Thursday, December 20, 2007
Nevertheless, here's Day2! Some pictures for Day2 anyway.
I think we spent most of Day2 in the bus. We stopped by Kelowna for lunch, and stayed at Golden where Kicking Horse River was probably flowing near. At this point we were not running alongside Fraser River anymore, and I felt like we've "leveled up" as we were changing rivers. We must be getting into some high country. In Kelowna where Canadians come here to do water activities. Here I remember seeing a kid running around naked. We spent an uneventful lunch here; the tour guide said that there's usually some traffic jam in and out of the city, and we were lucky to have be on time, etc.Stopped on the roadside to enjoy Tiger Tiger - or as I call Tigger Tigger - Ice Cream. The tour guide said that this ice cream shop/dairy product farm is quite famous. Don't know if it's as creamy as he says, but sure they give large portions. But I still don't know if it matches the milk ice cream I've had with Pris at Hokkaido , though. We saw some nice cows in the barn behind the ice cream shop.
The Last Spike. This is where they nailed the last spike to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). Pretty cool, although I felt like we were in the middle of no where, there's not that much fun, and we were just stopping by this place because we needed to stretch our legs a bit. If I have read that Canadian railroad book earlier I would've had much more appreciation for this place. Of course now I feel the reverence for such a place like this, although I really have to say I didn't see any eagles at this Eagle Pass...but we did sight a little snake nearby.
City of Golden, where we spent our second night.
Kicking Horse Motel (Hotel?), where we stayed. It's a little bit crappy, but it offers solid Chinese breakfast and lunch. We came back here for lunch after coming back from Bannf. I wonder why these Chinese family moves here. My dad says everyone needs to make a living. But it's too cold and remote I think. On the other hand, the city boasts Lord of the Rings landscape...
Maybe I'll retire here. I can just sit around (like these Korean tourists, as we later found out) and enjoy the mystique in the landscape. To live by these mountains must be glorious. hahaa
As you can see by the end of Day2 we have already seen some impressive mountains. In the next day we would reach the most beautiful sites yet.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Anyway before getting poetic -which I am not good at, I should proceed with my accounts of our Canada trip.
Family Trip with the Chens: Parents, bro, me, Abin-shushu, Chen Mama, and Leiju
Meeting with the tour from Taiwan consists of 30something members and a tour guide (Yang)
07/14/07 - 07/22/07
Bro had met up with the Chens the previous night before may parents and I flew into Vancouver at 8am. (We got up at almost 4am in Saratoga!) When we landed I immediately saw the big mountains flanking the city. I was excited and amazed because the mountains where I had lived by were never this bulky! Not in Taipei nor Saratoga. We waited for a little while for Bro and the Chens to show up, and even longer for the tour to arrive from Taiwan via China Airlines. Sure we were excited! We had not taken any family trip since the rainy 2-day Yosemite run 2 years ago and the second time we came to the US, which was in my second grade. Some airport pictures to show off our excitement!
We mainly toured some important spots in Vancouver for Day1: Queen Elizabeth Park, Gastown, Stanley Park, World Fair exhibition center, and a charming tourist-filled local market.
QE Park was very big and quite pretty. Lots of big trees and you could walk to a high point to have a good view of the city. There was a nice restaurant in there that has good view of it all; I forgot whether it was the Queen who had drank afternoon tea there or some G8 that had eaten there the restaurant is supposedly famous and hard to get. There were lots of couples getting their wedding photos in the Sunken Garden, but the most memorable part of the Garden was these strange giant rhubarbs we encountered!
The steam clock in Gastown didn't work, but I saw some steam coming out nevertheless. I also found a really cozy couch in the Starbucks at the corner right across from the clock.
Stanley Park is very comfortable with big green lawns, wide, unobstructed view of the Vancouver cityscape, strips of sandy beaches, view of Lionsgate Bridge, and lots of hinokis. Lots of Vancouverites rollerskating, joggin, and biking. Very jealous of the relaxing time they were having...wished I was jogging there with my buddy, then we could lie there taking a nap. Of course my mom did some stretching exercises; at the urging of my mom my bro also threw his arms around at the urging of my mom.
I had to be reminded that we're on a very fast-pace tour and that in a few more minutes we'd have to be on the bus.
After more than an hour on the bus since leaving Vancouver, we arrived at Chiliwack where we spent the night. We saw lots of antique cars parked outside our Rhombus Hotel, all of them made before 1914. Even the old guys were dressed like they were in 20s. Turned out there is some annual parade taking place near Chiliwack. These old farts shipped their cars all the way from the US to show them off. (Now I dont' mean old farts in an offensive way...I'm rather fond of old farts...they are funny) Funny but very impressive! They are so clean and shiny they might be in better conditions than our good old Honda!
After we settled in, this young couple who had been sitting behind us on the bus came to ask for some Internet help. My bro tried to help but to no avail. I liked the young couple a lot; they had married just a few days ago and are on their honeymoon. When I have my honeymoon though, I wouldn't be on a tour... because it's kind of like bang bang bang! A little tiring! But you do get to see a lot on the tour. Anyway that ends the post for Day 1. For the entire week I would be rooming with Leiju. She was a good roommate and I enjoyed it a lot! We always talked before we went to bed; hope she gets a job around here so she can stay in our house all the time.
Now I want to read a little bit more about Canadian railways before my bedtime call. I've been reading this little book I bought from a gas station in Kamloops. Not only the content is interesting, the prose is also curiously funny. The author would insert his own comments here and there and it made the entire story, especially the characters who played parts, came alive. I'm very delighted, and I've been following the trail with maps that I've gathered mostly from Merritt!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I don't know what I feel about chemistry right now, except that I've just been reading and everything starts to sound a little bit more familiar. Bioconjugation. I used to dislike any subject that conjugates with bio- root, but I supposed if I'm stuck with it for the summer I must get used to it. As I sift through all the words and CONJUGATIONS (with apprehension in the beginning, of course, as my last chemistry course was in junior year of high school), things really begin to seem less intimidating. But OH! I don't want to say too much of what I feel about it. Don't want to jinx it! Ding! Flick flick!
I suppose I should give a detail account of what happened to my hand. But there is really not much too it. I was stupid and microwaved the mustache-removal for too long. Anyway getting it out was alright but as I ran up the stairs at night without any lights on, with that darn boiling wax carelessly held on by my left hand, some wax spilled out onto it and MAN DID IT HURT! I dropped the wax container (which made a big sppoosh on the carpet and splash on the wall before it rolled downstairs with more wax contamination) instantly and ran my poor hand in running water. I didn't dare to look but when I did and tried rubbing a bit of hot wax off a piece of skin fell OFF! SHOCK was even stronger than the pain. UH OH my skin fell off. What am I going to do. All of my cells were in a state of shock. I feel like there's some switch in me that had been turned on all of the sudden and all the cells are standing by in red alert. It felt funny, like I've triggered an alarm and there's a protective membrane that is separating me and the world. So some wax in between my thumb and my index finger connected the tissue. In desperation and perspiration I tried separarting the fingers. My heart was crying even though my eyes didn't. My careless mind is the one to blame! NOT my hand! I'm really sorry - that's what I've been telling myself...even till this moment. Anyway, I knew I probably had to go to ER. I've never been to ER since when I was less than 3 and the tip of my right pinky was about to fall off, but seeing my skin was all wrinkled and suffering in yellow wax, I knew it was my time for the ER. Besides telling my left hand that I'm sorry, I've also been apologizing to my parents and my bro silently, because it's my parents who had given me perfectly healthy body and it is I who had been so ridiculously irresponsible. I can't think of a reason why I also instinctually wanted to apologize to my bro...but it was probably along the same line that he's a witness in my growing up. Anyway I alerted my bro and my mom with my husky voice; they were in bed. My bro jumped up in one big leap and woke up my mom who was also very soon jumping up and down. It was as if calamity has descended upon us. Anyway long story cut short: My bro and mom rushed me to El Camino Hospital at ~11:30pm, with my hand in my favorite bear towel (that my mom threw away afterwards, to my regret deepest apologies). Our Big Car seemed to be nervous too (as the driver, my bro, is in shock) and it squeeled when we're going around the curb. But OH MAN I waited for at least 2 hours before the doctor saw me. By then I had already stopped trembling, and three of us were chatting. A really nice big nurse, male, and a really nice old doctor took care of me. (I recommend El Camino Hospital.) So I've been recovering ever since.
But of course you know - it would be unseemly to post pictures of my wound. Plus, looking at something like that will always make me want to apologize to my hand, my family , and my towel again. So stupid.
IN contrast, flourishing basils are always good kind of news to report. For a while now they've been bothered by their bents in their stems (actually not only two but four took hits during the shipping), and more severely by bugs who ate holes and finally entire leaves. How dare they! I looked up online, made some super-heavy garlic water, and sprayed the leaves day and night. Most importantly, I put them away from other plants. They are turning out better. Even the two stems that had only a lifeless leaf each are seeing some new leaves today. Very promising fellas! The other two are booming. I'm like a proud mother. I'll post their pictures later!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My mom was at disbelief how a live plant could be mailed and still survive in a package. Hough mama is pretty incredible. So sweet, too, for sending me what I've always wanted and have been too lazy to drive down to Home Depot to get myself. It's embarrassing how lazy I am and it takes Hough mama to send me a package. But I AM very excited the basil plant! There are actually four of them. They still smelled very fresh when I took them out of the wet newspaper package. Only two of the stems were broken but all the leaves were still intact; I'm determined to nurse them so they get the best care and the best Californian sunlight. I better go get better soil or fertilizer pretty soon. These plants deserve the best care because they are not only born out of kindness they also have traveled very far indeed!
I can't wait till they are ready for picking. I've wanted to make ALL basil pizzas and ALL basil pastas with just olive oil and garlic for a long time. Haha silly old me!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
***Below is a spoiler for Bob. Stop reading if you are Bob***
I also drew a little something for Bob...(I hope he didn't see this post because it's meant as a surprise for his birthday.) I won't post the drawing here because my drawing skill is embarassing. It's supposed to resemble Muir Beach, where we watched the most beautiful sunset. It was two years ago when we made the trip, and even now I can still remember the dog on the beach, its old man, the cold, the moon, the sunset, the purple sky, the rocks, the rock that we sat on, soft sand, and the gentle sea waves. It was an enveloping calmness. Warm despite the cold; very sweet and touching.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
MAN, I can't believe anyone of us is getting married this soon... even though it's been long known that Greg and Jennie have been very stable. But OH! WOW! I wonder if they are moving to France! I am pretty excited about the wedding and the new life that Jennie will be leading! Jennie will have a lot to teach us when we get married (because it might be a while before anyone of us gets to...maybe.) Will be attending that in Decemeber, tentatively. Don't know where the action is yet. So hard believe. Haven't seen Jennie in a long time either.
We've always been wondering who'd be the first one to marry and now things we talk about are getting real. All the "girl talks" are becoming "real talks". Kind of scary. I'm getting OLD! The next one among us to get married is... I think Sandhya. Then Tiffany. Then I can't say. Too hard. I don't think I'll be the last one though.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It was the second time that I met Bob's parents, who were very sweet to let me tag along for the entire time time! We walked around a lot and ate at the Fish Market. I was so bad...I didn't know that I've ordered such a giant plate reminiscent of the HUGE plate that I ordered at Denny's after the Yosemite climb, which people still make fun of me about. Yes the giant plate consisted of delicious seafood and pasta; but it was too big in spite of its loveliness. Also because Bob's parents and Bob don't eat a lot I look like a beast! hehe!
Anyway, they met my mom today, and we all had dinner together at Joy Luck Place near Ranch 99. I was happy that my mom felt at ease with them despite her nervousness prior to the dinner. Good good!
Man but I have to say that graduation is a big pain. Everyone seems soo tired. So many dinner/brunch engagements, while things must also be packed and stored away. Poor hough baba and hough mama. Right after my departmental ceremony last year my parents whisked me away and we all went back home to take a nap.
Included are pictures of agave a plant that is grown and is now blooming outside of Rains. It lives for 20-25 years but blooms only once for 3 weeks at the end of its lifetime. A rare event indeed! Very rare sight to see this aloe-looking plant to tun into a giant asparagus! Reminds me of a giant firecracker. Funny plant!
It was a surprise that we ran into Jonathan who took the picture below for us. He had this funny mustache that he hadn't shaved off for quite a while. But now he's passed his quals so he can clean up a little bit. I'm not complaining about his mustache tho. I've been seeing Daniel's mustache for a long time. HAHA! Congratz to Jonathan!We took these pictures after we came back from Half Moon Bay! Bob took me to Half Moon Bay for a day during the Memorial Weekend so I can forget about OOMMF for a little while.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Things are still busy as usual. Got the two weekly problem sets and hyperthermia project to work on. I'm beginning to worry that I'll not have enough time to study for finals because the project is consuming most of my energy. But OH do I need to study. So much to catch up for MSE 207!
Recently we've been learning about alloy solidification with dendrite formations, constitutional cooling, etc. That reminds me of the good old days when I worked in Kawasaki, especially the times when I studied and napped on Superalloys II by Hagel, etc. That's the book my advisor called it the bible of the superalloy community. I worked hard on it but have forgotten most of the stuff now, of course. At the time I've been learning lots of things on my own then without knowing anything about materials science. HEHE didn't know I'd ever return to this material. Slowly however, images from the book are reappearing to me - not that they are helping me to understand now...they are just a bit haunting.
Over the memorial weekend we went to Montara and Pacifica. It was cold so we didn't stay too long. There were lots of surfers our there having a grand time. I had good time following them, too, from Pacifica Taco Bell, which was a classy little building right on the beach providing shelter for us. After we came back we went to Fleet Street's spring show. My favorite song was "Everyone peed in the shower."
Then we made pizza! It's our second try and they tasted a lot better!
Friday, February 16, 2007
Too many lemons from our lemon tree so I started putting a good chunk into my water. It's become my addiction now. Life is good when there's a thick slice of lemon sitting in cold water in a glass. MMmm and the lemon fills the whole glass too.
Just can't get enough of baby lotion. Have been using them for 3 years now I think ever since they were put on sale somewhere and my mom brought back one bottle.
Red beans!! I left them at home for three weeks thinking that they'd be dead when I see them next, but no! There were still a couple leaves left that are green and soft. I brought them back to Rains but they died on me a few days later because the stems were already dry. Pretty tough little guys though (there were three of them.)
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Anyway, I've been meaning to post a few pictures from earlier but hadn't gotten a chance to. Bob took lots of pictures of me when I was opening presents for my birthday in January. The red scarf looks so great and comfy on buddy! It took me a lot shorter time to knit than the last old green scarf. The stitches are also a lot more even, compared to the old one that is bumpy at some places. Both scarves are actually very warm and it proved indeed to be very Useful on our Tahoe trip! I'm glad that I've finally made something Useful! (Although I had been a PD undergrad, all of my products have been utterly ugly and useless...except for my senior project that I'm still pretty proud of.) Before I start my daily rant about Stanford PD I think I should post some pictures finally!
Bracelet from Hough mama and Bob!
Opening my present!
It's a cake (under the aluminum foil!)
It's a chocolate pudding cake (with vanilla ice cream on the side). It's been more than four weeks now since this picture and it's still sitting in my fridge! but believe it or not it still tastes as good. Bob's the cake master!
The red scarf!
I think Bob has improved his cake-making over the year as I've improved my knitting as well. Man I've been showing off the presents...hope we don't make anyone feel too jealous! hehehe
Monday, January 22, 2007
Before I left Jerry today Wilson wrote a long email to Jerry's list complaining about the food. Apparently Jerry residents pay $1,300 a quarter just for the food and snacks, amounting approximately $26 for lunch and dinner each day - but the quality of food is simply lacking. As an eating associate I agree somewhat. The menu hasn't changed at all since last quarter, snacks is mostly composed of dried fruits and candies and bars, and there just isn't too much to the fruit selection besides the bananas that are always rotting in the box. I guess the staff should do a better job now that Wilson has sent out this embarrassing email. Lewis, Bob, Sheng, and Lewis all affixed their names to the email. That's pretty gutsy, and I appreciate them speaking out. Andy came in, and although agreeing about the points in Wilson's email, declined to put his name on it. I'd, too, have second thoughts (although I am only an eating associate.)
Bob and I went to the Red Barn to see HEFFALUMPS for the first time on Friday. gasp!
I'd say there were at least 40 horses there, and we walked up to almost each one of them and looked them in the eyes. At first I was so scared as we walked down the stable, thinking that they were so unworldly and big like monsters or heffalumps, but they were so gentle and curious that they'd stick out their long heads trying to reach us that I had to stick out my finger at them to let them sniff it. I even petted their noses at times and could see their muscles and veins so clearly. They looked big but innocent, and the smell and the hay and the big bodies and eyes and veins and muscles made me feel so homely and genuine, and so far away from strenuous work environment that I'd certain like to come back to the Red Bran everyday. The Red Barn is only 20min walk from Jerry, in which you go around the lake, along Campus Drive, and along the Tennis Court, and it is open till 11pm.
Hehe and now the Red Barn joins the list of Bob and Andrea's weekday get-away destinations!
Here's a picture of Red Barn I found on the internet. Next time I'll bring a camera to capture the Red Barn so as to make it OUR Red Barn...I'm so possessive...yikes.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
How it came about: Jerry Ski Trip
This year's dorm trip to Tahoe is a very different experience from the one that I went last time with Kimball. Not only has the person who used to be my friend and whom I'd liked very much has now become my best and most loving buddy who is traveling with me to everywhere, I've also realized that my state of consciousness has improved significantly since two years ago. Somehow I feel I'm more aware of my surroundings, i.e. roads that get to Tahoe, things to do around Tahoe, where fun is located, what mountains lie N, E, W, or S of Tahoe, and all that sort of geographic points of interest. I suppose this heightened sense of awareness could be taken as a sign for an improved state of consciousness? I think this is healthy!
We drove up to Tahoe in heavy traffic with Jill, Daniel, and Andy, arriving ~11pm-12am-ish. It got so cold the second day that Jill had to give up her lift ticket and abandon her plans for skiing. Poor Jill for her fingers - don't know if wearing more gloves could've helped. But we decided to sled near Mt. Rose NE of the Lake afterwards, and that kept us busy till dinner. (we found from a website that off 407 near Mt Rose there's a good sledding spot.) To get to Mt. Rose we took 50, then 28, and finally 407 on the way up the mountain. It was a steep climb up, and so relentless that we started seeing Bobmobile wearing down (Bobmobile's brakes got injured during the trip, making crunching noises when we got back down the mountain.) The altitude gave us great view of the Lake though. Its color is so blue, brilliant, like nothing else!
Driving up the road up to Mt. Rose in search for a good sledding spot!
Bobmobile taking a break from working hard on Mt. Rose.
View from a scenic overlook on 407, as Bobmobile takes a brief respite.
Bob and Jill at the scenic overlook. Silly Bob brought both green and red scarves to the trip, and indeed wore both when he drove up to Tahoe the night before.
Where we stopped to wonder whether or not to put on snow chains as a sign off the road told us to, we were puzzled as to why so many cars are parked here...
Aha! This is the legendary sledding spot that the website had described! There were many people sledding and snowshoeing all around, and the hill at left-center of the picture shows the side where we had sledded.
Buddy went first. He was the most skilled sledder of us three.
Bud went very hard so had to to walk up very far.
Someone looks like Pooh!
Jill in action, coming down to rescue me, who had just taken a bad stumble and looked very confused in distance.
This is me before I went straight down for the rock and bruised right side of my butt. A guy who helped me find my glasses, sled, and cap even returned my string cheese that fell out of my pocket. I almost forgot about the string cheese and was very confused when he asked "Is this your string cheese?"
I still looked a bit daze after rescue had arrived.
Jill making a snow angel.
Bob and my snow angels.
Jill looking spiffy.
My toes were frozen even with two layers of socks on. Afterwards the sky turned dark we stopped by Incline Village's Starbucks to thaw our toes. Bob and I had a warm and very sweet cinnamon dolce drink that I read about on spokeo. Apparently this drink had been an old-time favorite that Starbucks had just revived. At night we saw movie Lassie. Buddy had always wanted to see this British production. It was very good and far superior than cheesy Disney animal movies that I've seen!
Bob and I at beach near Tahoe downtown. The Round Hill behind us is very peculiarly round, almost looking man-made.
Bob and Jill fed ducks and geese. When it was my turn one of the few ducks jumped up and bit my finger because some sticky inside of an energy bar got stuck to it. Feisty.
More duck feeding.
Portrait of a Fat Goose.
Geese and mountains of Tahoe in distance.
Living room of where we stayed.
Well bundled up.
The wind pants Bob lent me were great. They kept me very warm and and comfy and happy in -7deg, and I was able to make snow angels. I think I need a pair here at school, too, as it is getting so cold here recently.
On this trip we also went to check out Harrah's 1st floor casino, as Jill and Bob had never seen a casino before. It looked very cheap compared to those in Las Vegas, and it was even hard to breathe inside because of smokers. We also tried out the hot tub. It was always my dream to be in a hot tub outside of the house that has great scenery, just as what's on those Japanese advertisements you could pick up at any JR station. It was kind of like that, and we had a view of tall pine trees. But it was already very dark and we couldn't see anything. I got out feeling very dizzy and weak though, as I soaked in the tub for too long. There was a sharp pain in my back, too, as my muscles there were very tense.
It was a chill snow trip, and we decided that we're up for more exciting stuff next time we're up in Tahoe, such as cross-country skiing and going up the gondola. Going up the gondola is a must because Bob and I had wanted to get on it in the Kimball snow trip, but the weather was too harsh for gondolas to operate. The gondola reminded us the good times we've had before I headed out to Japan and we've become buddies. Gondola is just too expensive! We simply didn't want to drag Jill up there with us, so we'd have to wait till next time, which is not so bad because that'll just make the next trip to Tahoe all the more exciting.