city. We browsed at stores, enjoyed the gardens, photographed the tile mural and then it was time to eat.

Zuzu was our choice. We wanted to have them taste and see what they think. Overall we had about 11 or 12 small plates including the desserts. Rioja was the bottle that hubby brought with our dinner, and it's one of my favorites. The meal was satisfying. You know what they say, good food good friends good life. It was a good day to spend in Napa Valley with friends.

Oh, I think the temperature is going south starting Tuesday. Hey Autumn, aren't you coming in yet?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Weird Few Days

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I've experienced something I don't recall having experienced before as a resident of this wonderful region. We have had a string of humid days. Humidity! It's here. In the Bay Area.

Humidity and I we don't get along well. I'm Miss Cranky Pants when humidity makes an appearance. And while I'm really brave vacationing at locations where heat and humidity is the norm, I can be assured that when the vacation ends I could go back to my drylandia.

But these past few days were crazy. So humid. My house was too hot and humid and it's not even that hot outside.

Anyway, because there is so much water in the air, our skies were so pretty, something like this. This picture was taken a few months back, but this cloudscape reminded me so much of what we had this weekend.

Changing topic here. I finally got a taste of Indonesian cuisine courtesy of PADI in Berkeley. Our dining group (for lack of better term) met up at the College Avenue location, the website said they have another one in San Lorenzo, and partake of the 12-course group meal. I really enjoyed a few of the dishes, but there is nothing that I would brag about here. My hubs on the other hand was really impressed.

Good food and good friends was a great way to end the holiday weekend. But that's not all.

After dinner we decided we wanted some ice cream for dessert, even though our 12-course meal included a delicious dessert.

So we bravely queued up at ICI, which against my better judgement turned out to be a good idea. I don't like lining up for anything, much less ice cream. But the ice cream was made in Berkeley, I don't know exactly if it's in this location, but it's artisanal and quite good.

They have different flavors everyday and from a list of about 6 on the chalkboard, I had a scoop of burnt caramel, which was quite subtle. I wanted a bit bolder caramel taste. The hubs had a scoop of ginger creme brulee; hardly brulee taste and very strong ginger taste, which overpowers the flavor. However, it was good.

So after 20 minutes in line our group of 9 including 2 kids had our scoops and ate them standing on the sidewalk chatting the night away.

It was about 9 pm and we thought we'd be able to go from Berkeley to cross the new span that night, but the bridge didn't open until after 10 pm so we just went home and got ready for another week of work.

It looks like our dining group is indeed going to do it monthly this time around. S reminded us that the last time we met up for dinner was some 6 weeks ago at Dixie; however, there were only 4 of us that were able to make it that time.

Now with all these eating (we didn't even bbq for Labor Day) I must do something about losing all these weight.