Friday, January 30, 2009

Old Photos

I was at Mom's the other day for Chinese New Year and just out of boredom decided to look through some of my old stuff. I came across our childhood photo albums. The album held up pretty good considering the way it was packed into a cupboard without care.

Though I can't really remember exactly when these photos were taken, I do remember those first few years of my childhood life were good and sweet.

How I wish I can be as happy as then, without a care or worry about the world!

Sis and me. (I like her blue and white beret better than my pink one!)


These days I've been having lots of strange dreams. I've been writing down what I remember from them in a notebook, trying to decode them...but with little success. They are often in segments and sometimes don't even relate to me directly. Some of it is as if I AM watching a movie. And when I awake, I can still see the scenes from these dreams. Even when I go back to my notebook days later, reading back what I documented, I'd recall the dream instantly with vivid pictures.

I had a dream a few days ago. It was about death. I'm not sure what it meant. When I woke up, I did not remember it instantly. Not until I got out of bed to wash up, this
overwhelming feeling of burden or something came over me. It was not sadness, but instead it almost seemed like some kind of relief. Almost as if I had gone somewhere and came back. I was not happy, but was not sad either. As I brushed my teeth, the dream came back to me. The death part was not really morbid. In the end, the death was really not "death", it was a mistake... a sort of misunderstanding. I guess that's where the brief relief is from. I'm just wondering which part of myself did I kill off?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Claim Jumper (City of Industry)

I think just about everybody who's ever been to Claim Jumper recognizes the large portions of food they serve. However to me, what's more important when eating out is quality over quantity. I rather have a little of really delicious food than a whole lot of mediocre food with nothing to rave about. I guess that's also a part of my particularity and "hard to please" character... some would say. I haven't been to this Claim Jumper (on Gale) for several years and as I walk in with 2 of my good friends, it's nothing short of a walk down memory lane. I have had a few birthday dinners here in the past and all were good times, though the food was not memorable. This time the company was great as well, thus the food tasted a little better than it really was and I didn't want to ruin the fun time by sending anything back! =)

I ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon. Somehow I recalled that the salmon was really served on a cedar plank in the past. It's been a long while, so maybe I could be wrong. Anyhow, the salmon was not that great, edible but not memorable. It has some sweet and sour brown gunk on top. My mistake for not reading the description of the dish. They only have one salmon dish so I didn't bother reading the whole description, thinking how bad can salmon be? And, I wanted to have salmon for dinner. Well, I had to scrape off the brown stuff... it was nasty flavor to be paired with salmon. I don't see the point of it. It simply ruined the entire piece of salmon. Also the salmon was a bit overcooked. Oh well. I wanted my omega-3s.

The black sauce does nothing for the Salmon.

My Side salad with balsamic vinaigrette was decent.

Allen wanted the Babyback ribs (full rack). We eat family style, so we share each others' food. I think the full rack has shrunk! Years ago, the portion seemed much bigger because we used to end up with more leftovers.

Even the Cheese Toast is kind of smaller than before.

Ken ordered something "safe" as usual, the Chicken Fried Steak. Can't really go wrong with it, since it's a pretty popular dish at Claim Jumper.

The Chicken Fried Steak usually is moist and tender and breaded properly, that is if you happen to get good pieces the day you visit. We got lucky because it was pretty yummy. Ken didn't even touch the rest of his food (mash potatoes and biscuit) since the two pieces of steak was plenty to make him full!

The service that night definitely was not stellar. Our waiter never cared to ask us if we wanted dessert. We might have, if he asked. I guess he assumed since we boxed up our leftovers, we were too full to have anything more. Oh well, his loss.

One thing I never quite understood after all these years, is why do they give paper sacks that the food containers won't fit in. What's the point of the bag if you have to slide the containers in sideways to carry them. I just thought that was kind of ridiculous. Maybe no one ever bother to complain so they don't bother designing a better option.

18061 Gale Ave., City Industry, CA 91748

Today's Horoscope

This is what my horoscope says for today... (we'll see.)

January 24, 2009

GeminiGemini (5/21-6/21)

More than ever, you are open to the unfamiliar today -- your quick mind is ready to sort through a confusing matter. You will figure out what to make of it. Go out early today and try to find something or someone to keep your brain humming. It's a great day to tackle a puzzle that's been driving you nuts. Or you might want to try (one more time) to get along with that difficult personality. You should challenge yourself today. No matter what the outcome is, you won't be disappointed.

Pasta and Cupcakes

It rained on and off from last night through most of the day today. Kind of gloomy...but we desperately need some rain in Southern Cal. I was not feeling well yesterday and still had lingering symptoms from my migraine, so I stayed in. With all the stress I've having due to the job hunt, the economy and all, I thought maybe spending some quiet time at home would keep my anxiety attacks from ocurring so often. I moped around in the afternoon, took care of my kitties then... decided to play house and cook some pasta for dinner. I had to use up my Barilla Whole Wheat Pasta since it's either already expired or about to... anyway, I think dry foods are okay to eat if they past the expiration date a bit.

Everything I cook in my kitchen is "semi-homemade". I didn't learn from the Food Channel's Sandra Lee, but I wish I could have before I canceled cable. Well, I'm just not a big cook is, I rarely do anything completely from scratch. This Pasta dish is real simple. Most people who experienced my cooking never had any complaints, instead they all enjoyed my food. But still, I'm no Martha Stewart.

So, I threw together the Pasta dinner fairly quickly because I wanted to bake some cupcakes later in the evening.

-Some Garlic
-Some yellow/green peppers (whatever I had on hand)
-Some roma tomatos (diced)
-Some frozen sweet peas
-and left over cooked pork tenderloin pieces
-Some Jar tomato sauce (I like the sun-dried tomato flavor one)

-Fresh Ground Pepper
-Parmesan Cheese
-Red Chili flakes
-Olive Oil
-Basil (throw in at the end, I didn't have any on hand)

Cook the pasta to al dente in a big pot of water with salt. While Pasta is cooking, stir fry all the ingredients together and add some olive oil for taste last. Once Pasta is cooked to al dente, drain and add to the stir fry pan with the ingredients. Add tomato sauce, mixed it up, season the pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and voila... dinner is served. Garlic bread is good with the dish.

I always make too much of everything. I think I'll be eating pasta for a quite a few days if I'm home. I'm trying not to waste food! Times are hard right now.

Don't know what came over me. I have just been wanting to make some cupcakes lately. After my pasta dinner, I made some. Made them right out of the box. Duncan Hine's Carrot Cake mix... yup, don't mess with a good thing if don't have to. To tweak the instructions into my "semi-homemade" ways, I used 8oz of sour cream instead of vegetable oil (the cake will be moist and less oily) and used 2% fat milk instead of water as the box instructed.

I used the tin foil jumbo cups because I didn't want to fuss with the pans and all. This was the first time I used these and I wasn't sure how much to fill the batter, that's why some of them came out bigger than others. Next time I'll remember to fill them all about 2/3 of the way for uniformity. The cupcakes did turn out amazingly moist! A success. The creme cheese frosting was another story.... IT IS SUPER SWEET! I didn't make my own creme cheese frosting since the supermarket canned one was on sale a few days ago, so I bought it. The Pilsbury one specifically. I would not use this brand again... it tasted too sugary and lacked the creme cheese flavor. Nonetheless, the cupcakes do taste pretty good all together. I just have to drink my black coffee with it is all. I think people with a sweet tooth may like them more than I. Anyhow, I spent couple hours NOT having an anxiety attack. I could now understand why some say cooking IS relaxing. It's also nice to have people to cook for and share your foodw with. After all, the food you cook tastes better when it is the food you share.

Unfortunately, I have not gotten the frosting technique down yet. They really look "homemade" eh? Haha. I hope it's not too pitiful-looking to share some with my next door neighbor.

This is the one I ate. Tasted good with black coffee. Yum.

Again, made too many....

I'll take some to Mom's tomorrow!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Knitting UFOs

When I just started to learn how to knit, I read an article about UFOs (Unfinished Object, not the flying disks in the sky), I asked Rosa, my gal pal that got my knitting started, how many UFOs did she have. I did not and could not have imagined why knitters often talked about UFOs... and why they would have so many banished projects stashed in the closet! Well, Rosa told me she had quite a few, and from many years ago, like 20+ years even. Oh my!

Now as I'm learning more and knitting more, I could understand how this could be. Even though I haven't learned how to knit socks, sweaters, and gloves... (mostly still on scarfs, shawls, little felted things here and there), I already have 3 things kind of just hanging around with no real progress. I guess to be a real knitter, you just have to have some UFOs! Haha. I imagine we all either get stuck or just bored with the projects.

This is one of those lost UFOs I'm talking about: The color is off (I hate my old point and shoot digital camera!) It started off as a scarf but since I didn't follow the pattern or used the yarn suggested... the width is wider, plus I used 2 strands of yarn for this. It is now officially going to be a wrap. I'm think it could be done then! Yeah!

The color of the yarn "dusty rose" should look more like it in this bottom photo: (my cheap camera doesn't do it any justice.) It's in a basketweave pattern.

However, I do have lots of "finished" projects. One of which I am most proud of, is my felted knitting bag. Even though I did the bottom in my own way- the wrong way (the outside should have been the inside)... it's still a very nice and versatile bag.

I made tubes for the handles and stuck industrial rope in them to make them more stiff. Btw, another UFO is in the bag. It's a chunky scarf for this winter. Hopefully it'll be done before winter is over! It should be done fast if I set aside one afternoon for it, since I am using those sz 50 speed stix (Gigantic needles!)

This little Chopstick Holder- I actually use and love a lot. I keep chopsticks in my purse most of the time because I hate the disposable bamboo kind that a lot of Chinese restaurants give. I've gotten too many splinters from those.

Isn't it darling? Rosa seem to think so. =)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dinner with old friends

I had a lovely dinner with two of my older friends last night. Allen came in to L.A. from D.C. for business just for a few days. I was glad to see him after neglecting to keep close touch for almost 8 years. Since he got married, it's just difficult... with him being a guy and me a gal and all. That's the way it always is with my guy friends. I should have made more gal friends growing up because all my guy friends seem to eventually depart from close friendships with me after they marry off. And, I perfectly understand...I really do! I don't blame them and at times, I'm the one that literally back off, though very sad... I understand the situation... I really do! I wouldn't want my man to have a best female friend either! It's just sad for me. Anyhow, I haven't seen Allen for years, since he got married 8 years ago. He lives in D.C. with his wife and son now. Allen's best bud, Ken actually lives not too far from me, whom became a good friend years ago too, but I also haven't seen for about over a year! Wow, time flies. It's a pity how busy everyone is with life and next thing you know, so much time's passed and everyone's drifted apart before there's a moment to get together. I hate it when this happens.

Fortunately, our gathering last night was very warm, just same as years before, no awkwardness at all. It felt just like old times. The evening couldn't have been sweeter. Conversations were great... laughter was present throughout the night. We all reminisced the past, repeated old stories and cracked up about stupid things. I realize how much I missed these friendships. Maybe as time goes by, what matters more are valuable friendships. Some one once said to me, you may know a lot of people/acquaintances in this life time, but consider it lucky if you have just a few good/true friends for life. It indeed is absolutely true.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Twinkle's Town and Country Knits- Highlander's Stole

I love every piece in the Twinkle's Town and Country Knits book. They are not old fashioned knits at all! Instead, they are truly fashionable, some high fashion looks too.

I love this piece. It's called the Highlander's Stole. I promised myself when I have the time, I will try to tackle it. Not sure if it's too difficult yet, since I haven't looked at the pattern and I'm still a beginner at knitting. But I just love how versatile this piece is!


Sam Woo Barbecue Restaurant

When I was in college, we used to call Sam Woo "Sam's". Back then, when we say, " let's go to Sam's", it's basically for a fast slurp of some wonton noodles or beef chow fun. Fast food. Things have since changed, and so has my taste buds. I still enjoy the traditional wonton soup/noodles, simple fried rice dishes and the chow funs from time to time. But I think with so many more variety of dishes at "Sam's" now, at various locations... I prefer the "real food". I'm really not a "Sam's" gal anymore, with the exception of this one when eating with the family.

It's located at the San Gabriel Focus Plaza (downstairs). Granted it's not the cleanest place in the world nor the friendliest, but the food is actually above average. The place is always packed! Prices are decent and they open till 1AM!

The Spicy Lobster Tofu Pot is full of flavor! You can ask for it to be less spicy if you cannot take it. The spiciness is not the kind that lingers in your throat, so the regular is just fine for me. I really like this dish... and I used to hate tofu when I was a little kid.

I also like the French Style Filet Mignon with Pepper sauce. The stir-fried filet mignon cubes are placed on some semi-grilled onion pieces. Very tasty. Too many Chinese restaurants offer this dish on their menu. However, only a handful can make the dish stand out. The quality of the meat is usually very tender here. The flavor is actually perfect, just enough pepper seasonings.

Although Mom and Sis don't eat a whole lot of shrimp anymore (due to fear of high cholesterol), they'll always order with the spoiled picky eater (me) in mind. And I always enjoy the Walnut Shrimp with Mayo. At this Sam Woo, they make a very thick batter to fry the shrimp with. If I had a preference, I'd go with the lighter batter or none at all. The flavor is alright, not too greasy. But if you have leftovers, I'd suggest you to heat it up in the toaster oven versus the microwave. If you toast it, the batter will still remain crunchy. If you microwave it, the batter will be limp, greasy and soft. The shrimp might also explode in the microwave! (From first hand experience.) This really isn't the dish you want to have leftovers though... with the mayo and all...

The veggies here are usually pretty fresh. I need to get some kind of veggies to go with my dinner... most of time, that is. This Abalone Mushroom w/ Baby Bak Choy is cooked very nicely. Not too soft, but just tender enough. The proportion of the mushrooms to Bak Choy is just right. This is a refreshing dish to go with the rest of dinner.

Dinner time is usually busy, so expect to wait about 30 mins or so for a table. Enjoy!

Address: 140 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 107, San Gabriel, CA 91776

Milukhu got chin pimples.

Poor Milukhu... got a little pimple right under her lower lip. And, another one's brewing... that's about to surface. I tried to use a warm compress on her chin, but she can't and won't stay still long enough for it to be effective. When Bumpy had a few of these pimples, she was so good! I used a tiny Hello Kitty warm towel on her and she loved it.

Milukhu is a spoiled brat, but still my little (fat) girl. Hopefully in a few days they'll go away. I think she's been licking stuff off the carpet (bad girl!) and that's how she got some bacteria that caused the pimples. My girls haven't gotten these since I switched their plastic bowls to ceramic. I thought it did the trick, but I guess I have to wipe the kitties' mouths after feeding.

(red dot under lip is the tiny pimple!)

New Blog!

I finally set up my new blog! Yay! I figure... New Year...New President... New Blog. My old one (source withheld) is basically gloom and morbid, full of complaints and sadness. I may still go there to complain, but here I'm going to try and stay positive. No guarantees on no complaints though. The way I see it, I only just give the facts and I am 100% truthful with what's on my mind. Good or bad, I'll share it. Hopefully in time when I look back through my postings, I'll have left some things to reminisce about...

And, Blogspot is much easier to use and set up! Love it!(Except for the font problems not posting correctly...hmm.)