Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Run, Walk, Crawl

Finally the day is here. All those training under the hot sun and cold morning will pay off. It's do or die. That's what I thought when me and hubby were walking towards the crowd at Embarcadero San Francisco on Sunday morning July 26. I heard a girl told her friend that she is anxious. Yeah..I was too. I couldn't sleep whole night. By the time my eyes got some rest, hubby woke me up because it's time for us to leave.

I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day. Perfect marathon weather. Morning temperature of 55 and high of 68. We missed the 5:45 wave and finally started with the 6:15 wave. I started slowly not wanting to aggravate my healing knees. Two weeks ago I discovered that my left knee started to bother me. It turned out to be runner's knee which is pretty common injury. I stopped training completely and thought I wouldn't be able to make it to my first marathon at all.

We started from Embarcadero, going along the bay all the way to Golden Gate Bridge. The familiar route that we usually see from inside our car. When we reached the GG Bridge, fog was still very thick. Two girls stopped to pose in the middle of the bridge to have pictures taken. Runners had to run around them. Seriously it was too foggy to even know that it was GG Bridge.

By the time we came to Lincoln Blvd with the longest and steep inclination, most of runners were tired. Some chose to walk up. I ran most of it but walked towards the top. It was almost 10 mile into the run. Water station was positioned on the top. Coming down the hill was very steep too. That's when I first felt my knee pain coming back to me, haunting like a nightmare. I turned my back to it and walking backwards.

That was the beginning of a series of up and down hills before we finally crossed Fulton St to go into the Golden Gate Park. We came to the split for the half marathon. Bah..that only means that we still have 13.1 mile more to go ! By mile 15 I couldn't run anymore and decided to walk instead. Stopped by to pick up a tylenol and got some roll on for my knee. Didn't really help much. I saw a woman that stopped and sprayed her calf every 5 minutes. I guess I wasn't the only one with pain.

Just before we came out the park, the sun has become bright enough to call for sunglasses. I thought we would never have to wear them that day.

I remember being so happy to see a sign coming that turned out to be the mile 21 sign. That was only 5 hours into the run. I thought to myself I could actually get it done in 6 hours. Hubby was encouraging too. Little did we know, only half mile into that, my knee pain got worse. My body tensed each time I lift up my left leg. The whole time I was being so positive thinking that even if I couldn't run I could still walk. That didn't work. I was faced with reality that I couldn't even walk without pain. I felt so defeated that I couldn't help crying. I had my sunglasses on so it didn't draw any attention. Hubby tried to console me. Finally I stopped crying and started walking backwards. It's painless walking backwards. I tried that before so I knew but it's not easy and it's very slow. So that idea only worked for about 2 blocks. I tried going forward again but hit with the pain once more. Then I figured out that it hurts only if I bend my knee. So I started walking with straight knee. Not easy but doable.

By then the road was starting to be opened, we had to move the side walk. Runners were all gone. We were the only one in the warehouse area. I felt lonely.

Finally we reached the mile 25 sign. I stopped to pose for it. There were still photographers near the AT&T park waiting for runners/walkers. I didn't wave to them like I did earlier. I was more into reaching the finish line. I was worry that the finish line won't be there anymore. It was way more than 6 hours by then. I wanted my medal badly.

When I saw the sign welcoming runners back showing the splitting between half/full marathon then I was convinced that there were people waiting for us at the finish line. I got back on the road because that portion of the road was still closed. Tried to look like I was running towards the finish line even though my knee was killing me. I was limping but I had a huge smile on my face. An elderly couple cheered me and I waved to them. I vaguely saw hubby jumped out and ran towards the finish line to get ready to take my picture. There were commentators waiting there. Cheering and smiling welcoming me back. It felt so good. I ran towards to finish line feeling like a winner eventhough the 'FINISH' sign was taken down already.

After collecting my medal and had some photos taken, we went to Acme Bread to get chocolate croissant to celebrate. That's the real purpose of the marathon. :)

"Run if you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must. Just don't give up"
(Dean Karnazes)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sumiya - Santa Clara

Found out about this restaurant last year through I was intrigued to try but disappointed to know that the restaurant was closed down due to fire. A few months ago, one of my coworkers happened to talk about this restaurant being opened at a different location. Ha..ha..I set a date to give it a try.

Restaurant is located at a strip mall across from Santa Clara Library. Plenty of parking. The restaurant itself isn't that big though so reservation is advised. We reached there around 7 pm. No reservation. Restaurant seemed to be in full swing. I like the dimmed light setting that gave a cozy feeling. We were told that there was a table available only until 8:30. That should be fine, I didn't think we would be eating for like 1.5 hours.

Basically they serve yakitori which is the Japanese style charcoal grill food. They grill anything put on skewer, common ones like chicken breast or beef to the not so common like beef tongue and pork belly. In Japan it is eaten with sake or beer, though like us we enjoyed them as well with hot tea.

I knew what I wanted to order since I've already studied the menu ahead of time. :) Yet once we submitted our order, the guy told us that we probably needed more and we should order now before it got busy and it would take longer. We complied and added a few more items to our order when the soup came.
All in all, grilled food couldn't go wrong. We tried hard not to think that we could do something like this at home. Some of the item that we ordered was really simple - just chicken, green onion and salt. But it tasted very good. I'll try to copy the style next time at home and see what they turn out like. :)
Items that we ordered :
- Tori soup (chicken soup with chicken meatballs - very homely taste)
- Yakitori don (grilled chicken on a bowl of rice with sauce, green onion,seaweed)
- Negima (grilled thigh chicken and green onion with salt)
- Tsukune (grilled chicken meatballs with sauce)
- Sasami (grilled chicken breast with citrus sauce and with wasabi sauce)
- Ika (grilled monterey squid) - tender and juicy
- Enoki bacon - cute idea but a bit too salty for our taste
- Sunagimo (grilled chicken gizzard with garlic) - I love gizzard so it was goood
- Kimo (chicken liver)
- Marinated tuna - a bit over marinated and over cooked for our taste
- Scallop with wasabi - sweet and kick of wasabi
- Crispy chicken skin with octopus salsa. Crispy chicken skin served as chips with raw octopus salsa with hint of wasabi. Extraordinary.
- Butabara (pork belly meat - taste like the Hongkong style sauyuk (BBQ pork). Filled with crispiness and guilt. :)
- Kalbi (kobe style beef) with radish

2634 Homestead Rd Santa Clara, CA 95051 (408) 973-0604

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cuisinart .... cuisinart

Haven't had coffee for a few days now. Our coffee machine that we bought from a year ago just decided that it wanted out. It wasn't quite a big surprise for me. The last few weeks it had already showed sign of fatigue and would just stop working for no reason. After googling for the antidote I found out several other people who experienced the same situation. Thank God for Google I was able to revive my coffee machine. But apparently it was a temporary situation and it gave up finally.

I was saddened by the sudden loss but more angered by the maker. I trusted the parents, Cuisinart. They are well-known brand, not just some weird brands like West Wing or Top Kitchen that you never heard of but yet you bought it due to the price. In fact I had a food processor of the same brand that I've been using for almost ten years now.

I went back to Google again. Looking yet for another solution. A few people suggested calling manufacture and asked for repair under warranty. I decided to give it a try, after all the warranty was for three years.

The customer service rep told me that it's going to cost $10 to ship a new unit and ship my old one back to them. Having done my homework (read your manual book before hand !!!) I knew that for CA residents there should NOT be any fee.

BUT the CS rep told me that they were currently out of the same style. I wonder WHY... She gave me two different styles. I wasn't ready to make decision right there and then so I asked to call back.

From reviews on Amazon (I just love those reviews) I was enlightened on what kind of evil that was facing me in the form of the coffee maker. One model was reviewed as caught on fire while plugged in ! The other was reviewed as leaking coffee. And believe me I did read through tons of reviews. If ten people said the same thing I wouldn't even try to challenge their reviews. So that put me in a tough position. Leaking coffee maker or smoking coffee maker ?? I guess I rather risk the chance of mopping leaking coffee everyday than burn down my kitchen.

So ten days later I received my replacement coffee maker. So far it's been working fine (knock on wood).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Funny Craigslist Ad


What am I doing wrong?
Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York . I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:
- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms
- What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings
- Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?
- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper eastside so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?
- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investmentbanker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?
- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honestway. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up frontabout it. I wouldn't be searching for these kindof guys if I wasn't able to match them - inlooks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament.

Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits yourbill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it. Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a cr@ppy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So,I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful"as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way.Classic "pump and dump."

I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Loving Hut - Oakridge Mall San Jose

We saw this little stall in the mall about a few weeks ago. I think it replaced a take out Asian restaurant similar to Mr. Chow. When we passed by we saw a family ordering noodle soup so we decided that we got to give it a try at least once.

There were a few tables and chairs set up for customers who want to eat-in. Well, it's inside the mall so I guess pretty much majority would do eat-in. The wall next to cashier where we order the food had pictures of the menu which helped a lot in deciding. We ordered Loving Hut Pho, Spicy Noodle Royal and Summer Roll. I didn't know until I started ordering that Loving Hut is actually a vegan restaurant. But I decided to stick with it anyway.

Summer roll came out pretty quick. Instead of the usual bbq pork slice and prawn, we were treated with jicama, tofu and carrot. Jicama and carrot were cooked in some sort of sweet sauce before wrapped. Rolls were served with typical sweet peanut sauce like the Vietnamese spring roll. Rolls could do without the dipping sauce because it already has taste of its own but I liked to dip it anyway.

Both bowls of noodle came with basil in the bowls and a smaller saucer with tiny wedge of lime and slices of serrano chili. The pho had regular fare like bean sprout (cooked) and rice noodle. Because it's vegan so no beef, instead slices of tofu, mushroom and tofu skin that supposedly replaced the meat. The tofu skin actually tasted good and the slightly chewy consistency made it taste like meat. The broth was good with a little bit oil on top which I don't know how it came about since there's no chicken involved in making it. But nevertheless, the broth was good and the soup was fulfilling.
Unfortunately I couldn't say the same for the spicy noodle royal. The color was soo nice and made it looked spicy. But the taste just wasn't there. It was bland. I put in sriracha sauce and hubby put in more but it was just bland. We could totally used more salt in it. I refrained myself from asking for salt. The noodle they used for this noodle soup was round (rice?) noodle, though hubby thought it was spaghetti.

They did get quite a few customers when we were there. A girl from another table actually ate in and did a take out as well. All in all the experience was not bad. Though I would say I am a meat person so I might not go back.

One thing that I think they should be able to improve on was to put another set of sriracha/hoisin sauce combo on their tray. I picked up our bowls of noodle and asked for the chili sauce. The girl behind the counter pointed me to a small area where they kept sugar, tooth pick, hot taco sauce, mustard, ketchup but no chili sauce. When she saw that the chili sauce wasn't there, she pointed to another customer and said oh, they have it. Hmm..okay, so I went to the that table and took the chili sauce from them. I guess it is not hard to have like two sets of those just to make it easier for the customers.

They do have quite a varieties of menu. From Asian noodles to burger, charsiu and spaghetti bolognese. They also have cake and other dessert.

Loving Hut
925 Blossom Hill Road Oakridge Mall, Ste 1078 San Jose, CA 95123
(408) 229-2795

Friday, July 10, 2009

Smoke Screen

Author : Sandra Brown

What do you do when you woke up in the morning and found a dead person sleeping next to you ? That's what happened to Britt Shelley, a Charleston reporter. The person happened to be a local policeman that was considered a hero. To make it worse, Britt didn't remember how she got there or what they did before she woke up naked.

First she assumed Jay Burgess, the policeman was just happened to die next to her since he confessed to her that he is dying of cancer. Further police investigation found out that Jay was actually murdered. Having been found next to him made Britt Shelley a suspect. Police didn't believe her, nobody did, but one person. Only Raley Gannon believed that Britt was telling the truth. The problem was Raley was outcasted years ago due to Britt's reporting of his incident and he didn't easily forgive and forget. Did Raley find Britt to revenge ?

I like this book. The story line moved easily. I got involved in trying to solve the mystery myself. A few part made me think that the author let out too obvious clues. Or I thought those were clues. I was pretty sure I got the suspect and it got twisted to a totally different ending. Very interesting and worth reading. I will try to look for other books by Sandra Brown.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hunting for running shorts

Being a newbie in the running world, I only managed to have one running shorts so far. Yeah, I have been running for a few years now, but I never thought of having a 'real' running shorts. My shorts all this time was more like regular cotton shorts.

When I turned serious a few months ago, I decided to go get ones. My first ones was from Target. Nothing fancy, but worked very well. It's basic shorts with white strips on both sides. I wanted ones like my hubby. He had a few from Nike and New Balance with pockets. I figured having a pocket will help me keep my belongings like banana on my long run. Nah..more like keys and gels to keep me power up.

I know that those shorts could be pricey. That's why I haven't thought of having ones yet. The Target ones didn't count because they were basic. Nike ones could run from $25-$35. So I started from discount shops like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. :)

Getting closer to the M(arathon) Day, I felt pressured to get ones at full price. No more fooling around, I took hubby to a local sports store. There were like ten thousand options available. Even Nike alone offered like ten different running shorts. My first round, I took a pair of Nike and two pairs of Aspire. The last brand I actually never heard of before but the price were more affordable, running between $17-$25. Some were on sale due to Independence Day so they were around $12-$20.

I liked one of the Aspires, but they were too basic. They came with pocket but no style at all. Not even a strip on the side. :( The other pair of Aspire were not bad but the inside under garment shaped like boyshorts instead of bikini. I didn't quite like the feel. The Nike ones make my thighs look 'strong'. I learned something new, the style that flattered me and the ones that don't.

We went like that for the next half hour. I tried ten pairs of shorts. The last ones were the most expensive from Under Armour, cost about $35. It's way above my budget. I like the style but not the price.

Feeling defeated I was getting ready to leave. Still not quite happy with the result, I circled the Nike section once more. I pointed the mannequin and told my hubby I haven't tried those shorts. He said yeah you did. I said no, see this cut here, I pointed to the bottom of the shorts. This is the style that looks good on me. I should try these.
So yeah..I finally got my shorts. Yiipee.

Note: I wasn't promoting Nike products nor did I get paid to write this. :)