Thursday, December 30, 2010

I love...

Giving myself a reason to draw something everyday and to also reflect on what was good about my day, all in an effort to get my creative juices flowing and to be positive. Let's see if I can manage to keep it up!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bent Objects

Just discovered a new site to follow. So clever & cute. Love it! I linked the one below, it being around the time Christmas trees are being retired for the year and whatnot. And now we know how they spend their off-time =)

(Found on bentobjects)

Monday, December 27, 2010

X-mas 2010

The 老公's (mini) X-mas present:

A replacement battery for his dead cell phone so that he can retrieve his old contacts (his charger doesn't work and the original battery is dead).

I had wanted to make an elaborate wrapping for it just 'cause I love wrapping gifts, but I didn't want to make him feel bad for not getting my anything since we agreed to defer our gift-exchange to a later date (the battery was less than $5 so it was more of a gift of "trying-to-make-his-life-a-little-easier") and I also ran out of time so I just re-used a small chocolate box I had kept around and wrapped it in kraft paper and put a bow on top.

On another note, I recently picked up some new studs from the Banana Republic outlet. I felt like I needed to reward myself for bracing the mall in the last week before Christmas (never again!). They came out to $7 with the in-store promotion, which was quite exciting.

Why I love them: they're small and modest, but they still carry a bit of sparkle with the dimpled silver finish.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

File management

The 老公 and I have been talking about consolidating our digital data to a solid state drive + one mega storage drive, which has inspired me to spend some time today to clean up the files on my laptop and external drive to ease the transition later on and also for general sanity's sake. Though the files that I still refuse to properly sort through are my old work files and my job application folder (I've probably got a thousand variations of my resume all the way from 2008 up until 2010). I've decided that dealing with my backed-up photos & movies and general desktop cleaning is about all I can handle right now.

So things I am doing to clean up my laptop:
  • Filing files into their proper folders that have been dumped into the "misc" folder over the past year.
  • Deleting records of things that have passed, like old flight itineraries, proof of online credit card payments.
  • Deleting duplicates of files that were copied over from my external drive & making sure they are properly filed as I go.
  • Loading photos that are in loose folders on my desktop into iPhoto.
Things I am doing to clean up my external drive*:
  • Uploading photos into iPhoto.
  • Uploading music into iTunes that I don't already have and deleting music I have no desire to go back to again.
  • Transferring movies I want to keep onto the media PC & deleting ones I don't want anymore.
  • Uploading archived files (pdfs, spreadsheets, docs) I absolutely don't want to lose into Google Docs for extra back-up. 
Things that the 老公 and I both need to do down the road:
  • Consolidate our iPhoto libraries.
  • Delete bad/not meaningful photos from our library.
  • Upgrade the storage for each of our Google accounts.
  • Upload our photos to our Picasa accounts for back-up.
In doing this little "spring cleaning", if you will, to my digital "stuff", it's felt so refreshing. I would say it's been as liberating as spring cleaning is for me in the material world. With 2TB hard drives available now, some might wonder why I bother. I think a major driver is my move to simplicity. I'm trying to cut down my possessions, both virtual and material, to things that serve a clear purpose of either a practical one or an aesthetic one. I think it's going to give me a new perspective that will be enlightening and refreshing, but still challenging since I've always struggled with letting go of stuff. It is a personal challenge that comes at a good time too though as we prepare for our move out to the Rockies in the spring.

*note: the goal for me here is to clear as much as I can off of it by either deleting or transferring the files somewhere else and then do a full back-up of my laptop afterward, while having faith that neither the external drive nor my laptop will crash in the interim)

**We decided to forgo flickr as our photo back-up option for the following 3 reasons: 
1. I don't think we take enough photos/videos to warrant the need of unlimited storage etc. and given such, probably wouldn't use enough of the $25 flickr upgrade to make it worth more than what we would pay for 20GB of storage for each of us under Google, which is only $10 total. 
2. I've read that it's easier for people to download photos from Picasa, which if you're intending to share with friends & family, is something you'd probably want.
3. It's linked to our google accounts, which makes life just a touch simpler in terms of less log-ins to remember and having one central account that manages our email, chat, phone calls, text messages, documents, and photos.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas

We're coming up on our second California-Christmas and again, I just don't feel it. I've seen lights up around town, been to the busy malls, baked cookies, and I just don't feel that Christmas spirit that I think is only possible when you have the cold and snow and parkas and mittens.

But anyway, speaking of cookies: I made a few batches of the oatmeal chocolate chip Almond Roca cookies that I made with Holly last year!
They turned out less than epic though 'cause I used the supposed "top" oatmeal chocolate chip recipe found on allrecipes.com (I would so not rate it to be at the top). Super annoyed. I completely forgot I had saved the recipe in that old post. Sigh. I guess that means I need to make another batch! Oh, and those cookies in the back are mint-chocolate chip. They became mint-chocolate chip because we found out at the last-minute that we didn't have enough regular chocolate chips, so I had to sacrifice our Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Dark Chocolate squares that I had picked up recently, but it was totally worth it.

So with the files for minted finished, I was itching for something else to work on and how perfect it was that K. & C. gave birth to little baby Logan recently =) I had been meaning to wrap the little baby gift I got them for the longest time (I think it's been sitting on my shelf since she reached the 30 week mark... yikes!) and finally I was inspired and whipped up a bit more of my hand-stitching goodness. The colors didn't turn out the way I was envisioning (gradient of blue colors) as I didn't have enough variation in thread color but alas... I think the overall effect is still decent, yeah? Of course my favorite element is the smiling sun, peaking over the cloud =)
 Next project: "wrapping" the 老公's x-mas gift. I'm not really sure it can constitute a gift, but it's the thought that counts...? And I'm not really sure you can call it "wrapping", so much as "deferring"... I'll post when I figure out what to do and after he gets it.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tuesday

Tuesdays aren't usually anything special, but mine was this week. In addition to finding out my design was an editor's pick on minted over the Thanksgiving weekend, I discovered I was also voted as the Best Newbie! I am ridiculously excited!

And then... at our weekly ultimate game, I caught two winning points! It sounds much more amazing when you find out that this was only the second official ultimate game I've ever played. Sadly though, I was so ecstatic with joy after my first point that I was jumping up and down and landed on my ankle in an unpleasant way and now the top of my foot near my ankle hurts when I walk :S In Chinese we call that 樂极生悲(le ji sheng bei), which means "extreme happiness begets sorrow".

But the 悲 aside, Tuesday left me elated =)

Wednesday, however, was not so successful. Note to all the people doing mail merge in Microsoft Word: make sure you are in .doc mode and NOT .docx mode!!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Post-Anniversary

We have returned from the T dot! This entry is absurdly late (as are the thank-you cards, which we're working on! Slowly...), but I felt that it needed to be posted because I want to reflect on this whole being-married-for-a-year business.

Something I've noticed that people love asking when they find out we're married is how marriage has changed us. The most ironic part of that question is that I feel like it's other peoples' perception of us that changes the most. But I guess if I had to name something that has changed, it's that we talk about more serious things like what to invest our money in and when we will be able to comfortably afford a house and where we should put roots down. We are definitely doing a lot of growing up together.

Would I have done anything different? Of course. I wish we could've planned for a bigger, more inclusive celebration that lasted a whole weekend but we couldn't. Over the past year, family and friend dynamics have changed, at least that's what I feel, and it was a challenge in the planning process to consider that. It kind of put a cloud over everything for me and I tried being as positive as I could about it, but it just was not what I had envisioned. And with most things that don't match up with expectations, there comes a feeling of regret and remorse.

But looking forward, I think one thing I've learned from the whole experience is that yes, some people may let me down in the whole process, but I know that when I find myself in a real bind, my true friends come through for me and I.S. will pull something out of his sleeve to surprise me with, like when he chose to have a sense of style ;)

Here's proof (of him having a sense of style):

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Almost-anniversary

A life-milestone is coming up and making me reflect on the past year. The 1st marriage anniversary, that is. "What have I learned from being married?" is one question that comes to mind.

I guess to be fair, I will save my response for after we return from the anniversary festivities, but just to get started, some other questions that come to mind are,

What, if anything, has changed about me/us/him?
Would I have done anything different?
Do I regret not having a "real" wedding?

I think I'll tackle that last question now because it seems to come up whenever I mention the county clerk marriage day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Projects

I didn't do a very good job at planning for H.'s birthday this year (well, I'm no good with presents in general) so this is what resulted when I insisted on sending her something for her birthday (click on the image to enlarge).

I asked I.S. to contribute, which was a whole lot of fun as it has been a while since I just drew and I think the first time I've ever worked on something creative like this with him. I might have to make this type of project a habit. =)

Happy Birthday, again, H. !

Note: there may be a couple inappropriate images, but I would argue that they are open for interpretation and thus are not that inappropriate.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Work

I read somewhere that if it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done. I'm definitely feeling that right now.

On another note:
Just found this and thought it was very inspirational. Love it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Yosemite x 3

We have returned! Well, that was Sunday. As usual, the drive was brutal, but once we got there, it made it worth it. We climbed Munginella in two pitches on Saturday morning and then in the afternoon we tackled 3 pitches on The Grack. We started off Sunday with 5 pitches @ Manure Pile Butress and we were joined by about 3 other parties. Pitch 1 was on C.S. Concerto, which was a 5.6 crack to start, after which we traversed over to After 6 (5.7) for the last 4 pitches.
(photo c/o R.Y.; start of C.S. Concerto)
For once, I followed second, which is when I learned how much work it takes to belay two people and haul rope and climb with rope trailing behind you, throwing you off balance. Not sure if that is more difficult than having to clean up...
(photo c/o R.Y.; I.S. looks awkward 'cause he's waiting for me to pull up the slack. He went too fast!)
Hats off to I.S. for doing that on the slabby Bunny Slopes last time! The 5 pitches killed me so I called it a day after we got down around 1pm and had lunch. I.S. & R.Y. hit up Knobb Hill in the afternoon and just top roped a single-pitch 5.7 and then a single-pitch 5.10a sport route.
(photo c/o R.Y.; I.S. & I at the top of Manure Pile Butress)
 I'm still sore from the weekend, but it only means I'll be more apt to tackle more than 5 pitches in a day next time =) Crack climbing was completely new to me, so that certainly made things interesting over the course of the weekend. I'm not sure if I will ever enjoy crack climbing as it's quite painful having feet jammed in a side-ways position. Plus I'm super paranoid of getting something stuck in the crack, which means I had a hard time committing to a jam position and thus my feet were slipping at times.

We're heading back up to Yosemite for the long weekend (yup, 4th time in 5 weekends), but for once we're just going to chill with friends. Yosemite is great and all, but I am definitely looking forward to not making consecutive weekend trips up there after this weekend. More photos to come!

PS: Nutella bagel sandwiches are incredibly satisfying after a long morning, just FYI. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wants and Needs

"All humankind has to very quickly evolve a way of life that is not based on having more and more of everything but rather on sharing what is available in order to meet our absolute requirements."
- pg. 249 of More Good News by Suzuki & Dressel
Imagine a world where we lived modestly and humbly. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tired

It has been a long summer and I am tired. So much work left to do.

In the meantime, check out this house:


Photos by Feliciano Guimaraes, via A Cup of Jo.

The 老公 & I have talked about how awesome it would be to build a bouldering wall in our future home but then I saw this & wondered: why should we limit it to inside the house when the entire house could be the bouldering problem? Brilliant. Now we just need to move to Portugal or find ourselves some boulders to build a house around.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tuolumne

The 老公 and I are back! It was a very packed weekend, so it felt like it barely got a chance to pick up steam before we found ourselves having to pack up to come home. Sigh. We left Friday night in a rush, as we usually do with our weekends away in the bush. Overall, it was very satisfying. I did my first big-wall multi-pitch climbs! It was incredible, both in a good way & a scary way. First day of climbing on Saturday was on Monkey Island.
c/o graniteclimber.com
 We stuck to the west wall, which was more than enough. The guys did 3 climbs/6 pitches while I only did 2 climbs/4 pitches. Of this wall, we did a 5.6 to start, the spider monkey 5.7 to end, and I have no idea what the guys did while I hung out with the ants. They were roughly 150' 320' in height each.

Day 2 climbing was spent on the Bunny Slopes, which was right across the 120 from Pywiack Dome near Lake Tenaya. We did a 5.6, 5.7, 5.7 (all two-pitch climbs), and 5.9 single-pitch TR. Again, I sat out on the second climb 'cause slabby friction climbing is hard on the calves. Our climbs on this wall were up about 150' 320', though we were able to rappel down with the two ropes to a ledge and sort of scramble down to our stuff.

While the climbs don't seem so impressive considering the angle of the rock making it look like you could just scramble up, I can vouch for the fact that they are tough. Day 2 was all footholds, virtually no handholds. And don't be fooled by the ratings either... The fact that I can climb a 5.11a in the gym and can barely do a 5.9 outdoors says a lot.

Overall, very rewarding weekend =D

Fun facts from the weekend:
  1. There were no mostquitoes! I'm amazed considering all the reviews for climbing in Tuolumne warn against bugs.
  2. There was a spider in my helmet all weekend. When I finally shook it out, I discovered it had already weaved a web in my helmet.
  3. It gets COLD at night! I believe the temperature was around 4 degrees Celsius overnight. yikes. Apparently that is what August nights are like in the Tuolumne meadows Lee Vining area.
  4. We barely avoided a storm on Saturday. Grey clouds & thunder rolled in just as the 老公 was making it up the last pitch of the last climb and I still had to wait to follow AND we still needed to hike down the rock. Rain drops hit the windshield just as we drove out. Wasn't huge, but you do not want to be on the top of a mountain when their are thunder storm clouds right over your head. You become an easy target for lightening, should there be any.
  5. I've learned that I like chimneys, which was the crux of our first climb on day 1. Though chimneys with shoes on your harness are not as fun.
  6. I learned how to rappel & tie a backup for rappeling
  7. The thought of something that I'm afraid of makes my palms start to sweat.
  8. My calves are sore.
I think my next goal is to do a more technical climb on a more vertical wall outdoors, but perhaps not so high. Eventually we will work up to leading outdoors, but I've decided that I should take baby steps when it comes to overcoming fears. Photos to come!

Note: The 老公's edits.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Busy

Life has gotten a little busy lately. In breaking free from the confines of laziness and joblessness, I have taken on two volunteer positions, signed up to help with a co-worker's campaign for a local city council, exploring the possibility of entering the import/export business, and learning to read more Chinese in that process. In all that, I'm still trying to nail down the plan for October 2nd with the 老公 and as soon as that's done, the postcard invites need to go out & the rsvp site needs to be launched. phew. So. much. to. do. Especially considering plans have somewhat changed and thus the card & site design need to change. Well, the site not so much I suppose. Plus C. is visiting next week. Anyway.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Virgin America

I flew Virgin America from LA to SF a couple weeks ago and it was exactly as L. had described it:

"Flying on Virgin America is like flying in an iPod."
I must say I was pretty disappointed though. WiFi was about $8 for the flight or a bit more for 24hrs. I though it was free (a foolish thought in this day and age, I know). No snacks, no juice, just water (though I could be wrong 'cause while they only offered water, I never asked if they had free juice/soft drinks). Their safety video was cute though. I enjoyed the animation. But as long as I catch their sales, I'd say Southwest is still better. You get juice/soft drinks/coffee/tea/water, a pack of peanuts/pretzels (often two packs, actually), and they don't charge for checked bags! Virgin wanted $25/checked bag, which is standard now on most airlines, but I was under the impression Virgin was as hip as Southwest and thus offered the same perks as Southwest, but they clearly do not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Positivity

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

- Herm Albright
It's hard to stay positive in tough times, but then people say brilliant things like that and you can't help but cheer up.

Friday, July 09, 2010

CSS

I should start this entry with a caveat that I know very little about CSS and html and by very little I mean I know codes exist for colors on the web and that you need to close < / > brackets but that's pretty much it. With my very limited knowledge, I customized a google form. Also, I embedded it into a static page in blogspot (which is edited like any other blog entry). Given that, I would not say I did things "the right way" and wouldn't trust this to be the ultimate guide, I merely did what was within my power to get it to do what I wanted. In this entry, I describe the things I did* to get this:

into this:

Monday, July 05, 2010

Backpack

Remember back when I said I ordered the Gregory Jade 60 in rose quartz? Well on our way to Pescadero a few weekends ago, we went to pick it up from REI and we realized I ordered the wrong size. I got confused 'cause Osprey's sizing goes S,M,L while Gregory's sizing goes XS,S,M. I had only been trying on the two brands and when it came to ordering the bag, I guess I thought Gregory was S,M,L so I ended up ordering the M. So the hike in Pescadero wasn't the most optimal in terms of comfort of my pack, but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise (the mix-up of the sizing, that is) because remember the bleh "rose-quartz" color the bag was? Well I.S. managed to find the Gregory Jade 60 '09 model in GREEN at campsaver.com for nearly the same price as REI. Score! REI's base price is cheaper than campsaver, but we "saved" on tax with campsaver so it all evened out in the end. And now they have an added promotion of throwing in a free $24.99 rain cover for free with purchase.
(photo care of REI-Outlet.com)

We took the last two weekends off from backpacking so I haven't had a chance to break in the new bag yet. We probably won't be able to go until sometime in late July but I'm excited even still.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pescadero Creek County Park

We went on our second backpacking trip last weekend. As usual, we fell behind schedule because we did not foresee food prep/packing to take so long, but nevertheless: we made it to the park in time to hike in before sunset.

This time we decided to hit up Pescadero Creek County Park.
The original plan was to hike the Sam McDonald County Park to Shaw Flat Trail Camp loop (roundtrip 10.5 miles; elevation 1500/1500) but when we registered at the Memorial Park entrance we found out the Shaw Flat trail camp was closed/full. Just before we dropped our heads in despair, the ranger told us that the Tarwater creek trail camp was open, a trail camp that was not in the guidebook, so that was a nice surprise. The hike was also not in the book so we had to go by the free map the ranger gave us, which was actually very good 'cause it was to scale & well marked. Anyhow, so we ended up parking at the Hoffman Flat trailhead and hiking about 5 miles along Pomponio trail to Tarwater trail camp. We started our hike at 4:45pm. While the hike was not terribly strenuous, it was dotted with horse poop, which was not the most thrilling thing to come across on a hike.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mail

I'm still in the process of uploading pics for my post on our latest backpacking trip (and by "in the process" I mean I've been feeling lazy & haven't gotten around to it), but in the meantime, I'm going to write about mail.

So I just ordered some memory for my laptop and the store gave me the option of free shipping or store pick up, since I live close enough (within 10 miles). Is it sad that I was almost willing to wait another week for memory just so I could get something in the mail? 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Butano State Park


View Larger Map

I've been meaning to post this entry after we got back from our trip, but I've only now been able to get some time to myself. We went on our first back packing trip last weekend and it was perfect. The 99% DEET helped. I've camped maybe 3 times in my life so this was definitely a whole new experience, combining hiking and camping. We just did a 5.5 mile hike in and 5.5 mile hike out, though there was 2100ft elevation gain/loss so lots of fun uphill/steep downhill sections, which makes for a great way to train those off-season snowboarding muscles. I'd recommend backpacking to anyone who wants to become closer with someone, be it a close friend, relative, or significant other. You get time to really talk, with no distractions, which I think is a problem with communication these days: too many other things going on. Also, as I.S. put it, "it helps you to appreciate the simple things like eating," which I couldn't agree more with.

From Butano State Park


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gear

We've been stocking up on a lot of gear this year. From biking to snowboarding to climbing and now camping. I'm looking forward to not spending so much money on gear next year after we finish stocking up! But in the mean time, I'm looking forward to breaking out our new camping gear. =) We have been testing & reading & comparing a variety of gear and brands and prices over the past month and we have come up with the following as our camping basic necessities:

Tent: ALPS Mountaineering Lynx AL 2 Tent (Steep & Cheap $86.99+ Shipping = $96.33) (Compare: $160)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Fitness Summary

I've lost track of the fitness I've done lately, but this weekend I got back into biking. We went for a 25km ride on Saturday & went climbing at the gym on Sunday. I did another 25km this morning. It was a lot more challenging 'cause 1) I kept hitting red lights and 2) I didn't realize it until I had to go over hills, but my legs/butt are still sore from the weekend. Climbing was weak on Sunday. Tried an 11b. Made it up, but fell 3-4 times. booo. Some days the nerves just decide to come back and ruin my streak of good climbing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Resume

I recently revamped my resume because
1) I came to the realization that a functional/skills-based resume would fit me better
2) I wanted to condense my 2-pages to 1 and
3) while Helvetica Neue Light is the most awesome font in the world, it's not the most widely used so I wanted to pick up fonts that are more universal.

Here are the changes that were made (stylistically):

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CO - 2

So we've been back from CO for  ~2 weeks now. At first, the experience weighed heavily on my mind, but recently I've been trying to focus my energy on myself and my life and my direction. I think for the sake of maintaining my focus, I should refrain from reflecting upon our time in CO 'cause it'll just rope me back into a world of confusion. In the mean time, here are 3 photos from our trip. There is a ton more but these stood out to me the most 'cause a) I am in love with photos of the sky right now. b) this is proof that I'm bad-ass at bouldering outdoors (not really) c) I.S. looks really bad-ass here with his crazy dyno move (he's jumping there).

a)
b)  
c)

In other news, the weather here sucks. What the heck. This is CALIFORNIA. WHAT HAPPENED?? Ugh. Everywhere else has been getting nicer weather than here. It's dumb. Stupid NorCal.

Friday, April 30, 2010

CO

We are soon about to explore this possibility, though right now I feel like we're already 90% there (mentally), just another 10% (physically) to go! I'm not sure what I think about it. I mean, on paper, everything seems like it's the smart thing for us to do. And I mean, change & moving has been a big part of my life so it kind of feels natural to be considering this option. Looking back, I'm not sure I ever felt like moving here (to CA) would become something permanent. Maybe it's just 'cause CA always feels like a vacation to me =p

Anyway, we're flying out next week and staying for a week to give CO a test drive. I think I'm more nervous about it not working out than I am about the prospect of relocating and starting over from scratch. The possible move has stirred up the kind of feelings I had when we moved from Ottawa to LA 10 years ago.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Portola Redwoods Hike

On Saturday the 老公 and I drove up to Portola Redwoods State park for a hike. We started around 12:30pm and got back to the car around 5pm. There were only 4 other cars in the parking lot when we got there so it was a very quiet day with just the two of us.

We came across a lot of these banana slugs. Not sure what these two were doing, but we suspect it was a baby and its mom.


At one point we came across this really old car that clearly has been abandoned for decades now. Parts of it had rusted right through. I was really impressed at the the condition of the window frames & front grill though. I would love to know what the story behind this old car is. Did someone die in this car? How did they end up here? Were they alone? The seat was really close to the steering wheel, so my guess is that the driver was short, though I.S. thinks it could've been the crash that squished everything closer.

Fitness summary (4/9 - 4/18)

Friday (4/9): Elliptical for 35 minutes and then 30 minutes of stretching & push ups & leg lifts. I should really say that I attempted push-ups 'cause my wrist and axilla muscle were really bothering me. I sort of pulled my axilla when I fell on a 10c while still hanging on to a hold earlier in the week.

Saturday (4/10) & Monday (4/12): Climbed on Saturday & Monday. The usual 5.10b's & c's. I've decided to work on my strength so I've been doing more 10b's on the wall that's mostly for lead. It's definitely challenged me to get over my fear of dangling from the wall. Maybe one of these days I'll fall from lack of energy and get over my fear of falling! I think I should sign up for the lead class after a few more days working on the lead wall.

Sunday (4/11): Elliptical for 35 minutes & then 30 minutes of stretching & push ups & leg lifts. I played around with the balance board for a while too.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Alpine/Northstar


This weekend was incredible. Went with R. & her friends up to Tahoe. R. & I went to Alpine on Friday and met up with the rest of them for two days at Northstar. Lots of improvement on the confidence front, which translated into long runs without falling! Yay! That's not to say there wasn't any falling. It was the darn steep sides that I tried to carve down, but I just couldn't turn for the life of me besides a handful of times. Oh well. That just means we need to squeeze in at least one more weekend before ending the season =D
Bad news though: I cracked my goggles on the FIRST day of the trip and bruised my face from the face-plant I did. The only silver lining in that cloud is that the crack is in the middle and didn't crack all the way through so it's not letting in any air at least (oh yeah, and I guess it's nice that I didn't break my neck or something). My legs are also pretty dead. Every muscle surrounding my knees are dead.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Metric

We went to see Metric on Wednesday up in Oakland. Out of 18 attempts with my camera on low-battery, I managed to get 7 decent photos. These are my 2 favorites. Metric was great live.


Nico Vega was the first of two opening acts that night and definitely worth checking out as well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend

~10 km hike
~16 km bike ride
~1 hr spent at the gym working on 5.10b's, c's & d.


I'm glad we got to spend most of the weekend outside with all the gorgeous weather. I think my proudest accomplishment was the 5.10d climb because it means that my climbing is back to where it was, before I left for Taiwan! I guess this means lead class is coming up... The bike ride wasn't that brutal, but given that I hiked the day before, I think 16km was more than enough of a ride for me. The hike was just silly 'cause 70% of it was uphill. By the end, the uphill was getting annoying so I sprinted parts of the end 'cause I just wanted to get out of there! Of course the car was parked UPhill from the end of the trail -_-

In light of the butt-kicking the weekend served up (for me at least), 老公 and I want to set fitness goals for ourselves this summer. I haven't decided what that will be for me yet, but I imagine it'll involve taking the lead test sometime this summer, biking more, hiking more, and improving on my swimming skills. Ambitious? Yes. Do-able? That too, I hope! I'll keep tabs on what physical activities I do to see how I progress (or digress) over the summer =)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Babies

This is not the type of post you might think it will be about. I'm talking about the babies that California weather turns people into! I've lived in the worst of weather conditions in Fort McMurray and the stuff I used to complain about there were things like the random blizzard that snowed me in in April and waiting for the bus in -30 weather (-40-50 with wind) and having to wear long-johns + pants + snowpants and buying electric socks. And then I move to Northern California where the coldest it's ever been has only led to me pulling out my down vest and yet the slightest cloudy sky will kill my mood to want to go outside. Seriously lame. The thought of possibly moving away from this gorgeous California weather scared me at first, but then I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that ANYthing south of Ft. Mac is going to be good weather =p

(OK, obviously not "anything", but you get my point. And no, I'm not moving, it was a hypothetical thought.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Underground restaurants

I love this idea... underground, under-the-radar restaurants. OK, so they're unlicensed too but read the article before you judge! I think what I really enjoy about this is that it brings people in the community together. The sense of community that I felt while shopping through the neighborhood market in Taipei was moving and made me really happy to know that the market was filled with so many symbiotic relationships. Reading about these "restaurants" really resonated with those feelings.
Picture by Veronika Lukasova found here at the Washington Post. Story found through here.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Coat

After searching for an intense month (give or take a couple weeks) and trying out lots of expensive things that just didn't feel right, I am now the proud owner of this snowboarding jacket and it only cost I.S. $30. I probably love the price more than the jacket itself, but I think it's acceptable because IT WAS ONLY $30!

It's got a good number of pockets, wrist gaiters (which should be the norm on winter sports jackets, but isn't for some stupid reason), powder skirt that isn't upside down (whoever thought that was a good idea should be shot), a good amount of insulation, and pit zips for when the insulation is too much. Yay! For now, this jacket will do me good. But some day... some day I hope to upgrade to this:


Thanks 老公! Oh, and btw, I am loving the keyboard shortcut to switch between En/Ch. Why didn't I ever think of this sooner...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Back

So if you haven't already guessed based on the lack of posts, I have returned from my Taiwan-escapades. The flight was uncomfortable & long & sleepless, but perhaps that balanced out the good karma I had going through customs smoothly & swiftly. I'm over the jet-lag, for the most part. I wake up & fall asleep at normal times, but I do still need an afternoon nap to slowly make up the 16 hr difference. It's good to be back, but there will always be a piece of me left behind in Taipei because it is another home to me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time Traveling

I still argue that it was only 2 days away, not 3, until I get home. Time traveling is for realz. Now it's just one long day until I get home, not 2.

Speaking of time traveling, Back to the Future is the greatest movie of all time.

*Picture c/o here

Friday, February 26, 2010

Exhibit

So the da Vinci exhibit turned out to be a disappointment, which I had a strong sense it would be. sigh. But it was nice to get some alone time today. T-2 days!
*edited*
I forgot to mention that I also got to see the lanterns they set up at CKS for the lantern festival. I'll be leaving right after the festival.

From Taiwan - Randoms

Pretty!
From Taiwan - Randoms

Apparently sending off sky/flying lanterns is a big tradition here, except according to the news, it has nearly lit an MRT station on fire/scorched a police officer/caused airport delays (this is what the TV news told me. Couldn't find any web articles on it.) It's a very pretty sight, but disturbing when you think about all the things that could go wrong with so many flying up at the same time.
Anyway... before I left for CKS, I took everyone out for dim sum. We were trying to take a photo of my aunt & uncle but this is what my uncle gave us. Favoritest picture ever.

From Taiwan - Randoms

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hello Kitty

She will always have a special place in my heart. I've stopped collecting, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy looking at and seeing all the things that Sanrio can plaster her face on. I especially wouldn't mind getting a birthday cake from here. Though eating Hello Kitty's head seems morbid to me.

From Taiwan - Randoms


From Taiwan - Randoms

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rain

It's supposed to rain through the weekend. Stupid island weather.
Edit: the weather miraculously cleared up today (Sunday)! 

Namesake

There really isn't much to say about my time in KaoHsiung. It was a whole lot of being dragged around visiting friends of my aunt's that I would've been fine not meeting and having awkward dinners with said friends that I would've been fine not being present for. Anyway, the only thing that I got excited over was meeting my namesake.

From Taiwan - Kaohsiung/Tainan

Er, more like a likeness of my namesake since it is a mythical creature that has changed in appearance throughout history. The part of my name that I share with the Qi Lin (pronounced "chee ling") is the "lin" part. In Japanese it is called "kirin". Read more about it here.

From Taiwan - Kaohsiung/Tainan

I've never actually seen what a qi lin looks like until now. I don't know why I've never looked it up. I guess I was satisfied with my dad's description from 15 years ago, saying that it's a mix between a tiger and a dragon. It's appearance has been up for debate for centuries, but it is commonly said to have the head of a dragon, antlers of a deer, skin & scales of a fish, hooves of an ox, and tail of a lion. So basically a creature of awesomeness.

South

oi. We just got back from Kaohsiung (1.5 hr train ride/5 hr drive south). A cold front swept in so we came back to a cold & rainy Taipei. Sigh. Photos to come later. Just want to relax for now! Hope everyone had a good week so far =)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

HOLA!

Not sure why they named a home store in Taiwan a Spanish word, but anyway...

Today was a lot of standing, waiting, bus-riding, & walking. oi. The 204 bus does not come very often, which is annoying since it gets us to most of the places we want to go. I can't wait until the subway extension is complete. There's going to be a subway stop a couple blocks away from the apartment, which will make life a lot easier here. I digress... so I was a bit wrong about HOLA. It's like a hybrid of Wal-Mart & Bed, Bath, & Beyond 'cause they sell a lot of home furnishing things but they also have some groceries/snacks/cleaning products/hair stuff etc too, which is where the story of my bobby pin search comes in.

For the longest time I've been looking for curved bobby pins that don't have ridges. I haven't seen them since I bought a pack years ago at Claires. Anyhow, I finally found something that comes close to mine.

From Taiwan - Day 24

Top: new bobby pin
Bottom: old bobby pin
I would argue that my old ones are still a better design and nicer to use simply because of the rounded tips, unlike the new one that has fairly sharp ends, but I don't think I'll ever find my old ones in stores again so less-awesome bobby pins it is. I hate how easily they get lost. What the heck. I mean, I started out with a pack of about 60 originally and now I only have 10. Sigh. So ANYway... we went to Yong Kang Street for dinner/dessert. We got red bean on shaved ice for dessert. It's so hard to find shaved ice in our neighborhood 'cause it's a more traditional Taiwanese area and they don't serve cold stuff in the "winter" but the Yong Kang area is more westernized so they have shaved ice places open year-round here. Ahhh, how good it was to taste that slushy red bean-goodness.

From Taiwan - Day 24

Jealous? I would be too if I were you ;) Oh, and that's my 25NT bubble tea beside that red bean shaved ice, hehe.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A little bit of sugar

Tomorrow we're going to HOLA, a home-outfitters-type store, for some towels. In the meantime, read this. It's sweet and a nice reminder of what love is like, in case it's slipped your mind <3

Monday, February 08, 2010

The day

Nothing notable today, other than the fact that I slept like crap last night. I got the new Badly Drawn Boy album "Is There Nothing We Could Do?" and it's just what I needed... something to unwind to =)

Completely off-topic, but this week is house-cleaning week! Apparently it's tradition to clean the house in preparation for CNY, much like spring cleaning in North America. I used an exclamation mark because I'm actually excited. I know what you're thinking "Oh Ling, you're so silly with your love of cleanliness" except this is not me getting excited simply because I enjoy a clean house, but because this place is actually dirty. Like I said before, Taipei's air is the one thing I hate about being here. It brings out my allergies & it makes everything filthy because the windows are always open and all the sut from the exhaust of passing vehicles drifts in. Plus the floors here are this shiny white stone tile that reveals every little bit of dirt and crumbs and hair and it just creeps me out when the floor is speckled with black stuff from whoknowswhat.

Anyhow, so it just occured to me how little time I actually have left here. I'm already into the 3rd-last week and then next week we're going down to 高雄 (gao xiong) for a week and then just one more week in Taipei after that and it's home time! Still so much shopping to do so I think I'm going to get cracking on that starting tomorrow.

For those who skim through my entries and look forward to the photos, here's a nice shot of Taipei 101, found on vi.sualize.us. None from me today, sorry!