Sunday, February 27, 2011


That's the Sensei (Coach) in the black tee shirt. And, that's DW1 in the black-over-white outfit. She's really pretty good! I was impressed.

(The autofocus feature got in my way, and I apologize for that. I knew it could happen and tried to avoid it. Sorry :()

(Click to enlarge, but you knew that.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mt. Diablo Panorama

Here's a spectacular photo of Mt. Diablo and its foothills. I'm guessing that it's from the North. (As always, click to expand. This one has lots of pixels!)
Thank you. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake

Here's the only before-and-after picture of the Pyne Gould Building that I've found:
It appears that the building lacked lateral strength and pancaked.  But, what do I know? I'm tempted to subscribe to Engineering News Record again, just to follow the investigations.

I read that New Zealand started to modernize their building codes in the 1970s. That seems quite recent, if true. It makes me wonder what the previous codes permitted.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dim Sum Dimensions

On Sunday, as frequent readers may have surmized, we went into Oakland Chinatown for a dim sum lunch at Peony. It was excellent, as it always has been. And full of folks, most of whom were not Scandinavian.

Today, we tried a new (for us) place for dim sum on this side of the hills. It's called "Tri-Valley Seafood" and it's located next to the Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton. We were pleasantly surprised. It was excellent. Wide variety of steamed stuff on carts rolling by, a smoked duck leg, a plate of Chinese broccoli steamed perfectly. Also full of folks, and again, no Scandinavians.

Both places are about 20 minutes away from Hiltonhouse. Now we have a quandary when we feel the urge for dim sum. (Free parking at Tri-Valley.) ($39 for three of us, including 1 beer, before tip.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Still Springtime

Brief break from the rain/snow/ice today. Good time for dim sum and startled looks at Akiko's peach tree.

The darned thing is blooming already!

That deserves one more look at the summit of Mt. Diablo.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring Rains

Damn, it's wet. We've had six days of this stuff. And, it's chilly outside. Brrr.

Even worse, the cats have taken over DW#1's Snuggie!
That, of course, prevents any human use of the snuggie. Sigh...

Monday, February 14, 2011

What a clatter!

Awoke this morning to the most gawdawful ruckus imaginable.  Three of Rossmoor's golf course ducks, who usually fly by quacking, decided today to alight on our roof with resounding thumps, and quack, quack, quacks.

I was fortunate to get a quick pic. Hope it doesn't become a habit for them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nighttime Sunday in Tehran
(Please cut and paste the two lines above. I'm sorry.)
The sounds of youthful enthusiasm, shouted from one rooftop to another. I'm impressed. And some folks there are very, very nervous.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Springtime is Known

for many things; for the rebirth of beauty from the ground. Behold the daffodil, the camellia, and the weed-like flowering  helleborus:

And, a bit, for birthdays

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cream Shabu-Shabu

Okay, @miekow refuses to print her recipe for this delicious dish, so I'll take a stab. Here we go:
This is a creative process. Take these ideas as starters, and add (or subtract) to your taste. Have fun!

Get a wok, electric. Get at least four bowls, as needed. Make sticky rice in a Japanese rice cooker.

Ingredients: 1)Meat dish - beef, scallops, shrimp, chicken, pork, whatever. In a bowl.
                   2)Veggies - green onions, spinach, beans, sweet onions, whatever. In a bowl.
                   3)Broth in the wok - water or boxed broth.

Cream Sauce: 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons sour cream. Mix entirely. Taste. Adjust. Add 1T sake, 1T broth. Get creative: sesame oil, clam juice, whatever. Mix and place on table. 

Turn the wok on. Add some veggies to start. Distribute two bowls to each diner. Fill one with sticky rice, one with cream sauce.

Extra meat/fish and veggies are in extra bowls on the table.

Each diner gets some meat/fish, puts it in the wok until cooked. Takes out some meat/fish and some veggies, puts them in the cream sauce, then into the sticky rice bowl, then into the mouth. Use tongue to lick the excess sauce off the lips. Slurp loudly.

Add veggies and meat/fish to the wok as required.

Comments, after trying the above, are invited, of course. Tell us how you improved on the recipe. :)

(This recipe was created at home after many dinners at Mingei-ya on Union Street in San Francisco in the 1960s. Their recipe was "secret." We tried many combinations before settling on the one above.) 

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Yamagata Prefecture

This is the Kikuchi family grave spot in Japan. Here, in October, will rest Grandmother May's ashes.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Thursday, February 03, 2011

My Birthday is next week

But, of course, you remembered that.
If you still can't find something to give me as a Birthday Anniversary present, consider:

Thanks in advance. . . :)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sometimes, I'm really happy

to live in Northern California.

This was Lakeshore Drive in Chicago today. Those cars are stranded, empty, cold inside.