Leading Feet All Across the Globe


Well-known member
I was going to post this over in the Fourth of July Thread over in the General Forum, but I thought it might be more appropriate here:

7:15 Tee time at Hueston Woods with old friends....

Cookout back at my place in the afternoon.....whats on the menu???

Fresh from Hawaii Mahi Mahi grilled with Jumbo BBQ Shrimp, Strip Sirloins for the non seafood lover relatives.....Fresh from Ross corn on the cobb and a jacked up toss salad. For dessert homemade lemon cake.......to die for.:crush: :crush: :crush:


God that sounds good.

Sadly, My fourth was not nearly so good. Started off OK. Went for a very nice morning walk up the Stevens Creek Bike Trail (similar to the Loveland Bike Trail back in Ohio) and it was a beautiful day. By the time I got back home I was determined to do something outdoors to enjoy the great weather, even if it meant just packing up a few PB&J sandwiches for an impromptu picnic in a park by the SF Bay.

However, my wife had different plans. She just wanted to get caught up on some work for her job. She did come up with a great idea for lunch - breakout a little of the year's supply of Skyline chili that she had gotten me for Christmas. That sounded great and I was fired up to enjoy a couple of cheese coneys, I just needed to run to the store real quick to get some hot dog buns. Then the wife chimed in that if I was going to the store, could I get some of x and could I check to see if they had a little of y and if they had z at a good price I should pick some of that up, too. And, well she better come with me, because, well she might see something else she needed.

Two hours and three stores later and still no cheese coneys.

Finally we got back home and, after putting away all the junk she bought, I break out the dogs and the chili and the buns and I have my cheese coneys and I get a little semblence of happiness.

I figure now I can go for a quick bike ride up the SC Trail to its end at Shoreline park and enjoy some of the festivities of the day. Guess again. We are having a cookout on Sunday and we still need to plan how all of the preparations are going to get done. So we sit down and we plan all of that out (including planning where the extra tables and chairs are going to be on the deck as well as what serving dishes we are going to use ... my god is it ever going to end). I make one little comment about how once we have decided that a particular serving dish is good for a particular item that we don't need to look at another six dishes that could possibly be used for that same item (did I mention that my wife has a TON of serving dishes ... apparently she used to host conventions before we met), and she gets all upset and I have to go through 45 minutes to an hour of apologizing for being so mean.

By this time it is getting a little late in the afternoon, so I figure we could maybe look up some local fireworks to attend that evening. There are two choices for fireworks within a reasonable distance, one is a symphony concert at an outdoor pavilion (similar to, but smaller than Riverbend) that would cost like $26 each to go to. The other is a good bit further away, and will likely be swamped (since there appear to be relatively few fireworks displays around here). My wife and I are not big fans of big crowds (we think they bring out the worst in people - including ourselves), so I suggest the concert at the outdoor pavilion, but my wife does not want to spend the money, and besides, since she didn't work on her job stuff this afternoon she needs to spend some time doing that.

I resign myself to the fact that I will not get to do much this fourth and it looks like fireworks on the TV. I figure I can at least enjoy what's left of the day by going for a swim, so I do that. Of course my wife reminds me that she is hungry and doesn't have time to cook, so could I get some dinner ready in a little bit. So that cuts my swim short.

After dinner, my wife asks me if I can run to the hardware store and get some items we will need for this weekend. I figure “why not?” So I go to the hardware store (I couldn’t believe they were open, but they were) but they were out of the item my wife wanted me to pick up, so I will have to go back tonight and get it (they said they should get it in today). I head back home and later start to watch some fireworks on TV. My wife keeps complaining about hearing some loud explosions, which are obviously local neighborhood kids setting off their own fireworks a street or two over.

Frustrated with watching fireworks on TV and listening to my wife complain about the amateur fireworks being set off by neighborhood kids, I go to see if you can see the fireworks at the outdoor pavilion from our upstairs balcony. This being our first year in this house, we had never tried this before. Eureka!! Something actually goes my way. You can see the fireworks off in the distance. My wife and I are able to watch the last fifteen minutes of the fireworks display from the comfort of our own home. Also, while watching the display, my wife assures me that next year we will buy tickets for the concert and fireworks display ahead of time and make it a point to go see them. This makes my night.
Looking forward to this weekend.

OK, so my last post was a little negative (although I thought the ending saved it a little) and probably should not have been the post to start off my blog with. I will try to redeem myself with this and future posts:

This post is about the upcoming barbeque we are having this weekend. As I mentioned, we are still in our first year at this house. One of the things that really attracted us into buying this house to begin with was the friendly neighbors. Their friendliness was also amply demonstrated by all of the positive feedback I received for my Christmas light display back during the holiday season. We received many kind anonymous notes thanking us for putting a little extra cheer into people's holiday season.

In wanting to keep the friendliness of the neighborhood going, we decided to hold a cookout to honor Independence Day and invite many of our neighbors. We decided to keep it a little small and just invite those that live on the same little side street as ourselves, as these are the people we also interact with the most. So far, we have gotten a pretty good response. We will be having approximately 20 guests (including a few friends that do not live in our complex).

We decided not to do it pot luck style. Many of our neighbors have done us favors or had us over for dinner at various times, so this cookout is kind of our little way of saying thank you, and it would not be much of a thank you if we asked them to do some of the cooking.

We have decided to keep the menu traditional. For appetizers we will have tortilla chips, salsa, guacamole, and devilled eggs. For the meat, we will be having hamburgers/cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs from the grill (we have some really good marinades for the chicken and the ribs - as well as some good sauces). For the sides we will be having corn on the cob (not enough room left on the grill to do it there - so just regular old corn on the cob) potato salad, baked beans, a green salad, and cole slaw. For dessert we have a fruit salad, apple pie, ice cream and whipped cream (to top the fruit or apple pie, however our guests like it). I am thinking of getting an additional pie or cheesecake as well. I will probably decide a little later. For the drinks, we have a couple of good bottles of wine, about a 12 pack of really good beer (many of our guests do not drink, and if we do need more, I can always run out and get more), and about three cases of various sodas (I tried to mainly get sodas in red, white, and blue cans while staying away from the traditional Coke and Pepsi - I know, it's cheesy, but I like cheese ;) ).

I went out and got a lot of fourth of july decorations, like bunting (those half-circle red, white, and blue deocrations) and banners. The tablecloths will be red, the plates and plasticware will be white, and the napkins and cups will be blue. We just bought a new patio set and we are going to keep the old patio set on the deck for the party (afterwards we are going to move the older, smaller patio set up to our balcony). We also just bought a bunch of new plants for the deck; a couple of birds-of-paradise, a mexican fan palm, and a banana palm. It is looking good.

It is going to be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it. I am hoping it will help build good strong relations with our neighbors. Also, in all honesty, I am hoping that it builds each year. I hope that next year, we make it a pot luck and have it in a couple of people's backyards (the backyards here are pretty small - ours will be pretty crowded with 20) and expand it to include even more neighbors. My long term goal is to make it a complex-wide event centered around the complex's swiming pool and being held in several backyards - kind of like a mini-pub crawl, only instead of drinking beer at different pubs, it will be eating different foods at different people's backyards. I think things like that are called progressive parties, or something like that.

Anyway, my wife and I are both really excited about it. We both like doing nice things for our friends and neighbors. :rainbow:
Cookout was a big success!!

Wow! What a lot of work that was. But a good time was had by all and the cookout was a tremendous success.

My wife and I spent the better part of the entire weekend preparing for our big cookout on Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, we bought fresh fruit for a fruit salad, cooked a ton of potatoes to make homemade potato salad, went around to four different stores to get supplies, boiled two dozen eggs to make devilled eggs, marinated the chicken, marinated the ribs, decorated the backyard with tablecloths, bunting, banners, extra tables, etc, etc, etc. We seemed to work straight through to cookout time on Sunday afternoon. Thank goodness one of our neighbors let us use some of the space in their refrigerator to store some of the supplies.

And the payoff was a great cookout and a fun time had by all. Everybody especially seemd to enjoy the ribs (it is the only item for which we have no leftovers), but they did not seem to enjoy my wife's homemade potato salad as much (I enjoy it, but I guess others aren't used to chopped apples in their potato salad). We definitely overbought the food, though. We did not even throw the hot dogs on the grill, as everyone had already had their fill by the time I got to where I had room for them on the grill.

For our next cookout, I can only think of two words - POT LUCK!! :)

My wife definitely agrees on that count. I think all the work that went into this one really took a lot out of her. Especially since we had so much food left over. We will not need to cook any other food for two weeks. And this is after we gave away a bunch of the leftovers to whomever would take them.

Anyway, I think that the cookout went a long way towards bringing the neighborhood closer together (which was really the goal all along, anyway). :thumb:
I love picnic/cookout food.

It's official. I love cookout food. I have been eating leftovers ffrom Sunday's cookout for almost a full week, now, and I am still enjoying them. Every single lunch and dinner has consisted of a cheeseburger, potato salad, baked beans, devilled eggs, and fruit salad. Up until today, they also included corn on the cob, but that ran out yesterday. And for the last two days, the fruit salad has been strictly watermelon.

But I am still eatin' it. :D

I am still delighting in the devilled eggs, still chompin' on the cheeseburger, still putting away the potato salad, still bellying up to the baked beans, and still fillin' up on fruit salad, and (until today) still consumin' the corn on the cob. :)

I haven't eaten much of the chicken. Since my wife does not like burgers I figured I would eat those and she could have all of the chicken (since that is about the only meat that we made that she can eat - besides the ribs, which were gone in a flash).

And if you look at it, much of it really is not too unhealthy. Definitely better than eatin' out. On the negative side, the devilled eggs and the cheese on the cheese burgers are high in fat and cholesterol. And the potato salad probably has too much starch. But the baked beans, the corn, and the fruit salad (no sugar added) are all good. They're all low in fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. :thumb: And even the stuff that is not too good for me - well if you were to get that stuff in a restaurant, they would soak it in a lot more fat than I did (I used very lean ground beef for the burgers - and they were grilled which allowed a lot of the remaining fat to drip off, a low fat mayonaisse for the devilled eggs and potato salad, and a low fat cheese)

Still, I probably won't mind it too much when all of the leftovers are gone and I get a little more variety in my diet. I know my wife will be happy to have something else to eat, as well. She had Chinese food last night.
Natural Disasters.

One thing I don't like about living in California is the earthquakes. Actually it is not so much the earthquakes (the little ones can actually be kind of fun), but rather THE EARTHQUAKE!!! You know, that one big one that is supposed to drop California into the Pacific Ocean. Or even just a regular big one, like the one that hit the world series back in 1986 - the one that collapsed the highway.

My problem with the big earthquakes is that there is no warning system. You can't prepare for them, other than just generally being prepared (and I am - got the emergency supplies standing by). When I was in Ohio, the big natural disasters were floods and tornados - which were definitely pains, but both of which you generally had some advance warning about. For tornados, you would at the very least get a tornado watch, indicating that conditions were ripe for a tornado, if not an actual warning - where someone else had already spotted it before it got to you. And for floods, I mean, you know if its been raining for a couple of weeks that the river is probably going to rise. You can get out of the way of floods and tornados. You can't get out of the way of an earthquake because you never know when one is going to hit. And it is not even so much getting myself out of the way, but I have no way of protecting my wife from it.

Yeah, if it were up to me, I would definitely move back to Ohio, for that reason alone.
Courteous Driving

One thing I miss about driving in Ohio - people would give you a little thank you wave when you let them in. Here nobody gives a thank you wave. I know it is not necessary, but it is a nice thing to do. It does make life a little better when we are nicer to each other.
I am extremely frustrated

Mrs. toe and I have been trying to have a child for some time now. Actually we have been trying ever since we first got married two years ago. We really thought that this month might be THE month. She was later than ever. We had really given it a very good try this past month (lots and lots of attempts - and according to some tests the attempts were well timed), so I really thought that we would be getting some good news right about now. But we got some test results back from the lab this morning, and sadly she is still not pregnant.

It is not so much my own frustration that is the problem, either - it is how this whole situation has been so hard on Mrs. toe. I know that I will spend this evening comforting her in my arms as she cries herself to sleep, a scenario that has played itself out far too often lately.
Been a long time

It has been long time since I have posted in this thread, but better late than never, I guess.

Since my last post, Mrs. toe and I have had a child (a little toe - a pinky if you will). In fact, this past week, he turned one. He is growing very quickly; his weight is slightly above average (in the 56th percentile), his height is above average (in the 84th percentile - which is a total surprise as neither Mrs. toe nor myself are particularly tall), and his head circumference is well above average (in the 87th percentile - he gets that from me - I wear a 7 3/4 hat size). He was born on January 8th (same birthday as Elvis Presley :) ).

I have been out of work for the past 5 months, so I have been watching him every day. He is actually pretty advanced. He started walking at around nine months, which was something of a surprise, since he did not crawl first. He is now very good at walking. His talking has also been very good. He can easily say "mama" and "dada", and he also knows several phrases in both English and Mandarin (his mother is Chinese), such as "I love you", "Bye bye", "doggie", and "milk" (he knows the english and Mandarin versions of all of these phrases and uses them interchangeably).
I HATE the Bay Area real estate market!!!

Mrs. toe and I have spent the last two weeks looking for our next place to live.

Three years ago we needed to move because we were about to have another child, so we needed a bigger place. We found a very nice place in a very nice neighborhood at what we considered a fairly high rent - but still a rent we could afford. The landlord had lived there up until trying to rent it out, so we were the very first renters he had.

Now it has been three years, and the landlord has decided that he wants to take advantage of the $500,000 exclusion on the gain of the sale of your primary residence. Basically, if you sell the house you live in, you can exclude the gain on such a sale (up to $500,000 of gain for married couples) from your income taxes - but only if you've had the place as your primary residence for 2 of the last 5 years. Since that time limit is up for our landlord, he wants to sell. Actually, what he wants to do is move back to re-establish this house as his primary residence so that when he does sell, he can still claim the exclusion.

Anyway, what it all boils down to is ... WE'RE OUT. At the end of our lease term (the end of June), we need to be out so that he can move back in.

So Mrs. toe and I have been looking for someplace to move to. It is very frustrating. We briefly explored the option of buying a home ourselves, but we could probably only scrape together about $600,000 for a down payment, and probably only qualify for a loan amount of about $900,000 beyond that, and there just aren't that many decent places with enough size for our family in this area for $1.5 million. We'd rather wait until we can afford something in the $2 million price range. So we are looking at rentals.

To get a decent 4 bedroom house in this area will cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 a month. Now, since we are trying to save money for a down payment, we are shooting for the lower end of that range. We thought we had found a nice place for $4,500 - great neighborhood, close to our kids current schools, not too bad of a commute for work, and just a little smaller than the place we are in now. We got in early, worked with the agent representing the landlord to make sure ours was the very first qualifying application they received, etc. We were pretty encouraged when the agent got back to us asking for all kinds of detailed supplemental financial information this past weekend, information which, despite the extra effort necessary to compile all of it, we got to them in less than a day. We figured this was a sign we were first in line for this property.

Well, we heard from the landlord's agent today - they want SIX months rent paid in advance. They claim that they have another person offering the same deal and want to see if we can match it. THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!! :mad: I am so ticked off right now. And it is not just because of all the trouble we went through to try to find this place. This is a ridiculous request - and the landlord is going to get away with it, because the market here is THAT out of whack.

I have no idea what we are going to do. We can afford to do this, but it just strikes us as being a stupid condition - one that in any normal market, a landlord would never DREAM of imposing. I would flat out tell the landlord to go take a flying leap, but frankly there is almost no other inventory of options for us right now.