Friday, November 30, 2007

Happy and Sad News

Happy news: My sister (Chante), her husband (Sam), and my niece (Caelia, pronounced say-lee-a)) are in town from Washington (state) since Tuesday. Sam is here for a financial conference at the Red Rock Casino and Chante and Caelia decided to accompany him on this trip so I took some time off from work so that we can get in some family time while they are here.

My niece, Caelia, is almost three years old (her and her dad share the same birthday so that is cool). It's amazing how fast she has grown. She's walking and talking ... saying things that I wouldn't expect of a 2 1/2 year old and quite a cat terrorizer. She can already count to ten and read.
Sad news: Chante, Caelia and I went grocery shopping this morning so we can make lunch and some Asian dishes that I have never quite learned to make while I was living at home. Now I depend on when my sisters visit because they know how to cook the dishes my mom makes. (I was the youngest of four girls so I was always in the living room playing video games with my little brother while the rest of the women in the household were cooking. I regret that now ... LOL!)

When we got home, we learned that Sam's mom had passed away this morning from her long-term battle with MS. Even though we knew her time was limited, her passing was still unexpected. I believe she's only in her 50's [edit: she was diagnosed with MS when she was 25 and passed away at 55 years old). Far too young for someone I remembered as being so loving and giving (the last time I saw her, it was four Christmas' ago...and it felt like yesterday because I still remember her so vividly). She had a passion for crafts and cried over everything that made her happy. When we last parted (she and her husband live in Canada), I remember her giving me advice on cross-stitching. We will miss her and will be thinking of her this Christmas ... just 22 days short of her next birthday.
My heart goes out to Sam; he was her only son. I don't think anyone is ever ready for the passing of a parent. You just expect them to be there forever and ever (even though you know they won't), you know?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fondu and Artichoke Hearts

I'm thinking about the creamy fondue and artichoke hearts that we had at our friends, Ryan and Kristen's, house last weekend. I had never had fondue before and now I think about it every now and then. The artichoke hearts she made was absolutely tasty too. It had a vinaigrette dressing that had just enough bite and flavor. I need to bug her for a recipe because that sounds good for dinner. I guess it's past 2 p.m. so I must be hungry ... LOL.
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A Different Christmas Poem

This poem was forwarded to me and I thought it was definitely worth sharing.

~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~ ~-.-~

A Different Christmas Poem


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light,
Then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my father's before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue...an American flag.

I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

-------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq.


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We have someone in our office that is overseas in Iraq on duty. Every month, we collect monetary donations from the staff in our building to fund various causes and events. This month, we'll be sending gift baskets to our co-worker and her unit for Christmas, just to let the troops know that we care.

Feel free to click on the Email Post icon to share this poem with your friends and family. Happy holidays.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Story Behind Hello Daly and New Blog Title

Whenever I introduce myself, "Hello. My name is Daly.", people inevitably sing the song from the musical, Hello Dolly!, to me because my name is pronounced like "Dolly". (Funny, I have never seen the musical or heard the song.) How an Asian girl got a name pronounced like "Dolly" is another story.

A couple years back, I purchased the domain name, www.hellodaly.com where my blog is published. Not having any creative juices to pick a clever or original blog title for my website, I called it (drum roll please) ~-Hello Daly -~ (and cymbal crash) though it can be anything, any title I want to give it.

I think the title has remained "Hello Daly" since the inception of this blog but I don't think it quite captures the spirit of my blog. Yeah, I know my blog is a mish-mash of a lot of topics unlike those focused on topics like technology, business, fashion, cooking, or what have you.

I tried to brainstorming for new names in the past with no luck and recently my brain has been cranking again. This morning, I came up with "Three Girls One Guy" because our two female cats, Havi and Elgy, and I make up the three girls and my husband makes the one guy (and so I changed the title). Kind of like the sitcom, Three's Company, but more like Four's Company (my husband's idea).

I realize sexual ideas may come to mind from the new title instead of three girls living in a household with one guy so I am not sure if I'm committed to "Three Girls One Guy" as a title for the long run. Once again, I am at a loss for a name for my blog. The last call for names for my car was successful so I thought I would ask you what you think of the new title and if you have any suggestions for a different title. Okay ... fire away!

(How do parents decide on a name for a child and stick with it? I am guessing that's why my parents put every letter in my first (now middle) name--because they were indecisive and it seems I've inherited those genes!)

A nice complement

While I was waiting for the doctor this morning, I received a nice complement from one of the staff members. (I've been awake since 3 a.m., have horrible bags, and am now tired.)

She came up to me and said,"You are always smiling and happy. That is so nice! I like it when you come in because you just brighten up my day!"

I replied,"Thank you." which is progress because I am horrible at accepting complements, from a friend, my boss, or complete stranger (guy or girl).

That was nice to hear and I hope she knows that she brightened my day.

Who is there

I almost gave my husband a heart attack this morning. Once when he was getting ready for work in the bathroom and the second time when he was ironing his shirt.

What did I do? I think it was more like what I DIDN'T do which was cue him that I was in his presence so he wouldn't be startled when he would finally notice that I was literally in front of him. (I was walking up to him and waiting for his attention before talking which made him jump. It wasn't my intent to scare him.) :O

Well besides our two girls (our cats), Havi and Elgy, and me ... who else would be in the house? LOL. Just one guy and three harmless girls.

Cool Stuff for Your Blog

I love blogging and especially customizing my blog to make it my own since this is a common template. I found some cool Blog Stuff on justsayhi.com that I've actually used myself like:

How Much is Your Dead Body Worth?


How Addicted to Blogging Are You?


And a few other cool stuff from their website. I think I'm going to add a countdown to Christmas (even though I've mastered counting down from 25 while doing a headstand).

Check it out and see what you can add to your blog or even MySpace!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Dinner

While grandma and aunt Jan were in town from CA for Thanksgiving, we thought we'd invite them over for dinner since they wanted to see our newly remodeled kitchen. I was feeling quite adventurous and decided to make an Italian dinner instead of the lettuce wraps that I had planned to make (because that's hard to screw up).

While I was at lunch with my mom-in-law, Maggie, grandma Nancy, and aunt Jan, I decided to pick their brains for homemade recipes of spaghetti, meatballs, and vinaigrette dressing. I had never made these from scratch and knew I could trust a fool-proof recipe from these ladies. The recipe was surprisingly simple to make (and passed the fool test) but the effort paid off in flavor by tenfolds!

Dinner was certainly a success: Caprese salad with vinaigrette dressing and zesty spaghetti and fluffy meatballs with a side of garlic bread. The wine and company was just icing on the cake--especially aunt Jan's coconut lemon cake that was brought over. Yum, yum, yum!

[Caprese salad and meatballs before going into the broiler]
After coffee and dessert, we drove around the neighborhood in search of some Christmas light displays and soon ended up at Ethel M Chocolate Factory.
Click to play Light Display at Ethel M
The cactus garden must have had thousands and thousands of lights strung all over their trees and cactus! Lights forming shapes and in clusters. It was just beautiful!
We enjoyed seeing everyone and had just a wonderful night! While I am back at work, aunt Jan and grandma will be off to Kauai tomorrow and then my two-year old niece, oldest sister, and her husband will be visiting in just a few short days! (My older sister from MN is also in town with her husband--they just called me.) I am just indulging in all the precious family time that the fall/winter holidays are bringing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Perspectives

"Gawd, isn't Hilary Clinton just ugly? She looks like a dirty whore."

"Uhm ... yeah... she's not a very attractive woman."

"You're so nice. "She's not a very attractive woman."", my husband chuckles as he's quoting me.

It wasn't so much that I was trying to be nice as much as I wanted to be the one who had thought of the words, "dirty whore" as a fitting description.

Fire in the Hole

Since we didn't get in some target practice on Thanksgiving morning, John, Johnny, and I drove outside the city limits with our friend, Shannon, to get our doses of double action on this sunny Sunday.

This would be my Self Portrait Sunday shot but I wasn't able to get the entire AR-15 barrel included so I cheated (with the help of my lovely assistant, my sweet husband).
The entire morning, we shot with a P22, .45 automatic, my Ruger SP101 .357 mag, an AR-15, and a Armalite .50 caliber (the name is deceiving as it is NOT light but almost 40 lbs. and weighed more like a ton to me!).

Though the Armalite (pictured below with Shannon (the shaved head) doesn't look radical compared to the AR-15 I was holding, these rounds for it are quite extreme and the power of the rifle itself is more deceiving than its conservative appearance eludes to.
When Shannon fired that monster, I wasn't quite prepared to feel the shock wave from the muzzle blast and almost got knocked over. It feels like a sudden gust of wind or kind of like a belly flop into water ... so more of a sudden tap/push than burst of air.

This is a video of Shannon shooting the Armalite, John shooting, and by the time Johnny shot, I still couldn't adapt to the shock wave (no matter where I stood) and don't think I could ever so I sought refuge in our truck. Even when I was sitting inside the truck, I could hear the windows and door panels rattle! Quite wicked that Armalite.

Out of all the firearms we shot this morning, my favorites were the handguns .22, the .357, and the .45. I was having so much fun, I didn't want to stop but we had to get home to put up Christmas lights for the next big holiday.

video

Friday, November 23, 2007

Drink to Shopping

 

A dirty martini with lunch at P.F. Chang's during our day-after-Thanksgiving shopping break. Maggie, grandma, and aunt Jan and I made it through one store before Chang's lettuce wraps started calling for us. Jan, grandma, and I prefered martini (I like mine dirty) made with Tanqueray for our poisons and Maggie chose the Asian Pear Mojito. We finished off lunch with hot and spicy green beans, coconut prawns, and moog-goo gai pan (sp?) noodles before our next shopping run. That hit the spot!
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our Thanksgiving

This year, we joined John and Maggie at their home in Boulder City for Thanksgiving this year. Grandma and aunt Jan drove from Corona Del Mar (CA) yesterday to spend the holiday with us.

They did a wonderful job setting the mood with beautiful flowers, a cornucopia, and gingerbread men in a basket.
I had the toughest job of catching the turkey !

Our friend, Shannon, also joined us for the feast. It was really nice to catch up with everyone.
(I love shrimp cocktail and these bacon wrapped dates were just delicious!)
Rub-a-dub-dub! We want some grub (please)!

We had a spread of stuffing, potatoes, candied yams with pecans, caramelized pearl onions, curried cranberry sauce, spicy snap peas, and (of course) turkey! (This is my plate. I think I'm the minority of the group when it comes to the choice meat; I prefer the brown meat because it's the tastiest part.)

Then we settled in the living room with coffee and creamy punkin and/or a slice of warm apple pie.

Yazi says, no thanks, to whipped frosting while she hung out with the rest of us.

We had a lovely time, the food was great and we were blessed to be with family and friends.

What's for Dinner?

On this day of giving thanks, I can only imagine how many turkeys are being baked or fried across the country. Instead of following the traditional fare, you can go green and opt for the tofurkey or just go all out and cook an Elgyrkey. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dunkin' Donuts in Las Vegas

Several weekends ago, a Dunkin' Donuts opened up down the street from us on Gibson. There were people and cars outside the store even before the grand opening of that location, supposedly one of 62 franchise locations to be built in the Las Vegas area (41 of those stores are owned by one guy*).
I've had Dunkin' Donuts before...years ago when I was visiting family in New York and barely remember what was so good about them that people would flock to the franchise and wait in a long line going out of the door.
One Sunday, my husband and I decided to pay a visit to house of doughnut and have a sample ourselves. We picked up a couple of Bavarian Creme, a Chocolate Frosted, a Jelly Filled, a Glazed, and French Cruller to taste! (I think the Glazed and Cruller were my favorite but I could have done without any sugar glaze.)

If you are calorie conscious go for the doughnut in top three for lowest caloric content:
  • French Cruller (150 calories)
  • Sugar Raised Donut (210 calories)
  • Chocolate Frosted Donut (230 calories)
  • Glazed Donut (230 calories)
  • Marble Frosted Donut (230 calories)
(I was surprised to find two of my favorites on this list. Does this mean I can eat more?!)

I was surprised to discover that Dunkin' Donuts is not all about doughnuts. They also serve bagels, cookies, muffins, Danish, croissants, breakfast sandwiches, deli sandwiches, and hot and cold beverages including flavored coffee, smoothies, and teas.

Sounds like a good strategy on their part to have a variety of products and not just doughnuts and coffee meanwhile seeking national recognition. We'll see how they fare in the Southern Nevada market.

I Has Momma

My kitties love leaning against me to watch my laptop screen while I blog. Here Elgy is enjoying early Sunday morning with me.

Self Portrait Sunday at Lake Las Vegas

After washing both cars this past Sunday, we went to have dinner at Lake Las Vegas since we both have never been before. The resort was surprisingly busier than we had expected as we walked through the Casino MonteLago and along the cobblestone path lined with shops and waterfront restaurants of MonteLago Village.

We settled on the outdoor patio of Tenuta for a couple glasses of Merlot and shared a Caprese Salad. Topped with sweet sun-dried tomatoes, the mozzarella slices on a bed of fresh greens atop the vinaigrette dressing...this salad was just delicious. Especially with the hot, crusty rolls served with butter.The stuffed mushrooms was also excellent. I liked that the mushrooms were not overdone and soggy but cooked al dente.
We each had penne pasta with a red sauce and artichoke hearts for dinner. I added shrimp to mine and our dinner was so good! By the time we started on our entrée it was dark so I wasn't able to get a good picture.

I was able to get a picture of the strung lights that came on ... and my Self Portrait Sunday pic!

After dinner, we were so stuffed so we strolled past luxury condos down to the marina where the ice skating rink sat and watched the scenery. How we wanted to speed across the lake breaking its calm surface but only electric boats and watercrafts are allowed on the 320 acre privately-owned lake.
It was a wonderful way to end the weekend and we look forward to visiting again soon.

The nerve

A while back I made a personal decision to stay off a forum because I didn't want to be a part of the drama that seems to fuel some people. I composed a post on my blog and mind you, I was pretty upset when I did it but my blog is my on-line diary and if I can't vent in honesty then who am I fooling? I write for myself and if others can find enjoyment in reading my babblings then by all means be my guest.

So this morning I received an anonymous comment in response to said ranting post, "Strong words....Mind if I post a copy of this at HotBoat [the forum]?"

WTH?!

For the record, this person comes to MY BLOG and attempts to instigate drama. Come on now.

I basically said s/he is welcome to post it but doing so would serve as a prime example of the reason I chose to leave the forum--the drama. (There are helpful and positive posts but I was so disgusted with a certain thread that I could never get that bad taste out of my mouth.)

The nerve of some people, huh? My ranting post was harsh but I don't see a reason why anyone should take it so personally if it had nothing to do with them. It's my blog, I can post what I want and it was my personal choice to stay out of the forums, what's the purpose of dragging me back into it? It's not my intention to be mean here but seriously, I resolve to keep drama out of my life (my method for staying insane(ly happy)). Life's too short to feed off the negatives. Why?

Sorry, it's the day before Thanksgiving but I just have to rant and for that, I am thankful of the medium (my blog) through which I can do so! Okay...I guess I should also be thankful for having readers on my blog too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Lunch

Yesterday I didn't get a chance to pack my lunch for the work day so I stopped at the little cafe inside the gym after my lunch work out to grab a container of Chinese Chicken Salad. Upon returning to my desk, I discovered that the meager piece of chicken was breaded (I am not a fan of breaded things but I can live). As I started to eat the salad, I began to wonder whether the bed of spring mix was washed or not prior to packaging. It's not something I usually think about--it's been over a decade since I've had food poisoning (chicken burger from the school cafeteria) and I rarely get sick but with the colds and flu going around lately, I think I've suddenly developed a mild case of germaphobia.

So today I made sure to prepare my lunch from dinner leftovers and I admit that my salad tasted much, much better (even if it was all in my head)!

Spicy and Hot Green Beans

For the past week I have been craving green beans and not the soft green beans and butter that my grade school cafeteria use to serve (and probably still does) but the spicy and hot green beans, like the kind served at PF Chang's or the ones my sister makes everytime we gather for Thanksgiving.

I've been making my own spicy and hot green beans which I have been eating for breakfast and as part of my lunch and dinner for the past several days now. I don't know what it is about the green beans that I like so much. Maybe it's the salty or hot spices ... or the crunch factor but I just love eating them and can't seem to get enough!

Here is a good recipe that I found for hot and spicy green beans. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

View from office window

I work in the oldest building on campus but I have this little window from which to peer through that offers me a view of the outside world. For a moment I can forget all about this building, the old dust, and very public bathrooms that gives my work place its character. (Our new building is under construction with less than a year to completion.)

We've been lucky to have this nice weather for the past several weeks since summer ended. The temperatures in the Las Vegas area have been in the upper 70's, low 80's and my husband tells me that today's high will be record breaking for this time of year. But the warm weather will surely end with the start of Thanksgiving according to the forecasts.

Vegas can be cold in December and January where average temperatures have dipped to around 37 degrees. Brrr ... I am wishing summer was already here.

Cupcakes

After I went to the Purrfect Parking Lot Sale fundraiser event with my friend, we stopped by one of her favorite places, The Cupcakery, for a treat!

I ended up choosing several cupcakes to take home including the Southern Belle and Peanut Butter Chocolate.
The Southern Belle is a red velvet cake topped with cream cheese frosting and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is a moist chocolate cake covered with crunchy peanut butter frosting.
My husband said they are too good and I wholeheartedly agree!

Tactical Gifts

I came across 5.11 Tactical Outdoors while browsing the Internet for gift ideas and thought what a great gift their stuff would make for several people in my life. 5.11 Tactial has one of the largest inventories of 5.11 Tactical Pants, Boots, Shirts and gear in the nation including Galco holsters.

I especially like the Bail Out Tactical Gear Bag, the Surefire Flashlights, and think these pants would be the cutest thing to wear the next time I go target practicing.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

White Lilies

I have always loved the simple yet elegant calla lily but the large white variety is not always readily found in supermarkets so I enjoy up what is convenient, the fragrant white lily (pictured above). This arrangement is in the master bathroom and I've been waiting ever since we picked the cut flowers from the grocery store for one of the buds to open up and finally when I thought it was a dud--the flower opened up yesterday!

Since our wedding, the cymbidium orchid has become one of my favorite flowers--especially the green or white orchid). It was used on our wedding cake and my bridal bouquet (my mother-in-law, Maggie, made for me) but the orchid does not have a scent that I can detect and for that, it's not my top favorite. Now if I could only find a hybrid between the lily and orchid, it would surely rival the calla lily for first place!