Monday, December 05, 2011


After a jam-packed day-and-a-half in Albuquerque, I was back in L.A. Since I decided to join my brother and his family in New Mexico sort of at the last-minute, I ended up taking a different flight back that arrived an hour before they did.


While waiting at the curb for my brother to pick me up, I noticed all the other people who got picked up too. The anxious faces of the drivers as they slowly drove along the curb and then their faces lighting up when they see their loved ones. The hugs and hand shakes that signified either close or just friendly relationships. As happy as those meetings are, I think the curbside pick-ups today pale in comparison to the meetings at the gate of before.

Years ago at O'Hare International Airport while waiting for a flight, I remember observing a young woman fluffing her hair while waiting for passengers to disembark from a flight. Then she decided to sit up high on the back of the chairs, the better for whomever she was waiting for to see her. She nervously crossed and recrossed her legs.

Was the reunion worth all that primping? I don't even remember. The anticipation was what lingered with me. To have someone that excited to see you, to be that excited about seeing someone. That was always the best part of being at the airport.

The day after we got back, I invited my brother to check out Nola's LA - Los Angeles with me. Some hits and misses, but definitely a hit was the mixed seafood medley. It was mostly butter that made the sauce so good, but I couldn't resist mopping up every last bit with bread.


Cousin A and the oldest '87 took me out for a belated birthday dinner at Choi Ga Nae Korean BBQ - Los Angeles (Koreatown). Refills on bean paste stew and steamed egg, and cold noodles at the end. I think I've found a new favorite Korean barbecue restaurant.


Brr. Turned on the heat for the first time. Guess fall is finally here. I actually forgot to take a photo on Day 308. :( I meant to and then it slipped my mind. So this photo taken the next day was actually a proxy. *Gasp.* I know! Although, I think it's been pretty good that I hadn't slipped up until now.


Revisted Choi Ga Nae again with the oldest '87. The visit a few days before didn't quite satisfy my craving. I felt like I wasn't in the mood enough to enjoy the Korean barbecue experience. I did this time. Stuffed to the gills. Afterward, I stopped by to visit Bentley, the oldest '87's new puppy that she got after her other Maltese, Weasel, ran away. Then I stopped by my brother's house to play with the niece.


Started gathering the fabrics for a college friend's daughter's baby quilt. My friend's favorite colors are pink and purple. Some great Japanese goldfish and rabbit prints from Momen+ that I bought on Day 284. Stocked up on a bunch of the Hello Kitty prints that I had used for lil' sis's favorite things quilt with plenty left over. The cats and rabbits are because it's our zodiac year. The Japanese doll print is because my friend is half Japanese. And lastly, it worked out that the Hello Kitty prints have hibiscus blossoms to go with the other floral fabric since my friend's father's side is from Hawaii.


My friend Don was in the area and took me out for a belated birthday lunch at Baccali Cafe and Rotisserie - Alhambra. We split a steak and chicken steak plate, fried chicken wings, and seafood crispy chow mein. Yum! Afterward, I took him to try shaved snow at Salju Dessert - Alhambra.


I finished my friend's daughter's quilt at 4:30 a.m. *Yawn.* After an all-too-brief nap and running around to take care of stuff, I managed to drive up to the Bay in time to have dinner with my high school friend at Cooking Papa - Santa Clara. It was Hong Kong cafe food, the kind I can get down in SoCal, but it gave me a chance to catch up with my friend. Then while we lingered over our teas, I decided to order dessert. Ooh boy! I discovered Hong Kong egg puffs, basically fried choux pastry balls. Yum!


The next day, I met up with my college friend to hand over the quilt. Her daughter immediately pointed to the Hello Kitty fabric and held it up to her cheek. It's so great to see that they both loved the quilt. I've largely been a selfish quilter. They take a lot of work and I only make them for family or close friends. So when I noticed that my friend kept a painting I had done and gave to her 14 years ago, I knew she would treasure the quilt.

I took a painting class in college since I wanted to explore something that didn't have to do with letters or numbers. For the first three paintings, I worked with a partner. The black and white was given to an ex, whom I'm sure has discarded it by now. The second one was a potato and a gourd. Painting a potato was crazy hard. I borrowed my friend's Kermit and my partner brought in the broken vase. The only painting I kept was my final project, a collage of a Vietnamese girl in a refugee camp in Hong Kong. We had lunch at Turtle Tower - San Francisco, grabbed banh mi at Saigon Sandwich - San Francisco, and then dropped my friend off at home before exploring the California Academy of Sciences with my other friend.


The next day, I went to get more twigs and berries. This was my view while I waited for her to gather the traditional Chinese medicine together. Afterward, I was starving and grabbed lunch at Kahoo Ramen - San Jose before stopping off at Clover Bakery - San Jose to get some stuff to-go. I noticed Lion Market - San Jose when I exited the freeway and decided to stop there to buy the ingredients for homemade Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) and Cha Gio (Vietnamese Egg Rolls) that I promised my friend I'd make for dinner.


I had lunch with my friend and her husband and son at Bakesale Betty - Oakland (Telegraph Avenue) before I headed back down. Fried chicken sandwiches. Yum! But cousin Q's older brother said if it's on the monthly menu, the fried chicken sandwiches at Gregoire Restaurant - Berkeley were even better. So, of course, I had to stop by and grab a fried chicken sandwich for the road, along with a calamari sandwich and potato balls. I ate some for dinner that night and lunch the next day.


Brr. The weather got chilly enough to throw on a sweater inside the house. After my Ba Noi (Vietnamese Paternal Grandmother) passed away, I took her cardigan to remember her by. For the longest time, I kept it inside a Ziploc bag because it still smelled like her. When the smell faded, I would wear it whenever I miss her. After work, I stopped by my brother's place to eat pizza while watching the "fight." Not that I even remember which "fight" as I really just went to give my niece the cute little face bun from Clover Bakery.


Since I finished one quilt project, I started another. This will be Scotland-themed with narrow strips of gray/green plaid and wide strips of different purple fabrics, all surrounding an Edinburgh tablecloth.


The oldest '87 and I checked out Yang San Bak - Los Angeles (Koreatown) since I bought an Amazon coupon a while back. It was worth the $20 I spent, not sure I'd go back at the regular price of $40.


With the time change, it gets dark by 5 p.m., which feels so late and makes me tired much earlier. That means the holidays are near. Time to bust out my quilting and holiday movies.


'Tis the season to start watching "Love Actually." I also got this sample shipment of Flying Cauldron's Butterscotch Beer. Tastes like butterscotch cream soda.


The oldest '87 and I checked out Souplantation since it featured chicken pot pie this month. Basically chicken cream soup with biscuits on top. Not bad and satisfied my craving. Afterward while doing a Costco run, I saw coupons for Neutrogena's Rainbath. I love this stuff! It was the first shower gel I used, but hard to find and quite expensive so $12.99 for a 40-ounce bottle was a great deal. I bought two bottles, but in hindsight realized that it would probably take me a year to use up even one.


I had to drop off lil' sis at LAX so we decided to have dinner first at Versailles Cuban Food Restaurant - Culver City since it had been so long. Garlic lemon roast chicken. Yum! Lil' sis asked me how I originally knew about it since we've been going here since the late 90s. I told her a friend of a friend introduced me, and just a few days after that, that friend friended me on Facebook. Small world.


Sometimes I really miss Freestyle and have been trying to find a good B96 mix. I wished I had just recorded off the radio in college! Alas, this mix just doesn't quite cut it. Finished my Versailles leftovers.


More twigs and berries.


The "Friends" and "Gilmore Girls" series were only $7.99 in advance of Black Friday. I had to stock up since I watch them all the time.


The twigs and berries seem to be doing their job because my face was not red when I woke up this morning. It made me so happy that I had to wear my sunny yellow sweater to reflect my mood.


And then the following day, my mom's friend passed away from ovarian cancer. We often stayed with her when visiting Seattle, and while I haven't been part of those visits since I left home, her son is a few years older than me, and I ached for his loss. I asked my mom for his number and awkwardly expressed my condolences. I felt too sick and my eyes hurt too much to do any Thanksgiving prep. So I just took the turkey out to make sure it defrosted and planned to marinate it when I wake up in the middle of the night.


Happy Thanksgiving!


The 15.6 pound turkey was picked pretty clean. I decided to save the cleaning up for after Black Friday at Target. It just wasn't any fun this year. Too competitive. Too many people. I don't need anything that badly.


I could not resist getting the entire series of Star Trek: The Next Generation when I saw it for only a quarter of the price that my brother paid for it long ago. I wanted the original cases since the new version has gotten pretty awful reviews for the shoddy packaging. OK! No more Black Friday deals for me. I'm done.


Picking up lil' sis from LAX. She went to Japan for vacation. Jealous! Don't you think she should blog her vacation for my blog?


Love veggie soup. Especially alphabet soup made from leftover turkey stock.


Yay! Finally got my refund for the red light ticket I got back on Day 184.


Making more broth out of leftover turkey bones. That's how most of my Novembers end.


My Project 365 posts:
January: Minutiae
February: On Tactile Pleasures, a Plethora of Plaid, and Souvenir Socks
March: Bridges, Literal and Figurative, and Reuben Obsessions
April: Quotidian
May: On Lifelong Friendships, Napping with Babies, and Thank Yous
June: On Brocade Slippers and Spaces
July: Breakfast for Dinner, Paris On My Mind, and the Last Harry Potter
August: Blueberries, Long Days, and Vacillating Victuals
September: A Reunion, a Wedding, a Birthday, and a Michael Jackson Impersonator
October: North, South, and East
November: Sentimental

1 year ago today, Oh! Nuts $25 Gift Certificate Giveaway.
2 years ago today, Pate Chinois (Canadian "Chinese" Cottage Pie).
3 years ago today, Regent West Restaurant (Wedding Banquet) - Santa Ana (Little Saigon).
4 years ago today, Bok Choy Kimchee (Korean Pickled Bok Choy).

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