Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing It In

Obviously, this is not the typical New Year's Eve- no dressing up, big countdown or champgne toast. We are having a grand time nonetheless. In our pajamas.
I was able to get some intense napping in today and Liz even got a few winks. We were able to see some friends, who brought food. We got a good report from our visit to the pediatrician early this morning. All good ways to end 2009, which was a big one for all three of us.
Nicole Huelan ended the year keeping us harried, confused, and at times exasperated. We are looking forward to more in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We were very excited to bring Nicole home yesterday. She is getting used to her new environment (again) and we are getting used to our new lifestyle. Which basically consists of trying to figure out what she wants and doing it.

She wants to nurse quite a lot, and everything we read says that we (Liz) should be feeding her "on demand." Which basically makes Liz Nicole's 24 hour personal smoothie machine.

Although the hospital was comfortable and it was great having someone to help with every question or concern, there is no place like home.

Here's a vid of her before we left the hospital, getting hungry as usual. This is her first little outfit.

About 2 mins. I'll post shorter ones when I figure out how to cut and edit.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Downs and Ups

Today was a mixed day, the gratitude and awe we have with our daughter being tempered by the sad news that Liz's Auntie Mary passed early this morning. She went peacefully in her sleep after a long fight with the ailments of age. We all miss her dearly, but are comforted by the knowledge that her adventurous spirit has been freed from the body that has kept her bound these recent years.

Liz, Nicole and I are still at Alta Bates and have been quite comfortable. We went to a lactation education class in the hospital today and learned quite a lot. We learned that Nicole takes to nursing very well - not that we are competitive parents :)

The rest of the day was spent playing with her when she was awake and trying to get some rest while she rested. She just finished a 4-hour nap while Anh was visiting, and woke up wet and hungry. Is that common for infants...?

We also learned that she may be having an issue with jaundice- a common condition when the mother and child have different blood types, as is the case with us. If the physicians are concerned, they may want us (or her) to stay an extra day to make use of some phototherapy. If all goes well however, we should be headed for home tomorrow afternoon.

We had some downs and ups today; we don't expect them to be the last.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Here We Go

*JUST UPDATED: web album from her first 24 hours!
Nicole is currently sleeping peacefully on Liz, who is nearly passed out herself, after a very long and eventful day and a half. It's a scene out of a Gerber commercial, but it wasn't easy getting to this point.

Liz woke up the 26th with some cramps, thought that maybe she had had too much Christmas ham or prime rib. By 10am, though, it was clear that something was different, that she was not having indigestion. By 11am, the contractions were clear and prolonged, about 7 minutes apart. We waited another 2 hours at home to make sure that they weren't going to subside before calling our doctor.

We arrived at labor triage at about 2:15, but Liz wasn't dialated enough to get admitted. So we walked around the floor for about 45 minutes, contractions coming hard and often. We were finally admitted around 4:30, with contractions about 3.5 minutes apart.

From an outsider's prospective, contractions are a bitch. From what I can tell, it's like serious cramp that takes over your entire body and soul. This is made worse by the fact that you know another one will be right on its heels, and it is likely to be of a greater magnitude. Liz is a tough one, as you know, and she was bearing down through them like a champ.

We had planned all along to get the epidural, which in my opinion, is a great way to go. Some women opt to go au-natural, which is a pain I can not even fathom. They hook women in labor up to a monitor that plots the baby's heartrate and the intensity of the contraction on two differnet graphs. The epidural was given before the most intense contractions, and just in time. According to the graphs, the later contractions were at the top of the charts.

The contractions were coming with increasing frequency and magnitude. One nearly right on top of the last, over and over. So fast and hard, in fact, that the baby was having a hard time recooperating in between the existance-crushing shocks. For a while there, it looked like they might have to cut her out. But with the aid of the excellent staff at Alta Bates, mother and daughter were able to right the ship.

With a little bit of additional help, Liz was able to give a few hard pushes and a little head of hair was born, which was soon followed by round, downy little shoulders, miniature wrinkly hands, and slender legs.

Nicole Huelan Ly was born with hardly a peep. She came into the world with her eyes wide open, staring right at her mother in amazement, wonder and gratitude. She landed on her mother's chest covered in nine months of good loving and good living, and she was gorgeous.

She's been with us for a little over 18 hours now, and we've already seen glimpses of her personality. She loves to stare. She's introspective and serene. She nurses like a champ. She's already evolving, and even looks different than when we first met.

We hope that you'll be able to meet her soon, too, as some of her new family and friends already have. In any case, you will be able to follow her here, as much of this space will be devoted to her.

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and prayers.

Hung, Liz, and Nicole Huelan

more pics here

Plus One

A good day indeed, but I'll let my brother share the news. Congratulations you two.

P.S. Natalie was a pretty close guess.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Feist - Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming

I just returned from almost 6 days up in the bay, sunday night to friday evening. It was great; spent time with friends and family, ate way too much food, bought a new jacket, saw the sights and much more. This first Christmas away from home was definitely different but at the same time delightfully familiar with the whole family there (except for my dad). The only damper is that we had to come back home before dear Natalie was born. But it's ok, I'll have plenty of opportunities to spend time with my niece in the future. See you soon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last night was our pre-Christmas eve dinner. Mom smuggled a whole suitcase full of food up on Southwest Airlines and we finished almost all of it. Just a few bowls leftover for breakfast today...


We didn't want her to come on the day Cal lost in the Poinsettia Bowl anyway.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fashionably Late

Today is Dec 23rd- the baby's due date. It looks like, however, she is going to be keeping everyone waiting a little while longer. I guess we had better get used to her taking her time.

Maybe she has a flare for drama, and has been biding her time until Ba Noi (Grandma) is here? Well, she's here 'til Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


We downsized the tree this year and it fits perfectly in our new layout.

We acquired a few new ornaments this year, and this one's my favorite. It's the iconic outdoor pool at Hearst Castle, and it's 3D.

Best & Worst of the weekend

This was the first weekend in months and months that we simply relaxed. It was blissful. with all the excitement of the baby coming and the holidays, we are stoked to just be able to chill just the two of us. Not many more of these weekends...

- Nothing to move, assemble, clean, or organize!
- Put up and decorated our Xmas tree. House smells like Christmas now.
- Went to a movie- Avatar. Pretty good, solid B+
- Dinner at Laurie and Sophia's (and a homemade apple pie)
- Nap

- I bought these poinsettia plants 3 for $12. Great deal, right? Turns out they are kind of sorry and make me kind of sad when I look at them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guessing Game

We had 55 people from the various baby showers make guesses on the baby's arrival date and time. So far, 8 guesses have already passed, including Liz's guess, which was yesterday at 4:15pm (we were shopping). The official due date is December 23. I guessed, December 20, 10:15pm.

The latest date? Guessed by Dina Gee- January 8, 8:37am!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Best & Worst of the weekend

- Liz's last day of work before going on her maternity leave!
- Choosing a new rug. I know, we are are domesticated.
- Achieving 98% status on baby readiness.

- Realizing that 100% readiness is not possible. Oh well, she's coming any day now, ready or not.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Thursday night Liz's parents took us to the Fairmont to celebrate what Lynn calls Liz's "semi-retirement," meaning the beginning of her maternity leave from her office. We checked out the giant gingerbread house, and then went downstairs to the Tonga Room for fruity drinks, the Tonga Buffet, and indoor rain (of course!). They do a great job with everything at that place. Click the photo above for more pics.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Happy

Congrats M+C! a little video message from the Bay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Garlic Fun Time

G made these great garlic noodles that were a hit Sunday and wanted to share the recipe with y'all. Two keys to making it authentic- crab butter, and you have to squat asian-style.

For the sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha
2 tablespoons michiu (rice cooking wine)
3 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
2 tablespoons mirin

For the noodles
1 pound fresh egg noodles, chow mein thickness
3 ounces unsalted butter
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 pound meat from a 1 1/2- to 2-pound Dungeness crab
Reserved crab "butter"
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
Boil 3 quarts of water, and cook egg noodles to al dente, about 6-8 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse in cold water and set aside.
Combine butter and garlic in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Once butter begins to brown and garlic gets fragrant (about 1 minute), add the egg noodles and stir until butter coats them evenly.
Turn heat to high. Continue to saute for 3 minutes, adding the sauce mixture and combining evenly with the noodles. Once noodles have been cooked through (2 minutes), add the crabmeat and "butter" (tomalley), if using, and cook for an additional 1 minute.
Stir in lemon juice. Serve noodles on a plate, top with cilantro. Note: Fish sauce, sriracha, michiu, kecap manis and mirin can be found at Asian markets. To extract "butter" or tomalley from a crab, lift off top shell and spoon out the thick yellow substance.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Best & Worst of the Weekend- Liz's Birthday Edition

Superb friends and family weekend with lots of bests including:
-Saturday night at Ben and Tina's in Pacifica, with gift exchange and beer pong, resulting in lots of holiday trash talking. Luckily we escaped before the poker started otherwise I'd have been $40 poorer I am sure.
-Secret Santa delivered an early present- a yard glass of beer complete with stand! AND a 32 of the High Life with roadside emergency kit!
-A full house of family and friends to help us celebrate Liz's birthday. We'll soon have another December birthday (we hope).
-G's new recipe crab butter garlic noodles- tune in later this week for more details.
-Raymond and Bo sharing great news!
-Mike and Caroline sharing great news!
And a couple of worsts:
-Missing Chen's fly-by visit Friday night
-Cal getting a Husky beat down in Seattle. Bowl-bound none-the-less...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Party Time

Jens Lekman - Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa Liz

Happy birthday Liz! (don't mind that the song is actually for a Lisa). I can't wait to say happy birthday to little Natalie in a few weeks.

P.S. I'm calling the baby Natalie until you reveal the name.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Buckshot Review

Last night we went to Buckshot for the first time (3rd and Geary). It was Viv's birthday, hence the Tuesday night outing.

In a previous life, it was Alpha Bar, and before that some Irish pub. It's present incarnation is super low-key and fun, with skee-ball (they host a league), some old-skool arcade games, and a great, small kitchen. The poor girl in her tiny kitchen was not expecting the 15 of us to descend on her on a Tuesday night, but she did an excellent job supplying us with pork sausage corn dogs (A), mac&cheese (B+), chicken fried bacon (surprisingly only a C), and sloppy joes (A+). $2 PBRs were the cherries on top. Definitely be back!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Best & Worst of the Weekend- Thanksgiving edition

Long weekend, so we had a lot of bests!
-Double Thanksgiving- #1 at Andrew and Candy's. The twins are growing quickly and pretty soon we're going to have to rent a hall for Thanksgiving. Awesome of them to have everyone over to their place! #2 at Lynn and Larry's on Friday. Great, juicy turkey with Lynn's famous stuffing. We got some good leftovers (I still have a drumstick in the fridge I am saving). Click the pic above for more pics.
-Liz's new recipe sweet potatoes & brown betty- mmmm maybe a new tradition?
-Avoided shopping almost all weekend! Found great parking when we did have to go out.
-Setting up the baby's closet- little clothes are very cute.
-After a poor start, posted a 43 on the back 9 at Franklin Canyon

And a couple of worsts
-Still working on the baby set up- there is way more to do than I thought, but we are almost there! I'll bet we are 95% there by the end of this week. This dang crib is giving me a challenge, but I think I have it solved.... Can't wait for the baby to get here- then we can finally rest!
-Bummed about not being able to get down to Stanton for Thanksgiving this year. They devoured a 22 pound turkey! But we were able to Skype in, and Mom is coming up for Xmas!

And here are some pics from the triple birthday 2 weekends ago.

Monday, November 23, 2009


We installed a new webcam on our laptop tonight- trying to get the hang of Skype before the baby comes!

BestBuy is having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on this well-reviewed cam if anyone needs a pair. Bought online and picked it up in-store.


This year Thanksgiving really snuck on me. I didn't realize that it was this week until Saturday. We'll be going to Liz's cousin Andrew's house again because we aren't supposed to travel even though this is an OC year. It'll be a blast as usual- we're up to something like 30 people now and growing....

At our place last Saturday, Liz did a great job with the roast and mashed potatoes, and we had 13 people seated for dinner- I think that was a record for us! And the table Liz set was beautiful.

All this happened while I was playing golf at San Geronimo with Ivan, Karl, and Steve. A beautiful day in Marin.

Then after everyone left on Saturday, we watched the Big Game on DVR. Wow what a game!!! the only thing better than beating stanfurd is coming from behind to upset them and crush their Rose Bowl hopes in their own stadium. That's going to sting for a while.

Then Sunday was the Birthing Class at the hospital. We learned a lot, though it could have been a little shorter (9am-4pm). My favorite part was the tour of the labor and delivery center. They have private delivery rooms where they have all kinds of equipment and aids. The nurse said that they deliver something like 650 babies a month! The other important part we learned was when to go the hospital- evidently they don't want us going too early. We'll probably stop for a burrito on the way.

And tonight Liz finished all the Thank You cards from all five showers- easily over 100 cards!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Gettin' Ready

We did a lot of organization this week- a couple of hours a day at least! We're basically making room for baby girl by getting rid of ton of our stuff. We cleaned out our closets - sold $115 bucks worth of old clothes (thanks Crossroads!) and 4 big bags to Salvo. 3-4 trips to the attic as well. We can see the floor in the hallway again. We still need to make a trip to Target for returns. But it looks like WE ARE ALMOST THERE! Next step furniture re-org in the bedroom to make room for the co-sleeper.

But first, big weekend! triple b-day dinner at our pad Saturday night (13 people- Liz is making a roast. Mmmmm roast beef). Then Sunday is the birthing and parenting crash course at the hospital. Taking lots of notes!

Plus, Big Game Saturday. We're not going, but GO BEARS!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Group Activities Only

Ben Sollee - How To See The Sun Rise

Cellos are awesome.
I would tell you what I think about all of these songs I post but I'd rather not contaminate your thoughtwell (not a real word) so you can come up with your conclusions; plus I'm lazy.

Bonus: this guy is from Kentucky.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


"Wow," could say it all, but you all know I like to elaborate...
Liz and I are overwhelmed by all the thoughtfulness that went into our little girl's shower Sunday. We had such a blast and can't wait to introduce her to all her new aunties and uncles (and cousins, who are growing in number). Everything was perfect, especially the "BabyMeister / Li'l Pun in the Oven theme." So many thanks to all of you, and especially D+G who hosted yet another well-executed party (maybe you should start a business?!), all the girls who rallied, brainstormed, supported, and all the boys who supplied beverages!
And all the beautiful gifts- so many thoughtful, cute and pratical gifts. Our little girl has more gear than any fetus on the block!
Click here for more pics. We love you all!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Li'l Pun in the Oven

Yesterday D+G hosted our final baby shower at their house. Pics to be uploaded soon, but I'll post this teaser. A good time was had by all!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Going Deutsche

Here's a pic of Liz and her coworkers last weekend. They look pretty happy- this must be post-massage. By the way, Liz is doing great, but is just starting to get uncomfortable. The baby is in hyper growth mode now. Just 6.5 more weeks!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Friendly Fires - Kiss Of Life

I'm 0-2 for seeing this band live. I bought tickets to see them in April; sadly their show got cancelled. They're back on tour now but I won't be attending due to some unfortunate circumstances. While I may never get to see them, that shouldn't stop you from letting these brits jump start your week. You can get up and dance now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Shopping Baskets

When you reach the checkstand line and are using a hand basket, typically you unload the basket when you reach the belt and stack the baskets at the beginning of the belt. But that seems inefficient.

Instead, I think that I should just be able to place the basket onto the moving belt. The checker can then unload the basket as the items are scanned and take the basket. That way the items are handled just once, and the baskets are in a more convenient place to be picked up by another employee.

I am full of good ideas. Maybe I should write Safeway a letter.

Last 7 days

We had a busy week
-I had three client dinners last week
-We did dinner at Liz's parents. Carl was down as well (his car is now fixed- hope he made it back alright...)
-Took the first load of baby loot from TIL's (The In Laws) to our place. For a small baby, she certainly has a lot of stuff. We downsized our desk and rearranged the office, so now there's room in our crib for a crib. We'll be putting that together this week (thanks Sophia!)
-I met with some clients on Saturday morning for some lab training. Shortened my weekend, but I'll try to make up for it this week (mid-week round?)
-Cal game Saturday evening. Cal is not good at football. Could go 0-3 the rest of the season! It was a lot more fun in September when we were undefeated.
-Post game beer pong at Acacia- it's been a really long time and the house looks pretty good.
-Liz had a great Saturday- Her work girlfriends treated her to lunch and a massage in Walnut Creek. Le Cheval followed by a little pre-natal pampering! Then for dinner she met up with some other girlfriends to celebrate Yvonne's birthday- Korean BBQ in the Richmond.
-Had a really nice day today- fish tacos, YogurtLand, and now making chili. Mmmmm chili. Put everything together in the crockpot, so it should be perfect for tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Passion Pit - Seaweed Song (Piano Live)
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

*my hard drive died and i'm in the process of reacquiring my files (aka music); enjoy the sample!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shower 2

What you can't quite see here is that Liz is holding up an SF Giants hoodie. For a baby. I think that making a child wear Giants gear might actually be a form of child abuse. Who would want their child growing up with that kind of disappointment?
That picture was taken at the baby shower that Laurie, Sophia, and Lynn threw for Liz today at Dalancy St Cafe. From what I hear it was really fun (this was the all-female shower, so I had a 9:00 tee time at Poppy Ridge, then I went home watched football and took a nap). But I saw the pics and I think that it's really cool how people come together to celebrate a baby. This was baby shower #2 of 3, so we still have some celebrating to do.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Liz and I went to see Sophia in her costume last night at Liz's parents'. Her Miss America costume was awesome and I think they are going out to Union Street tonight. Lynn's saw the MJ movie this week, and she was inspired. Check out her costume- she has the moonwalk down cold!
Liz has been on a pancake frenzy lately, and this morning made some festive ones. Since the bridge is still closed, we are staying in the East Bay tonight, dinner at our former neighbors Greg & Lisa's in Orinda. Kickin it suburb style!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bi-t It

Check out this vid from the New Hope fundraiser last weekend. Resolution makes it kind of hard to tell, but I think that Bi is the one in the black vest who gets into the knife fight!

You know it's a skit because everyone knows better than to get into a fight with Bi!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

They Come in Threes

1. When it rained like crazy last week, we found that we had a leak in the seal of the Murano's windshield, which resulted in a puddle in the car and a trip to the dealership. They said they'd fix it for $200, which I declined. They did some free recall service while it was in there, but when they were done, the car wouldn't start! Long story short(er), they put something together wrong and had to go in and fix it. Took the car to Safelite to get the windshield fixed- $40!

2. Left the Passat in SF Saturday night after the MosDef show. You know I constantly have work stuff in my backseat, so I thought I was being clever by covering it with a sheet. But I think my plan backfired and made someone curious about what I was hiding. Result: broken window (they left my box of files), and a trip back to Safelite. They remembered me, took pity and gave me a 25% discount!

3. Right after I got the window fixed, had to work late at Summit Hospital. Parked in the pay lot, which closes at 7. Cases finished at 8. Garage gate down, car trapped til morning. Thanks for picking me up Liz and thanks for driving me back Vern!

So that makes 3 and nothing bad will happen to our cars for a long time. That's the rule.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Weekend

  • Played at Crystal Springs with Gerardo, Chris and Anh. First round for me in a couple of months.
  • Liz went to Sophia's volleyball game at St. Vincent DePaul (lost in 2)
  • Liz had some friends over to dinner (pix please Mel!). Liz tried making a new salmon dish- it was delicous!
  • Hit up Mos Def at 330 Ritch. Nice show, but not as billed. I just wanna hear some of the old jams!
  • Spent some of the night at D&G's, but the Passat paid the price....

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Serious Waste of Time and Money

SPOILER ALERT: Nothing Happens!
Wow is all I can say. Though there are some redeaming qualities to this movie (or "film," as the fanboys would assert), there simply was not enough movie there. This story has been told, and Larry is too luch of a wuss to be sympathetic. Very nice cinematography, though.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


so Liz and I began Dan Brown's latest novel- Lost Symbol- on our road trip as an audiobook from iTunes. I am not a huge Dan Brown fan, but the books I've read are fun and move quickly. The audiobook was unabridged, and checked in at 17+ hours! We got a little past chapter 100, and my iPod crapped out. I think it has something to do with the charging.

So, this is a rant againt the Apple store. Since I can't load the audiobook onto another iPod to resume the book (DRM), I brought the iPod into the store. Figured I could drop it off and they could attend to it sometime in the next few days. But nooooo- I had to have an appointment at their humbly-named GeniusBar. No Drop-offs. And there are no appointments for 5 days. Or I can "fly standby," for a no-show, but if there is a real emergency (like "someone who is running his business from his iPhone") then I would get bumped.

If these things run so well, then howcome their teach support is booked for 5 days and they have people coming in for emergencies?!

And the 'tude! Freaking employees there think that they really are the "cool" Mac guy from the commercials. All hipster-rific and self-important. I have been pretty happy with the few Apple products I have, but I am also easily annoyed by poor service, especially poor service with attitude. I really want my iPod fixed, but am loathe to go in there and have the Genius ask me questions like I am an idiot like their greeter did (did you try to reset it? did you plug it in?).

Just let me drop the thing off, and you can call me when it's fixed. And don't tell me how the book ends. (I'll bet it has to do with explosions, though!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweet Swedish Reading

This author Stieg Larsson (official website link, Wiki link, YouTube)has been blowing up in the US since his novels have been translated to English. He's outsold Harry Potter in Europe if that means anything to you. He's kind of like Michael Crichton + Dan Brown, but he's Swedish.
Larsson started what was supposed to be a 10-novel series, but died after he wrote the first three, and only two have been translated into English so far . The Sweden Larsson wrote about is not your Ikea, Abba, Bikini Team Sweden, but rather the darker side of Scandinavia: Nazis, death metal, and human trafficking.
What stuck me as doubly tragic is that not only is a very talented author gone, but so are all the characters he'd created. When you are reading his novels, Lisbeth & Mikael are like living breathing people, but unfortunately they can't exist without Larsson, and we'll never know what he had inteded for them. What a loss!
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is due out this month in English. Movies based on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire have already been released in Sweden and are international hits. Check him out, you won't be sorry!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wicked, Joy, Viv's Dress

We ran around a little this weekend and saw some people we haven't seen in a while:
- Joy was visiting from Hawaii- we hit up Aunt Mary's for brunch. Liz's pancakes were incredible & we also split a bread pudding muffin.
- Liz got together with Vivien, Roxanna, and Kirsten for girls night out- dinner at Nopa and Wicked
- I went out with the boys and ended up on Derek's couch.
- Liz, Viv and Rox went to go check out a few wedding dresses (while I went to Zeke's to catch a few games)
- Dinner with Larry, Laurie, and Sophia (who won her game Saturday)
- Watched part of the Dodgers game- ouch
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Left over ham bone from the Woodland shower = pea soup! I made it yesterday, but we're already near the bottom of the pot. That means I get to gnaw on that bone soon...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am kind of cynical of weather reporters (and the TV news in general), so when the forecasters got all worked up over the storm that they predicted for today, I didn't really take them seriously. It's kind of a joke that the first few drops of rain always initiate a "stormwatch," right?

Well today they were not kidding. Heavy rain started sometime before 5 am, and it didn't let up a hair until around 5pm. Almost 4 inchces of rain in Oakland today! I saw no fewer than 10 car crashes, including 3 overturned cars and a big rig whose entire cab was over the center divide! Standing water everywhere in the freeway made it extra-treacherous. So I went home early.

Looks like the worst has passed, though. Maybe we'll get our October Summer now?

Presidents Cup, Harding Park 2009

We had to leave my mom's house at around 6am on Sunday morning after the baby shower so that I could make it back for a training session for the Presidents Cup. I got a job as a marshal on the 17th hole, which was pretty cool. The entire event was really fun, but being able to particiapte and get inside the ropes made it truly memorable.
My favorite day was Tuesday, the practice round, where there are few other spectators and they allow cameras onto the grounds. I had tons of run-ins with players, players' wives (Elin sat next to me at the 2nd hole), and lots of really cool and happy volunteers and fans. Everyone was stoked to be there, resulting in so many cool moments I can't even list them all. (but here are a few)
  • Watching Phil chip on the practice range
  • Talking to Michael Jordan
  • Elin kneeling down next to me at the par 3 2nd
  • Meeting Stewart Cink and Kenny Perry

It's crazy to see how get a glimpse on how these guys live- they're constantly on the road and have high demands on their time and energy. It's a wonder that they are able to practice at all. It looks really taxing and I give credit to the guys who really seem like good guys and spend time talking to the fans and especially the kids. I've got a new favorite player- Sean O'Hare. But I won't gush....

It was a really exhausting week, but well worth the time and energy! I would definitely do it again- US Open at Olympic in 2012!
Click here for my pics from the practice rounds.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tidepools and Babies

We left Santa Barbara and made the quick drive to LA to have dinner with Cheryl and Tony and meet their daughter Chase (age 3). Cheryl is about 8 months preggo but kindly made us dinner anyway, which allowed us to be leisurely and catch up. We finally left and arrived at Mom's in Stanton around 11pm.

Liz and I went to the beach on Thursday, to a part of Newport that I haven't been before- Crystal Cove. We were lured in by the Shake Shack (gets us every time). We ended up walking down to the beach to discover a little village and lots of tidepools, teeming with hermit crabs, fish, and anemones. Then we headed even further south to Laguna to hang out on the boardwalk there, where they were celebrating Mr. Laguna Beach's 90th birthday with free gyros. We ended the night going to Downtown Disney to check out the fireworks- walking around in shorts at night- something we rarely get to do in Oakland!

Finally on Saturday, we had dim sum with Co Khanh and Kevin. Nice to go to a dim sum spot where I can order exactly what I want in vietnamese!

Around 2:00 we picked up my mom and went to no less than 4 restaurants to pick up food for the baby shower, which was a blast. There were two of my friends' babies who I had not met before, and two girls who were preggo in addition to Liz. pretty soon we are going to have a football team. There were plenty of kids, babies, pregnant women, and food to feed us all.

For pictures of Road Trip part 3, click here.

Second Leg- to Santa Barbara

On Monday Sept 28, we left Cambria and headed down the coast again to Santa Barbara. The drive from Cambria to Santa Barbara isn't as stunning as the drive from the bay to Cambria, but it's still very scenic. The coastline changes from rocky and craggy to more conventional beach. We drove by Morro Bay, which is famous for a big rock. Also thorough San Luis Obisop, Ventura and Oxnard (shout out!).

We stayed at the Orchid Inn, which actually didn't have many orchids, but it was pretty and central to everything. Going to Santa Barbara was like coming back to civilization after being in Cambria for 2 days. Lots of people walking around and they don't care that you're there to visit their city. But we had fun there, and it is a really beautiful area with lots of good food.
There's a mission, gorgeous (expensive) hillside homes, nice beachfront, and plenty of restaurants. We visited the botanical garden, but most of it was closed to repair damage from a recent fire.
Perhaps my favorite thing was LotusLand, another wacky place build by a really, really rich person, this time a lady named Madame Ganna Walska. She spent the last half of her life gathering and arranging specimends for her dramatic gardens. There are seven or eight different areas, and some have rare species of trees or flowers brought from overseas a hundred years ago. The cactus garden was especially cool.
While in Santa Barbara, we also celebrated our THIRD anniversay. Yay us.
For pictures of the second leg of our road trip click here.

It's been a while...

...over two weeks, but I have some good reasons why I have been off the bloggo.
Liz and I started our road trip on Saturday, Sept 26, headed for Cambria via Monterey and Hwy 1. First of all, AWESOME DRIVE. So many picturesque spots it would be impossible to stop and absorb even half of them in a day. Cambria would be about 4.5 hours away if we drove from Oakland straight through, but I think we took about 7 hours, stopping in Monterey for fish and chips and various other spots just to hang out.
Cambria itself is a very small tourist beach town, about seven miles south of San Simeon. It consists of two basiclaly two streets lined with inns, restaurants, and artsy-craftsy storefronts. Super quaint and cute, where the townsfolk are really nice to you because you're a tourist in their town.
We chose Cambria because it's really close to San Simeon, where Hearst Castle is located. Hearst Castle is one of those things that really, really rich people build and keep on adding to. It is outrageous inside and out. It once had its own zoo with a polar bear and everything; even now the grounds have zebras hanging around. Hearst brought in centuries-old fireplaces, chior stalls, ceilings, and furnishings. They say he had wild parties. We did one of five possible castle tours.
We spent two nights in Cambria- very relaxing and a great way to get a vacation started. For pictures of the first leg of our trip, click here.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Fun weekend in Woodland! (more pics here) The weather was perfect for an afternoon outside babyshower by the pool & BBQ. Many thanks to Liz's god-family (Carol & Frank are pictured above); they hooked up a great spread, inlcuding Honey-Baked Ham (I got the bone!). 7 grandkids running around made for a very festive atmosphere.

It was my first time out there and Liz hadn't been in years. The property is huge- 80 acres maybe? A real working farm, which is a novelty for us city-folk. Not pictured: the boys' mid-afternoon target practice- thanks Dave!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chao Ga

Chao Ga, or Vietnamese rice porridge with chicken, is one of our most basic comfort foods. It's like "your grandma's chicken soup" with some extra Vietnamese mojo to banish the evil spirits. So when I was immobilized with a fever yesterday (and sleeping on the couch the last 3 days), Liz hooked up a big pot of Chao! I am already on the mend, but I'm looking forward to finishing the pot this weekend.

Benicia... who knew?

My first time to Benicia was last Thursday night for dinner at this place called Captain Blyther's. The food was pretty standard american seafood fare, but I was really surprised with how nice their Main Street is. Did you know that Benicia was once the Califonia state capitol?! The grassy beach and rennovated pier are lined with dozens of historic buildings. Sure, there are refineries and the dirty delta, but on a late summer evening, when the weather's nice and the farmer's market's buzzing, it's a super quaint spot to chill. No, we won't be moving there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It takes a lot... impress a guy whose mom cooks very good home-style vietnamese food. We tried Out The Door in the Food Emporium at SF Center (sister restaurant to Slanted Door), and were less than impressed, despite really wanting to like it. Their counter service was poor, but I could have overlooked it if their food was good, which it wasn't.
I have been on a quest for really good modern vietnamese food, and have tried a number of places, but what I keep finding is modern decor without an evolution in the flavors of traditional VN cooking. So I get annoyed when the dishes don't deliver anything new but they charge 3-4 times what one of my favorite spots charges. Just seems like a rip off. I am not writing the place completely off- maybe they have a couple of home run dishes (maybe you have a suggestion?)- but there are a dozen places I'd rather go for good VN food.


Busy weekend but we had time to catch this flick late Saturday night. I am no QT fanboy, but I really enjoyed this one. Lots of tense scenes with great dialogue- think of True Romance's trailer scene where Chris Walken is interrogating Dennis Hopper and Dennis tells him about his Sicilian heritage. Though on the long side (2:30 + previews = 3 hrs of theater time), I would definitely recommend this one for Col. Hans Landa alone, and of course there's plenty of butt-kicing violence.

Thursday, September 10, 2009