Thursday, December 25, 2008

2mm born at 9:58 pm

Scanning Electron microscope photo of a kidney stone crystal

Well, it looks like John has passed his kidney stone at just before 10 this evening. It came late on Christmas day, but I think it was still his best Christmas present ever.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you and yours have a warm and happy holiday, hopefully we'll get to see you very soon. Chalupa's favorite present so far is this little frog we call Mr. Ribets, she's obsessed with him. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A long day for Chalupa

Usually, Chalupa lives the life of Riley. She sleeps all day, gets taken for long walks and usually gets a bite or two of whatever I eat for lunch. But as everyone knows she's on a strict diet to get rid of her almost kidney stone.* So, she's had no bites of apple or carrot or anything, no dingo bones, no chicken treats, nothing. And at the wee hours last night we left her to go to the emergency room. And then we spent most of the day holed up in the hotel trying to recover from the night before....well I was anyway, John was busy running his company from his laptop and cellphone while also trying to pass his own kidney stone. When we finally ventured out of the hotel we headed to John's father and step-mom's house for dinner, where they're huge black greyhound mix loves to lick Chalupa's but. I think this is one definition of hell for little Chalupa, and because Chalupa has been so starved for treats she tried to pick up one of Lucy's bones and Lucy promptly pounced on her. Lucy is easily a 70lb dog, and Chalupa is about 10lbs. It was a scene, with Chalupa screaming bloody murder. It was over in a second, but little Chalups was completely exhausted by the time we took her back to the hotel. So, hopefully the rest of our vacation goes a little more smoothly, here's hoping we've seen the last of emergency rooms and dog fights....for this vacation anyway. (knock on wood.)
*It's now completely proven that not only do pets and their owners look a like, but John and Chalupa actually share all their medical conditions too. Soon, I might have to put John on the special medical quick dissolving food...and no treats for him either, if it's good enough for Chalupa....


There's nothing like going to the emergency room in the middle of one of the coldest nights on record, in fact the only thing that beat it, is getting back to the hotel a little after 4, then sleeping til 8, then getting up and driving to the grocery store to fill a prescription for pain medication. The year I met John was 1997 and I distinctly remember him taking a four day weekend to go back to NYC (we were working at a design studio in Baltimore at the time) for a little vacation. When he got back on the Tuesday after his trip, he had a great story about how his "mini-vacation" turned into a trip to the emergency room. Now, about 11 years later on another "vacation" John again had to get to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Only this time I drove him. He's doing well, he has a kidney stone, but has yet to pass it, he has spells of intense pain, mixed in with a few hours of feeling fine. For the most part the St. Joe's Emergeny Room was uneventful. But, it was amusing to watch some bozo walk in with a Raven's fishing lure stuck to the top of his head. Yes, it was a Raven's fishing lure, and it was embedded to the top of his head. I'd like to hear that story, and actually I tried to listen in, as he was interviewed by the triage nurse, but they must have suspected he needed privacy because they quickly shut the door when he started talking. I guess the world will never know....maybe he had a run in with a fan from Dallas.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Our friend Christine was kind enough to share a $200 gift certificate she got from a vendor to this restaurant called wd-50. Not to be confused with wd-40, the can of oil. The place was tiny, but beautiful and funky, they had one page for appetizers and entrees, another for desserts and coffee, then the rest of the hefty menu was devoted to wine and alcohol. The place was a scene, instead of bread we got these irresistible flat sesame bread, more akin to very thin crackers. They were surprisingly addictive. Our entrees were sparse but well designed, and good flavors. And our desserts were again very managed, tiny portions arranged in interesting ways on the plate. Although Christine's dessert had fig pudding plops that looked like plops....of something. We were happy to find when we got our bill we were about $18 short of the total, so we all agreed the best course of action would be to order another dessert. This time the cheesecake, which was delish, again it was little bits of cheesecake but covered in a kind of gelatin. They described each dish to us in great culinary detail, but to us it was like little pockets of marshmallow with cheesecake in the middle...yumm. So, would we go here again?? Maybe...if we someone gave us a gift always taste better when it's free. :) btw the waitress did have a sense of humor, but didn't laugh when she said the balance left on the gift certificate was $2.80 and I asked if we could get $2.80 worth of the wine. hee.

Up early

It's been a long time since my lazy ass has been up before 7, but last Thursday I had to catch a train at 8:03 to Boston for a lunch meeting. And I set my alarm for 6:45am, the only thing that kept my going was the thought of a nice long train ride, I just kept telling myself I could sleep on the train. Which, I did, happily. Here's a pic or two from the early morning train leaving Penn station.

and now pics of Chalupa

Monday, December 15, 2008

China + Puerto Rico = Philippines

After feasting on Dimsum Sunday morning with Tim, you'd think we would take it easy for the rest of the'd think so, but you'd be wrong. After a fun hour of ice skating (and I use the term ice 'skating' loosely) at Wollman Rink in Central Park, John, and K and P all walked over to a fairly new Puerto Rican restaurant in our neighborhood called Sofrito. (Be warned, they charge $10 for sharing a plate, even though our friends ordered a salad and a side dish to go with their're better off not telling them you are going to share). We ordered a pitcher of sangria, and it was so fruity and delicious that none of us realized how spiked with alcohol it least not until we stood up and tried to walk to the restroom. I ordered the Roast Pork with pigeon peas and rice, and I was shocked to see half a pork shoulder on my plate, the entree was priced at $18, and it was gigantic. I could easily feed my whole family with it. I ate a fraction of the perfectly roasted fall off the bone meat that was very similiar to the Filipino dish, Lechon. And now have a tons of roast pork leftovers. Funny how our day started with Dimsum, and ended with traditional Puerto Rican food and both places reminded me of Filipino food. John even accused me and my family of holding out on him with the special Dimsum dessert, I distinctly remember my Lola making the dessert's funny how one taste can bring back a flood of memories.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What do you get when you cross...

hundreds of helium balloons, an 8 piece choir, a continuous loop of the Linda Evans and Joan Collins fight scene from Dynasty projected on all four walls, and a shirtless (hunky) santa? An agency party, of course.


Our friend Tim was visiting us this weekend, so as usual we take him on our food tour of NYC. With the usual stops at Veselka, another great beer bar DBA and our favorite spot for Dim Sum: The Golden Unicorn. Ummmmmm....Dim Sum is a great experience especially with a crowd of people, but we did pretty good with just the three of us. Our favs our the steamed pork bun (remove the paper liner on the bottom before eating), the deep fried bacon wrapped shrimp, the shrimp noodle, the sesame ball dessert. And today we tried another dessert that we LOVED it was a small rice flour ball filled with finely ground peanuts, coconut, sesame seeds and sugar. Delish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

missing money?

Run don't walk, or type as fast as your fingers will carry you to where you can look up your name, and those of your family and friends to see if The Man owes you/them money. I saw this on the news tonight, and tried it and am 100% sure I found that my step-father-in-law is due money by Met life. It's like a lottery that you didn't even know you entered....that is a good lottery...not the kind where they stone you to you read about all those years ago in English class. Enjoy!

Our Amazon/Galapagos trip journal is up

I just uploaded a bunch of pictures and text for our trip journal. It was back in 2007 so I was a little foggy on some of the details, but I'll fill the journals out a little more. But check it out, it was like another world. Both the Amazon and the Galapagos should be on your list of places to visit.

We got a lot of mileage out of our underwater/shock proof/drop proof olympus stylus 770 sw. And we also used John's nice camera: I think it's a Sony, I'll fill this in later.

Favorite websites to order goodies from

In case you are looking for a good place to order stuff for clients, friends, etc. I highly recommend both Dancing Deer and John and Kira's. Dancing Deer has super yummy cookies and brownies, I haven't tried their cakes yet, but I'm sure they are great, and they don't use preservatives and bake it fresh to your order. John and and Kira's has adorable little ladybugs and bees, and they have THE most divine chocolate ganace filled figs then dipped in dark chocolate....omg they are absolutely amazing. And don't forget to search for coupon codes before you place your order, I found one on for the Dancing Deer stuff I bought.

Dancing Deer always gets rave reviews from my clients.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Worst Christmas presents ever

5. Very large ceramic representation of the last supper.
One year my mom decided to buy each of her children (and our spouses) a huge last supper sculpture. I'm sure this was a great deal from Wal-Mart, she love a bargain, and she loves her religion to her it was the perfect present. The thing was huge and heavy, easily 18 inches wide by almost 10 inches tall. I don't know how she bought four of these things by herself. But she happily gave one to each one of us. Props to John for trying to push our last supper ceramic into Geoff and Pat's pile. But Geoff was on to us, he made sure we didn't "forget" to pack it in our car. And we were almost out the door, too.

4. Underwear.
For some reason both my mother-in-law and my step mother-in-law found it appropriate to buy me underwear for Christmas. What's worse was that it was usually little girl underwear, I mean really young underwear, like I was 5. Puppies, kittens, maybe even days of the week. The last straw was when John's little sister (who is 10 years younger then me) got more grown up underwear than I did. She had normal underwear in solid colors, and I was still opening up underwear with little duckies. Then my step-mom-in-law goes for all the bling, the ones where rudolf's nose lights up, and plays music. Again, maybe if I was 5, I'd think this was cool. But even back then, I thought underwear was a weird present...and don't even get me started on the sizes...when you buy underwear for someone and you don't know their size, I think smaller is better, lest you send the message that you think the person has a big ass.

3. Log
This one John gave to his high school girlfriend's little brother. Remember Ren and Stimpy? Remember the fake commercial they had of Log? It's log, it's's big, it's heavy it's wood? Well, it was a little joke between John and the little elementary school kid, but that same kid did not find it funny at Christmas to open the super-hyped present of a real log.

2.Water wings
Again, John out did himself. The same family mentioned above, was treated to a little gift for their new parakeet the year after the log. Only thing was they had to kill their old parakeet because it was having seizures and they couldn't afford the medical care, so they drowned the poor thing. The water wings brought every family member to tears (even her dad).

1. Michael Jackson accessories.
One year a long time ago, my sisters and I opened our presents from an Aunt with my cousin (her son) close by watching. We each got some kind of Michael Jackson accessory, I'm not saying that MJ himself would wear these things, no. I'm saying they were accessories with Michael Jackson essence, or they were inspired by him or at least his clothes. There was a time when MJ ruled the airwaves and he was the coolest, and this was loooooong past that time. But even if it wasn't, a stretchy belt with a glittered white glove buckle was not something any self-respecting fan would wear. Nor would they wear rainbow suspenders with white glittery shoes "doing" the moonwalk. But we thanked our aunt, it was Christmas after all, we tried our best to be gracious. But I guess the looks on our faces gave us away, because my cousin who was the oldest cousin, and always the smart ass; took great pleasure in our pain, he was in hysterics laughing at us with our Micheal Jackson stuff. And he was particularly happy that it was a sincere present from his mom.

Until it was his turn and my mom gave him his present, from our family. We watched, as he carefully opened, what looked like maybe a scarf, but once it was fully opened it was a piece of cloth. Now my other aunt was a seamstress, so it was pretty obvious that my mom hadn't bought him a present at all, and only went to the other room to wrap up some remnant fabric my seamstress aunt had left over. But the look on my cousin's face, mere moments after he was taunting us for getting the worst presents ever...well we took special delight in relishing that look, when my mom proceeded to hold up the fabric and list all the things he could make from it, "you can make a shirt, or a vest..." It was too much, we nearly peed we were laughing so hard. So the worst present ever: remnant fabric. But it's pretty funny when you aren't the recipient.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Which is worse, the fact that Chalupa has a winter coat and gets her dog food heated up before she eats it? or the fact that we walked by a homeless man eating some bread at the park and she tried to beg from him? I already felt guilty just walking past knowing that her coat was probably warmer than his, but then she had to go and try to beg for some of his food. She has no shame. In Chalupa's defense she hates her coats, she really gets sheepish when I make her put them on, and she has never been afraid of the homeless people she sees, in fact she prefers them over most of the kids that try to pet her.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

From a beer lovers paradise to a modern Lebanese Grill

Although for most of the day we managed to veg out in the living room watching old movies and letting John recover from his cold/cough/flu. We actually got out of the apartment early and braved Macy's to catch their early day specials for one or two x-mas presents (hundreds of people crammed in trying to get to escalators was not a pretty sight, we stayed long enough to pay for two quick purchases). We then headed to one of our favorite brunch spots in NYC. Favorite because it's usually empty early on the weekends, and it's got a limited but good menu, and tons of great beer. The Ginger Man is one our favorites for their vast selection of beers and the nice folks that work there. They even let John and I come in an hour an half before they officially opened to just sit at the bar. (Well he sat while I went down to the corner to do more shopping.) I recommend the Victory Storm King on Cask, and the Anchor Old Foghorn Barley wine.

Then for dinner we wandered around our neighborhood hoping to find something close to the pinkberry (yes, it's over rated, but the green tea with the mochi topping is awesome--miranda's suggestion). And we found Naya, what I think may be the the polar opposite of Gingerman. Just take a look at the pictures. I think they had the most beautiful urinal I've ever seen. And the food was really good too. It was a little pricey and we felt like we were eating in Tron, but it was worth it. (Plus it was very close to the pink berry).

Here are the pics, guess which place is which.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Last chance for "Yes, we did" posters

Click here to order a poster before it's too late.

Christmas party

I spent today recovering from John's office Christmas party last night, it was great fun to see everyone and spread some holiday cheer. We missed a few friends that didn't make it (did the Valus get our invite?) but over all it was nice to catch up or meet with friends, clients and co-workers. As usual I didn't get to eat a bite of anything, but had plenty of white wine, John and I stopped off at the Pig n Whistle on 2nd, and I got a Shepard's pie. And this evening I'm going to forego my toughest gym class and stay home and make some home made chicken soup, since John has been fighting off a cough/cold these last few days. Which come to think of it, he probably put a lot of our friends at risk of infection last night. :) But I read on plastered poster outside our building that you can actually spread more germs by shaking hands than by kissing. Good thing, John loves to gives hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

oodles of noodles

Every holiday in Baltimore we have a fun time eating and then dashing off to the next house. And you'd think with so many houses to visit we'd be stuffed like the the Turkey on Thanksgiving day. But each Thanksgiving night (that I can remember) we get to the hotel tired and _hungry_. Usually we eat Thanksgiving dinner around 3pm, then we hang out, then we go to visit John's step dad and grandmom (where we have dessert). And unlike Filipino households, they actually put food away even while people are still there! :) Anyway, this year we stumbled into 7-11 around 10:30 and struck gold, soup in microwavable bowls. We by-passsed the traditional cup of noodles for some more exotic offerings. I got a plain chicken and noodles, and John got another brand and we were going to see which one was better. But since the only fork we had to eat with was Chalupa's dogfood fork, I washed it carefully and we took turns. I think mine was better, since John's "special finishing sauce" turned out to be some kind of oil. Tee hee. He was bragging about the sauce until he realized what it was.