Recently in Random Stuff Category
Thankfully I am able to stay connected with friends, family, and clients via a combination of email and Facebook. I don't mind that it's considered the new "AOL" or too trendy, I enjoy how easy it is to stay in touch.
We are still in our lovely Craftsman gingerbread home. The market is still a little rocky, but definitely improving. Can't wait to see more summer fruit this year. Loquats have been plentiful. Pluots and peaches are my favorite. Photos to come
I've been thinking how incredibly different life has changed with the baby. I wouldn't have it any other way. It's almost frightening how much I love this tiny human. The funny thing is, before she was born, my dear friend told me that it's important to not neglect the husband when the baby arrived. It's been non-stop taking care of her that there really is no time to pay attention to Naoki or really myself these past several months. Taking a shower uninterrupted is a luxury and I'm thankful when papa is able to take Aislee for a walk while I handle a few household chores. He spends most of his free time caring for the house and garden. What's interesting and a little funny, is that after you have this cute little one with small everything and inquisitive expressions, anything that was remotely cute or appealing in your partner ceases to be...well, cute. Suddenly, the baby has taken control of all that is cute. Not even Lucky, our comedic bird, can compete.
Other observations of life with baby... Buying new clothes, shoes, makeup is no longer a necessity. It has been replaced by buying food, toys (for baby), and diapers. I wear mostly what's comfortable now. Her comfort and well-being is my top priority. So far, I've been blessed with clients who are baby-friendly. She comes with me everywhere -- even to tour properties.
I never thought becoming a mother would incur so many changes. The pressure cooker Naoki purchased is a lifesaver. It makes healthy baby food in minutes! I'll try chubbing Aislee up with avocados, sweet potatos, and bananas. She loves Japanese pumpkin, kabocha, which cooks beautifully in the pressure cooker. I add a little cinnamon sometimes. She seems to enjoy it.
Finding time to eat for myself has been difficult while juggling caring for the baby and working. Making sandwiches enables me to eat and have a free hand while eating. My current addiction is Trader Joe's Garlic Cheddar Sourdough toasted and smothered with avocado on one side and thinly sliced cucumbers and cream cheese. Sometimes I'll slather raspberry jam and a savory speadable cheese on the same bread which is super good as well.
Ok, time for us to move to the Sun Room to sleep. This is where we now have our bedroom. The Star Room is our library/office, the Moon Room is also an office (that's in serious need of cleaning). I work in the Fire Room most of the time and the Sky Room (aka the dining room is used for gatherings. We'll be hosting Aislee's first birthday in July and hope to see some of you here at our gingerbread house.
I've really come to love this house with it's beautifully painted rooms. Naoki finished the Venetian plaster in the sun room and recently the star room. He did a wonderful job and they look wonderful and bring a warmer feeling to the house.
Life has been busy with family and business. We've been blessed in both areas. Naoki's mother and sister came for a brief nine day stay. They really enjoyed all the tasty fruit (navel oranges, pummelos, fuji apples, and oro blancos) that are in season from the farmers market in Campbell. I made a garlicky spinach pasta with fresh Meyer lemons from our yard one night. It came out very well, though I would have liked it to be spicier...recipe to follow.
In business, I feel very fortunate and again blessed to be working with so many incredible people. My listing in San Bruno thankfully sold and the seller is buying a lovely place to call home in Sacramento. Four deals have closed this year so far and with another in escrow, there is much to be appeciative for. Although the news is always painting a bleak outlook, they are usually behind in reporting how things are looking up.
Back to talking about home... We have nearly 50 fruit plants/trees in our yard now. The potatoes are sprouting in the crop circle Naoki made. The blossoms are radiant on Aislee's white peach / white nectarine tree and on the Georgia Peach tree we adopted from a home in Palo Alto. I'm looking forward to making fruit pies if the fat squirrels don't get to them first.
The old avocado tree that came with this house bears California Diablo avocados. They're smoother and creamier than Hass and have a thinner skin. They take two weeks to ripen once picked from the tree. Hopefully we'll have more growing as I love avocado sandwiches on toasted bread with Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie brand) and slices of cold cucumber! So good!! I could go off on a tangent when it comes to avocados... Actually it looks like I did.
Ok, on to the pasta recipe -
Boil your preferred pasta al dente (slightly undercooked) as you'll be adding it to another pan to mix in with the garlic lemon sauce.
1. In a large sauce pan drizzle a tablespoon of grapeseed oil (olive oil is fine too) and a pat of butter, heat on medium flame.
2. Add crushed garlic, approximately 5 - 7 cloves
3. Sprinkle a teaspoon (or more depending on your heat preference) of red pepper flakes
4. Add a few pinches of salt to meld flavors, more can be added later to adjust
5. Careful not to burn the garlic, give your mixture a few pushes around your pan.
6. Once garlic is crisp, add spinach and pasta.
7. Mix everything well til spinach is cooked, adding a touch more oil or butter as needed.
8. Finally add thinly sliced lemon wedges of one lemon or juice lemon and add it's zest.
After our last PG&E bill reached close to $450, Naoki started keeping a log of the gas and electricity meter readings. We no longer use electric heaters. He monitors how often we use the gas heater; however, we can no longer use it all now that he purchased a kotatsu. The house is only a few degrees warmer than outside, even at night. It varies from 55 - 60 degrees farenheit. I bundle the baby up in snow gear and keep handwarmers in my pockets to stay warm.
While I'd like to decorate the home in lights for our first Christmas here and with Aislee, Naoki is against anything that might increase the electric bill...although he was kind enough to give me the option taking over payments.
If you're ever considering purchasing an older home, I would strongly suggest making sure it's well insulated, has a newer heating/cooling system, and proper ventilation. I love the beauty of this old Craftsman, but hope our next home is newer...I mean warmer.
Here's her birth story...
Our baby girl, Aislee Reika Hada, was born unexpectedly this past Monday, July 21 at 8:35 a.m. She weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 19 inches in length. (Estimated Due Date: 07/28)
We had originally planned early on to have a home/waterbirth, but along the way Aislee's growth and amniotic fluid levels became a concern, so my midwife declined my request for a homebirth at 37 weeks due to possible risks. Scrambling to find an OB closer to home, I was referred to one that determined it was necessary to schedule an immediate inducement with a possibility of a cesarean. I consumed large amounts of water and supplements and went to a specialist for a second opinion the next day. They found the baby to be in perfect health at the appropriate size with plenty of fluid, which the inferior ultrasound equipment did not pick up at that OB's office. (Thank God for second opinions)
This past Friday after having issues over at a hospital, I requested my midwife to reconsider my birth plans. She replied on Sunday that she was leaning towards granting my request if I would make additional preparations for postpartum care. Later that evening after eating a bag of oatmeal cookies and a half loaf of lasagna, I went into labor...which I thought to be just a digestive problem from overindulgence. I called the midwife at 3 a.m. Her assistant arrived at 4 a.m. when active labor kicked in. The midwife came around 6 a.m. and Naoki finished filling the birthing tub at 7 a.m. (too late, I wasn't about to climb into a tub at that point - thankfully the task had kept him busy though). The baby was born on land naturally, not in water as planned, at 8:35 a.m. She's healthy, alert, and very feisty.
Pics can be seen at http://www.aislee.net
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.
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.
Current fruit obsession - muscat grapes (available for a limited time at Nijiya Markets, Bristol Farms, and Whole Foods), oranges from Twin Girl Farms (available at our local farmers markets), and strawberries.
I'm sorry, nothing really new to report other than my food cravings. I won't look for and include photos as that would just cause me to go out unwrap my truck, which takes 20 minutes to get the buckles, lock, and cover taken off, and drive through the Cinco de Mayo traffic on my street to battle rush hour traffic to buy fruit.
Laughing Quadruplets - Funny Daddy Entertains Babies
I'll spare everyone on the details, but this stuff works! 3 - 5 squirts/pumps into the bowl prior to handling business and no one is the wiser. Seriously, I was really impressed and I have a pretty darn good sense of smell. Using or sharing the bathroom with your colleagues, family, and/or roommates is challenging enough. Traditional air fresheners don't always do the job and sometimes have the worst scent (don't get me started on "garden fresh" sprays), not to mention that a lot of those chemicals that we end up inhaling aren't the best for our health.
Remember, this is not meant to be sprayed in the air. The company does make an air freshener call "Royal Flush", but I haven't tried it. They also have another bowl spray with a different scent (Mandarin, Orange, and Bergamot with hints of Peach and Berry) called "No.2...hilarious. Poo-pourri is made of a blend of essential oils and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
I'm not affiliated with the company in any way, just a happy consumer.
1. An egg salad sandwich on croissant with a dill pickle spear and avocado on the side
2. Tofu from the San Jose Tofu factory (delicious recipes here - http://www.theppk.com/)
3. My mother's spinach, cheese, and mushroom quiche - hot from the oven
4. Apple crisp with a blueberry crumble topping - also hot from the oven, ala mode!
5. Fruit salad made of cantelope, honeydew, watermelon, berries, and red flame grapes
Afterwards, I would like to...
1. Finish my crochet project before summertime
2. Curl up with a good book and hot chocolate (stirred with a cinnamon stick)
3. Surf the 'net for gifts for my friend's son's 100 day ceremony/celebration
4. ...darn, I really want that fruit salad...
5. Pay my bills, organize my tax receipts, and prepare items for donating
1. Dealing with severe insomnia or slept too much today
2. Getting old or well...getting older
3. Pregnant having horrible food cravings and have messed up my sleep schedule or ?
4. Delirious from lack of sleep or spending too much mind numbing time at the computer
5. Finding an excuse to write something on my blog or killing time.
Wouldn't it be lovely to have a 24 hour delivery service that caters to people's late night cravings? They'd have access to books, movies (though we can practically find everything online these days), healthy midnight snacks or other food items, clothing/shoes/accessories (just in case), etc.
It would cost a low monthly fee to use different levels of the service...and well, I just wish I could order an egg salad sandwich right now.
I came across a pretty cool site that lists all the uses of vinegar. Never knew there were so many! Enjoy!! http://www.vinegartips.com/
This morning I woke up sore with the blanket stuck to my bloodied knee. I think I'll invest in some flat shoes and knee pads...
I will smother my boo boo with Emprizone, an aloe based gel. Thankfully it doesn't burn and seems to heal my injuries rather quickly.
Please note: It looks like I have chicken skin in the photo below, but those are badly bruised hair follicles. yes, gross, but true.
I love this website.
A friend of mine sent a "Funky Sock Exchange" letter to me a few weeks ago. It was reminscent of the "Dish Towel Exchange" many of our mothers did during the 70's and 80's. Similar to a chain letter without the threat of bad luck, death, or involving money of any sort, this exchange, should someone decide to participate (optional, of course) would yield 36 pairs of funky socks from all over the place within a few weeks.
So far I've received two pairs of socks - one from San Antonio, Texas and another from San Ramon, California. This is the first time I've ever participated in one of these and it's been surprisingly fun!
If you'd like to participate, please send me an email at jeanette337 at gmail.com. Please keep in mind that funky is meant to mean "cool" or "stylish", not foul in odor.
1. offensively malodorous; "a foul odor"; "the kitchen smelled really funky" [syn: fetid]
2. (of jazz) having the soulful feeling of early blues
3. stylish and modern in an unconventional way; "she likes funky clothes"; "we did it all in black and white in a very funky sixties style"
4. in a state of cowardly fright
Gerald Ellison, Ph.D., director of Psychoneuroimmunology Services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is another proponent of friendship for managing stress. He observed,
"Friends keep us from becoming isolated and lonely; they offer encouragement and support; and they help keep our thinking in line with the real world... When we're missing friendship, we experience isolation and loneliness. These feelings are associated with illness, discomfort, and general ineffectiveness as a person... Having friends can also be especially helpful if you're already seriously ill... Friends--if supportive and encouraging--can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning."
Friendship is a sound prescription in times of stress, for both our emotional and physical health. Dr. Ellison's statement seems a fitting summary:
"Friends--if supportive and encouraging--can increase our hope when dealing with illness and trauma. And increased hope is associated with higher levels of immune system functioning."
oh geez, I think I'm turning into one of those crazy bird people... This is Lucky taking a bath in Naoki's hands. He seems to prefer that over using the bird bath we purchased for him at a recent birdshow.
He usually takes a little time to psych himself up a bit by walking back and forth before he goes in for the plunge. It's really cute to see him close his eyes and stick his tiny face under the water, all the while flapping his wings to get them wet as well. When he's finished, he'll keep looking up at the white tube (see pics) to be set upon it to dry off.
Lucky Rupert Hada is a Fancy Yellow-sided Greencheek Conure. He is the smartest and best bird I've ever had.
I'm not sure how clearly you can see these photos (taken with a Treo phone), but the tiny dinosaur looking creatures in the first photo are parrotlet hatchlings and the second is of Green Cheek Conures. They're different than Lucky, who is a "Yellow Sided Fancy Green Cheek Conure". His coloring is a mutation (a good kind of mutation that is..).
After spending time at the birdshow, we came home with Lucky's new toys and immediately showered and washed the clothes we attended the show in. We then washed all of his goodies and set them outside to dry.
Our friend Chie purchased a conure of her own. She found Takeshi, a Rosie Fronted Conure, from one of the breeders at the show. We helped her find a suitable cage, which needed to be large enough for him to roam around in, a large play gym made from a manzanita tree branch, and a Happy Hut for him to sleep in.
Making a Difference One Person at a Time
The Starfish Story:
There once was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore, as he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man, and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something, and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good morning, what are you doing?” The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.” “I guess I should have asked; why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?” “The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them then they’ll die.” “But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!” The young man listened politely, then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
There is something special in each and every one of us. We have all been gifted with the ability to make a difference. And if we can become aware of that gift, we gain through the strength of our visions, the power to shape the future. We must each find our starfish, and if we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be blessed.
This is Lucky, formerly Rupert, and he is a 3 month young Green Cheek Conure. This little guy has the best personality and is really energetic! I almost couldn't leave PetCo earlier today, but we had to return home to place our new purchased guppies into the fish tank before they ran out of oxygen. (yeah yeah, they're sort of cute too.). As soon as we arrived home, both Naoki and I jumped online to check the lifespan, care and noise-level of this breed of bird.
The Green Cheek Conure (which doesn't have green cheeks, go figure) has a lifespan of 25 - 30+ years with proper care, is the smallest of the Conure breeds, and makes the least amount of noise. That's not to say they don't scream or squawk - it's just not as loud.
So far, he has walked around the condo, shared a pluot, pear, and apple with Naoki, gotten familiar with his huge cage, and is now relaxing in the office. I will purchase a few toys for him tomorrow. A few sites mention that they love baths, so I might look for a large bird bath for him as well. Melanie, the one that did a wonderful job of raising him at Petco for the last month, told us not to overstock his cage with play items or let him ride on our shoulders, as he might develop dominance issues. The last thing I'd want is a spoiled and bossy bird, so we'll probably follow her advice.
Wish us luck on taking care of this sweet tiny bird!
Dogs provide us with unconditional love, help lower our blood pressure (unless they're misbehaving), alert us when there's someone at the door, and keep us company when we're lonely. In a recent article in Prevention Magazine, there are dogs that have the ability to use their keen sense of smell to detect certain types of cancer. More research is being conducted to see how this can help early detection without the pain of invasive tests.
a cup of hot orange garden tea and organic blackberry honey on wheat toast. yum.
On the way home this evening, there was a beautiful spot of rainbow near the setting sun. It was around 7 p.m. I'm not sure if this image shows it very well. It was very pretty to see something like this nestled in the clouds. Curiosly, there wasn't any rain on this day..
A few weeks ago, my friend and I took a notary class and exam. Once my assignment at HBO is completed, I will be focusing on my Health & Wellness business full-time; however, being a mobile notary may come in useful as an additional way to supplement income. There isn't much leverage as there is in network marketing or owning an automated business or rental property, but it's still nice to be able to work for yourself.
I'm so relieved about passing the exam. It was only 30 questions, but it's been a long time since I sat through any type of test. The requirement was to pass 70%, not getting more than nine answers wrong. The instructor was informative, but confused us a little bit with her stories. The next step is to get my live scan fingerprints and background check completed and then file for the required insurance. My commission (stamp) should arrive six weeks after the check is cleared.
Beautiful white peaches from Kashiwase Farms (Organic, specializing in stone fruit, almonds, and Asian pears (yum!))
Today we headed to the Farmers Market at Santana Row. Thankfully the crowd was light, as I believe most people were swarming around downtown San Jose for the Grand Prix racing event. There were quite a few certified farmers there and a handful of organic vendors as well. We left with decent sized bags of delicious white peaches, white nectarines, shiney red plums, juicy strawberries, and one crisp, j-shaped Armenian cucumber - all organic of course!
Afterwards we made a quick stop over at the Great Mall in Milpitas for something to eat and to get a bit of exercise in. Window shopping at a mall that's the size of four football fields definitely counts as exercise.
This particular mall has a mix of really cool and some seriously junkie stores. I usually have a lot of fun visiting the accessory shops that sell all types of sparkley stuff. It's a bad case of "Magpie Syndrome", being attracted by things that glitter and catch the light. Maybe it was from being full or from shopping the day before at the Gilroy Outlets, but I couldn't find anything to purchase even though there were some excellent sales going on.
I just returned from an amazing night at the ballet. The opening was magnificent and truly like a Renoir painting come to life. Les Sylphides was my favorite performance of the evening, as I love Chopin. Nocturne in F major played as the curtain rose and all the dancers posed motionless behind a blurred, gossamer screen to give it a dream-like, diaphanous look. As that lifted, the backdrop was of a moonlit park with lush green trees. It was so breathtakingly beautiful -- I really regret not bringing my camera.
There are few things in this world that I'm truly obsessed with. Food being one and fashion being another. In addition to that, I love things that sparkle; however, I do have to draw the line somewhere. For example, I present to you...the "Roach Brooch" -
I'm new to blogging and am usually off reading other blogs, especially on livejournal. Stay tuned for some interesting news, information, ideas, etc.