Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Dinner out

Last night Curt was home early--jury duty. And he had to go back today for them to finish picking the jury. I have no word yet if he has been picked. Anyway, so he said he wanted to go out to eat. We just got in the car and went. Once we got to College Ave. he pointed out a restaurant he had passed by the day before that he wanted to try. On a Sunday night he had seen a line out the door. Had to be good, right? La Tratorria Siciliana--I am assuming that I have butchered the name. It was a cute and small restaurant. This place had the BEST oil to dip your bread in. There were herbs and garlic. It was so good. We had crab for an appetizer. That was cooked with herbs and some spices. Delicious! And I ordered a glass of wine that I had never even heard of--and it was ... good.
As we were sitting there eating good bread and appetizer a group of people came in. The staff had to arrange tables for them. Well, one couple had two young children. And the little girl was crying--sort of throwing a fit. I was rolling my eyes. This was not the type of restaurant you take children. It was nice and there was no kids' menu. They let her stand there and cry--near our table while they went to theirs. Thanks people. Eventually the kid stopped crying.
Other than that our dinner was a great experience. Both our pastas were excellent. Curt had a gnocchi and I had linguini. And I even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. YUM!

Monday, January 30, 2006


I have been slacking and haven't written in more than a week. But my life has not been that exciting lately--unbelievable, ain't it?
We had a good weekend. Just relaxed Friday after work. Saturday night had dinner at our friends' Randee and Stephen's house. They live in Lafayette, which is about 20 minutes from us. It poured like crazy driving to their house--which made me a little nervous and I wasn't even driving. Anyway, they made a great dinner--lamb chops, cous cous, salad, etc. and a homemade apple pie. Good food and great conversation. (It is so great to have friends who can cook and cook really yummy stuff, too.) Then the boys played video games on their honin' TV with 6.1 surround sound--which means almost nothing to me. I just know that it sounds cool and loud. And the girls ... talked.
Stephen was very excited because he had ordered Xbox 360 that should arrive today or tomorrow. We have been invited over there for SuperBowl Sunday. And we are going over an hour before the game so the boys can play Xbox 360. The girls plan on taking off and having lunch and going shopping or to the movies or both.
Now it is Monday. Bleh! But my workday is almost over. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crazy video

I found this fishing video on another blog. Those fish are nuts.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Restless night

Early this morning I woke up around 2 a.m. Went to the bathroom and then climbed back in bed. Curt was snoring (not unusual). If I am awake and he is snoring it is tough for me to fall back asleep. I kept poking and nudging him. He would stop snoring for a few seconds and then start snoring again. Everytime his snoring pattern was different. Then twice he rolled over onto MY pillow. After about 45 minutes of that I grabbed a free pillow and went to the couch. Had very vivid and disturbing dreams. My dreams are always vivid and I never know they aren't real until I wake up--no matter how weird they are. I woke up many times. At one point I got up to see what time it was.
7:40 a.m--Well, I thought I should get up and go do the laundry. But I decided to get back into the couch and try to sleep more since I was so tired. I gave it a whole two hours. At some point Joey starts howling at the door and then out the window. I kept shhhhing him and telling him to shut up! He was driving me nuts. Eventually he stopped. But then he started racing around the apartment. He eventually stopped that and started meowing. Ugh! I gave up and turned on the TV and watched the end of "Finding Neverland."
Now I am exhausted. At least it is Saturday and I have nothing to do today but lie around, knit and watch Lifetime.
Usually before I blog I check out my friends' blogs. My friend Kate blogged today about sleeping issues. And Erica commented about her having issues this past week, too. Weird!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I love you, Ma

An orphaned squirrel monkey named Loki hugs a stuffed duck at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Loki has been hand-raised by zoo staff since his mother died after his birth eight weeks ago.

This is too funny

This was on the Daily Dish on the Chronicle Web site. It is kinda gross--but I laughed when I read it:

Paris Hilton's publicists are trying to silence a Hawaiian taxi driver who claims the socialite urinated in his cab.
Harden Jamison tells the National Enquirer tabloid the hotel heiress was too drunk to notice she'd wet herself when he picked her and boyfriend Stavros Niarchos up after a party on Maui.
The disgusted cab driver claims he mopped up the mess with a towel and plans to use Hilton's own DNA as evidence against her.
Jamison has gone public with his story after getting threatened by Hilton's heavies, who hitched a ride in his cab, after making it known that he has a towel with the socialite's urine on it.
He says, "They were all drunk and abusive. I kicked them out and flagged down a cop."The cab driver claims one of Hilton's pals offered him $200 for the towel.
A spokesman for Hilton denies the incident.

One more thing ...

I completely forgot to mention this funny tale. When we were at my Aunt Gen's house for dinner one night while in Tucson we learned some interesting things about one of their dogs, Molly. The other one, the nice one is Rocky.
But the mean one, also called a B-word, was nasty. She only really liked my Uncle Lee. She would growl if you said "Pokemon" or one other word that I can't remember. (AUNT GEN--COMMENT AND TELL US WHAT IT IS, PUHLEAZE!) She would also get nasty if you flipped her off. It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
She also had this little linen closet she would go into when she was bad. She opened it herself and jumped in. If you said one of the "key" words you would hear growling from the closet.
Entertainment at its finest.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A few more Tucson trip comments

Here are a few things I forgot to mention on my Tucson trip wrap-up:

  • Curt and I met my cousin Mark for breakfast at The Grill. There were maybe 2-3 other tables filled. Our service was horrendous. The server took our order and delivered our food and never came back. Curt wanted coffee and asked for sweetner. Get this: They only had sugar. What is up with that!!??!! I know I loved The Grill in college and even the night of my high school reunion (when I couldn't read the menu after having many beers). But I don't think the Chihak Poff clan will be going back anytime soon.
  • You may have noticed that I blogged a lot while in Tucson. Well, Curt hooked Dad and Hilda up with wireless Internet. And this sounds really sad--but they don't really have a TV. So after I had looked through both papers I blogged. (There was a TV in our room one day and then it was not there anymore. Thinking it might have been stolen I checked Dad and Hilda's room--their's was there with a lovely VCR. Well, I find out later that the TV in our room was moved to theirs so they could watch movies.) So we never watched TV at their house. Oh, and they have no cable. How do people live without numerous TVs (Curt and I have three), cable, DVD player and TiVo????
  • Our flight back to SFO from Tucson was fairly uneventful until about 20-30 minutes before we landed in SFO. The captain told us there would be some turbulence when we got close to the city. I have never felt turbulence like that. We were rocking and swaying all over the place. Once we were over the water you could see how choppy it was and we were lurching back and forth. I couldn't look out the window for fear of needing that little bag in the front seat pocket. We landed safely after the bumpy ride. And the runway was pretty flooded. It was kinda crazy.

Anyway, we love Tucson! Can't wait to go back for a visit. And we wouldn't mind living there again. For all you Phoenix fans--no thanks to Phoenix! Tucson rocks and Phoenix doesn't. But we love our friends in Phoenix. Come visit guys! (And to all of our friends all over the place: Come visit, too!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Last week

Last week our friend Aaron was in town for the Mac Expo going on in San Francisco. He came in on a Sunday (8th) and left on Saturday (14th). He spent a lot of time learning stuff and looking at cool new stuff. But he still had a little time to soak in the city a bit.
Curt was super busy all week at work. But he did get a few hours to wander the Expo and look at all the cool stuff.
On Friday I met the guys in the city for dinner. We took the cable car to North Beach. We had a yummy dinner at Michaelangelo's. When Erica and Casey were in town we ate there. And we ate there with my mom and Fred in March. Every place we have eaten at in North Beach has been good. Anywhere you go will be yummy.
At the end of our dinner the server came around with a bowl made of cheese with lots of Parm cheese in it. Never seen that before. So I took a hunk of cheese.
Michaelangelo's also brings around a bowl of gummy bears. I eat all the red ones. :)
After dinner we walked back to the BART station. Much easier to walk back than to walk to North Beach. We walked through Chinatown and a few shops were still open. I stocked up on some more Chinese dresses. They are wine bottle covers--super cute. We gave wine to family for Christmas gifts and I used the dresses to cover them.
Saturday Aaron's flight wasn't until 6 p.m. He had already bought his stepson, Andrew, candy from Chinatown. And he wanted to get his wife, Stefanie, some hippie jewelry in Berkeley. Unfortunately it was raining pretty heavily Saturday morning. Vendors come out on the weekends and set up on Telegraph--if you are familiar with Tucson, Telegraph is kinda like 4th Ave. Cool shops and restaurants and the college scene--or not, if you are old like me and no longer a cool college kid.
Well, we ventured out there anyway. There are still some cool shops--he was bound to find something. We first had brunch at The Drunken Boat--our fave breakfast place. (I tried to take Curt's dad, Ed, there when he was in town. We got there at 8:30 and it didn't open till 9. He was like, What kind of breakfast place doesn't open for breakfast? He had a good point. I looked down the street and it was deserted. Apparently Berkeley doesn't wake up early. So we ended up at IHOP.) Anyway, we ate and then wandered the cold street of Telegraph. There were a few brave vendors out. And Aaron lucked out and found a great necklace for Stefanie. We wandered a little more and I got some hot chocolate. Then back to the car. Right before we got home it started pouring. So we picked a perfect time to look for hippie jewelry.
Aaron left about 3 and took BART to the airport.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Christmas pictures and wrapup

Friday, December 30 was our last full day in Tucson before coming back to rain and gray skies. Curt and I headed to my mom's early afternoon. Curt watched football while Mom went with me to run errands.
First the horrible mall to have my ring cleaned. It took at least 10 minutes to find a dang parking spot. I hate the mall--and that day I was remembering why. We finally find a parking spot and head to Macy's. I stock up on some Clinique. Then to Weisfield's to get my ring cleaned. It was quick and we were out of there.
Then to Eegee's for my Strawberry Eegee drink. (I was there for a whole week and I almost forgot to get one. That would have been a real tragedy.)
One more stop ... grocery store. Mom needed cilantro for the menudo. Yummmmmmmm! And I found some Saladitos. Those are dried plums that are salted and flavored. Love those things! They are hard to find even in Phoenix. (But that is probably cuz Phx. sucks. :) Thought I would get a rise out of a few of my readers.)
Back to my mom's to have my Eegee slushie drink and kinda watch football. Then Fred and Curt went to my grandma's to "fix" her DVD player.
Then a taco dinner at my mom's. (Sylvia's homemade tacos are awesome.) Good food. Grandma and my Aunt Lisa came over, too.
Curt and I showed Mom and Fred how to use their new digital camera and how to upload the pictures to the computer.
The rest of the evening was lazy. Fred and Curt watched football in the TV room and Mom and I watched "Law & Order: SVU" in their bedroom and we both zonked out.
Then up at 4 a.m. the next day to catch our early flight.
It was great to see lots of family and friends. Now when are you all gonna visit us? We have an air mattress and a small spareroom (and a small apartment), but hey it works and it's free!
Here are the pics from our Christmas trip.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Identity thieves suck!

I got my new debit card last night--but now I am afraid to use it. The only logical answer to how that jerk got access to my card is they put something in the ATM that read my card while I was using it last Monday. I think it was the next day that weird charges started showing up. And the ATM I used was attached to a bank. Unbelieveable! (I hadn't used my card at all in January. And when we were in Arizona we only used our credit card.)
Our friend Ken had a similiar incident happen to him. Ken drives around the United States of America pretty often. He was in New Orleans at one point. He tried to use an ATM and it wouldn't work. (It was a free-standing ATM--I think it was on Bourbon Street.) Later he went to buy gas and that wouldn't work. So he called the bank. They told him they put a hold on his card because they noticed a lot of charges all over the country. He told them that was him since he was traveling by car. But then they told him someone tried to take 1,000 bucks out of an ATM the night before. Hello???? Everyone knows you can only get 300 bucks at a time. So they freed up his card for about 15 minutes so he could get gas and some cash. They sent his new card to the next city he would be in--at the bank. Well, that ATM he was at wasn't an ATM. Someone put it there so they could make copies of people's cards. The bank told him never to use the free-standing ones or even ones attached to a convenience store--only use ones attached to a bank. (Well, we see where that got me.)
The lesson here is to be obsessive like me and check your accounts often online.
And the unforunate part is identity thieves likely will always get away with this. I was lucky that this didn't get out of hand or ruin my credit.
Curt and I have a shredder and we shred just about everything with our names and address on it. If you send us a card we shred the envelope with our name and address and your name and address. We shred credit card applications, too. Buy a shredder at Target. They are pretty cheap.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


There is some jerk in California pretending they are me and buying lots of gas and having their clothes cleaned.
The other day I noticed in our checking account that there were some charges that neither of us had made. This mystery person was at the same gas station twice in Bakersfield, then a cleaners in Richmond and last another gas station in Oakland.
Here is the even weirder part: I have my debit card. And these kind of places you need the actual card to make the purchases. It's not like they are buying things online or with the Home Shopping Network.
I first noticed the charges late Monday night. I called Tuesday. The transactions were still pending so a claim could not be filed yet. They asked if I wanted to put a hold on my card and I decided to wait. (Last night I tried to use my debit card at Target and it wouldn't work.) This morning some of the charges had cleared. I called the bank. I mentioned my Target incident and I was told there had been a hold put on my card. I am working with some smart people here. Then I worked with the claims department. The money will be back in our account tonight. Talk about fast service. There is one more fraudulent claim still pending. Once that clears I can call the claims department again and get that one taken care of.
I will get a new card next week.
We are lucky that this identity theft was so minor and easily fixable. But man, where does this person get the gall to pull crap like that? It makes me angry that people think they can do this to hard-working people. And the idiot didn't buy anything good.
And thank goodness for online banking and my obsessive nature to check our accounts very often. If I had waited for a paper statement to show up we coulda been bouncing checks.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

So, so, so, so

I was looking at another blog today, which I look at regulary and she mentioned at the end of a posting that she was browsing some blogs and noticed that a lot of people start their posts with "So." I recently noticed that I do that quite often and I am trying to get away from doing it because it drives me nuts. I click back to my blog and the one below this one starts with ... So. Argh!

Just when I thought it was getting good

So I reported at the very end of my post yesterday (if you made it that far) that gas was at $2.10. When I left work it was $2.18. And this morning it was $2.26. What the H!!!!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


As promised here is a posting about the rest of our trip to Missouri for Thanksgiving, with pics included.

On Wednesday Marilyn worked a half day. So about 11:30 or so Curt and I walked to the hospital to meet her. When we left the hospital we picked up Grandma Phyllis and headed to the new deli that had just opened up--we met Ed there. (There are very few restaurants in Albany. It is a town of 2,000. They just had a Mexican restaurant open and a Subway sandwich place will be open soon. Albany is the kind of place where people wave at each other when they drive past each other.) The deli was busy and the food was really good and cheap!
A little before dinner time our friends Bryan, Mary and little Reagan came by for a visit. (We tried to visit them earlier but they weren't home. They just recently moved back to Albany from Kansas City.) That little Reagan is such a cutie. She acts all shy at first and then forget it--you can't get her to stop talking. We gave her a litle Scoa for her birthday. She just loved it. We had a good visit with them. When they were leaving Reagan wanted to know why Mommy and Daddy hadn't hugged and kissed everyone good-bye. :) (Oh, and recently Reagan had taken Daddy's razor and decided to shave. Poor thang had cuts on her face. Reagan also recently "drove." She was in the front of Grandpa's truck, threw it into gear, the door locked, and Grandma was in the back of the pickup. Reagan drove into a parked truck. And apparently was laughing the whole time.)
The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is the big night to head to the bar--Shadowfaux. Anybody who is anybody in Albany is there. The place was packed. We saw all of our friends and people I don't know or can't remember their names. They remember me because I am the outsider--from somewhere else. There was a local band playing--and they weren't too bad. A friend requested "I Will Survive" for me. I never heard it. But my friend Jennie told me later that they did play it--it just sounded a little different. So we were throwing back cheap drinks and cutting it up on the dance floor. Our friend Jennie had a baby in April and had been breast-feeding since then. So she was looking forward to a night out with no kids and she could drink!
We had a nice and quiet Thanksgiving with Ed, Marilyn and Grandma Phyllis. We had lots of good eats. (We had lots of good eats throughout the whole week. Marilyn usually has a menu prepared for the whole week when we visit.)
After that we went over to see our friends Scott and Jennie and their boys, Beau and Seth.
We had a fun visit with the kids. It was the first time we had met baby Seth. He sure is a cutie!
We went back to Curt's parents' house. When we headed to the car it was so freakin' cold. I don't do cold and there were a few days where it was downright chilly!
The 5 of us got together again and played more Sequence. We played that a lot when Craig and James were there. (James is also the self-proclaimed Checkers champion of the family.) After Sequence we broke out Taboo. I haven't laughed so much in my life. Grandma P was a crack-up. She kept asking, "I can't use any of these???" (Pointing to the 5 words on the card that you can't use when trying to get your team to guess the main word.) At one point I was laughing so hard I blew snot out of my nose!
The next morning Scott and Jennie picked us up and we headed to Kansas City, sans kids. They left the boys in Albany with Jennie's parents so we could have an adult night out. We went to a brewery for lunch. Afterward we left the guys there to drink beer, watch football and play video games. Jennie and I walked around and visited lots of cute little shops. Most of them were set up for Christmas. We both love that stuff and Scott and Curt, well, they don't.
We headed back to their place and hung out and then started getting ready for dinner at McCormick's on the Plaza. We had a great seafood dinner. (We even saw the coach for the Kansas City chiefs. Not that I would have recognized him on my own.) After dinner we walked around the Plaza looking at the pretty lights. There was even a lighted carriage that looked like Cinderella's. The area is really pretty all lighted up. Afterward to a bar in hopes of finding Jennie a frozen drink. No such luck there or at dinner.
We flew out early the next morning and were back in Berkeley by early afternoon.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention what my title means. The cheapest we saw gas in Albany while there was $1.99--and I was impressed. But the cheapest we saw in Kansas City was $1.89. (Gas today (01/03/06) in Emeryville is $2.10. Not too shabby.)

Happy New Year!

At about 4 a.m. on New Year's Eve morning I woke up in Tucson. Curt and I had a flight out of Tucson to San Francisco at 6:35 a.m. Ugh! Mom and Fred were nice enough to schelp us to the airport that early in the morning.
We got our boarding passes and got through security pretty easily. Right as we got into the "terminal" a store was just opening. I went in and got the latest "Us Weekly"--sad, I know, and a little Arizona knick-knack for our neighbors. A good ol' cactus magnet, with a real little cactus.
We boarded our little plane. Now it is hard to find a direct flight from just about anywhere (except from Phoenix) to Tucson. But I found one with United from SFO to the Old Pueblo. It was one of those 50-seaters. I was nervous when we got on it in SFO to come to Tucson. But I actually felt very comfortable--it felt like a regular sized plane flying around.
When we got close to SFO there was a lot of turbulence. Lots of clouds and rain. So we are flying over the ocean--you can see the choppy waters and the plane is jerking around a lot. It was a tense 15-20 minutes. Once we landed the sides of the runways were soaked--puddles. Then the pilot announces that our gate was still being occupied and it would be about 20 minutes. Ugh! I had to pee so bad.
We got home a little after 10 a.m. We take BART over--so it takes a little longer. But it is so much cheaper than driving and parking or taking a cab. Curt and I both crashed while watching TV. We layed around and napped and relaxed all day.
At 8 p.m. we and our downstairs neighbors, Jim and Jennifer, headed to a party of one of Curt's co-workers. It was so close we walked there in less than 10 minutes.
The turducken was unveiled. That thing was huge. It was good eats. (That is Cyrus getting ready to cut into the massive amount of meat.) There was a crowd getting hyped up over a game of Cranium. A smaller group played Taboo. It was hard for us to hear each other over the screaming Craniumites. We had yummy desserts. Played more Taboo. Then we all got our champagne and watched the ball drop. Curt and I stayed a little longer and headed home. My back was really hurting.
Sunday more laying around ... but I did unpack, pay bills and go through the mail.