Category Archives: photography

Thanksgiving chicken

Lesson 2: Roasting a chicken requires you to truss.  And trust.

To kick off our first holiday season in our new home, J & I hosted a “Pre-Thanksgiving Day” dinner with some friends.  I wiped off the dust collecting on my Martha Stewart ‘Cooking School’ book (I could have sworn Martha had a disapproving glint in her fixed smile on the cover).

With the added pressure of cooking for about 10 people, I jumped forward to Chapter 3.1 on making a “Perfect Roast Chicken.”

Remove giblets and liver from cavity.  Gross. Rinse chicken thoroughly inside and out.  I felt like I was oddly rinsing a headless 4 lb baby.  It took major restraint not to squeal aloud in disgust.

Trader Joe's free range chicken... now trapped in the pan

Once the chicken was patted dry, I stuffed their ‘cavity’ (the large gaping hole) with rosemary sprigs, quartered lemons, and chunks of garlic.  Simple enough.  With some assistance from a friend (my impromptu sous chef), I slathered on melted butter and olive oil on the chicken.  Think poultry day spa rub.  Salt and pepper with abundance.  I even tried to be fancy and stuff some extra rosemary herbs under the skin.

Upon consulting with Martha, she then said it was time to ‘truss the chicken.’  What the hell did that mean?

Trussed Chickens

After many unsuccessful attempts to ‘truss’ (tie up) the chicken legs, I finally got the string to hold.  It didn’t help that my string wasn’t long enough.  I then rested the chicken rack atop a bed of a potato medley, chopped onions, and carrots.  Pop them in the 450 degree oven and about an hour later…

Thanksgiving Roasted Chicken

One of my finest culinary achievements thus far!  Thank you to Martha and the holiday season for inspiring me to return to the kitchen.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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26

Turning another year older has only fueled my need to continue exploring, challenging myself, seeking creative outlets, and devouring good food.  I see each year as another opportunity to outdo the previous year.  My 20s, thus far, haven’t let me down.  My co-workers and I at work have decided that the older you get, you don’t just celebrate “birthdays” anymore.  Whereas, they become “birthmonths” – an extended period of celebration, indulgence, and late nights.  I want to take that idea and turn it into an entire year of good times!  In addition to the “Triple Whammy” party, a countless number of birthday lunches & dinners, here are some other ways I welcomed my 26th year.
*a morning run on my birthday – my first 5 miles!
*photo taken from Google images
*A day of photography in the City
Another SF day

Another SF day

North Beach, SF - one of my favorite SF dining neighborhoods

North Beach, SF - one of my favorite SF dining neighborhoods

SF landmark

SF landmark

*A food festival day

Eat Real festival, Oakland

Eat Real festival, Oakland

Creative popsicles, Eat Real

Creative popsicles, Eat Real

Sexy Soup Cart, tomato carrot miso - Eat Real

Sexy Soup Cart, tomato carrot miso - Eat Real

Jim 'N Nick's BBQ cart, Eat Real

Jim 'N Nick's BBQ cart, Eat Real

Best $4 spent at Eat Real, Jim 'N Nick's spicy hot link with BBQ & pimiento cheese dip

Best $4 spent at Eat Real, Jim 'N Nick's spicy hot link with BBQ & pimiento cheese dip

* A day of wishful thinking

test drive fantasy - check.

test drive fantasy - check.

*An evening of music under the stars

John Legend at the Greek Theatre, Berkeley

John Legend at the Greek Theatre, Berkeley

And this is just the beginning.  Cheers to another year of the exciting unknown.

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projects & loose ends

Status Update:  Officially moved in!  Still engaged.  Just got cable and internet.  Starting to feel like home…

Mood: Exhausted, but excited.  Starting a new life while still trying to reconcile with your old one is not an easy task.

New Project Line- Up: Now that furlough days are hitting the CSU system (furloughs = a funny sounding and looking word = forced unpaid days off), I’ll have some extra time on my hands to devote to other activities.  In no particular order:

1) I want to start doing a better job of documenting the engagement/wedding process; perhaps even submit some queries for freelance articles again.

2) I took a bookbinding class recently at Paper Source with a friend and was surprised at how simple it was to create a book!  Definitely a hobby worth continuing. No need to ever buy my own journals or albums again!

3) Photoshop. Photoshop.  Photoshop.

***

Because I promised myself I’d finish it, here’s a rough outline of the last bit of our Hawai’i trip.  I’m terrible at post-photo blogging and have decided to bring along a notebook on future travels to record details.

Hawai’i Day 3 & 4 Mash-Up:

North Shore and Waikiki

Hale'iwa Joe's

Hale'iwa Joe's

Matsumoto's Famous Shave Ice

Matsumoto's Famous Shave Ice

Driving through Pineapple Country

Driving through Pineapple County, Hwy 99

Hotel Balcony View

Hotel Balcony View

Diamond Head

Diamond Head

hawaii 158

Flying back home engaged…  happy and also contemplative about the thought of coming back to “reality.”

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Day 2

It’s been hard playing catch-up this past month!  I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of July!  If June was the month of “Engagement”, then July is the month of “Home Preparation.”  This includes the last few weeks of painting, re-painting (apparently, colors on tiny swatches aren’t what you expect on a full out wall), and furniture arrival!  J and I joke that we’ve been working so hard to “prepare” for the house, we wonder when it will ever really feel like it’s ours?  Maybe when we actually MOVE IN.  Thus, phase two of July: PACKING.  Ugh.

Enjoy Day 2 of Hawai’i, which sadly feels like a distant memory already.

**

Day 2. June 26, 2009 (Friday)

Southeast & Windward Oahu

Spam & Banana Pancakes

Spam & Banana Pancakes

* Eggs N Things – Woke up and had THIS for brunch.  Now I get what Jack Johnson dedicates a whole song to… He forgot to mention the coconut syrup.  Yummm.

Haunauma Bay Natural Preserve aka Snorkeling Capital

Haunauma Bay Natural Preserve aka Snorkeling Capital

* Haunauma Bay – Just BEAUTIFUL.  It took me awhile to get used to swimming with snorkeling gear.  The sound of me breathing just conjured up images of Darth Vadar – underwater.  But it was tres romantic swimming underwater with J beside me.  We even came up with an impromptu “sign language” for: ” Look!  A fish!” or “Watch out for the coral!” or “Alright, suffocating now.  Must have air.”

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*Buzz’s Diner – Grub after snorkeling.

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*Lanikai Beach – aka. The Millionaire’s Backyard.  Check this place out before the 3 feet of sand disappear.

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* Fireworks at Waikiki – J was a bit grumpy that I made him stay out to watch the fireworks show, especially after a long day of snorkeling and driving.  But we were all smiles once we saw the spectacular display.  Disneyland definitely has some competition.

* E’lua – means “two” in Hawaiian.  Had dinner here since the restaurant prior had closed (argh.  Outdated Lonely Planet guide).  Live jazz with an all Asian & Pacific Islander band!  Only in Hawai’i…

Mai Tai

Mai Tai

* Almost Mai Tai Bar – after a 15 minute search at the Ala Moana Center to find the Mai Tai Bar, we discover a crammed open air bar, loud live band, and a stubborn line.  We opt for Islands and sit out on their patio area to enjoy the Mai Tai’s music from a close distance.

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the proposal

It’s been a flurry of activity, excitement, tension, and melodrama the moment I landed back on the mainland.  Largely for two major reasons: I was engaged & I also became a homeowner.  All in the time span of 2 weeks.  It was all too easy to get caught up in the craziness of this turn of expected, yet still overwhelmingly exhausting, events.  Thus, my delay in the desire to properly document my travels and photos.  I figure as long as I post them before I reach the one month mark, it’ll be somewhat fresh in my memory.

When I came back, the next question I received after “SOOO… Are you ENGAGED?”  (Yes) would be “How was Hawai’i?”  I wrestled for the right words to answer such a question.  There’s too much to say about this place that can’t be justified by a gushing “beautiful”, “amazing”, “sooo fun”, or “great!”

I will say:  I completely understand why it is a place people enjoy visiting again and again.

I’ve put together a photo blog 3-part series on Hawai’i.  And be aware that there will absolutely be no mention of running/jogging/working out during this trip because…it didn’t happen.  But that’s a whole separate entry.  Aloha!

Day 1. June 25, 2009 (Thursday).

Honolulu, Oahu

Aerial View of Oahu

Aerial View of Oahu

My first glimpse of Oahu from Hawaiian Airlines.  Seeing all of the green and blue already made me feel like I was entering paradise.

*After a 6 hour flight and then checking into the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel, J & I were hungry.  Hawaii is known for its sporadic light showers, so we ducked into Hatsuhana Restaurant to avoid the drops and for a quick bento box lunch.

*We head over to the Manoa Falls Trail, in the Upper Manoa Valley.  The drive itself is quite elevated and the trail took us deep into the lush green rainforest.  It was a 1.5 mile hike through a worn path that often was muddy, rocky, and slightly steep.  When I read about the trail in my Lonely Planet guide, it was labeled “relatively easy.”  I thought perhaps Hawaiians must be in better shape than Californians as I sweated my way across rocks, lunged up stones and thick tree roots, and nearly slipped more than twice.

Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls Trail

For some time, it felt like J and I were the only two people on the hike.  The only sounds we heard were birds chirping, the wind rustling the tree branches, and the distant sound of water rushing.  I felt like I stepped onto the set of Jurassic Park and imagined a velociraptor stealthily following us in the thick bushes.  We pass by a sign that says:  Warning.  Beware of flash flood. “Do you think we’re almost there yet?” I ask J, in a near panic that we won’t make it back by nightfall.

After woefully mourning the muddiness of my white Nikes, I see a streambed of water and hear the increasing sound of an approaching waterfall.  We scramble to the top lookout point and gasp at the sight of the beautiful 150 foot waterfall drop.  J smiles and I’m smiling, too, as we hug each other – a silent appreciation of such a moment.

There’s no one there, but us, to bask in the beauty of the Manoa Waterfall.  J then nervously drops down to one knee, pulls out a red heart shaped box out of his pocket.  “Pauline…”  he says.

I don’t let him finish his sentence because I’m screaming in pure surprise, joy, and semi-confusion.  He repeats my name again.  Three times.  I’m still screaming “Oh my god! Oh my god!  Is this really happening?”

“Will you marry me?”

The 1.5 mile hike back down the Manoa Falls Trail was damned quicker and easier, given my high spirits and a brand new sparkling diamond on my finger.  I’m grinning the whole way down.

“Aren’t you just EXCITED?” I gleefully ask J, as I bound and skip from rock to rock.

“Not at the moment.  I just want to make sure you get down this trail SAFELY,” J says with a slight grimace as he quickly follows me in my frenzied state.

Engaged at Manoa Falls

Engaged at Manoa Falls

*We celebrate our engagement at Bali by the Sea for dinner, one of the Hilton’s fancy restaurants.  After enjoying a filling meal, where we chatter nonstop about the Manoa Falls hike, we take a moonlit stroll down the beach.  The entire day was a perfect way to start off an already memorable vacation.

Evening at the Hilton beach side

Evening at the Hilton beach side

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Metro

I submitted two photos for this month’s Metro Photography Exhibit in downtown San Jose, where they will display works by local photographers. I figured, why not? For the theme “I Live Here” I chose the following images.

The Beach

My cousin Adam & the shores of Pajaro Dunes

My cousin Adam & the shores of Pajaro Dunes

Friendship

two of my favorite booties

two of my favorite booties

Unfortunately, I won’t be in town to attend my own exhibit! If you’ll be in downtown this Friday, I encourage South Bay folks to check out the Friday Night’s Art Walk

I plan on more photogra

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the PNW

If I had to sum up my entire trip to Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland, it would be this:

I love being in a job that lets me travel as part of my professional development (NASPA conference). I feel silly holding an umbrella when it snows. Food tastes fresher by the water, real or imagined. Urban cities near the water and natural landscapes feel more relaxed and socially aware – likely real, not imagined. Oysters, wine, and coffee have never been consumed as much together as it did in one week of my life. Random road trips with friends are the best (even when you’re stuck for 2 hours at the Canadian border patrol). Running into celebrities at the airport are a nice way to end a vacation.

I am irritated that my vodpod account is not working and that Google Photos & WordPress have not yet found a way to compromise so that slideshows can be embedded! You all will just have to make do with the burden of linking to another page…

Pacific Northwest Tour blog pix

Cheers!

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