Monday, May 05, 2008

this is a test blog for the calss

We;re having a lot of fun today.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in San Mateo

This past week, I attended a training session sponsored by the San Mateo Fire Department. It's a six week course that trains community members to help first responders like the fire and police departments. There were about 30 people in the class and we're the first class to be trained in the new program that's based on a course developed in Menlo Park, CA and abides with new federal guidelines for community participation.

This is how it's described on the San Mateo city site:

Become a trained member of The City of San Mateo's Community Emergency
Response Team (CERT). During the six week course, participants will be
cross-trained in emergency skills that will include earthquake preparedness,
disaster response, basic disaster medical care, light search & rescue, fire
extinguishment, damage assessment and response team organization. The final
class will enable participants to practice these new skills in a hands-on drill.
Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing to class. For more information,
please call 522-7960.

The course is free and they plan to run it again in September.

Why I am doing this course when I have no time (working, kids, building a house)? Because I stood by and watched Katrina, realizing that I had no idea how I could help that community or even my own community, if disaster struck. We live just a mile from the San Andreas fault, so it's inevitable that we'll see a devasting earthquake in the area within my lifetime.

My goal is to help organize my neighborhood so that we can help each other in a time of crisis. To that end, I'll be learning basic skills such as how to put a fire, search and rescue, and handling emotions in times of crisis. Over time, I hope to add other more advanced skills like advanced first aid/EMT skills and even ham radio operation.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April Fool's Day 2006

I love April Fool's Day and yesterday was no different. Here are the pranks we pulled off.

- Before going to bed, we turned the kids around in their beds so that their heads were at the foot of the bed. When they woke up, they each got up on the regular side of the bed -- and ended up facing the wall instead of the door. They thought it was hilarious.
- The kids stuffed tissues into the toes of their dad's slippers.
- I pre-sliced my husband's banana. This is pretty simple to do. Take a banana, preferrably with lots of spots on it. Take a needle and thread and insert the needle where you want the slice to be, on one of the spots. Push the needle through along the side about a half inch and out again (try to stay close to the inside of the peel. Then got back into the banana in the same spot where it came out. Keep going around until you have the banana "surrounded" on the inside of the peel. Make sure the needle comes back out the original spot where you started. Then hang on to both ends of the thread and pull. Voila! You have a sliced banana without peeling it.

I did pre-warn my husband that there was a prank in his packed lunch, but I think it made it worse -- he kept looking for booby-trapped food! Next year, I'm going to limit the pranks to just harmless kid-oriented ones. Otherwise, I'm going to be asking for it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New knitting store in San Mateo - Nine Rubies

I was out house shopping with my realtor when she mentioned that a friend of hers had opened a knitting store in downtown San Mateo. Nine Rubies Knitting is owned and run by a mother (Sudha Sarin) and daughter (Saloni Howard-Sarin) team that created the place.

I had to get some needles for a scarf I'm making my mother, so I stopped there - they have great hours, open late every evening until 7pm (to catch the dinner traffic -- very smart!).

The space is drop-dead gorgeous with plenty of room, unlike most knitting shops where yarns are crammed into every square inch of space. Extra high ceilings and a living room-like sitting are makes you want to stay and knit for hours.

Saloni was working the shop and was extremely friendly and helpful. They will be holding classes in the future and, yes, they even have a blog.

Nine Rubies Knitting (right next to Selix Tuxedos, near El Camino Real)
28 East 3rd Ave., #100
San Mateo, CA 94401-4063

Google Maps link

Monday, December 26, 2005

Renewing my driver's license online - wow!

I just got a notification to renew my California driver's license and this year, there was the option of renewing it online. The key criteria are that you can't have changed your address. So I figured, it sure beat standing in line, or even mailing in my renewal with a check. In all, it took about 3 minutes to do from start to finish. Wow. I've been a pessimist of government's adoption of technology, but no longer -- this is just too cool. The added benefit is that I can keep my old photo and stay "forever young".

Recipe: Cantaloupe Bread and Cantaloupe Smoothie

My son is a huge fan of cantaloupe, but we inevitably have too much of it on hand. And if you don't eat it quickly, it goes bad - really bad!

So here are two great recipes that we tried this morning, with a bit of commentary included.

Cantaloupe Smoothie

1.5 cups of chopped cantaloupe
1 banana
5 ice cubes
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Put everything in the blender and puree until smooth. Add more ice and or sugar to taste. Makes about two servings.

Cantaloupe Bread

This recipe idea came originally from AllRecipes at


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cantaloupe - peeled, seeded and pureed
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, vegetable oil, apple sauce, sugar, Splenda, vanilla and cantaloupe. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture; stir to combine. Stir in the nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.

Substituted one cup of whole wheat for one cup of flour, one cup of Splenda for one cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of applesauce for 1/2 cup of the oil. Skipped the topping. Came out nice, but would add 1 cup of chopped walnuts next time. Can't taste the cantaloupe though, more like a banana bread (that's what the kids thought it was)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Rocky road chocolate bark - great, easy holiday gift

Each year I make a homemade chocolate bark as gifts for my kids teachers, hostess gifts, etc. I love this recipe because it's 1) fast; 2) easy; 3) kid-friendly; and 4) absolutely scrumptious! The secret -- using the microwave instead of a double boiler to melt the chocolate. I timed myself this year and it took about 25 minutes to make a double batch!

- About 2 pounds of milk chocolate. I use 3 11.5 oz bags of Guittard milk chocolate chips. I've also used Ghiradelli chips as well, but can't taste the difference. You can also use regular chocolate blocks.
- 1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
- 3 cups mini-marshmellows
- 3 cups chopped walnuts

1. Prepare a large cookie sheet (12 x 17.5 inches) by lining it with parchment paper, lightly sprayed with an oil spray. In a pinch, you can also use plastic wrap.
2. Place the chocolate and shortening in a large glass bowl. Heat on high for one minute and then stir with a spatula. Repeat heating for one minute and stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
3. Stir in 2 cups of the marshmellows and 2 cups of the walnuts.
4. Pour the mixture on to cookie sheet and spread out to about 1/2 inch thick (or thinner if you prefer).
5. Sprinkle another cup of marshmellows and cup of walnuts on top of the chocolate and then gentle press it into chocolate. This is a great step for the kids as they LOVE to like their hands clean!
6. Cool at room temperature until completely firm, about 4-6 hours or overnight. Cut or break the bark into pieces. Store bark in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

For presentation, I get cellophane gift bags and fill them with the bark, tying off the top with some curling ribbon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Orleans on my mind

Dan Bigman, an editor at, and a former colleague of mine from my newspaper days, recently published an article on his trip to New Orleans. He went there as a tourist with his wife and shared his impressions. One thing that touched me was this sense that residents are holding their breaths, hoping that people, events, conferences will return.

So I think to myself, would I take a vacation there, especially given all of the various options out there? And I think yes, my husband and I had a fantastic time there Pre-Kids and we'd love to go there again. So now I'm checking out flights and hotels for Mardi Gras - might be a great time to go and enjoy the new New Orleans. It won't be the same, but it will still always be a special place.