Recently in Friends Category

When we first saw the sour cherry tree at God's Little Acre Nursery (located on Almaden Road in San Jose), I thought the fruit was for birds only.  It was the prettiest dwarf tree laden with branches of tiny bright red cherries -- perfect for eating off of the tree or baking in pies.  The owners of the nursery, Phil and his beautiful wife, Dolores, became our friends and we've enjoyed several trips to their gorgeous place to purchase fruit trees and a Silver Dollar Eucalyptus.  If you purchase six or more trees, Phil will give a 10% discount...of course, Naoki could not resist such a deal! 

The ones you see in this cup were a few of the last cherries, before our guests and bird, Lucky, finished them.  We'll have to wait until next Spring for the new harvest.  I wonder how the cherry blossoms will look.

After weeks of loading and unloading, we're finally finished (for the most part) with our move into this gorgeous old gingerbread/Craftsman/Victorian home on the Northside.  It's been challenging this far along in the pregnancy to deal with relocating even at this short distance.  I'm due in 11 days, which feels unreal.

The house is definitely far from organized, but Naoki did an excellent job of refinishing the old pinewood floors and is in the process of applying Venetian plaster to one of the rooms.  When we first viewed this property, I thought it was beautiful (still do), but not for us.  I pictured us moving to some place...newer and more modern, possibly even a townhouse.  Naoki fell in love with the yard and has since planted 19 fruit trees, or was it 20?  I've lost count.  All I know is that those damn squirrels that I thought were the cutest when we moved in, have eaten the white nectarines on my daughter's tree!  Her papa purchased her a grafted white peach with two different white nectarines tree.  I want to plant it as soon as she's born.

The gorgeous floral arrangement you see in this post is from our newlywed friends, Carla and Andre.  They made our dining room smell amazing!  This was our first of many flowers that have entered this home, but the only one that I managed to photograph. 

Last week Naoki and I had one of the most delicious veggie friendly meals at a wonderful friend and her husband's home in gorgeous Palo Alto.  Their cool condo had been beautifully redone with bamboo flooring and the balcony was extended into a sunroom that added square footage to their 1000 square foot property.  What really brightened up the place was the sunflower yellow wall that held a morning glory painting of a well-known artist's, whose name escapes me at the moment. 

For dinner we had yummy tempura zucchini with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce, and braised portabello mushrooms that were marinated to perfection.  As our main course, we had tofu steaks that had pretty little heaps of mashed potato, crisp greens, and grilled sweet onions.  Served on the side was a garden fresh mix of salad with juicy citrus and crisp pears.  A deep purple, sticky sweet rice was also served.  Everything was absolutely tasty and you could tell cooked with care.

We moved to the sitting area for a cup of light flavored chamomile tea from Korea and special treats prepared by my girlfriend.  More crisp Asian pears and sweet oranges served with tiny whale toothpicks added just the right sweetness, and to make it even more perfect, she prepared a cake that wasn't too sweet and had bits of pistachios that added crunch and a complimenting flavor.  See recipe below...

2 cups of sweetrice cake powder
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
half can of red bean (azuki bean)
1 tsp Baking soda
1tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
just mix all ingredients and bake it at 350 F for 45 minutes.

I hadn't seen my friend in two years, so this get-together was a very special one.  It was our first time meeting her absolutely charming, talented and interesting husband.  It was a blessing to meet a couple that pair together so well.  Both are musically inclined, share a passion for traveling and fine food, as well as seem to be very in love with each other (after being together for 10 years).

~ pictures to follow at

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I did not write the following, but do share the same sentiment and thought it was brilliantly written... enjoy.

The holidays are upon us once again, and once again it is time to be grateful.  With all the negative media these days, I wanted to remind you that many wonderful things are happening despite what you may hear in the news.


A Silver Lining in the Housing Market


     The media always loves to focus on the negative, and it may get you doing so as well-well, don't.  The book and DVD called The Secret show pretty conclusively that whatever you focus on becomes your experience, i.e., whatever your worry about ends up happening. You know me, I always focus on the positive-well, here it goes:


POSITIVE #1:  Since the housing market has slowed down, more people are saving.  More savings provide more funds for banks to loan to homebuyers.


POSITIVE #2:  Since the increase in gas prices, people are driving less, buying more energy-efficient cars, and starting to install more solar features in their  homes-all good for the environment. People also are starting to move to the inner city, great for revitalizing downtown areas and giving families more time to spend at home with one another.


POSITIVE #3:  The fall in the dollar is helping our economy because foreign consumers are buying more of our products, taking more vacations here, and helping our trade imbalance.


POSITIVE #4:  The subprime lenders had sold homes to people who could not afford them anyway.  Now those less-expensive foreclosures are being bought by people who otherwise could not have afforded a home.


POSITIVE #5:   The slowdown in the housing market is confined to those areas that went up too fast, anyway-i.e., Florida; Washington, DC; New York; California; Las Vegas; and Arizona.  Now the locals there once again can afford to buy a home.  


     So savings are up, we are using less gas and moving back to the inner city, more people are concerned about conserving energy, our trade deficit is improving, and more deserving Americans are able to afford a home.  We also live in the best place in the world-what could be better? 


     Be grateful and enjoy your Thanksgiving.   God bless you all.


SOURCE:  "Housing Prices are Down, Oil is Up, and That's Not Really So Bad,"  New York Times, November 14, pp. A1 and A20.


Meet the newest member of the Kim family.  I'll add his stats (dob, weight, name, etc.) once his family has made a formal announcement.  Often newborns are not the cutest, and I'm not sure if it's because this tiny guy is part of one of my nearest and dearest friends, but I am really overwhelmed by how cute he is.


A Reason to Celebrate!


One of my dearest and oldest friends will soon be a mother. To celebrate her lucky golden piggie, we held a celebration with her closest friends and family at the beautiful Ritz Carlton in San Francisco. The food was pretty and delicious, but what really made it special was the impeccable and absolutely wonderful service the staff at the hotel provided. The baby shower was held on the second floor in the Promenade Room. I noticed each of the banquet rooms there had a peep hole in the door that let you see who was inside. One of the staff people noticed I was peering through the wrong side of our opened door and allowed me to take a peek in the other rooms. (None that were occupied...because that would be weird, right >_o )

Birthday Dinner


Last Saturday on the 27th of January, my wonderful and dear friend, Sophie (who has thrown a birthday celebration for me every year that I've known her!) hosted a fabulous dinner with an unending array of dishes presented family style at Buca di Bepo (sp?) in Palo Alto for both Mina and me! Although dessert was to be included, she went out of her way to pick up a cake from one of my favorite bakeries. To make it even better she chose the white vanilla fluff frosting which I adore!! It was like biting into vanilla clouds with a slight hint of coconut... >_< so good!

I actually thought dinner was going to be a simple affair with everyone sitting down to a meal, but it was much more fun with all the different dishes to try, the diverse company and interesting conversations going around the table. I am really blessed to have such truly special people as friends.

Jeanette Lee Hada

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