Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kitty Acne?

Yes, Oliver, our spastic little teenage boy cat, has acne. Last night I noticed that he had black specs on his chin that look like dirt, but wouldn't wipe off. I recalled that a friend of ours had a similar experience with her cat awhile back, and I remembered she said it was kitty acne! So I did some web research, and low-and-behold, that's exactly what it is! It's apparently easy to treat - just wash his chin with anti-bacterial face soap, just like humans would do to treat acne. There are several causes for kitty acne, including bacteria from plastic water/food bowls, environmental changes, and stress. Honestly, I think the latter is causing Oliver to break out.....his new sister Misty is quite the domineering alpha cat, and the poor little guy has definitely been feeling stress lately, from being chased around the house and taunted on a daily basis. Hopefully he'll adjust better in time....

Friday, February 27, 2009

My niece Hayden.... getting so big! Leah sent me this picture yesterday - what a cutie!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Working on my Fitness..

As I shared with you last week, I love going for walks and jogs on Alameda Beach for my regular exercise. However, when it is cold, rainy, and/or dark, it can be very unappealing to go workout outside. So on evenings like yesterday when I get home from work later than usual and want to exercise, but feel turned off by the cold evening air, I'll do a workout DVD or a mini circuit workout in my living room. You can imagine how SICK I've become of my old DVD's and VHS workout tapes after doing them over and over for years and years (yes, I still own VHS..) :) And while it's a great full-body workout, I don't think I can stand to do TaeBo one more time without throwing inanimate objects at the TV screen (what is Billy Blanks wearing in that 1998 video by the way!?)

So what is an anti-gym, exercise hungry girl to do when she's craving a good workout? The answer is....EXERCISE TV! Ever since we got hooked up with Comcast Digital Cable a few months ago, David and I have become amazed and awed by On Demand. What a brilliant concept - hundreds of movies, tv shows, educational programs, and workout videos at your fingertips any moment of the day! So last night I decided to try Jillian Michaels "30-Day Shred" and boy was it a challenging workout! I consider myself to be in pretty decent shape, but this video got me sweating and afterwards I felt fabulous! Jillian is tough with zero breaks in the videos, but that's what makes then so effective and fast-paced. The workouts are based on the 3-2-1 method: 3 mins strength, 2 mins cardio, 1 min abs....then repeat that sequence several times. I think I'll try Levels 2 and 3 this weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mourning Doves....

Every morning over the past few weeks, I've been hearing the beautiful coo of birds outside my bedroom window, sounds reminiscent of a mysterious, beckoning owl. But upon further thought, I realized that owls are nocturnal creatures and would probably not be awake, nor that vocal, around 7am. So I did some research and discovered that these birds are Mourning Doves! They are medium sized, slender birds, typically with light gray-brown plumage, and a lighter, pinkish color below. The wings have black spotting, and the outer tail feathers are white, contrasting with the black-inners. They are native to North America, including Canada and all 50 states in the USA.

This species' call is a distinctive, plaintive cooOOoo-woo-woo-woooo, uttered by males to attract a mate. Because of their beckoning, "mourning" type calls, they are often mistaken for owls. Other sounds include a nest call (cooOOoo) by paired males to attract their mates to the nest sites, a greeting call (a soft ork) by males upon rejoining their mates, and an alarm call (a short roo-oo) by either male or female when threatened.

I was intrigued to learn more about these beautiful doves that live outside my bedroom window, and I've actually developed a curiosity about the plethora of other bird species that live in my Alameda Beach neighborhood. Maybe I'll even become a recreational birdwatcher, just like my dad. : )

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Silly kitties....

As all of you know, I LOVE my cats. And now that we have 4, the crazy feline energy in our condo has definitely intensified (in a fun way of course!), mostly because Misty is still a kitten and has so much spunk. She loves to chase Oliver and Aimee around the kitchen in circles, and also loves to do acrobatics on the kitty scratcher. She is a gorgeous cat, and we love the way she fits perfectly into our life and our home. : )

And then there is Oliver. The other day he was very interested in David's Hot Pocket snack. David was nice enough to give him a little taste, but he was too messy and some evidence was left on his white chin. hehe...can you see it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Starfish Story....

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said… “I made a difference for that one.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

Skills "Love" Party, 2/14/08

Last Saturday David and I went out dancing at the Skill's Love Party at The Regency Building in SF....and had a blast! I love the Regency Building - it is such a gorgeous building with intricate decor and architecture, and 3 unique floors each with a different type of music. Not only did we get to dance and enjoy some amazing music, we also saw lots of old friends! Now I definitely can't go out and do this every weekend anymore, but Skills parties are an exception.

Best Friends...

My friend Jenny shared his story with me and it just melted my heart - too cute! Although they might seem like an odd couple, these two creatures are best friends....that would be Tarra the 8,700 pound Asian elephant. And Bella. The dog.

Here's the story:
(CBS) When elephants retire, many head for the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn. They arrive one by one, but they tend to live out their lives two-by-two.
"Every elephant that comes here searches out someone that she then spends most all of her time with," says sanctuary co-founder Carol Buckley.
It's like having a best girlfriend, Buckley says - "Somebody they can relate to, they have something in common with."

Debbie has Ronnie. Misty can't live without Dulary.
Those are pachyderm-pachyderm pairs. But perhaps the closest friends of all are Tarra and Bella. That would be Tarra the 8,700 pound Asian elephant. And Bella. The dog.

"This is her friend," Buckley says, scratching Bella's tummy. "Her friend just happens to be a dog and not an elephant."
"Bella knows she's not an elephant. Tarra knows she's not a dog," Buckley adds. "But that's not a problem for them."

Bella is one of more than a dozen stray dogs that have found a home at the sanctuary. Most want nothing to do with the elephants and vice versa. But not this odd couple.
"When it's time to eat they both eat together. They drink together. They sleep together. They play together," Buckley says.

Tarra and Bella have been close for years -- but no one really knew how close they were until recently. A few months ago Bella suffered a spinal cord injury. She couldn't move her legs, couldn't even wag her tail. For three weeks the dog lay motionless up in the sanctuary office.

And for three weeks the elephant held vigil: 2,700 acres to roam free, and Tarra just stood in the corner, beside a gate, right outside that sanctuary office.
"She just stood outside the balcony - just stood there and waited," says Buckley. "She was concerned about her friend.".......READ MORE

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Love.........

..Cheese, Bread, Butter, Dolores Park, and San Francisco culture. And what do you get when you combine all these lovely elements together? The Annual Grilled Cheese Invitation!

Yes, this Saturday 2/21/09, San Francisco will host the 7th Annual NorCal GCI - a tasty day of Bread. Butter. Cheese. and Victory! :) Local budding chefs will be cooking up unique versions of this American staple Sammich, and the audience will taste and judge all entries. Yummmm...

I wish I was free on Saturday, because I would totally be there to experience this unique event and taste some delicious, cheesy goodness. Oh how I love San Francisco!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rainy Walk in Alameda

For those of you who know me well, you know that health and exercise are top priorities in my life. But having said that, I've never been a "gym person." To me, there is something unnatural about running inside on a treadmill, especially when I live in such a beautiful location right next to a lovely park and a gorgeous beach. So for me, instead of feeling like a hamster in a wheel, I get the majority of my exercise outside in the form of jogs and power walks along Alameda Beach.

Now this does sometimes present a problem in the winter when the weather is rainy, cold, and unforgiving. This weekend was a perfect example. I had to work on Saturday for my 2nd job with Oakland Teaching Fellows, and by the time I got home around 3pm I was in need of a good workout to release my stress. The thunderstorms were hit-and-miss most of the day, so I took my chances to go out for a jog in what seemed to be a temporary period of sunshine and clearing. But no sooner than I rounded the bend of my court onto 8th street, the sky opened up and started down pouring! I made a mad dash to another apartment complex on the corner and huddled under a stairwell for a moment while the heavens let loose. Luckily it was a short-lived spurt of rain, and just as quickly as that dark cloud covered the sky above me, it was gone and replaced by sunshine....along with a gorgeous rainbow! I then continued on my walk/jog, impressed by Mother Nature, and spared from the rain for the remainder of my workout.

While I wasn't able to capture the rainbow on camera, I did take a couple shots of the local scenery in my court. These intriguing, beautiful ferns and refreshing waterfall fountain are located just a stones-throw from my home on Shorepoint Court. Even though the rain can be disruptive at times, it does cleanse the air and allow our local vegetation to flourish! Enjoy the rainy day everyone. : )

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So being totally honest, I really HATE bugs - spiders, flies, beetles, gnats....are all ICK in my book! But there are a couple of exceptions - one of which is the ladybug. I'd venture to guess we all have childhood memories of staring at a beautiful, red ladybug on a flower, or having the fluttery little wings of one brush by our skin, land on our clothes, or our bag, our hair, etc. I've always thought that ladybugs definitely got the sweet end of the deal in the bug/insect world. Beautiful, colorful little creatures who are actually well-liked by human kind! Spiders on the other hand, they don't have it so good.

So oddly enough, our new condo seems to have a ladybug infestation! Its not a serious problem or anything, don't get me wrong. We don't have the little red-and-black hard bodied critters flying around in swarms or anything, but at least 2-3 times per week I see a ladybug on our wall, or catch the cats playing with a dead ladybug shell in the bedroom. On that note, the other day I saw Misty sitting in our bedroom windowsill playing with what appeared to be a little black dot. After further investigation, I noticed that it was a cute little ladybug all tucked up into its shell trying to shield itself, like a defenseless turtle backed into its impenetrable hiding space. Very cute indeed, and as much as I didn't want to steal away Misty's new found toy, I just had to save the little critter and let him go free on our balcony. I imagine the ladybugs of our neighborhood are just doing their best to find a safe, dry, protected sanctuary from the cold wet weather we've been having this week. And I can't blame them. But spiders on the other hand, they can keep looking for another home that is NOT mine.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

While I do have some silly superstitions (such as knocking on wood when making certain risky statements), I am not afraid of Friday the 13th. To me, its just like any other day. And in some circles and cultures I'm associated with, 13 is actually a LUCKY number!

But some people, especially Paraskevidekatriaphobics — are afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. I imagine those individuals are the ones huddles in bed this morning, hiding from the world and anxiously waiting for this day to end.

But for me, I'm just glad its Friday....regardless of the date. : )

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Year of the Ox for a Sheep like me....

Apparently, according to Chinese Astrology, 2009 will be a challenging year for me. And already has been! I'm not a huge follower of astrology, but at the same time I am very intrigued by it and will never discount something without proof otherwise. My tattoo artist Amy and I were talking about Chinese New Year the other day and she mentioned that The Year of the Ox will be an emotional and challenging year for many people, and its a year that should be characterized by patience, humility, traditions and core values - i.e. focusing on the basics and laying low. I decided to research my horoscope (I'm a sheep) for the Year of the Ox. And this is what I found.....hmmm..

2009 Chinese Zodiac for people born in Sheep years: 1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003.

If you were born in the year of the SHEEP:
The Ox is the direct opposite of the sheep, therefore expect challenges in all areas this year. Keep a low profile.

Sheep people had a better luck than most of people in 2008, year of Rat. All career, money, love and health had good news to them last year. However, the year of Cow will be different. This is because Cow and Sheep have fighting relationship, which could bring things turbulent. Sheep people need to pay attention at work, at home or traveling to avoid argument, lawsuit, blooding, accident or money loss. In general, they have to spend lots of effort to overcome many hardship in 2009.

Career: Since the fighting relationship between Sheep and Cow, Sheep people shouldn't have great career performance in 2009. There is no Lucky Star appearing, but many Unlucky Stars coming to career area in year of 2009. This is very unfavorable to your job position. Your job duty will be heavier. The difficulty level of the task will be higher. The schedule of the project will be tighter. Unexpected obstacles will come to you. The progress of the plan will be slowing down. You will be losing trust from your boss. Also, you will involve the issue on company personnel coordination. Then, you cannot concentrate on your daily business. Therefore, you don't have the chance and time to show off your job ability. If the company has financial trouble, then you have to find a way to save your position.

Money: Career is always the major factor to determine the money luck. If your career luck is poor, then you shouldn't expect any extra income from your job. There is a Broken Star in the money area. That means it's hard to accumulate the wealth in this year. You might lose money since gambling, wrong business deal, risky investment or accident. Whatever you earn, you will spend it at the end and you won't have any extra savings. Therefore, you need to think about balancing the budget before spending money in 2009.

Love: Neither a Love Star nor an Unlucky Star is coming in love area this year. Therefore the love fortune for Sheep people is fair this year. Your partner will complaint about your attitude on your love relationship because of your constantly absence of mind. Maybe the pressure from your job, you don't have good temper like before and lose your passion in love. In order to keep your love relationship, you need to pay attention on your words and deeds.

Health: The fighting relationship between Sheep and Cow always brings something to trouble people. Too much worry could bring people illness. If you are senior, then you have to watch for your health this year. Whenever feeling uncomfortable, you need to visit the doctor and don't let a tiny illness become a serious disease. If you are a young Sheep people, you need to make sure you have good sleeping quality. No enough sleep at night lets you lose energy during daytime, impact your working efficiency and then affect your health and your job.

Fortune: Because your career luck and money luck are unstable in 2009. You have better to keep your profile low. You need to bear the challenge and endure the trouble, stick on your position and must avoid changing your job. If possible, you also have better not to travel to long distance, not to attend funeral, not to visit the sick people, not do home improvement or redecoration. Your health should be fair. If you have a long term disease, as long as you pay attention on it, you can keep the same health. In general, Sheep people must not show off themselves and don't try to be a hero in 2009. They should only focus on their job responsibilities, then they will have a safe and peaceful year of Cow.

Chinese Horoscope

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our crazy cat....

Our new kitty Misty is kinda crazy! We're guessing that she's no more than one year old (so still very much a kitten at heart), and she definitely picked up some of that wild, ferrel spirit during her stint of living on the streets! One of the funniest things she loves to do is chase shadows! The way the track lighting in our kitchen casts shadows on our entryway wall creates the ultimate playground for Misty! I love her spunky spirit and her independent "attack cat" vibe. And actually, she sort of remind me of this dancing Techno Cat....can you see the resemblance!? hehe

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our neighbors...

One of the reasons David and I love our new home so much is because it is SO QUIET, secluded, peaceful, and serene in our condo complex at the end of Shorepoint Court in Alameda. As much as I loved our old apartment right on the beach, it was very LOUD from all the street noise and all the rowdy kids that lived in our complex, and due to the fact that our we were in the middle floor of a 3 story building with paper-thin walls. In our new complex, I honestly think we are some of the youngest residents that live here. I rarely see any of our neighbors (which is actually kinda strange...), and the ones I have seen are mostly elderly people and older couples.

We also have some cute little neighbors that have taken up residence in our complex pool! This adorable duck couple loves to hang out in the grassy area near the pool, and even go for an occasional dip. Too cute. I can't wait until summer comes and we can take advantage of this awesome pool.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday morning walk on Alameda beach

I love my home in Alameda. I love living in what feels like a peaceful corner of the world that is all mine. It is so comforting and rejuvenating to call this place my home. David and I decided to take an early morning walk on the beach nice, so glad we did. : )

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Friday from the Crazy cat Lady!

LOL my friend Torrey found this figurine online and just had to share it with me when she first heard we had 6 cats in our home, lol. We only have 4 now, so does that still qualify me as a Crazy Cat Lady? I don't think so....but its your call. : )

Anyhow, Happy Friday everyone. This week was actually pretty quick and productive, but I am always glad when Friday finally arrives! Happy weekend to all of you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Lucky Day!

I wish everyone a happy, positive, luck-filled day.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nonprofit Career Fair today!

Today I'll be up on campus helping to manage our annual Nonprofit & Public Service Career Fair at UC Berkeley. It should be a fun and productive day, and hopefully a successful and prosperous day for our students and alumni seeking nonprofit jobs and internships. Especially in this tough economy, it is becoming more and more crucial for job-seekers to network and make in-person connections in order to land a job. We have over 50 employers attending representing a wide range of organizations from government agencies, to community based organizations, to large non-profits, to education and health care orgs.