Our Photo Gallery

 Gingalings MS Ride (2006)

 Chicago Marathon (2004)

 Our wedding (2003)

 AIDS Bike Ride (2002)

Sox win!
Josh and Billy at Game 5 ALCS!

Tuesday March 17th, 2009 04:51 AM
Europe Trip 2009 - Days 1-4  by -- GinG and Billy
Route
The recently cleaned Duomo in Milan
We visited a castle in the middle of Milan that we didn't see last time we were here
And hung out with the New Mommy
We stayed with Alex's parents (Pietro, thanks for helping us find our way back to Via Solferino!)
Then we made our way to Saas-Fee a lovely little town in the Alps and took a cable car up to get a good view of all the peaks surrounding us (that's Billy all the way off in the distance).
And then took a car-train to Zurich. You just drive your car onto the train and then stay in the car through a 25 mile tunnel through the mountain instead of having to drive over the pass...how awesome is that!?!?
In Zurich, we hung out with Georgia, Pete, and Niamh and had cheese fondue for dinner and then bougnigne fondue (meats in oil) fondue for lunch the next day! Fondue is so yummy!
We've now made our way to Stuttgart where we're hanging out with Maureen and Markus. For dinner, we had a huge shared plate of Swabian food (southern German) that included Maultaschen, something like german mac & cheese, sausages, and steak.
Monday June 09th, 2008 01:12 AM
Bears and dogs  by -- GinG and Billy
Thanx, Dan for reminding us to update our blog! Totally forgot about it, heh.

Lots has happened since my last blog! It's been awhile since Billy's blogged too, but he's the one behind the scenes making all the photos look nice on these posts! Let's see, I went to Germany and then Abu Dhabi for work.

I came home to see that Billy had done a fantastic job tending to my gardens!

One weekend, I came home to LA for our 10-year Mudd reunion which was a blast . We played Beer Ball, went for a Donutman run, went hiking, saw old friends, had a poker tournament, .... it was much more fun than I'd ever expected it would be!

For Memorial Day Weekend, a bunch of us got a vacation rental at Sequoia National Park. We really wined and dined and Keystoned it up. We had some real cooks there. We had tri-tip, gnocchi from scratch, lasagna, and every morning, we'd wake up to the smell of bacon before setting out on hikes and day adventures.

I seem to be getting a reputation for leading "Death Marches" now. I still don't own up to it, but you can't hide from your reputation. Well, it happens that it was snowing and hailing in Sequoia on this trip and we went off on this little side trail, so now I'm being made fun of leading "Freezing to Death Marches." **sigh** The upside of that hike was that we got to see a BEAR!!!! From far away, thank goodness.

Billy, Matt, Michelle, and I went on an overnight hike one night also. We camped amongst big tall trees and bears. One of the more difficult hikes we've done since it was pretty much uphill all the way with very few flat portions. Poor Billy carried most of my stuff too cuz he forgot to bring my overnight backpack. I carried the carbon fiber bear canister part on the way down.

This weekend, we went on a nice hike in our backyard, in Briones Regional Park, with Josh, Carolyn, and the still so ever energetic Higgins. I LOVE the long days! We hiked till 8:30pm!

I'm off to Asia this week! More photos to come!
Monday March 31st, 2008 10:03 AM
Hiking and more hiking  by -- GinG
Mt. Diablo - Second unsuccessful attempt to get to Eagle's peak

So we are taking advantage of the California weather and hiking every opportunity that we get. This first photo is of us on Mt. Diablo a couple weekends ago. We were so eager to get out that we took off from work early on a Friday to catch the last rays of sunshine. It was a great way to start the weekend.

Lake Kent - Wildflower season

This next photo is with our friend Alex, visiting from Spain and Higgins, the O'Connor's 9 month old puppy that we're sitting! We went on a 4 hour hike around Lake Kent up in the Marin Watershed this weekend.

Monday March 03rd, 2008 01:17 AM
Visiting Friends and Family  by -- GinG =P
Over the last few weeks, we've had lots of visitors and been doing our share of visiting too! Below are some photos of good times!

Auntie Rosa and Uncle Kit were in town so we got together with Uncle Chuck, Auntie Denise and Lil' Uncle and Auntie for Dim Sum.


We went to San Diego for Kaipo's Birthday.


Then Josh and Tweeny came to visit and we went up to Napa with Juniper and family.


And then Dan came down later that weekend and Josh introduced us to the fun sport of orienteering with Jason and Angus!

Monday March 03rd, 2008 12:54 AM
A Scientific Experiment  by -- Sharon and GinG
So at work, one of my current projects is on looking at Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) collected from people getting pulled over. The legal limit in all states is now 0.08...but what is 0.08 really? I'm sure you're not all of a sudden unable to drive anymore at 0.08? It used to be 0.10 in most states. Can one even tell the difference between 0.08 and 0.10? On Tyra Bank's talk show, she got a bunch of people to go out partying as they usually would and then take a BAC test before driving home. This was a younger crowd and they were all surprised when most of them tested OVER THE LIMIT and would have driven home under normal circumstances.

So we set out do our own little experiment when Sharon and Gerry were in town.

Hypothesis: People can’t tell when they’ve reached the legal BAC level of 0.08 for driving because they don’t know what that feels like.

Methodology: We bought a Breathalyzer at Brookstone (it only went up to 0.12) then we went to a nice brewery for dinner. After each drink, we would say whether or not we would be able to drive and would take two to three sample tests and see where everyone was at. Sharon took data …. we were all subjects. By the end of the night, Gerry had had ~8 drinks, Billy ~6, Ging ~3, and Sharon

Observations:
- No one would have even considered driving over the limit. Ging Ging and Sharon both thought they would not drive at 0.02!!
- The breathalyzer results are significantly higher if you don’t eat anything between a sip of alcohol and taking the test. So always eat a bite of something before walking out of a bar to drive home! The correct one is the one after you eat.
- Billy and Gerry could easily drink 3 beers an hour and still stay under the legal limit. Something Ging and Sharon had not believed until proven that night.

Conclusions:
- We think all 21 year olds should take this test so they know what 0.08 feels like. A number means nothing to anyone. It’s everyone’s guess as to whether or not they can drive home.
- Billy and Gerry aren’t lying when they think they can drive home after having a few beers.
- Ging and Sharon agree with the NHTSA study that even at 0.02 BAC, for some people, motor skills can be impaired enough that they shouldn’t be driving.
- Further tests should be conducted to determine 1) at what rate Billy and Gerry can drink at to stay under the legal limit and 2) what is necessary to get Ging and Sharon’s BAC above 0.
Tuesday January 15th, 2008 01:38 PM
Starting the New Year  by -- GinG
So Billy and I are not at home again. He is in Singapore and I am in DC. He is there for a project he's been working on for awhile and I am attending the big annual transportation conference.

We had a great time with the Fernandezs over the holidays! We went up to Napa Valley and had a great time at the wineries and also visited the Jelly Belly factory! We had clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls and also took a drive up to Muir Woods.

Billy and I are still driving our friends mad with talk about Vanuatu. But here are some lessons that I learned that has stayed with me:

  • You don't need as much STUFF as commercials make you think you need. - You can probably make do with what you've got if you're just creative.
  • Don't let your ego get in the way - If there's a problem, figure out what YOU did wrong, not what the other person did wrong. Forgive. It is freeing. And learn how to forgive completely.
  • It's ok to spend time doing nothing - Not every minute of every day needs to be occupied. Enjoy the time where you are just sitting around.

Good things to start a new year off with. In some cases, a new life.

Thursday December 13th, 2007 10:24 PM
Dreaming of traveling  by -- GinG =P
I'm officially a wanderlust. I've only gotten back but I'm still thinking about where I was and where I want to go next. So tripadvisor.com has this cool new app which allows you to plot all the places that you've been and share suggestions and comments with friends. Check out my map, make your own, and come dream with me!
Monday December 03rd, 2007 12:36 AM
It's Christmas already!?!  by -- GinG

So it's very strange to come home after 7 weeks and find that it's cold here in California and that the leaves are all on the ground and that Christmas decorations are up everywhere and jolly music playing in the stores! Typically you get some warning....shorter days, Thanksgiving,...

So we spent all weekend cleaning up the house (yes...we're still unpacking), making it livable for the holiday festivities, and putting up Christmas decorations! And because I haven't done any housework for 7 weeks (actually more)... it was actually really fun! Our house is now much more cozy, livable, and we even got time to sit down and enjoy some movies. We cooked some homemade meals...I really missed my own cooking...haha! Everything I had while on travel was awesome, but sometimes, you just miss having things to your own taste.

So happy holidays! And hopefully you'll hear more from us for awhile since we've got NO (major) vacations planned for awhile! I'll be constantly working on our Vanuatu photos over the next few weeks, so check back!

Wednesday December 26th, 2007 10:40 AM
Ging in Vanuatu  by -- GinG =P
Today, billy is coming into town! The whole village is extremely excited along with me!

More photos are up at http://picasaweb.google.com/ribbityup. Here's a little update from last week:

Saturday
------------
It’s 1am and I’m about to go to bed. We got back from Turtle Beach (??) at about 11:30pm. I made hot cocoa for the 8 kids that went with us, scavenged for some food (our nightly bread was not delivered to us), opened the cooler and discovered that my precious butter I’d bought in town on Friday had been raided by ants. So not being able to deal with this calamity, I took out my Tasmanian Edam and sat down with it to ponder how I was going to get all the ants off my block of butter. With Marie’s help, we doused the butter with drinking water and then with a knife, carefully removed all traces of ants from the butter. Then we put all the ant-attractive food in a tupperware and floated it in water in the cooler….hopefully that will last until tomorrow morning.

Then I had to take a shower in cold water. Then as I headed out to brush my teeth, I hear a growl in the bushes. I’ve been told that the dogs here wouldn’t attack people, but it’s still a little scary, particularly as all the neighborhood dogs are howling in the background…some sound like coyotes…although there shouldn’t be any here. Last night, the dogs raided all our booty we picked up in town….the sugar, the flour, my candy that I’d bought (the Australian calls them lollis). This is what life is like.

Sunday
----------
We went to the Sunni village today. Three of the villages get together once a month for church to help raise funds for each other. Everybody dressed in their island wear and we attended their service. The service was rather long. The pastor seemed to be preaching about giving generously to the church the entire sermon. At the end, we all gave offerings to help build their new church and in return they made lunch for everyone.

Sunni is the village that Tasariki broke off from. But there are only about 7 families left there. It was rather small compared to Tasariki. Unlike Tasariki, the village is no longer growing so their primary school shut down.

The three of us were so tired from having so many activities that we decided not to go to turtle beach tonight. So we took some long naps (me in my hammock over the water) and made a simple dinner of baked beans (Owen, Jenny’s boyfriend showed us how….stir fry potato and onions, add corned beef + baked beans, add green pepper, soy sauce, and salt)…delicious. Then we trekked over to Kalop’s oldest brother’s place to watch some movies (Rambo and a video of island music).

Monday
-----------
Today I taught the women in the village how to make chicken soup with pork meatballs and scallion pancakes. The chicken soup was somewhat foreign to them because they don’t usually eat out of bowls. They rather liked the scallion pancakes. It was pretty easy to make, so it’s something they might make again in the future. They all took notes and watched intently. The other day, I showed Jenny how to make mashed Kumala (a type of sweet potato) since I had some butter.

Thursday
-------------
We went fishing today! No rod, just a reel, sinker, and hooks. You let the sinker hit the bottom and then just hold on to the line and feel for bites. Soon as you feel a bite, you give the line a big tug. It was amazing how many bites there were down there! Amongst three of us, we caught 5 fish. Kalop caught a big red fish and a barracuda! Got home and fried up the barracuda…quite yummy!

Wednesday December 26th, 2007 10:40 AM
Second week in Vanuatu  by Ging!

Sunday

So I had a pretty eventful weekend! On Saturday we went snorkeling. There's a nice reef in front of the schoolyard but you have to go out a bit further to see the big coral. So I swam and swam and started seeing bigger and bigger coral reefs! They were all shapes. The brain kind, the pokey kind, everything. It was pretty awesome. And SCHOOLS of fish around them. It was much deeper than at Hanauma so you could kind of just watch from above as the fish did their thing. There were some big parrot fish and also these humungous clams, like 2 feet across! Pretty crazy. The area around the village is all protected conservation area designated by the chief so no fishing. Smart chief, eh? One of the guys brought a baby turtle they had taken from the beach one night and kept at home. The baby turtle is 1 month 3 weeks old. And so we put him on the sand and let him swim in the ocean with us. It's someone's pet turtle so we had to return him. It was the first time the baby turtle had swam in the ocean before, so it didn't really know how to. It didn't know how to dive at all. Just swam at the top and headed straight for deeper waters. We let him swim for a bit, quite a little swimmer, and we had to take him back to the beach.

Tuesday

I hiked to the turtle beach finally! It was a hike over the mountains and then back down to the beach. I had a mistep and strained my ankle a bit, but walked it off. Feels great. The sand is good for my ankle too. Strength and flexibility training. I'm wearing my boots on the beach. The sand gaiter thingys work pretty well! Everyone else's socks are getting dirty! Cuz it was just a few of us and cuz it was my first night out to the beach, so was a test of my ankle, we took it slow. It was kind of like the volcanos hike in Hawaii. Tropical in some areas, even at the top of the hill we hiked over, it was covered in coral. Pretty interesting.

So we didn't see any turtles (if we did, then we woulda tagged it) but we did see 5 turtle tracks which we marked. They take exactly 28 days to hatch. So 2 of them will hatch on Christmas eve and 3 nests will hatch on Christmas day! There were some that were laid from August through when we got here, so there might be some hatching over the next few weeks too, but I haven't seen the log that covers those days. Hope we get to see some baby turtles making their way to the ocean! Although we can't protect them once they get into the sea, we can help to prevent the wild dogs and birds from getting them while they're making their way down to the beach.

Wednesday

At school yesterday, I showed the kids and the teacher how to use chopsticks! They had a lot of fun with that and many of them picked it up pretty quick.

I bought some fishing line when i was in town last Friday and a handheld reel to put it on for fishing. They don't use fishing poles! I can't wait to go out fishing!

Click here to see more pics!

Thursday November 01st, 2007 08:10 PM
Ging's first week in Vanuatu  by Ging!
So I arrived in Vanuatu with a sprained ankle. What a start! The doctor gave me a aircast that went up to my knee. It turned out to be not a problem at all on my flight over. I always thought it'd be difficult to get through an airport when one is less mobile, but it turns out, they wheelchair/buggy you right to your gate, pick you up on the other side, you never have to wait in any lines cuz they take you right up to the front, and they even have people to help you with your luggage (thank goodness cuz mine was the biggest of all the volunteers)!

Upon arrival, we hopped into a minibus and took a drive around Port Villa. Then we drove 1 hour over a paved-but-pockmarked-with-potholes road to a small beach landing where we boarded a boat and rode 1/2 an hour to the island of Mosso. We landed on a small strip of sandy beach and into the middle of a celebration dinner for us by the Tasiriki Village.

So my ankle meant that I wouldn't be hiking the first week. So I've been helping out at the school. At the school, there is one certified teacher for grades 1-6. He has two helpers for kindergarten. In total, there are 56 students K-6. I am helping with the 11 year 6 students. I taught math, reading, writing, and also told them about my life at home. I also got to help out with sports day. I helped coach the girls in volleyball! The girls here are amazing, even the young ones are bump, set, and spiking! They are so athletic!

Okie....gotta run cuz my time's up at the internet cafe....more next Friday! Luv to everyone...GinG

Tuesday January 23rd, 2007 10:17 PM
FYI....It takes 3 months to redo a bathroom  by -- GinG

So the week after we got back from South Africa, we started renovating our bathroom. Sorry we have been so out of touch! My new rule of thumb for first time renovators is that everything takes not two, but THREE times the inflated original estimate. And it was true this time too, this was supposed to be a one month project. So here are the before and after photos.

BeforeAfter
1a. Pink, need I say more? Well, there is more....we got lots of comments that it looked like a locker room....I tend to agree. 1b. Nine foot ceiling, modern tiles, contemporary sink, hidden toilet. Not bad, eh?
2a. Not only was the ceiling lowered in the bathroom, but it was lowered even more in the shower stall!2b. So we hired a contractor to do the bathroom due to the need for both plumbing and electrical work. We went with the lowest bid for the job...and we ended up tiling most of the shower and floors ourselves. Still not a bad deal...and now we know how to do tiling! Notice billy's favorite shower curtain.
And while the contractors were working on the bathroom, we were working on the kitchen!
3a. This actually doesn't look all that bad now that I look at it.3b. The power drywall team! The Lawrences came over and in one day, we had the entire first coat of compounding done! They are one superb team! Thanx, guys!3c. Guess what we're working on now!
Coming soon!
Tuesday October 17th, 2006 04:35 AM
South Africa Trip!  by Billy
Hello everyone. We've just got back from our South Africa trip and it was an amazing experience! We packed a lot of activities into our 1.5 week stay. We began the trip in Capetown, where Ging was participating in a conference the week before. We hung out there for a night, sampled some great wine and music and visited the seaside area near the city and townships outside the city the next day.

Early in the morning on day 3 we arrived at Capetown's airport to leave for Kruger National Park only to find out that our plane tickets were for the following day! Hmmm....so we decided to rent a car for a day and tour Stellenbosch, the wine area about 20 minutes outside the city. I would have to quickly learn how to drive on the wrong side of the street! We visited four vineyards and one that had olive oil tasting also. Ging and I tried several white wines that were phenomenal but weren't all that excited about the red wines we tasted. They were all very different from the South African wines you can buy in the states though.

The next day we flew to Nespruit and rented a car to drive the hour or so to Kruger Natl Park. The best way to describe Kruger is as a reverse zoo. It is has an area of 8500 square miles and multiple entrances along its border that all close around sunset. Once you are in the park, you must stay in your car because that is all that stands between you and the animals. In the park, we stayed at various camps which are fenced-in compounds. You can drive around the park all day but by 6:00 pm you need to be within a camp when they close the gates. If you are locked out, you could get fined or eaten or both.

We stayed in Kruger for a total of 5 days and manage to see all of the "Big 5" - Water Buffalo, Elephants, Lions, Rhinos and Leopards. We also saw even rarer sightings like wild dogs and foxes. We actually saw every big animal in our viewbook except for the cheetah which the park only has 200 of. (Thats one cheetah per 42 square miles.) We'll have to try harder next time! I really enjoyed our time in Kruger and plan to return as soon as possible.

After Kruger, we flew to Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city with several million people. We spent the night in a township outside of Joburg called Soweto which has a couple million residents itself. We stayed in a bed and breakfast a block away from Nelson Mandela's and Desmond Tutu's house. The neighborhood reminded me a lot of Hawaii. The concept of tourists like us staying in a township like Soweto would be similar to having tourists from Michigan stay at a Hawaiian family's house in Waianae or Waimanalo to get the full flavor of the local culture. It was weird how comfortable I felt there after the initial shock of the setting was gone.

We are currently uploading the pics we took here. Check there to see all of them soon.

I bought a new camera right before we left so I ended up with about 500 photos. Don't worry, I'm culling it down to about 50 or so. Here are some handpicked teasers:

Thursday August 31st, 2006 11:43 PM
We now have a backyard!  by -- GinG
So you've heard, and heard, and heard about us working on our backyard over the past few months. Who ever would have thought that a backyard would take so much work? Certainly not us.
The way it came -- Summer 2005 So the backyard came to us as all grass. Lots and lots of crabgrass. And a ghetto little patio on the bottom right of the picture. We assumed that the soil was full of lead and other unhealthy things typical of 100 year old houses in New England, so Billy built Ging a raised garden.
The Granite Garden -- Fall 2005 - Spring 2006 We started by adding two parking spots so that we didn't have to deal with having to move our cars every week for street cleaning. That's off to the right of the picture. At the same time, being from Hawaii, where there is no granite, Billy developed a granite fetish. We bought tons and tons of granite off of Craigslist. To be precise, 200+ linear feet of curbing and 130 cobblestones. We used the granite to line the new driveway. We also installed a granite post. The rest of the granite sat in the backyard all winter since the ground was frozen and no work could be done on it.
The Patio & Gardening -- Early Summer 2006 We filled the garden with screened loam and planted heirloom tomatoes, spaghetti melons, pumpkins, basil, and mint. We also purchase 2 tons of gravel and 2 1/2 tons of stone dust for laying the patio (that's in upper right in the photo).
Patio Preparations To lay a patio properly in Boston, where the ground freezes over and then buckles when it melts in the spring, you have to dig, tamp the soil using a big loud vibrating box with handles, put down a layer of gravel (granite gravel, imagine that!), tamp, put down landscaping cloth, put down stone dust -- which is what's left over from making granite gravel, tamp, tamp, tamp (thanx to Jon for helping), then place the granite and hit it with a big hammer until it's level then fill the gaps with more stone dust.
Preping for Sod -- July/August 2006 So there were many big metal poles in our backyard that were set in cement. Prior to laying the asphalt, we had taken most of the fence posts out by digging and then dragging it out using our Explorer (you wouldn't believe how deep and heavy they dug the fence post holes!). But the remaining poles were tall clothesline poles so they had dug even DEEPER holes and poured MORE cement into the holes so when we tried pulling it out with the car, it didn't budge. So after hours with a Sawzal followed by extensive discussion with our friend Rob, it was concluded that we needed a jack hammer to break up the cement and then a angle grinder to cut off the pole way below the ground level. This was very successful. The angle grinder did the work of a Sawzal in a few minutes.
Preparing the Soil -- Aug 2006 So now that the poles were gone, we could spread out the mountain of dirt lying in the backyard. As we learned ... thank you internet ... this is how to prepare soil for sod: Remove rocks bigger than 3", add lime, till the soil, add peat moss, till more, ADD STARTER FERTILIZER (we skipped this due to differing opinions on the internet, which caused problems later), grade, thoroughly moisten soil (which we also didn't know about).
Laying of the Sod -- Aug 16, 2006 So we bought 600 sq. ft. of sod and brought it back to the house in a Zipcar truck. And we all took off part of the day to install the sod.
Result: High Maintenance Lawn And now we've got a nice little piece of green in our backyard that requires lots of water, fertilizing, and mowing....hope it stays green! (That's Sarah in the back rolling the lawn.)
Tuesday June 06th, 2006 11:44 PM
Long time no BLOG!  by -- GinG
Boy have we been busy! Since the last post, we've:
  • Taken in another doggie, Juneau, who was adopted in about a week and Josie has been adopted. (More doggies to come this weekend!)
  • Went to a Red Sox/Mariner's Game with Paul
  • Ging went to Busan, South Korea for work and then met up with Yoosun for Korean sashimi and hiking on a little island while Billy stayed home and surprised Ging with refinished living room hardwoord floors when she got back! Looks AMAZING!
  • Went biking in Maine
  • Harvested our Granite Garden (and made it into a patio) and got two cubic yards of soil for our above ground garden and planted tomatoes, basil, chili peppers, lots of different types of mint, potatoes, and sweet peas
  • Went to Seattle, attended Shanlenn and Justin's wedding in Hood River, OR (Congrats, guys!), hung out with family and friends (Dan, Cordy, Han, Bamer, Alyssa, Wakana, Peter, Anika, Ted, Allice, Paul)
Tuesday March 14th, 2006 04:19 AM
Busy weekend  by -- GinG =P
So this weekend, we played volleyball on Friday (we're taking a class on volleyball on Wednesdays and Billy is starting to spike really well after just one class) with Val and Steve-O!

On Saturday, we took Josie to a Greyhound Welfare Open House at Petsmart in Nashua, NH with another Somerville dog named Havanna. All the fosters in the area go to the open houses so that people get to see them and get interested in adopting greyhounds! They got lots of attention and we helped answer lots of questions about them. Josie is a very timid dog, but she started liking it when people pet her. After the open house, we took the two dogs hiking at Great Brook Farm a State Park in the area. It has a little farm with cows and chickens and sheep and miniature goat on the premises. Unfortunately, the ice cream stand wasn't open yet. As you can see here, it's very difficult to take timed pictures with dogs. :)

In the evening, we went to Hong's Iron Chef birthday potluck (Happy Birthday Hong!) which meant that we all had to bring dishes with one or more of the following ingredients: tamarind, ginger, and chili. We weren't quite sure what "chili" is (is it a special type of pepper? is it the same as chile?) so we made a ginger & hot green pepper beef. At the party, we spent a lot of time discussing what our t-shirt design is going to be for the Gingalings. Mark is going to be our t-shirt man. In the end, we couldn't agree on anything, but we did recruit a couple more maybes-riders for the MS150 ride!

On Sunday, Ging went to go see Sarah run in the Boston Run to Remember half-marathon (go sarah! she ran an average 8 minute 40 second mile for 13 miles!) And because the weather was so good, we worked on the backyard some (have to get ready to seed the lawn when it gets warmer and it's still a granite garden right now). And then in the evening, Andrea came over for dinner. We made her cook plaintains (they're like drier bananas) for our dessert!

It was a very full weekend. And now that it's Monday we're really tired. :)

Sunday February 26th, 2006 08:25 PM
Newest Venture: Greyhound Fostering  by - GinG =P
So Billy and I are sleepy cats with unpredictable crazy schedules so although we've been wanting a dog for awhile, we weren't sure if we could handle the responsibility. We decided that we would try our hand on other people's dogs by fostering "retired" greyhounds right off the track.
So last week we practiced fostering by foster-sitting Goldie. Goldie was a curious, very active greyhound that was two weeks off the tracks. She was pretty much house-trained and was a real joy (minus all the whining she did during the day). Billy seems very happy with this extra companionship.
This week, we got a new doggie, Josie, RIGHT off the track! We gave her a bath and got her settled in. We also taught her how to use the stairs by lifting each leg in order up the stairs! We think she's got it down now! She's much more shy than Goldie was. The poor thing has to put up with us.
Sunday February 12th, 2006 07:07 AM
Winter has finally arrived!  by -- Ging and Billy
We've been having a rather mild winter. Haven't had enough snow to go sledding yet.....until TODAY! This storm hit Boston while we slept and when we woke up today, it looked like this:

So thank goodness we have a 4X4, cuz we're going to Costco to stock up on stuff, including fondue, because that's the perfect food when you're inside and it's cold and snowing outide. Maybe Ging's work'll get cancelled tomorrow and she can stay home!

Cordy's here too and we're hoping she gets stuck here so she can have fondue with us!

Friday January 13th, 2006 07:47 AM
More Wrapup!  by Billy
I had a couple more shots of 2005 that I wanted to share with you all:

This is a shot of Ging trying to run the cables we were installing into our house. This bundle includes 4 Cat5e, 4 14ga speaker wire, 4 RG6 Coax, and 3 Cat3 cables. It was fun wrestling these wires with half my body in the ceiling cavity (in the next room which you can't see) but my neck hurt for days after...

And, yes, all of this is already obsolete with all of the wireless doodads available. But we do like the speed when transferring files from PC to Xbox to Tivo.

This pic is mainly for my dad. He wanted to see how I trimmed out the windows in the dining room. We tried our best to copy what was already in the house, so that meant using 5 types of trim. But I think it worked because Sarah asked how we got all the layers of old paint off the trim!

Enough of the boring stuff, here are some pics of the Grand Canyon trip from Kristin's camera:

View from the watchtower:

Painting inside the watchtower:

Cliff dwelling North of Phoenix:

Trail we took in the canyon:

Friday January 06th, 2006 10:38 AM
2005 Wrap-up  by -- GinG
Happy 2006! Sorry for not having written for so long. We had a very busy fall! I'm hoping to sum it up here...and will try harder to blog more in 2006!
So in October, Billy's parents came to visit and we went up to New Hampshire to see the leaves. We stayed overnight and drove the Kancamangus Highway loop, drove up the Auto Road on Mt. Washington (the mountain with some of the most extreme weather conditions on earth...luckily not on the day we were there) and found our new favorite pizza place called Flatbread Company in North Conway.
We also went Cranberry bogging at the Meharg's (go Ocean Spray!). Yep, that's me and Billy up there, pulling out leaves, frogs, and turtles from the cranberrys as they are pumped up from the bog, rinsed, and roll into the truck.
Then Ging's parents came out and we went up to New Hampshire again. Although we hit many of the same spots as we did with the Fernandez's, it was raining and had been raining for several days, so all the waterfalls and gorges were gushing with water. A completely different (very wet) experience!

Before it got too cold, we asked crazy-I-love-winter-Rob to take us winter hiking. So he chose Mt. Lafayette (the highest peak in NH at 5260'), which was covered in snow and ice. Other people were hiking in crampons! But thanks to Rob's great guidance, we summitted! And then slid all the way back down the mountain on our butts in our ski pants, making it back in time for half-price apps at Woodstock Inn Brewery. (Picture taken by Rob)
Then we cleaned up our construction zone, which had progressed quite a bit with all the help we got from the parents, and had Thanksgiving over at our place!
Then for Christmas we lugged all our presents up to the Grand Canyon (thank goodness the rental car agency upgraded us to Nissan Armada). On the way up, we stopped at Montezuma's Castle (a five-story cliff dwelling of the Sinagua Indians), Sunset Crater Volcano (I had no idea there was a volcano out there), and Wutpaki National Monument (a well preserved pueblo). At the Grand Canyon, we saw just about every look out point and billy and I took a short hike down South Kaibab Trail, saw Ooh-Ahh Point and turned back at Cedar Point. Then on the way back to Phoenix, we drove through Sedona and stopped at Church of the Holy Cross (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's disciple).
And we ended the year in Phoenix with Billy's sister. It was a good year. :)
Sunday September 18th, 2005 07:05 PM
What we've been up to  by GinG
So you ask, what have you guys been up to? You're always busy working on the house, but it seems like the house is still a construction zone.

So I looked through our pictures today and when you look at it chronologicially, it makes it look like we've accomplished more than it feels like we have. So I thought I'd share.


View from dining room looking into living roomView from dining room looking into kitchen

1a. As soon as we bought the place, we took down the drop ceiling to see what was underneath. Haphazardly installed wires were revealed. 1b. The second thing we did was strip out the smoke laden carpet to check out the condition of the hardwood floors. All the flors were fine except this burnt patch in the living room. So we decided that the floors in this room would have to be replaced.

2a. Next, we had electricians come and properly install all of the electrical wires. Tadda, they're gone!

After scrutinizing all the walls, it became apparent that the existing horsehair plaster was not in such good condition and that drywall would need to be put up on most of the second floor.

2b. Here you see the very first piece of drywall go up.

3a. After all the drywall was put up, billy started applying compound on the seams and screw holes in the drywall. Now we wished we hadn't made so many holes! 3b. After each layer of compound dried, we sanded it down to make it smooth.

4a. After many layers of compound the walls were finally smooth (you can see it in the background) and we applied a layer of primer to protect them from the dust we were about the create. This is when we started to take out the old hardwood floors in the dining room. 4b. The house had nice pieces of wood underneath the hardwood instead of the standard plywood that is used in modern day houses.

5a. This weekend, we went to Home Depot and rented the hardwood floor nailer and started putting in hardwood floors. It's going pretty well! 5b.But there's still a lot left to do!

Monday September 12th, 2005 09:46 PM
Delicious GreenBEANS  by GinG
These are my volleyball friends! We're called the Delicious GreenBEANS! We are going on the third season playing together and we have a lot of fun. Our captain is Shuley. She's a great captain. We played indoor 6's last spring and outdoor sand 4's this summer. We're starting indoor 6's again this fall. I'm not looking forward to using knee pads again. Knee pads don't protect the rest of your body from hardwood floors...diving in sand is much more fun. But I'll do anything for volleyball!
Sunday July 17th, 2005 10:18 PM
Blahhhhh...  by -- GinG
The humidity here is currently 94%. I think I'm going to spontaneously combust at anytime now.

Having gone through many winters here, it makes you wonder, how does a house keep so much heat inside it during the summer? We've got all the windows open, but the hot air won't go inside and the cold air won't come in. I just don't get it.

Sorry, just some more complaining about the crazy weather out here! Hope you are more comfortable wherever you are than we are here!

Friday July 15th, 2005 10:30 PM
The Family Visit to Boston  by GinG
So billy's family visited boston a few weeks back! We're finally getting around to posting some pictures. Their visit started with the Somerville Luau with Hawaiian food straight from the islands! Lomi lomi salmon, lau lau, poi, kalua pig, chicken long rice, squid luau, pipikau, the WORKS! Then we did a 10-day "Surrounding Areas of Boston" Tour, since they had already seen much of Boston during their last visit. We visited Martha's Vineyard, Providence, Mohegan Sun AND Foxwoods, The Berkshires, and Wrentham.










We ate at all of Billy and Ging's favorite restaurants including Kaya, Texas Roadhouse, and Chow Chau City. We also got a Boston Creme Pie from Rosie's which was DEVOURED on the way to Martha's.

We spent the Fourth on the Esplanade with Margarita and friends. And we ended the fabulous weekend with James Taylor at Tanglewood. Fun was had by all!

Tuesday June 14th, 2005 05:15 PM
Hot & Humid! I guess summer's here!  by GinG
So this weekend, a bunch of us did a bike ride to Kimball's Farm for ice cream! Eighteen miles each way (18+18=36 total) and let me tell you, Kimball's Farm ice cream is well worth it! We had some people on some super fancy bikes and others on hybrid bikes, most of us hadn't ridden for awhile and some had never biked such a distance before, but everyone made it, smiling and sweatin' till the end. Good job everyone!

The weather was suffocating, but the Minuteman trail (which we took all the way to the end, from Somerville to Belmont) was pretty shaded, so it was nice. Plus, it kept all the hazards (e.g. little kids and puppy dogs) off the path for us! heh.

There are many more flavors to try at Kimball's and Walden Pond isn't too far away either, so who's up for another ride sometime!?! Maybe I'll throw a big ole' hill in there next time...just for the challenge?

More pics!!

Friday June 03rd, 2005 01:13 AM
Wall and pantry building  by GinG
So we've been progressing. Much slower than we ever imagined, but progress can be detected. We've painted and moved into the upstairs of the new place.

Billy has built a nice dividing wall between the living room and dining room:
BEFORE
AFTER

And Billy is helping Ging build the pantry of her dreams to store all the Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Filipino, Japanese, Italian food and condiments that we need:
BEFORE
AFTER

More updates to come! This month we'll be moving much faster!

Wednesday March 23rd, 2005 09:51 AM
New Toy!  by Billy
So we finally got rid of ol' Betsy and got a new(er) car. For those that didn't know, our 1995 Explorer met an untimely end when Mr. "My brakes failed earlier today, too" ran through a red light into the passenger side of ol' Betsy. Although the car could still drive and drive straight, a testament to quality Explorers of 95 vintage, the boys at Metlife said it had to go. So we scoured craigslist and bought a 1999 Explorer to replace it. We like it so far, although it is defintely not as solid as ol' Betsy. Oh well, its hard to find a person that takes care of a car as well as you do I guess.
Wednesday March 16th, 2005 09:13 PM
Finished the upstairs floors!  by Billy
So we finally finished the floors upstairs. We spent two weeks (off and on) sanding with three different grits, filling holes, sanding some more, cleaning up, sealing, sanding, cleaning up, laying down a coat of finish, sanding, cleaning up, laying down another coat of finish and I gotta say, it came out great! We ended up spending as much as it would have cost us to have it done, but it was nice to figure out how its done. And because we saved on labor, we were able to splurge on the finishing supplies. We used Bonakemi's Traffic finish, which is a low odor (hate to smell a high odor alternative!) VERY durable finish. Hopefully it will hold up to anything we throw at it.
Wednesday March 16th, 2005 09:16 PM
Went to a Celtics game  by Billy
Ging Ging bought tickets to go see the Celtics for my Valentines present. I was really excited to go because the team has gotten a lot better with the recent addition of Antoine Walker. It turned out that the Celts lost (their only loss in the past 10 games) but we still had lots of fun. Andre, visiting from New York, went with us and I got a chance to where my pimped-out Celtic outfit that Ahn Ahn got for me. It was awesome!
Tuesday February 22nd, 2005 04:41 PM
Helping hands  by GinG
Thank you everyone for helping this weekend (some people not pictured above)! We discovered that 2 people working on removing wallpaper can be up to 6 times faster than me working by myself! (Maybe it's just that I'm particularly slow.) And 3 people throwing stuff out of the window is 12 times more fun than Billy doing it alone.
Monday February 21st, 2005 08:58 PM
More Plaster Demo  by Billy
Call in the reinforcements!

We got some help with the house this weekend from visiting friends. Sharon helped with wallpaper removal (and revealed her closet OCD tendencies) and Cordy, Justin and Shanlenn helped with some wallpaper duty and had some fun throwing garbage out the second story window into the dumpster below. Josh also was a big help getting rid of some heavy stuff. I took apart a whole wall section and revealed some fire damage beneath.

In doing that, I got more comfortable with the idea of removing all of the plaster down to the lath boards and putting up drywall. So it seems as though we will be getting a lot of practice with drywall in the next couple of weeks.

We also made a trip to Home Depot to take advantage of the sale on Behr paints that ended today. We bought $400 worth of paint! Crazy. And we got to Home Depot 30 minutes before closing. But the clerk was very nice about mixing up more than 20 gallons of paint just before closing time. Ging would have been very sad if we didn't get them on sale. So we are looking forward to using the paint eventually, but there's still much to do before that!

Monday January 31st, 2005 09:50 PM
It begins...  by Billy
So we started work on the new place today. And like anything else, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the hardwood floors under the carpet, we took a peak, look good and should turn out nice after we refinish them. The bad news is everything else will probably need to be totally redone.

While Ging cleaned the bathroom, I removed all of the drop ceiling tiles to reveal some wiring and some plaster cracks. Remnants of a wall and a closet were also revealed. Heres a pic of the plaster and lath construction of the hidden closet fragment:

I even took down some nasty wood paneling to reveal...nasty wallpaper. I am tempted to pull all of the plaster and lath down and put up drywall. The guys at This Old House wouldn't like to hear that...:)

Sunday January 30th, 2005 04:42 PM
First Time Cross Country Skiing  by GinG
So billy and I went cross-country skiing for the first time today! We went up to New Hampshire. There wasn't as much snow there as there was here on the roads in Cambridge! We dressed in all our winter snow clothes, drove up to Norsk Cross Country Ski Center with some friends, rented some skis and a friend taught us how to slide along the snow! There were nice little tracks along the groomed trails. We fell a few times each, but I found it much easier than downhill skiing. The tracks help you keep your skiis from crossing.

Afterwards, we went to eat at Peter Christian's Tavern and had Clam Pie, Nightmare Pastrami sandwich, and Butter Rum. Now we're home and gonna start doing some work. Hope everyone else had a great weekend too!

Wednesday January 19th, 2005 09:25 PM
My Favorite Hobby  by Ging
So...nothing much has been happening. And it's been in the temperature has been in the single digits (negative teens when you take windchill into consideration) so we've been staying indoors as much as possible to increase the chances of our body parts surviving this winter. So I've been reading more. And since that's the most exciting thing going on, I'll write about what I've been reading about lately! (Billy can fill you in on the rest...it's about time he wrote something on this blog!)

Over New Years, I finished Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. It took me EIGHT MONTHS to finish the big fat book! Tolstoy created some very interesting characters and I got a glimpse of a short period of Russian history. Now I have more of a motivation to visit St. Petersberg and Moscow! Our neighbors went there recently (a Russian and his wife) and showed up the pictures of the buildings there. All gold. Everything. Amazing.

So now I'm reading "*A Short History of Nearly Everyting" by Bill Bryson. I bought this book for Billy's mom for Christmas, but then I started reading it...and got hooked. It's a narrative about science for ordinary people! And for me, it's fascinating, reading it as a science person....it's like revisiting old friends. Newton, Feynman, Bohr, Planck, Einstein, Hubble,... Bryson brings these people (and in my case, names of constants and equations) alive. It's like short stories that piece the history of science together. Stories short enough to keep my attention and then he leads you to the next little tale, all the while taking you through the inventions and discoveries of mankind. I highly recommend it. So anyways, from now on, I'll start including in this blog what I'm reading too. And I'd love to hear back from any of you who may be interested in reading, are currently reading, or have already read these books! Always interesting to hear what someone else thinks of a book. Always so different from what I got out of it.

Ta da!

Friday December 31st, 2004 07:50 PM
Happy New Years!  by -- Ging
A big lightening and thunder storm has been threatening to hit Oahu for a few days now, but since it's been slow coming in, we've managed to get in some snorkeling and hiking. We went looking for turtles on our snorkel expedition and saw not only a turtle but also a Moray Eel!

Other days, we've been eating and seeing friends. We made Lau Laus at home, ate hamburger steak and barbeque chicken at L&L, had mochicko chicken and mac salad at Grace's, had some banana lumpia and mango creme brulee at Jackie's Kitchen (Jackie Chan's restaurant) with Mr. Towata, and slurped up some saimen at Shiro's with Tiffany and Gabe.

More relaxing to come!!! Happy New Years to everyone!

Sunday December 12th, 2004 11:18 PM
Let the Holidays commence!  by GinG
We went to our first holiday party this weekend! It was very festive and fun. This upcoming week will be filled with holiday parties at work for me. FUN!

It looks like we may be moving to Somerville in the Spring. We found a fixer-up in Davis Square for Billy to try out some of his handyman dreams. Too much watching the Home & Garden Channel (our Tivo's filled with Weekend Warriors combined with House Hunters).

We've begun to prepare for the move by eating everything in our freezer and fridge. Some of the condiments in our fridge have moved with us from too many houses. Billy's lived in six different places in Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford now. We're onto his seventh!

So our weekend trip to Costco was supplemented by a stop over at Home Depot, just like the old days when we first moved into our current condo. We looked at everything from toilets to renting hardwood floor sanders. The relative prices of things are never what you'd expect! Did you know that you can buy a toilet for $200, but then renting a sander'll cost you $55 a day!! It seems the toilet's a better bargain.

Well Happy Holidays to everyone! I think the snow we're expecting tonight'll really help put us into the mood!

Sunday December 05th, 2004 12:55 PM
Nice Oprah and Ray weekend  by Ging
So this weekend, we're taking it easy. Ging caught up on all her Oprahs that she missed over Thanksgiving and Billy's getting some Celtics basketball in. Friday night, we pulled out the fondue pot and some wine glasses with Sarah and had some bread and cheese and chocolate with strawberries and cheesecake (idea borrowed from The Melting Pot). Yummy! Funny how food really has to match the weather outside. You'd never think of having fondue during the summer!

Then today, Billy and I went out to see Ray. I would recommend the movie. Then we took a nice leisurely stroll back from Harvard to our place. It's really just the right temperature right now for walking, just cold enough so that you don't get hot walking.

Tomorrow, we plan to try out a church in Harvard Square then go get some dim sum with a bunch of friends in Chinatown! Followed by some errand shopping, hopefully a little bit of exercise, and then catch up on some work. A FULL day! Hope we get all that done!

Tuesday November 30th, 2004 06:10 PM
Turkey, Snowboarding, Family, and Friends!  by Ging
We spent the Thanksgiving holiday in Colorado this year! We went to Vail and Beaver Creek and spent Thanksgiving with the Mi's during their yearly escapade. Catherine turned out quite the spread, with a juice injected turkey, mashed potatoes, pasta salad, cranberry sauce, crab cakes, and french onion soup! It was YUMMY!

The first day we were there, there was barely any snow. But the evening of Thanksgiving produced many inches! So we braved Vail. Vail was a little tough on us beginners though. The next night, 11 inches of snow fell out of the sky! On Justin's advice, we went to Beaver Creek and had an awesome time slipping, sliding, and tumbling down Beaver Creek. The snow was so nice that it was fun to fall! I think we're now both spoiled by the powder there!

That night, third Auntie showed us around ritzy Beaver Creek. And we watched their tree-lighting ceremony and fireworks!

Then Mark and Alyssa picked us up to go hang out in Denver with Hailey and Amber! The storm that resulted in all the snow in the mountains was hitting Denver hard too! So they took us around town (driving slowly) to see the Celestial Seasonings factory, a small private winery, the Denver Costco, an Arby's (Mark and Ging's favorite!), and did a little shopping at the mall! We were the only people at most places!

The Denver trip culminated in a Brazilian all you-can-eat restaurant and now we're recovering from all the excitement and good food back in Cambridge. Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was just as fun!

Tuesday November 09th, 2004 12:01 PM
Oh So Cold!  by Billy
So its that time again in Boston where the leaves have left the party and Old Man Winter pulls into town. We are very close to finally turning on the heat in the house because even the down comforters can't keep up. I am not looking forward to a full day of field work OUTSIDE tomorrow. As part of this new project, we are documenting all of the bridges and culverts along rivers in Worcester, MA which is an hour west of Boston. Not too bad a place, but not that good a place in November either. Oh well. This will be my last day of field work at least.

Tuesday November 02nd, 2004 10:30 PM
Andre in town  by Billy
So we got to meet up with our friend Andre who was visiting from London, but lives in Paris, and actually came from a wedding in Chicago, and was on his way to New York. Wowza! Being so busy, it was great that we got a chance to see him. We also got to see Kirk, a good friend of Marge, again. We had some good Korean food and then stayed up late watching the election together. Its a good thing we had enough wine and beer to make it through the night.

Friday November 05th, 2004 08:31 AM
A quiet Shrek night  by GinG
So Billy and I have not been out to the movies in a theatre in a long, long time. With all our wonderful trips this summer, Billy's Marathon, Ging's business trips and jet lag, and Billy's obsession with the Red Sox, we haven't had much time where we're awake at the same time!

So finally, we settled down to a dinner of nachos and a one-hour long movie called Shrek 2. I can't believe that it came out on May 19th and we haven't been able to fit it until now!

Anyways, Billy's created this blog for us to keep you up-to-date on the mundane things in our life, things that we might not tell you about over the phone or in person cuz it's well, just not that important. Hope you enjoy it! And we'll try to supplement the writing with photos from our album. Please check them out! You might find yourself there!

With lots of love!

Thursday October 28th, 2004 08:03 PM
Finally get some sleep!  by Billy
So we've gotten only a handful of hours of sleep in the past two weeks due to the Sox remarkable run to the World Series and Ging still living on Beijing time. We are looking forward to several weeks of general laziness, housework, and Fall-sy stuff.