Thursday, March 22, 2012


Thanks for the guest post by Esteban Vinson

I have started to pay most of my bills on-line using my clear wireless santa clara internet connection. Last month, after the price of stamps went up again, I decided that I was going to bite the bullet and start paying things on-line. I used to be totally against paying all of my bills on-line. I preferred the old fashioned way of writing a check and mailing it in. Then, you didn’t have to worry about confirmation numbers and such. Some of the places that I have been paying bills to for years have done away with paper bills and you have to check your account status on-line, just another reason for me to switch. I am still getting used to it and I run into a problem because each site I have a different user name and password for. I have started to write down all of my user names and passwords and keep them on a sheet of paper. Hopefully next month I will not have to change the user names and passwords to everything that I own!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Little Rock

A quick stop at Little Rock, Arkansas, brought some interesting surprises, on St. Patrick's Day!

We toured the State Capitol, which was located at a quiet part of town. The building was majestic and beautiful. We had a need to use the restrooms, and they were decorated like the bathrooms in a house. Instead of rushing out of them, as we usually did at public restrooms, I felt like curling up with a book on the homely bench in the powder room! The front doors to the Capitol Building was made of bronze, but shimmered like gold in the distance. My kids spent some time playing with their reflections in the doors, and trying the door knobs, which wouldn't open, of course!

The statues on the Capitol grounds were of historical significance. It was interesting to read about their origins, and marvel at the courage of, and initiative taken by ordinary people which helped build what United States is today. The other side of town was home to restaurants/pubs, the junction bridge, and parks. It was St. Patricks's Day, and every where, we could see people downing glasses of green beer. There were a few guys dressed in kilts too, some merrily drunk, some remaining sober to in order to impress the pretty ladies dressed in all shades of green hanging on to their arms. There were block parties going on, just green upon green, everywhere we turned.

For just a dollar for adults, we got to ride the trolley, which went over the Arkansas River. We could see paddle boats, and a submarine docked at the river. It was pretty interesting! We also walked across the river on one of the bridges. It was a long bridge, too long for the little legs of our little one, who was already exhausted by the long drive. Anyway, it was an interesting, short tour.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Branson was one of the places struck by the tornado just before our Spring Break. Since we had already reserved our lodgings, we decided to go ahead with our trip.

It was a long drive, but we made it, without the kids doing too much whining. On the way to our condominium, we could see parts where the tornado had hit. Sometimes buildings lay in ruins in between whole ones, completely missed by the tornado. It was sad to see motels being torn apart, exposing rooms with curtains fluttering in the wind! Shops, restaurants, and museums were damaged, and boarded up.

However, Branson was still a beautiful place. Fortunately, there were enough entertainment places left untouched by the powerful tornado to entertain the Spring Break crowd. On days when we didn't have plans for any paid entertainment, we took the trolley, which didn't cost a penny, and toured the old shops in Branson. The trolley also made a stop at Branson Landing, which was home to "new" shops, restaurants, hotels, and a musical fountain. We spent some time browsing the shops, ate some delicious ice-cream, and just sat and watched the fountain, and activity on the river.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dinner Surprise

Written by my friend Betty Walls

One of my family’s very favorite meals in the world is chicken curry. I, on the other hand, despise the stuff and it despises me. I swore ten years ago I would never eat it again after breaking out into cold sweats and spending copious amounts of time hugging the porcelain throne. Maybe it is the Indian spice all together that hates my guts…literally. I know for sure I am not willing to try it again to find out. It left a burning impression in my memory to this day. However with all that being said, I caught a recipe on direct tv pittsburgh and realized this was a super easy dish to make & my family loves it so I am going to make their jaws hit the floor tonight when I put it on the table. I may even include it in my go-to recipes for busy nights. I will be eating something else entirely, possibly from another room! Maybe I can capture it all on film and win a million bucks from their reaction.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Little India

We always go back to Singapore for the summer. As our kids grow bigger, they get more demanding. They're no longer just satisfied sitting around their grandparents' place, or playing at the neighborhood playgrounds.

Last year, we made a special effort to arrange something fun, or new for them to do at least once a week. We took them to Little India one day. My 7-year-old had got to the stage where he was becoming aware of different cultures, and enjoyed seeing different places. Little India was just like a miniature India, with lots of Indian restaurants, shops lining the streets selling Indian spices, incense, saris, and a couple of Indian temples.

We stopped at an Indian restaurant, and my 7-year-old actually decided he was brave enough to try curry! I was very proud of him! He drank a lot of water, in between "bites" (we dipped Naan - tortilla like bread - in curry), but he didn't complain.

Later, we stopped at an open shopping area full of little shops selling Indian outfits, and other accessories. It was fun, and we grew dizzy just walking around the circular mall, dazzled by the clothes, mostly with sequins, beads, and beautiful embroidery sewn on them!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Railroad and Lone Star Flight Museums

Trains and airplanes topped the list on my boys' Christmas lists. One year, we took them to "Day Out with Thomas"! They were thrilled! We didn't tell them where we were going, until we were at the place. It was priceless to see their faces when they saw Thomas huffing, and puffing into the station! Of course, their excitement doubled when they learned that we were actually going to ride on Thomas!

My older boy had a week off for Spring Break last year. We didn't really want to take a long trip because of rising gas prices. So we went to the Railroad, and the Lone Star Flight Museums in Galveston. Parts of both museums were damaged by Hurricane Ike, but it was still fun for the boys. Anything life-size was awesome to little boys! We actually got to get onboard some of the trains. They were not moving, and mostly dirty (due to the hurricane), but we could still see what they were like, back in the days when they were still running.

Who would have thought there was so much fun stuff to do so close to home?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Buying The House

When I bought this house I wasn’t thinking about things like high speed internet service and plumbing, I was thinking about things like how pretty the moldings were and what colors I wanted to paint all the rooms. I think the realtor said something to the effect of "good bones" and I was just sold – it was a great house and it was so cheap for what it was! Well, I’ve come to find out that the reason it was so cheap was that it needed thousands and thousands of dollars worth of work. Oops. Guess in the future I’ll have learned to look into things more before I buy. Anyway, I’ve spent the last few months trying to get everything together for the house of my dreams but it’s really just making me crazy. Everything has to be special ordered or put in after I get a permit from the city and all in all it’s just the biggest hassle ever. I don’t think I’d do it again!

Guest Post by Olga Quinn