Sunday, August 31, 2008

Our neighbor critters.....

About 3 weeks ago I was sitting in my living room watching TV, when I heard a strange shrilling sound coming from outside below my window. It reminded me of a cross between an upset baby and a dying bird! I rushed over to the window and saw two baby raccoons poking their heads out from the storm drain along the street in front of our apartment building! The babies were howling and crying for their mama - who appeared to be missing. :( David and I kept our eye on them for the next couple of hours and their mama still hadn't returned. I hoped to myself that she was just out on a mission to gather food for her little ones, but inside I also feared that maybe she was injured, perhaps even dead (we do live on a very busy street...). My heart ached for those poor little who were left all alone, and I even looked up the number for a local wildlife rescue organization just in case.....

But the next day I walked down to the street to check out the situation and the baby raccoons were no where to be found! I hoped and prayed that their mama had returned later the past evening, and that the whole raccoon family was safe and sound enjoying life below the gutters of Alameda. And they had been out of my mind since then....

But today the raccoons were back - and not only were there 2 little raccoon babies in our storm drain, but so was their mama and yet a third little baby! They all appeared to be healthy and thriving, except I still don't quite understand why they were out and about during the middle of the day on a busy street corner! All I know is that it appears that we have some new neighbor critters living next to us in the storm drains on Shore Line Drive. The babies are adorable, but the mama looks like a fierce force to be reckoned with! These pics don't do them justice, but here is a shot I got earlier today from our living room window.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

UC Berkeley Channel on YouTube!

So I just discovered that there is a whole channel on YouTube devoted to Cal - events, news, courses, campus life, and athletics! I didn't even know this existed, but its pretty cool. Honestly, YouTube has become one of my favorite places to play on the internet lately - it's so addicting! I am lucky I hadn't discovered the wonders of YouTube when I was still in grad school - talk about a preferred procrastination tool!

Anyhow, the Fall semester just started this past Wed 8/27 and the Berkeley campus is once again buzzing with intense energy (including the Career Center!) While my job gets pretty hectic this time of year, I really can't complain because I love the excitement in the air and feeling like I'm an integral part of the Cal community. ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2008


So about 8 months ago, at the beginning of the year, I decided to stop drinking regular milk...cow's milk that is. After experiencing some stomach-issues related to drinking milk with my morning cereal, and especially after reading websites like this one, I realized that I wanted to make the switch to an "alternative milk" option.

So I tried various brands of soy milk, and finally found one that I loved - the Trader Joe's Organic Soy Milk from their refrigerator section (thanks Torrey!). The switch was tough at first, I'll admit that, especially for a cereal addict who was so accustomed to the flavor and texture experience of my morning bowl-of-goodness. But after a couple of weeks, I was fully adjusted and loving my soy!

But then I started to hear horror stories about the "dark hidden dangers" of soy. For example, there is a high amount of estrogen in soy that may be linked to a higher risk of cancer. And it hasn't been studied for that long in the US, so I don't want to take any risks. Additionally, it turns out that the soy industry is just as money hungry and as propaganda-focused as the dairy industry...

So what was a "milk" loving, cereal addict to do??? Well back in June I decided to experiment with my other options - Rice Milk and Almond Milk. What I quickly learned is that rice milk is very high in sugar and carbs, NOT good for someone who is trying to avoid sugar and is prone to easy weight gain. But then I found "unsweetened, light" rice milk, but found that this lacked flavor and left me feeling unsatisfied. Then I experimented with almond milk and LOVED it! And a HUGE positive is that light almond milk has virtually no carbs! But the regular almond milk has a very strong, heavier, nutty flavor that significantly altered the taste of my cereal - not acceptable for me given how much I love my Barbara's Shredded Oat Squares. I was still on the hunt for the right product!

And then it dawned on me - I could mix regular rice milk with light, unsweetened almond milk to create my own personalized "milk perfection"! This allowed me to have a light nutty taste that wasn't overpowering, and still add in a bit of sweetness and a lighter texture from the rice milk to round out the mixture. Delicious! Plus I save lots of calories and carbs - a win-win situation!

What's in YOUR cereal bowl? :)

You missed the off-ramp!!

You Missed the Offramp!

"You never listen to directions! Now we're going to be late, and we'll miss the good parking spaces, the kids'll be cranky, and it's all your fault — and you just let that duck cut us off!"

"MOM!! Timmy's swimming the wrong way again!"

"Are we there yet?? Are we there yet???


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One of the reasons why I LOVE my home in Alameda....

This is the view from our balcony....
Beautiful pics David. :)

Free Fallin....

While I'm a Tom Petty fan and definitely respect the original, John Mayer's version of Free Fallin is amazing....

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ryhthmic Gymnastics gone wrong!

The Olympics are over now, but I must say that I really enjoyed watching The Today Show's special coverage each morning live from Beijing. It was fun to watch Al Rokoer, Ann Curry, Meredith Vieira & Matt Lauer on their Chinese adventures and excursions, and to see all of the updates and excitement from the Olympic competitions.

But this made me laugh out loud! Funny, yet kinda strange and awkward at the same time.

Watch and let me know what YOU think:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My accident....

This is my bike.....

While I have been exercising outside regularly this summer, I've been more into walking and jogging on the beach instead of riding my bike as much as I used to.

But today I decided that I would go for a bike ride out to Bay Farm Island, given that it is a lovely day and I felt like doing something different. As I was coming back over the Bay Farm Bridge after exploring the MLK Shoreline Park, I fell. Yes - I fell off my bike.

There were quite a few people on the bridge at that time, and I got distracted by a speeding cyclist who was coming up quickly behind me right as I was about to make a horse-shoe turn...and my bike skidded in the dirt and I fell on my right side. Luckily I only got some minor scrapes, but my bike and my clothes were all dusty and my handlebars got twisted. David said he can easily fix my bike, and he was so sweet to "doctor me up" with our first aid kit. My knee is still a bit sore, but after taking a shower and eating some Hershey kisses, I feel OK.

Maybe I'll just go back to walking and jogging for awhile.....
At least it is a gorgeous day here in Alameda - the sunshine always makes me feel better.

Cooking Adventures...

Lately I've been really excited about cooking - especially experimenting with new recipes and new ingredients.

Last Thursday I made a delicious Shrimp & Veggie Curry with Tofu Shirataki noodles for the in-laws, and another evening prepared meat-less cheesy enchiladas using ground soy crumbles - yummy!

And tonight I'll be making Chicken Piccata for David and I, along with some rice and home grown lemons and peas from my mother-in-laws garden.

Hungry anyone? :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Happy Friday from my Kitty Trio!

Meet Yoda!

Meet Yoda the cat with FOUR ears

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 9:01 PM on 19th August 2008


If Batman had a cat, it would probably look something like this.
The household pet, named Yoda, was born with an extra set of ears.
Valerie and Ted Rock took him in two years ago after visiting a bar near their home in Chicago, where he was being passed round by curious drinkers.
He was one of a large litter and the owners were looking for a home for him.
The couple immediately fell for the freaky feline and asked the owner if they could adopt him. He agreed and the couple named the cat Yoda, after the pointy-eared Jedi knight in Star Wars.

Valerie, 65, said: 'We were at a pub on the south side of Chicago with a group of friends when we noticed a small cage sitting on the bar and people passing around a kitten.
'He had been part of a large litter and the owners were looking to find a home for him.Ted and I had just lost a cat that was our pet for over 20 years, and we were sure we were done with cats.

'When he was passed around he reached for Ted, crawled up into the crook of his neck and fell asleep - Ted was a goner.
'It was a done deal when the kitten made himself at home on Ted's shoulder.
'We decided to name him Yoda. I understand the Star Wars character was based on George Lucas' cat.'

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Special greetings.....

....from the bathroom at Puerto Alegre restaurant - one of my fave Mexican restaurants in SF!

Last Saturday David and I had a lovely date night in the Mission - a tasty dinner and shopping at Multi-Kulti and Therapy (two of my favorite stores ever - seriously check them out if you never have!)

Good times....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Career Center ladies....

So for the past 5 days I've been super busy at work training our 9 Peer Advisors that I co-manage with my colleague Becky. We conducted interviews, hand picked these amazing students, developed a comprehensive training program, and coordinated all aspects of the 5-day training event. It has been tiring, yet so productive and successful!
School starts at Cal next Wednesday 8/27. I am excited for the new school year, and very proud of our new cohort of Career Center Peer Advisors. :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kittens & Babies.....

What could be cuter? Especially when you mix the two together... :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008


If you've been experiencing allergy issues lately like I have, then you'll appreciate this video even more....hehe :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Friday world. :)

My dear friend Kristen shared this amazing short story with me......and now I would like to pay it forward and share this with all of you as well.


On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning......

By: Haruki Murakami

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My family......

I spent much of last weekend in the Central Valley hanging out with my wonderful family. Mom, Dad, Leah, Hayden and I went up to Lodi to visit with my grandma, my aunt and my cousins....and we had a fun, relaxing Saturday catching up and playing with the babies. Then Saturday evening Leah and I went out to dinner with our dear friend Desiree at Las Casuelas for some margaritas & yummy Mexican food. What a wonderful weekend!

Here are some cute pics...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Busy Busy!!! (And a funny video for y'all.....)

Well life has been quite crazy and busy for me the past 2 weeks, hence the reason why I've been MIA on Blogger. Basically blogging has fallen to the bottom of my priority list....but I plan to get back to posting daily this week.

My friend Amy told me about these "Fainting Goats" that she saw on You Tube - TOO FUNNY! Check out this video....hehe...

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1st already!?!

Well my dear friend Torrey writes regular blog posts on the first day of every new month....and I felt inspired to follow in her footsteps today!

Honestly, I can't say that I'm very excited about today being August 1st....because to me, 8/1 means that the summer (and the year for that matter!) are both zipping by way too fast. Also, the Fall 2008 semester will be starting in just a few weeks at UC Berkeley - and the madness will start once again at the Career Center.

But on the other hand, today is pay day....and when you only get paid once per month.....the 1st of the month is never a bad day. ;)

Happy Friday!
P.S. Here is a gorgeous picture of an amazing Lotus beautiful and intriguing this flower is to me....