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November 2007

Vacation, all I ever wanted

November 29, 2007   

Seppo and I are leaving for Tulum, Mexico in a matter of hours. I stayed up converting a bunch of free pdf books to the wacky Sony Reader format, which was no fun on the Mac. In fact, the entire Mac experience has left a very bad taste in my mouth. Let’s hope it gets better.

I’m so glad for this little vacation. I have never been to Mexico! The pictures of the beach look just amazing.

We’ll be completely unreachable until Tuesday night! See you guys later.

Day 30

November 18, 2007   

Where has the time gone?

We’ve had a visitor for the last 11 days. I just took Roopa to the airport this morning. It was really great having her here. We had a lot of time to just hang out and “chillax”. *cough* Since Lindsi is also unemployed at the moment — or, as she likes to say, in semi-retirement — there were a couple of days when the three of us just lazed about, not doing anything much but eating/cooking/talking about nothing in general.

On one of the more awesome days of many awesome days, Lindsi came over and basically forced me and Roopa to sit around while she cooked us butternut squash soup and dozens & dozens of ginger snaps. It was mind-boggling. I think that was last Tuesday.

Speaking of food, I made another batch of falafel & dark chocolate cupcakes on Monday (Lindsi made the frosting) and had Lindsi and Holly over. I really wanted Holly to sample this particular batch because I felt like I had finally achieved a cupcake that had intense chocolaty flavor. Many previous batches were dark and rich in color and even in smell, but this was the first batch that really asserted its chocolate flavor. I feel like with a couple of small tweaks (such as increasing the moisture level) and practice applying frosting in an attractive way, we are definitely close to having Holly & Mack’s wedding cupcakes. 🙂

Boy, we’ve been having car issues. Last week Thursday, the morning after Roopa came into town, we took the Insight into the Honda dealership to deal with a transmission issue that Insights were apparently having. This was covered under warranty, but ended up taking until Tuesday (which meant we couldn’t pick up the car until Wednesday morning) because of a part that needed to be ordered, which got delayed because of Monday being a holiday for most people. The good news is that the weird “judder” issue we had been seeing has been completely resolved now and that we also took the opportunity to get the minor maintenance it was past due for out of the way.

Unfortunately — or fortunately, based on how you look at it — our Honda Civic freaked out yesterday morning as Seppo, Roopa, and I were on our way to dim sum in Oakland Chinatown with Max and Leila, who were coming by Bart. We were supposed to pick up Max at Bart (Leila was coming in later to meet us at the restaurant), but just a couple of blocks away, the transmission seemed to die, resulting in us unable to come out of a stop at a traffic light. A little later, the transmission seemed to tentatively kick in for a bit, so Seppo decided to try to take it back to our neighborhood garage, while Roopa, Max, and I went on by foot to the restaurant to wait for Leila and Seppo.

In the end, Seppo was not able to make it all the way back, so he had to call AAA after all, which meant that he didn’t have time to join us for food. That was really nice of him to make the sacrifice of his time so that everyone else could still have a nice lunch. That is one of the many reasons Seppo is a fantastic human being. 🙂 I made sure to box up a bunch of dim sum for him to eat later.

He came back with the Mini, leading to a very old-fashioned-caper-in-a-small-car kind of time with all five of us piling into the car willy-nilly and heading back to the house, where Leila met Mobi for the first time, and where, subsequently, Mobi farted on everyone as he is wont to do, creating a most inhospitable environment.

The Civic issue basically meant that today, Seppo and I spent a ton of time doing the fuzzy math of how much we would be willing to put into the Civic for how many approximate more years of use, and weighing those numbers against getting a new car. This, of course, led to hours and hours of whittling down a list of cars against our personal requirements and reading reviews and ratings. Note to self: tell Holly to look into the Honda Fit (especially the 2009 model that will come out at the end of next year) if she likes the Yaris but wants 4 doors.

Yesterday, Patrick came up to join us for dinner. We hadn’t seen him in… man, I have no idea! Really, too long. He & Michelle are very far along in their pregnancy, so Michelle understandably could not join us. It’s too bad we couldn’t go down! If it weren’t for the dang Civic… We played some Wii games while waiting for the second slowest home food delivery we’ve experienced in Oakland, then gobbled up some decent-but-not great Italian food.

Tonight was dinner at the home of the newly-dubbed Team CUB a.k.a. Team COB, The Team Formerly Known As Team Uyen, Powered By Charles. We had a very flavorful dinner full of the kind of contrasting textures and flavors that I really enjoy in home cooked food. They had Vietnamese springs rolls and bun (rice noodles and meat & veggies with fish sauce). I just love the crunchy veggies and fragrant herbs. Even better than the food was their company, of course. 🙂 I will have to ask the team if their change in name is public knowledge now. *vague* *hedge*

On the health front, I’ve been doing pretty well at tracking my nutritional intake. I have been eating 5-8 servings of fruits & vegetables almost every day, drinking a lot of water, and keeping my snacking down to a minimum. I am definitely feeling less huffy when I go on long walks with Mobi and finish up on the Hill of Death near the house. I even managed to maintain a moderate weight loss even during Roopa’s visit. I generally find that having visitors equals eating out a lot, which equals rapid weight gain, at least in the recent years, but it was nice that I managed to keep going in the right direction.

On the book front, it’s been going very slowly because I never managed to make a commitment to participate this year. I can definitely finish this year still if I want to, since I have tons of time, but I have yet to decide I’m really in it. Strange, yeah?

On the family front, my sister told me that she’s somewhat hopeful that her husband may be able to finish up the family business stuff and move to the U.S. permanently by the end of the year. That would be great! We are all trying not to get our hopes up, but it is hard not to. He is going to be here for Thanksgiving and his bigger daughter’s birthday. We’ll have to send a present soon, so she’ll get it in time.

Rock Band is coming out midnight, Tuesday, November 20th! That means that tomorrow night, Seppo and I will foolishly huddle in the cold to wait in line to get it. Hee hee. We are a couple of dummies.

Day 19

November 7, 2007   

Oh shoot! What have I been doing? I have no idea. I mean, I literally can’t remember what I did, say, last week. This is why I usually like keeping a blog, because it freaks me out when days pass and I can’t account for large periods of my time. It’s creepy, yo.

November 1st, I kicked off a “Get Healthy/Lose Weight/Eat Better” regiment. I also kicked off NaNoWriMo. The health thing has been going pretty well: cardio 4 days a week, attempt feeble strength training, and walk longer & further with Mobi; record my weight and calorie consumption daily so I know what nutrients I am missing & curtail excessive eating of nutritionally vacant things, eat 5 or more servings of fruits/vegetables a day, swap some of my red meats for legumes and poultry, and make sure I’m on track for my end-of-year goals.

NaNoWriMo is going slowly this year, but I vow to catch up. I think because I didn’t publicly commit to it this year, I haven’t felt very dedicated. I started with literally nothing on the first, so I don’t even have a plot idea or characters that I specifically set out to develop. I have a couple now, but I am not sure where I want them to end up. It is shaping up to be a Young Adult (ages 11-16?) novel with some paranormal elements. The main character is (again) a Korean-American girl (high school freshman) who is visited by a spirit of her ancestor and given a supernatural power. Yeah, I’ve been watching Heroes. :p Anyway, I hope to weave some of the old school Korean myths and legends and storytelling style into the ancestor’s spirit’s dialog & background. I am currently behind, but I plan to catch up, stat.

Lindsi and I had some hijinks on Halloween, involving an earthquake, a delay train, a sleepover, ice cream run, and our complete failure to give out candy to neighborhood kids.

Yesterday, we had A&B and our housemate J over for shabu shabu and clementines. We should really have people over for dinner more often, because it was such a great evening of good conversation with great friends.

Roopa is coming into town today! How exciting! And we may get to see Stephen for dinner tomorrow. Nice!

I feel like all I think about is food nowadays, with so much time off. I am going to have to make a food blog entry of all the foods I’ve cooked while on vacation.