Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lots o' learning

For the past two days I have been in 4-hour segments of Basic Medical Terminology training. Sounds boring, right? A couple of days ago I was regretting that I had signed up for this on-site work training. But it was really good. I learned how to break down words to figure out what they mean. We learned about basic medical terms--different parts of the body. The best part was learning about the female productive system. It is unbelievable how much we don't know, things our doctors don't tell us, stuff we didn't learn in health class (my HS health class was an absolute joke!), etc.
Most of us are wanting more. And I think more will be offered.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Must conserve water

We recently received a letter from EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) letting us know that a water shortage emergency has been declared. They have averaged out how much we use every 2 months (that's how often we are billed), what our goal is and what we are allocated to use. For every unit (748 gallons) we use over our allocation we pay $2 surcharge. (When I first read the letter I thought we were going to get charged 2 bucks for every gallon over our allocation. Now that would have sucked!) (And we share our utilities with the people upstairs.)
Growing up in the desert (Tucson)--where they have to suck water out of dirt--OK, not literally--I know how to be careful with my water. I never ever brushed my teeth with the water running. But some people grew up that way and it just baffles me.
I digress. ...
I have really been thinking about my water usage the past couple of days. I don't think we go too crazy. Curt is going to water the garden a little less. We have timed sprinklers in the front of our house that we are going to have water less. The way our sink in the kitchen is set up we run the water while we wash dishes. So I will try to change that habit. I need to get some little dixie cups for the bathroom for when I take my meds in the morning. I now wash my face with cold water instead of waiting for 5 minutes for the water to heat up.
Anyone got any other suggestions?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Proper lid hygiene

I had an eye appointment on Saturday morning. I mentioned to my doctor about the mysterious film that develops on my contacts--but mostly my left contact. So Dr. Yokoi takes a closer look at my eyes and realizes that I have dry-eye syndrome. When you blink the tears stay on your eye about 12 seconds. When I do it the tears stay about 4-5 seconds. So I have special drops for my eyes, I have to start taking fish oil supplements and I have some foamy lid scrub, which I use in the shower as the last thing I do before I get out of the shower. So hopefully all this stuff will work.

Kinda baby shower

Sue, Mia, Lexie (Mia's daughter) and I headed to Graciela's on Saturday afternoon. Graciela lives out in Pittsburg, which is a hike. Graciela went on bed rest before we were able to have her work baby shower. So Mia, Sue and I collected money from co-workers and went shopping at Babies R Us to get Graciela and the baby (Victor or Victoria) what they need.
It was a really nice visit. Graciela looks great and beautiful. Though I know she is uncomfortable and swollen. But she is hanging in there. She will be out of the woods very soon and can have the baby. Anyway, all of us girls had a great time.

The rest of my weekend

When I got home Curt had joined some friends at Barclay's. So I headed over to hang out, too. Afterward we walked back to Angie and Joe's to hang out. Guitar Hero was brought out. I didn't play. I was so tired and didn't feel like concentrating on that. Plus I knew I would suck at it. :)

Sunday I watched some of Season 4 of The Wire. I also cleaned our very messy house. It looks so much better now.
Last night Curt and I headed to Marica's for dinner. Dad and Hilda gave us a gift certificate as a thank you for letting them stay at our place while we were in Europe. So nice of them. So we celebrated my promotion and had a nice dinner. I ate way too much. But everything was so yummy.

Now back to working for the weekend.

Friday, July 25, 2008


This is the first week this month that I HAD to work 5 whole days.
The first week I took a Wednesday and Thursday off and then it was 4th of July when Jackie was visiting. The next week I took the Friday off for a wedding. Last week I took Friday off for BlogHer '08.
And here we are. I have almost survived this week and the past couple of crazy days.
I am looking forward to getting life back to a little bit more normal by cleaning our house, putting my laundry away and cleaning out my closet.
And I still need to talk about BlogHer, post many pics, etc.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is it your birthday?

Someone asked me that today. Because of all the beautiful bouquets of flowers on my desk.
Yesterday I came into work and was surprised by yet another gorgeous bouquet of flowers on my desk. There was no card so I asked Amy if she knew who the flowers were from. She said no. And then said she was kidding and that they were from Legal and Compliance departments to congratulate me on my promotion.
How nice is that? And we went to lunch yesterday, too. We ate at Skates. We had delicious appetizers, their super yummy bread and a good lunch. I had a creamy tomato basil soup and seafood paella. So good! Yes, no light low-fat lunch for me!

Nice flowers, huh? And if any of you were wondering, my birthday is October 9.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The film

I haven't talked about my contacts lately. I know, exciting topic.
The last time I went to my eye doc he gave me a different shaped right contact to hopefully prevent the contact from sticking to my eye. Not sure if that has worked--but I definitely don't see as well out of it as I did before. Apparently I have 20/20 in that eye. But it bothers me that I see better out of my left eye than my right.
The past couple of weeks (not every day--but many) I will notice that everything appears cloudy. I take my contacts out to clean them and there is a film on my contacts. What can that be? Someone at work told me her make-up was doing that to her contacts and her doc ordered a different kind.
It is annoying.
I clean the contacts how I am supposed to. Never wear them too long. Never sleep with them in. So is the crap in the air that bad and now it is sticking to my contacts?
I have an appointment on Saturday. So hopefully we will get to the bottom of this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I feel like such a slacker right now.
I haven't been to the gym since Thursday. I was too tired to go yesterday and today I have too many things going on. But I am going back to yoga tomorrow. If I can get my butt out of bed!
And our house is a mess! Since I was gone most of the weekend there was no cleaning done. The pile of mail had almost taken over the coffee table by yesterday, that was until I shoved it all into a very unneat pile on the table. I did some laundry last night and I was too lazy to fold it. So there is a huge pile of laundry on the floor on my side of the room.
I don't have a lot planned this weekend. So there will be some serious cleaning going on. And I really need to attack my closet. Gotta do some rearranging and organzing and just plain cleaning. A lot of times when I clean I just throw stuff in the closet and close the doors.
Lenore update
Angela called me yesterday. Aunt Ann and Uncle Curt sent an edible arrangement to welcome Lenore into this world and to congratulate Angela and Michael.
She called to thank us and to give me an update. It sounds like everyone is doing very well. Angela also sent some more pictures of Lenore. She sure is a cutie and a beauty.

Isn't Lenore so sweet!?! And Angela took some pics of the edible arrangement we sent. It looks nicer than the picture I saw.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Still exhausted

Man, I am still so tired from this weekend.
Today is a blah day. I mean it is Monday, it is cloudy out, I was out Friday. So that doesn't help.
I promise to get into more detail about some of the people I met. Some new blogs I plan to read. And post the pics I took. And I am sure there is other stuff I want to talk about that I can't think of at the moment because my brain isn't working.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 2 recap

BlogHer was an amazing experience and an exhausting one. Today I felt totally blah. Mostly just lounged around the house napping and watching Season 3 of The Wire.
Curt and I had lunch with Dad and Hilda. We headed to their hood to check out their new place and area. They just got their furniture on Tuesday (I think) and they were completely unpacked. I was impressed. They have a cute place with a decent-sized private courtyard. 
We walked around a little bit and got our lunch to go so we could go back to their place and eat. It was kinda windy and chilly. And we had Zipper with us so we decided it would be best to have our food to go. And it was a good idea. We had a nice visit and then headed home.

OK, onto Day 2 BlogHer recap:

I woke up Saturday morning pretty tired already. I got to BlogHer a little after 9. The opening keynote started at 9:15. I have to say it was freakin freezing in there. 
The first breakout session started at 10:45. The session I attended was about women who are childfree in the blogosphere. I was really happy to see a session catered to this particular subject. The panel was a mixture of women: one who couldn't have children, another who has chosen not to have children, one who wants them but the opportunity hasn't happened for her and another who has known since as far back as she can remember that she didn't want kids. The audience had a great mixture of women, too. There were some great discussions. I felt a lot of support and comfort.
Afterward I had lunch with Cory, Holli and Faith and a new friend Caroline. The Michelin Man came through. He came through the keynote in the morning, too. (I got a pic with him earlier in the day.) I asked Faith if she wanted to go meet him. He danced with her and then posed for a pic. She was so excited. It was cute. And she was also super excited to see pics of Joey on my phone. Maybe she will also become a fan of Joey's blog
After lunch Holli and I took Faith to the Sesame Street Suite for her appointment with Grover. She got to tape a short session with Grover. It was very cool. Abby Cadabra was also there. 
After that onto Breakout Session #2. I attended a session about "coming out" via blog. Women have talked about different things on their blogs. One talked about her bulimia, other depression, one being queer, another various serious issues. It was a really great session. Between that session and the first one I attended yesterday it made me start to think about my blog and what I really want to talk about. These were good sessions and really made me think. I will eventually talk more about that. No worries. I will still keep everyone updated on the norm.
Breakout Session #3 I attended a photo walk with Holli, Cory and Caroline and many other bloggers sponsored by the Shutter Sisters. The 4 of us took off on our own. It was fun to hang out, try to sneak into the Top of the Mark and just enjoy the city a little. We ended up at Grace Cathedral, which was absolutely gorgeous.
After the photo walk was the closing keynote. Two well-known bloggers answered questions for the audience. It was interesting to hear what they had to say.
I have to say I was very disturbed to hear that many bloggers have had horrible comments left on their posts. And I am not talking about hey, I think you are stupid and I don't like your ideas. No, things like ... you deserved your miscarriage because you don't believe in God, or I won't be attending BlogHer if you are going to be there, etc. And, of course, most of these truly evil comments are anonymous. 
After the closing keynote was the last party. I went back to Holli and Cory's room to relax a little and for all of the girls to get ready. Then we headed to Macy's for the partay! BlogHer had 3 floors of Macy's. Yummy food and wine was available. We had a lot of fun. It was a great way end a great conference.
I said goodbye to the girls and then I headed home. I felt like old friends with Holli and Cory. And I really enjoyed spending time with super sweet Faith. I have to say Holli has done an amazing job with this amazing little girl. 
And I look forward to seeing them at BlogHer 09.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Wow, what an amazing two days at I had at BlogHer 08. I am exhausted right now. So this is going to be a super short post.
But I had a great time, met some amazing people and learned so much. I don't know how I will ever get anything else done in my life. There are so many women I want to keep in touch with and so many blogs I want to check and probably follow.
I will give all the details later.

Friday, July 18, 2008

BlogHer 08

There have been many great things about my first day (and first time ever) at BlogHer '08. But the absolute best thing was when Faith (mommy is Holli) told me she loved me this morning. I went to visit Holli, Faith and Cory this morning in their hotel room and as I was leaving Faith said something. I didn't hear her so I said, what? She said, I love you. I said, Awww, I love you, too. You are so sweet.
This experience has been amazing. I have met so many people. And I have so many blogs to visit!!!
Probably the only negative was that they didn't have a name badge for me so I had to wear a handwritten one until this afternoon. And tonight I spilled my greentini on my friend Jeremy and myself at the cocktail party. Jeremy and I worked at the Arizona Daily Wildcat together in college and ran into each other today.
So I knew blogging was a big deal. But not until I came to this conference today did I really realize the true impact of it all. I attended some great sessions today. But I have to say the best were the Birds of a Feather, which were not an actual panel. More of a discussion group. I attended Travel, Personal Finance and Sex & Relationships. They were all great and different and so beneficial.
I met another woman (who is normal and cool and pretty and all that good stuff) whose cat also has a blog. We immediately exchanged cards.
Oh, I talked to some guy in the elevator who was having a hard time getting to the floor he wanted (the elevators are soooooo slooooow) and he said I should blog about him. So guy in the elevator at the Westin St. Francis with your Starbucks bag this is for you.
I have met so many cool people and gotten a ton of cool sawg. My swag bag is still in Holli and Cory's room. Oh, and I missed out on the cool Visio blue tooth headsets. But I think I may have sweet talked one of the guys into getting me one later. He has my card and I have his e-mail.
I have to say there are so many travel bloggers out there. I could totally do that for a living. I mean, I kinda do that now, right? I take you when I got to London, Phoenix, Tucson, Dublin, Germany, etc.
I also received a wonderful chair massage today. Oh, it was so nice!!!! Must get full body massage very soon.
After the last keynote and all the sessions were done Jeremy and I had a drink at the hotel and then headed to the cocktail party at Ruby Skye. Jeremy seems to know everyone. I met a lot of cool people. Saw one celebrity that I don't know from the TNT show Saving Grace. Got some more swag and yummy greentinis. Didn't eat dinner. Didn't really need it. There has been food available all day long. (But being a Weight Watcher I think I have done well.)
Oh, at one point I went to get coffee. It was from Travelin Joe, which is a local company who brings in a coffee cart for Onyx once a month. It was so cool! I got some coffee and chatted with the guys. They even wanted to know about my blog. So I gave them each a card. I love these little cards I got from
I am so tired and I have to get up again for not quite as an early day tomorrow. I will probably update tomorrow night. And many details Sunday.
I am updating Twitter: starrchhk and Facebook (when it will let me).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Meet Lenore

Soon after I received the e-mail from Michael about Lenore being born he sent a bunch of pics. Isn't she beautiful? I mean, that is a newborn right there. I can't wait to kiss her cheeks. She and her 'rents live in Portland. And Curt and I are going out there at the end of September. So I get to meet Lenore then.

Gorgeous flowers

Yesterday my boss called me into his office for maybe 5 minutes. I return to my desk to be startled by a huge and beautiful bouquet of flowers. My wonderful in-laws, Marilyn and Ed, sent me this gorgeous bouquet of flowers to congratulate me on my promotion. They smell wonderful, too.
Thanks so much for my flowers!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Congrats Angela, Michael and Lenore!

Had an e-mail this morning from Angela's husband, Michael, saying:

... Lenore Suzette Halstead was born July 15th at 3:47 p.m. 8 lbs. 4oz. 19 inches. A perfectly healthy, and if I don't say so myself BEAUTIFUL baby. We're obviously thrilled and exhausted. Pictures are on the way post haste!

I can't wait to see the pics of Lenore. And I just love the name!
And I get to meet Lenore in September. I can't wait.

Congrats again Angela, Michael and Lenore.

Meet Onyx's newest Patent Administrator

It's official! Today my title changed at work from Senior Administrative Assistant, Legal & Compliance to Patent Administrator.

I have been doing this job for some time now. Still getting into it and learning everything. But I am feeling pretty confident about my work and what I do.

This is an exciting job and I am enjoying everything I have learned and what I will continue to learn.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New yoga teacher is great

I haven't been able to attend my regular Tuesday afternoon yoga classes lately. We have a new teacher. I really liked Suraya. But I have to say Sean is a great teacher. I like his style. His class was challenging and a great workout.
I was trying to convince him to take over the Friday morning yoga class. They are looking for a teacher for that class to replace wonderful Ajaia. Anyone want to apply?
I am trying to get Hilda to take that class over. But I doubt the distance from where she and my dad live to my gym will be worth it to her. Dang!

Not sure if step is for me

OK, when I first started kickboxing I felt like an idiot. Well, and looked like one, too. Now I feel slightly better. But I am still spaztic. (Is that even a word?)
I took step class last night, which is taught by the kickboxing teacher, Keren. I could not keep up. I didn't get one single combo. But at least I kept moving. While most of the others were doing the fancy routine I just did my own thing. So I felt more lame in step than I ever have in kickboxing. But I plan on giving it a few more tries. Keren says after 3-4 classes I will have most of the combos down. We'll see. I am not a very coordinated person. And I am so NOT graceful.
But it was a good workout and I got sweaty. And the time flew by.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Low-key but good weekend

I worked from home Friday morning. Then a little after 2 p.m. my co-worker/friend Alonzo picked me up and we were on our way to Livermore. The drive wasn't too bad. Only one point we were in heavy traffic. And that cleared up pretty quickly.
We arrived at the winery (Garre Winery) about 3:30. Alonzo hadn't had lunch yet so we turned around and hit Jack in the Box since we had an hour (or so we thought). We got to our seats about 4:10 or so and then noticed on the program that the wedding started at 5 p.m. Sneaky! It was a little warm but we survived.
The ceremony was really cool. The bride and bridesmaids danced down the aisle. And there were African drummers and dancers. They were fantastic.
The party was a lot of fun. Had a great time dancing.


I went to spin class again. My teacher told me I am getting better. I felt better about the class. After spin I took the abs/core class. I am still feeling the exercises we did. It hurts to cough.
After the gym I came home and relaxed, watched some Weeds and The Wire. I also made myself a big ol' salad for lunch with tomatoes and broccoli from our garden. Yum!
Saturday night we headed to Phil and Lisa's and picked up Phil and went to their church Fried Chicken and Margarita dinner. (Lisa was already there.) The chicken was so yummy. I saw the guy in the back frying up the chicken. Good stuff! Phil's parents and sister and her family came. They were a lot of fun. Poor Lisa ended up working the whole event. At one point Curt, Phil and I headed back to their place. Eventually Lisa came home. Phil was instructed to give us drinks so that we would stay and visit and then get to hang out with Lisa.


Curt and I headed to the Apple store at Bay St. that morning. Curt got in the long line. I headed to the gym. I came back a little more than an hour later and he was getting closer. He upgraded to the newest iPhone. I have decided to wait a little bit before I upgrade. After about 3 hours Curt was the owner of the latest iPhone. It has some pretty nifty features.
After the purchase we headed home and then to Ben & Nick's for lunch. The rest of the day was a loungy kind of day. I did a little work. (Still had some to finish that I didn't get done Friday.) I watched a mini Law and Order: SVU marathon. And I couldn't believe it. But at least two of the episodes I hadn't seen before. I also started knitting a baby blanket. This is the second of 4 I am making this year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A must watch

Go to the blog Things Younger Than John McCain and and view this:

The video is frightening. How does Fox News get away with this crap?????

At work in my yoga clothes

I went to yoga this morning (my last class with Ajaia--boo hoo!!!!). Afterward I came home. I took today off to attend a wedding. But it isn't until this afternoon so I am working right now.
I like to be able to crank up the music, have no shoes on, wear comfy clothes, do laundry and get some uninterrupted work done.
I am going to the wedding with a friend/co-worker, Alonzo. He is working a half day and will come and pick me up a little after 2.
Curt was gonna go to the wedding. But the new iPhone came out today and he has to work.
Back to work.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This is funny & cool

If you have six minutes, check this out. If not, check it out anyway.

For some reason I am having issues embedding. So here is the link.
It's a couple's first wedding dance. And it is awesome.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A little bit less of a pain in the neck

My neck is a lot better today. I slept much better and whenever I needed to roll over it wasn't painful. Wow!
Yesterday I left work a little early and went home and iced the neck. Before I got in bed I microwaved this cool neck pillow that Curt's mom made me for Christmas last year. It has rice and lavendar and something else in it. It holds heat well and for a long time. I fell asleep with the pillow around my neck. So for part of the night I rested in the position I should be. At some point I had to sleep on my stomach--bad I know--so I had to toss the neck pillow aside.
I am hoping I feel up to yoga tomorrow morning. I think I will be OK. I will just have to take care when we turn our necks in certain poses.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Pain in the neck

So I musta slept on my neck weird Saturday night/Sunday morning. Thing is I felt fine when I woke up yesterday. And about 2 hours into my day my neck hurt. I thought for sure it would feel better today. Nope. I slept horribly. Everytime I wanted to move or roll over it was a real chore.
I did some research online this morning and found out I should be icing my neck, not putting heat on it like I had been yesterday.
So I iced it this morning. Came into work a little late. I am feeling a lot better. But it still hurts. My boss was surprised that I came in. I had a few meetings scheduled that I didn't want to miss or resked. So I will likely leave early today and rest again.
Hopefully I will be back to normal tomorrow.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

And Jackie is almost gone ...

Well, she is at the airport anyway.
We had a really great visit. She is a wonderful house guest and is welcome anytime.
Yesterday was more of a low-key day. Jackie and I went to the gym in the morning. After we got cleaned up the three of us headed to the Drunken Boat in Berkeley for brunch. Then we walked around Telegraph for some shopping. On the weekends vendors come out and set up shop on the sidewalks: jewelry, T-shirts, liberal bumper stickers, hats, etc.
Jackie took Curt and myself to dinner last night, which was very sweet. We ate at Pyramid Alehouse. Our friend Jason met us for dinner.
After dinner we came home and relaxed and watched Simpsons episodes. Not that I don't like the Simpsons. But Curt and Jackie love that show. It was funny to hear them talk about particular episodes and laugh about them.
This morning I woke up fine and about 2 hours into my day I started with the stiff neck. Not fun at all. Anyway, this morning the three of us headed to Fisherman's Wharf for some shrimp/crab cocktail. Yum! We headed to Boudin so Jackie could get some bread for one of her cousins. We hit one more souvenir shop before we headed out. She bought lots of stuff and I was proud that she thought of her parents and cousins while shopping.
After the wharf we drove over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was pretty foggy. Then we went into Sausalito for some yummy lunch. After lunch back to look at the bridge at a great site. It was so windy and foggy we didn't get much of a view. The weather was absolutely crazy.
After our adventure we came home and just hung out until we headed to the airport.
Curt and I are just relaxing and getting ready for our work week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Good visit so far ...

Wednesday night we had a good time at the Giants game. 
Then Thursday Jackie and I headed to the gym in the morning. We came home and got ready. Then headed to Scharffen Berger for a tour and then lunch with Mia at Cafe Cacao. The tour was pretty cool and we got to taste some chocolate. Yummy. After we met Mia at the restaurant for lunch. It was a nice lunch and visit. 
Then we headed to Target to pick up a few things. Unfortunately the cart escalator was broken!
At 2 p.m. we had an appointment at Tootsies for mani/pedis. I wasn't able to try any cute shoes on since I didn't want to mess up my toes. Dang! Probably good for the wallet though. Afterward we walked around the hood and did a little shopping. Then back to the house. Curt met us on the street. He got off work early and had come out to look for us. We had dinner at Sushiya. Good sushi as always. Then we took a driving tour to show Jackie some stuff. We walked around the Berkeley campus a little bit. 
I got up a little early this morning and went to yoga. It was a great workout. And then at the end of class Ajaia announced that she is leaving. That is the third yoga teacher to leave. And I really like Ajaia and her teaching style. It is a lot different than a typical yoga class. I am really going to miss her and her classes. I hope they find a good replacement. She really challenges me and has encouraged me to some positions I probably wouldn't have done on my own. 
Late morning we headed to the city. We hit Chinatown for cheap crap to buy and appetizers. Then lunch in North Beach. After that we headed to Haight and Ashbury. We hung out and had some coffee. Then to Golden Gate Park for some people watching. 
Now we are lounging and having some snacky snacks and a little dinner.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Jackie's Here!!!

My cousin Jackie is here for a visit. She got in today about 11:30 this morning. We have been having a relaxing day. After the airport we came back to the house and relaxed and then walked around the neighborhood. We had lunch at Zachary's. We are back at the house just hanging out. Tonight we are going to a Giants game.
We are gonna have a fun week. I am really excited to have Jackie visit.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!

I went to Sunrise Spin this morning. The class started at 6:15 a.m. Yes, that is hard to imagine. Somehow I got my butt up and out of bed at 5:35 a.m.
It was a tough workout. But it was good. The instructor was really great.
I am gonna try to go next Tuesday. We'll see.