Monday, December 31, 2007

Holiday Wrapup

It's been sooo long since I've posted. My New Year's resolution is to post more. Let's see how long it takes for me to break that.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner at our house with my parents and brother. The family drove up for the weekend and we spent most of our time watching football (Cowboys and Patriots) and eating. For our Christmas Eve dinner we had a multi-course meal of spinach salad, potato cheddar soup, a cheese platter, and dry aged steaks (very yummy) with steamed asparagus. We pan fried the steaks and then finished them off in the oven. Desert consisted of a pear tart with ice cream, which was also good.

On Christmas day we had a long trip to the east coast, through Chicago. Both flights were mostly full but uneventful, apart from the kids who kept kicking our seats on the 4 hour stretch to Chicago. The flight attendants were very good about talking to the kids and trying to reason with them, which usually stopped the kicking for 5-10 minutes. But there was only so much time they could spend watching the kids. We though about turning around and telling the mother that we were going to teach the kids swear words if they didn't stop. But it was Christmas so we were nice.

The weather in Boston has been pretty good. There is plenty of snow on the ground but it hasn't gotten much colder than 30 F. It's always so much fun to see family. Everyone has been great and it's been fun catching up. We took a weekend trip to Maine to visit my sister-in-law and her husband. We had a great time riding snowmobiles. We also went out to eat at a great Irish (or Scottish, can't remember) pub/restaurant that had really tasty food and beer. I had fish and chips and those are probably the best I've had in the US. It's not like the stuff you get in the UK, but it was pretty good. We also watched the big Patriots vs. Giants game on my concuño's* big HDTV. It was a sweet tv and a great game.

Right now I'm waiting for the time to pass so we can go out and celebrate New Year's. Happy New Year, everyone.

*Concuño is the Spanish word for the relationship between me and my in-law's spouse. So it's like my in-law-in-law. Since there's a Spanish word for it, I'm using it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Weekend Wrap-Up

So for the past week, the main CNN page has had a news link to a video entitled "Naked Men Shop for Skittles." I haven't seen the video because I only check out CNN when I'm at work and I'm not going there. But you can check it out yourself.

We went to our local sports bar to check out the Patriots vs. Jets game. Good game. The Steelers vs. Jaguars game was on at the same time. Every time the Jets scored or got a good play, the Steelers fans would cheer and wave their yellow terrible towels. When the Jaguars scored, the Patriots fans would cheer. The best was last weekend when we again had to go to the bar to watch the Pats vs Steelers game. The Steelers fans were talking a lot of trash early in the game, but as the Pats kept scoring, the Steelers got really quiet. The silence was truly golden.

Hot dogs give me headaches. I have lots of data points throughout the years. It's too bad because I do like to eat hot dogs every once in a while.

On NPR the other day I heard a story about a new way of transmitting sound by ultrasound. I'm not sure what type of equipment is needed but the sound waves can be directed to a specific point and they sound extremely clear to the receiver. It was so clear that it was described as voices in their head. One possible military (of course) application is for crowd control by directing painful sounds to a few or many people within a crowd. This reminds me of the military's directed energy weapons. When microwave radiation is directed at a person, their skin feels as if it is burning but it's physically harmless. So in theory it's a good idea. Unless that person is wearing metal or other materials that will absorb the energy and then they'll have a really hot zipper or button (e.g., zipper on jeans) against their skin. That would definitely leave a scar.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Some of My Thoughts Today

About 10 times a day, I'll be thinking of something and realize that my thought is good post material and that I should post about it. But by the time I get around to posting about it, if I ever do, I have forgotten what I was thinking.

The husband and I went to the gym today at lunch. It was almost empty. We like that. We don't like to compete for machines and it's always annoying to see a bunch of guys drooling over women in skimpy outfits with make-up and styled hair. Don't wear your hair down, like you just walked out of a salon, when you go to the gym. I had a soccer teammate when I was younger who always made up her eyes with eyeliner and mascara before every game. I never understood why.

We try to be conservative when it comes to our footprint on the environment. But I always wonder if I'm making the right choice. For example, should I pack my leftover pizza in a plastic bag, foil, or a Tupperware? The plastic bag can be sturdy and I can wash it. But washing it will use water and soap. The more bags I wash the more I can be efficient with my water and soap. Foil I can really only reuse a couple of times but it can serve both as storage and a surface to reheat my pizza in the oven. The Tupperware will have the longest life but it does take up space in the dishwasher. Similar arguments can be had for most of the the things that we do. That's too much to think about.

I'm not a big fan of Christmas decorations. I like to look at decorated trees and Christmas lights, but I don't like to put up a tree and then have to remove and store the decorations. It's too much work. Maybe when we have kids I'll enjoy that. This year we'll hang stockings on our cat trees.

Our charities of choice this year are (in descending order): World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, the Humane Society, and a three way tie of local food bank, ACLU, and Amnesty International.

At work I've been working with a finite element version of a dummy model (a computer model of the dummies used in car crash tests). The dummy is in a seated position and I had to create a flat plate to work as a seat. I was zoomed in on the butt area to ensure that the butt was not penetrating the seat (yes, this is the terminology I would use) when my boss walked in. I was embarrassed. Later in the afternoon it happened again. I felt like such a pervert.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Much Going On Over Here

So not much to report. Monday I had a coed indoor soccer game at a reasonable time of 8:25 pm. I was home by 10 pm, showered, ate cereal and watched The Wire before heading to bed.

I can eat cereal at all times of the day. Growing up, we used to have a big breakfast (usually a burrito of leftovers, rarely did we eat cereal for breakfast), a small lunch, dinner right after school, around 4 pm, and cereal before going to bed. It's different, I know. Cereal is something that I don't mind experimenting with (trying different kinds) and I usually can make up my mind without regrets (unlike trying to pick only 1 ice cream flavor). I look forward to my Saturday and Sunday mornings when I can sit down with my bowl of cereal. During the week I have breakfast at work and it's usually oatmeal with honey.

We've been watching season 4 of The Wire (HBO dvd's) while we have dinner. It's a great show. As soon as we finish we'll move on to rewatching The Sopranos (currently in season 2) so that we can lead up to the final season which we haven't seen yet. We subscribe to Netflix and we've had both The Motorcycle Diaries and Vacancy for a few weeks because we prefer to watch our HBO dvd's. The husband doesn't want to watch Vacancy because he's afraid it will be too much like Hostel. Did anyone see that movie? That was insane. And there's a part II.

Me

It seems that most people who meet me can't figure out my ethnicity. Most people that know me, know that I am Mexican, born in the US. However, people have made all sorts of random assumptions about my heritage, including:

Filipino - this one is totally fine and an acceptable assumption.
African-American - it must be my cheekbones.
Native American - see above.
Turkish - really?
Indian - assumed by people from India!

When I shaved my hair and was wearing a head scarf, people assumed I was Muslim. The worse I've gotten was "the Vietnamese kid Angelina Jolie adopted." That was a comment made by my brother when I sent him a picture shortly after I shaved my head. Thanks.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Some Closure

About 15 months ago, our beloved cat Waffles was attacked by a dog. Waffles was really THE best cat in the world. He was extremely loving and had a great purr. Often he would start purring as soon as we looked at him. He was also a great traveler and would often accompany us on car trips and even flew to Boston with us one Christmas (and had a great time in the snow). Even though he was a cat, Waffles was a little clumsy. He liked to climb the narrow plank above the blinds in front of our sliding glass door. The time he slipped and was stuck, dangling by his claws as I struggled to help him down, was his last attempt.

Waffles was attacked in our apartment complex by a chow/golden retriever mix, almost like a small, cinnamon-colored bear. Waffles was about 14 months and he loved exploring outside. Our neighbors would always find him chasing butterflies. Even outside he would purr as soon as he saw us pull into the driveway. I was on business travel when he was attacked. I remember the morning before, as I was getting ready to leave for my trip, Waffles went to the door and stretched himself, reaching for the door knob. I gave him one last pet and let him go out for his daily adventure.

The dog attacked Waffles at the innermost corner of our apartment complex. Our landlady heard the attack and she called the dog off. Waffles had very little obvious injuries. He only had a few puncture marks near his neck and his lower jaw was fractured. However, he fell into a coma. During the attack, the dog had him in his mouth and shook him like a toy (a characteristic of chows). In an attempt to help figure out what was wrong with him, we drove him to the UC Davis veterinary hospital (one of the best in the nation). An MRI showed that the trauma to his brain was extensive and the neurologist recommended that we put him to rest. It still hurts to remember after all these months.

While our landlady had witnessed the attack and the police knew which dog it had been (this dog had been involved in previous incidents), there are no lineups for dogs. The only way something could have been done was if a policeman had witnessed the incident or the dog had been caught.

On Sunday afternoon I was in the kitchen when I heard a dog bark. I went into the backyard to figure out where the barking was coming from, when I heard more barking and I heard a cat growl. I hoisted myself onto our back fence (we have an empty lot behind our apartment) and I saw the same dog attacking our neighbors Siamese cat, Seymour. Seymour was on the ground, I could see blood on his inner thigh, and the dog was trying to bite him. I started screaming and the dog hesitated and started running away. I remembered what the cops had said about the dog having to be caught. So I started calling after the dog in a soft, friendly voice (I am amazed that I was able to do that despite my anger). I jumped the fence, scraping my wrists pretty bad and losing my slippers on the way over, and chased after the dog.

The dog didn't run very fast and he kept looking back at me to see if I was following. He ran across the major street and started running down his block (we know where the dog lives). I panicked and sprinted ahead to cut him off; I didn't want him to get to his house and seek refuge. When the dog got to me, he stopped and sat down. At that time, I yelled at a man leaving his house to call the police. He did. I stood there, in the middle of the street, looking at the dog. I started feeling bad because I knew that it was really the owners fault, not the dogs. Sure, the dog had attacked, but the owners had allowed their dog to get out (often) and for the dog, attacking a cat was just a game to him. Actually, I think the dog is a girl. But, as she stood there, panting and looking perfectly harmless, I could also see the blood on her muzzle. If the dog was euthanized, at least she would have a less painful end than Waffles.

We waited about 5 minutes when the dog's owners pulled out of the driveway about 4 houses down. They yelled for the dog and the dog got up and started running in the opposite direction. I ran after him. The owners asked that I help them catch their dog. I chased the dog back across the busy street and down a side street. At that time, the owners caught up with us and a 16 year old kid brought the leash. I told the kid the dog had been involved in a cat attack and that we were going to wait for the police. I grabbed the leash and walked back towards our apartment complex with the dog. The police arrived soon after that.

Seymour is most likely going to be ok. His injuries are to his back leg and there is mostly only soft tissue damage. The dog was handed back to the owners on the condition that they surrender her tomorrow. Otherwise, the police department said they would build a case against the family. Supposedly. I am amazed that the dog was not taken by animal control. Perhaps if the dog had attacked me the police would have taken the incident more seriously. Perhaps if something had been done after the first incident (I don't know the details), Waffles would still be alive. Perhaps if something had been done after Waffles was attacked, Seymour would be ok.

I am still sad that Waffles was taken from us so horribly and so soon. He really was the best cat. He was the cat I dreamed our kids would get to meet. But we were lucky because we appreciated him every day we had him. My husband and I would always comment on what a wonderful cat he was. I am glad that he was in our lives, even if it was for a short time.



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Days Since Thanksgiving

Overall, our trip to the OC for Thanksgiving was great. We mostly hung out at my parents house and did not much. I was totally fine with that. Usually I get very stressed out about trying to see everyone in such a short period of time. The only activities we had really planned was doing a run with my dad and seeing the Lunch-Bunch peeps.

Thanksgiving morning, my dad, husband, and I went to Mile-Square park for a run around the perimeter. Yup, 4 miles. We did the run in about 40 minutes. This is getting us ready for a 10K we want to run sometime in the spring. Running outside is a little tougher than running on the treadmill, and running on the grass is a lot harder than running on concrete.

The day before Thanksgiving, we went to Buca di Beppo for dinner. That was pretty good. I try to avoid chain restaurants, but this is one that I would definitely return to.

Friday night I went to a Tai Chi class with my mom. It's like a violent form of Yoga. About 15 minutes were spent pounding our bodies with our fists, 15 minutes were spent in a sit-up position, bouncing our bodies, and the rest of the time was spent doing some pretty hard stretches. I definitely got tired and even broke a sweat, but I am not sure if I would return. I like the harder, more intense workouts like running, boxing, playing soccer. I don't even like swimming that much because I can't tell I'm getting a good workout since I can't feel the sweat. On Friday we also went to an old car show near my parents' house. It was pretty cool. I liked the shiny old trucks, including a Hudson, which I had never seen before. The show was total eye-candy for my husband.

On Saturday morning, I had a late breakfast with my lunch-bunch friends who were in the area. The Lunch-Bunch is a group of five ladies that used to hang out all the time, including at lunch, all through high school. We try to get together at least once a year, usually during the holidays, to catch up. Due to everyone being so busy or so far away, we only get 2 or 3 ladies together at one time. The great thing, though, is that whenever we get together, it's as if we were never apart. I love it.

We left Saturday night for home and made the trip in about 6 hours. That is a pretty good time considering there was plenty of traffic and we even came to a standstill for a few seconds (from 80 mph). Major was a total pain. For the last three hours of the trip, he would let out a cry every 10-15 seconds. It was pathetic but he wouldn't shut up. Not even in my lap.

I started playing indoor soccer. I had my second game on Monday night. I am having fun with it. It's definitely a good workout, and different from the other types of fitness programs I usually do. The only thing is that it's a short game--40 minutes, but with subs we only end up playing about 25 minutes--and some of our game times are at 10:50 pm. That's late!

It's definitely nice to be home, although I don't like being back at work.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dirty Laundry and Treasures

Since we don't own a washer/dryer, we weren't going to have much to do at my parents house (and hence the second post today), and we had room in the car, we brought some dirty laundry so that we could wash while we were here. My parents just got a new washer and it's pretty sweet. It handles big loads so after I loaded all the whites (yes, Jay, you do have to separate the colors from the whites), I still had room so I ran around the house looking for more stuff to wash. I found a towel (I'm not sure it was even dirty) and rummaged through the parents' and brother's hampers. I didn't know laundry could be so fun!

Another thing I love doing at my parents' house is rummaging through drawers and cabinets, finding stuff that bring back the memories. For example, I found a Mickey Mouse Soccer Player Christmas ornament that a friend had given my a while back. I also found old pictures, my old drivers license (with a picture I actually liked), postcards and letters I've sent to the family, and so much more. I won't bore you with the details, but my parents' house is really a trove of treasures. For me, at least.

Oh, and I try to stick to looking through the drawers in my room or the common areas to respect privacy. I'm not a snoop.

Live from The OC

We are at my parents' house in Orange County. And we are suddenly all 5 inches taller, 30 lbs lighter, super tan, and the husband is bulging with muscles. That's what happens when you go to the OC. Even Major, who accompanied us on this trip, is 12 lbs. lighter.

The drive down last night was uneventful, but long. It took us 7.5 hours with a 45 min. stop for sushi in Pismo Beach. Major cried the whole way. He's getting pilled for the drive home. When we arrived he was loving all the attention. But he hasn't stopped whining since this morning.

All the cats are officially on a diet. Major has to eat special, pH balanced food (that is really expensive) and we no longer have the continous feed container on the floor. Now they usually get a little dry food in the morning, when we get home from work, and before bed. If we are feeling generous (or loving), then they get a little can of feast in the evening. When we took Major in to the vet for his blockage, he noted that Major was overweight, but very sweet. As soon as he said "diabetes", we committed to the diet. And we are also thinking of getting pet insurance for the kitties.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Week Ends

The last week at work was crazy busy. I didn't have to work any nights or weekends, but I did usually end the day with my brain fried and no desire to look at another computer again. I had a bunch of simulations I was running and it was a constant game of checking my runs/results, creating a new model, and rerunning it. We have a fast approaching deadline and very little money left, so I was basically switching between 10 screens on my computer. This week will probably be about the same, but fortunately it is short.

Right now I am watching the MLS Cup. It's New England vs. Houston. I would like New England to win so that they can have another team to brag about (besides the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics). But Houston does have De Rosario who is a pretty awesome goal scorer.

I recently decided that I am going to introduce myself with the Spanish pronunciation of my name instead of the blah! English way. It can sometimes sound awkward because it's pretty obvious what I am trying to do. However, if I just sound confident, I should be fine. I tried it earlier in the week and the response I got was, "what a beautiful name."

Yesterday we had our end-of-the-season party for the soccer team I was coaching. It was a fun party. I got thrown in the pool. I had been warned of the posibility by the assistant coach (who had hosted soccer parties at the same location in the past), so I was prepared with a swimsuit. I was sitting on a lounge chair next to my husband when the team swarmed me, picked up my lounge chair, and tried to throw me and the chair in the pool. I screamed, they put the chair down, I got up, and they pushed me in. Before the party, we had a daughters vs. parents game--Blizzards vs. Geezers. The parents easily won the game. The final score was 3-2, but I think a few goals scored by the parents were actually ignored, and they also eased off a little. That usually happens. In college, the alumni always beat us.

I already miss the team and the assistant coach. I had a great time coaching. It was frustrating at times but overall it was a great experience. I think I'll help out with the spring select team (it's like an all-star team that travels to tournaments).

Tonight we have a volunteer appreciation dinner. My husband had said he would go with me but changed his mind when he realized Tom Brady was playing a the same time. If only I could throw a football 60 yards for a touchdown.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

It's Sunday morning. So far my weekend has been great.

Yesterday was my little soccer team's last season game. We tied. We didn't make playoffs. Four out of the 6 teams in the division are advancing to playoffs and we are not one of them. I feel like a total loser. Actually, not really. It will be nice to have my Mondays and Wednesdays back to do what I want (not much). I enjoyed practices, but with the time change, we had to compress our practice down to 1 hour and it's so hard to get more than 1 drill plus a scrimmage accomplished in that time. But putting all this aside, I think the girls had a pretty good game on Saturday. We played the team that was either in first or second and we tied them. The smallest girl on my team is a pretty good passer, but she seems terrified of going after 50-50 balls. When she played forward, she always seemed to be at the back door, but never was strong enough to win the ball and take a shot. The assistant coach and I had discussed this and we would always shout at her whenever she was near the ball. This seemed to encourage here but it was usually not enough. Yesterday she was once again at the back door, waiting for a cross. The goalie came out for the ball, but the little girl intercepted the ball and tapped it into the goal. It was great to see her score. We couldn't get the win, but this was a great way to end the season.

We went to a party yesterday. I didn't drink very much. I basically didn't want to be hungover in the morning. I think it's a sign that I am very old that I prefer not to drink so that I can have my peaceful Sunday mornings to go grocery shopping before everyone else does, to bake muffins and squeeze orange juice, or to blog! God, I'm old.

Our Scottish visitor has a new name for Major...Poncho! If you've met all 25 lbs of black blob and fur, you know that Poncho is a suitable name. Poor Major. He's in the hospital. He was blocked and couldn't pee. We've been through this drill before so we are not too worried. He's turning out to be the most expensive cat in the world. But I guess pound for pound he's a pretty good deal.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Scottish Visitor

Evil prevailed. Yay! I won't go into this anymore because the Patriots said it all.

Anyway, we have a Scottish house-guest for a couple of weeks. His name is Mark and he is one of the MLS Coaches for the AYSO region. He basically plays soccer all day. Lucky him. So far we've been watching lots of movies such as Borat and Freddy Got Fingered. We think he's enjoyed the American culture.

My little girls won this past weekend. Finally! It was nice to win after so many weeks of playing hard but losing 1-0. If we win this coming weekend, I think we will advance to playoffs.

While it was nice to gain an extra hour of sleep this past weekend, I hate coming home from work and it being dark already. I also moved my practices to run 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm and 1 hour practices are not enough to get anything decent accomplished. At the same time, I do like that the weather is getting cooler and the kittens are wanting to cuddle with us.

Happy hump day!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Good vs. Evil, blah, blah, blah

A couple of weeks ago, my husband pointed out the outrageously bizarre and funny Gregg Easterbrook preview of the Colts vs. Patriots match this weekend. Easterbrook titled this football game as THE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL.* I thought perhaps Eastebrook had taken cues from the White House and was seeing everything as good or evil, and nothing in between. I expected everyone who read this to point out that Easterbrook had lost his mind. I never expected any other credible sportswriter to claim the same. I was wrong.

Fox sports (I know, I'm going out on a stretch here in claiming them credible) has jumped on the Easterbrook wagon:

"By kickoff time, Tony Dungy versus Bill Belichick will be shorthand for Good versus Evil."

Who knew, Boston is the heart of the axis of evil.

"He's a great coach, maybe even the greatest. But he's also a cheater."

Aren't we all? In the very least, we're all trying to cheat death. That's not very fair. In regards to the Patriots running up the score against Washington:

"There's no need for another debate about running up the score."

In AYSO there's also a blowout rule. Because it's just for fun and who cares what the score is. There's even a penalty if you win by more than 4 goals (it counts against you in tiebreaker for playoffs). If it shouldn't be done in the NFL, then make a penalty for it. I did feel kind of bad for Washington, but mostly because they sucked and were no match for New England. So what should have the Patriots done?

"One might recall a Colts-Ravens game three years ago. Peyton Manning was a touchdown pass from breaking Dan Marino's single-season record. Already up by 10, the Colts intercepted a ball that gave them a first down on the Baltimore 4-yard line. Instead of going for the record, though, Manning took a knee, then another. Finally, the clock ran out. 'That's the right way to play,' said Manning."

Uh, no. If the score had been run up against me and the other team had actually stopped playing to prevent from further scoring, I would have been more upset and embarrassed. It's not over till it's over and as long as the ball is in play, the losing team has a chance. If Manning really wanted to be nice to the Ravens, he would have thrown a few interceptions.

The media doesn't like Belichick because he doesn't give them anything. I personally love that about him. I think you are better off not saying anything going off on a rant a la Hope Solo.

Go Patriots!

*Note that what actually bothered me more in this article besides the good vs. evil rant, is the sexual remarks he would make. For example:

"Cheerleader of the Week: Reader Kevin Ward of Ireland proposes Leigh Killian of City of Tampa. According to her team bio, Killian is a graduate of Appalachian State -- one of this year's cool schools -- and works as a probation officer. Leigh, cuff me! The Bucs cheerleaders' warm-to-the-touch team pose is here."

I shiver every time I read that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Food Stuff

Last night for dinner we went out for sushi. When it was time to pay and tip, I realized that our waitress probably didn't work any harder than the waiters at the Mexican place next door. But since our bill was $75 and a typical bill at the place next door would probably amount to $25, our waitress was going to get 3x's the tip. That didn't seem fair.

Anyway, one day my friend Tim and I were trying to determine which food could be identified uniquely with each state. In other words, when you think of Lousiana, what food do you think of? Well, that's easy (since I was just there) - red beans and rice. So for all 50 states, here you go (my husband gets cowriting credit since he's sitting right next to me and I am making him answer my questions):

Alabama - "I would say Alabama, they eat grits." I've never been to Alabama so I have no idea, but I expect it's not grits.
Alaska - No idea, but I expect something fishy, or maybe something more exotically fishy, like seal.
Arizona - TexMex meets non-Mexican people. You know, like when you ask for your steak "a little more rare than medium-rare".
Arkansas - I'm thinking BBQ (which will be true of many states) while the husband suggest road kill.
California - Probably anything with avocado or sushi. Good stuff.
Colorado - Deer.
Connecticut - We both have no idea.
Delaware - Where's Delaware?
Florida - Fish and oranges. "Margaritas."
Georgia - More oranges. I'm having trouble here with all these fly-over states.
Hawaii - Pork and pineapples.
Idaho - And I da pimp.
Illinois - Hot dogs in Chicago.
Indiana - "Corn."
Iowa - "Corn."
Kansas - Corn.
Kentucky - Fried Chicken.
Louisiana - Red beans and rice, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee.
Maine - Lobster.
Maryland - "Crabs."
Massachusetts - Clam chowder.
Michigan - Ice.
Minnesota - More Ice.
Mississippi - Mud pies.
Missouri - No idea.
Montana - Beef.
Nebraska - Where's Nebraska? "It's like in the middle, somewhere."
Nevada - T-bone steak and eggs.
New Hampshire - Maple syrup.
New Jersey - Really can't think of anything.
New Mexico - Anything with green chilies: pizza, McDonald's, pasta.
New York - Cheesecake.
North Carolina - Ok, this is getting hard.
North Dakota -
Ohio -
Oklahoma -
Oregon - Beef.
Pennsylvania -
Rhode Island - Something fishy.
South Carolina -
South Dakota - Potatoes?
Tennessee -
Texas - BBQ, specifically brisket.
Utah - Bread.
Vermont - Maple Syrup again.
Virginia - Ham.
Washington - Apples.
West Virginia - More ham.
Wisconsin - Cheese.
Wyoming - Don't know.
Washington, DC - Freedom fries.

I need to visit more states.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

The downside of not having any kids on Halloween:
I don't get any candy.

The upside:
I don't have a kid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Earthquake!

We were sitting in front of the tv, watching Sopranos, and having tacos for dinner, when an earthquake hit. While the earthquake was mild, we could obviously feel it and it lasted about 25 seconds. I immediately jumped up and ran to a doorway. I started to stress out because I imagined the house collapsing or their being a big fire and us trying to get the kitties out. I grew up with the real threat of earthquakes and all the scary dramas of earthquakes. So while it’s possible that a giant sinkhole might open up when an earthquake hits, it’s probably unlikely that I will fall in and get squished when the sinkhole closes back up.

Anyway, the husband, the kitties, and I are all safe. This was the first earthquake the husband experienced and it was kind of neat to share the moment with him. Our homework is to figure out what we should do in case of an earthquake…stand in a doorway, duck under a table, not quite sure which is the protocol nowadays.

Today was a long work day. I worked 10 hours to make up for two I had missed yesterday. I left work early yesterday to go to soccer practice and it started raining as soon as I got in the car. Since tomorrow is Halloween, practice is cancelled then too. So no practice at all this week. I am happy and sad.

On Monday I also taught my monthly computer class at the local senior center. The course was an introduction to email. So I basically set everyone up with email (my computer screen was projected onto a screen and they followed on their computers) and showed them a few things such as how to check and send email. Most people were pretty comfortable with the mouse and being on the internet, but I had one lady who worked really slow and we never finished getting her set up with an email address within the hour-long class.

Here are a few kitty pictures for your enjoyment.


When we got home a few days ago, Noodles was sitting on the couch in the sun. I think these pictures turned out cute. It's easy to take artsy pictures when you have good lighting and a great subject.




When we got home yesterday, Major was sitting on the chili plants. That's why they keep dying on us.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekend Summary

Had a good weekend. It was busy.

My little girls lost again. We dominated most of the first half but we only got one goal. The other team also got a goal on a breakaway. Their forwards were extremely fast. The second half was more evenly matched but they scored and we didn’t so we lost. I’ve been a little frustrated lately with the number of girls that shows up to practice. Last week I only had 7 girls—half the team!—show up on Wednesday. This week we will have no practice. It was raining today and Wednesday is Halloween. The main reason the girls don’t show up to practice is because they have some other sport that they are playing. I always played sports growing up—soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball. But I only played one sport per season. These days, these girls have multiple activities going on at a time. I won’t be surprised if they get burnt out before they finish high school.

We had another coaches/refs game on Saturday. I was in better shape than I expected and definitely played a lot better than I did a couple of weeks ago at the first coaches/refs game. I was happy. After the game we went to the local brew-pub for beers and dinner to offset all the calories we had burnt.

We also went shoe shopping and got some pretty sweet, but pretty expensive, running shoes. Who knew you could pay over $100 for running shoes?! The husband and I are going to run a 10K one day (soon). We’ll probably fly down to L.A. in the spring and run the 10K with my dad and a friend. My friend Erin is a hard core runner and she’s done marathons before. I can easily get into shape and run about 4 miles at a 9:15/mile pace. What always kills me is travel because I end up not working out for a couple of weeks and it’s always mentally challenging to get back into the habit.

Sunday we watched the Patriots kills the Redskins. We thought the game was going to be on TV and we sat on the couch for the first 10 minutes, flipping channels, looking for the game. It turns out that since our local area has 2 pro football teams (that suck), they won’t televise the Patriots’ game. So we had to go to our local bar again. This time around there were more Patriots fans than the two regulars (us).

Random thoughts for the day:

We just booked our flights to New England for the holidays. We used our free Southwest tickets we had accumulated from all my business trips last year. I was under the impression that if a seat was available on a Southwest flight, then you could use your travel voucher. Not the case. Southwest only allots a certain number of rewards seats per flight. So we ended up having to create a pretty yucky itinerary (flight on Christmas day). Damn holiday travel! Everyone else needs to stay home so that we can fly when we want to! Actually the real problem is that we kept putting off booking our flights until we figured out who would take care of our 4 cats while we are gone. That’s what happens when you have 4 cats. We still don’t know who’s going to take care of them. Any volunteers?

So I’ve been reading up on the Patriots vs. Colts game coming up this weekend and what I’ve noticed is that they always say the Patriots are a great team, but so are the Colts; the Patriots have a great quarterback, but so do the Colts. So I think subconsciously, everyone agrees New England is the better team, even though the Colts are the defending champs.

I had a lot more random thoughts but I’ve forgotten them all by now.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blog Changes

I am trying to get my readership up. I have about 5 readers (Austin, Houston, NY, ME, and Sweden). But I like to tell my husband I only have 2, not including him. So I was thinking of making my blog more of hey, this is what it's like being an engineer, living in the Bay Area with a non-Mexican engineer husband, 4 cats, in a 900 square foot, 2-floor condo sharing 1 pretty old car. I aspire to model my blog after my sister-in-law's and concuños (Spanish term for an in-law-in-law). They chronicle their lives living in Maine. When I read their blog I feel as if I too am living in Maine, without actually having to be there.

So I'll try to fill you in on the more exciting details of my life on a daily or every-other-day basis.

I am currently re-watching season 2 of the Sopranos. Monkey, the big adventurer in the family, was gone for about 3 days. She returned yesterday around noon, and slept for about 34 hours straight. She just woke up and is whining at the door to go outside, but since it's late, she has to stay inside. I don't know if I could ever sleep for more than 10-12 hours straight, no matter how long I stayed up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Way It Is

My brother (my blood) is a big fan of the LA Lakers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the NY Yankees (gasp!).

My husband (my love) is a fan of anyone who beats the Lakers, the New England Patriots, and the Boston Red Sox.

Fortunately for me they act like adults and keep it civil.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sports Update

Has anyone been watching the New England Patriots walk all over their opponents? Last weekend the Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas in a very exciting match-up. Both teams were 5-0 going into the game but the Patriots were clearly the better team. This weekend the Patriots played Miami who were 0-6. The amazing thing about the game is that for a good part of the game (the entire first quarter and a little more, I think), both quarterbacks had perfect completion rates. The 49-28 score doesn't reflect how well the Dolphins played. They actually played pretty well and when Lemon, the quarterback, was hot, he was hot. But the Patriots are clearly the better team in the game, and perhaps the NFL.

My little girls, on the other hand, have not been doing so well. We've lost our last two games, 0-1. The other teams have scored in the first quarter and while we play really well and have plenty of opportunities, we just can't convert. I was especially proud of my girls in the last game because they played like they wanted to win. We got a penalty kick at the end of first half. My player kicked the ball right at the goalie and then nailed the rebound over the goal. Towards the end of the second half, the other team got a penalty kick too, and our goalie saved it. In my soccer experience, a penalty kick usually results in a goal. However, in AYSO teenaged girls' soccer, of the 5 penalty kicks I have witnessed, none have resulted in a goal. Interesting.

Other sports side notes:

I find myself reading up on pro football during the week. I don't like it.

Watching the Red Sox vs. the Indians in game 7 of the semifinals. It's the bottom of the 8th and the Red Sox are in the lead, 6-2. It looks good for the Sox.

You can now watch Women's College Soccer on ESPN and other cable sports channels. I was watching UCLA vs. Oregon yesterday afternoon. I miss playing soccer.

Last weekend we had a coaches/referees game. It was fun. I wasn't as sore as I expected to be the day after the game. However, while I was playing, I realized I had forgotten how big the soccer field is. It definitely gave me a new perspective on how my little girls might feel when they play. It's definitely much easier to yell at someone to get back on defense than to do it myself. It had been a while since I had been on the field.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Middle-Class Crunch

I always hear about a “middle-class squeeze” but the evidence I saw made me believe that people were just making bad choices. I know that a lot of a family’s income goes towards the mortgage, especially if the houses were purchased within the last 10 years in expensive real estate markets (New York, San Francisco, etc.). However, to me it seemed that people were preferring to buy the $400 Coach bag and pay $10,000’s more for a luxury car rather than save money for a possible layoff or health emergency. But according to this article, it turns out that people are actually spending a lot less on the extras than they were 30 yeas ago. Huh?

So there are 2 main thing happening here: a lot of the luxury items (such as the dishwasher, having 2 family cars, weekend clothes) are a lot cheaper today than they were 30 years ago and a lot of the money people have is actually going to the essentials (health care, mortgage). For example, a mortgage 30 years ago in today’s dollars was about $5820/year, while today it’s about $10,250/year. On the other hand, basic appliances that might still be a luxury in some households (dishwasher) cost almost 1/10th of what they cost 30 years ago. One shocking fact is that incomes are the same now as they were 30 years ago (adjusted to today’s dollars). It’s true that families today have a lot more money because usually both parents work (compared to a single-income family of the mid-1970’s). However, with both parents working, there are usually other expenses—child care, 2 family cars, etc.

My husband and I are dinks—dual income, no kids. It’s a more realistic description of the yuppy (young urban professional). We have good jobs, no debt, a nice savings account, and yet it will be years before we can afford a house in the Bay Area. Granted, we are being slightly conservative—we could probably easily be approved for a loan in which 40% of our gross income goes towards paying off a small, fixer-upper on the bad side of town. But what would happen if one of us lost our job or we had another emergency? So for the time being we will have to be satisfied renting our small townhouse. While our rent increases every few months, it is still at 1/3 of what a mortgage would be.

Flower Mishap

A bride is suing her florist because the florist substituted “pastel pink and green hydrangeas for the dark rust and green ones she had specified for 22 centerpieces.” That could be valid. How much did the flowers cost? $27,435.14. The bride’s case should get thrown out in court because she’s an idiot and spent so much on flowers. I wonder what the total bill for the wedding was? Probably more than the $400,000 she is suing for.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Back in Texas

As I write this post, I am sitting in the Houston airport, waiting for my flight to New Orleans. The hubby and I spent a few days in Texas on vacation and are now headed to NOLA for a business conference (I will be at conference sessions all day while my husband partakes of the spouse programs with all the wives—I work in a male-dominant field).

Our trip to Texas was great. We spent most of our time in Austin and then went to Houston for less than 24 hours (thank goodness). Austin is a great city. If you’ve never been, you won’t understand until you spend a few days there. Austin has a culture that is a mix of hippies, diverse college students, young professionals, homeless people (“I love the homeless people,” says my husband looking over my shoulder) and real Texans. The nightlife is great, the food is abundant and yummy, and you could never run out of fun things to do. The only 2 bad things about Austin is that the weather is hot and humid and it is in the middle of Texas (you could drive for hours and still be in Texas).

A wedding was the original inspiration for our trip to Austin. Congratulations to my high school and grad school friend B and her new husband T. They had a lovely Catholic ceremony followed by a wonderful reception at the UT alumni center. I used to never cry at weddings, until I got married. Now I start crying as soon as the parents walk down the aisle. I wonder what that means.

It turns out that while we were in Austin, we got to meet our dear friends’ O and G’s 20 hour old baby girl. Congrats to the proud parents and their beautiful, beautiful baby girl. It’s quite an amazing sight to see some of your best friends holding their baby for the first times in their lives. Baby N is one lucky girl as she is going to have some of the most loving and doting parents in the world.

While we were in Austin we drove around a lot and checked out all of the places and areas we used to frequent. In the 4 years since we’ve been gone, Austin has changed a lot. Some of it is good (dense housing above some retail in a great location) and some of it is bad (a ton of cookie-cutter sub developments). There is also a big price difference based on radius from the city center/university area and the neighborhood. A nice house on a large lot (half an acre) about 10 miles from downtown might cost around $200k, while a small place with a small yard right next to the freeway and train tracks but about 1.5 miles from the university will cost over $400k. The real estate market seems to have done really well in the last year (double digit percentage home value increases), but I am not sure how long Austin can sustain that. There is a lot of building going on and while I expect a lot of Californians are fleeing to Austin, I don’t think the population is growing that fast and thus there may be a large surplus of homes in the coming years.

We drove to Houston for a night to hang out with the uncles, aunts, and cousins. We were greeted with a delicious Texan-Mexican BBQ – carne asada, grilled chicken, and deer sausage. It felt great to sit around the grill sharing stories (the time I sent my husband to buy cilantro and he came back with parsley), drinking bear, and chowing down, despite the heat and humidity (we would step inside to the air conditioning when we needed breaks from the oppressive weather). Thanks for hosting us Familia N.

The last event of our Texas trip was meeting up with our grad school friend P-Diablo in Houston. It was so nice to see him again and to share grad school stories. The trash talking about the Patriots and Cowboys was quite entertaining.

Overall it was a great trip. On to New Orleans.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Amazing Footwork

The Women's World Cup is over. My husband and I got up super early on Sunday morning to watch Brazil vs. Germany in the final. I was quite impressed with Brazil's fast-paced, agressive, showy soccer. It was great. I felt that they lacked some of the skill I would expect in pros (missed volleys, trying to do a move but forgetting the soccer ball), but overall I was impressed with how they played. Germany ended up winning the game, 2-0. Brazil had an almost sure chance to score when they were awarded a penalty kick, but the German goalie stopped the kick.

ESPN has a highlights video from the painful US loss to Brazil in the semifinals. Objectively, however, Brazil had some amazing goals. You have to see their fancy footwork, especially Marta's goal in which she flicks the ball with her heel and she goes one way the ball goes the other way around the defender. Beautiful goal!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Loss and A Victory

Two weekends ago my little girls were badly defeated 5-1. This was an "easy" game and we should have won. Sure it was an early game and it was raining (almost pouring in the second half), but this was the same for the other team. This loss hurt a lot more than our pre-season loss of 4-0. The girls had come out like a whole new team and we had a win and a tie in two very exciting games at the beginning of the season. The girls had shown that they could play hard and aggressively, and they were starting to come together as a team. Thus, to lose so badly in the third game of the season to a team we should have beat (at least according to standings), I felt a little let down and helpless. The girls didn't lose because they didn't have the skill to match the other team, they just didn't have the desire to play nor the fire to win. At half time all I told them was that if they wanted to play hard and win, they could still come back from a 3-0 deficit and win the game. They played a better second half but it wasn't enough.

This weekend we won 3-0. It was a great game to watch. The first quarter was spent on our defensive half, but after a while the girls stepped it up and the goals started to come. This was definitely an exciting game to watch and to coach. I was happy with a 2-0 lead so I started moving the girls around to different positions. We have 14 players on the team and if I want to have no one sit out more than 1 quarter, only 2 players get to play the whole game. And as much as I would want to play my super strong players (especially the defensive ones) the full game, every game, I need to rotate which 2 players play the full game.

Go team!

Friday, September 28, 2007

They Are Still Your Teammates

The US Women's Soccer Team has a semifinal match against Brazil on Thursday for the Women's World Cup (in China). They lost, 4-0. Days before the game, the coach decided to bench his starting goalie, Hope Solo, who had played almost every minute in every game up until that point. Solo had never played a match against Brazil and the coach decided to go with Brianna Scurry, a veteran of the National Team who has many matches against Brazil. Critics thought it was a bold move, but that if it worked, he would be considered a genius. Well, it didn't work. And now Solo has come out publicly against her coach and her teammates. Here's what she had to say:

"It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves. ... You have to live in the present. And you can't live by big names. You can't live in the past."

Shut the f* up. You are on the National Soccer Team, which is an honor, not a right. Sure, you can question your coach's decision, but do so privately. Don't go around telling the world that your coach made a wrong crucial decision and that you could have made the saves your teammate didn't. You don't know that for a fact.

I say kick Solo off the team. There are plenty of other goalies out there with equal skill and more respect for the team and the sport.

Update: Turns out the Brazilians didn't even care about the goalie change. What got them fired up and motivated to cream the US was comments earlier in the week by US Coach Ryan. In response to a friendly June game between the US and Brazil, Ryan said:

"Brazil’s primary tactic was fouling us to break our rhythm. We had more of the ball, and their response to that was just to foul. Brazil has tried to break our rhythm by chopping our players down. The last time we played Brazil, they didn’t even try to play football — they just kicked us from behind."

Ryan also requested a referee who would call those kinds of fouls for Thursday's semifinal match. Read more here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Don't Wear It Out

The quote on the inside of my Sun-Maid Raisins box:

"Your name is your parents' gift to you. Live up to it."

I like my name. I am thankful for the name my parents gave me. Especially since they were considering Roxanna as a name for me. I would probably have a very different career, working nights, had I been named Roxanna.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Say That Again

Stuff like this just cracks me up. I'm sure a lot of you have heard about the San Diego Padres' Milton Bradley who tore a ligament in his knee while his coach tried to restrain him from attacking an umpire. Bradley is a good player and now the Padres' chances of making the playoffs are a little slimmer and Bradley's career will certainly suffer due to the recovery time needed. The umpire involved in the incident has also been suspended. Bradley and his coach have claimed that the umpire used profane language to try to bait Bradley, who is known for his bad temper. Bradley's comments on the incident:

"the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

Uh, Bradley, did you include your childish reaction to the umpire's remarks and the need to have to restrain you in your list of unprofessional and ridiculous things you've seen? Really, now. Let me guess, did the umpire say something mean about your mom?

What is it with guys and their inability to ignore mom jokes/comments? You know the old saying...sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me...? Well, there is a lot of truth to that. Words are just words. I'm not saying that verbal abuse should be excused because it is not physical abuse, especially involving children. But in this case, two adults need to act like adults and not go berserk over comments. Grow up!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What Can You Do?

Here’s a short article on some non-obvious things we can do to reduce our contribution to global warming. Some of the things that I will do or are already doing:

I will figure out how to log in to my work network so I can check on my simulations from home in the evenings, instead of driving all the way back to work (it’s only 3 miles round trip, but every bit counts). I also have a laptop that I shut down so it doesn’t stay on all night.

I will try to ride my bike to work at least three times a week.

We have all of the chargers for our cell phones, palm pilot, etc., on a power strip so that we can turn off the power strip when nothing is charging. It was recently reported that cell phone chargers and the like consume electricity even when they are not charging a phone.

I try to wash and reuse the thick freezer Ziploc bags instead of throwing them out (if I can).

We tend to keep our home pretty cold and try to get through the winter without using the heater (we learned this from our parents). This can be a challenge because our apartment is super drafty (in the late morning it can be warmer outside than inside) and none of the sliding glass doors (which we have 4 of in our townhouse) close properly. We survive by wearing warm sweaters, hats, and using blankets (when we watch tv, etc.). If we get too cold, then we use a space heater so that only the area we are in gets warmed.

In the summer we close all the blinds so that the sun stays out and the house stays cooler. It really works.

We always let our dishes air dry in the dishwasher.

Other ideas that are a bigger challenge:

I need to change my exercise routine so that I run 1.5 miles to the gym, lift weights, and then run 1.5 miles back home, instead of driving to the gym, running 3-4 miles on the treadmill, lifting weights, and driving home.

I need to take shorter showers.

We need to be better about planning our grocery shopping so we don’t end up driving to the grocery store 3-4 times a week.

We have a great farmers market in our city (about 1.5 miles away). We should shop there more often and ride our bikes to the market.

I will try to eat less meat (and by default so will my husband). We already eat only meat that is humanely raised but we can better and eat less meat. We have a lot of great vegetarian recipes that we should make more often.

Slate has a great series of weekly articles on ideas to be more green and reduce CO2 emissions.

So what can you do?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Still Undefeated

Another great game for the Blizzards. We tied this weekend 1-1. We scored early in the game and had the lead most of the game, but they ended up sticking half the team on offense and eventually scored. And this is a team that beat the team (5-1) that beat us (4-0) in the preseason and beat another team 3-0. So they were frustrated and upset that they didn’t beat us. At least the coach was. I think the girls forget about the score as they are walking off the field. One of my players got a yellow card by unintentionally tripping another player. The opposing coach started yelling that it should have been a red card because it was intentional (again, he was frustrated and upset), and after the game my player was quite upset and crying. I reassured her that it was all part of the game and that the coach should not have said what he did and that he was just upset. But I was reminded of the first time I got a yellow card. I too cried. And I have also cried the two times I have gotten red cards, even as an adult. When your body is full of adrenaline and you are tired and probably confused or frustrated, it’s pretty easy to let the tears flow. I think the first time I got a yellow card (can’t even remember why) I was mostly confused and upset that I had been reprimanded (I was always a good girl). The times I got red cards I was extremely frustrated.

This weekend we watched the Patriots man-handle the Chargers. The Patriots scored in the first drive of the game and I immediately felt bad for the Chargers. But then I realized that these guys get paid a lot more than I do to play some mediocre football. I didn’t feel so bad after that.

I have been watching a lot of American football lately and I even have been reading up on the pre- and post-game analyses on the internets. Remember that I hate football in general. This is mostly due to the fact that so much money goes into college football versus other college sports. I also got turned off from football from having been given a parking ticket while at UT for refusing to give up my parking spot to an alumni going to the football game. I actually ended up getting two tickets: one for being illegally parked and one for refusing to do what the peace officer asked me to do.

That’s all I got for now. Watching Lord of the Rings, part III.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Great Football Weekend

My little girls had their first season game this weekend and won!! The score was 1-0. Last week at practice we worked on aggressivity drills and wall passes, and it showed in the game. The goal was off a nice pass back to a forward in the center of the box and a shot to the far post of the goal. It kind of reminded me of Dempsey’s goal in the Brazil-US game. A 12 year old version. We had practice last night and the girls had a lot of energy. We ran the box for about 12 minutes but that only calmed them down for about 10 minutes. Then it was back to gossiping, screaming, and getting distracted. The box is a great running drill I learned about through my brother’s club soccer teams. It’s basically a square 20 yards on each side, and we run around the box in a single file line at a moderately slow pace. When I call out a number like 1, 2, 3, or 4, that’s how many sides of the box we have to sprint. I led the running and after about 12 minutes, I myself was winded. But once the girls recovered from the drill, it was back to screaming and acting like little girls. It definitely gives new meaning to the “screaming like a little girl” phrase.

The second great soccer match I saw this weekend was the US vs. Brazil friendly game played in Chicago. I only caught the last 20 minutes of the game since I didn’t even know it was on. Thanks to G for calling me to let me know the game was on. What I saw of the game was great soccer – fast paced and very intense. I saw a US goal to tie the score 2-2. Brazil ended up scoring 2 more goals: Ronaldinho scored a nice goal on a questionable foul called just outside the penalty box and a silly defensive mistake was called as a penalty which ended as another goal. The final score was 4-2 in Brazil’s favor (of course). Here’s a video with goal highlights from the game. I also found this video of goal highlights of a US vs. Brazil U20 match. This match is also good with lots of great shots and fancy Brazilian footwork.

The final football game I saw was American football. The husband and I went to a local bar to check out the New England game since it wasn’t televised here (but it was in Los Angeles – go figure!). The bar had lots of TV’s and there were a bunch of different games on. And even though it was only 10 am, there were lots of people drinking. The game on the biggest screen of all was Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland. And the Pittsburgh fans were soooo annoying. We wanted Pittsburgh to lose just because of the fans. They were all decked out in their Pittsburgh jerseys and had even brought their terrible towels and bobble head collection. Everyone at the bar seemed to want the Patriots to loose, and we figured that was because everyone was jealous of how good the Patriots are and how bad their own teams suck. One thing that cracked me up was how the Pittsburgh fans reacted to replays of touchdowns. When Pittsburgh would score, the fans would go crazy. When the touchdown was replayed, they would go just as crazy .

On a sad note, that sucks about Kevin Everett’s injury. I hope he has a full recovery and a speedy one.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Pre-Season Loss

So we lost our first, and only, practice game, 4-0. The game was actually a lot better than the score reflects. The first goal was an own-goal. At the half it was 1-0. In the second half, our strong goal keeper wanted to play the field, so we had another girl play goalie who has no experience in the position but we’ve been kind of training her to be goalie. So there you have it. Those are my excuses. Anyway, at practice this week, when I told the girls I wanted to talk about the game, one of them yelled out: “That was fun!” I was very surprised by this comment, since I’ve never had a fun soccer game in which we lost 4-0. But as my husband had pointed out earlier, the only thing that the girls really care about (and probably their parents too) is having fun and socializing. Well, I still think that if we end up losing all the games, no matter how fun they are, some people might not be happy. Including me.

We have our first official game this weekend. I am still excited!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Workout Playlist

Whatta Man - Salt N Pepa

Ay Ay Ay

Can't Touch This - MC Hammer

Disco Inferno - The Trammps

Donde Estan - Sentidos Opuestos

Gasolina - Daddy Yankee

I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred

I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice

It Wasn't Me - Shaggy

Lady Marmalade - Nanette Workman

Mesa Que Mas Aplauda - Grupo Climax

Play that Funky Music - Wild Cherry

Respect - Aretha Franklin

Shook Me All Night Long - AD/DC

Stayin' Alive - N-Trance

Suerte (Whenever, Wherever) - Shakira

Summer Nights - Grease

Thong Song - Sisqo

Un Dos Tres

We Like to Party - Vengaboys

Whatta Man - Salt N Pepa

Whenever, Wherever - Shakira

YMCA - Village People

Note to Self and Bosses

Don't schedule any big deadlines on the days immediately following a holiday. Otherwise, I either end up traveling during my holiday (like I did last year) or I work all holiday weekend (like I did this year).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pre-Game Thoughts

Our first game is this weekend. I am quite excited. Yesterday's practice went extremely well, apart from the boundless energy the girls had for chatting and goofing off. We finished off practice with an offense against defense drill. I lined up the fullbacks, sweeper, and goalie in their positions, and I had sets of three girls start at midfield and take the ball down the field, trying to get past the defense and score on goal. The defense was pretty good and there were no shots on goal at first. But as the drill progressed, the offense got better and had some great passes and even shots on goal. And I taught the defense to immediately go wide as soon as the goalie made a save. They were great at turning the ball around. And the best thing about it is that the girls really enjoyed the drill.

Sorry if this is boring to most of you non-soccer fans. But I am really excited about our first match!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Team Blizzards

My team picked a name at the last practice...Blizzards! I think it's a good name and very age appropriate. Our uniforms are black and white. Other suggestions were The Panda Bears (because they are cute and fuzzy), White Rapids, and Black Panthers.

At the first practice, I asked the girls to pick a few jersey numbers they wanted to have. The numbers 2-5 were extremely popular. But I was surprised that no one picked either #9 nor #10. Which famous soccer players wear those numbers?? Mia Hamm is #9 and Pele (among many other famous players) is #10. When I asked the girls which famous female soccer player wears #9, it took them a few minutes to remember. What??!! If our apartment was any bigger (and I was any less sane), I would have all the girls over for soccer game watching every week.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cutie

Another thing I have been terrible about doing is posting cute pictures of our kittens. How is this for completely adorable??!!

My Team

I have been quite terrible about posting. Sorry! I have been busy…

I am coaching a girls, under-14 team in AYSO. It’s quite fun. My initial motivation for becoming a coach was being able to have practices twice a week, which would get me out on the soccer field, doing soccer drills and running. I stopped playing in a competitive adult league about 1 year ago, because my back just couldn’t handle the intensity of the game. So I though being a coach and working out with my team would help me determine whether or not I wanted to get back into playing soccer competitively. I will not make my girls run laps or sprints while I sit around and watch.

But now I have a new motivation – I want to show them everything that I know about soccer. The 1.5 hour practices aren’t long enough for me to cover everything that I want to do. I have a super long list of drills and skills I want to cover and not enough time to get it all done. We have a practice game this weekend. I am excited but nervous. I have never coached this level before and I don’t know what to expect. Some of the girls on the team have obvious talent and skill, since they’ve been playing for 5+ years. Some of the girls are new to the game, and while they understand the basics of the game and are not afraid, they lack skill.

I know it’s just for fun. But everyone has more fun when they win or at least the matches are close. So hopefully we’ll have a good season. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Harry Potter

I just finished the final book of the Harry Potter series. I loved it. What a great series. It took me a while to finish the last book because I didn't want the series to end. I won't say too much in case you are still reading the last book or plan on reading the series. I highly, highly recommend it. I actually started reading the book again. The only book I've ever read twice was Crime and Punishment (and that's because I had it as an assignment in both high school and college). I started rereading book 1 last night and it was hard to put down. Again, I really recommend it if you haven't read it. It's an easy read and quite enjoyable.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Priceless

"A woman was arrested after she called local police to help 'get her money back' after she was unhappy with the crack cocaine she purchased."

One of the fun things about being a cop.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

My Husband

You can take the white boy out of Boston, but you can’t take the white boy out of my husband.

I sent my husband to the store to get cilantro to make salsa and he came back with Italian parsley. He even did the sniff test but was unable to differentiate between the two.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

GDL

Our first stop on our 2 week Mexican vacation was Guadalajara, Jalisco. I had been to Guadalajara (GDL) many times before as we would usually begin or end our family trips to Mexico with a few days in GDL. But this time around we did a lot more sightseeing than I can remember. My brother-in-law, husband, and I met up with my parents-in-law at the GDL airport. My parents arrived the next morning and met us at the hotel.

Now, the first and one of the bigger highlights of the trip actually occurred before we arrived in Mexico. While we were checking-in at LAX, the attendant mentioned that we were not sitting together. I was about to raise hell (I had booked all the tickets separately but had called the airline twice to confirm that everyone was sitting together), when the attendant added that my husband and I were sitting in first class. And, we were able to wait in the VIP lounge until it was time for our flight. Unfortunately we only had 2 VIP lounge tickets, so my brother-in-law and I stuffed our faces with 2 bite lox and cucumber finger sandwiches and 3-drink cans of juice, while my husband waited outside, starving. There was also a full stock of miniature sized bottles of beer, wine, champagne and hard liquor, but even though we had been deemed first class passengers, we decided 7:30 am was a little too early to start drinking.

The first class experience was quite nice. We got a two-course breakfast with a cloth placemats and napkins, real silverware that included a spoon and 2 sets of fork/knife, and real dishes. The cut-up fruit was followed by breakfast crepes. My husband even accompanied his breakfast with two glasses of wine – 8:30 am is not too early to drink when you are in first class.

GDL is a nice city. It’s very busy and very European-like. A lot of the government buildings are covered in gorgeous murals that often depict very violent or controversial subjects. One example is the Jose Clemente Orozco mural of Miguel Hidalgo during the Mexican Revolution found in the Palacio de Gobierno.


Most of the architecture has a Spanish influence (duh!) and is very beautiful. Below are images of one of the main drags in GDL with the Catedral in the background, inside of the Catedral, the Palacio de Gobierno, and a couple of a huge and neat building that used to be a nunnery (?) and was now a museum.


Tlaquepaque is a suburb of GDL and it is considered the artistic center of GDL. We went there for a few hours and mostly walked around the square and the hundreds of puestos or stands. The highlight was a little ceramic museum with some incredible work. My favorite piece was a hug vase made of ceramic laid in a mesh pattern similar to what you would find in a doily. A picture is below.

Tonala is another good suburb of GDL that offers lots of neat, colorful Mexican stuff, like tables, paintings, and those frosted glasses with the blue trims great for serving margaritas. We all talked about renting a gigantic Uhaul and driving it to Mexico to get lots of “stuff”. The owner of the restaurant we ate in turned out to have managed the Sizzler down the street from my parent’s house in Southern California. He amused us with his stories of working in the restaurant business in Southern California.

Almost all the food we had in Mexico was so good that even after two weeks of eating Mexican food, I was craving it when we got back to the US. The only exception to the food was a camarones a la diabla (spicy shrimp dish) I had in GDL. I’ve had the dish before plenty of times in the US. It’s actually the dish I usually get whenever we go out for Mexican food. However, the way it was prepared in Mexico was so bad I didn’t eat very much of it. The sauce tasted like ketchup and the shrimp had not been cleaned properly. I also preferred the sangrias in the US to those I had in Mexico. The Mexico sangrias seemed to be made of lemonade combined with a standard, mass produced sangria mix and a little vodka was added to make it alcoholic. Not very good in general. But everything else was fantastic.

While I am listing my complaints, I was annoyed that the hotel in GDL charged about 20% more if we used a credit card instead of cash to pay for the hotel room. I would expect 3% or 5% more, but close to 20%? That's ridiculous!

Most of the pictures I will post were taken by my brother-in-law. He had a very nice digital SLR camera and went crazy with it. The first picture in this post is one of my favorites from the trip. It was taken from the balcony of the hotel we stayed in GDL.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I just recently heard about TOMS on NPR. TOMS are a simple canvas shoe similar to an Argentinean shoe. The neat business plan behind the shoes is that for every pair that is purchased, the owner gives a pair to a needy child around the world. The shoes sell for about $40. They may be a little overpriced, but it’s for a good cause. I am going to get me a pair.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beckmania

David Beckham is so hot right now! I am going nuts over Beckham. Posh is such a lucky lady. Becks is such a good soccer player and he’s totally cute. And he has such great friends: Tom and Katie, Eva and Tony. I can't wait until he's a regular starter with the Galaxy.

I am not insane. Please note the third comment here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Halting the McMansions

Boulder, CO, may have come up with a solution to the gross problem of McMansions:

"Homeowners willing to sign away their option to someday add additions to their houses would receive a one-time payment as well as lower yearly tax assessments on their homes. The forfeited enlargement rights would then be available for purchase through a specially established market. Residents planning to build or expand homes larger than the recommended thresholds — 7,000 square feet on the plains, 5,000 square feet in the mountains — would be required to purchase additional development rights at prices determined by the market, which might be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per property."

5,000 square feet! What would you do with 5,000 square feet. Right now The Poor Man and I live in a townhouse that is just under 1,000 square feet. I would love a kitchen and living room that are twice the size we have now, a master suite where our bedroom is about 1.5 times our current bedroom and a walk-in closet, and another bedroom and bathroom. So that would be 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms total. I expect that would be about 2,000 - 2,500 square feet. What would I do with 5,000 square feet of living space?? Even if we had 5 bedrooms (an office for the husband and a craft room for me), that would still not add up to 5,000 square feet. How do you keep everything clean and cool/warm?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pottermania

Last week I pre-ordered the latest Harry Potter book for about $24 on amazon.com. For some reason I thought I was going to receive the book by the end of the week, and before anyone could buy it at the store. I was disappointed when I realized that the estimated delivery date for the book is July 31 - August 2. I was even more disappointed when I saw the book for sale at Costco for about $18. Not only could I have paid less had I bought the book at Costco, but I could have spent my weekend reading the book. Bummer.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Weather Miracle

The weather outside: Cool and rainy. The extraordinary thing about this weather report is that it is the middle of July and I am in California. Unlike the rest of the country, it never rains in California during the summer. The rains end in March or April and we don’t get rain again at least until October. But I am not complaining at all. Just commenting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm Back

I am back from my two week vacation in Mexico. We had a fabulous time and we were all very sad to go home, and especially to have to go to work. The kittens were the only ones that were quite pleased to go home, even if it meant having to go on a very long car ride.

During the next couple of weeks I will post about the trip and add some pictures.